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SSA colt

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by TheRodDoc, Feb 6, 2010.

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  1. TheRodDoc

    TheRodDoc Member

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    I have two single action Army Colt 45's. One is a second generation and the other is a third generation. There both in excellent condition. The third generation gun looks like brand new yet.

    I have always shot them with black powder. I'm kind of getting tired of so much cleaning and would like to try smokeless powder.

    Can I use modern standard ammo in them off the shelf? If not what Are good velocity's to keep them under?
     
  2. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Excuse me? You have a second generation and a third generation Colts and you don't know what ammunition to use in them? Did you buy them new or used? Didn't they come with an operaters manual?

    To answer your question. Both of those Colts are modern firearms and can digest modern smokeless powder ammunition. Why the hell you are using black powder in them is beyond me in the first place. First generations where black powder guns and even then, only the early ones. I own (bought it new in 1966) and shoot a second generation Colt and it's chambered for .357 magnum...
     
  3. hogshead

    hogshead Member

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    Guess he really was standing on your last nerve.
     
  4. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Well dangies!! Here he owns two very expensive firearms and instead of going to Colt or the local gun shop to get tech information he goes to the net for hear-say experts...I also find it difficult to believe that he would not know that they are modern firearms. What?!? They fell out of the sky and into his hands?
     
  5. average_shooter

    average_shooter Member

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    Calm down. The design dates from before smokeless powder was really "on the scene" so maybe he didn't realize that didn't mean they weren't strong enough to handle smokeless. Also, much of the "off the shelf" ammo (esp. if it's .45 Colt) is "Cowboy" ammo and downloaded greatly. Or it's "Ruger Only" ammo that would blow up even a modern-made-yesterday-fresh-off-the-line SAA by other manufacturers.

    OP, smokeless should be fine. If you reload, keep it within SAAMI spec. If you want to buy you'll probably see Cowboy ammunition which is usually loaded light.
     
  6. TheRodDoc

    TheRodDoc Member

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    Thanks Average Shooter for your decent answer.

    The reason I asked is that I bought both of these guns from the same guy. The first in the 60's and he second in the 70's. He told me they were the same guns as the originals and the factory just continued the serial no.s from where they left off.
    He was a large Winchester and Colt collector. Who died shortly after I bought that second gun from him. Was a Really nice old man too.

    I was told that they were loaded up to 800 fps then. And recently when I got all my guns out again after 30 some years I wanted to shoot them again. But try modern ammo. I looked in town for some ammo and found there was none. A guy I know had a box of 20 (what's with that? was all boxes of 50 last I knew) that he gave me to use. I see on the box it listed the velocity as 1100. That's why I asked.
    I used to shoot only black powder in them for it was fun to use. Kind of gave you the feeling of being back in them old days.
    I shot a lot of black powder in many black powder guns in my younger years. I have a 1851 second generation too. Plus many more original old guns. I quit buying guns in the 70's. The last was a Ruger stainless steel BlackHawk 357 mag. bought new in 1976. Under $200.00 then.

    I don't go to gun ranges or clubs. I do all my shooting at home on the farm. No body else has even seen any of my guns since I have had them.

    I didn't realize they were expensive either. I paid under $150.00 for each of them. And asking in town at my gun shops out here I get the same stupid answers as some of you gave me.
     
  7. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Yup...And I bought mine for $136.00 in 1966 brand spanking new. It now apraises for over $1,000 to $1,200...

    In "classic" calibers such as .38 special, .38-40, .44-40 and .45 LC they are even worth more...
     
  8. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Actually, the black powder loads were quite powerful in their day, far more than 800 FPS, I assure you. The serial number cut-off, below which it is a bad idea to fire smokless powder, is in the 192,00 to 193,000 range, but DON'T take my word for it; look it up. What causes smokeless powder loads to wreck black-powder-era guns is the pressure curve being different, not the total chamber pressure. Regardless, this occurred DURING the now-so-called First Generation. All Second and Third Generation Colt SAA sixguns can be shot with SAAMI-spec ammo. AVOID anything labeled +P, or "Ruger Only" loads, or anything labeled as safe for carbines only. Obviously, if it is someone's handload, of undetermined pressure, avoid it, too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2010
  9. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Two books, together, are the bibles of SA Colt sixguns. _Single Action Sixguns_, by John Taffin, and the relevant book on Colt Single Actions written by Mike Venturino. Both of mine are in storage at the moment, so I can't recall the exact title of MLV's book. Either book will detail what should be shot with only black powder.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The original 40 grain BP load pushed a 255 grain bullet nearly 1,000 FPS in the 7 1/2" barrel of the early guns.

    Buffalo Bore loads standard pressure ammo that duplicates the original BP load in power.
    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=45

    Modern Colt SAA's made since the early 1900's are perfectly safe with smokeless loads generating similar power.

    A really good factory equivalent load is a 250 Keith LSWC over 8.5 to 9.0 grains Unique.

    If you don't reload, most factory loads are held to a safe 14,000 PSI pressure limit unless they are marked as +P, "Ruger Only" or something along those lines.

    Winchester, Remington, and others load a 255 LRN-FP to about 860 FPS in standard .45 Colt loads.
    Cowboy loads are usually a 250 grain at around 750 FPS.

    rc
     
  11. Magnumite

    Magnumite Member

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    I've used the load rcmodel listed above in a SAA clone and it is completely safe in it. I don't care for the sights, but the load is good.
     
  12. TheRodDoc

    TheRodDoc Member

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    Thanks again for some more good answers.

    I do have a lot of loading equipment but it is all packed up and put away. And I don't know if I will get it all out again. I might. I have a Tru-Line Jr. press that dad bought new in 46 with most die sets for any cal. used in those days. Must be 20 some die sets to go with it. He gave me all his stuff in the early 70's. And have a RCBS press bought in the late sixtys with a lot of the later cal. dies. So I can load most any U.S. made bullet.
    I have old Dupont cardboard rectangular cans, with the screw on cap in the center of the flat top, of powder from the 40's too from dad. He used a lot of that brand. I was still using some of it in the 70's but that might be a bit to old to use now.
    Would have to buy new loading books probably for most of the powders I saw in town I have never heard of. The old ones I used to use have vanished it seems or renamed.
    For now I just will use factory ammo if I can ever get some. None of our stores around here have any. Looking on the internet I see ammo prices have really changed too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2010
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    Ammunition makers are not in the business of blowing up old guns. Factory smokeless powder loads are loaded to the same pressures (and pressure curves) as the old black powder loads and are safe in even the old guns. The primary reason for the repeated warnings is for reloaders who always want to use "just a bit" more powder.

    But if an old gun is badly worn, or has been "cleaned" to remove deep rust, it may be dangerous with ANY ammunition.

    It is often written that c. 1900 Colt went to improved steel for the cylinders and frames. That is not true, they went TO steel; the old guns were wrought iron. The case hardening was not only decoration, it was needed to harden the frames against wear because iron can't be heat treated like steel can.

    Jim
     
  14. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    Hi TheRodDoc,



    Dig out that old Tru-Line Jr. Press, and, do your own Loading..!


    'Trailboss' Powder is well spoken of for .45 LC for pleasure shooting/ Plinking, and of course the good folks here who are into .45 LC can recommend other Powders and detail their attributes/merits.


    I plan to be loading for .45 LC, with my Lyman Tru-Line Jr. Press, just been too busy to get to it.


    New or once-shot Brass is easy to get, 'Gunbroker' and elsewhere.


    Primers are easy again, now, finally!


    I probably prefer Black Powder myself, but, I will see how I like various Smokeless Loadings too once I get some time/room to get back into it.


    Pictures?
     
  15. Magnumite

    Magnumite Member

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    Nice info there, Jim. Thanks.
     
  16. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    Hi Jim Keenen,


    You'd mentioned -


    So far, in my re-loading, or Loading, for .38 Special, slightly less Grains than Original Black Powder Loadings, give higher FPS for same Bullet weight than chrono'd off the shelf Smokeless 'SAAMI' compliant Ammunition, and, higher than the FPS which 158 Grain Standard 'SAAMI' Load off-the shelf or reload manual specs claim for the round.


    No reason I can see for full BP Loads in .45 LC to not give better FPS than regular off-the-shelf Smokeless Loads, also.


    I will test this with .45 LC and the Chronograph once I get some rounds made up.


    I will test Winchester, and others, off-the-shelf 'SAAMI' compliant Cartridges, verses, full charge home-load 3F Black Powder, with same Bullet weight.

    If a long Barrel Revolver, I'll bet the BP gives 100 FPS or more over the off-the-shelf 'SAAMI' Blessed Smokeless rounds.
     
  17. Hardtarget

    Hardtarget Member

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    Probably don't need to say this...but...don't throw away ANY of those old powder containers. You know how old boxes/containers go up in value so hang onto them. :cool: They make cool display in your loading room. Kind of shows "time in grade". longevity in the sport is nice. I like to go shoot with the older friends...and I'm 60 this year.

    So, get some up dated books and advice. Go shoot your guns. Be safe and have a GOOD time. :D

    Mark
     
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