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45 colt in a lever rifle

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Thompsongunner, Sep 27, 2011.

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  1. Thompsongunner

    Thompsongunner Member

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    Just bought my soon to be Wife an early Christmas Present! A 1873 Uberti Wincheaster in .45 colt. I have been reloading .45 acp for awhile now and was wondering a few things. Do I need to use a roll crimp in Rifles? I have lots of .45 bullets. I know the .45 colt uses the same .452 diameter but can I use them in place of the roll crimp bullets?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, you have to use a roll crimp on anything to be used in a tube magazine.
    Otherwise, recoil and mag spring tension will push all the bullets back in the cases.

    Auto pistol bullets would not be a good choice, as there is no crimp groove on them.

    A lever-gun is also very critical on cartridge OAL and bullet shape.
    Too short may not feed feed, and too long won't fit in the cartridge lifter and will lock up the gun tighter then a gnats hind end.

    A cast lead 250 grain RNFP bullet is typically a good choice for plinking loads, as thats what they & the guns sights were designed for.

    Most any brand of .45 Colt jacketed bullet will also crimp to the correct length for a lever-action if you want to go there.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  3. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Yes, you definitely want a proper crimp groove and a roll crimp. I would not use .45ACP bullets without one. A cannelure can be added to jacketed bullets if you want to go to the trouble but I'd rather use cheaper .45Colt cast bullets. As stated, overall length is very important and the 1873 will tell you right off the bat if your loads will work or not.

    These are great rifles and I'm sure you'll love yours. Mine is in .38-40 and is a tackdriver!
    [​IMG]
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Might be worth mentioning too that the 1873 action is not strong enough for hot loads.

    Stick to Standard .45 Colt load data and leave the "Ruger Only" loads to somebody with a Marlin 1894.

    rc
     
  5. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Amen to all of the above comments, and I'll add one more. My wife and I both shoot SASS events all year long. Most of the SASS shooters are using either 200 gr. RNFP bullets, or in some cases, 185 gr. RNFP bullets in .45 Colt. These make for an economical and fun round to shoot in the 73's. Trail Boss is also a good powder in the leverguns.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Fred
    Any problems with sight regulation when dropping the standard bullet weight that much?

    I have had some Winchester lever-guns that simply didn't have enough sight adjustment available when you went very far outside the standard bullet weights they were designed for.
    But I never sight them in at CASS target distance either?

    Never had a .45 Colt lever-action either.


    rc
     
  7. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Not at all, rc. The windage remains the same and the sights have plenty of elevation adjustment. In SASS we're only talking about shooting at 25 yards or so with the rifle, but even out at 75 and 100 yards they work fine.

    I have a good friend who makes a living selling and doing action jobs on the Winchester 66's and 73's, and makes the short stroke kit that a lot of the '73 gunsmiths are installing. He uses the 200 gr. RNFP for regulating his rifles.

    I shoot mine in my Marlin 1894 Cowboy and I can shoot flies that land on my target at short ranges. Well, sometimes I hit them.........

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  8. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Yep but Brian Pearce suggests they are strong enough for loads in the 20,000psi range and provided loading data in an issue of Handloader. If I remember right, 250-260gr bullets at 1400fps. Which ain't too bad!
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Might be, but I wouldn't make a habit of it if you want your toggle links to remain the right length over time.

    rc
     
  10. Coyote3855

    Coyote3855 Member

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    ^^^ What he said.
     
  11. Tallinar

    Tallinar Member

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    As for the use of the .45 ACP bullets in .45 Colt - I would shy away, as others have said, due to the lack of crimping groove. You might get by using them in light revolver loads with a light roll crimp though. I've done this before with no issue when I all I had sitting around was some .45 ACP bullets. Wouldn't suggest it for hotter loads though.

    As for bullet weights, I've always stuck to 250gr bullets for my .45's for CAS. Settled on a pretty clean-burning, accurate with this bullet weight for my revolvers and model 92. I'll stick with it.
     
  12. Thompsongunner

    Thompsongunner Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! You have pretty much confirm what I was already thinking but with all the .45 bullets I have I thought it was worth asking.
    I have bought some 250gr. RNFP bullets that I plan on loading with some clays powder since I already have a bunch of it. How strong of crimp would you recomend I use?
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    A medium crimp is probably all you need with those light Clays loads as heavy recoil isn't going to be a factor.

    The actual crimp groove depth on the bullets you have will tell you when you have enough to prevent bullet movement.

    rc
     
  14. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    If you want to try some of your cast .45 acp bullets, just roll crimp into the side of the bullet wherever it needs to be. I do this all the time with bullets I'm loading for my Marlin rifles to get the proper OAL. As long as you're not crimping into the lube groove, it works just fine. You just need enough crimp to keep the magazine spring from compressing the rounds in the tube.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  15. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    You don't need a hellacious crimp on it like you would with heavy revolver loads. Just enough to keep the bullet from getting pushed into the case.
     
  16. Red Cent

    Red Cent Member

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    As a long time cowboy shooter and have always used the1873, you have a pretty big OAL window with the '73.

    The OAL will not matter chambering a round. One of the best things about the '73 is that it traps the cartridge and presents the cartridge in a staight line to the chamber.

    1.The problem occurs when the rounds are too short. This allows the rim of the next cartridge to protrude out of the mag tube and blocks the rise of the elevator.

    2. If the rounds are too long, the round will not clear the mag tube when the elevator tries to bring it up.

    In the beginning, I shot 45 Colt. I ran my 20" '73 with 165 gr LRNFPs regularly and I crimped in the groove. I have ran 200 gr and crimped in the groove.

    I am not being disrespectable since two of the most knowledgeable posters on the site has given you some advice. I have and do run 45acp lead through my '73. I used truncated cones and FPs only. I don't trust the RN.

    On any light load, I have discovered that a very firm roll crimp is needed, especially on the 45 Colt. The bullet should be retained as long as you can to allow the pressure to seal of the brass in the chamber. Otherwise, the actio gets dirty and you have some pretty crappy looking brass.

    I simply crimp where the OAL is correct with the ACP. Your crimp die will bite the lead good and you and I know it will not bother minute of steel accuarcy. Just be sure to not leave an edge on the brass sticking up.

    BTW, I (and others) radius the chamber hole JUST BARELY. Most faulty crimps will not catch the edge.

    Congratulations on buying the premier rifle of cowboy action.

    Now I wanna know if it is shortstroked, slicksprings, and an action job.
     
  17. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I have a Win M94 in .45lc.
    I've loaded it to same level as my Ruger Revolvers with #2400 and Jacketed bullets but don't go there anymore, for either....

    I enjoy shooting the guns with cast bullets as others have mentioned.

    If you want to shoot the .45acp bullets (ie: jacketed and cast w/o crimp groove, I suggest you do this:
    Use a .45acp sizer die to size your .45lc brass. The .45acp die is nominally smaller and with the bullets seated normally, you'll see a buldge where the bullet seats too. Like it does with the .45acp, it'll keep the bullet from being pushed back in the brass from chambering or recoil in the magazine. No need to crimp other than a light crimp to eliminate the flare for seating. Crimp too much and you'll damage the bullet, possibly causing accuracy problems. Also, the Starline brass is a bit thicker than Rem.Win., or MagTech.

    A friend had read an article on using the 185gr XTP in the .45lc in a magazine somewhere and "just had to shoot some" through his Taurus "Thunderer" pump rifle. Though the worked and functioned well, they didn't shoot anywhere near where he had his rifle sighted. After admitting "I told you so", he's gone back to shooting the 200gr and 255gr FN cast bullets over 7.8gr of Universal for about 1,200fps with either. They work well enough to shoot clean through a deer lengthwise at 50yds......(he's done it twice with the 255's)

    FWIW, the best jacketed bullet I've found for the .45lc is the cannulured Hornady 250gr XTP. I bought 500 "blems" several years ago. Loaded over 20.0gr of #2400 I got some <2" groups from the M94 at 100yds. Still have most as I prefer the 255gr Cast RFN (Lee .454" RFN) at ~900fps from revolvers and 1,200fps from rifles (above mentioned 7.8gr of Universal).
     
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Good points, Red Cent. :)
     
  19. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    I don't understand this. Some models of the Uberti 1873 are chambered in .44 Magnum which has a higher chamber pressure than "hot" .45 Colt loads.

    The 1894 is also chambered in both .44 Magnum and .45 Colt (which I have) and there are no differences in the actions of these rifles.

    Just curious (since my son will be shopping for a .45 Colt lever gun soon and the Uberti was on our short list).

    Dan
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    ZERO models of the 1873 are chambered in .44Mag. Never happened, never will. The Winchester and Marlin 94's are strong enough for the .44Mag, the 1873 is not.
     
  21. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    The modern Italian 1873s are no doubt stronger than the original Winchester 1873s, due to improvements in steel alloys and heat treating, but the toggle-lock design is still not as strong as the locking bolts of the Winchester 1892/1894 and Marlin 1894 designs. The .45 Colt doesn't really need to be hot-rodded to be potent, anyway, as the original blackpowder load of a 250 grain lead bullet at 900 feet-per-second stands up pretty well against anything out there, as far as effectiveness goes. I about match that with a 250 gr. lead semi-wadcutter over 8.5 grains of Unique, and it works well in both my Uberti Cattleman and my Rossi Model 92.
     
  22. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    Is this a typo on their website?

    http://www.uberti.com/firearms/1873_rifle_and_carbine.php

    1873 CARBINE — 19" .44 MAG
    MSRP $1,309
    Blued; A-grade walnut; round barrel

    Dan
     
  23. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    Both of my sons and I carry Ruger Blackhawks and I carry a Bisley in .45 Colt. We load to published "hot" ballistics and would like to carry a .45 Colt lever gun that both guns can use interchangeably.

    I have the Marlin 1894 in .45 Colt and shoot slightly de-rated loads in this rifle that I also shoot in my Bisley (23.0 grains of W296 under a 240 grain Hornady XTP-Mag vs. 25 grains of W296 for just the revolvers alone).

    My eldest son is in the market for a .45 Colt lever gun to go with his Blackhawk. Marlin 1894's have dried up because of the Remlin shut-down. We are considering alternatives.

    Dan
     
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    That's got to be a misprint. No way is the 1873 action strong enough for the .44Mag. It's based on a firearm (Volcanic) that predates metallic cartridges!

    Why do you detune your Marlin loads? The Marlin 1894 is stronger than the large frame Blackhawk and considered safe up to 40,000psi, compared to the Ruger's 32,000psi.
     
  25. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    CraigC,

    Uberti has been putting out the '73 in .44 Magnum for awhile now, but I don't know anyone who owns one. I know I won't, and my friend who owns Pioneer Gun Works (www.pioneergunworks.com) won't own one, either. Uberti claims to have somehow strengthened the toggle link in the .44 Magnum rifles, but it remains to be seen if they're going to hold up to much shooting. It's supposed to be a completely different rifle internally from the .357 and .45 caliber rifles. My friend has serviced several of the .357 caliber '73's that had bent toggle links from shooting hot .38's and .357 Magnum ammunition through them, along with some in .45 Colt. The design isn't engineered for high pressure loads, but they do in fact offer one in .44 Magnum for those who choose to live on the edge..........

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
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