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Suggestions for Reloading 45 colt for a yellowboy

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Norseland, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Norseland

    Norseland Member

    Hey THR,

    I'm going to start reloading for my 45 colt Yellowboy and I only shoot cowboy loads from it anyway, any suggestions on a grain measurement that would replicate a cowboy load?

  2. Crunchy Frog

    Crunchy Frog Well-Known Member

    Go to Hodgdon's website and download the current manual. You'll find a section dealing specifically with cowboy action loads.
  3. Norseland

    Norseland Member

    Thanks Frog but I went there and those loads are way to high for the 1866.
  4. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    By the rule book you can't shoot at less than 400 fps. So that sets the lower baseline. At the top end the maximum allowed for rifle is 1400 fps. Which would be a stout loading for any .45 handgun cartridge and actually up into .454Casull country.

    So just how close to the 400 fps lower limit do you want to get?

    The grains of powder needed to achieve this rather mouse like performance will depend on what weight of bullet you're planning on using and also which powder you'll use. None of which you gave us in your post.

    My own thinking is that unless you want to make it feel like you're shooting a .22 that you want to get the speed up to somewhere between 600 and 700 fps. Which is at or just a little below the starting loads for pistol .45Colt given on the Hodgdon reloading data website.

    A buddy that reloads his .45Colt ammo over at my place for use in CAS is putting 6.4 to 6.5 gns of Universal in behind 200 gn RNFP cast bullets. This gives him a soft but still decently sporty feeling round which moves out at around 740 fps from a revolver barrel according to the reloading data. From a rifle it would likely be up around 800 fps. From his Model 94 the recoil is similar to my Rossi 92 shooting regular power .38Spl.
  5. Norseland

    Norseland Member

    OK, thanks.

    I have been using Hornady 255 gr and a Magtech 250 both are easy to shoot casue let's face it, its a handgun round in a hevy rifle, So really even now it's joke compared to my '94! Ha!

    I found one guys post somewher he uses 6.2 of tightgroup, w/ a 230 gr flp

    I would think I'd try and stay w/ the 250. So would that 6.2 still be acceptable?
    Again just looking for any personal experience if any one would care to share it.

    Thanks again All!

  6. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    He's using the 200's because the bullets cost less due to less lead. And since we're shooting in CAS matches there's no need to send a lot of power downrange.

    With heavier bullets you want to reduce the powder charge to hold the pressure and recoil down for an equal power. So if you want to use the same powder to produce the equivalent muzzle energy of a heavier bullet at a slower speed you'd need to drop down to probably 6gns of Universal. Or you could stay at 6.4 and live with the little extra kick.

    In all cases when trying a new load it's aways wise to make up a half dozen each of a range of powder charge weights and then go try each batch to see which works for you. In your case the idea is not to run from low to high power but to span a range of the lower power side of the options. Once you find what you like then make lots.
  7. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to figure out what's "way too high" about Hodgdon's standard pressure data. Loads range from 6000-14,000CUP. :confused:

    6.2gr Titegroup under a 250gr RNFP is a maximum in Hodgdon's data and runs 13,000CUP. Listed at 881fps from a revolver, it'll probably run 1000-1100fps from a rifle.
  8. BSA1

    BSA1 Well-Known Member

    Wow! I didn't think it was possible to download the 45 Colt to only 400 fps. That would be like a cockroach fart. :uhoh:

    I use IMR-700X for my 45 Colt CAS loads for many years with satisfaction.
  9. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Using a small pinch of smokless powder in a big case designed for black powder is a bad idea. For mild loads you need a bulkey powder like Trail Boss.
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    No, they are not.

    Sticking a bullet in the barrel of your 66 trying to go to low & slow is much more serious then shooting any of Hodgdon listed standard pressure .45 Colt MAX loads in it forever.

    250 GR. CAST LRNFP - Titegroup .452" 1.600"
    Start 5.0 - 716 FPS - 7,600 CUP
    MAX 6.2 881 13,000 CUP

    250 GR. CAST LRNFP IMR Trail Boss .452" 1.600"
    Start 4.5 - 606 FPS 8,800 PSI
    MAX 5.8 - 727 FPS 12,700 PSI

    I'd use the Trail-boss, as 5.8 grains is very bulky, and the chance of a double charge is almost impossible.

    Titegroup on the other hand?
    You could probably fit a triple charge in a .45 Colt case.

  11. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I love Titegroup for smaller charges in both small and large cases because it meters better than Unique and is not position sensitive. However, you have to be careful with it and be sure to visually check every case to make sure there are no double charges. I've never used it in the .45Colt but 9.0gr in the .44Mag fills the case less than half full. Unique is my first choice in the .45Colt.
  12. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    Red Dot is a good powder in .45 Colt. It doesn't take much, but it's bulky enough you can see that it's in there. And it burns clean, but not as clean as American Select.

    Titegroup is terrible with cast bullets. Don't fall for the hype about position insensitive in large cases, it's no better or worse than any fast powder in that regard. But it is dark-colored and dense (so you can't see it in deep revolver cases) and it burns really hot and smoky with cast bullets and will scorch the outside of your brass. It works good in 9mm with jacketed bullets.
  13. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    I've used several pounds of Titegroup over the last few years with nary a complaint. All cast bullets. No hype, experience. If you can't see the charge in your cases, your loading bench needs better lighting.
  14. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    At 400 fps it would be more like a MOSQUITO FART! ! ! :D Truly unless a shooter is out to get as close to "gaming" as possible within the rules it's far more fun to shoot at around 700 to 800 fps. And at that speed the rounds are not punishing to the hand for the revolver or in any way hard on the shoulder.

    I gotta agree with Craig about the lighting comment. If you can't see inside and easily see the powder or flash hole then adjustments and/or extra lighting is needed.

    One of the mods I'm definetly doing on my Dillon 550b once it comes out of mothballs when my shop renos are done is to install a white LED flashlight head and a little dental mirror so I can visually check the powder level at the bullet seating die before the bullet goes on.

    It's still not an excuse to relax though. At present I'm trying to use up a couple of lbs of Bullseye in my .38's. 3.2 gns of powder in the bottom of a .38 casing isn't any more than a small pinch. The mirror and light will let me see the powder and avoid a possible squib. But I still need to watch myself to ensure I don't double charge if there's a hiccup at one of the other stations.
  15. rule303

    rule303 Well-Known Member

    Trail Boss is your friend when loading cast bullets in big cases like the .45 Colt. It burns clean, is easy to measure, and shoots great. It will cost more than using Unique or another fast pistol powder, but is still a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest factory .45 Colt ammo.
  16. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Well-Known Member

    Of course accuracy is also a concern...
    Some of the old west shooters do not do to well at the low end of the velocity spectrum because the load is so light that the pressure does not deform the bullet base enough to seal the gases behind the slug. And then you get gas blasting past the bullet in the barrel, which means less velocity, a dirty bore and crummy accuracy.

    Since the 45 Colt was never used in the original Lever Guns of the old west, ""due to it straight case walls which did not seal the gas very well and its originally small rim which gave poor extraction,"" you may need to develop a load which is zippy enough to seal the case, yet wimpy enough for the weak action of a 1866 repro.

    Step one: should be to slug your bore and check to see the exact diameter of your lands and grooves. This will help you decide which diameter slugs to cast and size or to buy. Your gun may have a tight bore which would like the .452 slugs or it might be a touch larger and like the .454 slugs.
    My Rossi 24 inch (45 Colt M-92 repro) liked the Oregon Trail 250 grain slugs at .452, but my Italian 1873 clone liked a longer bullet, The H&G 260 grain bullet, sized to .454. Go figure.

    6.8 grains of WW-231 or HP-38 (they are the same thing) Lets my 24 inch Rossi M-92 clone toss the 250 grain slug at 940 fps. The only thing I do not like about this and a coupe other loads is how much empty case it leaves.

    7.5-8.0 grains of Unique will give you about 1,000 fps for the 250 grain slug.

    I like 17.0 grains of Accurate 5744[/B], it is a weird powder that fills up the case, yet has very low pressure. I get 1,045 fps for the 250 grain from my Rossi with 17,0 grains and my 1873 Italian clone like 16.0 grains for the H&G 260 grain bullet. My log book says that is a 950 fps load.

    IMR-4756 is another neat powder made to take up room, and yet have fairly low pressure. 8.8 grains will also push a 250 grain to 1,050 from my Rossi.

    I have used Trail Boss, but they were not very accurate loads and they were pretty dirty. Something like 6 or 7 grains fills up the whole case since it looks like Spaghetti-Os.

    By the way, 34 grains of Goex FFFg black powder pushed to 260 grain H&G slug from the 24 inch 1873 clone at over 1,120 fps. But it was only accurate for the first five shots. Then the bore fouling became a problem.
  17. VA27

    VA27 Well-Known Member

    I like 231 and Unique. My standard load for my 1860 Henry and 1873 carbine is 8grs of Unique with a cast 200gr or 250gr bullet (whatever I have on hand). I think that 231 may burn a little cleaner in my guns, but I'm out right now. I may give Red Dot a try, too. I've also heard of using 2400 for rifle loads as the slower burning powder gives a little more velocity out of the long barrels without exceeding standard pressures, (due to the slower burn rate) but I haven't done enough research to feel comfortable trying it.

    A little trick I use is to NOT full length resize my cases. I set up a spare 45ACP carbide die so that I only neck size the case to the base of the bullet. I don't know if it helps any, but it makes me feel good and has the added attraction that the cartridges resemble the bottleneck shape of the 44/40.

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