1873 SAA which caliber would you guys get ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by candymancan, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I don't use the term purist to mean resisting real improvements, one of which was smokeless powder.
     
  2. Nasty Canasta

    Nasty Canasta Member

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    45 Colt started me down the reloading path many years ago as it was & is an expensive round to buy off the shelf. Never loaded any BP in metallic cartridges, only smokeless. I got the Old Army if I want to go that route & with a matching lever action I like to share the same plated bullet ammo. 45's are more satisfying for me-something about plunking those big rounds into the cylinder makes me smile :)
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  3. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    I never mentioned a thing about powder and what does smokeless powder have to do with it regarding shooting the four click action?

    But since you bring it up and as far as smokeless powder being an improvement in something like shooting cowboy action and playing with 19th century style guns that is definitely questionable and IMO certainly not an improvement for the particular application.
     
  4. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    Please remember use the real deal with black powder, not the fake stuff.
    Using black a soap (Dawn) water clean up is required.
    A very good read is the "45 book" by John Taffin, he covers very 45 cartridge made.
     
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  5. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Like to argue?
     
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  6. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    When I bought my Colt, it was .45 Colt caliber.

    Because that's what it was originally made on and that's what I wanted.

    If I were to buy another, it would be in .357, because my oldest daughter's belt is tooled for that.
     
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  7. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    Your post made it seem that a Uberti could no longer be had in a form a purest would approve of and when I made that clear so that other readers would not be mislead you completely went off track on something to do with smokeless powder. LOL Now you accuse me of arguing when I questioned what the powder had to do with my post. LOL Have a hard time staying on track? LOL
     
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  8. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    You like to argue.
     
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  9. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    I love the 45 LC but unless you want to go all the way original (although an Uberti is already a bit off the "original" path) I have found that the 357 magnum is the most economic & versatile revolver chambering for self defense especially when paired with a lever 357 Mag carbine .
     
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  10. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    You are seeing nothing but 20 round boxes of 45 Colt these days because of the current shortage of ammunition. I just checked Midway USA and almost all of the standard 45 Colt loads they are listing are out of stock. This is partially due to the pandemic, when so many businesses had to shut down, and the ammo companies have not caught up yet. It is also due to panic buying and hoarding. This happens every few years.

    45 Colt is a great cartridge, it has been around since the introduction of the Colt Single Action Army in 1873.

    There is no question 45 Colt is more expensive to shoot than 38 Special or 357 Magnum. First off, the bullets are bigger and heavier, so more lead means higher cost. I discovered a long time ago the only cost effective way to shoot 45 Colt was to load my own cartridges. That is still true today, it is much less expensive to load your own instead of buying factory ammunition. Unfortunately you are coming to it at a bad time. Just like the ammunition shortage, there is a shortage of loading components too. Partially because whenever there is an ammunition shortage, more shooters start loading their own, and that leads to shortages. I buy most of my brass from Starline, and they are currently out of 45 Colt brass. I have never seen that before, they have always had it in stock whenever I needed any. Perhaps Starline will be able to meet the increased demand soon. Reloading Dies are hard to come by now too, as are primers. When you are able to find a set of 45 Colt dies, be sure you spend the extra few dollars on carbide dies. With ordinary steel dies you have to lube the cases or they will get stuck in the sizing die. A carbide set of dies has a ring of carbide in the base of the sizing die. The carbide surface is so smooth no case lube is needed. Hornady does not make carbide dies, but their dies have a Titanium Nitride coating which allows cases to be sized without needing case lube.

    I started loading 45 Colt about 20 years ago when I first started shooting in Cowboy Action Shooting. One of the beauties of loading 45 Colt is the components are large and easy to handle. Do yourself a favor and buy a reloading manual, and read it cover to cover. Don't rely on you tube videos to show you how to load cartridges.

    I have been loading 45 Colt and several other cartridges with Black Powder for many years now. The amount of Black Powder you pour into a cartridge actually varies slightly because not all Black Powder weighs the same. My rule of thumb is to pour in enough powder that when the bullet is seated, it will compress the powder by between 1/16" - 1/8". My standard load these days is 2.2CC (about 33.3 grains) of Schuetzen FFg under a 250 grain Big Lube PRS bullet. I usually use Federal Large Pistol primers, but any Large Pistol primer will work fine. Don't listen to guys who tell you that you need Magnum primers for Black Powder, it is not true. Black Powder is actually easier to ignite than Smokeless powder.

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    I don't actually scoop out powder with the Lyman dipper in the above photo, it is just there for reference. I load all my cartridges on a Hornady Lock & Load AP progressive press. This is an old photo, there are several different brands of brass on the shell plate.

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    When loading Black Powder into cartridges you need to use bullets that have a Black Powder compatible bullet lube on them. The bullet lube on regular cast bullets usually does not mix well with Black Powder. It tends to combine with the fouling and leave a hard, crusty fouling in the rifling that ruins accuracy and is difficult to remove. There are lots of recipes for Black Powder compatible bullet lubes out there, the lube you see in the above photo is SPG, bullet lube. Generally speaking, a BP compatible bullet lube will be soft and gooey. The bullet you are looking at is the Big Lube 250 grain PRS bullet. The Big Lube series of bullets have a huge lube groove that carries enough lube to keep the barrel of a rifle coated with soft lube its entire length, doing away with the need to swab the barrel to keep up the accuracy. This photo shows a 44-40 cartridge on the left and a 45 Colt on the right. Beside each cartridge are the Big Lube bullets I use in them. I have removed the lube from one of each bullet to illustrate how large the lube groove is.

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    I have very little experience with the Black Powder substitutes. I will caution you to stay away from Pyrodex, it is said to leave fouling behind that is difficult to clean up. I do know that American Pioneer Powder does not need special BP bullet lube, it works fine with modern lubes.

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    Just to head off any misunderstandings, despite its name, Trailboss is not a Black Powder substitute. It is a Smokeless powder and never should be used as a substitute for Black Powder.

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    One other thing, despite what you may have heard, Black Powder is not as corrosive as many shooters think. I have often gone over a week before cleaning my guns after shooting them with Black Powder. I am not going to admit in public how long, but they did not revert to being piles of rust. Cleaning up after shooting Black Powder is messy, much messier than cleaning up after Smokeless, but with a good water based BP solvent it is easier than cleaning up after smokeless.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
  11. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Today, with ammo prices as they are along with their scarcity, chambering is the least of your worries. Finding components is number one. 45 Colt, if you can find lead, won't cost appreciably more to load than 357 plus will be easier on the ears. My vote, after sixty plus years shooting it, is for the big one. BTW, my load of choice is the 454424 or 45-255KT and around 8 grains of Unique
     
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  12. Terry G

    Terry G Member

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    SA has to be Colt or copy. .45 Colt of course. IMG_3708.JPG
     
  13. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again

    I consider myself a purist. The Black Powder frame, the frame with the cylinder pin secured by a screw angled up in the frame to hold it, began transitioning to the 'modern' frame with the spring loaded cylinder latch around 1892. I have seven Colts. Four second Gens:

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    One 2nd Gen New Frontier

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    And two 1st Gen Bisley models.

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    None of them have the Blackpowder Frame. The 2nd Gens are way too new, the two 1st Gens are from 1907 and 1909, after the transition was made to the modern spring loaded style latch.




    I even still have an Uberti Cattleman with the modern style latch.

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    I have never considered myself less of a purist because I don't have a Colt or replica Blackpowder Frame.
     
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  14. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Definitely choose .45colt in that SAA.
    Personally, I shoot black in my c&b guns, and smokeless in my SAA. To each his own.
    If you are familiar with loading c&b guns, then reloading metallic is just a short step. .45colt is one of my favorites to load too.
     
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  15. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    I'd say hold out for one of the hyphenated cartridges, probably 44-40 in this climate. 45 is gonna be more lead, more powder, and more money. 357 is going to be the economical route but not much for nostalgia.
     
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  16. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    I'm pretty sure 44-40 is not one of the available chamberings in the Uberti Cattleman that the OP is interested in.

    Besides, there really isn't a whole lot of difference between a 250 grain 45 caliber bullet and a 200 grain 44 caliber bullet. I load 44-40 with Black Powder all the time. Until very recently I had no revolvers chambered for the round. I shoot 44-40 almost exclusively in rifles.

    When I load 44-40 I use the exact same amount of powder that I do in 45 Colt. Smokeless or Black Powder.
     
  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have an original Ruger Vaquero in 45 Colt and 2 New Vaqueros in 38/357. The original Vaquero is larger than the SAA but the new Vaquero is lose in size to the SAA.

    If you don't reload I would buy the SAA in 38/357 but if you do reload I would buy either the 45 Colt or 44-40. Like said above, with the 44-40 I would use a Black Powder substitute because the bullet is helped to stay in place by riding on the powder.

    I suggest using Alliant Black MZ because its very resistant to moisture and is almost non-corrosive.
    https://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/blackmz.aspx
     
  18. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I've got a USFA in 45 Colt, but I almost wish it was chambered for 38/357, but only because I already load for those two, and have plenty of components for them. For what little I'll shoot the 45 Colt, it's just not worth gearing up to reload for it.

    Of course I do save my brass, and I just checked. Lee still makes their "Lee Loader" kit in 45 Colt. That's how I got started years ago...Maybe...Naw...
     
  19. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    @candymancan
    If you’re going to get into reloading do not listen to this guy…(My post from earlier) :D:D:D

    Listen to this guy…;)
    A couple of folks have said the .45 Colt is easier to reload than the smaller cartridges / calibers. That is true. It’s easier because the components are bigger. Less fumbly. :cool:

    If you’re going to hand load with Blackpowder there are things you should and shouldn’t do in regards to hand loading cartridges. For instance; Do not use the standard bench top powder measure with the plastic hopper. Those can build up static. Static build up might cause a spark. A spark could be very bad with BP. :what:

    I know you said you had BP experience with your 1851 revolvers, but loading those and loading cartridges is a bit different.

    Here is a book that can help guide you:
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1012862080/

    I do not now load BP but I dabbled in it a few years back. BP and bronchitis do not go together so I stopped. Thankfully I no longer have bronchitis issues but I have decided to stick with smokeless.
     
  20. candymancan

    candymancan member

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    Well i opted to get a Hawkens black powder rifle from pedersoli in basspro yesturday.

    I got 20% off, and had $100 in cabelas points on my card and th3 2% bsck got me 10$ almost, AND i got 25$ in points because i spent over 250. So i got the gun essentually for 380$ before tax. Original price was 640$ for the 54 cal i got. I just couldnt pass up a 20% off labor day sale on it.


    Plus i have the powder. Caps. Cleaning tools. And stuff already for it and 200 .530 balls were only 50$.

    So for now the 1873 is on the back burner, but i do plan to still get 1. I also think i need to get into hand loading bp cartridges anyway. Because i also have a 1874 Sharps Quigley rifle. In 45-70 and 45-70 ammo is way too expensive.. 55$ a box of 20. I have 300 rounds for it and that was over 800$ in ammo.

    So your saying if i get a 1873 it has to be the one that doesnt have the floating firing pin ? If i reload in bp ? Because of the frame style ?? Like the cattleman 2 has a floating pin. And i think the cylinder pin was changed youre talking about

    Once thats shot up im going to reload them in BP to save on money.

    No i started to realize bp isnt as corrosive if you keep the guns dry. I didnt clean my two 1851 navy for 2 weeks because i was selling my house and had alot of moving to do and when i cleaned them a week ago there was 0 corrosion or rust.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
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  21. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Many don't like the new ones with the retractable firing pin. That is all that Uberti is making now. There may still be some old stock with the fixed firing pin in the hammer. I'm pretty sure Pietta is still making them with a fixed firing pin in the hammer.

    The Black Powder Frame merely refers to a frame with an angled screw holding the cylinder pin in place. All modern replicas, no matter how the cylinder pin is retained, are made of modern steel and are perfectly capable of being fired with Smokeless ammo. Yes, I know it is confusing. When the Single Action Army was first made in 1873 it had a angled screw holding the cylinder pin in place. So one needed a screwdriver to remove the cylinder pin and the cylinder. About 1892 Colt started using the current way to retain the cylinder pin, a spring loaded latch that is mounted in the frame. Some shooters believe that any antique Colt that has the modern style latch is OK to shoot with Smokeless ammunition, but Colt did not factory warranty the SAA for Smokeless Powder until 1900, so there is a gap of about 8 years when the modern style latch was being used, but the revolvers were not yet safe to shoot with Smokeless ammunition.

    This is an antique Colt with the angled screw holding the cylinder pin in place.

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    This Colt has the modern style, spring loaded latch retaining the cylinder pin.

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    So, yes it is confusing. Black Powder Frame is just a label today, any modern made replica of the Colt Single Action Army is made of modern steel, and they are fine to be fired with Smokeless ammuntion, no matter which style frame they have.
     
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  22. candymancan

    candymancan member

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    So i dont need a black powder frame to use black powder cartridges .
     
  23. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    I would get the .357. And load with smokeless. Very versatile caliber from mild to heavy enough to get your attention. Ammo will be available again. I have been loading with Trail Boss. But I am out now. Hopefully it will be available again. The 2 indoor ranges I go to do not allow blackpowder. Just something for us suburban bound people to think about. If you have your own range that is not a factor. But either caliber is just fine.
     
  24. Jackalope 1

    Jackalope 1 Member

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    One BIG CAUTION, be sure you have very good cross venalation to the outdoors, melting lead creates very toxic fumes, can lead to cancers of all types, no BS, research honestly done has shown such to be true.
     
  25. tark

    tark Member

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    In my experience this is quite true. I think the old corrosive primers were for more injurious to a gun than the black powder residue was.
     
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