Thanx! Good artical - and this WEB site rules! I have both the 45Colt and 454Cas Rugers and have been trying to work up loads. It is hard to get reliable data for max or near-max loads, especially for the Colt; I guess people don't want to be responsible if someone tries to fire one in an old Colt clone that can't take the pressure. You mentioned a 310 bullet at 1400 (H110/28), a 350 grainer at 1375 (H110/28) and a 265 at 1550 (H110/30). ALL of those are WAY beyond what I had thought were safe loads, even for a Ruger!
I need to verify - have you really pushed those weight bullets to those velocities with that much powder and your Redhawk is still in one piece?
I have worked up what I thought were max loads with a 350 at 950fps, 300 at 1250, and 255 at 1300. They are perhaps not optimum loads then, since the velocity spreads are 50 - 100 fps! I guess I can push hotter then (carefully) until the spreads get below 20.
Nice article and pictures! I never thought about the Redhawk being a good alternative to the custom 5-shooters, but it makes sense.
Jack... beg, borrow, or steal a copy of Hodgdon #26 loading manual. It is the bible for .45 Colt shooters in modern handguns. Their loads go up to 30,000CUP, which is generally acknowledged as a reasonable limit for the .45 Colt in a Blackhawk.
The Redhawk is a beefier gun, as the article notes, but data for it is scarce.
Personally in my Bisley Blackhawk I run the 300 WFNGC's at just over 1200 fps (not really max), some 340gr custom flat-nosed bullets at about 1150fps, and I don't mess with the 255-260gr bullets for hot loads. Too hard to get reasonable velocity spreads with the light bullets.
It does sound like you have a little room to grow on your loads. Good luck.
Please note that the bullets used in the series of tests in this article are unique, and that the nose to crimp length on the 310g WLNGC bullet is .450" and the nose to crimp length on the 350g LCMNGC bullet is .500"! This makes one tremendous difference in the remaining powder capacity of the case! All bullet designs are NOT CREATED EQUAL! It is due to the weight forward design of the projectiles tested that the velocities attained were within acceptable pressure perameters.
Yes, with the right bullet selection, those big Ruger .45's can really sing!
Hi ya all, it has been a very long time since I have been here, just got doing other things, mainly shooting and reloading. Thanks for the kind words on the article, and yes I got those velocities with that gun and it has held up wonderfully. In my opinion the Redhawk is a mid 40,000 psi level gun and makes a great gun for the ones out there who would lilke a custom 5-shooter but can't afford the price but still want the extra performance over the Blackhawk. My friend Marshall was right on the mark about the nose to crimp length of the 350gr bullet. That bullet was designed for the longer cylinder of the Redhawk, Super Redhawk and Anaconda only. In all reality I could of gone higher with that bullet but I just happened to stop there and never got back to it. In my .44 Redhawk with the 7 1/2 barrel and Marshall's 300gr DCG bullet I have taken it to 1550 fps and near 1" groups. Also with his 325gr LCMNGC 1475 fps is easily reached and again extremely accurate, and is my personal favorite. Not many people research into the Redhawk or know its limitations, some people take this gun into the 50,000 psi level and have been doing so for many years, but the 40,000 level is more than I want to handle in this frame style. As you already know this is a BIG gun and you must have somewhat large hands to handle it comfortably. So thanks again for the kind words and thanks Marshall for the opportunity to share my findings.
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