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Moderate .45 Colt Loads?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by FullEffect1911, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    I have a Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt that I am reloading for. I loaded up some "Ruger Only!!!" loads for it and found that while fun, were a bit more recoil then I was looking for target shooting with it. Conversely the standard pressure loadings seem to be completely anemic.

    I currently only have 250 grain xtps and the Hornady manual doesn't give any moderate data. I would like that 250 grain bullet going about 900-950 fps or so. So I have a few questions.

    1: Can/should you load XTP's using jacketed data from other manufacturers?

    2: Being that I have a Ruger Redhawk, could/should I start safely at the max pressure levels using the standard .45 loading data (the safe stuff for Colt SAA)?

    DISCLAIMER: The answers to these question 2 would apply to Strong Action .45 Colts ONLY!
  2. SASS#23149

    SASS#23149 Well-Known Member

    It would help to know what powders you have on hand,but the ONE i always have,Unique,will do the job.

    My Lyman's does not differntiate between brands of bullets,so on the occasion I shoot jacketed of any kind,I just go by wight pretty much.

    EXCEPT for the Ruger only loads,I'd say you could start at the maximum charge of a given powder for your Ruger.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I don't know what Hornady Manual you have, but both #4 and #6 have a whole chapter of .45 Colt SAA data, and a page using the 250 XTP.
    At velocity ranges from 650 to 950 FPS.

    I use 8.0 grains Unique in my .45 Colt SAA's with that bullet.
    It's a great load, although slightly over max. according to Hornady.

    Should be perfect, and about 900 FPS, in your much stronger & heavier Redhawk.

  4. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Well-Known Member

  5. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Well-Known Member

    It has been a while, but when I had my 45LC Ruger SB I loaded the Hornady or Speer 250/260gr jacketed bullets with 8.5gr of Unique for ~825/850 fps as I recall.
    You can sub other "LIKE BULLETS" data for the Hornady, but start at the beginning load and work up slowly.
    The data for the older guns in your manuals is fine for what you are looking for too. There is probably no problem with pressure due to the reduced charges. I`d check to be sure the same powder is used in warmer Ruger/TC loads though. Some powders work well at low psi and act up over a certain point, the same as some don`t do well under a specific pressure.
  6. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    I have Hornady 7th Ed.

    This is part of the problem. The Powders they use in the Ruger/TC only loads are completely different from the Standard pressure load data.

    I have Unique and that is the one I prefer to use... for just about everything. :D

    Hornady 7th edition tops out with unique at 7.4 grains @ 800 fps. Since you use 8.0 grains of unique, I'm pretty sure the "max" of 7.4 would be perfectly safe to say the least in my Redhawk.

    Thank you all for the input, now I don't need to order more bullets for at least a little while.
  7. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member


    I'm with you on the Ruger Redhawk. I really, really like the .45colt. I was prejudiced against it for many years favoring the .44mag, until I actually started shooting/loading it. I now much prefer it.

    Too, I like a "mid level" loading. I also have a Winchester M94 "Legacy" with a 24" bbl and I wanted something less than the near .454Casull loads on the high side, but enough to prevent the blow-by of the light loads in the rifle.

    I found it with 8.2gr of Hod. Universal. With a cast 255gr FN it gives at or near 1,000fps. Yes, it's a bit over the max load for a Colt SA, but enough it dosen't blow-by from the rifle, and gives over 1,150fps from the rifle and is very accurate.

    The same charge with the Hornady 250XTP gives between 850 and 875fps. Probably about what you're looking for.
    (Ruger RH has a 5.5"bbl).
    My Lyman#48 gives a load of 8.7gr of Unique and a 250grXTP for 877fps. This too,is probably your load!
    With the Redhawk, as you're already aware, you can increase the powder charges substantially, but you've already been there and are looking for less. If you're using a chrono, just bump up the charges a little until you get the velocity you're looking for. Just don't over-do it with the faster burning powders, however.

    If you need more velocity than this, you don't need to be using a handgun to get it done.
    Thats what a .45/70 in a rifle was made for !
    They had it "right" over a 100yrs ago, and with blackpowder, no less.
  8. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    Rule of thumb (and BTW, I still have all my thumbs intact):
    For a moderate load in a strong .45 Colt (like a large-frame Ruger or Freedom Arms or modern rifle) find a powder that has load data for both .45 Colt standard pressure, and .44 Magnum using a similar weight and construction bullet. Start at the .45 Colt maximum load and work up using the .44 Magnum data as a maximum until you find something you like.

    CAUTION: The following loading data is beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

    8 to 10 grains of Unique, or about 6.5 to 7.5 grains of Red Dot should be good loads for you.

    Try some 250 or 255 grain cast bullets next time you buy components. That's what the .45 Colt was made for.
  9. shootinstudent

    shootinstudent Well-Known Member

    I think you may want to try using universal-it's a great cleaner burning alternative to unique, with similar performance, imho.
  10. FullEffect1911

    FullEffect1911 Well-Known Member

    I'll look into universal more. I consistently hear good things about it, but I just never got around to buying some. I am self admittedly a rabid Alliant powder fan, but I can change if I have to.
  11. kludge

    kludge Well-Known Member

    I like Universal in everything I have tried so far, but I have a hard time finding load data for .45 Colt for the bullets I want to use.
  12. shootinstudent

    shootinstudent Well-Known Member


    IIRC, Somewhere out there are charts that can help you convert lower end Unique loads into starting loads for Universal, so you can use some of the data from Unique as a starting point for Universal.


    Hey, my other .45 powder is 2400...I get ya :).
  13. Snapping Twig

    Snapping Twig Well-Known Member

    I don't find Unique any dirtier than W231. I shot some cast Lee 245g RNFP today over 8.5 and 9.0 grains of new Unique and they were no more sooty than any other non magnum round IMO. I was shooting .38spl - 160g cast SWC over 5g W231 in a magnum case and it was almost identical to the .45lc loads I mentioned above in the soot dept.

    8 ~ 9 grains Unique under a cast 250g bullet gives you 8 ~ 9 hundred fps.
  14. huntershooter

    huntershooter Well-Known Member

    I use a couple "moderate" loads using HS-6 and 2400.
    Loads are in the 1100 fps range (250-260 gr.). Taken from Hodgen manual.
  15. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Well-Known Member

    As huntershooter mentioned HS-6 would be worth a look. Blue dot or vit N105 would be good canidates as well. Also- maybe AA #5. Possibly AA#7 for not quite ruger only stuff.

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