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Old December 8, 2012, 01:02 AM   #1
k Squared
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.45 Schofield Loads - Unburned Powder

Just picked up a S&W Schofield (reproduction) and am trying to work up a load. I used Universal Clays behind a 250 gr cast bullet.
I wound up with a significant amount of unburned powder left in the case and barrel.
I call Hodgdon and was told the Schofield was a very low pressure cartridge, which kept the powder from burning completely. They suggested a tighter crimp to build up more pressure. I tried that with the max load (6.3gr) of the Universal powder, and still had a lot of unburned powder.
Can anyone suggest a better powder for the Schofield?
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Old December 8, 2012, 02:20 AM   #2
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Personaly don't load this cal. But I have had a similar situation back in the day. Wish I still had those records.....

Anyway, I would try "clays" 4.2 gr.

Where did you get your load data? Did you work it up from a smaller amount? If so, did you have the same results?

I would try a lesser amount of powder. Sounds to me as if when you fire the gun, the bullet has long since exited the barrel. The wind getting pushed back into the gun (your recoil) is pulling the powder that has not had a chance to ignite. Did you say how long your barrel was?

Try smaller amounts of powder. Or A faster burn powder.
Im at work, so I don't have my burn ratio charts on me. Someone else will have to give you a recipe on the "Faster Burn"
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Old December 8, 2012, 08:43 AM   #3
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The Schofield is slightly smaller case volume than a .45 Colt, so I would expect that any powder that is satisfactory for the Colt (at regular SAAMI pressure limits) would also be adaptable to the Schofield (but at smaller charges for the same bullet weight).

That said, I think that unburned powder is a common issue with smokeless powder loads in the .45 Colt at SAAMI pressures.

Trailboss powder was designed for just this application, so, if you want a powder that will nearly fill the case, burn well, and not exceed SAAMI pressure standards, that is what I would recommend.

On the other hand, if you don't mind a tiny amount of powder sloshing around in those big cases, then "Clays" (NOT "Universal Clays"), W-231, or Bullseye are fast powders that will probably give you less unburned powder at max SAAMI pressures.

I don't know what the manufacturer of your gun recommends as the maximum pressure for loads in THAT MODEL, but if there is some room between the SAAMI pressure limit for the Schofield and your gun's pressure limit, you could get cleaner burning by going to a somewhat higher pressure.

That is a common practice for Rugers in .45 Colt, where the SAAMI limit is only 14,000 psi, but the "Convertable" cylinders for the same guns shoot .45 ACP ammo with a SAAMI pressure limit of 21,000 psi or even 23,000 psi for the +P 45 ACP ammo. Jacking the .45 Colt up to the same pressure levels as the .45 ACP gives much better powder burn as well as much better velocity/performance. But, not all Colt SAA clones are capable of withstanding those pressures. (On the other hand, some of the Ruger models that are made on the large frames are loaded as high as 32,000 psi, which competes well in performance with the .44 Magnum cartridge with the same weitght bullets.)

But, you need some good, reliable information about the strength of YOUR gun model BEFORE trying higher pressure loads.

And, you then need to make sure that any loads that exceed SAAMI pressure limits are clearly marked as such and NEVER get into another gun.


Last edited by SL1; December 9, 2012 at 08:03 AM.
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Old December 9, 2012, 12:54 AM   #4
k Squared
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I'll give Trail Boss a try.
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Old December 9, 2012, 01:09 AM   #5
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I had the same issue with Universal when loading 45 Colt. I got clean burning loads when I upped the charge weight though. My loads, while perfectly safe in my Blackhawk, are a little stout for an SAA. A faster powder would probably work better for you. Universal likes to be loaded to max in all the cartridges I've tried it in.
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