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Old June 20, 2008, 07:49 AM   #1
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45 Colt Load Problem w/ 2400

Hoping someone can give me a hand. Working up a new 1000 fps (or so) load for a Ruger Blackhawk 45 Colt using 255 lead SWC over 2400 w/ CCI 300 primers. I tested 5 loads at half grain increments from 16gr to 20gr. All of these loads were very dirty, and there were small amounts of unburned powder in the fired cases. I've used 2400 before years ago to load 357 mags and I don't remember it being this dirty, nor any problem w/ unburned powder. I have a manual or two that call for magnum primers in the heavier 2400 loads (but not for this load) and I'm wondering if mag primers will ignite all the powder. Thanks in advance. is offline  
Old June 20, 2008, 08:12 AM   #2
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Of course not being there, it is impossible to determine just how dirty your pistol was, and whether that is normal or not.

When I shoot 2400 I get unburnt powder. I get it in 357, 44 Mag, and 45LC. I cannot think of a single powder where I don't have unburnt residue in the brass box after shooting.

Some leave more residue, 2400 tends to be pale granules, others, like Bullseye, leave a light soot.

Since you have been reloading for a long time, unless your crimp die is a little loose, I doubt there is anything in your technique that is causing problems.

I have never used magnum primers with 2400, and don't see a need to.

I rolled at least 200 loads of 255 LSWC, 18.0 grains 2400, Fed 150. It chronographed just over 1000 fps. The load was powerful, accurate, and kicked harder than I liked in my N frame Smith.

To me, what matters, is did you get the accuracy you wanted?. Did you get the velocities you wanted?. Was the function of the pistol effected?

If you can say, Yes, yes, no. Then you don't have a problem.
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Old June 20, 2008, 11:25 AM   #3
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-Chamber size

-Crimp tooling (test a Reding Profile Crimp Die)

-Test WLP and Federal 150 before testing dedicated Magnum primers (but YOUR gun may very well want its 2400-fueled loads ignited by Magnum primers)

-Other gun factors (like gap, bore diameter)

-Better powder choices for 255g/1000-1100fps loads include HS6, N350, and Power Pistol
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old June 20, 2008, 02:03 PM   #4
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2400 and Unique are just other ways to spell "dirty". "Yuck" also comes to mind.

And I guarantee that a hot load of .357 with 2400 from a 5.5" Blackhawk at night is a beacon to a space shuttle.

Out of a 7" barrel, around six grains of 231 makes a nice plinker load in .44 Mag or .45 Colt. It's more than IPSC major from a 1911, anyway, but easy on the recoil.
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Old June 21, 2008, 07:21 AM   #5
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The load was accurate and didn't in any way gum up the works. If it's normal to have a little soot left in the chimney, I'm happy. At least until I run out of 2400.
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Old June 21, 2008, 09:30 AM   #6
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My experience with 2400 is with full power magnum loads. I know that certain powders work better with higher pressure. I used WAP alot prior to going out of manufacture. WAP was a powder that needed relatively high pressure, e,.g., it worked for me in 38 super and 357 mag, but not acceptably in 45ACP. I had incompletely burned corn meal looking residue.

The 45 Colt is a relatively low pressure cartridge (~14000 PSI). I think you may do better with a faster powder for your rig. The unburned 2400 powder in the barrel is a big sign IMO. I have read powders like 4227 and 2400 are too slow for this cartridge.

Have you tried a powder like AA#5, Unique, or Blue Dot?
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Old June 22, 2008, 09:37 AM   #7
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I run my 45 Colts with 44 mag loads; 24 gr H110 250 gr.

But I developed some wimpy loads for my brother in his S&W 1917.
The 2400 would not deliver the accuracy at the same velocity that he got from Unique.

He is a really good shot with a handgun from a steady rest, and his 2400 powder problems were a deal killer.

Myself, I am such a lousy shot, 2400 would be no problem for me
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Old June 22, 2008, 05:43 PM   #8
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I run my 45 Colts with 44 mag loads; 24 gr H110 250 gr.
I hope you were shooting that in a Ruger Redhawk. I believe that pistol will take it, but any Colt SAA clones, or N frame Smiths, I have no doubt that load would beat the heck out of them.
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Old June 26, 2008, 06:02 PM   #9
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this has been a very good load for a hundred years.
I shoot a Ruger Bisley 45 colt, with 255 gr cast lead (.454) Kieth style bullets with 18.5 gr of 2400, and WLP primers. It has good accuracy and is much easier to shoot than a 250 cast and 18 to 20 grains 2400 in 44Mag. I was surprised how much less perceived recoil there is in the "hot" 45 colt loads.

I shoot mostly black powder so dirty guns and brass don't bother me. My Bisley shoots just as well with 37+ grains of FF and a CCI mag primer. .....even more impressive when it goes off. The 45 colt was designed for black powder cartridge and it shoots reasonably well over 30+ grains.
Elmer Keith shot 22 grains/2400 in the 45 Colt with the same bullet I use and after he blew off the top strap he switched back to 42 grains of dupont FF.
The 45 colt is not an "accuracy" gun like 44 Mag, but will still shoot a pie plate at 100 yards with cast bullets and a packed case of real black powder.

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Old June 29, 2008, 12:07 PM   #10
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“2400 and Unique are just other ways to spell "dirty". "Yuck" also comes to mind.”
The only thing I would disagree with Art on that is he needs to add Herco.
Try 231, much cleaner and works very well with plinking loads.
I use it from 9mm to 45 long colt and 1911’s just love it for ACP. Its what I feel is the best powder for doing most everything
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Old June 29, 2008, 08:43 PM   #11
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I like Unique, and I don't care if you don't!

For 25 years, my standard "heavy" load in the Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt has been 10gr Unique and a 250gr SWC. Clocks 1070fps from my gun, and is quite accurate. Recoil is on the stout side, but less much less than .44 mag level loads.

It is not absolutely clean, I will admit, but it is not the dirtiest stuff I have used either. And you can shoot that load all afternoon long without getting sore. Tired, yes but not sore. And on the plus side, if you happen to have another .45 Colt, one of less durability than the Ruger, this load, while stout, will not blow it up. It is top end for the Colt SAA in the old loading manuals, and I think a bit beyond top end in some of the newest ones. Not good for a steady diet, but if a few rounds happen to get in to the lighter gun it isn't a disaster.

I have loaded rounds in the 1200fps+ range for my Blackhawk, but decided many years ago to settle down on one comfortable load for fun and profit. When I want more, I get out one of my .44s.

Worst stuff I ever used (for not burning clean) was W296. Oh, just fine and clean in the 1200fps range, but it will not work if you want to load around 1,000fps. Squibs, bigf time. Fired 3 rounds (checking each time to ensure the bullet had actually left the barrel) and gave up. Only about half the powder charge actually burned, and the rest just coated everything.

If you use W296 or H110, you must use it at full capacity for good results.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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