Need powder suggestions for 45 Colt

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by TBOATS, May 24, 2022.


    TBOATS Member

    Nov 26, 2021
    Looking to see what is the best powder to use in 45 Colt, need like to keep it under 850 FPS muzzle velocity for cowboy shooting. I figure it’s going to be cheaper to reload than buy nowadays. I thank you all in advance for your expertise and knowledge since I have just started reloading and have only used titegroup . I need more powder suggestions due to the shortage of powders available on the shelves. Again Thanks for everything.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  2. King Medallion

    King Medallion Member

    Jan 12, 2021
    Black Powder of course! Or Trail Boss.
  3. Frulk

    Frulk Member

    Nov 26, 2018
    Well….Unique should be close to the top of your powder list if you’re going to reload .45 Colt. Enough info on Unique loads out there to fill several reloading volumes.
  4. N555

    N555 Member

    Mar 9, 2022
    New Mexico and Texas panhandle
    CBI from cdvs dot us. I use 6.5gr in 45acp.
    It's fluffy almost like trailboss.
    Hooda Thunkit and AJC1 like this.
  5. .45Coltguy

    .45Coltguy Member

    Apr 6, 2021
    I have three .45 Colt's, two Italian replica 1873 revolvers and one Henry rifle. All REALLY like 8.0-8.5gr Unique with a 250gr coated rnfp bullet. Another very good load is 7.2gr Universal with same bullet. It's a pretty easy round to load for. Need more info, ask away. This is a good place for loading help.
    Seiyoujin, murf and Slamfire like this.
  6. Targa

    Targa Member

    Oct 22, 2019
    I will add HP38/Win 231 to the already mentioned powders.
    Seiyoujin, murf and irishlad like this.
  7. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Trail Boss is exactly what is called for here. For practical purposes, it no longer exists.

    Unique is the next best choice, as far as I am concerned. Finding it will be a bit easier than finding Trail Boss, but that's not saying much.

    I was able to get myself a jug of 700x recently. It does what I want (and what the OP wants) well enough, though it is fast enough that I can blow myself to hell if I'm not careful with it.

    At this difficult moment in time, I suggest the new handloader take a look at the burn rate charts and select a few powders similar to Unique, both faster and slower. I then would make a daily search of the online retailers and immediately jump on those which have any of the selected powders in stock.
  8. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    As you see there are many powders that will do well in the 45 Colt. I used to use nothing but W231/HP-38 and still like it but for the past 2 years I switched over to HS-6 and I really like that powder in the 45 Colt. Accuracy is great but remember to use a magnum primer for the best results. I didn't think a medium slow powder would do well in that cartridge but it really does. If you have some give it a try.

    If not try W231. I charge between 7.0 and 7.2gr W231 under a 250/255gr cast bullet. Most times I load a 255gr SWC bullet from Missouri Bullets.
  9. AgPilot

    AgPilot Member

    Mar 1, 2021
    Herco is My favorite. Unique too.
    Also have used W231, Titegroup, TrueBlue and N340
    All were under 250-255 grain cast or Exteme FP

    The Herco at 8 gr under a 250 gr projectile is My go to load.
    Last edited: May 25, 2022
    rwilky78 and Slamfire like this.
  10. dh1633pm
    • Contributing Member

    dh1633pm Contributing Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    Central New York
    I shoot in rifles. I use AA5744 mostly, plus No 5 and H110.
  11. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

    Mar 19, 2005
    Bullseye would be another fast powder for target loads if you can find it. I like the faster powders as a pound goes a long way.
    Seiyoujin likes this.
  12. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

    Oct 30, 2016
    Lots of choices. I use red dot.

    Get a lyman cast bullet reloading manual.
    Hooda Thunkit and .45Coltguy like this.
  13. 45Bink

    45Bink Member

    Jan 2, 2022
    I was about to mention Bullseye and Red Dot. I4227 is on the slow side, but my New Vaquero sure likes it, 15.5 gr, under 250 rnfp.
    Last edited: May 25, 2022
    Grumpy_old_Fart likes this.
  14. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

    Feb 15, 2012
    SA, TX
    I’ve been looking into VV powders lately. N32C seems like an alternative to Trail Boss, but I’ve not used it:

    Not sure if you can get it or not…good luck!
    Roverguy likes this.
  15. emb

    emb Member

    Aug 16, 2007
    Lots of different powders. You did not mention what gun you are reloading just the caliber. I reload for a Ruger Blackhawk and use AA 2400 or IMR 4227 with excellent results.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  16. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Nov 20, 2017
    McKinney, TX
    Actually, TiteGroup isn't that bad, but I don't like that hot burning powder with plain base cast bullets. Unique would be my first choice... but I have about 10# of it setting on the bench... and Universal, which I have never used, but I understand it's a reasonable equivalent to Unique.

    I have used RedDot... it actually works very well in the .45's. I shot some yesterday... in .45ACP... under a 200grn plated bullet, but I have used RedDot in the .45 Colt, too.

    For what the OP wants, I wouldn't really go any slower than Unique/Universal. I would not recommend IMR4227/2400/H110/AA5744 for low velocity Cowboy loads; that is not to say they are not useful in .45 Colt... just not at the velocity the OP wants.
    Lee Q. Loader and .45Coltguy like this.
  17. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    The old standby is Unique, and you can see from the number of posters recommending it, it is a good choice. The standard load is a 250 to 255 lead with 8.5 to 9.0 grains. That shoots to point of impact in all my fixed sight 45 LC revolvers.

    I will give an honorable mention to W231, and I have a keg of AA #5, so I developed loads with that. It is a ball powder, the little powder balls clog up the powder bar on my Dillion 550. Other than that, it shoots well.

    While Bullseye will shoot well, I would stay away from it, and Titegroup, as it is real easy to double charge Bullseye/Titegroup in this case. I tried Universal and it did not cluster as well as Unique. I am not impressed with it.

    Check the throat diameters of your pistol. If they are larger, say 0.454 and up, your pistol will never shoot well with 0.452 cast lead bullets. It will shoot acceptably well with 0.452 JHP. Since I found commercial cast 0.454 bullets, that is what have been using in all my 45 LC pistols. I have included data which shows you cut Unique down to 8.0 grains, it still shoots well. Something else, this pistol has 0.452 cylinder chambers and yet 0.454 lead bullets make little to no difference in velocity, or in point of impact. Which is good.

     M625-9 Mountain Gun 4" Barrel
    250 JHP 8.5 grs Unique thrown, W-W cases, WLP primers
    18-Mar-07 T = 55 °F V, accurate
    Ave Vel = 830
    Std Dev = 30
    ES= 103.5
    High= 893.4
    Low= 789.8
    Number Shots= 12
    255 LSWC (.452") 8.0 grs Unique thrown, lot 6/21/1993Starline cases, WLP primers
    25-Mar-07 T = 80 °F accurate
    Ave Vel = 800
    Std Dev = 30
    ES 99.02
    High 847.2
    Low 748.1
    Number Shots 11
    250 LRN (.452") Valiant 8.0 grs Unique lot 6/21/1993 thrown, R-P cases, WLP primers
    25-Mar 07 T = 80°F accurate
    Ave Vel = 814
    Std Dev = 24
    ES 72.81
    High 847
    Low 774.2
    Number Shots 11
    250 LRN (.454") Valiant 8.5 grs Unique thrown lot 5471, 4/3/06, R-P cases, WLP primers
    25-Mar-07 T = 80 °F accurate
    Ave Vel = 891
    Std Dev = 17
    ES 61.31
    High 921.1
    Low 859.8
    Number Shots 27
    255 LSWC (.452") 8.0 grs Unique lot 6/21/1993 mixed cases WLP (nickel)
    23-Sep-07 T = 82 °F
    Ave Vel = 802.5
    Std Dev = 31.03
    ES = 123.5
    High = 867.2
    Low = 743.6
    N = 12
    250 LSWC (.452") 10.5 grs AA#5 lot 12599 mixed cases WLP (nickel)
    23-Sep-07 T = 82 °F
    Ave Vel = 875.1
    Std Dev = 19.36
    ES = 62.64
    High = 905.7
    Low = 843
    N = 12
    250 LSWC (.452") 10.5 grs AA#5 lot 12599 mixed cases Wolf NCLP
    23-Sep-07 T = 82 °F
    Ave Vel = 826.2
    Std Dev = 20.14
    ES = 63.38
    High = 862.1
    Low = 798.7
    N = 12 

  18. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

    Dec 1, 2020
    I see a few other folks have tagged onto the points I was going to make so let me just re-enforce a few:
    A - really, REALLY!! need to know what you are loading for - rifle or handgun, barrel length and action.
    B - once the type/action/barrel is known, I'm only going to suggest powders that are actually available at the present time. Yes, Unique and Red Dot are great powders for close-range work with a short-barreled revolver but they're missing in action and unobtainium for now. Trail Boss may be gone for years. True black is sweet and I really like it but it's hit-or-miss finding good black these days.
    C - get what you can and make it work. Anything faster than IMR 4227 and slower than Nitro 100 will work in a .45Colt and deliver CAS velocities. The real question is, will it do what you want the way you want it?
    Your best bets that are actually available are Accurate No.5, W231/HP38, or VV N320. Personally, if I didn't already have powder, I'd look hard and long at N320. It's got a pretty good reputation for burning clean and being very easy to work with.
    Last edited: May 25, 2022
    Buzznrose and Slamfire like this.
  19. Mike44

    Mike44 Member

    Mar 14, 2014
    I am using Titegroup for my 45 colt revolver loads with good results. Titegroup has a reputation for not being position sensitive which seems like an important attribute given the size of the 45 colt case.
    GeoDudeFlorida, Slamfire and AJC1 like this.
  20. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

    Sep 6, 2021
    what they said ^^^^^^^^^

    Look in your manual.
    List the powders shown for 800-900 fps
    HOPE your LGS has one of them in stock.
    AA#5 can be found
    One powder not mentioned, that I have found good results is CLAYS.
  21. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

    Jan 14, 2020
    The best you can get is probably more realistic... in cowboy shooting a powder that is position insensitive at low volumes is probably your best bet and reducing your case volume can help. High volume cheap powders like promo and the cbi powder will keep costs down.
  22. EricBu

    EricBu Member

    Apr 2, 2021
    Clean Shot/AA2, Auto Pistol/AA5, TG, Trail Boss, and you already use TG, Unique. These all work great, with TG and AA2 being the least case position sensitive. If you are using a measure, lean towards the AA powders (they meter like water), if you are manually measuring, they all work equally as well. Also with TG, and AA2, a little goes a long long way. A lb will last you darn near twice as long. Clean Shot is basically AA2 (the old AA2 before Western switched to General Dynamics from Explosia/Lovex). Same with Auto Pistol, the pre AA5 before the switch. Clean Shot and Auto Pistol cost half as much. For my subsonic 45 Colt, I exclusively use Clean Shot now, it's clean and consistent and gives fantastic results.
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  23. johnjohn

    johnjohn Member

    Oct 26, 2009
    Baton Rouge La.
    I use Unique and Red Dot.
    Slamfire, DukeConnor and .45Coltguy like this.
  24. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

    Nov 20, 2017
    McKinney, TX
    Slam fire also brings up a good point… about measuring your cylinder throats, your bore, and seeing if there is a restriction… like a torque bulge (hello, Ruger!)
    Slamfire and GeoDudeFlorida like this.
  25. Icthruu74

    Icthruu74 Member

    Feb 27, 2022
    I’ve used AA2, AA5, and AA7 in 45 Colt loads under 200-255 grn cast lead with good results. And they’ve been available in my local shop (either AA5 or AA7 was out last time I went in but they had plenty of AA2). You May have to create a list and see what’s in stock.
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