Ruger SBH in 454 Casull

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dfletcher

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Just picked up a Ruger Super Blackhawk in 454 Casull. Bisley grip, 6.5" barrel with a 5 shot cylinder. Already have my reloading supplies. This makes about the 85th to 100th chambering I reload for and reviewing my hard copy books, on line types, a few questions pop up.

I'm used to seeing variations in load levels. Lyman seems to always be a bit more conservative, but the difference between load levels, both max and starting, is much greater with the 454 than I'm used to seeing. I'm not using any "send in your own" loads. These are all well know publishers such as Speer, Sierra, Hornady, Wolfe and Hodgden on line, Lee, etc.

One printed source lists H110 @ 28.5 max for the 250 Hornady XTP. Another lists 31.5 as starting and 36.5 as max. That's a heck of a difference and keep in mind H110 often carries the "do not start below minimum" admonition. I see similar variations with Winchester 296, which is the same as H110. But, I also see some loads of H110 that are much different than WW296. They should be similar, with the same bullets - yes?

Freedom Arms lists their own loads, as in for their 454. Has anyone used these in their SBH?

I see some loads listed for the M92 "Puma" rifle and won't be using those in the Ruger. Is there any reason loads listed as 454 Casull, with no specifics such as is found in the 45/70 speaking to Trapdoor, Marlin or #1 levels, can be used in the Freedom Arms but not the Ruger SB? One source shows a "Ruger SB" loads listing and they show a 250 grain bullet maxed out around 1,200 fps. And that seems conservative as heck. Don't know if they're listing it as a "pleasant plinker" or "do not exceed" load.

I'd like to do most of my shooting with 250 grain or so hard cast lead, maybe doing about 1,400 fps. Any suggestions on bullet and powder combination - you can skip the powder charge if you'd like, type will be sufficient guide.
 

contender

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I only have one 454 and it's a Freedom Arms.
There does seem to be variations in loading manuals a lot. I always stop & read all the listed information,,, not just the load data to see what gun they used, or did they use a universal receiver, etc. And with H110 & WW 296 due to it's properties,, I often avoid it until I've developed other loads to see what & where my gun likes to perform.
Luckily,, the Ruger is one of the strongest platforms,, so it may be more forgiving. But as always,, start conservative & work up. In heavy calibers I tend to gravitate towards the 4227, the 2400, and HS-6 as powders to start with. And since my 45 Colt is in the 250 grn to 300 grn bullet arena,, my 454 seems to enjoy a 285 grn bullet quite well. I think in general,, the 454 benefits from a bit heavier bullet than the 250 grn range. Seems to stabilize easier at longer ranges.
 

CraigC

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The .454 is all over the map. While it's rated at 65,000psi MAP, most factory loads and handloading data is in the 50-55,000psi range. Or less. It is all considered safe, else it wouldn't be published. You just have to find what load does what you want it to and go from there. That said, there is no way I'd load a Ruger as heavy as a Freedom Arms. I'd keep it around 50,000psi or less.
 

David Bradshaw

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Dick Casull conceived his cartridge as a high velocity, high pressure .45 to pack in a 3-pound revolver. Close tolerances in the Casull-designed Freedom Arms Model 83----specifically chamber-to-bore alignment, firm chambers, minimal forcing cone----keep pressure behind the bullet. Perhaps to satisfy members of SAAMI, original operating pressures of 65,000 psi have been toned down to around 50,000 psi. 50k considerably exceeds original .357 and .44 Mag max operating pressures of 40,000 psi. Of the original magnums, the .44 has been deflated to 35k, or so. Whether IHMSA silhouette and the proliferation of magnum sixguns in the 1970’s and early 80’s featuring voluminous consumption betrayed its hand in wear & tear, or undisciplined handloaders wrecked too many guns, major industry players yanked the reins.

This much is known, 65,000 + 40% for a SAAMI proof cartridge = 91,000 psi. Pressure gets hard to read @ 90,000 psi, so I’ve been told from inside. Proofing becomes a challenge. Brass, the head gasket of a self-contained cartridge, becomes a challenge. And then there is the revolver.

And the bullet.... Freedom Arms made bullets for the Rocks & Dynamite ammo it loaded for the M83. I watched a strange coincidence unfold as others got into the act. With Freedom Arms no longer the sole maker of a revolver chambering .454 Casull, FA dropped its line of ammo (long before Magnum Research and Ruger made their own .454).

A bullet not designed to withstand the .454 Casull should not be loaded full house. Problems of jacket stripping and extreme bullet obturation destroy accuracy and create hazards inside the forcing cone and may produce spitting. Handloading manuals reflect pressures deemed suited to the bullet.
David Bradshaw
 

CraigC

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Factory loads and handloading data are usually in the 50-55,000psi range but SAAMI max pressure was never altered from the original 65,000psi.
 

grobin

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IMHO the 454 has somewhat the same problem as the 10mm and "FBI" loads. Some of the original 10mm pistols were under built and unpleasant to shoot, particularly with the relatively low level of training and familiarity. The 454 full loads are a bit much for some guns and can be unpleasant for shooters not accustomed to heavy magnums. The 454 earned a reputation as an unpleasant experience; thus the down loads.

You should just do the normal due diligence and start with a minimum load and work up, looking for signs of over pressure and loss of accuracy. Nothing different.
 

CraigC

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Factory loads have only been watered down because manufacturers other than Freedom Arms are making them. The FA83 was designed around the 65,000psi cartridge and built to very fine tolerances out of premium materials. Hence the lofty asking price. When you build a much less expensive guns, things get sloppy and at 65,000psi, sloppy guns get sloppier.

Pressure signs in revolvers are meaningless.
 

grobin

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[/quote]
CraigC said:
Factory loads have only been watered down because manufacturers other than...

Pressure signs in revolvers are meaningless.

This is BS! Yes Freedom are superior, but for many the 454 is unpleasant, mostly because of inferior revolvers but not everyone is tolerant of heavy recoil!

What is meaningless about stuck cases and separated heads etc.!?
 

Get Wood

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grobin,I Have One And I Agree With You 100%. Some Of These People We Will Hear About... And Then It Will Be The Gun's Fault.....
 

CraigC

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grobin said:
This is BS! Yes Freedom are superior, but for many the 454 is unpleasant, mostly because of inferior revolvers but not everyone is tolerant of heavy recoil!

What is meaningless about stuck cases and separated heads etc.!?
Grobin, you really need to do more reading/learning and less posting. Have you ever separated a case head in a revolver?

The watering down of the .454 is for the same reasons as the .357Mag and .44Mag. Limitations of the guns. Not the shooter.

Pressure signs in revolvers chambered in straight wall cartridges are too unreliable to be depended upon. As John Linebaugh found out when testing revolvers to destruction, there would be no pressure signs right up until the cylinder grenaded. Likewise, it's common to see so-called "pressure signs" in revolvers using loads that are KNOWN to be well under the gun's safe limits. Things like flattened primers and sticky extraction can be traced to other causes. Usually rough chambers. John Linebaugh wrote of this so I guess he's reckless and prone to writing BS too, huh? I noted just last week as I shot both the watered down 1200fps Winchester white box .44Mag load, which is well below the pressure limit of 36,000psi and then the Buffalo Bore 340gr +P+ load, that is 50,000psi. Out of the same gun, the Winchester load showed flattened primers, while the Buffalo Bore load did not. Both extracted easily.

The idea that this concept would lead one to reckless reloading practices is completely counter-intuitive and proof that the person making the comment is clueless. In fact, the opposite is true.

Pressure signs are best left to rifles shooting bottlenecked, high pressure cartridges. They simply do not apply here. Trust and follow your data, verify with a chronograph.
 

grobin

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More junk
The watering down of the .454 is for the same reasons as the .357Mag and .44Mag. Limitations of the guns. Not the shooter.

Guns don't buy/load ammo shooters do.
I'll agree that badly built, I'll maintained guns can give false over pressure. Are you saying that there is no safe way to work up hand gun cartridges?


John Linebaugh wrote of this so I guess he's reckless and prone to writing BS too, huh?
Where did he? Not some unaluable magazine from the last centuary!

The various recepies can't be trusted so I guess that we should all stop reloading? How good is data from a pressure barrel when used for a revolver? Got any real citations?
 

CraigC

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Grobin, I mean this in the best possible way but you really don't know how much you don't know. I'm not talking about "badly built" guns. Just standard production guns. Guns not built to the exacting tolerances as the Freedom Arms. The .454 was watered down due to issues with sticky extraction in the Super Redhawk, among other things. Not because shooters whined about recoil. That's just absurd.

No. I'm saying that there is no way to detect whether or not your loads are overpressure. It's completely different from rifles.

Who said data can't be trusted? I say one thing and you infer the opposite. :roll:

Data from a pressure barrel is the best we can do. There's no way to predict or even measure what loads do in individual guns. That's what the 100% safety margin is for.

From Linebaugh:

"I would guess there are lots of heavy bullet shooters out there that are running some "UNREAL" pressures in the revolvers. Their argument being they are using strong Redhawks or other strong guns and pressure signs are "normal". I have personally loaded hundred of rounds of ammo well over 60,000 psi and even 70,000 psi level in special test guns. In all cases I got normal extraction and normal looking primers. Scott Heter of Speer wrote me years ago of fired cases falling out of the chamber of pressure guns when the gun was tipped up. These loads exceeded 60,000 psi. Even with this high pressure the cases fell out of the chamber by gravity.

Straight cases handle pressure differently than bottle-neck cartridges and often show no excessive pressure signs. We have blown a few guns up here, on purpose, and in all instances upon recovery of the cylinder fragments and case remains, the primer has shown normal pressure. Pressures in these instances have run from 70,000 to over 100,000 psi in our estimation. Do not depend on case pressure signs for danger signs in a sixgun. In most cases the first sign of high pressure you will have, other than excessive recoil and blast, is a bulged cylinder or cracked bolt notch."
 

grobin

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I don't mean to be confrontational. But I don't take internet assertions nor published data as perfect fact. OK so I'm paranoid, that doesn't mean no one's out to get me inadvertently or not. There are transcription errors, techs have a bad day .... That's why I crossreference different sources, start low and work up. Besides I'm not interested in the hottest load but the most accurate.

So what are the over pressure signs in a straight case? I've seen a bunch of the "Glock smile" and most of those even seem to be associated with over pressure-it's a matter of how much you get and how bad. One acquaintance had a heavy 10mm load with really broad smiles and then one partial seperation. I told him that was too much of a good thing but he persisted and destroyed his G20.

I'm not that up on the development of the 454. But I read plenty of whining about the recoil. One write-up sorry I need to find the article-said that shooting a 454 was less pleasant than a root canal. Yes the gun does make a big difference. The first issue 10mm were pretty bad-those were production guns-but some current production guns are also IME not that great. I put around 50 rounds through a G20 before deciding it wasn't for me. I bought a G40 and it was great. I'm more familiar with the FBI's 9mm/10mm/40/9mm mess.
It started when some managers decided that agents didn't really need range time. That led to the Maimi debacle. To cover up training problems the same management bought into the 10mm without really talking to anyone in the field. The 10mm they chose wasn't great as well as there were lots of complaints about recoil. This led to the FBI load and some vendors saw the opportunity for a quick buck while letting management save face, so the 40. Again a bad choice of issue pistols and when the smoke cleared the 40 didn't do anything that the 9mm couldn't do cheaper and easier. So yes recoil does lead to down loading, but gun deficiencies do too.

Frankly I see folks getting macho and wanting the biggest baddest magnum then downloading when it's unpleasant to shoot. I've even seen LEO who get a light DC pistol take to the range and wind up shooting cheaper lighter practice rounds then using those for DC!?

Thanks for the Linebaugh quote. Is anything he wrote currently in print?
 

CraigC

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We're not talking about Glocks or any other semi-auto. Totally different scenario.

I didn't say there wasn't any whining about recoil. I said that was not the reason for the reduction in factory load pressure.
 

grobin

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Over pressure is over pressure so far as I know in what doesn't matter.

As for reducing g loads we will just have to disagree.
 

CraigC

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But it does matter. You do realize that different action types react differently upon firing, correct? A semi-auto has to function and 'how' it functions is directly related to backthrust, which is a product of chamber pressure. The cycling of the action must be timed just so that it does not begin too early while pressure is still building in the chamber. If the case is unsupported by the chamber and the pressure is high enough, you have a problem. None of that is going on in a revolver.

Disagree if you like but .454 loads were not reduced because of whining. They were reduced due to issues with production guns as I already stated. Just like the .357 was reduced in deference to the K-frame forcing cone failures and the .44Mag due to N-frames shooting loose.
 

grobin

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Yes I do realize that. Fireing from an open bolt will likely be the lowest velocity and pressure, gas impegment higher, inertial and rotating bolt highest of the automatics. Interestingly my S.A. produce consistently higher velocities than my semi autos do. I haven't done extensive chronograph work though.
 

dfletcher

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CraigC said:
The .454 is all over the map. While it's rated at 65,000psi MAP, most factory loads and handloading data is in the 50-55,000psi range. Or less. It is all considered safe, else it wouldn't be published. You just have to find what load does what you want it to and go from there. That said, there is no way I'd load a Ruger as heavy as a Freedom Arms. I'd keep it around 50,000psi or less.

Most of my casual shooting will be just that, so less than maximum is best and most fun. Since posting I've done some research, and scored 3 boxes of Hornady 250 grain JHPs at a local gun show for $12.00 per so will start with those. I'd also like to develop a slow plinker, hard cast at about 1,300 fps. I suppose I'll use Buffalo Bore for the walk in the woods.

I have a bunch of T/C Contender and Encore pistol barrels - 375 H&H, 405 Winchester, 45/70, 458 American, etc. Some are braked and some are not. For some reason handgun recoil never really bothered me.
 

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