1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

45 Colt loading data gripe

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by unspellable, Apr 4, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. unspellable

    unspellable Member

    Aug 30, 2004
    The available 45 Colt loading data seems to run to either of two extremes. We have factory equivalent loads held down to a level suitable for a vintage Colt SAA with its thin walled cylinder made with the best of mid 19th century metallurgy at one extreme and at the other, we see loads pushed up to levels out performing the 44 Magnum with "for Blackhawk only" loads.

    We need something in between. Almost any modern revolver you can name with the possible exception of some SAA knockoffs, should easily handle stiffer loads than the factory stuff.

    Keep in mind that blowing the cylinder apart is not the only consideration. For example, the N frame S&W 45 Colt cylinder will fail at exactly the same pressure as the Blackhawk cylinder, but the S&W's Achilles's heel lies in the yoke tail bearing on the bottom of the cylinder well and being quick to develop end shake with heavy loads.

    Some candidates:

    The Colt Anaconda. Nice heavy construction. I've already seen references to it standing up to heavy 45 Colt loads, although I've seen no specific loads.

    The Ruger Redhawk. Come on, Ruger build's 'em all like a tank.

    The Dan Wesson large frame. It stands up to very heavy 44 Magnum loads much better and far longer than the S&W.

    The Taurus Raging Bull. The frame and cylinder diameter was designed for the 454 Casull. The 45 Colt cylinder is a six holer with thinner webbing, but we are not talking about Casull level loads either.

    Freedom Arms. Another tank.

    You get the drift.
  2. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

    Mar 23, 2008

    I imagine that once familiar with the various present-day published 'SAMMI' blessed loading data, one may carefully decide proportionate increases in propellant and or Bullet Weight, and, arrive at neatly proportioned increases in power, calculated to respect the practical limits for the Arm at hand...measured with a Chronograph also if one likes, to see if the FPS are within the proportional increase one had calculated it to be.

    The Colt 'New Service' is also a Revolver which was often chambered in the .45 LC Cartridge, also, though I am not suggesting one should push them much.

    Same issue exists for .38 Special of course...
  3. Boxhead

    Boxhead Member

    Feb 18, 2006
    Bouncing between Geoje Korea, The Texas Hill Count
    All of those revolvers you have listed will handle "for Blackhawk only" with some, the Redhawk and FA M83 for sure, going beyond that level. Check out Buffalo Bore's website and their loads and you should get a good view on what revolvers can handle what level of 45 Colt load as Tim specifies same. Also, Brian Pierce has written a few articles that would give a similar steer. Lastly, Hodgdon's #26 manual (perhaps their website too but I cannot access it from here) will give good data if you consider min and max loads in the silhouette section. Not sure if this helps?
  4. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I just cast a 255 flat point and dump 8.3 grains of Unique in there to push it and live happy. It pushes 950 fps out of my 4 5/8" Blackhawk. It is also very accurate. This is an old standby load, well known. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS

    The 255 Keith SWC cast bullet, and I use 8.5 Unique.
    But 9.0 is also good in any gun.

    It has been the "standard" .45 Colt SAA goto load for more years then I have been around. (66 years)

    It has plenty of power to kill anything that walks in the lower 48.

  6. robctwo

    robctwo Member

    Jul 9, 2003
    Albany, Oregon
    5.5 Red Dot under 250 gr lrnfp is very pleasant.

    6.3 Red Dot, 200 gr lswc feels about the same.
  7. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

    Sep 15, 2007
    S.E. Minnesota
    That's why a Ruger New Vaquero is on my wishlist. Not as strong as a Blackhawk (I already have one of those) but a lot handier size and weight. It would be crazy to use Blackhawk load data, but the NV should handle loads just under 20000 psi fine.
  8. jmortimer

    jmortimer Member

    Jan 9, 2010
    South West Riverside County California
    Got rid of my "Old" Vaquero and got a "New Vaquero" - what a great gun out of the box. Yes you can go to 20 k psi but even then a 255 grain SWC can be loaded to SAAMI spec with 9.5 grains of Unique per Alliant manual. I use powder dippers so I get about 9.2 grains which is plenty for me. I would just get a Blackhawk .45 Colt if I wanted more. But I don't see how you can beat the new Vaqueros.
  9. EnsignJimmy

    EnsignJimmy Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    I do believe that so-called "Blackhawk-only" loads apply to the all the guns on your list; save the Anaconda and the Raging Bull. The Redhawk will shoot "Blackhawk-only" loads as long as your wrists can take it. , for example.

    There are actually several grades of heavy .45 Colt loads, depending on the manual you refer to. There's the 30,000 CUP top-end loads, which are definitely Blackhawk/Redhawk, T&C, Freedom Arms and similar guns-only loads. Then there's the ~25,000 CUP loads, which are definitely safe with the Dan Wesson guns, and probably safe with the Anaconda and Raging Bull. Some would say this is the limit of the S&W N-frame guns. There are heavy .45 Colt loads that don't exceed the .45 ACP pressure ceiling of 21,000 PSI, which won't shoot a S&W N-frame loose.

    Then, you have standard-pressure loads, which top out at 14,000 CUP; and have two grades of performance in them. Loads approaching the old 40 grain FFFg black powder load (255 grain @ ~1000 ft/sec out of a 7.5" barrel,) and those replicating the reduced-charge 28 grain FFFg government load (255 grain bullet @ ~725 ft/sec.) The old standby load consisting of a 250 - 255 grain bullet atop 8 to 9 grains of Unique falls into the former category. Most 'Cowboy Action' loads fall into the latter.

    Though if you're facing anything that can't be put down by a few rounds worth of 8 - 9 grains of Unique loads . . . you probably should've been using a rifle. :p
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page