View Full Version : 45 Colt

08-07-2008, 02:38 PM
Have any of you fellows out there used lee's 200 gr SWC in 45 Colt, if so whit what sort of powder,size, crimp and what was the result good or bad. I have a Ruger bisley
and i was thinking of making a load whit light recoil for competition, any thoughts are most wellcome

Happy shooting

08-07-2008, 08:12 PM
Hi math

So, you live in..... Sweden right :). What kind of powders do you get there?
Have you measured your cylinder and barrel diameters?
Are you shooting target or Cowboy?

I've seen very tight groups made with Vectan Ba10 and 200 JHP's in a Colt Bisley. But that powder literally stinks.

I don't think a crimp is necessary with fast powders, unless the bullet doesn't get enough case neck tension.
I used 45ACP dies to reload for other guns, resizing just enough for the ammo to go in dirty chambers, and they gave plenty of neck tension with heavier bullets (I never tried light bullets because of the light recoil. Also, in those days, lead was free....).
You will find that some brass is thicker than other (Fed>Win>Starline>Rem, from memory), and that the thick ones give better neck tension.

Some 45Colt dies were very poorly made until fairly recently, being OK with fat .454 bullets but loose with .452 ones.

If your bullet is the conical "H&Gibbs 68" copy, you might be limited in case grip by the short bearing of its driving bands; and be back to some crimping above the front band (flush with the case).
Check how much pressure is necessary to move it in the case (thumb pressure only is not good...).

Anyways I would use the bullets as-cast, simply checking them for the odd skinny one; and lube by hand. LEE's 45 molds usually drop around .453 with wheelweight or range lead.
You can increase that diameter by "beagling" the mold.

I used that bullet in an Old Army with heavy loads of black powder and it shot in two inches@25yards, despite being a little undersized for the cylinder; but that's the Black Powder effect.
That gun had typical 45 Auto grooves, and I would expect the Bisley to follow.

You might find some inspiration on these pages:
http://www.hobbygunsmith.com/Archives.htm (look for Cowboy conversions and loads)

If you want to shorten 45 Colt brass, check its inside thickness to make sure you won't need to ream them in order to accept the bullets; RP's are said to be the best in that regard, but since my stock in that caliber is "currently not available", I cannot help you about that.

Also StarLine makes 45 Schofield brass, which helps with light loads, if your local regulations don't allow cut brass or the Special.

Another solution is to seat the bullet completely in the brass, and use reduced loads.


08-08-2008, 08:04 AM
Hi kg42

I have access to Vhitavouri, Accurate,Hogdon, Norma, Imr and i think you can find Alliant also. I have used Accurate No2 imp for light target loads in 45 ACP but that powder has been next to impossible to obtain this year so i have tried Vhitavouri N320 whit good results.

I am mostlly shooting target so the thighter the group the better.My drum and barrel is .451 i seize my bullets to .452.
I use a Rcbs carbide die and neck tension has not been a problem. In Speers manual they stated that you should crimp over the forvard drivind band, thoughs on that?

Rules sayes that you must use the right brass for thr calibre, even if most folks here wouldn't see the difference betveen 45 colt and 45 Schofield.:-D

Bc forgive my ignorance but where in the world would that place you if i may ask?

Best regards

08-08-2008, 06:51 PM
BC is for British Columbia; better known as "Beautifull British Columbia" in the tourism circles and "that part of Canada where it rains all the time" by everybody else... :lol:

"Drum" is an interesting nickname for the cylinder.
It seems that the Swiss shooting community recently opted for "roulette" to name a revolver, if I can tell from one forum (I suspect French influence ;)).

Speer probably use their own swaged SWC, without crimp groove, for their data (same thing with Hornady).
You could keep some part of the front driving band out of the case (like in 45 ACP) in order to ease the flight from the case to the throats, but it is more common to seat it low and reduce the volume given to the powder.
You should ask your gun which way it prefers...

(Very) fast powders might not need crimp. You will have to try different ways to make sure.

I talked about seating the whole bullet in the case, this is what it would look like (don't forget to use a reduced powder load):

The 45 Colt was made in "gallery"variety.
U.S. Cartridges and Their Handguns by Charles Suydam, lists a gallery load by WRACo with a 138gr round ball and 7 gr of powder (black?), in a standard case.

08-08-2008, 10:00 PM
Thought so

About the drum thing belive it or not but in my native language that part of a revolver is actually named "drum" whit no regards to the musical instrument whit the same name, so i just forgot it could also be called cyllinder ( mostly found on cars back home:-D). Good thing you managed to get my point anhow.

Think it would be a good or bad idea to go for a softer alloy say 50/50 WW and pure lead for light loads ?

Best regards

08-08-2008, 10:49 PM
Hi math

I don't see the need for pure lead, if WW is what you have, unless it lowers your cost, or you want to save WW for other applications.

I am myself going to empty my 20lb pot of its WW because I cannot get any more at the time, and switch to softer range lead. I don't shoot much above 1000fps.

Also keep an eye on your cast diameter as pure lead will shrink it. It might also affect the ease of casting, and need higher temperature.

08-09-2008, 03:16 AM
Because WW's are getting harder and harder to come by and I have many sources of pure lead, I cut all my handgun bullets to 50/50 (including my carry bullets) except those I will use for deer hunting. But, I have pure lead coming out of my ears. I am even considering cutting the WW's to 25/75 for .38spec, .357mag, 9mm, and .45ACP. Most of my load testing is done at this point, and I have good cast loads worked up for all of my favorite rifles and pistols. I have been following this thread but not posting on it as .45Colt is one that I do not shoot. (The only .45 I shoot is .45ACP) When one considers that for many years the only .45Colt loads obtainable were with cast bullets of pure lead (loaded with Black Powder), I see no reason not to do some experiments with pure lead target loads, maybe add a tiny bit of tin (1-2%) for best fillout. I would want something harder for hunting to prevent stripping at higher pressures/velocities. Like KG says, the purer the lead, the more it will shrink and the higher the pot temperature needed, so it depends on the mould you are using if approaching pure is a workable solution for you.

08-09-2008, 06:39 AM
that pretty well sums it up.
for low vel you can get away with pure.
i have run ww's with 2% tin as low as 750 and as high as 1600 fps.
iin the 45 colt.
winchester factory loads varied from 40-1 to 20-1 and even pure over b/p.

08-09-2008, 08:13 AM
Hi and thanks for your replies

Actually using more pure lead would raise my bullet cost but i thought it might be worth it if there was some benifits to have from it in lower speeds. The gun shoots good whit the heavier loads but that gets tiresome to shoot a hole match whit ( 45 rounds one handed) And sense there is no class for revolvrer :( you are compeating against autos in 32 S&W.

Best regards

08-09-2008, 06:47 PM
Math, look for the fastest pistol powders, they ignite very well with small loads and are usually more accurate for light target purpose; and be very careful not to double these small loads (you probably already knew all that didn't you :)?).

Bullseye has been a long time favorite and winner, as well as Ba10. Titegroup has very good ignition and has become a favorite too. All three are a bit dirty for my tastes though. Flake powders like Bllseye and 700X can be a pain to meter accurately.
I've had very good accuracy with slower powders, up to about Herco, but with heavier loads and bullets around 900fps (1000fps in other calibers like 357 and 44).

All powder makers now have a Cowboy section with fast powders/ light recoil loads. Let me know if you don't find their website.

How does the gun's weight affect you? There is a 32 version of the Bisley on the smaller Single Six frame.
My point is that I never found the 45's recoil aggressive but the guns would become heavier going through 30 rounds series.

08-10-2008, 02:51 PM
Hi kg42

Yes the gun is on the hevy side but the balance is good. When i bought it i had the hope of being able to take it on a hunting trip and then there is the history and charm around it, plus it is always fun to hear once fellow competitor vince and siegh when you start arrange your stuff :mrgreen:

I have enough data to get started and i do all my reloading whit a rcbs rock chucker it might be slower but i feel i have moore control. On my last feildshooting here was one gay that manage to get 3!! bullets stock in his barrel (38 spl) and he uses a progresiv press.

Best regards

08-10-2008, 08:00 PM
Hi there

I corrected some speed in my previous post.
1000fps is my concept of a good load in these 1.29" cases but I wouldn't subject most 45 Colt guns to it with these powders.

I dug up some data from Ken Waters' Pet Loads:
190gr Shur-X SWC with 7.0gr Red Dot for 838fps in a 4" 5/8 Ruger (most accurate load tested).
With a Speer 185 SWC, he gives 6.5 of Bullseye and 7.0 of Unique for 868 and 719 fps.
All loads are intended to be safe in older guns.

Hornady starts Bullseye and Red Dot at 4.7 gr, 700X at 5.0gr and 231 at 6.3 gr, all for 600fps with a 200 SWC swaged in a 4" 3/4 Colt SA (Third Ed. Handbook of Cartridge Reloading).

Now we need re-sults :mrgreen:.

08-11-2008, 01:31 PM
I wiill try to produce some result but all depends on when the mould arivs i am hoping by the end of the week and then i only have one veek of semester left before i am to don the uniform and spend the winter in Afghanistan. But i will do what i can