45 Colt - .452 or .454???


April 28, 2008, 07:45 PM
Shooting a Great Western II 45, and the cylinder measures .452...

Is it safe to use cast bullets sized .454, as long as they will seat?

Or should I slug the barrel?

Any recommendations would be much appreciated!


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April 28, 2008, 07:50 PM
I'm uncomfortable with .454 but I've never tried it

I stick with .451 and .452 in my Vaquero.

April 28, 2008, 08:23 PM
My copy of "Modern Reloading" by Mr. Lee says .454 for the 45 (long) Colt, .452 for the 45 ACP and .458 for the 45-70.

My 2006 Hodgdon Magazine style manual say .452 for both pistol calibers and 458 for the rifle caliber.

Mayhaps the 45 Colt / 454 / 460 are grooved to .454 but will eat .452 as well?

April 28, 2008, 10:44 PM
The .454's should shoot fine. Cast bullets should be a bit oversize and go through the cylinder throat with just a bit of pressure. They should NOT drop through. I would slug the barrel and see what it measures. Ideally, with .452 throats, the barrel should slug at .451-.452. If it slugs over that, you will need to open the throats up to match for best accuracy.

Uncle Chan
April 28, 2008, 11:25 PM
I shoot both .452 and .454 in my Vaqs without problem.

April 28, 2008, 11:36 PM
Hey There;
the book says that because there are still a lot of older guns out there that have the larger bores. Most of the newer Rugers have the .451 to .452" bore.
PSI may rise some with the .454 cast rounds but , should still fly.
Myself I would shoot the smaller or slug the thing and prove it. Likely just putting a good mic to the end of the tube should get you pretty close.
Go to the bore dia. not the lands.

April 29, 2008, 06:57 PM
I shoot a .454 out of my USFA Pre-War and a S&W Model 25 (late year model) with great results.

Bad Flynch
April 29, 2008, 08:25 PM
Boy, there sure is a lot of hype about this.

Just think: you can easily size a .454" bullet down to .452" size in a sizer-lubricator. Such an operation involves a hand pressure on the bullet of, say, 40 or 50 lbs. How is it going to be much different in a revolver?

It only takes 500 lbs of pressure to slug down a jacketed bullet that far.

Shoot lead bullets that are at least as big as the cylinder throats; in a modern bun, it will never be a problem and probably is no problem in old guns, either.

April 29, 2008, 09:06 PM
The Lee Classic press you see in this picture is used for bullet swaging, that is shaping and sizing cast bullets, changing their nose configuration like SWC, Round Nose Flat top, making hollow base or hollow point, great for seating gas checks.

The smaller cast bullets can be bumped up to slightly larger diameter or calibers. And like someone mentioned, you can always make them smaller in a resizing die.

The swage die in the press is presently .452 diameter, the swage die body next to the press is .454 dia; and the unit in the rear left side, is .432 dia for .44 caliber.

Box spring apparatus on top of the swage die is my own invention, an automatic bullet ejector. Got really tired of pounding the die's ejector stem top to force the bullets out.

My invention springs the bullet back out of the swage die body and usually back on to the ram's nose punch. What could be better than that?

Plans are available if anyone's interested, small fee for plans.

Parts needed to make the box spring device less than $20.



April 29, 2008, 09:18 PM
Thanks much for all the replies!

I've got the Lee .454" die, and will order the .452" if necessary, but it sounds like .454 should be fine. Out of curiosity I called EMF, and they also said .454 was ok for the Great Western II.

No need for springs with the Lee bullet resizing die - it just pushes the bullets out the top, where they are caught by the plastic box the die comes in. It has a hole for this purpose. Very slick!

Thanks again,

April 30, 2008, 06:23 AM
I don't think you understand about bullet swaging, then not many people do.

It's a form of bullet sizing shaping that's been around for many decades.

Running a bullet through a Lee sizing die is done all the time, and I do that too.

However, swaging a cast bullet is not just about putting a lead core in a copper jacket, its about forming different nose shapes, resizing to larger diameter, making hollow bases, hollow pointing, seating gas checks etc.

You can't do that with just a sizing die.


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