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45 Colt rumor

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Rom828, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. Rom828

    Rom828 Member

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    I need to get a new Ruger Vaquero in 45 colt and need to reload for it to afford to shoot the thing. My plan is to buy new brass and load whatever I feel like at that given time, mid-range loads and occasionally black powder or pyrodex. I've heard that because 45 colt was originally a black powder round that it's huge case with smokeless powder can cause a kaboom. Any truth to this or is it a cover for someone double charging a round?
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Well chosen smokeless loads will work fine in .45 Colt, and have been since 1909.

    Double charges are a risk in the big case, you just have to be careful.

    Then there was the guy who blew up a gun and was just POSITIVE that there was no way he could have double charged. A couple of experienced loaders watched him at work and agreed... until he turned out a round with one powder charge and TWO BULLETS, without noticing anything wrong.
     
  3. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    If you are concerned about getting double charges, look at Trail Boss powder. It was designed to fill, or nearly fill, the cases of old black powder rounds.

    Personally, unless I was participating in some kind of shooting game that required black power, i would not shoot it in my guns. I am not interested in the extra cleaning. But that is one of my idiosyncrasies.
     
  4. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    Yeah I kinda tend to stay away from bp for now.
     
  5. 119er

    119er Member

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    I load .45 Colt on my progressive with a lockout die. I have also done it on a single stage. Just pay careful attention when charging cases in a block or in the case of the lockout die I watch the stem rise on each stroke. The large diameter case and small charge makes the lockout die less sensitive as it references powder "column" height in the case.

    That said, I use a 200gr hardcast RNFP, 7.0gr HP-38, and WLP. I have used Winchester and Remington brass. I actually prefer the Remington brass because it is probably a little softer. The Winchester cases get very sooty while the Remingtons seem to seal up a little better with the same load. The load works for me, but I am considering trying something else. I haven't played with it much. I just plink with a Uberti 1873 Cattleman.
     
  6. gspn

    gspn Member

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    HOLY SMOKES BATMAN!!!!:eek:

    I never would have guessed that...but I can see it now that you describe it!!
     
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I have never heard the large case of a .45 Colt can cause a KB just because of it's size and smokeless powder. I think you hit it right on the head and the loader is covering for his mistake.

    I have loaded too many .45 Colt rounds to count and I have used many powders without a problem. I have used W231/HP-38, Trail Boss, AA#5, Universal, Unique, HS-6 and probably a few I have forgotten to list. Never a problem. I have not used Clays but a friend does and if any powder would cause a KB because of low case fill Clays would. It's a very fast powder and takes up very little space in the case and he has never had a problem either.

    Not to worry, load them up using safe loading procedures and you will have no problems.
     
  8. James2

    James2 Member

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    45 Colt will do fine with smokeless powder. The usual cautions about double charging are in order with this, as with any cartridge.
     
  9. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Thanks for asking our advice.

    The .45 Colt cartridge indeed was a Black Powder cartridge originally. If you use black powder, do not leave ANY air space under the slug. These will be fine in your gun. Clean immediately. Black powder residue tends to collect water out of the air, form acid and do terrible things to metal.

    Some slow powders (like H110), if you load light or with a lot of air space have been reputed to have "spikey" pressure. Some deny this phenomenon. Even ballisticians are unable to produce the phenomenon at will, but there is considerable evidence that it is real. That controversy continues.

    Slow powders will probably not be an issue with your Vaquero, since you will probably not find loads in the manuals using those powders for 45 Colt. You do know that the New Vaquero is not suited to the so-called "Ruger-Only" loads?

    Fast powders can tolerate air space in the case. But you can't wring maximum velocity or maximum efficiency out of your cases without too-high pressures. Pressure goes up fast, but comes down fast, too.

    Trail Boss is smokeless powder designed to be used in CASS (Cowboy Action Shooting Sports) and IS ok to have air space in the case under the slug. But NEVER compress Trail Boss powder. 70% to 100% case fill is appropriate.

    Lost Sheep
     
  10. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    Rolling one's own ammunition can be a lot like sky diving (packing your own chute) or other hobbies. Complacency can lead to bad things happening. Just watch your powder drops, bullet seating depths and other parameters and things will go just fine. Work from good loading manuals and follow good loading practices. When loading all of your focus should be on what you are doing. No distractions!

    Now enjoy the new revolver and welcome to .45 LC.

    Ron
     
  11. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Double charging a case with a fast smokeless powder can be done with any number of cartridges, so there is nothing inherently unsafe about the .45 Colt in that case. However, should you decide to load some high performance rounds, you need to determine whether you have a "new Ruger Vaquero"(as in the old style but new to you), or a "Ruger New Vaquero"(the new style Vaquero). The limit of the strength of your loads is determined by which model you have.

    Don
     
  12. Henry45

    Henry45 Member

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    Me and my wife shoot alot of 45colt. Like above, i've used 231 with no issues at all. We shoot Trail Boss alot because the recoil is softer for her small hands. It's a fun shoot with TB. I've reloaded hundreds of rounds and never had any issue with smokeless powder and 45 colt.
     
  13. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    45lc i load only in smokeless. Loaded about 1k rounds for it in 2 yrs ive had it and loaded a lot more calibers. Still have all fingers and no kaboom. Every case you reload you keep the same level of awareness ofyour loads.
     
  14. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Its true that there is often a lot of empty space in the .45 Colt cartridge, but don't let that scare you away. Most handgun loads are capable of a double charge. Rifle loads are much more forgiving in this aspect, as most of them cannot possibly be double charged unless you're shooting cast stuff with small charges of pistol powder, but that's another conversation.

    I load a lot of .45 Colt and have never had an issue. Most of my loads are the standard 8.5 grains of Unique and a 255 grain cast boolit and there's a lot of empty space with that load. It's possible to TRIPLE charge that one. I charge a block of brass, and then take a flashlight and go over them before seating bullets to make sure all are charged and that none are double charged. It only takes a few seconds. I've never even found one, but I still look to be sure.

    Seriously, as long as you take common sense precautions, you won't be at any more risk than with any other round.

    The .45 Colt is an absolute joy to load, so don't be scared off by it.
     
  15. david bachelder

    david bachelder Member

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    I can see your concern. As everyone else points out, follow proper protocall to avoid a double charge and you will be fine. I have a Ruger single action revolver in 45 Colt. This is a very nice shooting pistol, I love it. I cast my own bullets and reload. I bought 100 pieces of Starline brass from Midway to get started. I highly recommend the Starline brass.

    Here are my two loads:

    CAUTION: THESE ARE MAX LOADS

    215 grain cast RNFP
    Alox tumble lubed
    Universal @ 8.6 grains

    255 grain cast RNFN
    Alox tumble lubed
    Universal @ 7.8 grains

    Black Powder is nasty stuff and it does bad things to metal, I suggest you avoid it. However I'd guess the fire and smoke from a black powder load would be a sight to see :eek:
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Considering that the .45 Colt, and all other of the old black powder calibers, have been factory loaded with smokeless powder since the early 1900's.

    If there were in fact a problem with small charges of smokeless powder in the .45 Colt?
    I think we would have heard about it in the last 100 years!!

    rc
     
  17. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    There are two different published reloading criteria for the 45 Colt, which is where the rumor your hearing has originated. One is for Ruger, Freedom Arms, T/C only, and the second set of data for everything else. Since you are loading for a Ruger, you can load any of the published data.

    As for avoiding possible double charges, just use a slow burning powder, or, make absolutely sure you don't let a double charge slip by. If your wanting to go full tilt loads, H110 / 296 will do it, and there is no way you can possibly drop a double charge in a case with it.

    If you go to Hogdon Reloading pages they have the two different loadings posted.

    GS
     
  18. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Careful!
    If he gets a new Vaquero, they are not rated for "Ruger Only" loads. I wouldn't be loading any full throttle H110/296 loads in them.
     
  19. Rom828

    Rom828 Member

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    I'm very OCD about my reloading. I have the Lee anniversary set and use a digital scale, double check the charge with the Lee beam scale and then seat the bullit. Not very time efficient but hey, this is a hobby. I've shot black powder revolvers for years and love it, (anyone can shoot a Glock). The new Vaquero will be a companion to these revolvers and in stainless I'm not too concerned about what the evil black will do. I will only be using the load tables for SAA clones, as this pistol doesn't qualify for "Ruger only" loads. I should get the Blackhawk but the vaquero just looks too darn cool.
     
  20. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    Well I guess if anyone is going to be OCD about anything being OCD about reloading ammunition is a good place to be OCD.

    There are countless cases that can be loaded with a double charge so any reference to purely the .45 LC is nonsense.

    Personally I do not load for making cheap ammunition, I load to make accurate ammunition for a specific rifle or handgun. Everyone has their own reasons for hand loading so whatever on that note. Just load the stuff paying attention to what you are doing, undistracted, and things will go fine. Just like loading anything else.

    Enjoy!

    Ron
     
  21. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Oh c'mon rc, it's only been 100 years and you expect a problem would have been found is such a short time span? :p ;)
     
  22. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I agree, the Vaquero is a very cool looking revolver.

    The top one is an older Bisley Vaquero in .45 Colt and the bottom two are New Vaqueros in 38/357. (all w/5.5" barrels)
    Yes, the 2 New Vaqueros do have a different finish, one is Stainless and the other is Blue and Color Case.
    I couldn't decide which I liked better so I bought both. (and I needed two for Cowboy Action shoots :p)
    I really like the feel and balance of the New Vaquero but there is something to be said about the Bisley grip frame and the .45 Colt!

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Just to be clear New Vaquero vs other Rugers

    The New Vaquero is built on a lighter frame than the Blackhawks (which includes the Vaquero).

    Make not mistake. The New Vaquero is NOT THE SAME as the Vaquero. They are different guns.

    The Vaquero is built on a Blackhawk frame. The New Vaquero is built on a lighter, smaller frame.

    The New Vaquero is not intended for the hot loads and should be limited to standard 45 Colt loads which run around 14,000 psi.

    The (Blackhawk-framed) Vaquero can take the so-called "Ruger only" loadings and (also so-called "+P" loads). These can top 20,000 psi or more.

    Here's one reference.

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/high-pressure45.htm

    Be safe. Always. All ways.

    Lost Sheep
     
  24. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Lost Sheep,
    That's why I specified the ones I have are different and if everyone looks you can see the size difference in the picture. Both have their merits and I like both for what they are. Funny thing is, even though my 38/357 New Vaqueros are on the smaller frame they are rated for .357 Magnum so in a way they are even stronger than the larger original Vaquero on the Blackhawk frame.
     
  25. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The thing is though, the .357 frame "New Vaquero" is available in at least one convertible version from Davidson's chambered in .45 Colt & .45 ACP.

    So one could surmise it is strong enough to handle the .45 ACP at 21,000 PSI, and +P .45 ACP at 23,000 PSI.

    Those 32,000 CUP "Ruger only" loads are safe only in .44 Magnum frame "Old Vaquero's" & Blackhawks.

    rc
     
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