45 colt in a lever rifle


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Thompsongunner
September 27, 2011, 11:59 AM
Just bought my soon to be Wife an early Christmas Present! A 1873 Uberti Wincheaster in .45 colt. I have been reloading .45 acp for awhile now and was wondering a few things. Do I need to use a roll crimp in Rifles? I have lots of .45 bullets. I know the .45 colt uses the same .452 diameter but can I use them in place of the roll crimp bullets?

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rcmodel
September 27, 2011, 12:07 PM
Yes, you have to use a roll crimp on anything to be used in a tube magazine.
Otherwise, recoil and mag spring tension will push all the bullets back in the cases.

Auto pistol bullets would not be a good choice, as there is no crimp groove on them.

A lever-gun is also very critical on cartridge OAL and bullet shape.
Too short may not feed feed, and too long won't fit in the cartridge lifter and will lock up the gun tighter then a gnats hind end.

A cast lead 250 grain RNFP bullet is typically a good choice for plinking loads, as thats what they & the guns sights were designed for.

Most any brand of .45 Colt jacketed bullet will also crimp to the correct length for a lever-action if you want to go there.

rc

CraigC
September 27, 2011, 12:31 PM
Yes, you definitely want a proper crimp groove and a roll crimp. I would not use .45ACP bullets without one. A cannelure can be added to jacketed bullets if you want to go to the trouble but I'd rather use cheaper .45Colt cast bullets. As stated, overall length is very important and the 1873 will tell you right off the bat if your loads will work or not.

These are great rifles and I'm sure you'll love yours. Mine is in .38-40 and is a tackdriver!
http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/rifles/large/IMG_7033b.jpg

rcmodel
September 27, 2011, 12:45 PM
Might be worth mentioning too that the 1873 action is not strong enough for hot loads.

Stick to Standard .45 Colt load data and leave the "Ruger Only" loads to somebody with a Marlin 1894.

rc

ReloaderFred
September 27, 2011, 12:49 PM
Amen to all of the above comments, and I'll add one more. My wife and I both shoot SASS events all year long. Most of the SASS shooters are using either 200 gr. RNFP bullets, or in some cases, 185 gr. RNFP bullets in .45 Colt. These make for an economical and fun round to shoot in the 73's. Trail Boss is also a good powder in the leverguns.

Hope this helps.

Fred

rcmodel
September 27, 2011, 12:54 PM
Fred
Any problems with sight regulation when dropping the standard bullet weight that much?

I have had some Winchester lever-guns that simply didn't have enough sight adjustment available when you went very far outside the standard bullet weights they were designed for.
But I never sight them in at CASS target distance either?

Never had a .45 Colt lever-action either.


rc

ReloaderFred
September 27, 2011, 12:59 PM
Not at all, rc. The windage remains the same and the sights have plenty of elevation adjustment. In SASS we're only talking about shooting at 25 yards or so with the rifle, but even out at 75 and 100 yards they work fine.

I have a good friend who makes a living selling and doing action jobs on the Winchester 66's and 73's, and makes the short stroke kit that a lot of the '73 gunsmiths are installing. He uses the 200 gr. RNFP for regulating his rifles.

I shoot mine in my Marlin 1894 Cowboy and I can shoot flies that land on my target at short ranges. Well, sometimes I hit them.........

Hope this helps.

Fred

CraigC
September 27, 2011, 01:05 PM
Yep but Brian Pearce suggests they are strong enough for loads in the 20,000psi range and provided loading data in an issue of Handloader. If I remember right, 250-260gr bullets at 1400fps. Which ain't too bad!

rcmodel
September 27, 2011, 01:12 PM
Might be, but I wouldn't make a habit of it if you want your toggle links to remain the right length over time.

rc

Coyote3855
September 27, 2011, 01:16 PM
^^^ What he said.

Tallinar
September 27, 2011, 02:12 PM
As for the use of the .45 ACP bullets in .45 Colt - I would shy away, as others have said, due to the lack of crimping groove. You might get by using them in light revolver loads with a light roll crimp though. I've done this before with no issue when I all I had sitting around was some .45 ACP bullets. Wouldn't suggest it for hotter loads though.

As for bullet weights, I've always stuck to 250gr bullets for my .45's for CAS. Settled on a pretty clean-burning, accurate with this bullet weight for my revolvers and model 92. I'll stick with it.

Thompsongunner
September 27, 2011, 04:46 PM
Thanks for all the replies! You have pretty much confirm what I was already thinking but with all the .45 bullets I have I thought it was worth asking.
I have bought some 250gr. RNFP bullets that I plan on loading with some clays powder since I already have a bunch of it. How strong of crimp would you recomend I use?

rcmodel
September 27, 2011, 04:49 PM
A medium crimp is probably all you need with those light Clays loads as heavy recoil isn't going to be a factor.

The actual crimp groove depth on the bullets you have will tell you when you have enough to prevent bullet movement.

rc

ReloaderFred
September 27, 2011, 05:51 PM
If you want to try some of your cast .45 acp bullets, just roll crimp into the side of the bullet wherever it needs to be. I do this all the time with bullets I'm loading for my Marlin rifles to get the proper OAL. As long as you're not crimping into the lube groove, it works just fine. You just need enough crimp to keep the magazine spring from compressing the rounds in the tube.

Hope this helps.

Fred

CraigC
September 28, 2011, 08:08 AM
You don't need a hellacious crimp on it like you would with heavy revolver loads. Just enough to keep the bullet from getting pushed into the case.

Red Cent
September 28, 2011, 12:10 PM
As a long time cowboy shooter and have always used the1873, you have a pretty big OAL window with the '73.

The OAL will not matter chambering a round. One of the best things about the '73 is that it traps the cartridge and presents the cartridge in a staight line to the chamber.

1.The problem occurs when the rounds are too short. This allows the rim of the next cartridge to protrude out of the mag tube and blocks the rise of the elevator.

2. If the rounds are too long, the round will not clear the mag tube when the elevator tries to bring it up.

In the beginning, I shot 45 Colt. I ran my 20" '73 with 165 gr LRNFPs regularly and I crimped in the groove. I have ran 200 gr and crimped in the groove.

I am not being disrespectable since two of the most knowledgeable posters on the site has given you some advice. I have and do run 45acp lead through my '73. I used truncated cones and FPs only. I don't trust the RN.

On any light load, I have discovered that a very firm roll crimp is needed, especially on the 45 Colt. The bullet should be retained as long as you can to allow the pressure to seal of the brass in the chamber. Otherwise, the actio gets dirty and you have some pretty crappy looking brass.

I simply crimp where the OAL is correct with the ACP. Your crimp die will bite the lead good and you and I know it will not bother minute of steel accuarcy. Just be sure to not leave an edge on the brass sticking up.

BTW, I (and others) radius the chamber hole JUST BARELY. Most faulty crimps will not catch the edge.

Congratulations on buying the premier rifle of cowboy action.

Now I wanna know if it is shortstroked, slicksprings, and an action job.

GooseGestapo
September 28, 2011, 12:15 PM
I have a Win M94 in .45lc.
I've loaded it to same level as my Ruger Revolvers with #2400 and Jacketed bullets but don't go there anymore, for either....

I enjoy shooting the guns with cast bullets as others have mentioned.

If you want to shoot the .45acp bullets (ie: jacketed and cast w/o crimp groove, I suggest you do this:
Use a .45acp sizer die to size your .45lc brass. The .45acp die is nominally smaller and with the bullets seated normally, you'll see a buldge where the bullet seats too. Like it does with the .45acp, it'll keep the bullet from being pushed back in the brass from chambering or recoil in the magazine. No need to crimp other than a light crimp to eliminate the flare for seating. Crimp too much and you'll damage the bullet, possibly causing accuracy problems. Also, the Starline brass is a bit thicker than Rem.Win., or MagTech.

A friend had read an article on using the 185gr XTP in the .45lc in a magazine somewhere and "just had to shoot some" through his Taurus "Thunderer" pump rifle. Though the worked and functioned well, they didn't shoot anywhere near where he had his rifle sighted. After admitting "I told you so", he's gone back to shooting the 200gr and 255gr FN cast bullets over 7.8gr of Universal for about 1,200fps with either. They work well enough to shoot clean through a deer lengthwise at 50yds......(he's done it twice with the 255's)

FWIW, the best jacketed bullet I've found for the .45lc is the cannulured Hornady 250gr XTP. I bought 500 "blems" several years ago. Loaded over 20.0gr of #2400 I got some <2" groups from the M94 at 100yds. Still have most as I prefer the 255gr Cast RFN (Lee .454" RFN) at ~900fps from revolvers and 1,200fps from rifles (above mentioned 7.8gr of Universal).

CraigC
September 28, 2011, 01:45 PM
Good points, Red Cent. :)

bergmen
September 28, 2011, 01:58 PM
Might be worth mentioning too that the 1873 action is not strong enough for hot loads.

Stick to Standard .45 Colt load data and leave the "Ruger Only" loads to somebody with a Marlin 1894.

rc

I don't understand this. Some models of the Uberti 1873 are chambered in .44 Magnum which has a higher chamber pressure than "hot" .45 Colt loads.

The 1894 is also chambered in both .44 Magnum and .45 Colt (which I have) and there are no differences in the actions of these rifles.

Just curious (since my son will be shopping for a .45 Colt lever gun soon and the Uberti was on our short list).

Dan

CraigC
September 28, 2011, 02:13 PM
I don't understand this. Some models of the Uberti 1873 are chambered in .44 Magnum which has a higher chamber pressure than "hot" .45 Colt loads.
ZERO models of the 1873 are chambered in .44Mag. Never happened, never will. The Winchester and Marlin 94's are strong enough for the .44Mag, the 1873 is not.

GCBurner
September 28, 2011, 02:18 PM
The modern Italian 1873s are no doubt stronger than the original Winchester 1873s, due to improvements in steel alloys and heat treating, but the toggle-lock design is still not as strong as the locking bolts of the Winchester 1892/1894 and Marlin 1894 designs. The .45 Colt doesn't really need to be hot-rodded to be potent, anyway, as the original blackpowder load of a 250 grain lead bullet at 900 feet-per-second stands up pretty well against anything out there, as far as effectiveness goes. I about match that with a 250 gr. lead semi-wadcutter over 8.5 grains of Unique, and it works well in both my Uberti Cattleman and my Rossi Model 92.

bergmen
September 28, 2011, 02:36 PM
ZERO models of the 1873 are chambered in .44Mag. Never happened, never will. The Winchester and Marlin 94's are strong enough for the .44Mag, the 1873 is not.

Is this a typo on their website?

http://www.uberti.com/firearms/1873_rifle_and_carbine.php

1873 CARBINE 19" .44 MAG
MSRP $1,309
Blued; A-grade walnut; round barrel

Dan

bergmen
September 28, 2011, 02:41 PM
The modern Italian 1873s are no doubt stronger than the original Winchester 1873s, due to improvements in steel alloys and heat treating, but the toggle-lock design is still not as strong as the locking bolts of the Winchester 1892/1894 and Marlin 1894 designs. The .45 Colt doesn't really need to be hot-rodded to be potent, anyway, as the original blackpowder load of a 250 grain lead bullet at 900 feet-per-second stands up pretty well against anything out there, as far as effectiveness goes. I about match that with a 250 gr. lead semi-wadcutter over 8.5 grains of Unique, and it works well in both my Uberti Cattleman and my Rossi Model 92.

Both of my sons and I carry Ruger Blackhawks and I carry a Bisley in .45 Colt. We load to published "hot" ballistics and would like to carry a .45 Colt lever gun that both guns can use interchangeably.

I have the Marlin 1894 in .45 Colt and shoot slightly de-rated loads in this rifle that I also shoot in my Bisley (23.0 grains of W296 under a 240 grain Hornady XTP-Mag vs. 25 grains of W296 for just the revolvers alone).

My eldest son is in the market for a .45 Colt lever gun to go with his Blackhawk. Marlin 1894's have dried up because of the Remlin shut-down. We are considering alternatives.

Dan

CraigC
September 28, 2011, 02:58 PM
That's got to be a misprint. No way is the 1873 action strong enough for the .44Mag. It's based on a firearm (Volcanic) that predates metallic cartridges!

Why do you detune your Marlin loads? The Marlin 1894 is stronger than the large frame Blackhawk and considered safe up to 40,000psi, compared to the Ruger's 32,000psi.

ReloaderFred
September 28, 2011, 03:32 PM
CraigC,

Uberti has been putting out the '73 in .44 Magnum for awhile now, but I don't know anyone who owns one. I know I won't, and my friend who owns Pioneer Gun Works (www.pioneergunworks.com) won't own one, either. Uberti claims to have somehow strengthened the toggle link in the .44 Magnum rifles, but it remains to be seen if they're going to hold up to much shooting. It's supposed to be a completely different rifle internally from the .357 and .45 caliber rifles. My friend has serviced several of the .357 caliber '73's that had bent toggle links from shooting hot .38's and .357 Magnum ammunition through them, along with some in .45 Colt. The design isn't engineered for high pressure loads, but they do in fact offer one in .44 Magnum for those who choose to live on the edge..........

Hope this helps.

Fred

CraigC
September 28, 2011, 03:45 PM
Never seen or heard of such a critter. Has anyone actually seen one, or heard of somebody who bought one? Sounds like a unicorn. ;)

bergmen
September 28, 2011, 03:52 PM
That's got to be a misprint. No way is the 1873 action strong enough for the .44Mag. It's based on a firearm (Volcanic) that predates metallic cartridges!

Why do you detune your Marlin loads? The Marlin 1894 is stronger than the large frame Blackhawk and considered safe up to 40,000psi, compared to the Ruger's 32,000psi.

I detune only beacuse of the cylnder gap on the Blackhawks releasing a bit of pressure that the '94 can't. I have fired the 25 grainers in the Marlin and may go back to them.

The reloading manuals I have are very poor at advising on loads for the Marlin 1894 rifle (and equivalents) using W296 powder. I am just in the beginning stages of experimenting with published loads for the Marlin and may make adjustments as we move along.

Dan

rcmodel
September 28, 2011, 04:08 PM
Sounds like a unicorn.

Well here is one for sale so they must have made them?
http://www.gunsamerica.com/919401448/Guns/Rifles/Uberti-Rifles/Lever-Action/Uberti_1873_Carbine_Blue_44_Mag_19_34126.htm

Still sounds like a bad idea to me, but what do I know.

I would venture to say the .44 Mag version might use different steel or heat treating then the .45 Colt model.
And it for sure is proof tested at much higher pressure in Italy then the other calibers are.

rc

wleoff
September 28, 2011, 07:29 PM
There is a lot of misinformation here. First, on a 1873, the toggles aren't the weak links; the thin receiver metal where the barrel and magazine tube attach to the receiver is the weak point in a 1873. Newer, current, made 1873s have stronger metal in the receiver so failures at the barrel/magazine/receiver interface are less common. The oldest 1873 that I have was made in 1896 in 38-40. I've shot 1873s for over 40 years and never had a toggle bend. I did have a receiver crack.

As you can see in this photo, I also shoot a number of 45 Colts,

http://i416.photobucket.com/albums/pp244/wleoff/45Colt02.jpg

A good 45 Colt target round is a cast 200 grain handload. I use Titegroup powder with 200 grain bullets. I've shot thousands of this round in SASS, #9662. For hunting, I use 250 grain Hornady XTPs. I use to use 300 grain XTPs or 325 grain Buffalo Bore's , but the 250 grain works great on deer on down, with much less recoil.

http://i416.photobucket.com/albums/pp244/wleoff/BufBore.jpg

I would hunt with a Marlin 336 or Redhawk in 45 Colt. You could use a 1873, but it's marginal.

The 1873 in 45 Colt is a fun gun. Just don't go above the loads specified in a good reloading manual. If you don't reload, just buy cowboy level loads.

I've also got a Rossi Ranch Hand in 45 Colt which makes no sense, but if fun to shoot.

http://i416.photobucket.com/albums/pp244/wleoff/RanchHand-1.jpg

ReloaderFred
September 28, 2011, 08:06 PM
The SASS gunsmiths aren't encountering cracked receivers, but are encountering bent toggle links, so in the current production replicas, that's where the weakness is.

Hope this helps.

Fred

Red Cent
September 29, 2011, 04:03 PM
SonOfaGun. First I ever heard of the 44 in a '73. Found some CAS City posts in 2010 about 'em. Huh.

The cartridge is fully enclosed by a barrel. You might pull an "Elmer Keith" with smokeless and push the bolt through your skull, but the "receiver" will not blow. They may crack for some reason but that bolt and toggles are the weakness. When you add the "looseness" of headspace, toggles and pins, a safety pin size retaining pin, you have the makings of being hurt with a strong load. I am aware of the new retaining "key".

Fire a '73 out of battery and you will need some new glasses and you may need some needle and catgut. I done seen it with my own eyes.

Red Cent
September 29, 2011, 04:09 PM
ThompsonGunner, did you get out of the line of fire. Did you get it "tuned"?

Thompsongunner
October 4, 2011, 10:17 AM
LOL, R.C. I been away from the pc because of work. Thanks to everyone here I have learned alot about the 73! I just need to get more brass than what I have so I can start doing some load up to see what kind of accuracy I can get out of it. But everytime we go shooting my Sweetie pie takes it over and as long as it has minute of bucket shes happy with it.
What would be some good brass to buy in quanity?

bergmen
October 4, 2011, 11:27 AM
LOL, R.C. I been away from the pc because of work. Thanks to everyone here I have learned alot about the 73! I just need to get more brass than what I have so I can start doing some load up to see what kind of accuracy I can get out of it. But everytime we go shooting my Sweetie pie takes it over and as long as it has minute of bucket shes happy with it.
What would be some good brass to buy in quanity?

I have found Starline to be excellent and very low cost. Even though you won't be loading these to flame thrower standards it would be good to know that Starline brass handles them without flinching. They make good stuff.

Dan

CraigC
October 4, 2011, 11:36 AM
The only pistol cartridge brass that I will actually buy is Starline.

Red Cent
October 4, 2011, 12:26 PM
The 45 Colt brass is kinda pricey, relatively speaking. When I shot the 45 competitively, I picked up once fired from Wideners. Used them for local matches and practice. Used virgin Starline at state matches and above. The smallest crack in a case can cause the bullet to be set back in the case and lock up the rifle. Been there.
Don't get nickel when buying new brass. Cost more and will crack easily.

Just checked. Wideners does not have once fired and 45 Colt is out of stock. Starline is backordered.

bergmen
October 4, 2011, 12:30 PM
The 45 Colt brass is kinda pricey, relatively speaking. When I shot the 45 competitively, I picked up once fired from Wideners. Used them for local matches and practice. Used virgin Starline at state matches and above. The smallest crack in a case can cause the bullet to be set back in the case and lock up the rifle. Been there.
Don't get nickel when buying new brass. Cost more and will crack easily.

Just checked. Wideners does not have once fired and 45 Colt is out of stock. Starline is backordered.

Midway:

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=941195841

$21.99 per 100, about $10.00 cheaper than any other brass and at least as good.

Dan

Thompsongunner
October 5, 2011, 11:13 AM
Thanks for all the replys! I have 1000rds on its way from Midway. If some of you would like to share some of your mid level loads that work good for you please share! It would really save me some time.

bergmen
October 5, 2011, 11:50 AM
Thanks for all the replys! I have 1000rds on its way from Midway. If some of you would like to share some of your mid level loads that work good for you please share! It would really save me some time.

I studied several reloading manuals I have (Speer, Hornady, Nosler, Hodgden, Winchester) and my favorite mid-level load is 8.0 grains of W231 under any choice of 250 grain bullet. Powder burns clean, every shot consistant and accurate, lots of fun. Been using this load for 20 years or more.

In our area, there is a bullet caster named Bear Creek Bullets. He molds hard cast with a dry lubricant coating the entire bullet. Very reasonable in cost, easy to load, zero leading, very accurate.

Dan

unknwn
October 7, 2011, 08:44 AM
As far as crimping goes, I found these and ordered up what I needed to cover my lever action rifle reloads:

http://www.ranchdogoutdoors.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=53_54&products_id=98
Lee Special Order rifle type open top collet Factory Crimp Die for the 45 Long Colt

Allows me to use my 230gr.TruncatedCone Penn bullets without being concerned about crimp groove placement.

bergmen
October 7, 2011, 11:51 AM
As far as crimping goes, I found these and ordered up what I needed to cover my lever action rifle reloads:

http://www.ranchdogoutdoors.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=53_54&products_id=98
Lee Special Order rifle type open top collet Factory Crimp Die for the 45 Long Colt

Allows me to use my 230gr.TruncatedCone Penn bullets without being concerned about crimp groove placement.

Very cool, just ordered one. Thanks for the link!

Dan

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