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Upper end loads for the Ruger New Vaquero in 45 Colt

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Balrog, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    How hot can I push a 45 Colt New Vaquero using a 250g hard cast lead bullet? With the new smaller frame, is it still OK to use "Ruger only" data that was originally intended for the Black Hawk and old Vaquero?
  2. Tallinar

    Tallinar Well-Known Member

    No, you will not want to load that hot in the New Vaquero. The New Vaquero frame/cylinder dimensions are closer to that of the original SAA than the Old Vaq or Blackhawk - and are only very slightly beefier than the SAA.

    I have read (but never had reason to test) several accounts that the New Vaquero could comfortably digest up to the realm of about 21,000 PSI - this being 50% greater than the SAAMI spec of 14,000 PSI. The reasons cited for this had to do with modern metalurgy, as well as the very slight dimensional advantages of the New Vaq over the SAA.

    If you do decide to venture above SAAMI spec, tread lightly! Personally, a .45 Colt in standard loadings does everything I want it to do, so I will stay within SAAMI pressure guidelines with my New Vaqs. If I get the itch to load .45 Colt hotter, I use a lever gun.

    Be safe!
  3. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    Can I safely load a Ruger New Vaquero with a 250g bullet @1000 fps? Thats what I would like, if doable.
  4. Tallinar

    Tallinar Well-Known Member

    Check out this Gunblast article. Toward the top of the page, the author gives a nice little chart comparing key dimensional differences on the SAA, Old Vaq, and New Vaq.
  5. Tallinar

    Tallinar Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is definitely doable within SAAMI spec. In fact, this isn't too far off from the numbers of the original standard black powder loading. Just need to find the right way to duplicate it with smokeless powder.

    I don't have my reloading manuals with me right now to confirm pressure numbers, but take a look at loads using Unique. As I recall, 10.0gr of Unique should get you just about 1,000 fps with a 250gr bullet. Alliant's website lists a .45 Colt revolver load with 9.5gr of Unique under a 250gr SWC for 941 fps out of a 5.5 inch barrell.

    10.0 grains of Unique with that bullet may be slightly over SAAMI max. If not, then it's gotta be toward the high end. Refer to loading manuals on that one. Hopefully some other folks will chime in. There may be some other good powders out there for this - but I started with and pretty much stick to only Unique and Trailboss in my .45's.

    I don't load that hot too often, personally. I stay around 8.0 or 8.5 grains for my target and carry loads - which would be in the neighborhood of 800 fps under a 250gr lead bullet.
  6. murf

    murf Well-Known Member

    look in the speer #14 reloading manual on page 981.

  7. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    Not sure I have that one. Can you summarize?
  8. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    My question would be, WHY? The .45 Colt was developed to use a 250gr bullet @900 fps to shoot a horse out from under it's rider. It did that very well when it was developed and it will probably shoot right through most if not all animals in North America today at the same velocities.

    Bullet speed isn't everything. A 45-70 loaded with a 405gr lead bullet at only 1400 fps will go clean through a Buffalo. I'm wondering if a 300 Win Mag at factory velocities could so the same?
  9. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    Maybe I don't need the extra velocity, but I was thinking that to stop a bear, you would need to hit him in the brain, which is behind thick bone. The horse analogy is OK, but I think they were shooting a horse in the heart, which is not as protected by bone.
  10. Howdy folks,
    Balrog, Vihtavuori's latest loading pages show a .45 Colt 250gr jacketed bullet load with VV N105 reaching 1100+ fps at SAAMI pressure, 14,000 psi. That load was from a 6" test barrel. They also list two other 1K fps loads using N340 and N350, as well. 3N37 would likely work also, but VV didn't publish any data for that powder. http://www.vihtavuori-lapua.com/pdfs/Handgun-Reloading-Data-2006.pdf
    At least one fellow out there has posted his load using N105 under a 255 gr Keith at 1100 fps from a 5-1/2" barrel. It's been reported that this load is still in the 'comfortable' range, which is a consideration. I just found a couple of pounds of N105, but haven't yet tested that load in my NM flattop.

    Pistol for bear?
    Others have said to be sure and file the front sight off first; makes it easier when the bear shoves it...
    Seriously, a brain shot would be best, as you suggested. The best way to his brain is through the roof of his open mouth, or as a friend of mine discovered, with the bore at the back of the bear's head where the spinal column enters. Neither method comes with high recommendations. Legend has it that Dan'l Boone got the best of a bear by grinnin' at him. ymmv
  11. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Well-Known Member

    I have a couple of NM Vaquero's and use a lot of Trail Boss in them for CAS. I use Unique for the higher pressure/vel loads otherwise but with a 250 GR lead bullet and Trail Boss I like the recoil/feel of the load and rarely use the anything more stout than the cowboy loads. If I do feel the need for some serious recoil I will go the the 44 MAG or 454 Casull. I might someday work up some good loads for them that will provide a good velocity with 230 grain lead bullets. But--------when I have some spare tinkering time. :D
  12. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    As has been posted, the New Vaquero .45Colt is NOT safe for "Ruger only" data but can indeed be loaded beyond SAAMI standard pressures. The accepted maximum would be around 21,000psi. Brian Pearce and Dave Scovill have provided data in this range in Handloader magazine. This includes post-war Colt SAA's and domestic USFA replicas. They don't like to recommend loading to this level in Italian replicas but they are indeed available as .45ACP convertibles as well.
  13. Malckom

    Malckom Well-Known Member

    all things are doable,but at extreme pressures all you acomplish is over stressing your gun to the point it will swhoot it self loose. I know it is hard to do with a ruger but I'm sure you will have to shoot it some to get use to the higher loads and in the beginning of the blackhawk days they were on about the same fram size and ruger had to make them larger for the stress the guns were induring.P.S. even Elmer blew up a few guns in his beginning days.

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