.45 Colt Powder


October 13, 2008, 02:10 AM
Which powder is your favorite for reloading the .45 Colt? I know all guns are different but over the years which powder or powders have you found to be the most reliable and accurate when loading a 250/255gr lead bullet?


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Snapping Twig
October 13, 2008, 02:19 AM
I started with W231 since that's my go-to non magnum powder. At 7.5g, it's just about right. However, after posting here and other places asking for suggestions, I got the feeling that I should try Unique. Boy am I glad I did!

8 ~ 9 grains was the suggestion, so I did. I'm enjoying 9 grains and the accuracy is amazing! 8 was a little light for me and 8.5 was good, but 9 - now that's a winner.

That siad, if all I had was W231, I wouldn't feel too bad. :)

October 13, 2008, 03:35 AM
ArchAngelCD, why didn't you include H-110 or Winchester 296 in the poll? Those powders are two of the best around for +P type loads. Also, I wish we could choose more than one powder since I'm using three powders for .45 Colt. I'm currently loading for a pair of USFA Rodeos, a Marlin 1894 Cowboy and a Ruger Redhawk so I'm using Trail Boss for the Rodeos and Marlin (for light CAS type loads) and I'm using 231 and H110 for the Marlin and Redhawk. No one said it would be simple!

Last weekend I loaded 200 grain LRNFP bullets with QUANTITY AND ESTIMATED PRESSURE DELETED BY STAFF of 231. I haven't shot them yet but . . . they should be fun. I marked the base of all 50 cases with permanent red marker pen so that I don't accidentally shoot them in the USFA Rodeos. :eek:

This evening I loaded 255 grain bullets with QUANTITY AND ESTIMATED PRESSURE DELETED BY STAFF H-110. I also loaded 300 grain bullets with QUANTITY AND ESTIMATED PRESSURE DELETED BY STAFF H-110. Again, not loads to accidentally shoot in the Rodeos!!


October 13, 2008, 05:45 AM
I prefer to use Unique.I have tried Trailboss and like it. I just like the 8grs Unique over 250-255 gr lead. Some may say its to dirty, but I gotta clean em any way. Bob

October 13, 2008, 08:56 AM
why didn't you include H-110 or Winchester 296 in the poll?Considering the powder choices, I would assume he is asking about standard pressure .45 Colt loads.

October 13, 2008, 09:10 AM
For orig style loads, anything else but Unique seems like blasphemy.

October 13, 2008, 10:50 AM
I voted W231/HP38 in the poll for that weight bullet, but I load a whole lot more .45 Colt using Trail Boss and 200 gr. RNFP.

October 13, 2008, 02:56 PM

October 13, 2008, 03:52 PM
I have used Trail Boss, Unique, and Titegroup. Of those three, I like Titegroup the best. A friend swears that I need to try Win 231.


October 13, 2008, 04:01 PM
Unigue 8 1/2 To 9 Grains 250 Gr Swc Awsome Thru A Ruger 3 Screw

October 13, 2008, 04:26 PM
Unique is THE .45 Colt powder in Colt SAA's.

I didn't realize there was anything else even close.


October 13, 2008, 07:54 PM
I prefer Unique for the .45 Colt as well as most any other calibers.

October 14, 2008, 02:20 AM
Had to go with other, I load Black Powder in mine.

October 14, 2008, 02:50 AM
I like Red-Dot 7.5 gr on the 255, 8.0 with the 250

October 14, 2008, 04:34 AM
I like 5.8 gr of Trailboss under a 255gr RNFP
Its a clean light accurate load that workes very well in both my Blackhawk and my 1892.

Harve Curry
October 14, 2008, 09:34 AM

October 14, 2008, 10:29 AM
Unigue and black are the only two I load with and Unique is not getting much range time.

Thinking on it, I use black for almost all of my reloading. Unless you need something other than origianl ballistics, it is still the best.

October 14, 2008, 11:02 AM
I'm in agreement with hotwheelz:I like Red-Dot 7.5 gr on the 255, 8.0 with the 250

October 14, 2008, 07:01 PM
Just bought a set of dies, so I have not started reloading yet.

That said, I plan on using W-231.

October 14, 2008, 07:36 PM
I really like the .45 Colt caliber and the fact that it can be loaded for CAS type loads all the way up to Redhawk loads QUANTITY AND ESTIMATED PRESSURE DELETED BY STAFF ... what more can one ask for? The only concern with the caliber is the case volume. With QUANTITY AND ESTIMATED PRESSURE DELETED BY STAFF H-110 there's no way to double charge it but with QUANTITY AND ESTIMATED PRESSURE DELETED BY STAFF W231 it's quite possible so extra attention is required.

H-110 fills up the case very nicely when making +P type loads with QUANTITY DELETED BY STAFF grains of powder. That may result in more consistent performance (if that's important).


October 18, 2008, 01:16 AM
Yes, I am asking about standard .45 Colt loads, that's why I didn't include W296/H110 or 2400 in my Poll.

For all those who are choosing Unique, are you doing so because it's the very best choice or doing so because you've been using it so long it's just what you do? Have you tried other powders or are you sticking with Unique because it's what you have always used? (which isn't bad BTW)

I'm leaning on the side of both W231 and HS-6 instead of Unique. Unique just doesn't meter well and both W231 and HS-6 meter very well. Both are much cleaner than Unique too...

October 18, 2008, 02:29 AM
FFg or even FFFg Goex. :D

October 18, 2008, 09:44 AM
My 2 loads are 5.8 of Trailboss for light and easy, 9gr of Unique for working loads. And, on my Stampede, 9 gr of Unique come out just right with the sights, poa=poi at 15 yards.

Johnny Guest
October 18, 2008, 10:44 AM
All members are reminded of the forum rule posted at REQUIRED READ for those posting Extra HEAVY LOAD Information (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=27444).

Postings including loads above posted maximums and which do not include the mandatory warnings will be either heavily redacted or deleted entirely. Friends, it's okay to boast of your barn-burner loads, so long as you follow the rules. Click the link, read, and follow.

Thanks to all
Johnny Guest
H&R Forum Moderator

October 18, 2008, 05:40 PM
Goex then trail boss

October 18, 2008, 05:41 PM
oh and standard colt 45 is 35 grains of Goex measured by volume. With a 200 grain lead cast on top. bullet pressed to meet the powder.

Ben Shepherd
October 18, 2008, 05:43 PM
I use 2400 or 296 generally. But I'm feeding a redhawk and a lever action.

Uncle Chan
October 18, 2008, 06:18 PM

October 18, 2008, 07:17 PM
Before I sold my Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt, I used Universal Clays for standard loads and it worked pretty well. I used AA # 9 to hot rod it. (By .45 Colt standards anyway)

It would be interesting to do some more testing these days with so many choices. I am in need of a .45 Colt Revolver in my life.

October 19, 2008, 04:25 PM
Posting heavy loads on this forum
All members are reminded of the forum rule posted at REQUIRED READ for those posting Extra HEAVY LOAD Information.

Postings including loads above posted maximums and which do not include the mandatory warnings will be either heavily redacted or deleted entirely. Friends, it's okay to boast of your barn-burner loads, so long as you follow the rules. Click the link, read, and follow.

Thanks to all
Johnny Guest
H&R Forum Moderator

Sorry to rock the boat ... all of those loads are PUBLISHED loads but I will read (and comply) with the forum rules.


October 19, 2008, 04:35 PM
They are published, under Ruger, Freedom Arms & T/C only. You should have placed a warning for that.

October 19, 2008, 05:50 PM
Johnny Guest and dwave are right. You should have posted a warning. No biggie. Just remember next time. We owe it to folks new to reloading. :)

October 19, 2008, 06:14 PM
Definitely, we don't want new reloaders turning their guns into grenades.

October 19, 2008, 07:05 PM
Fear not ... I'm flagellating myself with all the zeal of a Catalonian monk as I type so consider me thoroughly punished! :eek:

October 19, 2008, 07:35 PM
I'm flagellating myself with all the zeal of a Catalonian monk Good stuff. :D

October 19, 2008, 08:39 PM
LOL, those loads would have been fine in my revolver because it's an original Ruger Vaquero, not a New Vaquero but like already said, we don't want new reloaders to blow anything up and get hurt. I'm looking for a nice light load that's accurate to shoot at my local club when we shoot Cowboy Action type of shoots. (not official Cowboy Action shoots) I really like this revolver so I don't want to beat it up any or beat myself up either...

It looks like Unique is a favorite but I'm wondering if it's because Unique has been around so long. I really don't want to buy a powder for only 1 caliber since I don't use Unique for anything I now shoot. I do have a lot of W231, HS-6 and AA#5 on hand so I was hoping to get more answers pushing those powders although I knew Unique was going to be the favorite.

October 20, 2008, 01:08 AM
ArchAngelCD, anyone thinking of loading light CAS type loads should read the attached information from the VihtaVuori reloading manual. I know it's a pain to buy powder for just one caliber or load but if ever there was a time then this could be it. Trail Boss was specifically designed to avoid the potential problems listed in the attached page, specifically double charges and underload detonation. When I look at the myriad of powders that I have such as RE15, RE22, IMR 4895, IMR 7828, H-110, Trail Boss, VV N120, VV N130 and W231 the last thing I want to do is to buy ANOTHER powder but sometimes it's necessary.


October 20, 2008, 01:23 AM
Thank you for the information. Be assured I wasn't going to load very light loads, I only wanted to make it clear I didn't need a heavier type "working" load. The loads I'll be making will be real ammo unlike some of the stuff you see in competition, just not up near the limits.

For example, a good .45 Colt load will push a 250/255gr bullet to at least 900 fps. I wont be pushing them past 750 fps but not slower. (I've seen them as low as 550 fps, that's not for me!!) I've been looking at either 9.4gr of HS-6 or 6.2gr W231 but will take a closer look at TrailBoss before I decided on anything. I have 6 boxes of Winchester ammo to burn up before I have the brass to start reloading.

October 20, 2008, 04:22 PM
Trail Boss is by far my favorite powder for .45 Colt, It fills the case, meters great and burns clean.
If you relaod your gunna have all sortsa crap aneyway, whats another can of powder.

October 23, 2008, 01:31 AM
I hear ya but I have so many powder now I just didn't want to buy another. I will buy a can of Trail Boss and give it a try though.

BTW, in the November special issue of Handloader they listed a few .45 Colt loads. They listed only 3 powders, Red Dot and W231 to duplicate the original loads from 100 years ago and Universal for something a little heavier yet still under the 14,000 PSI SAAMI limits. (info on page 34)

October 23, 2008, 02:38 AM
When I don't load BP, I use Universal. Seems to work quite well.

October 23, 2008, 03:00 AM
30 gr.s of triple seven 3F under a 250 gr. RNFP will get your attention.I'm going back to Goex 2F,it's gentler.

October 23, 2008, 11:48 AM
HERCO works great for many handgun cartridges from light target loads to medium to heavy magnum laods.

October 23, 2008, 03:27 PM
how bout' titegroup

October 24, 2008, 07:39 AM
Hs6 and Unique do very well on "standard" loads w/255gr. N110/VV is great on heavy loads. All are printed in the manuals.

the foot
October 24, 2008, 08:18 PM
My Blackhawk with 255-gr. LBT Keith-type lead bullet is most accurate with Bullseye, next is 700-X.

I have used 231 and Unique with success, just not as accurate as the powders I listed.

tiger rag
October 24, 2008, 08:52 PM
Unique,or 777

October 25, 2008, 12:16 PM
I'm quite surprised that Tite Group has been mentioned so little (twice). I have been very pleased using 6.2 gr with 230 gr RN (lead) bullet. It is very accurate in my Ruger Bisley, clean, comfotable to shoot, etc. I went through 6000+ this summer practicing for a hunt (on which I of course didn't use that load!!). I tried other powders before settling on Tite Group, including the venerable Unique, but couldn't beat the Tite Group. Have a good day!

October 25, 2008, 03:01 PM
Unique for most 45 Colt loads--can also be used as a shotgun powder.

October 25, 2008, 09:14 PM
Unique, tried and true. My go to powder for all standard pistol loadings. .38, .44 and .45. True you can go a little cleaner and for magnum loadings there are better powders but you cannot argue with a good solid accurate loading. I can load a decent round of anything with pound of Unique.

October 26, 2008, 05:49 PM

Burns clean with CCI primers and is economical. I use it for CAS shooting (in .45 colt) and for plinking with the .38 and .44 Specials.

Linear Thinker
October 27, 2008, 02:37 AM
Another Trail Boss fan here, 5.8 gr under 255 grain bullets. Clean and economical, and I even got used to the funky smell TB makes.

October 29, 2008, 04:10 PM
Trail Boss 5.8gr for 250 RNFP (or more in Ruger BH's) low recoil
Trail Boss 6.3gr for 200 RNFP colts low recoil, can shoot these "all day"
Unique 8-8.5 250 RNFP colts snappy & sharp over 8.5
Unique 9.0+ 250 RNFP VERY BEST LOAD for '92 Rossi, good in Ruger BH
2400 18.5 265 Kieth type Ruger BH "my best 100 yard load"

FFF 35-37 265 Kieth SWC, with SPG or Equiv BP lube, CCI mag primer
Triple 7 21 250 RNFP colts & '92 Rossi

I shoot 50% trail boss, 25% Unique, 25% FFF Black powder, & 2400 only when I am out on the rifle range and just have to hit a 100 yard target with my hand gun.

October 30, 2008, 05:37 PM
Well I'm new to handloading and so far I've only used unique. I'm not happy with the metering though my Lee Auto Disk, but other then that it seems ok.

I'm using 250gr lead RNFP bullets and I've loaded everything from 7.5-9.5 grains, 9.5 being the max load listed on Alliant's site. I'm using a Ruger Vaquero from the mid 90's with a 7.5" barrel. My OAL was about 1.610. CCI 300 primers.

9 and 9.5 gr loads were heavy hitters and even though 9.5 is the max recommended load I don't like it in the handgun. Rifle probably would be fine.

The latest Lee book lists 8gr as a recommended load with a min OAL of 1.550. I'm still using my 1.610 setup, but I'm going to back that down to the 1.550-1.555 range.

I've backed all the way down to 7.5 grain looking for a light target load, but it's still not there yet. I'm not sure I want to go much below 7.5gr.

Any suggestions on a lighter load?

Because of the metering I'm going to try a different powder, maybe the TB.

October 30, 2008, 05:44 PM
Another TiteGroup fan. Also have used AA#5 with good results.

October 30, 2008, 06:30 PM

Burns clean with CCI primers and is economical.Ditto, and American Select does too. I am a long time 700X fan who is really liking American Select.

XD-40 Shooter
October 30, 2008, 11:03 PM
I don't load 45 Colt, but I do load 38 spl, 40 S&W, and 357 mag with Unique, works great in all. Unique is what I would use in 45 Colt.:)

October 31, 2008, 12:47 AM
I don't know anyone who has used American Select. How does it meter? What type of powder is it? Does it burn clean? I know, a lot of questions... sorry but you sparked my interest! LOL

October 31, 2008, 09:07 PM
It is a big flake powder like 700X or Red Dot so it meters so so, but gives pretty good ES & SD numbers despite that. It runs through my Redding 10X smoothly without jamming or bridging. It is super clean. It has proven to be very accurate in .38 Spl and downloaded .357 with 125 gr plated and jacketed bullets. It is very similar to 700X which I like a lot and have used for years, but it just may bump 700X out. Yea, I'm impressed so far. :)

I just loaded 50 .44 Spl with it. My standard for that has been 700X for years. I will probably get a chance to shoot them tomorrow.

November 1, 2008, 01:31 AM
Sounds like a good powder but I wonder if American Select will work well in the .45 Colt?

November 1, 2008, 03:22 PM
It should. Worth a try.

November 1, 2008, 06:50 PM
250gr RNFP
9.0gr Unique
6.0gr Red Dot
6.2gr Titegroup

The Red Dot load is very accurate and light. The Unique load is my deer load, and the Titegroup lives up to it's name as my favorite target load.

This is in 7 1/2" and 4 5/8" Vaquero's.

November 2, 2008, 10:16 PM
For "standard" to "slightly above standard" colt 45 loads I like Unique.
It can be easy to get 1 ragged hole groups with cast bullet and 9 grains of it in a Blackhawk. I would start below this if using in an SAA Colt.
For Ruger loads or Ruger loads with heavy bullets (270+ grn) it seems either 2400 or H4227 work pretty good.

November 9, 2008, 12:41 AM
what kind of accuracy has anyone gotten with trailboss? unique is looking great but i have a lb of tb an tightgroupe, and im discrediting all previous accuracy i thought i had due to horrible leading and lack of lube lol

November 9, 2008, 01:03 AM
1858rem, in theory Trail Boss should have good accuracy since the powder fills most, if not all, of the case resulting in consistent powder distribution during ignition. This isn't the case for many of the other powders out there if low (< 800 fps) velocities are the objective. I got good accuracy with a Marlin 1894 in .45 Colt shooting 200 grain LRNFP bullets from Oregon Trail with a "middle of the range" load. The barrel on that particular Marlin was replaced at the factory due to a manufacturing defect and I upgraded the sights so I'm hoping to get even better results next time. I should add that many folks use Trail Boss for CAS type events where "accurate enough" may be the norm. Somehow I doubt that Trail Boss is used for hunting or other more serious pursuits since the velocities are in the 600 - 800 fps range. I'd expect to see H-110, W296 or similar in .45 Colt loads intended for personal protection or hunting.

By the way, I think you have 9oz of Trail Boss rather than 1lb. :D


November 9, 2008, 08:51 AM
oh yah, thats right:D ill give it another shot now i got my leading problem figured lol

November 9, 2008, 03:05 PM
5.8 grains of Trail Boss under a 255 grain RNFP at 20 yards (4 shots)
Old pic, not my worst but not my best either

November 9, 2008, 03:51 PM
6.2 grains has been a good fun load. I wanted to try something new so i loaded up some sr 4759 for fun but then my ms started acting up and can't quite control my hands so if anyone else has tried this I would like to hear your results

November 9, 2008, 08:00 PM
tomh1426... what length barrel/twist is that? i have a converted 1858 remington w/~1:30 and 8" barrel

November 9, 2008, 11:32 PM
It has a 7-1/2" barrel and I "think" Its a 1:16" RH

November 11, 2008, 06:25 AM
I currently am running 700X in a Win 1894 and Green Dot for a Vaquero. Mainly because I got an awsome deal on about 40 lbs of it at an estate sale. Unique at 9 grains will duplicate factory velocity with a 250 grain lead FP according to Lymans cast bullet handbook.

700X,Green,red and Blue Dot, Unique(these are the only ones i know for sure) are a large flake powder that does not meter real accurately. Ball powders such as W231, W296, H110 and Bullseye meter exceptionally well but do tend to require larger charges for same velocity. The flake powders meter ok at charges higher than 5-6 grains.

Also, if you want to shoot cowboy action, clubs like to keep velocities below 700 fps when shooting steel and for cowboy action.(around here, anyway)

November 11, 2008, 09:19 AM
255 gr. LSWC over 7.0 Promo 891 FPS avg from a S&W 25 KO=14

November 13, 2008, 02:08 AM
Unique has almost half the votes. I'm still wondering if that's because the reloaders using Unique are doing so because they have been using it so long they do so out of habit. (and because they like the results) Some of the newer powders may yield better results than Unique, that's what I'm trying to find out.

November 17, 2008, 01:11 AM
I shot my Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt for the first time today. I bought it a few months ago but hadn't had a chance to shoot it. Anyway, I shot loads using Trail Boss, W231 and H110. I won't be wasting any Trail Boss in that revolver in the future since the other two powders are way more fun to shoot and I found 6.0 grains of TB pushing a 200 grain LRNFP bullet to be way too anemic. The W231 loads (200 grain LRNFP with min/max powder listed in Speer #11 manual) were just about perfect to shoot. Not too much recoil, a nice snap actually, and accurate. The H110 loads were also great to shoot so I plan on doing some accuracy tests over the next few months with W231 and H110.


November 17, 2008, 02:03 AM
Thanks for the range report. The 2 powders I wanted to use are W231 and HS-6. I'm still thinking they will be the best choices even though Unique has so many votes. I can't shake the feeling there are so many votes for Unique because it's an old powder and was used a lot for the .45 Colt in the past.

Unfortunately there is so much going on at home I haven't gotten the chance to load up any .45 Colt rounds yet. I really have to get that done before the really bad weather moves in and shuts everything down for the Winter. I've found that HS-6 works very well with medium heavy loads using lead bullets in the .38 Special, .357 Magnum and .45 Auto. I hope is does as well in the .45 Colt.

November 17, 2008, 02:59 PM
got some good harder and well lubed up bullets made and ontop of a charge of 5.5grains trailboss i got a 3" wide and 4 1/8" tall group at 30 yds! titegroup hits a LOT harder but made a group roughly 5" by 5".... still, at 30 yds using fixed open sights... not too shabby i think, im gonna try an post a pic:neener:(if i figure out how:banghead:)http://i390.photobucket.com/albums/oo345/1858rem/100_0493.jpg

i did it!!!

December 12, 2008, 02:44 PM
1858rem, I think that's OUTSTANDING and well done on posting photos!! Are you going to do anything with the sites to move the point of impact? Is it just me or is there something special about .45 Colt holes ...


December 12, 2008, 02:48 PM
check out my new thread on the bp fourm about my accurizer stick, it helps me shoot much better, im working on my hold to try and change group position, and size if i can help it too! using a 255g rnfp and 7.7g universal i hit a coffee can first try, pretty well center, at nearly 50 yards so i ought to do some benched shooting with that load soon too

gotta love the 45 colt, especially peoples faces when you show them the cartridge, much less the whole gun lol

Dean Williams
December 13, 2008, 02:55 PM
No 700X or Bullseye on the poll, but they both perform well in my Blackhawk too. I have to say that Unique is the best powder in my gun for pushing 250 gr lead, though. It's the one I voted for, and I'll bet it's the most popular because it really does perform best for this type of load in a majority of guns.

For a 250 cast bullet out of a Lee mold, the most accurate load in my gun is 8.7 grs Unique, which shoots sub 2" 25 yard groups all day long.

FWIW, the most accurate load of any type in this same gun is a Lee 200 tumble lube bullet over 8.1 grs Unique. Shoots -1.5 groups at 25 yd with regularity, and it's a very pleasant load to shoot.

Besides Unique, 700X, and Bullseye, I also use 4756, H-110 and IMR4227. The last two only seem to work well when pushing 260-300 gr bullets at levels that are over the save margin for regular Colt type guns, though.

December 13, 2008, 07:49 PM
Yep.... Unique is one of those powders that I never seem to run out of, since it really does still cover a LOT of territory in my handgun loading. Trail Boss is kinda nice in the bigger cartridges, of which 45 Colt, on my bench, is the one with most capacity.

I'm happy with all that Unique will do for me, but I started to use Trail Boss a couple years ago just to give it a try, and if it does nothing else, it will prevent you from double charging just about anything.:p I was hoping that it would produce more smoke, just for fun, like black powder, but oh, no, the stuff burns clean - not much smoke, not much crud. I did find out by experimenting that it seems to do well from 38 Special, .44 Special, .45 Colt, and since I load each, it's on my bench, too.

If I had to pick between the two, sign me up for Unique.

December 14, 2008, 03:17 AM
Originally Posted By 1858rem
gotta love the 45 colt, especially peoples faces when you show them the cartridge, much less the whole gun lol
That's a fact for sure. Anyone who has never seen a .45 Colt round before seems to drop their jaw when they do. Most newer or younger shooters shoot a lot of 9mm so seeing something as large as a .45 Colt round, especially when compared to a 9mm seems to impress them.. lol

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