.455 Eley/Colt loads


April 9, 2010, 05:48 PM
I've already asked this on the revolver side, but will try here too. I have an old Colt New Service from 1914. It's chambered in .455 Eley. I have some original ammo head-stamped .455 Colt, made by Dominion. I have not, as of now, shot any of it. I have fired Hornady and Fiocci .455 Webly in it, the Hornady is more accurate and feels/sounds more potent. I like it, but it's pricey. I have been loading ammo into .455 colt cases from Buffalo Arms using .455 data for the Webley. For 265 gr bullets, 3.5-4.0 grs. of bullseye and for 250 grs bullets 5.0-6.0 grs of Unique. My chrony shows 860 fps with the 6.0 grains of Unique, the old data shows 710 fps. Does anyone else load for this old beast? I'd really like to know what you use in yours.

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Jesse Heywood
April 9, 2010, 07:15 PM
I fired my first loads last week. Shooting in a S&W 25 chambered for 45 Colt. Got my data from Waters Pet Loads.

250 gr. bullets. 5.4 gr. Unique and it seemed like I could have watched the bullet. Recoil was like a 22. I only got 9 of 10 on the paper, and the 9 were everywhere. 5.5 gr. 800-X, I only had 4 cases. Recoil was mild, and the 4 rounds made a 4" group.

April 9, 2010, 08:16 PM
So far, I've been using the 6.0 of Unique or 4.0 of Bullseye. They are fairly stout, or so my chronograph says. This is in .455 Colt/ Eley cases. They are roughly equal to .45 ACP loads. Because the gun was offered in .45 ACP at the same time, I suppose I should just accept that these loads are not as tough on the gun as I may have thought.

April 11, 2010, 04:59 AM
Hi floridaboy,

For a New Service chambered in .455 Eley, I see no reason why you could not simply refer to and use .45 Long Colt Loadings, if avoiding those which are 'Ruger Only', of course.

.455 Eley, used a .454 Bullet.

.45 Long Colt...generally uses or used a 454 Bullet...

The only difference between .455 Eley and .45 Long Colt, for present purposes, is Cartridge Case Length and thus Cartridge Case Capacity.

And in Smokeless propellents, the Case Capacity being less, should not be an issue unless using very bulky Powders.

If this were a Webley Revolver, it would be a different story, oweing to the Webley being at the limits of it's durable strength with standard .455 Loadings.

The Colt 'New Service' is a much stronger design, normally chambered in .45 Long Colt, and, of course, available in it's day, in other less powerful Cartridges, and even .357 Magnum ( being about equal in power or stress for the Revolver to the .45 LC ) toward the end.

Bullesye, while an old and venerated Powder, always seemed a little 'sudden' to me, especially for any long Barrels or large Calibers.

I am not up on what Powders would be good to investigate for .45 LC, but, I would say in general terms, consider the Powder candidates according to your Barrel Length, and, the Bullet weight you intend...and, of course, stay with Pure Lead for this, or, at most, a very soft Alloy.

If for Plinking and Target fun, 'Trailboss' may be worth considering.

"777" may be a good one also, for plinking or Target.

I do not know what the best Powder candidates may be for Hunting or Self Defence use...being then of course, calculated to be of full power for this Arm.

I hope to be learning more about Powder Candidates for .45 LC since I am intending to be loading for it soon myself, for my New Service, and, for a repro Colt 'Bisley' Long Barrel.

Post a picture of your Colt..!

Jim Watson
April 11, 2010, 10:09 AM
I sure would not put a .45 Colt load up in .455 brass, even for a stout gun like the New Service. The lesser powder space will raise chamber pressures.

Maybe Jesse would send you a copy of Ken Waters' load chart for the calibre.

Jesse Heywood
April 11, 2010, 10:42 AM
The case capacity of the 45 Colt is about 1.5 times the 455 Eley. 45 Autorim is very close. The cases I'm using are cut-down 45 Colt blanks. Will try to get the loads on later today.

April 11, 2010, 01:20 PM
Hi Jim Watson,

And...this matters how exactly?

How are pressures supposed to be more for one having a little less airspace?

And, if in fact they are, would one not then merely use a little less Powder to acheive the FPS or Power one was after? Or???

When I look at older loading manuals for 9mm and for .38 ACP, they show virtually the same loadings with same powders for same Bullets.

While these Cartridge Cases, as you may know, are about as disparate in capacity/length, as are the 45 LC and .455 Eley to eachother.

It is not as if loadings for .45 Long Colt are that much larger than those for .455 Eley.

No where that I can recall is one admonished to NOT seat a Wadcutter 'flush' when using a standard-full-power Loading for .38 Special, which, of course, reduces the airspace a great deal over that of a RNL Bullet seated "out".


So, just why would this matter in this case?

Loading full power Double-Ball Ammunition, the bottom Ball is way inside the Cartridge Case, and, no one ever was worried about it.

If I am mistaken, and mis-spoke, I need understand how this is determined, to know just how this is suddenly, oddly so for this application, while no one cares in so many other Handgun Cartridge applications?

I am not understanding how small differences in airspace would be a problem now, when, obviously, it is not a problem all the rest of the time.

April 11, 2010, 02:06 PM
I have not checked the case capacities of .45 or .455 cases. For general purposes, I use 8.7 grs of Unique in my .45 (Blackhawk). It's a mild load, 850-900 fps. I've been using 6.0 of Unique in the .455, for about 800-850 fps from it's 5.5" barrel. The original ammo that I have was made by Dominion. The box claims 775 fps, this with a 265 gr slug. My main concern is that it's a 96 year old revolver, and I want it to be around for another 96 years. So I don not want to stress it at all. That being said, Colt's 1917 model was chambered in .45 acp. The cases are very close to the same length. If I had 230 gr bullets, I'd likely use the acp data. I would appreciate the Ken Waters data, it's always good to have a second, or third, source of information.

April 11, 2010, 05:08 PM
Hi floridaboy,

It is the same condition as the S&W 'Military & Police' ( "K-Frame" ) Revolvers which were chambered in .38 S&W for the purchase by the UK, where, normally, they were chambered in .38 Special.

...and worrying about how an up-to equivelent .38 Special Loading done in .38 S&W Cartridge Cases would somehow harm the Revolver or blow it to pieces.

All Colt New Service Revolvers were essentially .45 Long Colt Revolvers, even if some were offered or ordered in lesser power Cartridge chamberings.

.455 Eley loading data will always be in deference to the weakest of the more than Century old not-strong 'Webley' Break-Tops or other Black Powder era English Pistols, and not to the vastly stronger S&W Hand Ejectors or Colt New Service Revolvers.

P.S. added in edit -

I guess I misunderstood your question and interest.

What is it you that want to do?

April 11, 2010, 05:10 PM
Oyeboten: the volume of the case is a major factor in the pressure, look in a manual and compare .45acp and .45 colt loads using the same projectile, you'll see the .45 colt uses much more powder. Also check out this image, I can't remember the source but it is a good illustration:


Jim Watson
April 11, 2010, 05:57 PM
When I look at older loading manuals for 9mm and for .38 ACP, they show virtually the same loadings with same powders for same Bullets.

Interesting comparison. Put the same powder charge as for a 9mm P at 35,000 psi in a .38 ACP and the larger volume of case for early gas expansion will generate maybe 24,000, suitable for the old "parallel ruler" guns. Do you see any loads the same for the shorter 9mm P as for .38 Super which operates at the same pressure in a bigger case? I didn't think so.

April 11, 2010, 08:04 PM
hi Jim,

The illustration you show is for Bullseye, a Powder I had already mentioned as being too 'sudden' for my taste in large Bore Cartridge Revolvers.

Not all Powders are sensitive to differences in Airspace to the same degree...and, some are best with no airspace at all ( '777' for example, which I recommended three times now to the OP with no interest from them).

I had said elect a Powder suited to the Bullet Weight and Barrel Length.

I dunno...

There are many examples of longer-deeper Bullets and seating deeply of normal Bullets, over Powders which are not Bullseye, as seen in SD loads which use 158 grn flat base flat face Wadcutters in .38 Special....and, as seen in the 38-200 Cartridge, relative to it's usual counterpart.

Right Powder would be important...and Bullseye is not the right Powder for this.

I do not have my old Manuals handy presently to re-compare....nor do I recall what Powders they were calling for.

April 11, 2010, 10:01 PM
We are confusing two different things here.

For all intents and purposes, .45 ACP was the Smokeless propellent Ballistic successor to the Black Powder .44 Russian Cartridge performance, and in standard Loadings remains on par with it to this day.

It was never comparable to .45 Long Colt.

M1911 derived Pistols designed for .45 ACP never were offered in .45 Long Colt Chamberings...even if erstwhile .44 Special or .45 Long Colt Revolvers were offered in .45 ACP.

.45 ACP was never a Black Powder Cartridge, hence it has far less room for Powder compared to .45 Long Colt.

Anyway, apparently the .455 Eley Cartridge Case is indeed absurdly short, much shorter than I was imagining.

I had supposed it to be about as a .44 Russian Case.

So, yeah...in this case ( no pun intended) maybe there is just not a whole lot to play with room wise.


How do we understand flat face flat base 158 grn Wadcutters loaded to full depth, and, full power, for SD use, in .38 Special, if reducing Air space for a given powder charge and Bullet weight is such a no-no?

Jesse Heywood
April 11, 2010, 10:05 PM
263 grain Ohaus 45-255K

powder chg vel oal expansion accuracy
Bullseye 4.5 600 1.3 normal A+
Bullseye 5.0 684 1.3 max A
Unique 6.0 694 1.3 near max B
Unique 6.5 694 1.3 max A

250 gr Remington LRN

Bullseye 4.0 622 1.3 normal C
Bullseye 5.0 673 1.3 max A
Unique 5.5 622 1.3 moderate A
Unique 6.0 664 1.3 normal A
Unique 6.5 732 1.3 max B

Waters tested 10 bullets and 9 powders for the Eley. His book Pet Loads The Complete Volume is available from Amazon for under $40 shipped. They show 4 left in stock.

April 12, 2010, 04:25 PM
What I'd really like to accomplish is to more or less duplicate the Dominion factory load, while using 255 gr swc's. The factory boxes clearly state that is doing 775 fps, but with a 265 gr projectile. The original type bullet is available, but cost about 50 cents each. I suspect the reason Jesse's isn't very accurate is because he is shooting them in a .45 Colt revolver. This makes for quite a jump from the case to the forcing cone. Mine is more accurate than I am, due to the rather narrow sighting groove in the topstrap. I get around 2-3 inches at 25 yards, which is plenty for my uses.

Jesse Heywood
April 12, 2010, 08:50 PM
Waters lists the 265 gr. Dominion as 718 fps & 664 fps (two different lots). Colt New Service, 5.5" barrel.

He lists one load to duplicate the Dominion, using the 263 gr. Ohaus.
700-X, 4.7 gr., 689 fps.
For a max load with 700-X 5.0 gr., 736 fps.

The poor accuracy of my loads I attribute to the jump required and the low velocity. As this is an experiment with several unknowns, the charges were very light. I reworked some more cases, and have loaded some heavier charges. Don't know when I will get to the range.

April 12, 2010, 09:16 PM
Thanks Jim Watson, fiscus,

...and my Apologies to all, as I had been naive on the Powder to Air Space consideration.

I am looking into this, and finding you are correct, and my idea of applying .45 Long Colt loadings for .45 Eley ( or portions there of anyway, ) would indeed be a bad idea and could occasion overpressures.

I did not know this...now I do...:eek:

Please pardon me all for my mis-step there.

And I am glad the High Road has people of better knowledge than I to keep a friendly Eye on things!


Upping the Loadings of .455 Eley of course could be done and done properly, but, propellent characteristics, Air Space beneath Bullet base, and their relation, need to be taken into account for working up a Load properly and safely.

Oye...everything just got a lot more complicated!!


Best wishes..!

Jesse Heywood
April 12, 2010, 11:49 PM
Another kaboom avoided! ;)

April 13, 2010, 01:21 AM
Not necessarily...

But given that it is not-so-simple...it is not so simple either way.

I totally doubt upping a .455 Eley charge a little bit for a New Service Revolver would occasion a 'kaboom' unless done to some outrageous heights of excess.

Right Powder, right density for the Powder, everything would be fine.

Meanwhile, merely asking indifferently for loadings to be shared without any idea of their pressures, alarmed no one.

Go figure...


April 14, 2010, 09:54 AM
There seems to be a history of auto loaders such as 40 S&W that when a bullet is pushed back into the case by improper feeding, this especially so with top end loads, then excess pressure signs are seen even to the point of case rupture. I beleive experimentation is in order if we can find donor guns to use the same bullets and same powder charge one in 45 colt and the other in 455 or 45acp---- just kidding! Its also frequently observed that in rifles with shorter than ideal action length can reduce useable pressure and velocity due to very deeply seated bullets(heavy for caliber), and some folks will use alonger action to seat the bullets out further-sometimes gaing a useful increase in vekocity. That being said, I wish someone made a medium rifle action for the WSM'z. One of the differences of the 38 example with wadcutters is the use of a lead wadcutter seated flush gives potentially lower pressure than a jacketed bullet seated at normal or long COL. Soft lead bullets just are easier to push. Sorry to be the rogn come lately.

April 14, 2010, 03:27 PM
The .455 Eley Case, once the Bullet is seated, has so little room in it, I assumed a bulky slowish Powder ( and if memory serve, was suggesting such from the onset) would fill the Case anyway having about no Air Space, where, adding a little more Powder, holding the Bullet 'out' a little further ( no issue there, given the New Service Cylinder is of a length to hold .45 Long Colt with length to spare) lt'd work fine.

I dunno...

Who cares...


April 14, 2010, 03:44 PM

If you dunno....
Don't care......

Why in the world are you posting reloading advice?

April 14, 2010, 04:35 PM
Hi rswartsell,

I thought it was a converation among two novices who were both interested in New Service...and intending to learn to load/re-load for the Arm, and, discussing such. The thread began elsewhere, and I suggested the OP move the topic "Here" instead of it remaining in the Revolver section.

I never gave any reloading 'advice', and never framed any of my wonderings or interest in learning or speculating as being advice.

The 'I dunno' part is about the dud-energy and went no-where, which this thread seemed to have going for itself.

Could have been an interesting subject worthy of a little more constructive input and contribution...in my opinion.

Oh well.

Thanks for your concern.

April 15, 2010, 04:34 PM
I thought that since .455 Eley/Colt is no longer produced, there ought to be quite a few folks loading for it. I mean, the factory Webley stuff is pricey. Apparently I was wrong. I do appreciate the info received. The reason that I haven't tried T7 is that I doubt it will out perform smokeless, and is fairly expensive. I do use it in my .50 cal rifle and in my 1860, with good results. Hell, I can actually squeeze 40 grs of 3f 777 (weighed)in the 1860, with a ball. I'm not sure what sort of velocity this produces, but it's not paticuarly accurate in my gun.

April 15, 2010, 06:55 PM
Hi bfloridaboy,

It has not been clear whether you were after max performance or plinking rounds...or both.

'777' being a propellent which uses no air space, and no compression, is immediately an easy and safe one and pretty hard to goof up, far as plinking rounds or possibly even quite decent performance rounds.

I do not know the case capacity of the .455 Eley Cartridge, nor, how far 'out' a given Bullet may be held and crimped to allow the most one could get with the Cartridge...but, those would be factors, of course, if wishing for the most out of it.

Air space below Bullet in relation to Powder Volume - as I definitely, or we even however so, have now found out - is not to be neglected for those Powders where it can be important.

Full House '777' should equal the original performance anyway, far as I would expect...if not bettering it, as far as this having originally been a BP Cartridge of relatively small Powder Capacity.

I have an old Webley 'British Bull Dog' in .450 Adams, but I have not chrono'd any of the old 'Fiochi' Ammunition I used to shoot in it...though at some point I will re-load the empty Brass I saved from years ago, with BP, and with 777, and chrono those.

The .450 Adams is a little shorter even than your .455 Eley.


April 15, 2010, 11:14 PM
From the 'Lyman 41st' ( 1957 )

http://inlinethumb11.webshots.com/43914/2094481980067835264S600x600Q85.jpg (http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2094481980067835264juhMMm)


http://inlinethumb56.webshots.com/45815/2400539630067835264S600x600Q85.jpg (http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2400539630067835264blpnqh)

Jesse Heywood
April 15, 2010, 11:38 PM
My foray into the Eley started when a friend gave me a box of empty blank cases. I found that the 45 colt blank case could be made into the 455 Eley, which could be shot in a 45 colt revolver. Being one to never back down from a challenge, I am giving them a try. Gives me something that keeps me off the streets at night.

April 16, 2010, 01:21 AM
I can try and do a better close image, if the one posted is not easy to read for anyone's Monitor resolution.

I have a few other older Re-Loading Manuals I will be digging out soon, and can check them also.

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