I've just ordered a conversion cylinder for my 1858 pattern 'buffalo' pistol to shoot .45 Colt cartridges. Being as expensive as it is, reloading is a logical choice..
HOWEVER, this isn't just for shooting, I wanna hunt with it, but the cylinder is only rated for 1000 FPS, so I'd like to load my own within that range, but higher than average cowboy loads.
I have a Lee Modern Reloading handbook, courtesy a THR member suggestion with good selection on .45LC loadings.
One load in particular I'm looking at is a 200grain lead bullet over 8.4 grns Unique for 946FPS... however, this is a 12inch barrel, not standard testing length at all, so it'll probably be going faster once it gets thru the smoke pole.
Suggestions on bullets/loads? I'm thinking a 200 grain flat point, but don't know which bullet maker to go with or if I should get the extra stuff to mould my own. I'd think a softer bullet than what's most commonly available(oregon trail mostly) would be best for this application, but I'm not really sure and wanna clear it up before I dive in all the way and destroy this very-hard-to-find-in-the-US pistol by ruining the rifling with improper lead hardness.
As far as casting my own goes, I really don't wanna dive in that deep yet since I plan to move soon and it'd just be more stuff to pack/store.
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December 29, 2011, 12:14 PM
Midway, Cabelas and several other reloading supply web sites offer reloading books. Among all those books is one named Load Book. Each book covers just one and on rare times 2 calibers. I"m thinking 40S&W and 10MM in the same book. The rest are 1 caliber specific, IE: 45 Colt. They are only 7 or 8 bucks and cover different bullet manufacturers as well as powder manufacturers.
Well worth the purchase.
December 29, 2011, 12:32 PM
by ruining the rifling with improper lead hardness.You simply cannot "ruin the rifling" with any lead hardness.
Softer bullets might slug up and fit the bore better and not lead as much.
What you need to do is slug the cylinder throats and bore and find out what size bullets you need to use.
This is more critical then hardness as far as accuracy & no leading goes.
I suspect .454" bullets will be needed, but I don't know.
Normally, for hunting I would suggest a 250 grain cast Keith SWC bullet over 7.5 grains Unique.
But I think your black powder C&B revolver is sighted for round balls and conical bullets, So?
It will shoot high with normal 250 - 255 .45 Colt bullet weights and a 200 or 185 would probably be a better option.
December 29, 2011, 12:33 PM
Conversion cylinders should be used with blackpowder loads, or loads that equal blackpowder ballistics. Ignore the manufacturer's warning at your own risk.
A case full of blackpowder or substitute under a 200 or 250 grain lead bullet is authoritative enough to do the job at the ranges you will be using that gun. I use full case loaded blackpowder .45 Colt cartridges in a Kirst converter in a Ruger Old Army. I have not hunted with it yet, but would not hesitate to use it on deer at 50-60 yards. Beyond that range it is a matter of iron sights and old eyes, not cartridge power.
Otherwise, if you want .454 Casull performance, buy a .454 Casull revolver.
December 29, 2011, 01:24 PM
I wanna hunt with it, but the cylinder is only rated for 1000 FPS, so I'd like to load my own within that range, but higher than average cowboy loads.
A lot of difference pressure-wise between a 200gr and, say, a 270gr bullet at 1000fps. Personally, for hunting, I would not worry about reaching 1000fps, but would use a suitable heavy .45 caliber SWC at around 850 - 900fps. Such a bullet will completely penetrate a deer at any range you are likely to use it.
December 29, 2011, 01:35 PM
but the cylinder is only rated for 1000 FPSI agree the FPS hasen't got anything to do with anything.
Most conversion cylinders I am aware of state: for BLACK POWDER cartridges or black powder equivalent cartridges (also called Cowboy Ammunition) on a steel frame revolver ONLY.
That wold include any standard pressure .45 Colt load or handload.
You can get 1,000 FPS out of your long barrel with 200, or 250 grain bullets at standard pressure or less.
But like I already said, your C&B revolver sights were designed for light weight round ball or conical bullets, and it will shoot very high with standard weight .45 Colt bullets.
December 29, 2011, 09:57 PM
Listen to the man who owns two and reloaded for them for years. I've made all the mistakes already so you don't need to.
First, use lead bullets of .452 diameter. Larger diameter will eventually loosen your barrel. I use a Lee 200grain RNFP mold which throws 211gr soft/nearly pure lead bullets, and lube and size them myself.
Second, stick with Cowboy Action velocities. You're firing a black powder revolver, made for low/black powder pressures. Anything higher is going to wreck your revolver AND your cylinder sooner or later. I use my 211gr and store bought 250gr lead bullets loaded to about mv=765fps. They are accurate, would hit and knock down a rabbit at 25 yards every time. The Magtech Cowboy Action 200gr and 250gr bullets loads are mv=761fps.
Third, never drop the hammer on an empty conversion cylinder's cylinder. It will wreck the firing pin.
Finally, if you want to hunt anything larger than a rabbit with a handgun, buy a 357 or 44 Magnum.
Firing 45 Colt Cowboy Action loads through your conversion cylinder is great. No black powder cleanup, pre-loaded/fixed cartridges, they are accurate and a pleasure to shoot. There's a reason the top two developments in firearms are smokeless powder and fixed cartridges, in that order.
December 29, 2011, 11:13 PM
Thanks very much for all of the helpful replies. One of the rare threads I've read, much less started where all replies have managed to stay on topic without deviation.. thanks to all.
I have my hunting spot where the longest shot is no more than 40-50yds. I could use a shot-gun, but I've always wanted to use a hand-gun to hunt and this one seems well-enough suited and was one of the deciding factors in it's purchase when I was 13 anyway.
I only mentioned the velocity rating because that's what's on Taylor's & Co. page for the cylinder. Doesn't mention pressure unless I missed it.
Along with my reloading kit, I'll get a chronograph, calipers and any other sizing/measuring/ etc gear too and make sure I know my bore diameter before even ordering a bullet. I'll just start with factory cowboy loads and see what I get out of this long barrel.
I've read stories of BP .45 colt loads going thru horses that were caught up in the middle of shoot-outs, so I'm sure a Florida white-tail is fair game as well with no need to push the velocity too high.
December 30, 2011, 07:37 AM
I'll get a chronograph, calipers and any other sizing/measuring/ etc gear too and make sure I know my bore diameter before even ordering a bullet.
You don't match your bullets to your bore diameter, you match your bullets to your cylinder's throat diameters. That's what you measure.
December 30, 2011, 11:04 AM
Yep, and if the throat diameters are not .001 to .0015 over groove diameter, you need to have them reamed.
December 30, 2011, 02:33 PM
In mine, I reload the 210gr Lee RNFP bullet over 8gr of Unique. I cast them of pure lead. I think the R&D cylinder is strong enough for standard 45 Colt loads, but the frame is not hardened, and will stretch.. I don't want to shoot anything heavier in mine.. With the above load, I get 882fps out of my 5.5" barrel.
A chronograph is indeed a must-have item for any reloader.
Marlin 45 carbine
December 30, 2011, 02:58 PM
I have the very same revolver, a Pietta.
max loads of pyrodex and the afore-mentioned Lee mold slug have yeilded penetration besting .357" 125gr sjhp shot from a 4" S&W shot into scrub yellow pines.
I've taken 2 feral hogs with mine and this load. the first was a small boar a bit over 100lbs field dressed weight the other a 2X larger dry sow. the first was DRT from a ground blind over bait (legal here) about 40' shot knocked off a piece of skull passing through.
the larger one was 'trotting' by my blind and I let off too late and a bit high but pass thru drilling both lung tips breaking off-side rib. it whirled and ran before I could get back on target or my nephew w/me could get his H&R 20ga 3" mag on (he's a newby to hunting and wasn't ready) requiring about a 300 yd track down. still blowing bloody froth when I got to it piled in thicket so I put a coupe thru the back of skull.
plenty adequate for small deer IMO. comparing the 2 I can't tell any diff w/a .44spcl or .45acp
December 30, 2011, 04:23 PM
I think the R&D cylinder is strong enough for standard 45 Colt loads, but the frame is not hardened, and will stretch..
Yeah, I'd like that to not happen, though.
Anyway, I went and picked up a box of .45 Colt for starters figuring I'll have some brass already on hand, right?.. only to realize too late that it wasn't marked 'cowboy action shooting' on the box like the others surrounding it.
They're Ultramax .45 Colt 200grn in the yellowish tan box. Will that be ok for testing in an R&D or do I need a rifle now? I feel like a dumb*$&; those were almost 40$
Is anyone familiar with the pressures involved with these? I love this gun, don't wanna ruin it... according to the back warning on the box, I have to assume I made a boo-boo.
Lesson of the day: Pay attention to detail.
December 30, 2011, 04:43 PM
Their webpage shows 650fps for CB45CN1, which is what I have now.
December 30, 2011, 05:24 PM
200gr at 650fps is very wimpy... Couldn't be much pressure with those loads.. Personally, I would shoot them without a care in the world, but that's me... Try them and see how it feels in your hand compared to your usual BP load. My 200gr at 882fps feels about the same as 30gr of 777 in the BP cylinder... Short bullets are better in a BP revolver, so a 200gr in an R&D is ideal in my opinion.
And... Now you do need a rifle anyway ;-)
December 30, 2011, 05:40 PM
I wasn't sure because it was the only old fashioned box NOT labled 'cowboy action'. But the Ultramax site says they are.
I usually load it with 35-40(packed) grains of FF Pyrodex under a .454 roundball and you definitely feel it. I dunno what grn weight those are before or after the ring is shaved off from loading, but it's a stout-feeling load.
I dunno how good of a comparison it is, but I load a '51 .44 with 25grns of the same powder and the ballets and it seems to have a noticeably heftier recoil/muzzle-jump as opposed to the balls.
'spose I'll get a chrony and see how much faster these are thru a 12" barrel. Typical barrel length for these velocity tests is 6", right? Or wrong?
Any estimates on how much different it'll be?
December 31, 2011, 10:29 AM
Typical barrel length for these velocity tests is 6", right? Or wrong? Any estimates on how much different it'll be?
I don't know. The Chrony is a good idea though..
December 31, 2011, 10:50 AM
Ever hear the old saying, "you can't get there from here"? IMHO, if you want to hunt big game with a handgun, use a proper firearm.
December 31, 2011, 02:01 PM
does a firearm somehow become less powerfull than a bow and arrow..because it isn't quite up to 'modern' standards???
I don't consider archery to be a proper firearm, even cross-bows, but they're apparently good enough to have been used for the last many thousands of years... are there any bows that can shoot an arrow with more killing ability than a .45 colt? If it makes you feel better, I won't use it if the bullets don't leave my barrel at at 850FPS or more.
December 31, 2011, 02:06 PM
Check back with us once you've killed some critters with a handgun. Particularly a blackpowder handgun with the wrong bullet. Believe it or not, some of us have actually done it.
Arrows and any reference to such are completely irrelevant.
December 31, 2011, 02:24 PM
no it's not irrlelevant. You're telling me one thing isn't enough.. though it is obviously more powerful than something else which is used with wide-spread acceptance and is simply propelled by a string?
"Particularly a blackpowder handgun with the wrong bullet. Believe it or not, some of us have actually done it.".. alrighty then... what are you talking about, exactly? "Wrong bullet"? Explain.. is it the wrong shape? Wrong diameter? Not moving fast enough? Not heavy or light enough? What?
If you think it's so 'wrong' then by all means explain why.
December 31, 2011, 02:56 PM
what are you talking about, exactly? "Wrong bullet"? Explain.. is it the wrong shape? Wrong diameter? Not moving fast enough? Not heavy or light enough? What?
Too light of a bullet and too slow. What you essentially have is akin to a typical .45 ACP load, which IMHO, is not a suitable load for deer (which is what I am assuming you intend to hunt). This load falls below what a standard .45 Colt loading for an old Colt Peacemaker would be. As previously stated, use a 255gr bullet with a mild charge of Unique and you will be fine.
December 31, 2011, 03:13 PM
Arrows don't kill the same way a bullet does so any comparison is silly in every way. Period. It should've never been brought up.
Roundball from a handgun is dismal. You need the right bullet. Velocity does not need to be extreme, 900fps is plenty. You need a good 250gr cast bullet with a wide meplat at best, something around 220gr at a minimum. Most 1858's, including yours, have too slow a twist to stabilize bullets in that weight range. So your accuracy will be non-existent.
I also hope your 1858 is steel framed or we're all wasting our time.
December 31, 2011, 03:47 PM
First of all- They're both intended to do one thing besides target shooting; killing things. sO YOU'RE WRONG.. they ARE comparable. One killing/hunting tool compared to another. It matters not HOW it kills. It only matters(in THIS case) that it does. And therefore if a bow and arrow is enough, why isn't a .45 enough? Either approach it from a scientific stand-point or stop wasting your time trying to argue something that is simply negative in your own opinion., because without data, your argument is futile and THAT'S why any compairosn is silly, because you can't defend your arguemnt.
Second- I didn't say anything here about hunting ANYTHING with roundball from this gun and now I want to know WHY a 250grn bullet at 900fps(which Is about what I'm trying to acheive anyway) is neccesary and so much more lethal than a 200grn bullet at the same velocity.
I also stated at LEAST 850 fps, and earlier stated the 900 range was desireable when asking about load data.
Go back, re-read
3rd- Do you really think a 250 grain bullet has such a significant advantage over a 200grain bullet? Why?
I agree, it would be preferred, but as you stated, the rifling in my gun may not be up to the task, so why is it so neccesary? I dunno if you've ever seen a florida deer, but even the big ones are kinda puny...
What a 45ACP is, is akin to the original .45 Colt. That was it's original purpose, or so I've read; an auto-loading cartridge to mimic the ballistics of the long colt... and yeah, it's probably not the best choice... which is why I'm talking about a wee bit hotter, but still safe to use in this gun. But regardless of that, many people trust a .45 ACP to take down very dangerous adversaries.. what is the basis of belief that it won't stop a deer? Let alone a relatively small deer that is about the same size/weight as a small human.
So how much advantage, in terminal ballistics, does a 250 grain bullet have at 850-900fps Vs a 200 grain bullet at the same velocity? I'm no expert, obviously, but I doubt it's really enough to matter.
December 31, 2011, 04:47 PM
You come on this site asking advice, then when you're given good advice, you trash talk everyone. We've killed deer with handguns. I shot a large doe with a .45 Colt just this year. One shot and down for the count. I also have a .45 ACP and 200gr bullets that I could use, but I like to hunt them humanely (as with a load that will dispatch them quickly under almost all circumstances - not just with a lucky shot). So, use your underpowered load. I'm done with you.
December 31, 2011, 04:59 PM
sO YOU'RE WRONG..
Since you're the expert, I bow to your superior wisdom and intellect.
January 1, 2012, 03:47 AM
who did I trash talk? I'm asking for data to go along with your opinions not simply 'this is what you need to do' and 'what you have isn't good enough simply because I said so'.. I was asking for opinions based on more than 'it's my way so just do it'.. your answers may be the God's truth, but I don't know that just because two people on the internet said so; that doesn't prove anything at all accept that you guys are clearly taking this too personally. And BTW if you're going to talk down to someone because they ask for facts based on scientific data to back up your comment, expect the same lack of respect in return... CraigC, good job taking my comment out of context, grow up.
January 3, 2012, 11:00 PM
typical .45 ACP load, which IMHO, is not a suitable load for deer
45acp not enough for a deer? That really surprises me. Sure, a 200gr at 650fps sounds a little weak, but a 230gr at 900fps? What does it take to kill a deer?
I bet .45acp would kill a horse without a hitch. It is only slightly less powerful than a .45 Colt, which was indeed designed to kill a horse!
Roundball from a handgun is dismal
Surprises me too.. I have read posts from BP_pistol_hunter, who hunts hogs in Florida (hogs are tougher than deer). Here is a quote from one of his posts:
Heck I even shot them with my 1858 Pietta stainless 12 inch 44 cal buffalo cap and ball revolver using 35 gr 777 and a .454 ball. Believe it or not most fell quicker to one shot out of the 1858 Remington revolver (1200 fps 450ftlbs) than to the 357 mag and about the same as the 44 mag or 45acp guns.
Sounds like the .45acp kills hogs quickly..
I have always thought that a round ball was a very good hunting projectile. Sure, he uses a 12" barrel, but still..
I would think a .45 200gr RNFP bullet at 800+fps or a round ball at 900+fps would kill a deer very quickly. Am I wrong?
I have never shot a deer, so I can't speak from experience, so if anyone here has shot one with a similar load, I'd like to hear about it, because I would like to go hunting sometimes with a .45 Colt handgun..