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Hello again folks. I finally had a chance to fire the old colt .455. It works wonderfully although I suspect the barrel to be severly bent due to the fact that it wasn't hitting any where near where I aimed it. (not my fault of course). Aside from this I now am getting ready to reload for this handgun. I have read a fair deal in here and in other places about slugging the bore and chambers to determine bullet size, while at the same time most literature states that a bullet of the size .454 is the best choice. After carefully measureing the bore both with an expanding bore gauge,and micrometer,and also by the slugging method outlined here, I came up with the same number during both methods. ".453".
A friend of mine has kindley donated to me, a box lot of 500 cast lead bullets that is marked .452" although they average out between .452" and .455". This leads me to question number one. Are these sizes acceptable? How close of a tolerance should be kept to actual bore size?
My next question is about powder, along with the bullets he gave me a half pound of hercules "blue dot", which is listed in the loading chart that came with the lee die set I have. Is this one the the "optimium" powdrs for this caliber?
 In closeing I guess what I am trying to say is I am ready to load for the .455 webley/eley cartridge. The gun to be used is a 1908 colt new service with a bore of .453". The casings are once fired brass from fiocci and are head stamped G.F.L. .455. I am going to use winchester small pistol primers, Lee carbide die set. I am looking at a starting charge of 6.1 grains of blue dot powder, useing the lee powder dipper that came with the dies. (I will check against my powder scale). The bullets I have available at this time are .452"-.455", and are a hard cast lead cowboy profile (flat nosed) weighing in at 250 grains.
 If all, any or none of this is acceptable I would truley apprecciate any further advice from some one more expirienced than myself. This is my first attempt at any reloading and I could use all the help I can get.

 Many thanks in advance,, Harold
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'd give it a go, personally (assuming that you have good load data, don't know what your source is).  Sounds like a reasonable starting point, though.

While none of these things may be 'optimal' (different bullet sizes, powders, etc.) what's in the hand is worth much more than what's theoretically correct!

For your first go at handloading, don't worry about match-grade accuracy.

For the record.... generally a cast bullet would be sized 0.001" - 0.002" over grove diameter.  But what you've got is probably close enough to work reasonably well, for a first attempt.

Many powders are suitable for straight-cased handgun cartridges, in fact so many that it's downright confusing.  I've used Blue Dot, and while it might be considered a bit slow for your purposes, it should go bang and probably give reasonable results.

Load these, see how it goes, if it works, GREAT, if further improvement is desired, post again with more questions.

When you've been through these components, you'll have a better idea of what you want / don't want, and will be in a better position to make decisions about changes, if necessary.  Loading and shooting 500 rounds will make you much smarter - your friend is quite generous.

Good luck.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Hi, Harold:
   Glad to hear you got the .455 shooting. We Canadians have to work a little harder at having fun with handguns, don't we.

   Alliant lists a maximum load of 6.8 grains of Blue Dot with a 265 gr. lead bullet., 770 fps, 12,600 c.u.p. 6.1 grains is a 10% reduction, so that looks like a good place to start.

  It's best to download Alliant's reloading guide, even if it takes a while, and get the numbers from the horse's mouth.
<a href="http://www.alliantpowder.com/

" target="_blank">http://www.alliantpowder.com/

</a>    Mike's pretty well summed up the size business. Since they vary .003", they couldn't have been run through a sizer. I'm just wondering if they came out of an out of round mould, and they're .452 measured one way, and .455 turn 90°? Of course mould temperature, multiple moulds or mould cavities and alloys all make a difference in size.

   You're at the point where you'll learn more by loading ammo and shooting it than you will by asking questions. You'll know what to ask after a few hundred rounds. Kind of like where I was this summer with bullet casting. I'd read all I could, and I wasn't going to learn any more until I cast some bullets; and those minute of washtub groups will shrink <!--emo&:)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':)'><!--endemo-->.

Bye
Jack
 

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I don't know how much experience you have shooting a handgun, but i wouldn't be too quick to assume the 'barrel is bent'.  The first time out with one i couldn't hit a barn door if my life depended on it. It took me a while to get proficient enough to stay on a target with one.  Even today, if i shoot a real reduced load [like if i'm shooting a starting load for a new powder that i'm working up with] my bullet impacts tend to be to the right of where i'm aiming [probably because of the way i hold and let the gun recoil??] and it's not until i start approaching maximum that my bullets hit where i'm actually pointing. Sounds strange, i know... but that's just me i guess...  i'm a real strange one.
 

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Good point Slamhound!
            Kind of reminds me of my first handgunning experience. I was about ten, and my grandfather let me shoot his .32 automatic. He laid out a full page of newspaper on a ditch bank and I shot at it with the whole magazine full from not too far away (didn't know about estimating yardages then!). I missed EVERY SHOT! I couldn't understand how I could possibly have missed that whole newspaper! I was sure something was wrong with the gun. Then my grandfather shot a fist-sized group with it...
     I did only marginally better with my SBH when I got it this summer, but things have been improving rapidly!
               :biggrin:        Good Luck!!     IDShooter
 

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Welcome to handloading Snowman.  There are several Manuals out there that will give you info that you need.  Also Marshall has pointed out some good ideas how to use a chronograph to find out what the max load is.  You will probably find that you will want to try different powders and bullets until you find that perfect load.

As far as shooting a handgun for the first time.  I have taken several friends out shooting.  Though they have shot rifles and shotguns many times they hadnt shot a handgun before that moment.  I watched bullets hit 20 foot in front of the target (shooting at 25 yards).  As well as shots hitting over 5 foot above the target on the hillside.  It's one of those things that need alot of practice.

Good luck
 
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