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Discussion Starter #1
I've been a 44 magnum shooter for some time now, but the latest trip to the gunshop has me coming home with a Ruger Blackhawk, Liberty Modle in 45 colt with about a 4.5" barrel. It is a small gun compared to the SRH with a 9.5", and seems like it will be good to pack around for camping, ect. Have I made a good choice, and with some good hardcast bullets how would it work on Deer. I don't want to turn it into a 454, just a good working load with at least a 300grn. bullet. Does this sound OK. Are these accurate guns, and hows the recoil
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Got one of the Liberty models myself, but it's a 7.5" barrel.  Also have a .45 ACP cylinder.

OK.... this is a fun topic and may generate a whole bunch of posts!

To summarize.... yes it will make a fine camp gun.  Yes it will kill a deer with any sort of good flat nosed bullet, from factory levels (800-900fps) and up.  You can run 300 gr. bullets up to about 1200fps or so... providing you can stand to shoot them.  My guess is, it won't be fun.  Shooting 300gr. bullets at these velocities in my gun convinced me that a .454 Casull was NOT in my future.  It's not a problem hunting, you just don't want to shoot them every weekend.

Mostly the 'problem' is that the gun is just pretty light (which makes it a great packing gun).  Won't hurt the gun but you will find the factory-level loads much more pleasant, and a 255gr. SWC is still potent medicine.  

One known problem that some people have is that the front sight may not be tall enough for the heavy loads.  On my gun the rear sight is all the way down in the notch and it still shoots a little high.  With the shorter barrel it may not be a problem.

My gun's cylinder throats are about 0.456".  A little big but it still shoots hard-cast gas-check bullets just fine. Jacketed is no problem of course.  A little bit of leading from plain-base cast bullets but nothing to cry about.

If you load, there is good load data in many of the current manuals for Rugers.  It is generally up to about 30,000CUP.  Like I said this will be all you'll want in that gun.

I do most of my shooting with a 255gr. SWC at 1,050 fps or so.  Very pleasant, and I'd hate to see the whitetail that could walk away from that.

If you reload, you can start with a 300gr bullet at about 1,000fps and work your way up to whatever you can stand, or at least fast enough to bring the point of impact down to whatever you need.  I've shot Speer, Sierra, and Hornaday jacketed bullets, and of course a lot of cast bullets between 255 and 335gr.  All with good accuracy in that gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. When I picked up the gun it was so small and light that I knew it would be perfect for a camp gun. It will be a pleasure to carry on the hip. I think that 1000 - 1100 should be plenty with the hard-cast 300gr. I do handload, but so far the only hand gun that I load for is a Ruger Super Redhawk with a 9.5" barrel in 44 mag. The Super Redhawk is my primary hunter, I use the BTB 280gr. WFN over 22.5gr. of H 110. The recoil is stiff but nothing to get a flinch from. In comparison to this load, how much harder will the little 45 kick. I have read in other areas of the advantage of less recoil with the 45 colt vs the 44 mag due to lower pressure. Is this alot of hot air or is it just the light weight of the blackhawk that will increase the recoil.
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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I too, love the Blackhawk!  Mine is the 4 5/8" stainless variety....
Been shooting alot of Magtech 255 lead cowboy's...good round and pretty accurate.
I've loaded some 240JHC Sierras with 8.5gr of Univ.clays-850fps give or take.

I've punished myself with some 265gr FMC LC from Graf & sons(Berry's) and 23 gr of H110.  The little light gun wants to put the front sight in your forehead(LOOK OUT)...Mine Really likes the Factory Remington 255's also.

I believe that between 900-1200 these wheelguns really shine, and beware the quarry in the sights.:)
 

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44 Joe,
    The actual recoil is a function primarily of projectile weight, velocity and the weight of the gun. Pure physics.
     However, perceived recoil can be quite different. What you have heard about the lower pressure of the bigger bore round "reducing recoil" is not technically correct. However, the lower pressure muzzle blast really does make the gun more pleasant to shoot. I think that, compared to your SRH the little blackhawk will roll up more but won't really hurt at the velocities you're considering.
    I don't have a .45 but make a similar comparison between my .44 and .357. I shoot handloads in the .44 that push the BTB .265 WFNGC at 1100fps - a pretty mild pressure load. When I shoot them on the same day as my .357 GP100 using hot Fed. factory loads I actually find the .357's more abusive. On a really cold day those .357 loads feel like they are going to give me a nosebleed from the concussion! No, they don't hurt my hand, but still the overall impression is that they are more unpleasant to shoot than the .44.
    BTW, the calculated recoil for the two loads is almost identical, with the .44 showing just a bit more "paper" recoil! Food for thought.    IDShooter



<!--EDIT|IDShooter|June 11 2002,23:35-->
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Joe,

The difference is gun weight.  The Super Redhawk probably weighs twice as much as the Blackhawk.

Otherwise, recoil between the .44 and .45 is pretty close.  At one time I had a .44 Bisley along with the .45 Bisley that I now have.  Similar loads (same bullet weight/velocity in each gun) had very similar recoil, although the .44 was louder (more muzzle blast due to the higher pressures).  But it was really splitting hairs to compare the two, I felt.

As an experienced .44 shooter I don't think that you will have any problems.  If you choose to get factory ammo for the .45, I think that Cor-bon has a 300gr / 1,000fps load that would be a good starting point as far as being managable.  Otherwise, since you have some H110 on hand, just load 20gr. that with a good 300gr. cast bullet for a nice Ruger load.  Should be in the ballpark of 1,000 - 1,100fps.
 

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44 Joe, I just spent the afternoon (96 degrees!) chronographing 10 different loads in two 45 Colt Rugers.  I shoot lead bullets in my 5 1/2" barrelled NM Blackhawk and jacketed bullets in my 5 1/2" barrelled Redhawk.

I have modified my Blackhawk to help with heavier loads.  First, it has a Vaquero grip-frame (which is steel instead of aluminum).  I also had the throats opened up to .4525, which reduces leading with hotter lead reloads and slightly reduces the pressure of a given load.  The fellow I purchased it from had added a white line "V" type rear sight and a gold bead front sight - which helped with point of impact on heavy bullets.

In the Blackhawk I got the following velocities (Chrony at 8' from the muzzle, all 250 grain lead bullets except the SWC which was 255 grains of lead and the Federal Classic at 225 grains of lead);
Win Factory Cowboy loads - 682 fps avg
3-D Factory CAS loads - 688 fps avg
7.0 grains of HP38, CCI300 - 789 fps avg
D-C Ammo (local commercial loader) - 805 fps avg
6.0 grains of TiteGroup, CCI300 - 819 fps avg
Federal Classic Factory (225 lead) - 850 fps avg
18.5 grains of 2400, WLP 255 grain SWC - 1108 fps avg

In the Redhawk I Chronied 3 loads (all jacketed);
Win Factory 225 grn Silvertip-HP,  801 fps avg
Corbon Factory 200 grain HP, 1177 fps avg
25.0 grains of H110, Hornady 250 XTP-HP, FED MAG primer, 1326 fps avg

Only the last load (the Redhawk/Horn 250 load) is a necessary "two handed" load - it would probably knock you in the head if you shot it weak-handed.  It is my hunting load for black bear.  The last Blackhawk load, the 255 SWC using 18.5 grains of 2400 is a perfect load and balanced to that Blackhawk.

Had a fun day, with two great guns and a great caliber - have fun with it yourself!

Odessa
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First off let me thank everyone for the replys. I did some shooting with the little Blackhawk yesterday, and it has a good bark to it. I think the main reason for the hard kick was the weight of the gun, but more importantly for some reason I decieded to try some of the corbon +P loads. They were the 265gr. bonded core hollow points. I don't have the cash for a set of dies, the bullets, and everything else you need to load for a new caliber, thats why I bought a box of the corbon's. I don't think I will perchase a second box, I don't need that kind of power out of that gun.
But on to another question. In the article that I read from the post. I said how big the clearence is on the cylinders and how this is hard on brass. My question is if you used once fired cases from the same gun could you just size the neck down as far as your new bullet would be. That way the rest of the case would not be over-worked. I would like to get the most life out of my brass when I do finaly buy some. Also in the article it said that federal is the brass of choice. I've always head that starline is the strongest. Which one do you guys prefere. And I appologize for the novel but one more thing how much does it cost to get a new cylinder made with the tight tolerances.   Thanks 44 Joe, The article made the 45 colt sound so good I might have to change my name to 45 joe.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Joe,

You can try the neck sizing.  It might work OK and it might not.  Depends on if the chambers are all the same dimensions.  If a case goes back in the chamber after being neck-sized, great, if not, back to the drawing board!

On the brass... yes it is commonly said the Federal is the best choice.  And it might well be for the custom 5-shooters that run at .454 Casull pressures.  But for Ruger-level (up to 30,000CUP or so) I've used Winchester, Remington, and Starline without any apparent difference in durability.  Some of my Remington cases, supposably the 'weakest' of the lot, have been loaded 9 times without problems.  I have yet to lose a case except one that I threw away after trimming it too short.

I'd advise that you do your load development first with full-length sizing, once you get that sorted out, you can experiment a little.  No sense in making it too complicated to start with.
 

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44 Joe (or is it 45 Joe now?)

I have loaded for the 45 Colt for several years now using the standard (green box) RCBS carbide sizer die set (the Cowboy dies were not out yet when I purchased my set).  Yesterday I had my first case split when firing a moderate load, it was an R-P that came from the estate of a friend - I don't know how many times it might have been loaded before I received it, but it looked good when I loaded it.  I have cases that I know have been loaded 6-7 times with moderate loads that are just fine (all have been shot in Rugers - Blackhawks or Vaquero's).  I don't think a carbide die makes a huge difference in case life with light and moderate loads.  For my hunting (heavy loads) I use carbide dies and new cases (W-W, R-P, Starline) and then load them 2 times (3 if they are Starline) and then after that drop them down to light (CAS) load duty.

That said, there is a discussion on this board now on the topic you are asking about - try the link below.
Odessa

http://shootersforum.com/cgi-bin....2;t=311
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Question for Mike G. When I was shooting I also noticed that with the rear sight all the way down, mine also shoots about 4" to 5" high at 25 yards. My question is since nothing can be done to the front sight. Can you remove the rear sight blade and remove material from the top, say around .030" to bring the point of impact down.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Joe,

You're on the right track!  Might also have to file the notch a bit deeper to make up for the material that you remove on top.  I always widen them a bit too, works better in low light.

Before you do that, finish your load development first.  Sometimes a bit more velocity cures this problem (assuming that you're not at max loads).  What did you shoot that gave these results?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The cartridges that I shot that printed high were the corbon 265gr + P hollow points. They also have a pretty sharp recoil. I also have some light cast loads that print Ok. I agree with widening the notch. Its pretty tight even in daylight.
 

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Hey everyone...

When the gun shoots high you want to RAISE the front sight height. Lowering the rear blade isn't such a good idea...makes for a very shallow notch even if you cut that down too, IMO. Older guns like yours probably have the solid front...sight ramp and blade in one piece, which makes things more interesting.

I have a '200th Year' (1976) .45 LC/.45ACP Convertible to which I've long since applied a stainless grip frame and ejector rod housing, which gives me a snazzy looking gun that is all steel for strength and better weight/balance. You can now get all steel blued frames and housings, too, if you don't go for two-tone.
My gun had very uniform .4535" cylinder hole openings as issued, and shoots extremely well with both 260 gr. .45 Colts and 200 gr. .45ACP loads, to about the same p.o.a. The first owner of my gun had 'filed down' the sight, in a mistaken attempt to sight it in. It needs to have the rear sight all the way down on the frame to be sighted in for 25 yards with my loads...but if I had to, I could have the solid front sight blade milled off and a higher one pinned into a slot in the ramp. Since I don't use bullets heavier than 260 gr., it's no problem for me. That weight, incidentally, is PLENTY heavy for any sane use of the gun/cartridge combo, and easy to shoot. The trend toward ultra-heavy bullets in the .44 and .45 makes little sense to me.  Have fun with your .45...it's a dilly!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Before I attempt any sight adjustments I'm going to complete some load development. I want to try the 260gr Keith style bullet at around 1000-1100. And for general plinking I was thinking about a 225 cast load. How does that sound?
 

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I shoot alot of .45 and after a lot of experimenting I have found a couple loads that shoot to the same point of aim try 24 grains of 110 with a 300-330 grain bullet and 12 grains of hs6 with the 250-255 grian bullets. give you one kick *** load and one good plinking load. You might have to adjust up or down a grian with both but both are extreamly accurate in my .45s they will shoot high and Ruger will replace or provide a higher sight at no cost. They even did my blued vaquaro.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'm basically doing the same thing as Lloyd, a 300-340gr. bullet at about 1200fps and a 255-260gr. bullet at 1050fps, and I get the same point of impact at 25 yards.  Very good combination, don't have to mess with the sights to go hunting.   And the 'light' loads are still pretty formidable.
 
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