Winchester .45 Colt


March 17, 2011, 07:42 PM
In a trade, I received a box of Winchester Cowboy .45 Colt ammo,

Several of the cartridges have significant bullet setback. My calipers' battery died so I can't measure precisely, but I would say the worst have about 1/2 of the nose of the bullet below the mouth of the brass; others aren't as bad.

Would you feel comfortable shooting these out of either a Puma '92 or a S&W 25-5?


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March 17, 2011, 08:00 PM
You mean like pushed down so low that the rim of the brass does not contact the lead?

No, I would not shoot those ... I'd take 'em back where I got 'em. I would think you could get a significant pressure spike from having the bullet seated way too deep.

March 17, 2011, 10:11 PM
Your Puma 92 will handle "Ruger Only" loads, and the Cowboy ammo is loaded fairly light, so I wouldn't imagine that you are going to see enough pressure change to be a bother in that gun. The S&W? Probably not going to be a problem, but why test it when you have a carbine?

Shoot them in the 92 and reload the brass.

March 17, 2011, 11:51 PM
If you have a kinetic puller, you could give them a couple good smacks and see if the bullets set out a little further. Or, knock them all the way out and re-seat.

March 18, 2011, 12:10 AM
Yes, pushed down so low that there is space between the lip of the brass and the bullet's ogive.

I got this in trade with a rifle so I can't very well take it back. There's only two or three that are seated this deeply; there are a few that are seated a little bit deeper. Most are OK. It's almost like the box was dropped, but there is no box damage.

No bullet puller. Gotta get one, one of these days.


Owen Sparks
March 18, 2011, 12:32 AM
Are you sure that these are factory loads and not reloads that somebody put in a factory box?

March 18, 2011, 03:25 AM
I would not shoot them, not even in YOUR gun.

Red Cent
March 18, 2011, 01:52 PM
A lot of shooters, especially cowboy, use the 165s and the 160s. They look as you described. The problem that I have is that you are saying some are and some are not. 'Course, could have been an inexperienced reloader.

March 18, 2011, 04:10 PM
Here are a couple pics of what I have.



I hope you can see how short the one on the right is compared to the third from right. These are supposed to be factory cartridges.

The left cartridge is what I made using a Missouri Bullet Cowboy #1. Both the factory and MB cartridge is with a 250gr bullet.

Mal H
March 18, 2011, 04:18 PM
Are you sure those are factory loads?

'Course, could have been an inexperienced reloader.Personally, I think that's the crux of the matter. What else might be wrong with them if the reloader doesn't know how to make a good roll crimp? Double charge of Bullseye? That could be fun - once.

If you are positive they are factory Winchester loads, then it would probably be safe to fire them since cowboy loads are light loads. If it was in 9mm or even .45 ACP, I would fire them. But the high capacity case of the .45 Colt is more forgiving of setback problems far more than higher pressure, lower capacity cases.

Sometimes the primer (any sealant?) is an indicator of factory loads vs reloads, but it's not a definite indicator. And at least you know the crimp isn't going to be too tight and lead to higher pressures.

March 18, 2011, 04:21 PM
I would do as someone has suggested and put the ones with the bad setback in a bullet puller and knock them back out like the others. I wouldn't shoot them as is. :(

Owen Sparks
March 18, 2011, 04:33 PM
I think those are reloads because of what appears to bw swipes on the brass. being a reloader myself, I would use an inertia puller and salvage the componants. If you don't reload you might sell them to someone who does with the express understanding that they are potentially defective and not to be fired. The .45 Colt case is huge because it was designed for much bulkier black powder and it is very easy to get a double charge of fast burning smokeless powder in one. Anybody inexperienced enough to fail to crimp properly might also threo a double charge.

Leaky Waders
March 18, 2011, 05:10 PM
They look like some of my first reloads...when I was still learning how to setup the dies and bullet seating depth. I just kept adjusting it until I got it set right and then shot everything with no problems. They were mild loads with universal.

March 18, 2011, 08:24 PM
What did you get them in trade with?
The bullets look factory but the cases look like they have been handled and played with,,,a lot.

It looks like somebody may have used the cartridges to adjust a die set in a press.
Not having a bullet puller, they boxed them up and passed them off to an unsuspecting and gullible trader.
I wouldn't shoot them, I would break them down for the components, discard the powder and reload a few to see if the primers are still good.

March 18, 2011, 10:07 PM's the scoop, per the guy I swapped with.

First, I traded a SP101 for a Puma '92 and three boxes of ammo: a sealed box of the Winchester Cowboy loads, a partial box of Silvertips, and a second box of Cowboys that had some "extras" he found around the house.

The sealed box is just fine. I checked this afternoon. Bullets are seated properly and brass is shiney-new.

The partial box of silvertips also has setback, though not as bad as the most extreme I showed in the above picture. I didn't take a pic.

The second box of Cowboys (the mixed stuff) has some Silvertips that are just fine, some Cowboys that are just fine and then about a dozen Cowboys that are in varying size of setback.

I emaied the guy with my concerns about potential reloads. He swears it is all factory stuff, a couple years old, from when he did CASS shooting. He suspects his kit might have been dropped, thus driving the bullets into the cases deeper, or possibly having been fed into the rifle the recoil drove the bullets in deeper. He said he took the full-length magazine follower out so it now holds 10 instead of just 5 rounds. Could ten rounds in the tubular magazine press hard enough to do that?

He was not aware of the bullet problem, was very apologetic and has offered a very polite settlement to square the deal.

The rifle is used, but not hard. The ammo is not a deal buster; just a bit frustrating. Again, he is trying to make it right.


March 18, 2011, 11:54 PM
Again, I wouldn't shoot that stuff.
It doesn't take a lot of setback to substantially increase pressures.

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