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45 Long Colt Brass

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Lucky Eddie, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. Lucky Eddie

    Lucky Eddie New Member

    I need to know if there is any brass out there that I should avoid, either as new brass or once fired. Which brands reload the longest? Do any brands NOT work well in Ruger Vaqueros or Marlin Cowboy lever action. rifles?
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Winchester and Starline have always worked well in all revolver calibers I have tried them in. My current .45 Colt brass is Starline, both nickle and plain.
  3. Markbo

    Markbo member

    I use Starline exclusively for hot loads in all my revolvers and Winchester and Magtech for all the standard pressure stuff. I routinely see 10+ reloads out of the lower power loads.
  4. Eljay

    Eljay Well-Known Member

    I just went to the Valley Forge Pa gun show looking for 45LC brass and loaded ammo. I have a S&W Mountain Gun on order. And I was surprised that it was not really availible. I found 150 used cases but really had to scroung in some junk boxes to find it. I though with all the cowboy guns out there it would be every where. I was going to buy a box of loaded ammo to get the brass from, but at $22 for the cheapest no way. At Dicks it was $30 for lead bullet ammo! I don't think i can ever go back to factory ammo.
  5. AirplaneDoc

    AirplaneDoc Well-Known Member

    I have 2 vaquero's and a colt ssa, never had a problem with any brass, in any gun. I have some that has been reloaded at least 5 times, some with more. Most of mine is mixed mfg, I try to stick with Wincheter, but it is not always readily avaliable. I put just enough crimp on them to hold bullit in place, nothing heavy.

    ADKWOODSMAN Well-Known Member

    Ditto to Walkalong's statement.
  7. Markbo

    Markbo member

    Eljay, when I bought my first .45 Colt a couple years back I made a conscious decision that I would never buy factory ammo for it after that first trip to the range. There were two choices at the local stores - including Gander Mountain, which is a pretty darned large gun section - Cowboy load or ... oh yeah... a different Cowboy load.

    Now that's great if you are just plinking and it happens to shoot good in your gun, but $22-$24 a box???? Never again. BTW... neither shot that well out of my new SAA clone and they both leaded pretty badly. I don't have ANY of those problems any more.
  8. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Well-Known Member

    If the brass says ".45 Long Colt" on it dont buy it.
    The stuff that says .45 Colt is what you want.
  9. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

    Actually, from what I understand, they are two different names for the same caliber. Long Colt is a misnomer like clip vs. magazine.

    I think it stems from an old caliber called .45 Short Colt, some people thought the other should be Long Colt.

    That's what I've read anyway.
  10. Bad Flynch

    Bad Flynch Well-Known Member

    .45 Colt brass can be had from Starline, Winchester, Remington, and some others. Here are my experiences:

    Starline brass is really nice stuff with thick case walls and it seemingly lasts forever. However, the thick walls do not seal the breech as well as one could desire when shooting light, cowboy loads. That means that one gets a lot of fired gunk in the chamber and action and that necessitates extra cleaning.

    Winchester brass, on the other hand, has much thinner walls and seals the breech better with low pressure loads. Winchester brass also holds big charges of Black Powder better.

    For the reasons stated above, Starline is my favorite brass for hot, Ruger-only, .45 Colt loads with smokeless powder and, usually, jacketed bullets. Winchester cases get used for modest loads and Black Powder loads.

    The only Remington cases that I have are some old semi-balloon-head cases left over from the 1950s. They seldom get shot, and then only with Black Powder. It is hard to tell much from that experience about modern Remington brass.

    Mostly, do not worry, just have fun.
  11. Eljay

    Eljay Well-Known Member

    BF I've heard the term "balloon-head brass" but what is it? and can you tell by looking at it? The one box of 50 cases I bought were pretty old.
  12. CZ57

    CZ57 member

    This is simply a carryover in terminology from other Colt cartridges with long and short versions. Because there is no .45 Short Colt, there is no .45 Long Colt. It's just plain old .45 Colt.

    Balloon head cases should be avoided for reloading with smokeless powder. There may be some exceptions, but I ain't gonna' get into them. Balloon head cases were designed for black powder loads. Modern .45 Colt brass has a solid casehead. The balloon head cases do not.;)
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    That's good to know. I have been working up some low pressure loads with Starline brass and getting a lot of "blowby" I will try some Winchester brass with the same loads and see what happens. :)
  14. Bad Flynch

    Bad Flynch Well-Known Member

    >BF I've heard the term "balloon-head brass" but what is it?<

    Well, there are two similar cases, oft confused by shooters these days. The true ballon-head cases were folded layers of copper and, later, brass. They had a very large inside volume. There were variations on the theme, too numerous to mention here, like brass heads and rolled-paper or rolled thin copper bodies, etc.

    The cases to which I referred earlier, are modern semi-baloon head design and were common from just before the turn of the 20th centur (or so) and were used well into the 1950s. These were actually forged/drawn cases that had more room in the head area. That is, they were solid head, but not filled-in around the primer pocket. It sort of looks like a hollowed-out ring in the base. But again, the cases are of drawn design and are not folded-head. These cases are the cases oft mistakenly referred to as ballon-head by many of today's shooters. They are safe with black powder loads and modest smokeless powder loads. In fact, modern Lapua .220 Russian cases are made that way and that is a fairly hot round. In addition, the benchresters use .220 Russian cases to make 6mm PPC cases (instead of buying 6mm PPC commercial cases) because the cases so made hold more powder and, when hot-rodded, can get the 6mm PPC bench guns up to a velocity "sweet-spot" that shoots so well.

    Hope that helps.
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    The Lapua .220 Russian cases (reformed to 6PPC) plain and simply hold up to the pressure of hot loads better than any of the 6PPC brass. A lot of trouble goes into case prep and fireforming them to ONE chamber, so the longer they last, the better. When you get a good set of brass that is shooting well, the last thing you want to do is have to change brass. The Lapua brass is superior.
  16. Bad Flynch

    Bad Flynch Well-Known Member

    >The Lapua brass is superior.<

    Yep, that is so. However, without that little bit extra of case capacity and the little bit of extra powder that it allows, one would not be able to reach the sweet spot for the accuracy. Semi-baloon head, or not, the Lapua brass is just plain better.
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Everyone uses a drop tube or slow trickles their powder to get it in the cases. I bet 99% of those that shoot 6 PPC ,and not some other variant, use reformed .220 Lapua cases.

    We like to shoot em warm. You can find a sweet spot at more than one velocity, but at the higher velocity it gets there faster with less wind effect. ;)
  18. Mal H

    Mal H Administrator

    To answer the original question, I don't know of any widely available brand of .45 Colt brass that doesn't reload well and work in most modern (and not so modern) .45 Colt firearms. Let me hasten to add that I don't think AMERC makes .45 Colt ammo. If they do ....

    Like many others here, I have found Starline to be at or near the top in quality brass for the .45C, and that's what 95% of my reloads use. The remainder is Winchester and Remington. I shoot them in both a Ruger Vaquero and a Winchester 94.

    For the reasons stated above (better seal with low power loads) Remington and Winchester work well with Cowboy Action loadings. Remington is even a little thinner than Win. I'm not sure Remington even makes new .45 Colt ammo any longer so it may be hard to find - I wouldn't go looking for it anyway.

    I just went and checked in my .45 Colt brass bin, and was a little surprised to find I also have about 100 "CBC" cases and 50 "3D Impact" cases. I don't remember buying or using them in the past, must I must have, because they have obviously been reloaded and resized. (Ain't getting old a blast? ;) ) I know I bought them new (as loaded ammo) because I have never collected .45 Colt brass at any range, other than my own brass. Anyway, they look like fine quality brass and I would reload them again if necessary - Starline is still my first go-to choice.
  19. bobotech

    bobotech Well-Known Member

    Any pictures showing the difference between balloon head and standard cases?

    I understand what you guys are saying but I still can't visualize it in my head.
  20. bakert

    bakert Well-Known Member

    I've had very good luck with reloads using both Winchester and Remington brass in my Ruger Blackhawk. Both brands reloaded many times with no problems.

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