January 24, 2013, 12:37 AM
Heres my deal Just got a new 1858 rem and all the goodies I mean ALL including a 45 colt conversion I do lots of reloading but NEVER w/black powder.
Safety is #1 is this safe? I understand B/P needs to be compressed can we safely do this and get proper COL.
I guess I need all the info around this any help would be good I have a ton of questions and not sure where to find the info,
January 24, 2013, 08:23 AM
Black powder itself does not need to be compressed, but you must make sure there is no air gap between the powder and bullet. Compressing black powder is one means to ensure there is no air gap. That may also be done using inert fillers.
January 24, 2013, 07:48 PM
Figure out where the base of the bullet will be when crimped in the case, then add the black powder to fill the case just above that so you'll get just a slight compression when the bullet is fully seated. As Mykeal said the compression is mainly to be sure there's no air gap, not that it really needs the compression - although some of the subs like Pyrodex are supposed to perform better with a little anyway. Some also like to use a thin veggie fiber wad disc between the powder and bullet. If you want a reduced load you need to use filler on top (cream of wheat and grits are popular). And be sure to use blackpowder-friendly bullet lube.
January 24, 2013, 11:55 PM
There was a question about loading 45 Colt with Black Powder just a few days ago. I have pasted here the reply I gave in that thread:
I have been loading 45 Colt with Black Powder for a long time now in CAS.
The best books I have found for loading Black Powder into revolver cartridges are the books Shooting Colt Single Actions, Shooting Sixguns of the Old West, and Shooting Lever Guns of the Old West, all by Mike Venturino. Each of these books has a chapter specifically dedicated to loading Black Powder in the old cartridges such as 45 Colt, 44-40, 38-40, etc, as well as specific data for each cartridge.
It looks like the Colt book and the Sixguns book are currently our of print, but you can still find them on Amazon.
As has been stated, you do not want to leave any air space in a cartridge loaded with Black Powder. I strive for a compression of about 1/16" - 1/8" when the bullet has been seated. The actual amount of powder and the amount of compression will vary with the specific bullet being used, because they don't all protrude the same amount into the case when seated. Here is a little primer I wrote with some photos showing how to determine the proper amount of powder for any given bullet.
Do yourself a favor and buy a set of Lee dippers. That is the simplest way to load Black Powder into revolver cartridges. Don't even bother weighing Black Powder, because different brands weigh different amounts. Using volume measures like the Lee dippers works out the best. For what it's worth, I use a 2.2CC dipper, leveled off with a piece of card stock, for most 250 grain bullets in 45 Colt.
Bullet lube is a tricky subject. In general, the hard type of lube found on most bullets today is not compatible with Black Powder. Modern bullet lubes will cause a hard caked fouling in the bore that will be ruin accuracy and be difficult to clean out. A soft lube specifically formulated for Black Powder is best. I used to melt out the lube from standard bullets and pan lube them with a mixture of 50/50 beeswax/Crisco. Here is a tutorial on Pan Lubing.
There are other alternatives, such as putting in lube cookies between the powder and the bullet, but these methods are tedious.
The easiest thing to do is to buy bullets already lubed with a BP compatible lube such as SPG. The best BP bullets of all are the Big Lube bullets that have a huge lube groove that carries enough lube to keep a rifle barrel lubed for its entire length. I cast my own Big Lube bullets and lube them with SPG. If you want to buy them, they are available from a few vendors. Here is one.
As far as primers is concerned, all you need is standard primers, you do not need magnum primers. BP is easier to ignite than Smokeless. You will also read about drop tubes. These are useful for precision long range rifle ammunition, but are not necessary for most revolver rounds.
Just drop in the powder and seat the bullet so that it compresses the powder.
PS: One more thing. Although I fire full house Black Powder 45 Colt loads in my Colts, clones, and Rugers, I find the grip configuration of the 1858 Remington is different enough that 35 grains or so of FFg and a 250 grain bullet is just a bit punishing with the grip shape of the Remmie. So I usually shoot 45 Schofields with about 28 grains of FFg and a 200 grain bullet out of my Remmie conversions. You might want to try the same. Be forwarned that the rim diameter of the 45 Schofield case is slightly larger in diameter than the 45 Colt rim, and all brands of conversion cylinders may not accept the larger rim. My R&D conversion cylinders have been reamed out to accept the larger Schofield rims. A much milder cartridge to shoot than 45 Colt, and no fillers are needed.
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