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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I would take my (almost new) 4in 45 colt redhawk out and try a few different loads to see if I could find an accurate(?) one around 900fps. Figured it wouldn't be to hard, I mean I've reamed the cylinders to 452.5 firelapped the barrel to eliminate/reduce bore constriction so this thing should shoot, right?? and theres lots of good loads for the old 45 colt, again, right?....hmmmmm......survey says:

These were all win brass, cci primers, and 260gr. RNFP cast from ww using a Lee mould and sized in a star luber..distance was 25yds.

1. 15gr 2400 (my minimum) chronied 865fps avg. about 6in "pattern" may do better if stepped up to 16-16/5.

2. 8.5gr Unique, the old standby, chrony says, avg. 928.8, this is just what I'm looking for..however accuracy wasn't. About the same as above, but on right side of target. WTF!!!:confused:

3. 11gr. HS-6, avg. 907.7. again, in the right velocity arena, but...4in. group, hi left.:cool: hmmm maybe not as easy as I thought...

4.8gr w231, now here I was sure I had a good one...WRONG..911fps avg. managed to hit a 8X11in target 3 times,:eek: yep, 3.. Hey, I know you guys are probably thinkin "this guys gotta be the worlds worst pistol shot," well I'll admit I may not be that good but this was getting ridiculous. (secretly I was thinking the gun was defective) ;)

5. 11.0gr Blue Dot...now I have to tell you I'm not a real BD fan, use it sparingly in 12 gauge, have used it in 44mag. cool flames out the barrel and all, but always thought there was much better choices for the 45 colt. Welllllll, velocity avg. was 866.2, a little under what I was looking for but shot a two in. group...Ha..had to be a fluke... okay up the charge to 11.5 and try again, also try it in my Bisley Blackhawk, right at 900fps and both guns shot to poa and blew the 1in center right out of both the targets, I mean the.. holes.. are.. touching... whodda thunk that.. great you say...not really, I'm almost out of BD (only had a 1lb jug that I bought YEARS ago) but have at least 8lbs of 2400, why couldn't that one have worked? crap..:(

I know this is a very limited test and am sure if I wanted to up the ante in the velocity arena the results may vary, but 900 to 950fps was my target area. I still find it hard to believe that there was that much accuracy difference. May have to try again...give me some ideas..
 

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Well I'm glad you did find a good load. But its wild how much difference there was in the loads. I figured 2400 would be great. Did you use CCI300 or CCI350 primers? Blue Dot is a powder I've never used but it looks good in the loading manuals. I don't have a .45 yet, but have had good luck in .357 and .44 Mags. with 2400 and H110. With the 2400 and H110 I use Mag. primers. Let us know if you find another good load.
 

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I've gotten very good luck using unique. I shoot a 200 gr. RNFP with 6 gr. Unique and have had no ftf from capacity and it's a super mild load for target or plinking. Accuracy is around 3" I've also shot a good number with 8 gr. and still get good accuracy and it's a nice varmint load. With a 255gr. LSWC and 9-11 gr. Unique for deer hunting. Groups open slightly with this load, but still very good. I have also shot a lot of Hornady 300 Gr. XTP magnums with 11-13 gr. Unique and with 19-21 gr. H110. These are a little stiff for me and my thumb muscle hurts some after 3 or 4, so I'd have to take a break and shoot some plinkers again. I also had pretty good luck with the 250 XTP's with 11-13 gr. Unique and 21-23 gr. H110. Similar power curve as the 300's for kick, but much higher velocity and no issue with leading since jacketed. I did have a couple of the H110 loads cause the 250 regular to dejacket at 75 yards or so and become fragments, so I use them only with lower loads now. I use CCI350's with H-110 and CCI-300 with the others.

All-in-all though I intend to try some different bullets and haven't started casting my own, but I really like and get good accuracy from Unique. If I were you, I wouldn't write it off as an option either. I have a set of the .452 FTX bullets coming to try out also and I've heard good things about these, albeit a little pricier. I probably won't shoot tons of them, however, due to cost.

Have you mic'd the bullets you cast and compare to your lands measurements? I understand that you will get the best accuracy with lead (especially soft lead) bullets if they are about .001 larger than that measurement. Just some of my findings, but glad you found at least one good load so far. 8) If you load colts for carbines or rifles, you might look into Reloader7 as I've had good luck in the long guns with this. 8)
 

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I love Unique but with its well known "issues" it had better be accurate. It's all I use. I don't know what more you could do but I would up the ante on the Unique to the 10 to 11 grain range and I bet you will see some improvement. If you are lucky Uncle Nick might enlighten us.
 

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I went through the very same thing with my 5.5" 45 Colt Redhawk. In developing some light loads for a hard cast 275gr SWC bullet with AA5. I got some nice loads put over the chrono and took the best one and shot it for 100 yard accuracy. Well, it had no accuracy. Bullets went all over the place. My Redhawk has proper throats and is firelapped and is otherwise proved accurate. So just as a guess that I was not driving this very hard bullet fast enough I started adding powder. About 75 fps later I had a very accurate load. Crazy but it's the second time I've run into this.

If you can safely add more Unique to your load you may see the groups tighten up. Same for the HS-6.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I went through the very same thing with my 5.5" 45 Colt Redhawk. In developing some light loads for a hard cast 275gr SWC bullet with AA5. I got some nice loads put over the chrono and took the best one and shot it for 100 yard accuracy. Well, it had no accuracy. Bullets went all over the place. My Redhawk has proper throats and is firelapped and is otherwise proved accurate. So just as a guess that I was not driving this very hard bullet fast enough I started adding powder. About 75 fps later I had a very accurate load. Crazy but it's the second time I've run into this.

If you can safely add more Unique to your load you may see the groups tighten up. Same for the HS-6.
I'm thinkin the same thing as far as bumping up the charges for some of these powders. I've done the 18 to 20gr 2400, 13gr HS6, and I still do have and load some hand stingin, wrist slappin H110 loads, but none of these are what I was/am looking for in an everyday loading. I started using TrailBoss a couple months ago ( someone gave me a jug, thought I'd like it cause it was real "cowboy lookin") and I do like it. If I remember correctly avg. was 760fps. in the 4in RH and a little more in my other 45s. Very accurate and clean. But was looking for an accurate load in the 900-950 range for a little more oommph but not as much as the heavier loads. Still looking but from what I see probably ain't gonna happen, reckon I'll just use the TB loading for my everday shooter, and just keep a box or two of the heavier loads on hand. By the way I just reminded myself why I wasn't to fond of Blue Dot, just loaded and fired 18, 12gr. rounds in three of my 45s as some sort of test, (don't remember what I was testing, but seemed like a good idea at the time) 4 5/8in Vaquero, 4in RH, 5 1/2in BBH.(think I was comparing velocity) 6 rounds each, had unburned powder blown clear out to the chrony, 100fps swing in fps, all three guns were filthy black after only 6 rds., barrel looked like a sewer pipe, but..it did shoot well, I do believe the 11.5gr load was better all round. Also doesn't meter worth crap in my powder measure..thanks for the responses. All help is appreciated.
 

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Very odd. I need to ask what diameter those bullets are sized to, and what lube you are using. That bullet shoots very well for me in my Blackhawk, but I shoot it as-cast diameter and lubed with Liquid Alox.

Your load with W231 has to be a typo. It normally takes seven grains or so to get 900 fps with it (and is an excellent load) in the 45 Colt.

With all those powders, stick with standard primers; use a medium crimp. Finally, you mention the chamber mouth diameter but not the bore. If you haven't slugged it, you may find that it is larger than .452" and (worse) it may have a constriction in the throat that comes from being squeezed by the frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nope, not a typo Rocky, 8gr. w231 and I know thats a little over book max for a colt. It was the most consistant load I fired, hi was 917.6 and lo 904.0 but didn't shoot for crap. Also doesn't that Unique load seem a little fast to you..8.5gr. and 900+ from a 4in barrel ?? Yes I have slugged the barrel and it was .451 as close as I can measure, and I did firelap it although maybe not enough. The bullets are sized .452 thru my Star. The lube is 50/50 white label. I'm going to try the 231 and the Unique load again. It could be there is still to much constriction in the throat of the red hawk, thanks for the response, new ideas are always welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As a side note, each of these loads have shot at least 4in or under at 25yds in my Vaqueros. Go figure..
 

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Ahh I see now. I was reading it as 4.8 grains, but the 4. was your #4 in that list. Without the space, it looks like "4.8 grains" does it not?

Yes, I would try again. I'd drop the W231 load to 7.0 or 7.1 in any other gun, but your Redhawk can handle it fine, I'm sure. Still, a bit lighter might be more accurate, so ...
 

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I'm not surprised at the performance you got with BlueDot, it has long been one of my favorite powders in the .45LCs. I usually load a bit heavier, but accuracy is usually the best of any powder tried for low/mid-level Ruger loads. I used Unique when I got my first .45LC BH in 1973 because everyone said it was THE .45LC powder - but it never shot as well as BlueDot does.

That said, I found that increasing the charge of Unique shrank my groups. From 8.0 to 9.0 grains under a 250 SWC, groups shrank from 4" at 25 yards to about 1.5" as I increased the charge. Why? The leading told the story - the alloy I used was too hard for the light loads and the bullets failed to obturate. By 9.0 grains the bullets upset enough to seal the bore and stopped the leading - and gave much better accuracy.



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I don't know if you firelapped before or after chamber reaming. If you did it second, you may well have opened the chambers a bit. Try sizing the bullet to .453 and see if it fits or shoots any better.

You said you might not have firelapped enough. Have you felt for a constriction with a soft lead slug? Are you getting leading?

What is the alloy you are casting? Have you measured your bullet hardness?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I firelapped after cylinder reaming, I've done this to all my Ruger 45's, the alloy is WW and measure 12/13 BH. After the firelapping and bore polishing there is still a slight constriction under the barrel threads but at 30 ft or so was shooting fine so I quit there. Pretty much no leading, couple passes with a nylon brush and a bore snake and it's mirror bright again. I'll try shooting some "as cast" and see how that goes, the mold seems to throw .453/.454. I haven't measured them but it does take a little effort thru the sizer. I have some Rooster alox for lube, should be fine for the velocity I'm lookin at. Thanks for the insight. I hadn't thought of larger bullets. In fact, think I'll try that in my others 45's as well...
 

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I had good luck in my RedHawk with 10 gr. of Unique and a 250 gr. cast bullet (in fact several brands of 250-255s and some of my own from WW). I also had good luck with a stiff charge of 2400 but I can't recall what weight charge and I'm not near my data. Mine are all chronoing in the 1000 fps range though so they may be hotter than what you're wanting.
 

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Simcoe,

You may still benefit from clearing the last of that constriction. Don't know what your lapping load is, but you might benefit from a slightly softer bullet and a Trail Boss load that barely spits the bullet out. You can tell by slugging with your WW alloy. If you can feel the constriction clearly with pure lead, but not at all with the alloy, that suggests a softer lap may help. Personally, if the firelapping hadn't cleared it, I'd probably go to straight lead and hand lap that last little bit out. I'm wondering if the Blue Dot isn't simply upping the sustained pressure enough to upset the bullet after it goes through the constriction, while the others, peaking earlier and venting more out of the barrel/cylinder gap are just failing to do so?
 

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Simco:

I usually only use Blue Dot in my .357 mag. and my 38 super.

Though I have found that Blue Dot is par to any load I've devised for my stock 45 colt loads.

I still by habbit reach for Unique when loading stock 45 Colt loads. Though I always keep around 100 rounds loaded with Blue Dot for my Winchester 94E 45 Colt.

It's all good...
 

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I use BD all the time in the 45 ACP... and will use it (this weekend) in the 45Colt with a 255G lead bullet


I really like it for it's power and Accuracy
 
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