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  #1  
Old 07-03-2008, 03:38 PM
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.45 Colt


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Hello!

I just picked up my new RUGER .45 Colt today, and once I got home, busied myself with my usual project with any new gun of taking new measurements of the physical parameters and otherwise closely inspecting my new gun.

I am just a little concerned, however. My intent to use my BLACKHAWK 7-1/2” stainless steel model, is just about over-powering at this point. My concern stems from ownership of 1 or 2 previous models over the years (I never took measurements back then). One of my previous models was a blued-steel model .45 Colt Convertible in Colt and A.C.P. with two separate fitted cylinders. I read somewhere that RUGER was making the SA’s a little bit smaller than they used to. I DO NOT HAVE ANY INTENTION OF “HOT RODDING” MY NEW .45 COLT, but would keep the mv at a sensible range of 1000 fps to a max of 1200 fps. My measurements are as follows:
(1) Wall thickness at front of cylinder (inside to outside): 0.090”;
(2) Wall thickness at rear of cylinder (inside to outside): 0.075”;
(3) Wall thickness chamber to chamber (front): 0.091”;
(4) Wall thickness chamber to chamber (rear): 0.062”

The revolver weighs: 45oz

It seems like a very nice revolver and the usual “solidly built” RUGER My concern is that I’m wondering if the new RUGER is “up to the task” of “full plate” loads. I am intending on loading (my old load) of 10.0 gr UNIQUE powder. According to my LYMAN #45th Edition, on page #183, it lists a 235 gr cast lead bullet (max) at 10.7 gr for 1095 fps and a 250 gr cast lead bullet (max) at 10.3 gr for 1028 fps. I’m guessing that my mv would be in the range of 1062 fps using a LEE cast bullet #TL 452-230 TC, weighing at approximately 242 gr (wheel weight material).

This has been a good “middle of the road” load in my previous RUGER .45 Colt guns and have no good reason to believe otherwise that this load might be unsafe in my new gun. Because of the rumor that RUGER has “downsized” the specs on their BLACKHAWK .45 Colt guns, do you have an opinion as to whether this load would continue to be safe? I fastidiously cling to the old habit of starting at the minimum powder range and working my way up slowly, in increments.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Rollie Larson
Eau Claire, WI
Thu 0807031805s
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  #2  
Old 07-03-2008, 03:55 PM
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Ruger has made the New Vaquero to be closer in size to a Colt SAA (and thus the loads should probably be closer to the SAA), but I'm not aware that Blackhawks should not be loaded as indicated in the manuals.
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  #3  
Old 07-03-2008, 07:35 PM
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If you want to measure something that will affect performance and accuracy, slug the barrel and measure the chamber throats.

Lately, it seems that Ruger has been putting quite undersized chamber throats; an easy gunsmithing job to open up to the correct size.
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  #4  
Old 07-03-2008, 08:52 PM
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I built a convertible .45/.45 ACP. I had the gunsmith recut the cylinders and ream the forcing cone. While he was at it I had him hone the trigger and change the springs. The pistol is a one holer at 25 yards and now loves cast bullets. I had him turn the Nader message off he barrel and I engraved it before we reblued. It is a fun gun to shoot and a nice BBQ gun.
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  #5  
Old 07-04-2008, 02:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtmrolla View Post
I built a convertible .45/.45 ACP. I had the gunsmith recut the cylinders and ream the forcing cone. While he was at it I had him hone the trigger and change the springs. The pistol is a one holer at 25 yards and now loves cast bullets. I had him turn the Nader message off he barrel and I engraved it before we reblued. It is a fun gun to shoot and a nice BBQ gun.
That's GORGEOUS! I'm not normally one for "bling" on my guns, but that really appeals to me.

I might have to find me a second job and direct-deposit the paycheck to my gunsmith...
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  #6  
Old 07-04-2008, 04:45 AM
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If yours is the Blackhawk, you're fine with loads up into the "Ruger only" range. If it's a New Vaquero, then it is smaller in every dimension than a Blackhawk, and you should stick to SAA-level loads.
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  #7  
Old 07-04-2008, 04:09 PM
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Pisgah is correct, The BLACKHAWK and BISLEY are still the Large OD cylinder, same as the SBH. The NEW VAQUERO is a Colt sized cylinder and should be loaded as such.

The only other thing that may be of use is: Older Ruger Blackhawks had oversize chambers and cylinder throats. More recent production Rugers have had smaller cylinder throats Not to be confused with cylinder outside dimensions. Occasionally, there has been reported that some of the newer manufacture Blackhawks have been to small in the cylinder throat, (a friend of mine had one that measured. .448) These should have the throats opened up to the appropriate size, especially if you are looking at lead bullets. Then follow MikeG's advice and choose the appropriate fitting bullet for your gun.

Todd Corder
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  #8  
Old 07-04-2008, 07:04 PM
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.45 Throats in new BLACKHAWK

I just measured all six of the cylinder throats and they measured 0.452". I don't remember what my previous guns measured and I didn't keep those kinds of records 40 years ago.

In your opinion, is 0.452" undersized? The LEE cast bullet #TL 452-230 TC without being sized is 0.454". The forcing cone measures: 0.465". The barrel diameter is: 0.451"

Last edited by stalker76z; 07-04-2008 at 11:02 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-04-2008, 11:12 PM
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I had my cylinder reamed to .4525 for better shooting of cast. My original throats were a .450.

Jim
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  #10  
Old 07-05-2008, 02:56 AM
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I consider .452 perfect.
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  #11  
Old 07-05-2008, 04:12 AM
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.452 is the ideal. You can size the bullet to the same diameter, however the Lee 452 230 TC bullet could be loaded in as cast providing your chambers are large enough to "release" the bullet. ie let the brass expand and let the bullet go, There should be more than enough room in a factory chamber for this. The bullet being a TC will allow the "oversize" bullet to sit off the standard throat letting it get moving before it is pressed into the throat. ( this is like bullet seating depth on a rifle, keeping the bullet off the lands a bit) The .454 bullet will press into the throat and should shoot just fine.

If you desire you can size the bullet to the .452, .453 and as cast and see which one provideds the best accuracy and cleanest bore condition.

Todd
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2008, 05:33 PM
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kaytod.....
It sounds like your reasoning is sound. In approximately 40 years of reloading and casting many calibers of bullets, I understand your reasoning. Thank you for your response.

I believe that after my initial firings of say 24 rounds or so, I will do the bore lapping project that has been so successful in all of my other guns that have vastly improved the lead bullet accuracy.

Thanks again!
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  #13  
Old 07-05-2008, 08:42 PM
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If your throats are correct and smooth, showing no leading but the barrel / forcing cone needs a bit of polish, you can apply your lapping compound in the forcing cone and shoot plain bullets. This will lap your barrel without the need to apply and load that grit on bullets, or needlessly polish your throats.

The best combination I've found is a good ole round nose bullet and a light load. The round nose bullets press the lapping compound to the bore unlike SWC or Keith with the shoulder on the front which tends to scrape it out. Loads are generally 230RN or 255 Rnfp over Trail Boss or unique, just 700 fps stuff.

Just apply a bit with a Q-tip inside the forcing cone and slide in your cylinder, shoot one and repeat. Use as many shots as you like to before you go to the next grit. (usually 6 each for me) I clean the compound from the gun after every 6 shot to inspect it's progress. ( a can of ether works well and is relatively inexpensive) I'm probably preaching to the choir here, didn't mean to ramble.

Todd
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  #14  
Old 07-08-2008, 08:45 PM
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.45 Colt Bore, forcing cone and cylinder throat lapping

Kaytod-----
Thanks for your info on 0807052342s. After painstaking procedures of previous experience with WHEELER ENGINEERING lapping compound, I now have a very highly polished bore in my RUGER .45 Colt Cal, as well as nicely polished cylinder throats. To be honest, even though I have some previous experience in lapping bores of rifles, I had none with a revolver. This was my first! I want to point out, however, that I was very careful and judicious in application of the product. My procedure is simply taking a #1 diesel oil as lubricant for the bore and also using it to make a slightly thin paste from the respective #220, #320 and #600 grit paste. By adding just a little bit of the #1 diesel oil, it thins the oil-based grit and a pencil-eraser sized blob is more than enough to do the job. First, I used a small cleaning rod with a nickel-sized piece of soft cotton (old t-shirt will do fine), and carefully coating each cylinder chamber as required. I only needed to go in from the mouth about 1/2 way towards the firing pin end. I then carefully coated the bore and the forcing cone of the barrel. I cranked off the first round at approximately 750 fps with the unsized (0.454") TL 452 230 TC LEE Bullet, followed by extending the cleaning rod down the barrel and into the empty cartridge, after each shot. After the six rounds were done, I carefully disassembled the cylinder, cylinder pin, extractor housing and cleaned thoroughly with hot water and liquid laundry detergent, followed by #1 diesel oil for lubrication. I want to say, that the barrel showed immediate improvement in polished appearance. Only six rounds were used in above procedure with #220 grit paste, followed after the cleaning and inspection, by #320 grit paste. I don't know if using the #600 grit will be necessary, but it is working like a charm. Thanks again, for your advice on the size specs!
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  #15  
Old 07-09-2008, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaytod View Post
.452 is the ideal. You can size the bullet to the same diameter, however the Lee 452 230 TC bullet could be loaded in as cast providing your chambers are large enough to "release" the bullet. ie let the brass expand and let the bullet go, There should be more than enough room in a factory chamber for this. The bullet being a TC will allow the "oversize" bullet to sit off the standard throat letting it get moving before it is pressed into the throat. ( this is like bullet seating depth on a rifle, keeping the bullet off the lands a bit) The .454 bullet will press into the throat and should shoot just fine.

If you desire you can size the bullet to the .452, .453 and as cast and see which one provideds the best accuracy and cleanest bore condition.

Todd
Wait a second - now I'm confused.

It's my understanding that bullet diameter in the .45 ACP is .452 but the bullet diameter for .45 Colt is .454 - two one-thousandths of an inch isn't much, but it is a distinction between the two. (As a side note, the Wikipedia article states that jacketed .45 Colt bullets should be .451)

So should the throats be .452 or .454 for a .45 Colt, and if the answer is .452, why is that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG
Lately, it seems that Ruger has been putting quite undersized chamber throats; an easy gunsmithing job to open up to the correct size.
If this is a current trend, why hasn't Ruger taken steps to correct it?
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  #16  
Old 07-09-2008, 07:23 AM
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TrickG, bores and bullets for the 45 Colt were once specced at .454". Later, most manufacturers realized that making barrels for two different .45-calibers (the .45 ACP was always pegged at .451") cost them money. They soon changed specs for the 45 Colt to a nominal .452" to accomodate both cast and jacketed bullets.

The actual dimensions of a gun you examine are due to several things. One is tolerance; nothing can be made exact, so all stipulated dimensions are gven as (for example only) .577 +/- .002" So an item made to that specification could be anywhere from .575" to .579" and still be acceptable.

Another factor is tool wear. (And tool wear, in turn, is one reason to have tolerance spreads.) So if your cylinder was the first one made with a new reamer, the holes will be larger than those in the last cylinder made with a reamer that's been worn and sharpened - and therby smaller. Make sense?
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  #17  
Old 07-09-2008, 07:32 AM
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Now I'm even more confused - I just looked up the Wikipedia article about the .45 ACP which of course confirms that it is supposed to fire a .451 bullet, so why is it when I ordered sized and lubed lead SWCs for my .45 ACP reloading that they measure .452? - at least that's what they were advertised as, and it was my understanding that the proper cast lead bullet diameter for 45 ACP was .452. Are lead bullets supposed to be slightly larger?
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  #18  
Old 07-09-2008, 07:58 AM
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First, don't put blind faith in anything you read on Wikipedia. It may or may not be accurate, comlete, factual, etc.

Cast bullets are ordinarily sized 0.001" over nominal groove diameter for the caliber. Like Rocky says there are tolerances and individual guns may vary more than you'd suspect. Measuring cylinder throats and slugging bores is commonly done to verify - see our tech notes for details.

Why does Ruger make the throats way undersized? I have no idea, but I've owned older Blackhawks with throats up to 0.456" and newer ones down around 0.449."

And see a Colt with throats about 0.458."
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  #19  
Old 07-09-2008, 08:57 AM
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Mike, I don't put blind faith in ANYTHING I read online, although Wikipedia has proven to be pretty accurate for most things. I'll take it as a matter of fact that cast bullets are sized 0.001" over the nominal groove diameter, but I'm still curious as to the reason why - there has to be a science and reason behind that standard. I'm not trying to derail this thread or take it in another direction, but as long as we're talking about it, it would be nice to put it out there.
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  #20  
Old 07-09-2008, 07:57 PM
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It just helps seal the bore better. Keep in mind that if you slug a bore and the slug is a certain size, that's the smallest constriction you are measuring, not the widest part. A little oversized and they squeeze down and fit the bore exactly, as best they can.
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