.45 Colt Trapper, cowboy loads, and soot


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roscoe
May 10, 2006, 02:06 AM
I finally got a chance to take my new .45 Colt Trapper out to sight in with the XS ghost ring and I noticed that the spent casings from the cowboy loads all had black soot on the outside. The heavy DoubleTap ammo didn't do this, but the PMC, Federal and Black hills ammo all left soot on the casings, on one side, from the mouth to about 3/4 back.

Is this just because the cowboy ammo does not have enough pressure to expand the brass against the chamber, so the gasses pass by?

Is the buildup of soot in the chamber going to be excessive?

Another thing I noticed - the cowboy loads were much less accurate - not so much in windage (although there as well), but elevation. They must not be as consistent with the powder loads.

By the way, if anyone asks, 335 grains at 1650 fps does kick a bit from a carbine.

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ChristopherG
May 10, 2006, 09:32 AM
Is this just because the cowboy ammo does not have enough pressure to expand the brass against the chamber, so the gasses pass by?

Yup, exactly.

Another thing I noticed - the cowboy loads were much less accurate - not so much in windage (although there as well), but elevation. They must not be as consistent with the powder loads.

The powder loads themselves are probably plenty consistent; but at lower pressures, the burn is less consistent, resulting in high variations in velocity. Cowboy shooting (as in SASS competitions) don't have very high accuracy requirements, since they shoot big metal targets quite close in.

If you handload, you could try a couple of different powders to get a more consisent burn; Titegroup, in particular, is heralded for burning consistently at small volumes in that big, empty .45 case. Trail boss is another recent powder formulated specifically for cowboy shootin' that should produce more consistent loads. As with most problems in life, reloading is your solution. ;) That would give you more accurate cowboy loads as well as the capability to produce something in between the powder puffs and the big ol' thumpers. And, for a LOT less money.

Shy of reloading, you might try a more traditional .45 Colt load like the Remington Express or Winchester super-x that pushes a 250 gr RNFP at 860 fps from a handgun (a bit faster from your trapper). That should generate enough pressure to get a little more consistency.

MarshallDodge
May 10, 2006, 09:49 AM
The first couple of boxes of 45 Colt that I shot through my Ruger Blackhawk were Winchester Super-X and they had the same issue. This was back in the early 90's before Cowboy Action was very popular so ammo was $10 for a box of 20. I paid for my first reloader in about 100 rounds.

Anyway, I had the sooting problem with Unique so I tried Hogdon Clays behind a 250 and 225 grain bullet and it shoots very clean with a slight bit of soot sometimes. I shoot this through my Vaquero and Trapper.

roscoe
May 11, 2006, 12:37 AM
Thanks, I am glad to know there is not some problem with the rifle, like chamber out of spec or something. I know I should reload, but in the meantime I will check out some other ammo companies' offerings.

mustanger98
May 11, 2006, 07:24 PM
Tell you what you might like when you get around to handloading... loading your .45Colt's with a 255gr Hornady LFP over a charge of Unique that ranges between 7grs and 8grs depending on what shoots best in your carbine. The Unique ain't quite as position sensitive as some other powders and it's produced some pretty good groups for me and my Daddy in our .45Colt long guns and we've seen some match grade accuracy (meaning shooting a .45Colt levergun against buffalo rifles at 100yds) with this loading. You have to put a good crimp on those though firing in a tube mag levergun, and that also helps to build up the proper pressure which will aid in both velocity and obturation (case expansion).

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