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"cowboy" loads?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by strong45side, Jan 16, 2011.

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  1. strong45side

    strong45side Member

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    I was curious what makes "cowboy load" ammunition different from normal ammunition? Does it have a slower fps to simulate a black powder load or something?
     
  2. average_shooter

    average_shooter Member

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    Cowboy loads are typically down-loaded to shoot softer, lower FPS, lower PSI for use in older firearms perhaps, etc. Definitely NOT intended for any kind of hunting or defense use basically. The easier a load is to shoot the faster back on target a shooter can be, and in CAS and similar sports milliseconds count.
     
  3. DC Plumber

    DC Plumber Member

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    I think they also use softer "swaged" higher lead content bullets that engage the rifling better at lower pressures. I think that term is "obturate". I'm not sure.
     
  4. Z71

    Z71 Member

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    Yep..I shoot 'cowboy loads in .45 Colt and .45-70

    Lead flat-nose bullets(for tube magazines)..milder loads.

    The .45-70 I shoot is supposed to approximate the old US carbine load of a 405gr bullet at 1100 FPS..not for sure what the .45 Colt is spitting out velocity-wise..but uses a 250gr flatpoint at what feels like .45acp velocitys(850 FPS or so).

    Now the Ten-X made .577/.450 Martini Henry ammo is different! It's pretty much full-power stuff..and uses a pointy bullet. I imagine no repeaters made in this chambering..so no need for a flat-nose slug.
     
  5. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    As others have said, typlically downloaded but not to duplicate the black powder loads. Pressures may be higher and velocities are lower.

    Black powder loads are quite powderful. In the 45 long Colt, one black powder loading approached 1000 fps with a 255 grain bullet from a 7 1/2" barrel. The 45-70 with black powder is no slouch either. Watch some of the long range shooters and see how they do. No, no stretched string trajectory but accurate and a full power swat when it gets there.
     
  6. Hunt480

    Hunt480 Member

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    Do any of you shoot full loads in the Uberti replica pistols like the 1873 Cattleman? or do these guns require the cowboy loads?
     
  7. aryfrosty

    aryfrosty Member

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    Ubertis

    I have a Uberti Top-Break, replica of the S&W Scofield in .45C and I use factory loads which are milder than standard modern loads. They have a 200 gr lead, flat nose bullet and are easy on the gun. My brace of Vaqueros have handled every load I have used and I don't doubt the Ubertis could too. There are no warnings in the manual about ammo choices.
     
  8. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    Do any of you shoot full loads in the Uberti replica pistols like the 1873 Cattleman? or do these guns require the cowboy loads?

    I have an Uberti 1873 in 357. I shoot full magnums all the time. No problems.

    Cowboy loads are intended to be softer than normal loads for things like Cowboy Action shootings where all you need do is hit a target fast at (usually) closer ranges.
     
  9. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    The Uberti has a steel frame and will handle heavy loads, but it will not handle the loads designated for the Ruger & Freedom Arms guns.
     
  10. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I've shot a few magnums from my Pietta 1873 replicas just to see what they feel like. But since I use the guns for CAS I've set them up to shoot with .38Spl loads that match the power and bullet needed for my fixed sight Model 10 for shooting nicely to POA. On the Piettas that means filing the sights down quite a bit. I would have to file them down a lot further again to match them for the fast Magnum loads.

    I also shoot some Uberti Remington 1858 clones with black powder. With 30 grains they are no slouch. And the proper load for .45Colt is 40 to 42 grains of BP behind a 255gn bullet. That would pack quite a wallop. But I would not want to shoot smokeless that produced the same velocity for long. You see BP produces more of a THUMP! than a BANG! so I think it's safe to say that a full power BP round is gentler on the gun than the same velocity smokeless loads. The BP being a lot slower burning which avoids the sharp pressure peak you get with smokeless.
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Cowboy loads are loaded under SAAMI pressure standards for cowboy action shooting, not to replicate blackpowder ballistics. Which, as posted above, were rather stout.

    No factory will 'require' cowboy loads as there is no pressure standard. Any factory cartridge gun will be capable of withstanding a steady diet of regular factory loads.
     
  12. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I load for a 7 1/2" barreled 1873 and use a full csae of black powder under a 255 grain bullets. I also use the same bullet with a stiff load of Unique. Either load is usually good for complete penetration on a white tailed deer. No need for "Ruger" loads.
     
  13. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    I also shoot some Uberti Remington 1858 clones with black powder. With 30 grains they are no slouch.

    Its really not that much of a rhino roller. All the flash and smoke is from powder burining in front of the muzzle. That load chronographed in my Uberti 1858 only goes about 850 fps. 20 grs goes about 800 fps. Either way its about a standard 38 special load.
     
  14. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Ah, but GRIZZ', the smoke and flash is half the fun of shooting BP. So I'll count the lousy 50fps more but big smoke and flash show as powder well spent..... :D

    Besides things are pretty hectic at the CAS meets so I keep it real simple and just load powder then ball and a drop of Canola oil over the ball to seal up any possible slight airgap and aid in lubing the barrel. So far it's worked well for a year and a half of this. If I only loaded 20 grains I would not be able to push the ball in far enough without either a wad over the powder or some filler. The wads wouldn't be bad but I can't find any and I haven't gotten around to gathering the bits to make my own or find a source for the felt. So I just "wad" the load with an extra 10 grains of powder and enjoy the sudden smoke occlusion of the target when shooting... :D
     
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