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Black Powder in a Ruger 45 Colt Cartridge

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Old May 13th, 2011, 02:19 PM   #16
 
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Old May 13th, 2011, 04:21 PM   #17
 
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The other posters have pretty well (...and very accurately...) covered the blackpowder data for the 45 colt. I'll add just add some details.

We shot quite a bit of these loads thru vaqueros. We settled on about 35 grains of FF in regular colt brass; or used schofield cases filled to the bottom of the over powder wad. Always remember to keep the powder tight with the over powder wad. We used a small hardwood dowel to compress the powder charge a bit and seat the over powder wad tightly. Do not leave any air space. We also used a felt "grease wad" under the bullet. Evidently, this was done with some old time target loads. These "grease wads" give more lubrication to the bore and keep the fouling soft longer (...and that's what ya want for accuracy if ya shoot quite a bit...).

What ya do is add powder, put in an "over powder" wad, tighten the powder charge and overpowder wad with your dowel, then add a felt wad, (...we soaked plain felt wads in thompson's bore butter. What ya do is find an empty coffee can, add the bore butter, melt slowly over low heat, then add the wads. If ya use 500 or so wads, it soaks up the melted bore butter and makes a couple of years supply for a few dollars...), then seat the bullet. We used desperado bullet soft cast bullets (...link here: Desperado Cowboy Bullets, LLC ...) in our loads. They shoot like a dream, are extremely accurate, and the cleanup is pretty easy. The extra lube in the grease wad keeps the bore fouling good and soft. You should be able to feel a bit of lube at the end of the revolver barrel if the bullet and grease wad is doing it's job properly.

When the shooting fun was over; we cleaned the guns with a "homemade" mixture of equal parts of windex (...without ammonia ...), methyl alcohol (...from lowes paint department...), and hydrogen peroxide (...from walmart first aid department...). This is a mix that the north-south skirmishers recommend to clean their muzzle loaders. It's a bunch cheaper than the store bought brands and works like a charm. The above receipe makes 3/4 of a gallon for about 7 or 8 dollars if you buy quart size ingredients.

Remember to swab your pistol down with methanol to clean up all the petroleum based oils and greases from the cylinder and bore BEFORE shooting these black powder loads. If ya dont, you will have the mess that lots of folks complain about with black powder loads. The fouling looks like asphalt and is hard as a rock; and dang near cant be removed with anything.
Also, remember to keep a small squirt bottle of your "homade bore cleaner" around to clean up the cylinder front while you are shooting to keep it from dragging. The blackpowder fouling will just melt away with this cleaner. After cleaning, use any synthetic oil to lube the barrel and cylinder. Some folks like Balistol but i couldn't tell much difference between it and the synthetics. Balistoil is evidently a vegetable based oil.

We also used a plastic jug of soapy water to drop the spent cases in. It will clean the cases up if ya just slosh them around a bit. You can take them home, rinse them off, decap them, let em air dry, tumble em, and reload em all again. We always tried to use nickle cases to keep them separate from the "regular" loads.

I'll close this little epistle with this little personal observation: ....There is nothing in the world of shooting greater than the throaty rumble of a black powder pistol or shotgun load goin off. The kaboom is loud. The smoke is white and billowy, and there aint a shootin thrill greater than it. After the first shot with a shotgun or the second shot thru a revolver, you will be enveloped with white smoke and will have to run around it to see the target if the wind aint blowing.

All finished pistol and shotgun men (...and women...) owe it to themselves to shoot at least one round of loads with real black powder (...not the subsitutes...). That lets you experience for yourself what your grandfathers (...and their fathers before them...) experienced in the long ago. It is truly a great thing. Again, there aint nothin like it!!!

Hope this helps.

Have fun.
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Old June 16th, 2011, 01:47 PM   #18
 
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All this talk about BP charges 35, 38, 40 grains. Are these charges in WEIGHT or VOLUME? I'd like to load a few just to play with. If I load just a few do I still need the SPG lube?
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Old June 16th, 2011, 02:29 PM   #19
 
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Black powder whatever granulation should be loaded by volume you may purchase a volume bP measure @ any good sporting goods store or on line Cabalea's, and Dixie gunworks come to mind and I'm sure there are many other places that sell them. IMO SPG lube is top O the line however there are many other BP lubes available. check online or brew up your own recipies beaucoup ma chere I gaurentee!

Last edited by cyrille; June 16th, 2011 at 02:32 PM.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 07:58 PM   #20
 
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Or you can try 777 (Triple-7) which you don't need the special bullet lubes or powder measures or wads. As said above just load enough powder to slightly compress the load under a standard bullet and you are good to go! My son and were out to the range today and let off a few smoky .45 Colt rounds though my Vaquero. Fun!

Last edited by rclark; June 18th, 2011 at 08:01 PM.
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Old June 19th, 2011, 07:55 AM   #21
 
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Rclark--- I beg to differ a powder measure wheither loading by volume (Black powder or BP substitute) or by weight (scale) (smokeless powder) should ALWAYS be used! I realize that the modern .45 Colt brass will usually only hold 37- 38 grs of 3F, however it is my firm belief and recommedation that to NOT use a powder measue is to invite a very real danger to the reloading/loading party.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 06:12 AM   #22
 
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As you know BP should always fill the case to base of bullet and at least slightly compressed. Now to be consistent you should use either lee dippers, or a powder measure ... otherwise your accuracy goes to pot... That I agree with. But the point I am trying to make you you don't have to be concerned if it is 30g or 40g... just so the load fills the case so there is no air pocket between powder and bullet and is at least slightly compressed, you are good to go. Same with cap/ball BP revolvers. Load BP, load your wad (or as I do some cream of wheat) and push the ball home with lever. Good to go.... In a revolver... you can't get enough in the cylinders or case to hurt anything. Now, muzzle loading is different... there you must load by volume to the manufactures recommended load....

Last edited by rclark; June 27th, 2011 at 06:15 AM.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #23
 
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Well just my druthers but I will always use a by volume powder measure when loading BP.
I also load for my .45/70 falling block using a by volume powder measure.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #24
 
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One thing that has not been mentioned here is the weight and design of a proper bullet for the .45 Colt. I have had excellent results with Lyman's 452664, a 250 gr RF bullet with a relatively large flat bottomed grease groove (important to hold enough black powder lube to minimize fouling problems).

I use Emmert's Home Mix bullet lube but if you want a commercial lube, SPG works very well (no better than Emmert's but seemingly just as well). You will have best results with a relatively soft bullet (I use 20/1 lead/tin) sized at .452". This gives me excellent accuracy (I have won a number of matches with the Ruger Bisley Vaquero and black powder) and with my revolver will allow me to shoot 70 or more shots without cleaning before the cylinder starts binding from fouling. Fouling is somewhat of a particular revolver "problem" - some revolvers will allow you a greater or lesser number of shots before needing to be cleaned before continuing.

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Old April 27th, 2012, 05:17 AM   #25
 
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Don't do it!
Loading black powder in brass cartridge cases is hazardous to your financial well-being.

I started out wondering how black powder would shoot in my old blackhawk 45 lc. Well it shot too good and then I wondered how it would shoot in my 30-30 then I wondered how it would shoot in 12ga then I wondered if it would be fun to make my own bullets and lube then I wanted a large caliber rifle to shoot my black powder and home made bullets then I wondered if I could kill deer and hogs with my single shot rifles. Now I have a room full of equipment to make bullets, lube and to load black powder cartridges. I have been reloading for almost 50 yrs. and I still find casting and using black powder to shoot and hunt with to be a source of much enjoyment. It's not for everyone and it certainly has it's learning curve but to those that stick with it is self rewarding.
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Old April 27th, 2012, 06:02 AM   #26
 
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I have used 38 grains of goex powder topped with a 255 grain swc and a magnum primer for many years and out of my 71/2 inch ruger blackhawk I will break 1000 fps. If I shoot it in cowboy I use 38 grains of 2x to keep velocity safely below 900 fps to make suree my load is legal on a warmer day. i always use magnum primers for a more complete burn.
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Old April 27th, 2012, 12:29 PM   #27
 
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Quote:
Don't do it!
Loading black powder in brass cartridge cases is hazardous to your financial well-being.
Yeah ... I know ... even BP in general . Just went through 100 balls in my ROA under 40g of 777 and started on a new box.... Went and bought another 200 ... all that was available in this town. My 777 is getting low .

Now time to dig out the original Vaquero .45 Colt and have some smoky cartridge fun!
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 09:45 AM   #28
 
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Windex w/ vinegar works very well. In the original version of "Sixguns by Keith" (pre-.44 magnum) and other older written works by that great American, he always was quoted as saying that "if he couldn't reload and was forced to rely on store bought ammunition, the commercial .45 Colt black powder load would be his choice" of course, once the .44 magnum was available commercially, that became a moot point with Keith but I certainly agree with his wisdom at the time. The B.P. .45 Colt load "delivers the goods" and is very pleasant to shoot.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:58 AM   #29
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yurko View Post
Just shot off a box of Goex Black powder cartridges last weekend in my Blackhawk 45 Colt.
The range has a strange setup - you're inside, but the targets are outside.
Anyway we had to open all the doors & windows cuz we were coughing so bad.
Still it was pretty neat watching all the smoke.

Very accurate stuff too. My first shot hit dead center bullseye - so I had to pull the target then & there. It was just too perfect not to.
This is from about 10 yards - free hand - no rest, sandbags, etc. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good!




Goex Black Dawge Black Powder Ammunition 45 Colt (Long Colt) 235 Grain Lead Flat Nose Box of 50 - MidwayUSA
Nice!
Resized that pic would make a great avatar photo!
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Old October 25th, 2012, 04:04 AM   #30
 
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I use American Pioneer Powder in my .45LC loads and in my ROAs
It allows me to shoot standard lube bullets
I used to load a near full case to allow for slight compression of the powder per the APP reccomendations.
To save money on powder, I now use a slightly reduced powder load and fill the remainder with grits.
Still makes a bunch of smoke and the targets don't care
At CAS distances and size of the targets, its still just as accurate
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