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Discussion Starter #1
A pound of 2400 folllowed me home recently and I'd like to develop a load using a 255 gr swc for my New Model Blackhawk with a 5 5/8 barrel

My web research along with my manuals gives quite a broad range topping out somewhere around 22 grains. I'd like to start around 14 or 14.5 but I think I'll top out at 18 or 18.5. My target velocity is 1000 to 1200 fps. I'll use my chronograph to verify the velocities.

Okay; all that said, what is a reasonable increase step or ladder rung for my purpose? I'm thinking .5 grains so loads of:
14
14.5
15.5
Etc etc etc
18.0

Is this a prudent approach? Should I go in smaller or larger steps? The purpose of this development is threefold;

1. I got the powder and want to use it
2. In hopes of hog hunting in the not to distant future, I need a solid load
3. I'm looking for a challenge to improve my pistol marksmanship with a stouter load than I've been using. (8.5 & 9 grains of the perrenial favorite, Unique.)

Looking forward to your input.
 

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Your 8.5 to 9.0 grain Uniqie load with a 255-grain bullet is delivering approximately 900 fps.
16.0 grains of Alliant 2400 is a reasonable staring point and should deliver about 1,000 fps.
18.5 grains of Hercules 2400 was supposed to deliver approximately 1,250 fps + at 24,400 CUP.
I have a slow barrel with this load delivering approximately 1,240 fps on any given day. Using the Lyman 452424 plain base cast bullet and Alox 50/50 lube I have no need for a bigger load. This one will do everything I need.
If you want to explore the upper load levels switch powders to Hodgdon 110 and Hodgdon Lil’ Gun. These powders will deliver the velocity with good accuracy you are looking for but are the upper limit for me with good fitting plain base bullets - 1,400 fps+ at up to 31,000 CUP.
 

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I've shot a lot of 2400 fueled loads with 250 and 255 grain bullets in my 4 5/8" and 7" Blackhawks.

I've seen data up to 22 grains for those bullet weights (and up to 23.9 grs for the Hornady 240 gr XTP) , but I have not seen any need to push them that hard. A 250-255 grain bullet at 1200-1250 fps is not all that fun to shoot an thats about what I get with 18 to 18.5 grains of 2400 in my Blackhawks. Wrap your middle finger in Coban or something similar as the trigger guard is going to come back and smack it, and after 30 rounds or so it's still gonna hurt.

My preference is to keep the velocity at around 1000-1050 fps as it's more than enough velocity to get the job done, but won't beat up you or your Blackhawk. For casual plinking loads 800-900 fps is much more fun and usually a lot more accurate, (and my preferred load is 9.6 gr of Unique).

I've noted a great deal of variation in .45 Colt bullets, pressures and velocities due to differences in bullet diameters, alloys, cast versus jacketed design, and differences in bearing surface, with a great deal of difference in velocity for a given powder charge. Consequently, I recommend starting moderately low and working up in small increments, particularly if you don't have data for your specific bullet.

With a Blackhawk and with 2400, .5 grains is probably a small enough increment, just start low and be particularly careful once you get up above about 18 grains. Personally, I recommend you focus on the 16 to 18 grain range as that's probably where you'll find your own personal sweet spot in terms of performance, accuracy, recoil and case life.

As noted above, H110, Win 296 and Lil Gun are all much better choices for maximum loads, but once again, Tier 3 loads are not all that fun to shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Many thanks guys. I'm not into pain and discomfort so I wont be going all out. I heard a story of a guy who boasted he'd load his .44 mag so hot, you couldn't read the headstamp on the brass. To each his own I guess.

My 9 grains of Unique does in deed deliver just over 900 fps and is easy on me; like so many of us I'm learning to load what I can find!

I'll follow up after a day or two at the range.
 

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I shoot 2400 in my 45colt vaqueros [old models] and a rossi model 92. I use 17grs of it and a standard LP primer. Accuracy is very good, and the load is around 1000fps out of the pistol and about 1200fps out of the rifle.

I use 250gr XTP or Rainer PFP to good effect, and even killed a deer with the rifle. the Rainer dropped him on the spot at about 40yds away.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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Alliant told me that you didn't want to reduce 2400 loads that much. I'm not sure what the minimum load would be for a 45 Colt, but the techies told me 18 grains was the minimum for a 44 mag. with 250 grain bullets. (429421's) I'm getting about 1050-1100 fps with that load

Contact them before some one or some thing gets hurt.

Unique or Bullseye is the way to go for reduced loads.

RJ

To edit: Nowhere in my books can I find a load for the 45 Colt over 1100 fps and that recipe isn't calling for 2400. That's not that there aren't loads out there for Rugers, I know there are.
 

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The .45 Colt can be a tough nut to crack in terms of finding a good load. Once you get past the part about making sure your cylinder throats and bore match up, and find appropriately sized bullets for same, you'll run into two problems.

First, is case sizing. Most .45 Colt die sets are still cut for .454 sized bullets. Consequently, you will have a hard time getting adequate neck tension with .452 bullets. I've been working with two Rugers rather extensively, a Blackhawk and a Redhawk. The Blackhawk shoots best with hard cast WFN bullets sized at .453". The newer Redhawk is closer to .4525". The sizer in my Hornady die set is cut for .454", so I can't get good neck tension unless I size the top half of the case again in my .45 ACP sizer. So, be prepared to do lots of measuring and proceed accordingly, because this has a lot to do with consistent ignition.

Second, is powder position sensitvity. The .45 Colt is approximately 15% larger in capacity than a .44 Mag, so ignition and burn efficiency suffers with the faster powders because charges are small. Ideally, you want to use a powder that fills the case to at least 85% of the available space under the seated bullet, and that means a very bulky powder. I guarantee you will get very wide swings in velocity with the powder sloshing around in that big case even with a 250 gr. bullets. 400 fps is not out of line in that regard. If your barrel is shorter than 7.5" it can be as much as 500.

34 gr. of FFg black powder under a 250 RNFP is one of the best loads in terms of consistency and is also very accurate, but its a real pain to clean up after. That duplicates the original 1873 load very closely in a Blackhawk 7.5" at about 900 fps.

The best powder other than black is likely VV N32C Tin Star. It fills the case, and you can easily reach 850-900 fps with it, but good luck finding any. Trail Boss will work as well, but you only get about 800-825 fps with it. The best smokeless I've found for full power with high % of case fill and relatively insensitive to position is AA5744. 19 gr. will run about 875 fps in my Blackhawk (I plan on trying that with a mag primer to see if I can get a bit cleaner burn). 20.5 gr. will easily give 1050 fps (Ruger/Contender only).

Western True Blue is supposed to be extremely insensitive to position fluctuations, but I haven't tried any of that yet.

The reason you need to worry about such things is because consistent shot to shot burn, and a small extreme spread has a great deal of effect on accuracy in the .45 Colt. A load that varies several hundred fps can be off as much as ten feet from POA at 100 yds. That obviously won't fly if you're going to use it for hunting or backup in bear country, etc. But, when you get it dialed in after all the testing, it is a pure joy to shoot. Don't give up.

Btw, an excellent hunting load is a 265 gr. WFN-GC from Beartooth over 13 gr. of Blue Dot. It runs about 1100 fps and is extremely accurate. I use it to hit consistently at 75 yds.
 

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Alliant told me that you didn't want to reduce 2400 loads that much. I'm not sure what the minimum load would be for a 45 Colt, but the techies told me 18 grains was the minimum for a 44 mag. with 250 grain bullets. (429421's) I'm getting about 1050-1100 fps with that load

Contact them before some one or some thing gets hurt.
Your caution to be sure to use reliable data is well taken, but there's plenty of published load data out there for 2400 with 250 grain bullets using charges less than 18 grains in the .45 Colt:

1. and 2. Both Alliant's own 2008 Reloaders Guide and the Speer Reloading Manual Number 14 indicate 13.4 gr to 15.4 gr of 2400 for a Speer 250 gr LSWC, and that's in a Colt Single Action Army (with velocities from 838 to 972 fps).

3. Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Manual shows 2400 charges from 14.8 gr to 16.5 gr with the 250 gr Hornady XTP, and corresponding velocities from 755 fps to 904 fps in a Blackhawk.

4. Oregon Trail's handgun data shows their 255 gr SWC with 16.0 to 17.5 grains of 2400 and velocities of 907 to 1009 fps in a 4 5/8" Ruger Vaquero.

5. Handloader Issue #275 - December, 2011 shows 23,000 psi maximum .45 Colt loads using a Speer 250 gr Gold Dot, with loads ranging from 16.5 to 18.5 grains with velocities from 862 fps to 1014 fps in a Blackhawk.

6. Handloader Issue #54 shows a 250 gr Markell SWC with 17.4 grains of Alliant 2400 and a velocity of 1,009 fps as a "favorite load".

I could keep going, but the point is that the .45 Colt is not the .44 Mag, and there's plenty of published data out there that includes loads well under 18 grains.
 

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Alliant told me that you didn't want to reduce 2400 loads that much. I'm not sure what the minimum load would be for a 45 Colt, but the techies told me 18 grains was the minimum for a 44 mag. with 250 grain bullets. (429421's) I'm getting about 1050-1100 fps with that load

Contact them before some one or some thing gets hurt.

Unique or Bullseye is the way to go for reduced loads.

RJ

To edit: Nowhere in my books can I find a load for the 45 Colt over 1100 fps and that recipe isn't calling for 2400. That's not that there aren't loads out there for Rugers, I know there are.
The load I mentioned is out of the Lyman manual, and they list it as MAX.

As far as "down loading" 2400, I wonder what the guy at alliant was talking about? In my 41magnum, I have been shooting loads as light as 10-11grs of 2400 under a 210-220gr cast bullet for years. NEVER had an issue, never had a misfire, and the load chronos about 800fps. VERY accurate and nice for popping rabbits and such for the pot.

One of the reason I like 2400 is it's flexibility with powder charges and the utter lack of surprises when loading under max charges.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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The OP was referring to cast bullet loads and so was I. JSYK

RJ
 
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