Brass life in .45 Colt +P


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Peakbagger46
March 9, 2009, 04:39 AM
I am seriously thinking about getting a Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt, but was wondering how many loads one can get out of .45 brass when using the Ruger only handloads. Anyone have any experience with this gun and high pressure loads?

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Dean Williams
March 9, 2009, 03:55 PM
This is one of those "It depends" question/answer things. I have a Blackhawk in 45 Colt, and I've shot it a lot.

Many of the loads you see in the manuals for "Ruger only" are just barely above the high end of standard loads, and my brass lasts about 10 times through the sizer if I keep the loads in that range.

If you will keep your loads to mid range type plinking rounds, say a 200 LSWC at around 800 FPS, the brass lasts a long time. Maybe 20 loads if you are careful not to over crimp. The case mouth seems to go first.

If you're going to really hot rod it, like 260-300 gr jacketed bullets in the 1150 FPS range, case life drops to 4-5 reloads and then the neck will split badly. You have to put a hard crimp in these loads, and the neck is kind of thin on 45 Colt brass. It takes it's toll.

You'll probably find yourself shooting more of the mid range to medium-hot loads than the barn burners, simply because the gun will beat you up a bit with the fast 300 grain loads. It's not a plinking round, for sure. Besides, the old Colt in it's original loading is no slouch, and very comfortable in the Blackhawk frame.

schmeky
March 9, 2009, 05:11 PM
I pretty much concur with Dean's comments. I hot-rodded a Ruger .45 Blackhawk for about 15 years (still have it, still shoots fantastic). At the max end of the "Ruger Only" spectrum, about 5 loadings per case is all I would go, then I would relegate these cases to plinker status.

You can get more mileage if you are willing to anneal the cases. I have gone 50+ loadings on a batch of cases using mild to mid-range loads by annealing the cases every 12-15 loadings. Consequently, if you annealled the hot-rodded cases every 5 loadings, you could get much more service life out of them.

Shoney
March 9, 2009, 07:29 PM
There IS NO 45 Colt +P designation by SAAMI
There are only 4 SAAMI designations of +P and NO +P+ exist

Cartridge and Maximum Average Pressure (PSI)

9mm Luger 35,000
9mm Luger +P 38,500

38 Special 17,000
38 Special +P 18,500

38 Super Auto +P 36,500

45 Auto 21,000
45 Auto +P 23,000

Dean Williams
March 9, 2009, 07:52 PM
There IS NO 45 Colt +P designation by SAAMI

No one mentioned SAAMI. The OP made it clear he wanted to talk about heavy 45 Colt loads for the Ruger Blackhawk, which are published in many reloading manuals.

1858rem
March 9, 2009, 10:57 PM
i recently blew up my 45 colt and have no idea how it happened yet:confused::banghead:, so im looking for a strong ruger frame, blackhawk is SA and redhawk is DA right? can the redhawks take a beating like the blackhawks? im not looking to load a 255 more than 1000fps but would like the assurance it can safely handle more than that

1858rem
March 9, 2009, 11:04 PM
im not looking to load a 255 more than 1000fps but would like the assurance it can safely handle more than that


but it will probably be ventured into the upper range in the future anyhow lol

Clark
March 10, 2009, 03:01 PM
I have been shooting 250 gr at 1220 fps from my Uberti 45C Cattleman.

The brass life does not depend on the load pressure as much as the difference between the size of the chamber, the size of the sizing die, and depth of the crimp.

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