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Old June 18, 2001, 06:05 PM   #1
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.45 (long) colt for contenders

Did a good search & (finally) came up with some very good information regarding this cartridge.

But & still, not all my questions are answered & you are the guys/gals ....

Nothing specifically dealt with using single shot pistols such as the Contender.

So, coupla questions ....

Looks to be a pretty good cartridge for a 100+ years old cartridge & (supposedly) having weak brass, etc. (Don't shoot me! I just read what I see. & have zip experience with this cartridge)

I bought one of those 14" bbl SST .410/.45 LC barrels (vent rib/buckhorn sights) about 2 years ago & finally shot some factory rounds (25 & 50 each respectively) of each this past week end.

All-in-all, I was pretty impressed with the .410 patterning (about 25 yards) & the 45 Colt, although not too shabby with a factory Rem 225 LSWC, I know the single-bullet aspect of this shooting platform could be boosted quite a bit.


Preferreably, I would like to personally cast a bullet of about 300 grains+ (& preferrably using a Lyman mould & a SWC-Keith-style) & load my own. Only have 50 pieces of Rem brass currently.

I have heard that the .45 (long) Colt brass is weak. Any truth to that AND is another brass manufacturer "better" than others - especially for single-shot handguns?

I have also heard that some powders require a hard crimp to ensure consistent ignition. Would this be a problem with a Contender using a 14" bbl? I have zip to worry about as far as recoil pulling the buullet out of position in a single-shot, but am concerned about that consistent ignition thing - especially with powders like H110 or 2400 ....

I already have a 14" bbl in .309 JDJ (165 gr .308 bullets at 2400 FPS) so recoil, etc. isn't any worry .... I'm only curious as to a stout load in a larger diameter bullet based on the 45 Colt cartrige. Too, I'll most likely load quite a few at about .44 Special capability just to play around (& perhaps even a few round ball/gallery-types .... "new" bbl/play-thing, ya know) ....

Currently have powders from IMR3031, 4064, 4895, Bulleseye, Bludot, Unique-range & would like to stay in there - although buying another bucket of powder won't break the bank or bumb me out. Any great recommendations for a good, stout loading & you have my thanks.

Anything y'all can dump my way along these lines would be most appeciated.
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Old June 18, 2001, 10:36 PM   #2
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Lotsa data out there - - -


Might check on web under powder manufacturer's sites--Alliant, Hodgdens, etc.

Of the powders you mention having on hand, Bullseye will do for some lighter-bullet loads. For heavy loads, Unique is the ONLY one of those you mention.

In my Speer Manual #12, they show a 300 gr Uni-Cor soft point jacketed bullet, with 9.5 gr. Unique for 880 fps in a 7.5 inch Blackhawk barrel. Same with 10.5 gr for 952. these would also be safe with your cast 300 gr. bullet.

Same source: 260 gr. JHP 9.5 Unique, 987 fps, or 10.5, 1070.

This may give you a place to start.

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Old June 19, 2001, 07:57 AM   #3
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I have been thinking about getting a revolver in 45 colt for a long time and have been doing a lot of reading. One of the best sites that I have found is for information on 45 colt and all of the other big bores. Most of the high power loads that are listed at this site are for use in riger single actions and the custom built single actions, but your contender will be able to handle anything that a revolver can take. The 45 colt cartridge will really be able to shine in the contender because you will be able to use the real heavy bullets without worrying that they may be too long for a revolver cylinder. Standard pressure 45 colt loads will be nice for practice and plinking, but the full power lods for your contender (300 grain cast bullet at 1200+ fps) will really pack a wallop!!

Also, as long as the brass that you are using is new manufacture and not the old ballon-head brass that was used for loading with blackpowder, your brass will be fine. New 45 colt brass is just as thick as the brass for other calibers, however I do believe that I read somewhere that Federal's brass is the thickest.

Hope this helps!!

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Old June 19, 2001, 10:14 AM   #4
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Balloon Head Cases in .45 Colt

Good caution--

However, I read somewhere recently that no one has produced the old folded primer pocket cases since the 1950s. Chances of running onto any of these is getting smaller as the years pass. I've had very good results with Federal and especially Starline cases in .45 Colt, but no complaints about R-P and the various Winchester cases.

I have ten or 15 of the old type cases, I believe UMC brand, that I keep around for reference, but there's no reason to load them. The good, modern, .45 Colt brass is plentiful and reasonably priced.

Sorry, I can't cite the reference about dates of manufacture. Nice thing about the big ol' case--It's easy just to glance inside and see the construction.

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Old June 19, 2001, 07:27 PM   #5
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labgrade, there is a good article on .45 Colt loads for TC and other pistols in Guns&Ammo's '2001 Annual Handguns' issue. The article is titled 'The 21st Century .45 Colt' and is by John O'Renick. Lots of good info on the TC .45 Colt and a lot of loads. My recommendation to you is to get your hands on some milsurp WC820 which is an H110 analog. Great stuff. Works great in my Ruger .45 Colts and a .454 Casull.
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