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How risky is .5 grain over maximum charge (.45 Colt+Unique)

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by MacTech, Nov 26, 2010.

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  1. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    I've been working up some loads for my H&R Buffalo Classic Carbine .45 Colt single shot rifle, the rifle is (supposedly) capable of handling the Ruger/TC only "Nuclear" loads, I don't plan to go to that extreme, but I do want a tad more "zing" than the standard .45 Colt loads....

    The BCC has a 20" barrel, and is based on the SB2 receiver, which is capable of handling cartridges up to the .454 Casull, .460, and .500, some BCC owners have even reamed out the chamber on their rifles to .454 Casull or .460, the gun is rather stoutly constructed

    I had previously shot some of the "Max" loads on the Alliant website, 9.5 grains of Unique under a 200Gn LSWC, the gun shot well with those loads, but a hair low at 50 yards, even with the sight elevator all the way to the bottom

    I decided to take a little risk, and bump up the charge to an even 10 grains, that's .5 grains over the Alliant published maximum....

    According to Handloads dot com, I can load a "+P" pressure level load using 13 grains of Unique, yeilding a pressure of 29,000 CUP and a velocity of 1,349 FPS

    It generally looks like every full grain of Unique yields about 100 FPS more or less, so these loads should be hovering around 1,000 FPS-ish, not sure on the pressure though

    How sensitive to overcharging is Unique, I've read somewhere that heavy loads of Unique can get somewhat "spiky" and unpredictable

    I don't want a load that's going to beat the gun apart, blow up on me, or accelerate the wear and tear on the gun, but I do want a little more punch than the conservative "factory" loads are giving me

    So, are these loads within the safe range for Ruger Only type loads, or am I better off dumping the charges and dropping back to the "max" load of 9.5Gr as specified on the Alliant website?
     
  2. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    10 grains of Unique with a 250 or 255 grain cast bullet is a pretty well established hot load for post-war SAA revolvers. I assume your rifle has a stronger action than a medium-framed single-action revolver.

    Your load probably runs about 16000 PSI. I'd shoot it; you'll have to make up your mind yourself.
     
  3. teddy52food

    teddy52food Member

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    If it is shooting low, move the rear sight up.
     
  4. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    Already adjusted the sight up, that wasn't the reason I wanted to bump up the charge though, I just figured a hotter load should shoot a little higher (less bullet drop?)

    Since this gun's receiver is the same receiver used on the high-pressure cartridges like the .30-06, .308, and the .2xx wildcats, not to mention the .500, I'm assuming the pressures in a "Ruger Only" .45 Colt load are nothing to worry about in terms of accelerated wear-and-tear on the gun
     
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Not an unreasonable load in my book.

    But it is not going to shift your POI by much. And barrel vibrations might move it in the opposite direction to what you want or expect. Only way to know is to shoot some at a target.
     
  6. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    I wouldn't worry about it. The gun can take it. You should see the loads I shoot out of my Savage bolt action .45 winmag.
     
  7. cpaspr

    cpaspr Member

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    As stated above, you should be fine.

    However, you should keep these "hot" loads separate, and not shoot them, or allow any friends to shoot them, from non-Ruger handguns.
     
  8. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    That's not a problem either, my only centerfire revolver is a Ruger NM Blackhawk .45 Convertible (7.5" barrel), no other handgun I own could chamber these rounds, and the only rifle I have that can chamber these rounds is the H&R Buffalo Classic Carbine, I don't let anyone else shoot my handloads in their guns either
     
  9. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The rifle can take "Ruger only" loads and more. However, if you increase velocity with a given bullet weight, it will actually print lower, not higher. If you want it to print higher, go wtih a standard weight cast bullet, rather than those flying ashtray 200 grainers.
     
  10. justgoto

    justgoto member

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    I have scores of ladder test targets that fly in the face of that statement.

    As mentioned above, barrel harmonics plays a part, but on the average; the quicker the bullet gets to the target, the less it has time to drop, therefore the higher it will print.

    I would still work-up to that charge weight slowly, looking for overpressure signs. That is how we KNOW when to stop with our specific guns.

    There is risky, then there is dangerous.
     
  11. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    I'd try a heavier bullet too.

    In teddy52food's defense, you said the gun was shooting low with the sight elevator at the bottom. That does sound like all you have to do is raise the sight.

    I agree with CraigC about the slower bullet printing higher. This is at 50 yards with a pistol-caliber carbine. A slower bullet will spend more time in the barrel and exit with the barrel at a higher point in the recoil pulse. Bullets at rifle velocities and longer ranges act different.
     
  12. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    The issue here is a little more complicated. If you're talking about "long" range rifle shooting then higher velocity means less bullet drop. However, when talking about pistol cartridges with much slower velocities, the time the bullet spends in the barrel can have a significant effect on where the bullet hits the target. With handguns, bullet drop at "typical" target distances isn't an issue. The issue is that faster bullets leave the barrel sooner and therefore are less affected by recoil (vertical direction) and impact lower on the target. It gets complicated in this instance for two reasons. First, this a .45 Colt and a 50 yard zero. Second, this is a pistol cartridge being fired from a rifle with a 20" barrel. My 20" Marlin 1894 shooting HOT .45 Colt loads doesn't have much in the way of recoil and considerably less than any of my six revolvers chambered for the same cartridge. It's not clear to me if the faster/lower "rule" applies here.
     
  13. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    I've had very good results with a 250gr LRNFP from Oregon Trail and H110 powder. This is a fairly HOT load but definitely safe in a Marlin.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. justgoto

    justgoto member

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    I've seen that claim all over the net, linked to every firearm imaginable. Here is the wives tale pertaining to a 4" barrel... I can find the take on other sites relating to high power rifle velocities but not here, I would think there is a few though.

    Why have I never seen these results in any of the rifles or handguns I reload for?

    Think about it. Shouldn't he then be able to make a load that hits 10' high at 100 yards? I mean his muzzle jumps high enough to print them that high. A reduced load of say 200fps should get him to the top of the recoil. His bullet is traveling at, "1,000 FPS-ish" The recoil jump, travels at what, 10MPH? Heck, I think my handgun should be able to print 30' higher!

    The bullet is long gone, otherwise a moderate deviation in muzzle velocity would effect the POI enough to make short to medium range shooting wildly inaccurate for all handguns and moderate velocity rifles; and that is just not the case.
     
  15. justgoto

    justgoto member

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    Take my 22" 30-06 shooting 220gr SP at 2300fps.
    Then my 357 8" barrel shooting a 158gr HP-XTP at 1150.

    If the 357's barrel was 11 inches the bullets would exit the barrel at the same time. But seeing the 357 is just 8 inches, the bullet exits the barrel sooner.

    Why am I to believe this effect would translate into a 4" barrel also?

    As explained so far, the theory has no merit.
     
  16. Skip_a_roo

    Skip_a_roo Member

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    Pressure is what will beat a gun to pieces. If you want a load that gives more zip than the normal Unique load, don't use Unique. I have a load for my M25 -7 using Unique under a 240gr LSWC that I cast, 9.0gr. For my Ruger 45 Convertible, I have a 270gr load that I use H110/W296 for. I also shoot it in my Puma lever gun.

    From the Puma I am getting 1800fps with the Linebaugh load, over 1400fps from the Ruger, it has a 5 1/2" barrel by the way.

    If it was me and I was trying to get the results you seem to be after, I would use AA#7, HS-6 or something in that area of the burn rate chart.

    LoadData.com has some loads for 3 different levels of 45 Colt. 14,000psi, 20,000psi and 30,000psi. You may want to check out that site.

    Hope this helps.

    Also, there is a web release article from Handloader Magazine #246. It uses a different bullet than you are asking about but the information may be of use. Here is a link to that free article from them: http://www.riflemagazine.com/magazine/PDF/HL%20246partial.pdf Look up the one about the 270-SAA bullet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  17. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Unique does not seem to be "spiky" for me. But ww296 has been in 44mag.
     
  18. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    MacTech, you need a Lyman's 49th Ed reloading manual. They have load data specifically for 45 colt rifle. They also have a section with loads specific to T/C Contender & Encore, that includes 45 Colt. I didn't see any 200gr L, but there are plenty of others to work with, and you can get an idea of where you might get into trouble with a given load.
     
  19. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Can't answer that. It is a general rule of thumb but there are lots of variables and there are always exceptions. There is no guarantee that you won't be the exception. Being a general rule, feel free to experiment and see what works for you. If it doesn't, move on. No need to get into a long, drawn-out argument about it. Folks who know a hell of a lot more about shooting than I have repeated this rule of thumb and I have seen it for myself but I do not wish to spend the day arguing about it.
     
  20. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    I forgot to ask. If you want a hot load why use unique?
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That was gonna be my question too.

    2400, H110, or W296 all will give higher velocity at less pressure.

    rc
     
  22. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    True, you'll get maximum velocities out of slower powders but that doesn't sound like what the OP is looking for. If you can get what you want out of Unique, why not? You'll use less powder and if the rest of your loads are low to midrange, it's one less powder to use. It's not as if a 200gr cast bullet over 10.0gr Unique is a particularly heavy load. I use Unique for mid-range loads almost exclusively. Why? Because with a 240gr SWC in .44Mag, I can achieve 1150fps in sixguns and 1450fps in rifles and that load does everything I need it to do and uses half as much powder as a comparable load using 2400.
     
  23. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    As for why Unique? well, lets just say I wanted to try a different powder, I've used 231 and Trail Boss with my .45 Colt loads and have been happy with the performance so far, 231 is a nice clean shooting powder with good accuracy, but I don't like how little it fills the case, Trail Boss is a great powder for some soft shooting plinking loads, and I love how it fills the case.

    I was looking mainly for a powder in between the two, with the "zip" of 231, and the case-filling volume of TB, and Unique seems to do that nicely, a nice zippy load compared to TB, and it fills the case better than 231, a good middle of the road powder

    the 10 Gr loads were more of a "what if" or "I wonder if this will work", the first thing I did was look for the maximum +P loads and downgrade from there (the 13 Gr +P loads on Handloads dot com, for example as the "VNE" (Velocity-Never-Exceed, a piloting term from my armchair pilot days...) point for .45 Colt)

    I don't plan on going any higher than 10 grains with Unique and will more than likely drop back to 9.5 grains anyway, I just wanted to see if the gun likes the half grain increase

    I don't want to beat this gun to it's premature death, as the BCC is an awesome little rifle, the perfect short-range hunting rifle for the thick New England woods, an awesome little plinker (max. 231 loads feel like a .22 Mag), and I'd imagine a pretty decent HD/farm gun for out in the countryside (where I thankfully live, no close by neighbors, and a practically non-existent crime rate, in my 40+ years here, we have *never* had to deal with any "two legged predators", thank Og...)
     
  24. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    If the bullet is "long gone" and has no effect on the POI due to recoil, why is it that EVERY handgun I've ever owned has a taller front sight compared to the rear sight? When aiming at the target, the barrel is pointing below the target. This compensates for the muzzle recoiling UP as the bullet moves down the barrel so that when the bullet exits the barrel, the barrel is pointing at the target. It stands to reason that POA/POI is a function of recoil and bullet velocity. As CraigC stated, this isn't necessarily a universal rule but I have experienced it for myself with a 3" GP100 chambered in .357 Mag.


    Why are you even mentioning a rifle cartridge since this is a pistol cartridge and handgun phenomena. Also, in your world, a 220gr .30-06 bullet with a MV of 2300 fps will have the same barrel time as a 158gr .357 bullet with a MV of 1150 assuming a 22" and 11" barrel respectively. Not likely given the different burn rates of the powder and primer and the completely different pressure curves.
     
  25. MacTech

    MacTech Member

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    Just got back from the range with my 10 grain Unique loads....

    that was rather..... anticlimactic...

    Aside from a slightly stronger recoil (about that of a .223/5.56), they shot about the same, actually printed a tad lower, I had better performance with the 9.5'ers, they were more consistent

    I also loaded up some of my "Pet" Trailboss loads (7.0 Gn under a 200Gn LSWC) and had the best accuracy with them, aside from being a tad sootier, the TB loads were the most accurate of the bunch, and recoil?, what recoil?, TB loads felt like shooting a .22LR

    I forgot how much I like TB loads, soft shooting, accurate, and no recoil to speak of

    I also tried the 10 Gn Unique loads in my NM Blackhawk, and was surprised by their stout recoil, as well as dissapointed as to how far left they printed at 50Y

    Overall, I can safely say that I'm not happy with the 10 Gn Unique loads, going back to the 9.5, maybe try some .1 or .2 grain at a time workups to find the sweet spot

    I'm also going to work up some midrange loads for the Speer Deepcurl 250Gn HP rounds, as the HP bullet failed to open with the 7.5 Gn "max" load on the Alliant website, a little more velocity would be good for this load
     
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