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Black Powder in a Ruger 45 Colt Cartridge

This is a discussion on Black Powder in a Ruger 45 Colt Cartridge within the Black Powder forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I used to have a Ruger in 45 LC and decided to try to mimic the original black powder load for it. The only loading ...


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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #1
 
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Black Powder in a Ruger 45 Colt Cartridge

I used to have a Ruger in 45 LC and decided to try to mimic the original black powder load for it. The only loading information I found at the time was 35 grains of fffg (that pretty much was the max load as the bullet would compress that amount of powder, but no more), a standard primer, and a 230 grain conical lead bullet. That load produced very little recoil, lots of smoke, but would shoot very accurately. Don't know the muzzle velocity or the energy, as I didn't have a chronograph, but it was a hoot to shoot. Anyone else try to duplicate the original cartridge loads?



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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:49 PM   #2
 
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Kind of unrelated, but I fired some BP .38 Long Colt rounds in a S&W Model 10, wow was that a nightmare to clean I read about a police force in Malaysia or somewhere in that area that only allowed the police to use black powder cartridges, and they use them in DA revolvers, so I read this and got "motivated" to try it and wow , what a mess!
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Old October 5th, 2010, 07:50 PM   #3
 
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Now and then, starting in 1962. As a matter of fact I have a box of reloads dating from about 1974 that shoot just fine. My Convertible Ruger shoots just fine with 35 grains and a 250 grain Keith SWC.
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Old October 5th, 2010, 08:14 PM   #4
 
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I have shot hundreds, if not thousands, of full black powder loads in my Ruger Bisley Vaquero.

3f Swiss will drive a 250-260 gr bullet to nearly 1000 fps (chronographed).

2F Swiss gives somewhat less velocity and recoil - they are more pleasant to shoot.

I load enough black powder to compress by 1/16" when seated by a .452" bullet cast of 20/1 lead/tin. I use Emmert's home mix lube. This shoots extremely accurately in my handgun (under 2" at 25 yards) and is good for 70 shots or so before fouling causes cylinder drag.

Frankly, it's a GOOD load for general purposes. Clean up, with a good black powder solvent, takes maybe 5-10 minutes - no big deal.

FWIW
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Old October 13th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #5
 
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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

Last edited by Yurko; October 13th, 2010 at 07:12 AM. Reason: edited to add pic - didn't happen w/o pic
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Old October 13th, 2010, 07:54 AM   #6
 
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I've shot BP loads in my Vaquero using 32-38gr of 3F GOEX powder and like it verry much thank you. As for clean up I agree with Dale 53 no big deal I use hot soapy water then rinse and dry and oil no big deal!
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Old October 16th, 2010, 10:31 AM   #7
 
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The original .45 Colt load was 40 gr. of black powder under a 255 gr, round nosed flat point bullet, this produced around 900 fps. However that load was with balloon head cases, that have more volume than modern solid head cases, however I suspect that loaded with all the black powder you can get in the modern cases, you are still in the 900 fps. range.

And remember, fill the cases completely, and compress the charge. Black powder is not a propellant it is an explosive, leave an airspace in the cartridge case and you can have a detonation.....
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Old October 16th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #8
 
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Yurko, that's a real keeper.

Id have it signed, dated, witnessed, framed, and hung over my loading bench.

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Old December 2nd, 2010, 10:50 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Van Gelder View Post
The original .45 Colt load was 40 gr. of black powder under a 255 gr, round nosed flat point bullet, this produced around 900 fps. However that load was with balloon head cases, that have more volume than modern solid head cases, however I suspect that loaded with all the black powder you can get in the modern cases, you are still in the 900 fps. range.

And remember, fill the cases completely, and compress the charge. Black powder is not a propellant it is an explosive, leave an airspace in the cartridge case and you can have a detonation.....
As mentioned above the .45 Colt was designed for BP use. When smokless came around .45 kinda lost its footing.
IMO .45 Colt should be shot with BP. Something about 5-7gr ish of powder floating around in that beer can doesnt sit so well with me...
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Old December 6th, 2010, 05:33 AM   #10
 
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Me? I'm happy to see this subforum added I'm positive that we will get some good information on BP loadings here. For instance If one is thinking of getting into BPCR shooting may I suggest that you obtain a copy of SPG Lubricants BP cartridge reloading primer by Mike Venturino and Steve Garbe? It is chock full of BP loadings starting with the .32-40 through the .50-140 Sharps and other pertanit information and no I have no connection with SPG or the arthors other than I read their articals in magazines. May I also suggest a subscription to the magazine "Black Powder Cartridge News" out of Cody Wyoming published by Steve Garbe? It too is full of information on BPCR shooting and articals on history and various shootin irons. Here's to a sucessful launch of this forum have fun, be careful.
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Old December 6th, 2010, 07:06 AM   #11
 
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I have loaded black powder in .45 Colt and 45/70, and it's fun, but a pain to clean up. Be sure to wash your cases when you're done, as the black powder is corrosive to the brass.
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Old December 6th, 2010, 08:46 AM   #12
 
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+1 on scattershot's advice exception BP isn't hard to clean up hot water, elbow grease and soap do a wonderful job.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 08:51 PM   #13
 
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The original balloon head cases are hard to find and will be weak. The original load was 40 gr.s powder with a 250 gr bullet with hollow base. The military decided the recoil was excessive and reduced the charge to 20 gr.s with a filler. Recoil was reduced, but it was still effective. It was relied on to be a short range weapon of 20 to 25 yards. Reasoning... If you drew your Colt - you were in a heap of trouble with multiple aggressors.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 09:36 AM   #14
 
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I use almost that much BP when I reload using regular .45 Colt brass.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 04:00 PM   #15
 
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The original military Colt's Revolver, Cal; .45 (.45 Colt) load was 30grs of powder under a 250gr bullet. These were loaded in the copper inside primed cases until about August of 1874..
They were replaced by the Revolver Ball Cartridge, Calibre, .45 (.45 Colt Govt.) which was loaded with 28grs of powder and a 230gr bullet also in the inside primed cases. They later made the transition to balloon head cases.

When the commercial ammo producers began marketing the .45 Colt ammo it was loaded in the balloon head cases with around 35 to 38 grs of powder under either a 250 or 255gr bullet. This is the common .45 Colt cartridge.
Somewhat later UMC loaded some with 40 grs of powder and a 250gr bullet. These are the ones Elmer Keith talked about in his book Sixguns by Keith. This was not the original loading, nor the first loading, but it was a stomper of a load.

The .45 S&W (usually called the .45 Schofield) was originally loaded with 28grs of powder under the 230gr bullet.
Later, but not by much the ammo makers did exactly what the military did and consolidated their products and came out with the commercial version of the .45 Colt Government. This was the hermaphroditic version of the .45 Colt and Schofield. .45 Colt rim with the shorter case of the Schofield. These were loaded with 28 grs of powder with either a 230 or 250gr bullet.

The .45 Schofield round didn't make it to the smokeless powder era, however the .45 Colt Govt (usually found head stamped .45 Colt) did.


Having said all that, I've got a habit of hunting down any and all balloon head cases in .45 Colt and can readily attest to the fact that 40 grs of 3F black under a 250gr bullet is fun to shoot. Makes lots of noise and draws lots of attention from those around you.

In modern cases 35grs of bp under a 250-255gr bullet is a really good load.

Clean up is easy, I cheat and wash my revolvers with Windex. Dry 'em off then later clean and oil them normally. Nary a problem.

Joe
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