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I am just geting into handgun reloading and was trying to find out the best brass to use for the 454 casull, also is there a recomended reloader manuale for hand guns. I presently use Hornady for my rifles but the loads hornady lists FOR 454 is for FA ONLY and if i decide i can aford a FA and go with the RUGER then what .....? work up slowly I gess.
well thanks in addvance for you help
mike c
 

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Mike, Sierra also used a 454 Casull to develope loading data with their bullets.  The difference I noticed between different bullet makers was the difference in MIN /MAX for the same weight bullet by different mfrs.  I talked to a Sierra techie and was told that is due to bullet design, part of which is the pressures within which the bullet is designed to operate, part of which is the velocities within which the bullet is designed to operate.  If you're uncomfortable give Hornady a call @ 800-338-3220, or Sierra @ 800-223-8799, but, as with any load, you do have to work up carefully.  As far as brass goes, I'll bet that opens a can of worms.  I found Starline to have wide variations in uniformity with regards to overall length.  Their case are thicker, though, do seem to be otherwise uniform.  However, when I through with them, I'm goint to switch to Federal (if I can ever find some) or Winchester.  There's some threads on the forum that discusses Starline. 1.) 'Handgun Cartridges/Starline Brass Questions' and 2.) 'Handgun Cartridges/454 Starline Brass'.

God bless,
 

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Ideally, you need a loading manual for each brand of bullet you intend to load, i.e., Speer, Sierra, Hornandy.  There are also manuals put out by the various powder manufactuers suc as Accuarate Arms and Hogdon.  These companies also put out a free abridged version of their loading manual.  The bottom line is, you need several references.

As to loading for the .454, choice of bullet is going to be the overriding control on which load you use.  The Speer and XTP bullets do not need to be driven over 1600 fps.  They are not designed for velocities exceeding these and damage to any revolver regardless of manufacture could result.  The Freedom Arms bullets and the XTP-MAG bullets are capable of being driven at higher velocities.  I drive 260 Freedom Arms bullets at 2000 fps form my 10" FA revolver.  

You can not do this with Super Redhawk regardless of bullet design as it is not as strong as the FA by virtue of it being a six shot.  In the Ruger, you need to keep the lighter weight bullets around 1600 fps and the 300s+ to around 1500 fps.

Now to your original question re: brass.  I am loading with FA, Starline, and Winchester brass.  Any of the above will serve your purpose well.  Each gun is a law unto itself and may "like" one brand more than the other.  My FAs do not seem to be picky as they will one-hole out to 50 yards with loads from any of these brands of brass.

Hope this helps you.
 

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I just wanted to put my two cents worth in on the strength issue with the SRH versus the FA .454's.

I'm not trying to irritate or say anyones wrong.  This is just my own personal opinion.

I am a die maker.  I make dies for a Hot forging press.  I have seen a big difference in what different types of steel will do in similiar situations.  Not knowing the exact types of steel (and not being a metallurgist)  I can only speak of the steels I deal with.  I have seen steels that are really close to the same structure have different reactions to stress.  I do know that one steel 1 inch thick may only be able to last a short time under heavy stress while another steel at 1/2 an inch could last 1000 percent longer.  

So to say that the SRH wont hold up to the same as the FA just because of the 5-shot  to 6-shot  cylinders, I find unsupported.  There are so many changes that can be made just in Heat treatment alone that can make the steels tougher.  

All in all it is like judging Apples and Oranges.  The only real way to tell is for some Magazine or maybe someone with lots of money to throw away, to go out and load some rounds at about 70,000 psi and set up some sort of  bench  with a long string on the triggers and see which gun will last the longest.

I myself think the new metallurgy will win.

But in all fairness  if I had the money I would have bought a FA .454 over the Ruger.  FA makes the best in that regards.  But then again they arent stamping them out on a production line so to say.  They handfit everything from what I hear.

just needed to get that off my chest.  I hope I didnt mean to offend anyone.  Just put a different perspective into the mix.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Excellent point!  The things we do not know, we guess, and who knows how many times we guess wrong.

The great advances in metallurgy over the past 100 years have been with subtle changes in alloys and processing.
 

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The Super Redhawk is, in my opinion and experience, weaker than the Freedom Arms by virtue of it being a six shot because, THERE IS LESS METAL BETWEEN THE CYLINDERS WALLS.  Regardless of the the strength of the alloy you use,  the smaller the cross-sectional area, the more deflection you will get under load.  Once a certain diminished cross-sectional area is reached, deflection of the material will be more pronounced.  Use any gee-whiz alloy of the month Ruger is touting and the results will be the same.  You will still have a weaker gun than a Freedom Arms because, THERE IS LESS METAL BETWEEN THE CYLINDER WALLS.  More deflection will allow more working of the cylinder walls, thus increasing the chance the metal in the cylinder walls will become brittle or the yield point will be reached.  I am also very interested in long term studies of the revolver to determine it's endurence with full power loads.

Finally, I offer the Super Redhawk is not as strong a revolver as the Freedom Arms because I own both and have shot them side by side.  The Ruger is certainly not the quality of the Freedom Arms.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Hi ho, Bill here to play Devil's Advocate.

:wink:

While in general I do agree that a six-shot cylinder will be weaker than a five-shot cylinder, metallurgy does play a more important part in the equation than MS Hitman thinks. Would we not all agree that a 2001 production S&W K-frame cylinder is quite a bit stronger than one made in 1899? The only difference is in the metallurgy. Now granted the qualitative difference between a modern Ruger and Freedom Arms is not so great, but it may still be there to a degree.

However there is one point that the Ruger-philes may overlook. Just because a new "super steel" exists, doesn't mean it's being used by Ruger or any other gun maker. After all profiti margins being what they are, the latest and greatest is often dumped from production for reasons of "cost cutting." Food for thought.

Oh, and getting back to the original question of this thread. I agree with MS Hitman, try any brass you want. More than likely it will work as well as the next brand.
 

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Hi Bill,

You devil you,  granted, 2001 K frame Smiths have vastly improved metallurgy over their counterparts from the 19th century.  However, once start narrowing the playing field by staying within the alloys and metals used for today's high powered revolvers, it begins to become a matter of just how much deflection of the cylinder wall can one stand.  

The Ruger cylinders do not contain the pressures generated by the .454 as well as do the Freedom Arms guns.   The main reason for this is the the cylinder walls are thinner.  There is not so much difference in the relative strengths between the alloys.  This is my main point.  

A bridge can be designed so heavy that it will break under it's on weight, or so thin that it can not withstand the outside forces placed upon it and it will buckle and fail or become very brittle from being work hardened and break.  

The thinner cylinder walls of the Ruger allow for more deflection every time a cartridge is touched off.  Whether this deflection is enough to cause a sticky case or a hand grenade is the luck of the person holding the gun.  

I do not or will I try to load my Super Redhawk to the same levels as I do my Freedom Arms revolvers any more.  The gun simply can not take it.  Yes, the newer metals are great and fabulous, but let's not lose sight of the fact that these materials still have physical properties that limit and control their application and performance.

Robert J. Millette, P.E.
 

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MS,

I'll be happy to agree with all your points. As I alluded to, the distinction between a 2001 K versus an 1899 is much greater than a modern Ruger versus FA. Unfortunately Ruger has created a self-perpetuating aura of overbuilding and incredible strength that many shooters now take it for granted. Certainly they are tough guns. I've owned upwards of a dozen Ruger rifles and handguns, pushing several to points I won't go into here. But that doesn't mean they won't reach a dangerous breaking point either. If nothing else, the simple matter of cast (Ruger) versus forged (Freedom Arms) should largely settle the matter of innate strength.
 

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Ruger did a massive amount of testing before bringing out the .454 SRH, with the high-grade stainless they use being one outgrowth of that.  You can use the Ruger with any data from the powder companies with confidence that it will probably live longer than you do.  Now some of the other stuff that's out there for loading data I would be leery of using in ANY revolver, no matter who made it.  I recall a gunshop owner here who once regaled me with the specifics on loading the .454 with a triplex powder charge.  I exited his establishment at a high rate of speed and haven't gone back.
Good shooting
Mark
 

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Dont get me wrong.

I too have that strong part of me that says that the FA is stronger.  I just have that little voice that's telling me that not everything is equal.  And thick or thin isnt as important as the vibrations going on when the gun goes bang.

That and I have read about the new powder steel (well not so new) technologies.  The way that steel has been made for the last 30 or 40 years could well be on the way out.  When steel gets poured into bars (or other stock) there are inherent weaknesses because of the uneven cooling.  The carbides tend to change from the center as compared to the outside which cools alot faster.

and I have seen the effects of changing the temperature during the tempering cycle.  The dies we were having problems with suddenly became the strongest dies we have.  With less abrasions on the wear areas.

In short, yes I do believe the FA is stronger.  But I believe that the Ruger is really close and that all the published loads will hold up.  I think that the FA could probably take quite a bit more pressure for longer periods though.

The only way to tell is if someone with some big money goes out and starts playing let's blow up some guns.

( I wonder if someone could talk John Linebaugh into it.  I have read some of his articles and it sounds like he enjoys doing just that.  finding out how much a gun can take.)  

Oh before I go.  On the side of MS Hitman the heat will have detrimental effects on the steel.  Though the new super alloys can usually handle the heat better with the steel being thinner there isnt as much material to heat and therefore make it harder and brittle.  

There are so many different variables that unless you are a metallurgist and an engineer you couldnt possibly understand it all.
 

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This is not a case of the heat making the metal brittle.  It is not applied at a high enough temp for a long enough period.  Yes , the revolver is warm to the touch, but we just are not dealing with the same conditions.  I am talking about work hardening.  The same thing that happens when one bends a paper clip back and forth to the point of breaking.  

The loads of which I speak are published by Freedom Arms and also are the top end loads as published by Speer.  The Super Redhawk makes a very nice 45 Colt +P+, but it's no Freedom Arms.  I have read on the Sixgunner web discussion board about some of the torture tests the Freedom Arms revolvers were subjected to.  In one test, the cartridges were loaded with Bulleyes, as much as could stuffed in the case, and fired in the test gun.  It gave out some were in the 50 round number.  I seriously doubt the Ruger could duplicate these  results.  

Bottom line, in my opinion, Ruger would have made a much nicer revolver had they retooled and made it a five shot instead of listening to the bean counters.  I will continue to load to two different levels as long as I own my Super Redhawk, becuase I do not wish to crack a cylinder, or blow the gun up.  I will use my Freedom Arms guns for the full power loads.  The deer I kill with it don;t seem to mind the fact the bullet is traveling at 1600 fps as opposed to 1800 fps.  

I am a registered professional engineer, altough to be completely honest it has been a while since I have done any materials testing.  
 

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ms hitman
As another engineer who builds airplanes as well as shoots a FA454, I agree with what you are saying , but I believe the real strength differences (even more than the 5shot vs 6 shot) is the method of manufacture. I am lucky to live in an area about 50 miles from the freedom plant and have been to see their operation. when you compare a handbuilt, cnc machined  forging selling for 2000 bucks against a mass produced casting cnc milled to double the tolerances and selling for 1/2 the price, what you end up with is the worlds finest made revolver available to those of us with the money who will wait more than a year for delivery vs the worlds most popular revolver available to everyone with no wait.  bottom line I believe my freedom gun will take more punishing loads than will the ruger but I'm not going to live long enough to wear out either one

regards to all
jon t
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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Mike C,

I would like to expand slightly on the comment Southpaw made about the StarLine .454 brass. From previous posts a year ago, I knew Southpaw to be an accurate "detail" handloader, so when he commented about his Starline .454 brass length variation, I thought I'd better check my Winchester .454 brass. I found the Winchester to only vary about .001 with a rare variation of .002. So to validate Southpaw's findings (did he have a bad batch or was the variation typical), I ordered 250 pieces of Starline's .454 brass. I found the exact variation that Southpaw did. I don't remember the Std. Dev., but do remember the variation to be .005. And the distribution curve wasn't a sharp spike with a few causing the .005 extreme spread. A significant number of the brass had .003, .004, and .005.
The only reason I mention this is not to suggest Starline isn't an excellent product, but that you should give consideration to trimming the brass. You may well already be one of those folks that are wise enough to check length and trim their brass, I wasn't. In a test, I found that if the bullet was seated to the top of the crimping channel with one of the shorter brass, the .005 variation did cause some of the crimping to impact the bullet body above the crimping channel.

Dan
 

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At 2000 rounds of full house 454 loads some of which are pushing a 260gr bullet at 1912fps to a 335gr WFNGC bullet at over 1600fps, gun is still tight, and even more accurate than when I bought it. I have no idea how many 45 colt loads I have run through it but I would say close to the 2000 mark. I for one didn't really want a 454, was very happy with my Ruger Blackhawk in 45 Colt, but a gift from my wonderfull wife is never refused. Have shot numerous FA revolvers, in various calibers, very fine revolver, but not my cup of tea, grandfather still shoots a 1960's era Blackhawk in 357 magnum, my 45 Colt has digested over 7000 rounds in the course of it's life, neither have ever failed. Is a FA a better built revolver, it sure is, is it really stronger not sure, not sure anyone really knows either, do know Ruger ran more than a few rounds through the test guns before they released them, and they are in fact tested to the same pressures as FA tests theirs to which is 140% of the maximum pressures as specified by SAAMI. Wish we could move on from these arguments, reminds me of why Fords are better than Chevies.
 

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I currently own the Ruger Super Redhawk in 454 Casull.  I've loaded 300 Gr. Hornady XTP bullets to the manuals max and had no problems. I've also loaded Oregon Trail hard cast 300 Gr. bullets to 1700 fps. with equal success.  As far as brass goes I use Winchester and have good results.  I'm sure Star Line would work just as well.  I have had problems with the Hornady factory loads sticking in my revolver as well as the reloaded brass.  I have since discarded that brass.  Unfortunately I don't know anyone with enough spare cash to buy the FA Casull, but I'm sure you will get what you pay for.  Don't disregard the Ruger though it's done just fine for this reloader on a tight budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK,OK,I got the FA454 and I am very very happy I
saved up for the FA.
I now use STARLINE brass.
On the FA vs RUGER issue I must say
IF I HAVE TO EXPLAIN YOU WOULDNT UNDERSTAND.
thank you all for your help
MIKE C
 
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