Cowboy Ammunition


November 14, 2010, 07:19 PM
not sure where to put this specifically.

Since cowboy ammunition hit store shelves, people tell me that that is the "safe" stuff to use in a SAA. for example the 45 colt seems to top out at 800 fps with a 250 grain bullet in most cas loads, and well it is decent for plinking and target fun, it is not what the original loads were.

Ive seen modern documentation that the original 7.5inch barrel with oriignal ammo in balloon cases and bp, can easily break 1000fps. big difference in performance there.

Ive been seeing some people believe that any load other then 200-255 grains is complete for rugers only. i mean the 180 grain bullet at 1100fps at standard pressure, orthe standard pressure 260-300 grain loads.

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November 14, 2010, 09:22 PM
Ws there a question in there somewhere?

Any newly manufactured .45Colt can be safely operated with SAAMI-spec ammunition. Cowboy ammo is below that for cowboy action shooting, due to the velocity restrictions. I've also seen lots of folks say that SAA's are only safe for cowboy ammo and it simply is not true, but is typical.

Modern Colt, USFA and Ruger New Vaquero .45's can be run a little hotter, to the neighborhood of 21,000psi. You're just not gonna find that data in a reloading manual and the safety police will be along shortly to slap my wrists.

November 14, 2010, 10:45 PM
I bought a box of the 38 special Cowboy loads from Winchester before I had even heard of CAS to use with my brother's newly purchased Ruger Blackhawk because they were the cheapest 38sps at Bass Pro Shop that day.

I got a S&W 642 a bit later and had some of the Cowboys left. I can tell you that those kick harder in my 642 than the Remington 125gr 38sp +P SMJHPs that I got for SD. Shot side-by-side. For what it's worth.

November 15, 2010, 12:02 PM
The Colt Peacemaker can easily handle 250/255 grain bullets at 900 feet per second all day long.
It can run faster, up to around 1000 fps with the same bullet weight, but when you get up around those levels you can begin to chew up base pins & wear latches. You'll also probably shorten cylinder bushing life spans.
If you drop bullet weights down, you can maintain the higher speeds with less stress on the gun. If you raise bullet weights, you'd better drop velocities.

The Peacemaker is not fragile, but taking it beyond its design parameters is not a good idea over the long run.

I've found the CAS loads generally run below 800 fps.
They're light for plinking, but I don't consider them working loads.


November 15, 2010, 12:07 PM

Bullet weight has nothing to do with pressure.
Well, it does, but you can't say just because a Cowboy load has a 250 grain bullet, it is unsafe in any gun.

Cowboy loads are lower pressure then standard .45 Colt loads, and are safe in anything.
Most don't even reach 750 FPS.
I even had one bounch off a railroad tie backstop and knock the heel of my boot once!!

That would not have happened with a "real" .45 Colt SAA load.


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