Deer hunting with 45 Long Colt Question.


October 10, 2009, 11:19 PM
This will be my sons first hunting trip where he gets to shoot (he's 15). I was thinking of letting him take the weatherby 300, while I take the yellowboy 45 long colt for shots up to 100 yards. I load 230 grain bullets with 8.5 grains of HP-38 powder. My question is: Will this load be enough to take down a deer at 100 yards?

I have read how some hunters have used the 45 long colt for deer, but I was at the range today, zeroing mine and just can't get past the fact that it didn't kick much and there isn't much powder in the casing either. I'm starting to think the 45 colt will not work for deer. Anyone have experience in this area?

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October 11, 2009, 12:09 AM
Generally, a rifle load will have more velocity than the same load fired from a handgun. But pistol bullets are so light that at 100 yards, they have slowed down to about what you'd get out the muzzle of a handgun.

So what weight and velocity do you think would work for deer out of a handgun (and how big are your deer)? I think a 45 ACP load is marginal for deer (230gr, 850 fps). A 250gr load going a bit faster (900 to 1000 fps or so) should be enough. So I'd consider upping bullet weight to a 250gr, and going for a standard pressure MAX load with a powder like Blue Dot.

Your load of 8.5gr of HP-38 is off the chart for a 230gr bullet in 45 Colt. The gun can probably take it, but I think the velocity will be rather high at the muzzle (so a short range shot would have excessive expansion and not enough penetration). At long range, it is tough to say what the impact velocity will be and if it is in the range you want for that bullet (800 to 900 fps). Heavier bullets help this -- they start slower, lose velocity slower, and penetrate more consistently, so your window of effectiveness -vs- range gets larger.

October 11, 2009, 01:01 AM
I have 230 grain TC bullets that I cast. I am using wheel weights and dropping them in cold water. They come out hard and will only slightly scratch with the finger nail.

I haven't seen any loads for 45 long colt rifle. I'll have to get some 250 grain and try them out.

I got the 8.5 load from

October 11, 2009, 08:53 AM
might try They used to have a bunch of different loads for rifles.

October 11, 2009, 08:54 AM
Your 45 Colt load is over maximum as stated in previous posts and that WILL stress a lever action rifle. Why don't you switch to a quality 250/255gr bullet with a healthy dose of Unique or Blue Dot following loads in a trusted reloading manual. You will then have developed a better hunting load with more velocity and energy from your 45 Colt Henry rifle.

October 11, 2009, 10:05 AM

I take the yellowboy 45 long colt for shots up to 100 yards. I load 230 grain bullets with 8.5 grains of HP-38 powder. My question is: Will this load be enough to take down a deer at 100 yards?

if your yellow boy is a mod. 66 the toggle link action is weak and these loads should NOT be used.

Uncle Chan
October 11, 2009, 11:42 AM
I shoot a 250 grn RNFP over a bunch of Titegroup (6.3gr) in my Winchester 92 for deer hunting. It's always been more than enough. Has a muzzle velocity of about 1000fps.

October 11, 2009, 12:03 PM
I agree that you would be better off with a 250 grain bullet.

And I would also suggest that you would be better off with a Keith style SWC rather then a TC or RNFP.

The SWC will cut a full caliber hole in one side and out the other, and make for very fast blood loss compared to the other bullet styles.

8.5 grains Unique with that bullet is a factory equlivlent load to the old-time black powder load that made the .45 Colt's reputation as a man & horse killer.

It would be a safe load to use in your toggle-link action.


October 11, 2009, 12:05 PM
While I have not taken any deer with the .45 lc. I have taken numerous deer with a .357 mag, .44 mag, and .41 mag. I was disapointed in the performance of the .357 shot taken at around 40 yards. Got shot but required two follow ups to finish the job. The .41 and .44 have performed great out to 75 yards or so. I have not attempted a shot beyond that range. A .45 lc has plenty of umph to do the job but I would limit your shots to maybe 60 or less. Shooting a long range with a handgun requires a enormous amout of pratice. I can't shoot that far without the aid of steady sticks or some type of improvised rest. Handgun sights are really not designed for long range shooting either. You have very little sight radius compared to a rifle and the front site is 5X bigger than the front sight of a rifle. Either scope the gun and use a rest or limit your shots well inside that 100 yard mark.

October 11, 2009, 12:22 PM
He's got a .45 Colt Yellowboy rifle.


October 11, 2009, 12:55 PM
so thats a henry made rifle???.

October 11, 2009, 01:00 PM
Probably a Uberti.

Henry makes a Goldenboy, but I don't believe they make a Yellowboy.


October 11, 2009, 02:05 PM
thats what I was thinking so I will go back and say you have to watch the loads for the old toggle link type winchester clones.

that said I push my cast 250 gr lfn with 2400 in my win 94 trapper.


October 11, 2009, 02:52 PM
IMHO, HP38 (or W231) is just too fast for this application. So here's a suggestion from out of left field (where I seem to exist most of the time)...

First, I assumed a Missouri Bullet 250gr LRNP bullet (COL = 1.580") to enhance feeding in a 20" lever action (some lever actions won't feed Keith-style bullets very reliably). Then doing "what ifs" with QuickLOAD, I found the "best powder" (subjective to be sure) to be VihtaVuori N105. It gave me a load that was beneath SAAMI's 14,000 psi limit, but gave 1363 fps at the muzzle (1031 ft-lbs). Assuming a B.C. of .165 for this bullet, QuickTARGET computed a velocity of 1103 fps at 100 yds (675 ft-lbs). Zero the load for 50 yds, and the bullet will have dropped another 4 inches at the 100 yd mark. Alliant 2400, AA #7 and #9, VV N110, and Ramshot Enforcer were also acceptable choices, but N105 burned more completely while usually giving better velocity.

I was surprised to see that the VihtaVuori 2009 reloading manual has data for N105 in the .45 Colt. The manual recommends a maximum of 15.0gr of N105 with the Hornady 250gr HP/XTP bullet. So dropping the load a couple of grains (to 13.0gr) for a starting load would probably work fine. The QuickLOAD computed maximum for N105 in this application was 13.8gr, but remember that QuickLOAD isn't the gospel. Start low, work up slowly, and I strongly suggest using a chronograph to see where you are on the velocity/pressure spectrum.

Will it work as planned? The only way to know is to load some up and test it. Computer simulations are one thing, real world results are often another...

October 11, 2009, 07:08 PM
This is my Yellowboy with the 24 inch barrel:

Sounds like the link I posted showing where I get the load data from is incorrect??!! I'll stop using it, I did see Hodgoden data was quite a bit lower, but thought I was dealing with already try'd data. It did fire ok and seemed just a little week, but I only shoot this rifle for Cowboy competition shooting and light loads.

October 11, 2009, 08:25 PM
Sorry about the above post I did not know what a yellow boy was.:( I figured it was some sort of handgun.

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