How to get proper ignition?


February 5, 2008, 02:28 PM
I'm obliged to:

CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

I've had some strange results with W296 and 255 Gr. LSWC bullets, in a 5.5" Ruger Blackhawk 45 Colt. Usually gas blow-by making black marks down the cases, sometimes powder grains in the action and chamber.

I started at 21.5 Grains and worked up by .2 gr to 23 gr. I've seen load data posted that far exceeds these charges, and also seen the warnings about backing w296/h110 off too far, so I'm not sure what to do now.

WW brass, CCI or Fed Large pistol primers, temperatures around 50deg F. Velocity is eratic over the Chronograph (1000-1180 fps 5 shot string), with the cases that suffer bad blow-by loosing A LOT of fps. Cases drop out when not dirtied by blow-by, primers not cratered, not flat etc. Headstamps look fine.

Does this sound like inconsistent ignition? If so what practices are recommended to prevent it?

I would like to do further development and post results, and I can post a picture of stained cases, or if you want to see the crimp, iw ill do it.

This is my first revolver, so I'm just not in my comfort zone. Is this blow by normal? Will raising the charges, or heavier bullet, or better crimp create a better seal in the chamber.

Thank you.

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Steve C
February 5, 2008, 02:57 PM
Where did you get your data to start with?

W296 is an inappropriate powder for anything but full magnum type loads in Rugers, TC's etc. and generally not good for lead unless gas checked. Data should be used with no more than a 3% reduction from maximum for start. Hodgdon lists a 23.5 gr start load of H110 for jacked 250 to 260 gr bullets. Bullets should be heavily crimped and magnum primers use. Winchester never recommended 296 for the .45 LC and didn't list loads for strong pistols.

The Lyman manual should be a good source of data. If they don't list a load for lead then I wouldn't even try it except with jacketed bullet.

Streaks on the outside of your case indicates low pressure and failure to seal the chamber. I'm somewhat surprised you didn't get a squib. Up your charge to a minimum 23.5gr, use a magnum primer and heavy crimp. Don't be surprised if you get leading.

February 5, 2008, 03:41 PM
I agree.

By the time you get the pressure & velocity up where it needs to be for clean burning in the .45 Colt, your store bought? lead bullets will be melting and barrel leading will be a bigger problem.

Unless you are casting with a hard alloy, hard-casting with gas-checks, or shooting jacketed bullets, or using very heavy lead bullets, (like 300 grain) you won't get what you want with WW296.

If you want to hot load normal weight lead bullets in the .45 Colt, use 2400 powder. It is not nearly as pressure sensitive as WW296 in order to get it to burn.

February 5, 2008, 04:46 PM
Thank you gentlemen. I started with Linebaugh and Taffin for they have data for stock rugers etc. Then went looking at lots of other articles, then saw the RCBS cast bullet manual which lists, w296, h110, 2400, hs6, unique, and sr7625, but the 296 load is 18gr to 20gr(max).

Cast performance suggests charges of 22.5-24.5 of H110 with their 265 WFN (gas checked)

I agree with all the comments posted, but I want to be sure. Most of the data for W296/H110 provided by the powder manufacturers is for jacketed projectiles. The goal I have in mind is getting a 265 to 300 gr. LBT type WFN bullet to 1200fps.

I will definately switch to gaschecked offerings from now on in any case since I'm pushing the pb velocity margin.

My Lyman (47th) has no 2400 loads with lead and no gascheck pistol loads at all.

Can you recommend a good new manual for me to start with, this is not the only time 2400 has been recommended.

Thank you very much!

February 5, 2008, 04:53 PM
Also, W296/H110 powders are notorious for being hard to ignite. When you use those powders you really should use a Magnum primer. 2400 is easier to ignite so a Magnum primer isn't usually necessary.

Ol` Joe
February 5, 2008, 06:06 PM
Another powder you may want to concider is H4227. I haven`t loaded the 45LC in maybe 25 years but at one time I burned alot of 4227 in mine (7.5" Ruger SB) with 255/260 gr LFN bullets I bought from a local shop. I never had a chrony back then so can not comment on the velocity, nor do I remember how accurate it really was but, I do remember being happy with the combination. 4227 also burned alot cleaner then 2400 IMO. I don`t recall the exact charge I used but I think it was around 17 gr with a std LP primer.

February 5, 2008, 06:24 PM
Second on (1) Magnum primers and (2) IMR 4227

February 6, 2008, 01:42 AM
IMR4227 isn't any better than W296 in this application IMO. I know it's not a cleaner powder than W296 and it's also a little harder to ignite than 2400.

Why are you trying to push a Lead bullet to almost Magnum pressures and velocity without using a Gas Check? Like said above, it's really not the way to go. If you want to use Lead you should add a Gas Check, if not go to a Jacketed bullet. With a Jacketed bullet you can push the round to ~1400 fps. If you want to stick with Lead try to keep it under 1100 fps and maybe use HS-6 as the propellant. I think you will like the results of either choice above. I would use a Magnum primer with HS-6 too since the older Speer Manuals I have call for a Magnum primer when loading HS-6 and HS-7.

February 6, 2008, 01:58 PM
Can you recommend a good new manual for me to start with, this is not the only time 2400 has been recommended.I don't know of any.

None of the big reloading manual publishers are in the cast bullet business, and few if any of the cast bullet guys publish reloading manuals.

Both Speer & Hornady have heavy load .45 Colt Ruger & T/C chapters, but only with the Jacketed bullets they make.

The .45 Colt is treated as what it is by Lyman, not as a .45 Magnum.

The RCBS Cast Bullet manual is a joke!

Handloader magazine has had some great stuff by Bryan Pearce on heavy .45 Colt loads through the years, if you can find them somewhere.

February 6, 2008, 07:51 PM
Thank you all for your input. This has been a learning experience for me to say the least!

I just recieved some Cast performance 265 gr. LBT style gas checked bullets, so I will work on these from now on in this velocity range.

I did notice that in my Lyman's 47th that in the TC data they max jacketed bullets to almost 1400 fps with 2400, but the cast (plain base) are limited to under 1200fps - in 45 Colt. Checking 44 Mag cast bullets are pushed beyond 1500fps in the T/C data.

I don't understand why Lyman lists max velocities for a cast bullet of the same weight as a jacketed bullet 200fps lower in 45 Colt, when the chamber pressure should actually be lower with cast.

OK, so I'll use gaschecked bullets and take a serious look at 2400.

What's the consensus for 2400 - mag primers or not?

Thanks again!

February 7, 2008, 12:19 PM
What's the consensus for 2400 - mag primers or not?Not!

February 7, 2008, 05:58 PM
I agree, like I said in my post above, 2400 isn't hard to ignite like W296/H110 are.

February 8, 2008, 12:38 PM
Thank you all for sharing your experience. I really appreciate it.

Ben Shepherd
February 9, 2008, 04:25 PM
296 will work well for TOP END loads in 45 colt. But it requires a few things:

1. Magnum primers.
2. Very firm crimp(reccomend redding "profile crimp" die)
3. Hard cast, which cast preformance slugs are, or a gas check.

Unless you want only top end stompers 2400 would be better.

BTW: Your cast preformace slugs should have come with a little paper listing suggested starting loads. You did get that, right?

As for mag primers with 2400, I say: YES, absolutely. Reason: In cold(like below zero weather) I had trouble with standard primers and 2400 in 357, 41, and 44 mag. So I just stick with magnum primers when using 2400.

February 10, 2008, 01:19 AM
Ben- thanks for chiming in here - I got some 2400 this weekend to try - thanks for the advice.

I did not get the load data with the bullets CP bullets. I got the warning about using the followin load data...but no data followed. I sent an e-mal and got the following:

Using H110 a starting charge of 22.5 & a max charge of 24.5 for a velocity of 1400fps sorry it took so long

and later:
For Lil'Gun 19.0gr start Max 21.2gr 1325fps

Overall the Cast performance Gas checked projectiles provide much more consistent velocities than than the bulk 255 SWCs and no black streaks so far, as well as the best accuracy I've seen from my guns to date. I just assembled some loads with 2400 and the Cast performance bullets as well as the Hornady 250JHP with both CCI and Winchester WLP primers. The WLP were called out in the data I have, and I started at minimum charge with .3 grain steps. I'll shoot these over a chrony and get group data as well for the rifle.

My Marlin has a much larger chamber than the cylinder on my Blackhawk.

I'm just looking for a load that will cleanly harvest Elk at up to 100yds for the rifle, and be able to have decent performance from the revolver (to 50yds if I can have my cake and eat it too) with the same load - so I know I've got a lot of work to do.

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