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Old August 7, 2006, 04:29 PM   #1
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Best powder for .45 COLT?

The cases on the .45 Colt are too big for my usual loads of Unique powder. What powder will fill up that empty space? It's not a Ruger so I'm using standard loadings.
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Old August 7, 2006, 04:43 PM   #2
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If I were trying to work up a low pressure load in .45 Colt the first powder I'd try would be Trail Boss. I've never used it, but I've read very good things about it in .45 Colt. I've also read that Titegroup is also good for situations where you have a small amount of powder in a relatively large case. Again, I've never used it.

I've used 231 and Unique for sub-1000 fps velocities, and they worked well. My favorite powder in .45 Colt though is 296, but then, my gun is a Ruger.

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Old August 7, 2006, 07:00 PM   #3
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.45 Colt powder

I have also gotten good results using W231 or its twin HP-38. They are great for sub 1000 fps loads. Very consistent for me and very economical.

FWIW, I believe, Winchester loads all of its factory .45 LC stuff with W231.

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Old August 7, 2006, 09:14 PM   #4
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45 Colt cowboy loads with trail boss take up less than half of the case, but that is a lot more than any other powder I know of, for cowboy loads anyway. If you double charge, the bullet will not seat without compressing it, so it is pretty easy to recognize. And there is plenty in there to visually judge consistent loads (i.e. not drastically high or low).

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Old August 7, 2006, 09:16 PM   #5
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I tried just about everything BUT Trail Boss with the last couple 45 Colts I had.

Power Pistol worked well, it is position insensitive and consistent at low pressures. Burns clean.

Clays worked OK, a little inconsistent at low pressures and very light charges. Extremely clean.

231 was a lot more inconsistent than I would have guessed. It is quite position sensitive, but it won't make a lot of difference inside of about 20 yards. It is also filthy in typical loads.

IMR 4756 was nice, a little more consistent than 231 and pretty clean.

Universal was nice, about as good as 4756.

Bullseye was good, but a little dirty.

I can't remember much of the others I tried, above is pretty much just the highlights. After everything I tried, over 150 different loads in one gun alone, Unique was where I kept coming back. It was consistent and most of all very accurate. It also was much easier to manage barrel leading with Unique than ANY of the other powders. It is somewhat dirty, but not quite as bad as 231. 231 left grit, and Unique was just ash for the most part.

Unique is as good as I found in literally over a year of testing with lead bullets. Power Pistol was the ticket with jacketed bullets.
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Old August 7, 2006, 09:43 PM   #6
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I don't know if it is the BEST powder, but I have used Herco with great luck. It has been very consistant and relitively clean burning. I also shoot some hot loads in my Ruger and I have had the best accuracy with Herco. I am sure others work as well, this is just my experience.
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Old August 8, 2006, 02:36 PM   #7
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I'm currently shooting Titegroup in .45 Colt, with good results given that it doesn't take up much of the room in that big case. It's supposed to be position insensitive, but I don't know about that. It just shoots accurately, consistently, and it isn't extremely dirty (which Titegroup can be with some loads).
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Old August 8, 2006, 11:16 PM   #8
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I had the same problem with my .44 Special. 231 simply didn't take up nearly enough case space, and I was getting pretty bad variations.

I tried Trail Boss, and early tests (about 100 rounds so far) have been VERY promising.

I keep hoping that with the rise in popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting that someone will again offer a bulk smokeless powder suitable for use in the a wide range of cases. The last one of those went off the market around World War II. No muss, no fuss, simply fill the case and seat the bullet.
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Old August 8, 2006, 11:34 PM   #9
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i use herco in my ruger.
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Old August 10, 2006, 03:25 AM   #10
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hodgdon universal clays.




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Old August 10, 2006, 10:43 PM   #11
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I'm still searching for THE 45 colt powder. So far in my Ruger my favorite powder is 2400.

I've gotten good accuracy with AA #5 but unimpressive velocity and it was a little sooty.

Bullseye was accurate but dirty.

I've had less than stellar results with 4756, Red Dot and 231.
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Old August 11, 2006, 01:57 AM   #12
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How about Pyrodex P or FFFg?


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Old August 12, 2006, 08:45 AM   #13
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There is currently no smokeless powder capable of safely filling a not-meant-for-strong-gun 45 Colt case; there is, however, Titegroup for very moderate loads, and Universal Clays, Power Pistol, HS6, or Unique for 'medium-power' loads.

My jury is still out on Trail Boss.....
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Old August 12, 2006, 03:14 PM   #14
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You could try Alliant BlueDot (they have load data on their website too). That's about the slowest powder listed for 45 colt at standard pressures. If you want a top end, normal pressure load, this may work (and probably even better if you want slightly +P).

I've used BlueDot in 45 WinMag and 454 Casull when I don't want top end loads, because I don't want to live dangerously with reduced loads of H110.

But what works best for you may be gun, bullet, and load dependent. Got to try them all!
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Old August 18, 2006, 05:24 AM   #15
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Hornady shows AA9

But I never got good results at 'normal' pressures; I suggest Power Pistol or 3N37 or HS6....
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Old August 18, 2006, 01:15 PM   #16
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You might try Red Dot. It is a little faster than Blue Dot, and burns pretty clean. I use Unique for all my low-velocity stuff, but it leaves a lot of smudge.
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Old August 19, 2006, 01:58 AM   #17
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My gun loves a good charge of HS-7 and a 250 grain Laser-Cast bullet. But I am loading Ruger Only loads so that isn't much help to you.
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