Reloading for my Vaquero...45 Colt


February 1, 2008, 08:03 PM
I have a 1st Model Vaquero (4 3/4" barrel). What is your suggestion as the best overall cast bullet reload to be used for hunting whitetails. Also a recommendation for small game would be appreciated.

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First Shirt
February 1, 2008, 08:22 PM
Best ? Beats me! I can tell you that I use a Lee 300 gr. WFNGC bullet (without the gas check) over 23 grains of H-110 and a CCI Magnum Large Pistol Primer, in Starline brass. This is a STOUT load, that will penetrate lengthwise through a 275 lbs. feral hog. I'm getting just over 1100 fps from a 5.5. inch Bisley Vaquero, but use the same load in a 4 3/4 in. standard Vaquero, with much the same results. Please bear in mind that these loads are safe in MY guns, and all appropriate safety considerations should be observed.

These bullets, cast from wheelweights, don't expand enough to notice, but they drill nice straight DEEP holes.

February 1, 2008, 09:48 PM
By "1st model" I'm assuming you've got the old style Vaquero with the beefy frame. These are of course "Ruger only" loads for the large frame guns, not the newers Vaqs.

Bullets in the 250-265 range will be softer shooting, but still plent of punch for hunting. Use something with a large meplat like WFN, LFN, or a Keith style semi wadcutter. Push them at 1100 or 1200 fps and the bullet will do its part. I like Lil Gun, but there's lots of powders that will do well for your application. 20-21 grains of Lil Gun will put you at about 1200 fps in those bullets. More than enough for any whitetail.

Besides the Hodgdon data, this Taffin article ( a good guide, and there's a load posted on Handloads using a 265 grain WFN and your gun. 21 grains of Lil Gun, 1259 fps ( That 265 grain WFN from Cast Performance is a good choice, and Montana Bullet Works ( nice little 250 grain WFN, among others.

I'd also check out AA#9 (online data here ( Those 17.6 and 17.5 loads for the 255 and 265 cast bullets are only running about 20,000 psi, and should be pleasant shooting.

February 1, 2008, 11:23 PM
Yes. It is the old style beefy frame. I like the extra heft over the newer models. In reading articles from Handloader I have gotten confused. Essentially I think they allude that Keith style bullets in the 250-270 grain range are useful for light loads (small game) and heavy loads for large game. Is that correct.

Also, where is the best source of Keith style bullets.

February 2, 2008, 12:44 AM
A Keith bullet in those weights can do it all. Mouse to moose.

Leadheads ( a 270 grain Keith. I've heard good things about Black River (, but have never tried them. They've got a 265 grainer in the lineup. Beartooth ( top notch, and they've also got a 265 grain. Mt Baldy ( also has them, but they're a bit soft (11 bhn).

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