The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 8, 2021, 06:40 PM   #1
cdoc42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,073
"Cowboy" loads

I'm loading a 255gr "Keith-style" SWC for a Thomas 1873 Revolver in .45 Colt.
I'm using Trail Boss 5.5 gr, max 5.8, at a depth of COL 1.595".

I'm not unhappy with the results. I'm just unhappy with the Trail Boss being distributed in 9-oz containers at $16.95 (better than local Cabela's, when they had it) which translates to $29.97 a pound.

Aggravated, probably to no avail, I lookd at alternatves and came to Unique, 8.5gr, at $22.98 a pound, and wondered if I should transition to this even though the bottom line equals 0.03 a round difference to my advantage.

Which takes me to this question: what are you all using to load a cast .45 Colt these days?
cdoc42 is offline  
Old January 8, 2021, 07:19 PM   #2
mikejonestkd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2006
Location: Brockport, NY
Posts: 3,551
i use TB, Unique, and Win 231 in 45 Colt for cowboy loads.
all perform well for me, and I do not sweat the slight cost difference between the powders per pound.
My light plinking load is similar to yours, 5.8 gr TB under a 225 or 240 gr cast RNFP. I step up a bit power wise when I use unique or win 231.
__________________
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
mikejonestkd is offline  
Old January 8, 2021, 07:24 PM   #3
Old_School
Member
 
Join Date: March 19, 2012
Posts: 62
I use Unique for a lot of handgun loads, some of them pretty stout.

Sent from my SM-G781U1 using Tapatalk
Old_School is online now  
Old January 8, 2021, 07:31 PM   #4
USSR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 14, 2017
Location: Finger Lakes Region of NY
Posts: 1,265
For your 1873, it's tough to beat Red Dot. It's a fast burn rate powder that is not dense, so your case fill in that voluminous .45 Colt case will be good.

Don
__________________
NRA Life Member
NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor
USSR is offline  
Old January 8, 2021, 09:16 PM   #5
cdoc42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,073
Thanks,USSR, I was thinking about a powder that occupied more space than TB or Unique.

To all: what's your experience with screws getting loose (more frequently than I would expect?)

I don't mean mine - I mean the gun.
cdoc42 is offline  
Old January 8, 2021, 11:52 PM   #6
Aguila Blanca
Staff
 
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 15,611
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoc42
Which takes me to this question: what are you all using to load a cast .45 Colt these days?
Trail Boss


Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoc42
Thanks,USSR, I was thinking about a powder that occupied more space than TB or Unique.
I don't think you're going to find anything that occupies more space than Trail Boss.
__________________
NRA Life Member / Certified Instructor
NRA Chief RSO / CMP RSO
1911 Certified Armorer
Jeepaholic
Aguila Blanca is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 12:17 AM   #7
Pathfinder45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2008
Posts: 2,987
The 45 Colt is in the front line of my shooting and reloading since 1976, so I will share some observations:

First of all, in your gun, a replica of a Colt Single Action Army, more-or-less, right? If so, then do this: Get that Unique, get it while you can. 8.5 grains of Unique is perfect for your 255 grain lead bullets. It should yield right around 875 fps, + or -, depending on barrel length, cylinder gap, etc. You might be able to push it a little bit harder with Unique, and I do, but in my Vaquero, which is a stronger gun. If and when you need the most you can safely get out of your gun, I could suggest some other powders..... But your original post strongly implies an emphasis on economy, so....

With economy in mind, there are a couple of ways to go about it in terms of propellants: On the one hand, you could use a powder that is suitable to use at low charge weights, thus yield more loads per pound. In your application, Titegroup, Red Dot, and Bullseye will all run around 6.0 grains; green Dot around 7.0 or so.
And on the other hand, not all powders cost the same, so the equation doesn't always balance out the same cost per grain; you are looking at cost per loaded round. The reason I recommend Unique is that it gives the best balance of power, accuracy, and economy that can be obtained for the 45 Colt. Other powders can give you little more velocity than where Unique can safely go, but we're looking at burning perhaps 15 grains or so to do it, with so little to gain. if you could only have one powder for your 45, Unique is perfect. Having said that, in times like these, you could find yourself having to make do with what you can get.

I've tried a lot of powders in this caliber, some I liked, some I didn't; I'm currently using seven and I have some definite favorites, Unique being on the must-have short list.
Pathfinder45 is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 02:02 AM   #8
rc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 1,250
Tried trail boss. Hate Trail boss. It's ok in small cases like 32long but it's lousy in 357 and bigger. I never could get a load I liked with it. I suggest you work up a load with Unique. It's an old favorite with 44mag and 45 colt cast bullet shooters and works pretty well and is accurate.
rc is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 04:10 AM   #9
Pathfinder45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2008
Posts: 2,987
Since my RCBS powder measure hates Trailboss, I am not fond of that powder either. It does work acceptably with Lee powder dippers.
Pathfinder45 is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 04:24 AM   #10
Ifishsum
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2005
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,021
Unique at 8-8.5gr is very noticeably more accurate than anything in .45 colt I've tried using Trail Boss for several different firearms. I really tried to like TB, even purchased more last year with the intention for use with a conversion cylinder in a Remington NMA - but that setup even more so than than the others showed a huge preference for Unique. Can't really explain it but it is what it is I guess. I also had great luck with Red Dot but Unique is what I'm well stocked on, so I doubt I'll ever load .45 Colt with anything else. Other than black powder that is.
Ifishsum is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 09:16 AM   #11
USSR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 14, 2017
Location: Finger Lakes Region of NY
Posts: 1,265
Quote:
Thanks,USSR, I was thinking about a powder that occupied more space than TB or Unique.
cdoc42,

Never said it would fill the case more than Trail Boss (it won't), but it's a much more versatile powder than Trail Boss, which is a one-trick pony.

Don
__________________
NRA Life Member
NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor
USSR is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 09:42 AM   #12
Old_School
Member
 
Join Date: March 19, 2012
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR View Post
cdoc42,

Never said it would fill the case more than Trail Boss (it won't), but it's a much more versatile powder than Trail Boss, which is a one-trick pony.

Don
Well said.

Sent from my SM-G781U1 using Tapatalk
Old_School is online now  
Old January 9, 2021, 09:46 AM   #13
Old_School
Member
 
Join Date: March 19, 2012
Posts: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoc42 View Post
Thanks,USSR, I was thinking about a powder that occupied more space than TB or Unique.

To all: what's your experience with screws getting loose (more frequently than I would expect?)

I don't mean mine - I mean the gun.
With regard to screws...on my OM Ruger Blackhawks, I either use blue Loctite or screw a small piece of 10# monofilament fishing line into the threads. The Loctite is easier to deal with.

Sent from my SM-G781U1 using Tapatalk
Old_School is online now  
Old January 9, 2021, 12:51 PM   #14
cdoc42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,073
USSR, sorry, I misinterpreted your post based on your statement about density.

I loaded up 12 rounds with 8.3gr of Unique, just under the 8.5 max. Now if the rather constant 12 mph wind and 28-degree temp would change, I'll be ready to go.

Old School, thanks for the Locktite tip.
cdoc42 is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 12:55 PM   #15
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 16,749
I think you will find that is NOT a "Cowboy load." 8.5 gr Unique has been the factory equivalent for a long time.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 01:00 PM   #16
USSR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 14, 2017
Location: Finger Lakes Region of NY
Posts: 1,265
Quote:
I think you will find that is NOT a "Cowboy load." 8.5 gr Unique has been the factory equivalent for a long time.
So true. And when you back down the charge weight of Unique for "Cowboy" loads, you have Unique operating at a lower pressure level than it is best suited for.

Don
__________________
NRA Life Member
NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor
USSR is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 01:08 PM   #17
cdoc42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,073
Oh, my. I'm going to have to go to the apology drawer again, it seems. I really wasn't looking for Cowboy competition loads, but just .45 Colt load for what I consider my 1873 to be - a "Cowboy" gun. I guess the quotation marks did not deliver that meaning Sorry if you all got pulled off track.
cdoc42 is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 01:15 PM   #18
mehavey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 5,822
Going back to original intent, then, a full "BP-COWBOY" load is a fairly hearty fare.
900-1,000fps (UNIQUE)
https://www.alliantpowder.com/reload...3&cartridge=36
mehavey is online now  
Old January 9, 2021, 03:09 PM   #19
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 18,439
Yep, that 9.5-grain load is what the top BP loads came closest to. I read a book of Hatchers written in 1927 that mentioned that. 930 or 940 fps. Something like that. I don't recall the manufacturer.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member and Golden Eagle
Unclenick is offline  
Old January 9, 2021, 06:15 PM   #20
rclark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2009
Location: Butte, MT
Posts: 2,362
My .45 Colt general purpose 250g RNFP load is 7.0g Green Dot. My chrono showed around 900fps out of a 5 1/2" barrel. Easy shooting all day type load. Works well under 255g SWC too.

While I still use Unique, I've moved away from it in the .45 Colt. Not that it is a bad powder, far from it, but powders like Green Dot, Universal, BE-86, 20/28, CFE Pistol, and True Blue I find are more consistent. Ie. I see lower extreme spreads over the chronograph. For reference, my ES for the Unique load I shoot was 59fps. For the True Blue load I shoot, ES was 22fps. That is almost a third of the Unique load. The Green Dot load mentioned above ES was 40fps. Now at normal handgun ranges, not a biggie... Still easily minute of tin can. But when you start reaching out there, ES becomes more important. The idea is to look for loads that are consistent... and accurate.

I should mention I still have lots of Trail Boss powder here too. But it sits in the back of the cabinet. I moved away from it as well. Consistency wasn't bad (30 to 40fps or so) but not really up to shooting at the velocities I like to shoot. It is a good powder to beginner reloaders though as you can't 'overfill' the case. If you follow the simple rule of 'never compress' your golden. Under fill is easy to spot, and a double charge overflows the case. For the Cowboy Action shooters I would think it works rather well if not messing with Black Powder.
__________________
A clinger and deplorable, MAGA, and life NRA member. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes colloquially referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. That said, the .44Spec is right up their too... but the .45 Colt is still the king.

Last edited by rclark; January 9, 2021 at 06:30 PM.
rclark is offline  
Old January 10, 2021, 12:32 PM   #21
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 22,959
Been shooting Unique and only Unique in .45 Colt for 37+ years. My guns are mostly Rugers and I load heavier than 8.5gr as my standard load. No issues with consistency, I don't worry about extreme spread, its a PISTOL...

And, its a pistol I can ring the 200yd gong with, off hand, one handed, so I consider the consistency of my ammo sufficient. 250gr SWC at approx 1100fps from 7.5" barrel. have loaded heavier, choose not to.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old January 10, 2021, 01:39 PM   #22
mehavey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 5,822
Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
And, its a pistol I can ring the 200yd gong with, off hand, one handed,
(sotto voce -- it's a big gong)
mehavey is online now  
Old January 10, 2021, 07:24 PM   #23
cdoc42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 13, 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,073
44AMP, just to clarify what your .45 Colt looks like, is it a pistol or a revolver? I understand the term, "pistol" may just refer to "handgun" but I tend to view a "handgun" as either one of the two.
cdoc42 is offline  
Old January 10, 2021, 08:09 PM   #24
mehavey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 5,822
Y'all gonna have a tough time with that 45 rimmed case in an autoloader "pistol"
So it must be a revolver.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
mehavey is online now  
Old January 10, 2021, 09:25 PM   #25
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 22,959
Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP
And, its a pistol I can ring the 200yd gong with, off hand, one handed,
Quote:
(sotto voce -- it's a big gong)
Yes, its a big gong, the one the rifle shooters shoot at, and its a LONG way away, shooting one handed, standing up, but I can do it. Can't you??

Quote:
44AMP, just to clarify what your .45 Colt looks like, is it a pistol or a revolver?
My .45 Colts are mostly Ruger revolvers, Blackhawks and Vaqueros, though I do also have a T/C Contender. SO you could say "both".

Quote:
Y'all gonna have a tough time with that 45 rimmed case in an autoloader "pistol"
I don't have a tough time with the rimmed case .44 Mag and .357 Mag , I have 3 autoloader pistols in those calibers, why would I have a tough time with the .45 Colt??
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2020 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.10682 seconds with 10 queries