Recreating 45 ACP performance in BP

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by SPJackson, May 12, 2021.

  1. SPJackson

    SPJackson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2020
    Messages:
    15
    After reading what sources I can find easily via Google search online about the history of the 45 Colt, Schofield, and ACP I can across the fairly consistent story that the 45 ACP was created as more or less as smokeless powder parallel to the 45 Schofield. Both being made originally with 230 grain bullets. It is not a perfect parallel though as the velocity given for the Schofield is around 730 fps and 374 J of energy, while the 45 ACP was more powerful at 835 fps and 483 J of energy.

    I have tried to find any record of other online who have tried to more perfectly recreate the performance of the 45 ACP in BP, but I cannot. So I would like to ask how this may be done.

    The majority of the sources I have found state that the original loading of the 45 Schofield was a 230 gr bullet with 28 grains of black powder. So I imagine that simply adding one or two more grains of powder would be enough to at roughly another 100 fps and J of energy to the bullet. I read that the Frankford Arsenal produced cartridges for the 45 Colt made in the 1800s was loaded with 30 grains of black powder so I imagine their performance was likely closer.

    If I wear to take up this project I would go about trying to load a 45 Schofield case with a 230 RNFP bullet with 30 grains of GOEX fffg. If it could not fit then I would use a larger 45 Colt case and fill the empty space with a wad or cornmeal. I read one source online stating that 30 grains in a Schofield case is possible with compression though so I am hopeful.

    Does anyone here know if I am along the right track of thinking? Or if anyone has accomplished this feet before?

    Thank you
     
    GeoDudeFlorida, JeffG and hrt4me like this.
  2. Blackpowderwarrior

    Blackpowderwarrior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2020
    Messages:
    236
    I reload Schofield except i use 250 grain boolits. They are what i have so they are what i use. Im a goex man myself but also use trailboss or red dot. The last time i reloaded my schofield cases i used my Old Eyensford by goex and they had some real snap. I had no problems using 30 grains of Old Eyensford. The crimp is important!!!! Make sure to give it a GOOD crimp Old Eyensford has a very different feel, texture and weight then goex. It will compress much furt hhh er then red label goex. It is alot stouter then Goex and ive come to appreciate it in my revolvers for the extra oomph. Im a Red Label goex man and have worked up good loads with it in my rifles/revolvers but if i could only have Old Eynesford I'd be fine with that too.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida, Gordon and hrt4me like this.
  3. hrt4me

    hrt4me Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    55
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Would you please cite any sources for your research, as I would be interested in reading and learning about it too
     
  4. BillWM

    BillWM Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2021
    Messages:
    64
    With correct smokeless powders they fill the case about less than 1/2 full. I haven't tried it but 30 gr BP could overflow the case. I don't think there is any chance of putting too much BP in this cartridge. My concern would be with jacketed bullets as they might not exit the bore and the next shot bulge your barrel.
     
    hrt4me likes this.
  5. Blackpowderwarrior

    Blackpowderwarrior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2020
    Messages:
    236

    My sources are personal experience
     
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    29,412
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    It is a moving target, so to speak.
    .45LC was loaded with as little as 30 gr of powder, as much as 40; which gave 900+ fps.
    While .45 S&W was typically loaded with 28 gr of powder, there were both 230 and 250 gr bullets, the latter at 710 fps.
    .45 FA1909 had a 255gr bullet like .45 LC but with just enough smokeless for 738 fps.
    Early .45 ACP was listed at 800 fps, gradually increasing to 850.

    Then you have the brass problem, modern solid head brass has less capacity than "semi-balloon" head drawn brass and that even less than early folded head cartridges.

    I think your best bet would be to use .45 LC cases and start around 35 grains. Work up or down depending on chronograph readings.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  7. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2021
    Messages:
    157
    Location:
    Western US
    When I get my 1860, I’ll be using .45 acp as a loading benchmark for 220 grain Kaido conicals over Old Eynsford. No need to get much more power than that out of an open top. I’d probably load hotter with an 1858.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida and sigwally like this.
  8. Lyle

    Lyle Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    GeoDudeFlorida and hrt4me like this.
  9. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,401
    Location:
    Michigan
    They are different.
    That's not all bad.
     
  10. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,098
    Location:
    Land of the Pilgrims
    Howdy

    I am not at all sure the 45ACP was created to duplicate 45 Schofield performance. I suspect the similar bullet weight of 230 grains for both cartridges may be nothing more than coincidence.

    45 Schofield was a cartridge conceived out of convenience by Smith and Wesson because the standard 1 7/16" long cylinders they were using for their #3 Russian revolver was too short to accept the 45 Colt cartridge. Colt had already obtained government contracts for the Single Action Army, chambered for 45 Colt and S&W did not want to be totally left out of government contracts. The government specified they required a 45 caliber cartridge, and S&W would have no trouble opening the bore up of their 44 caliber Top Break revolvers to .45. S&W was heavily invested in producing what eventually turned out to be over 150,000 Russian model revolvers for the Russian, Japanese, and Turkish governments, and did not want to incur the expense of changing tooling for a longer cylinder and longer frame to accommodate the longer 45 Colt cartridge. So the government agreed to accepting the shorter 45 Schofield cartridge with the S&W Schofield revolver.

    For comparison, this photo shows two 45 Colt cartridges on the left and two 45 Schofield cartridges on the right. The two cartridges on the outside are my own reloads, the two in the center are original Benet primed, folded rim, copper cased cartridges. I can explain more about that if you want.

    pm0GKsJtj.jpg




    As far as powder capacity is concerned, only the Benet Primed 45 Colt second from the left in the photo above actually contained 40 grains of Black Powder. Later, the Balloon Head cases had slightly less powder capacity. Modern solid head brass has even less capacity, I generally only load about 35 grains of powder into my 45 Colt cases with modern solid head brass. Here is a photo of a Balloon Head, or Semi-Balloon head as some call it 45 Colt on the left and a modern solid head 45 Colt on the right. I cut both in half to show the comparative powder capacities.

    po2Wtjywj.jpg




    Regarding 30 grains of powder in the 45 Colt cartridge here is a box of twenty cartridges manufactured at the Frankford Arsenal in 1874. As can be seen on the box, they contain 30 grains of powder. The Army was pretty much the main customer for the reduced charge 45 Colt rounds, it was felt there was too much recoil with the 38 or 40 grain loads in a revolver, although 40 or 38 grain loads were available commercially.

    plpYHejkj.jpg




    I am really not sure what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to load the 45ACP with Black Powder, or are you trying to duplicate 45ACP performance with Black Powder in 45 Schofield brass?

    I can tell you that it will be pretty useless trying to run 45ACP cartridges loaded with Black Powder through a 45ACP Model 1911 Semi-Automatic pistol. Successful development of Semi-Automatic and Full Automatic firearms pretty much depended on the development of Smokeless powder around the Turn of the Century. Black Powder cartridges simply cause too much fouling to be successful in fully automatic or Semi-Automatc firearms, they tend to bind up quickly from the fouling. In Cowboy Action Shooting we have a category called Wild Bunch where the 1911 is the standard pistol used. Of course, most competitors are shooting Smokeless in their 1911s. There have been a few guys over the years who have successfully loaded their 45ACP cartridges with Black Powder for competition, but certainly not with full metal jacket bullets. Real Black Powder, and some of the substitutes require special soft Black Powder Compatible bullet lube to keep fouling from building up in the bore.

    For my Black Powder 45 Schofield ammunition I put in about 28 grains of Schuetzen FFg powder under a 200 grain bullet. Sorry, I have no chronograph data for you about what velocity these cartridges generate. How much powder capacity any case has is also dependent on bullet design. Some bullets extend further into the case than others, so they will cut down on powder capacity over a bullet that does not extend as far in.

    pn3YsGptj.jpg




    The bullet I use for 45 Schofield is the Big Lube 45 JP-200 bullet I designed a number of years ago. It is third from the left in this photo. Next to it on the right is the Big Lube 45 PRS 250 grain bullet. I designed my 200 grain bullet years ago when the only 45 Big Lube available was the 250 grain version. You can see that there is a bit less distance from the crimp groove to the bottom of the bullet on my 200 grain bullet than the 250 grain bullet, so it will allow a little bit more powder capacity in any case it is loaded into than the 250 grain bullet.

    poT2ujYMj.jpg




    The other thing to take into consideration is that not all Black Powder weighs the same. I came up with this chart years ago for the several different powders and granulations I was using in a few Black Powder cartridges. For standards I use the volume measurements supplied by Lee dippers, which are calibrated in Cubic Centimeters. The 1.9CC measurements are what I use in 45 Schofield. As can be seen, Elephant FFg, which is no longer manufactured, is the heaviest. My 1.9CC charge of Schuetzen comes to about 28.5 grains.

    pml7GTgRj.jpg




    I have no experience with Old Eyensford so I cannot comment on it.

    Regarding 30 grains overflowing a case, I doubt it. I have not tried to put 30 grains of anything into a 45 Schofield case, but I suspect I could easily get about another 1.5 grains in without it overflowing and without compressing the powder too much. My standard compression is about 1/16" - 1/8" when the bullet is seated. I suspect I could easily fit in 30 grains with just a little bit more compression. But I doubt if an extra 1.5 grains will boost the velocity up where you want it.

    And I certainly would not worry about 30 grains of any Black Powder not shoving a full metal jacket bullet completely out of the barrel.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
  11. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    1,027
    If you are striving for a specific velocity, keep in mind that barrel length will effect that quite a bit. The 40 grain powder charge, 250 grain bullet in the Colt case will crack 1000fps from a 7.5" barrel, although most shots will be a little under that. Shooting that load out of my revolver with a 5.5" barrel it cracks 900fps, with most shots being just under that. That 2" of barrel makes a 100fps difference, kind of "right on the nose". !!

    Keeping that in mind, most of the revolvers the .45Sco was intended for had much longer barrels than the 1911, which the .45ACP was intended for. What length is your barrel? If it's not a stubby, I don't think you'll have trouble driving a 230 grain bullet at 800fps. 30 grains should be an easy fit, don't be afraid to compress. Use a fine-grain powder.

    My understanding is that Browning designed the pistol with a 200 grain bullet in mind, but that the Army later requested that be changed to a 230 grain bullet. ?
     
    hrt4me likes this.
  12. DocRock

    DocRock Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Messages:
    3,046
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I think you may be mistaken in your target.

    Original 45 Colt loads for the 1873 Revolver may well have contained 40 grs BP. And the original !load for the Schofield may have been 28 grs.

    But neither of those lasted.

    Logistics required that the Army compromise so that it could supply one cartridge that for both revolvers. The rim on original Colt cases was so small as to be nominal (one reason it was never chambered in a rifle in the 19th Century). The Schofield's rim was large enough to work with the S&W star extractor, and likely will have been too large to work with the bore spacing for the Colt cylinder. I believe that DJ has pictorially demonstrated this in past posts.

    People debate the use of the term 45 Long Colt, as they say there was never a 45 Short Colt. That's only partially true.

    Faced with the logistical issue of the two cartridges - S&W's "short 45" for the Schofield and the longer, almost rimless 45 Colt, the Army came up with a compromise. While some claim the S&W "short 45" was the compromise, that's not true.

    The compromise cartridge was a 250 grs bullet in a case short enough to chamber in the Schofield, with a marginally bigger rim than the Colt to mostly work with the star extractor on the Schofield but small enough to fit the 1873 cylinder, and holding 30 grs of black powder. It will have done about 850 fps.

    When complaints arose, mainly from the Spanish American War and subsequent insurgencies in the Phillippines also from the Cavalry which found the combination underwhelming in an anti-equine role, about the inefficacy of the Model 1892 revolver and 38 Colt, some troops, mainly in the Philippines, were reissued arsenal refurbished 1873 revolvers, many cut down to 5.5" . With the Frankford Arsenal compromise ammunition that may have been colloquially referred to as 45 Short Colt in view of the earlier retirement of the always less numerous Schofields, the 1873 will have delivered about 800 fps.

    So, when JMB, who was well connected and not just a brilliant engineer/designer but a quite savvy businessman, was designing his candidate for the Army's pistol trials, 250 grs at 800 fps, was almost certainly the benchmark he had in mind and may have been a requirement of the Army's RFP. That he ended up with 230 grs at 850fps seems very much "in the ballpark" .

    The "Schofield cartridge" did not last long as it didn't work in the 1873 because of the rim size. So, your target is off. The target should be the compromise cartridge that Frankford Arsenal issued that may or may not have been colloquially called the 45 Short Colt but that was short enough to fire in the Schofield and was lighter than the original 45 Long Colt balloon head copper cased ammunition.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
    GeoDudeFlorida and hrt4me like this.
  13. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,098
    Location:
    Land of the Pilgrims
    Howdy Again

    Sorry, but incorrect on both counts. While current nominal rim diameter for 45 Colt is .512 and nominal rim diameter for 45 Schofield is .520, there is no problem fitting 6 rounds of 45 Schofield into the cylinder of the 1873 Colt Single Action Army. Here is a photo of four modern Starline 45 Schofields and two antique Benet Primed, Folded Rim 45 Schofields in a Colt Single Action Army cylinder chambered for 45 Colt.

    pmVyTn0Lj.jpg
     
    GeoDudeFlorida and Dave T like this.
  14. DocRock

    DocRock Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Messages:
    3,046
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    On one count then.

    The Schofield cartridge did not replace the Colt cartridge. While the compromise cartridge developed by Frankford Arsenal may have been dimensionally similar in length, it was not exactly the same.
     
    GeoDudeFlorida likes this.
  15. SPJackson

    SPJackson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2020
    Messages:
    15
    I'm sorry I can't recall all of my sources. One I can easily find is the wikipedia article on the 45 Schofield, which itself is sadly lacking any reference to substantiate it. I do also recall a youtube video involving someone talking about Thompson–LaGarde Tests who described the 45 Schofield as being comparable to the 45 acp, but I cannot find it

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_Schofield
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_ACP

    I'm sorry if I was not clear enough. I am not talking about loading 45 acp cases with black powder. I am talking about loading 45 Schofield, or 45 Colt, cases. I want to figure out how much black powder it would take to move a 230 grain bullet at roughly the same rate as the the 45 ACP.


    You are right about barrel length. In my case I have a revolver with an 8 inch barrel. A Colt 1860 with a conversion cylinder. So that added length will of course aid in allowing the bullet to reach higher velocities before leaving the muzzle.

    I also found this old thread in which the user crawdad1 said he was able to get 30 grains in a Schofield case

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/45-schofield-load-data-ffg-vs-fffg.785616/

    So maybe I should reframe my question as, what is the least amount of black powder capable of creating a muzzle velocity over 800 fps from a revolver with a barrel length of 8 inches (give or take in order to make things more flexible) for a 230 grain bullet.

    Again, I assume I could likely get these results from a Colt 1860 by loading a Schofield cartridge with 30 grains of fine grain powder (Goex fffg being the one that I am most familiar with)
     
  16. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    1,027
    Sounds like you should indeed be in the "ball park" with 30 grains of at least 3fg, if not 4fg.

    Driftwood, just curious, but why do you use 2fg rather than a finer grained powder?
     
  17. SPJackson

    SPJackson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2020
    Messages:
    15
    Ok. I had been hoping that someone else had already experimented with different loadings and had come up with the measurement I am looking for already. Sadly I cannot yet find anyone who has and has also written about it
     
  18. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2020
    Messages:
    1,027
    Do you have a chronograph? It may fall to you, to write about it.
     
  19. SPJackson

    SPJackson Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2020
    Messages:
    15
    Nope! Thats why I'm reaching out to others
     
    Ugly Sauce likes this.
  20. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    29,412
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    I have a chronograph and time to fool with it.
    Just send me a .45 revolver, a box of each brass, a set of dies, and a case of primers and I will test for you.
    All I have by way of powder right now is Swiss 1 1/2 but I think I can get some Goex FFFg.

    Heck, just the primers and brass, I can borrow the gun locally.
    Oh, yeah, some BP lubed bullets.
     
    rodwha and woodnbow like this.
  21. Dave T

    Dave T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    1,418
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    I have been reading about and researching the black powder 45 Colt cartridge (and it's military descendants) for 30+ years and I have never seen or heard of the 'compromise cartridge' being loaded with a 250g bullet. Everything I've seen reported it being a 230g projectile. Prior to the whole Schofield mess the Ordnance Dept did cut the original loading of a 255g bullet over 40g of powder to a 250g bullet over 30g of black powder, but this was in 45 Colt cases. This 30g loading was much easier for the troopers to control, particularly considering most of them had little to no training with a handgun.

    The Ordnance Department's fondness for the 230g 45 bullet prompted them to request J M Browning change the 45 ACP cartridge he designed, originally with a 200g bullet @ 900 fps, to a 230g projectile at a bit over 800 fps.

    And the original velocity claimed for the 45 ACP was more like 825 fps. As late as 1968 the specifications for issue Ball ammo in Vietnam (I saw the documents) called for a 230g bullet @ 830 fps + - 15 fps. I have chronographed Ball ammo from a variety of makers in a 5" Government Model and most came in ~ 800 fps. Ball ammo @ 850 fps is a recent phenomena (last 20 or so years).

    Dave
     
    rodwha likes this.
  22. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    29,412
    Location:
    Florence, Alabama
    Phil Sharpe showed both 230 and 250 grain bullets in .45 Schofield as "factory loads", both with 28 grains of black. He didn't bother to develop smokeless loads, pre WWII. He had some funny ideas about the origin of .45 Schofield/Government and .45 Colt, though.

    One writer said that the reason they went to a 230 gr bullet in .45 auto was because they couldn't get a 250 gr FMJ in the short case at high enough velocity to suit. The .45 1909 was only 738 fps, though.
     
  23. woodnbow
    • Contributing Member

    woodnbow Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    903
    I may be able to find some chronograph readings in one of several of Sam Fadalas BP loading manuals. I’ll take a look this afternoon.
     
    rodwha likes this.
  24. rodwha

    rodwha Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,940
    Location:
    Texas

    You won’t be able to achieve that velocity with standard Goex. You’d need a sporting grade powder such as their Olde Eynsford, Swiss, or Triple 7.

    Here’s Goex’s cartridge data:

    https://goexpowder.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cartridge-pistol-revolvers.pdf

    Not cartridges, but you get the idea:

    http://poconoshooting.com/blackpowderballistics.html

    Here’s testing through a ROA using various projectiles comparing standard Goex to Triple 7:

     
  25. rodwha

    rodwha Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,940
    Location:
    Texas

    And here’s a fellow on another forum’s testing of various powders in his 1858 using a ball. It will give you a better idea of how different powders send a ball downrange. Note that the energetic powders are quite similar, and usually, from what I’ve seen of posted chronographed results, the other black powders are all quite similar to standard Goex concerning velocity.

    52-D14-A02-D7-E7-4371-B2-BA-84-F2816-A30-CC.png


    8-B981-FA4-5043-4-D0-F-B2-B0-0-F833555606-F.png


    And here’s Goex 4F data from the 1st edition Lyman’s black powder handbook. It’s doubtful you’d find that velocity you desire using a bullet as it barely gets there with a ball.


    https://postimg.cc/XZ5Kfp1Y
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice