.454" Lead Bullets in 45 Long Colt?


June 26, 2007, 08:10 AM
Hornaday lists loads with a 255 GR FP lead bullet for 45 Long Colt. I am puzzled, because the diameter is .454". I am puzzled, because the other loads in the Hornady manual for this load are for .452" diameter bullets. Will the extra .002" of an inch make any difference? Will the .454 bullet work in my Blackhawk?



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June 26, 2007, 08:33 AM
most rugers have a .450-.451 groove dia, colts tend to be around .452-.453, measure or slug the diameter of the throats in the cyl face and groove dia in the barell and choose a bullet .001 over the size of the throats. This can also give you an idea if reaming the chambers might help (say .448 throats and .453 grooves) , you can fire a .454 bullet out of a .450 barell, but watch loading it hot, sometimes they can be quite accurate, sometimes .452 fares better your mileage may vary.

June 26, 2007, 10:25 AM
I purchased a bunch of .454 255 LSWC diameter bullets for a M25-2. This revolver had huge chamber mouths and would blow chunks with .452 bullets.

Then I traded the thing and got a M25-7. That revolver had .452 or less chamber mouths. Well what to do with those .454 diameter bullets? I was surprised to find that .454 diameter bullet shot just superbly in the M25-7, also in a USFA Rodeo, and in my latest M625-9. I am using a load of 8.0 to 8.5 grains Unique, noticed no unusually velocity changes when using the larger diameter bullets, and it is all win, win as far as I am concerned.

Bad Flynch
June 26, 2007, 04:11 PM
Well, I have quite a number of pistols in .45 Colt. They run from Cimarron, through Ruger, to Smith & Wesson. Some have small cylinder throats, some have large, some have small grooves, some have large.

Forget all the baloney about oversized lead bullets being a problem; it just is not true unless they are so large as to prevent ammo from chambering. You can easily swage down a lead bullet in a lubricator-sizer with hand pressure anytime you want. How then is an oversized lead bullet, hard or soft, going to be any real problem in a gun? Well, they are not, at least from a pressure standpoint.

I have an old Cimarron Model P that has oversized (O.458") cylinder throats. I shoot 0.458" bullets in this gun, but its groove diameter is 0.452". No problems whatsoever, anytime. (I had a custom bullet mould made and cusom loading dies made, too).

I have a Colt Python with an 8" barrel, a target gun. These guns are famous for having 9mm bores and the grooves run right at 0.355". I regularly shoot Remington swaged lead bullets that run 0.360"+ and never have a problem.

Just make certain that your bullets are at least as big as your cylinder throats. Then, as an added precauton, get a slightly larger inside expander plug and us it (0.454" for 0.454" bullets). The problem is that modern expanders leave the cases very tight (as needed for jacketed bullets) and the tight cases will resize a soft lead bullet when it is seated, thereby destroying all of your efforts to get a correct size on the bullets.

Don't shoot bullets any harder than absolutely necessary to keep from leading. Standard .45 Colt loads only need bullets about 1:20 Tin:Lead to accomplish this if they are correctly sized.

Use the softest, gooeyest lube that you can. Soft lubes are a tad better at low pressures and with black powder, too.

Try some black powder loads, they are really fun and the .45 Colt is at its best with them.

June 26, 2007, 05:26 PM
Thanks to all. It sounds like the Hornady 255 gr will be fine in my Blackhawk. I'm not really on a great quest for accuracy - I just thought I'd try loading some rounds at a more traditional weight than the Hornady 200 gr SWC's I have been using.


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