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Finally tried Pyrodex in my .45 Colt

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by MCgunner, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    It's a stainless Ruger Blackhawk. I loaded 30 grain by volume charges behind a 255 cast flat nose. first two shots off the bench rest went low, last four about 2.5" near the bull. Total group was about 4" (25 yards benched) and all shots broke clean, I didn't pull any. I'm wondering if I should compress the load? Would adding corn meal as I do with the Remmy help?

    I'll get around to trying it all, can't hurt that Blackhawk with Pyrodex. Just thought I'd get some opinions. Been doing honeydos for two days, but will get some time to load a few more. :D
  2. bubba15301

    bubba15301 Well-Known Member

    try 35 grains of powder
  3. gunner69

    gunner69 Well-Known Member

    I haven't loaded Pyrodex "cartridge" in a long time. When I did there was a "line" on the case where the seated bullet set. I filled to just over that line so that the pyrodex was compressed. I had read that pyrodex should be compressed to work correctly. Can't hurt to try it out.......
  4. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    I have been wanting to try this myself. You just may motivate me to do it. :)
  5. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Well-Known Member

    With only 30gr by volume I would think that you've got some air space in that cartridge and that's not a good thing even in a BlackHawk.

    Using cornmeal as a filler works great. For consistancy you might want to look into a compression die. For quite a while I just used a dowel rod with a handle on it for compression but eventually I bought a Montana Precision die which is a "set it and forget it".

    By the way, I believe the original Mil-Spec load for 45 Colt was 40gr with a 250-255gr bullet. I've loaded a few of those just for grins and quickly found out "why" the military requested that Colts reduce the charge, those buggers HURT!!

    BADUNAME30 Well-Known Member

    What Paul said.
    I wanna git me a conversion cylinder fer my '58 and do this. Jist seems more 'authentic' than usin a ROA.
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    I loaded up some .357Mag casings with Pyrodex P to use with my Frontiersman category cowboy shooting. I tried a few in my handguns as well for giggles. The kick was similar to a .38Spl +P. So there's some pretty good power to be found in that Pyrodex or even full on black powder in these guns.

    As per the reloading data on the Hogdgon web site for Pyrodex I used a big enough dipper to charge the casings that I got about 1/16 worth of compression. They specifically state on the notes that NO AIR GAP is a must. This is the same thing with black powder. So yes, if you want to shoot lighter loads then you should use enough cornmeal or CoW to provide for a slight compression of the charge and filler.
  8. joecil

    joecil Well-Known Member

    The best way to figure the powder is to figure how deep the bullet goes into the case. Then fill the case with enough powder to be compressed about 1/16" to 1/8" when the bullet is seated. In most cases that is about 33-37 gr with Pyrodex RS.
  9. whitetailbob

    whitetailbob Member

    i loaded some 45 LC up for my ROA i used large pistol primer 38 gr of pyrodex p 200 grain flatnose cast shot great it does have kick they are right you need to have it compressed thus the 38 gr by volume also make a good crimp
  10. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    I have an Uberti Cattleman SAA clone in .45 Colt. I've toyed with the idea of making a dozen or so BP loads, I assume that would be safe in this gun? About 35-37 grains of Pyrodex (fine stuff, same that I use in my 1851 Navies and Walker). And I'm assuming this is a VOLUME measurement and NOT WEIGHT? (Use the same brass tube measuring thingy)?

    Oh - 250-255 gr. flat nosed lead bullets, I have lots of them.
  11. EnsignJimmy

    EnsignJimmy Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's safe. The pressure curve on black powder and its equivalents is less-abusive to the gun than an equivalent smokeless load.

    Yes, it's a volume measurement. 35 grains of Pyrodex will just about fill a modern solid-head case, and a 255 grain lead bullet will provide all the compression you need for Pyrodex to perform properly. That bullet will leave your gun doing better than 900 ft/sec and the recoil will be quite eye-opening, compared to an equivalent smokeless load (since it only takes 8 grains of smokeless powder to do what 35 grains of Pyrodex does.)
  12. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    If you are trying for small groups, use a very hard crimp to encourage complete burning, and lots of bp type lube on the bullet so that fouling wont affect accuracy. Pyrodex will give fine accuracy if you manage the usual variables.
  13. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Well-Known Member

    With a dozen rounds of 250gr bullets loaded with up to 37gr of Pyrodex I will be impressed if you shoot all 12. When EnsignJimmy mentioned that the recoil was "eye-opening" he wasn't kidding. Go ahead and load up some with as much as you can stuff in the brass (probably around 35-37gr). But also load some up with 25-30gr too using cornmeal or Cream-of-Wheat as a filler. I would suggest that instead of using the bullet to compress the powder or powder/filler that you use something like a dowel rod, it's really easy to deform the bullet when you use it to compress the load.

    The lighter loads will be a lot more "fun" to shoot and you'll probably find that the accuracy of the lighter loads far exceeds that of the second generation mil-spec loads. The original load for 45 Colt was 40gr (in a balloon head case), the military requested that Colts reduce the load because the gun was too hard to control with that load.

    As far as the Uberti Cattleman handling the loads there is no problem as far as the strength of the gun is concerned but...

    Take an oiler with whatever oil that you use for Pyrodex/Black Powder with you when you go out, I use Ballistol. I shoot two Uberti Cattlman SAA's, one in 45 Colt the other in 44-40. The cylinders will quickly bind up with the fouling and make it difficult to cycle the gun without enough lubrication to keep 'em loose, especially with the heavy loads. If you go to an outdoor public range be prepared for whoever is on the range near you to duck for cover the first time you drop the hammer on one of these loads.:what:

    When you run out of the 250gr bullets or when you decide that your shooting hand is going to be permanently crippled because of the recoil you can also load 20-25gr, top with filler and seat a .454 round ball easily in the case for Gallery Loads. Have fun and be sure and post back your observations and maybe a pic of the big grin on your face after you try this. To paraphrase the old Ruffles ad, you really can't do this just once.:)
  14. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    No air gap allowed with black powder or pyrodex loads. The powder must be slightly compressed. That is why they invented corn meal for light BP loads: to fill airspace between powder charge and base of bullet. Corn meal can also be used to make pone bread or muffin cakes too, so it was a versatile invention.
  15. Pulp

    Pulp Well-Known Member

    "If you go to an outdoor public range be prepared for whoever is on the range near you to duck for cover the first time you drop the hammer on one of these loads."

    It's even more fun at an indoor range!
  16. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Well-Known Member

    And Pulp, exactly how many times has the RSO at your local indoor range escorted you out to the parking lot??:evil:
  17. joecil

    joecil Well-Known Member

    One thing to keep in mind is the cylinder barrel gap will be important when shooting black powder. All 3 of my 45 Colts are about .006" gap. One came with a .0005" gap and would lock up tight with smokeless in 5 rounds and 2 in black powder. Had the gap widened and shoot as many as 50 without the problem reoccurring. I also bring Ballistol with me when I shoot cowboy action and using black powder which is the norm for me.
  18. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    Interesting stuff guys, thank you! Might use the cornmeal trick, I'm not interested in beast loads. My hands hurt enough from arthritis.

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