The Firing Line Forums

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 15, 2011, 08:16 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: January 14, 2007
Location: Central NC
Posts: 1,424
Newbie questions about 45 colt.

Recently traded for a 45 colt Ruger 'old' Vaquero.

I plan to start handloading for this revolver as soon as I can get the dies, primers, and bullets for it. I've been loading 308, 30-30, and 38 specia/357 mag for a few years now.

Before I get started though, I've got some questions about the 45 colt, and the Vaquero.

I know the 45colt is an old cartridge, like the 38 special, and that the measured caliber is realy the case diameter. Is a 45 colt really a '45' or something slightly smaller? Is a 45 colt bullet the same diameter as a 45acp bullet? Is it ok to load 45acp hardball slugs in 45 colt brass?

I'm trying to learn all that I can about the 45 colt and the vaquero before I get started working up loads for it. I've also read in a few corners of the internet that an old vaquero can handle stout 45 loads, similar in strength to a 44 magnum, but that the 'New' Vaquero cannot. Can any of you experienced shooters verify this?

I want to learn as much as possible about loading 45 colt before I start working up loads. I'll be using the search function to learn about other's experiences.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
-George Orwell
RedneckFur is offline  
Old April 15, 2011, 10:13 PM   #2
Ralph Allen
Senior Member
Join Date: January 21, 2007
Posts: 416
I'm certain you can load 230 gr in 45C cases, but the original and correct bullet is a 255 grain lead bullet. Most 45 ACP bullets are sized .451 0r .452. Colt bullets are sized slightly larger. Depends on where you buy your bullets. You can get them sized up to .454 or .455. Reloading is definately the way to go in 45 Colt, as this is an expensive factory round. Don't know anything about the Vaquero. I have a New Service that I only shoot factory comparable loads in and a Marlin 1894 that I can shoot some impressive loads in. A very fun round to shoot. Enjoy.
Ralph Allen is offline  
Old April 15, 2011, 10:32 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: September 12, 2002
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 3,675
While there's a ton of information in this forum and on the web I'd really suggest heading for a reloading manual (Speer, Lyman etc).

When they go through all the trouble of printing it up in a book and then put their name on it I have to believe it's usually good information.

I believe the Speer manual #14 has information specific to the new and old model Ruger Vaquero.
DaleA is offline  
Old April 15, 2011, 10:47 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Location: Helena, Mt.
Posts: 119
The "old Vaquero" could handle "Ruger only" pressures, the "new Vaquero" can't.

Modern .45 Colts such as the Ruger BH and Vaquero are designed for .451" to .452" bullets, and bullets for .45 ACP can be used.

If you plan to use cast or swaged lead bullets, it's a good idea to measure the cylinder throats. Some owners have found them unsized, which can cause leading and inaccuracy. The best solution for that problem, if it exists, is to ream the throats to .4525".

As a hard core bullet caster, I measure both the bore and cylinder throats of every revolver I own, and size the cast bullets accordingly.
454PB is offline  
Old April 15, 2011, 11:06 PM   #5
Junior member
Join Date: January 24, 2010
Location: South West Riverside County California
Posts: 2,763
"If you plan to use cast or swaged lead bullets, it's a good idea to measure the cylinder throats. Some owners have found them unsized, which can cause leading and inaccuracy"
That is some good advice if you own an "Old" Vaquero which will take "Ruger Only" loads. I have owned both "new" and Old" Vaqueros and the "new" Vaqueros can take 20K psi loads which is "+P" but not "Ruger Only" levels and the "new" Vaqueros have tight tolerances whereas the "old" Vaqueros are not so tight tolerance wise. I think the "new" Vaquero is perfect and the "old" Vaquero kicks a$$.

Last edited by jmortimer; April 15, 2011 at 11:15 PM.
jmortimer is offline  
Old April 16, 2011, 01:17 AM   #6
Join Date: February 19, 2011
Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Posts: 80

How about I just throw some information out here and you take what you want.

The .45 Colt, or Long colt as it is sometimes known as first came on the scene in 1873, and was loaded with forty grains of black powder and a 255gr lead bullet. About the turn of 1900 smokeless powder replaced black powder as the propellant in this old work horse. I've been told that the term Long Colt originated in the U.S. Army. The officers at that time were using the Scofield break action, single action pistol that was also a .45 round. The Army adopted the term long colt when ordering ammo for the troops using the Colt pistol and .45 for the short round used in the Schofield. Now I can't swear to this, but the man who told it to me seem to know what he was talking about.

To add to the confusion, Colt pistols made before the start of WW II had a bore diameter of .454" Once the war was over and Colt started producing The Single Action Army in an attempt to standardize .45 calibers at .451". As a rule, firing jacketed bullets the bullets have a diameter .451". Lead bullets fired in the same pistol are normally sized .452" This bullet will conform to a bore and give better performance than a .451 diameter lead bullet. This holds true for all pistols and rifles.

The Original Ruger Vaquero was made on the Blackhawk frame. This frame was intended to handle magnum type loads. The purist of the Cowboy Action Shooting groups thought the Blackhawk was not a true representation of the early frontier days and wanted something a little closer to the old Colts.
Hence the New Vaquero. The old Vaquero can indeed be loaded to screaming
loads. If that's what you want, you have the pistol to do it with. The same bullets you load for a .45 ACP can be loaded in your Vaquero.

Well I hope that this is of some help and things are much clearer now.
Have a nice day. Good luck and God bless.
BigBob3006 is offline  
Old April 16, 2011, 08:32 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: January 14, 2007
Location: Central NC
Posts: 1,424
Thank you all for the good information. Alot of the information about the revolver has been answered.

I'm going to be looking all over the internet and in the firearms books I've got to get as much information as I can.

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
-George Orwell
RedneckFur is offline  
Old April 16, 2011, 09:06 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: April 20, 2009
Location: Helena, AL
Posts: 3,546
The old model Vaquero can safely handle the 25-30k Ruger only loads. I found the recoil of a 275gr bullet @ 1050fps difficult to control in my 7.5" Standard Blackhawk, weighing about 42 oz. My Bisley 45 weighs 46 oz and the grips allow a full purchase. I found that staying with 255gr bullets at about 950-1000 gave me good control in the Blackhawk with good power.
GeauxTide is offline  
Old April 16, 2011, 10:29 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: May 16, 2008
Location: Coastal South Texas
Posts: 557
If you intend to shoot loads that approach the .454 Casull, the "old" model will handle it but you will find that shooting such loads a lot is not fun. The new Vaquero, by design, isn't able to handle such loads and long strings of shooting at the lower power level are enjoyable.

I load for mine using Unique powder and 255 gr. bullets. This makes a very enjoyable load no matter which model you have.
jfrey is offline  

45colt , reloading , ruger , vaquero

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 12:24 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.06136 seconds with 7 queries