What is your favorite .45 Colt Load

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Hylander

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
343
Location
California
Looking to see what you guys are loading for accurate 45 Colt loads with
200 and 250 Cast bullets. Not magnum loads, no need to punish myself or gun.
 

Dusty Roads

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Messages
8
Location
Colorado
Bullet is a 250 Keith style SWC cast by me, soft, not hard. 8.5 Unique comes in about 900 fps in most of my Colt or Ruger revolvers. 9.0 Unique hits about 1000 fps. Good loads in all my revolvers.
 

Midas11

Sergent
Joined
Feb 25, 2022
Messages
80
Location
GA
Anything from 6.5 to 8.5 grains of Unique with a 250-255 grain lead bullet. Adjust powder charge to suit your recoil requirements. I tried literally several hundred loads and settled on Unique with lead bullets.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,795
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Lake Lure NC USA
Whichever load my .45 says it likes.

Each gun is a different machine & balances differently than others. I just use my several loading manuals,, study,, then start experimenting to see what my gun tells me what it likes.
 

Hylander

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
343
Location
California
Bullet is a 250 Keith style SWC cast by me, soft, not hard. 8.5 Unique comes in about 900 fps in most of my Colt or Ruger revolvers. 9.0 Unique hits about 1000 fps. Good loads in all my revolvers.
Thank you,
That's what I'm looking for, a starting place instead of just pulling random data from one my many manuals.
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,333
Location
Butte, MT
I mostly shoot 250gr RNFPs (traditional .45 Colt bullet). I only load the 255gr SWCs for woods loads. I've found many good loads for my .45s over the years, but currently using 7.0gr of Green Dot under the RNFPs. Nice load for general purpose shooting. Unique, Universal, Power Pistol, True Blue, Red Dot, 4227, BE-86, 20/28, Hs-6, Herco, CFE Pistol, Black Powder and more are good powders to use. Most of my .45s 'like' any of the loads that were accurate in my test .45 Colt Revolver. But as Contender points out.... Not all revolvers are equal :) .
 

seasterl

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
310
Location
FL
I’ve never liked (and avoided) flake powders in the past because I’ve only loaded for high-pressure loads, but would the consensus here be that the fast-burning flake powders be better for the low-pressure loads for 45Colt and 44Spl? Perhaps the reason I personally have been struggling with accuracy with these low-pressure cartridges is maybe I’ve been using slower-burning (relatively speaking) ball powders, and this explains why my higher pressure loads (44Mag and Ruger-only 45Colt) have been more accurate. I know it’s ideal when the bullet seals the bore, so that’s important, too, to get the right sized cast bullet. But I think it also explains why higher pressure loads are inherently more accurate in handguns because they can seal the bore better. So for cast bullets, would bullet size matched to bore be the top priority, and then fast-burning flake powders be secondary. The reason I mention flake is because I think one key to accuracy is to consistently burn all the powder in the bore for consistent velocity. Just thinking out loud, I’ve avoided flake powders because ball powders meter better for me (more consistent dump), but perhaps burn speed is more important than metering accuracy for low-pressure loads. (… but less so for magnum loads and longer barrels). I believe barrel length also plays a role to match to burn rate and pressure, and that’s why one load can be great in one gun and not another. Fast-burning flakes at low pressure would probably be accurate in more guns, though, and that’s why I think a lot of shooters like Unique for most shooting. I think I’ve just talked myself into buying my first pound of Unique! LOL!
 

Rclark

Hunter
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Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,333
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Butte, MT
get the right sized cast bullet.
and right hardness. I can't say higher pressure loads are 'more' accurate. All I have to do is look to the .44 Special and know that isn't true. Almost every load I tested (lots of powders) with a 240gr SWC (BHN 15) was marked as accurate. Same with .45 Colt. These are low pressure cartridges. It really comes down to the gun. For example one of .45 Colt SAs struggled to get 6" groups at 25 Yards. I reamed the cylinder throats to .452, changed forcing cone to 11 degrees and the group size shrunk by half to around 3". Then firelapped it and that made the group a tad tighter (as good as I can shoot a fixed sighted revolver). Made the gun 'acceptable' to shoot! If the dimensions are right in the gun and the bullets are sized right and of correct hardness for the pressure, the odds are the gun will really shoot well.

As for consistency, I do strive for loads with Extreme Spreads of < 50fps over 15 shots. But really, in pistol at normal pistol distances you won't notice the difference if 60, 70, etc. But one will start seeing a difference for those 'long' shots starting at 50 yards and up. Of course 'higher' velocity will make a difference in long range shooting as bullet arrives 'sooner' (which helps compensate a little for bad consistency) which also tightens the groups. This may be why some feel the magnums are 'more' accurate at times.
 
Last edited:

seasterl

Single-Sixer
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Dec 5, 2011
Messages
310
Location
FL
Sorry for the confusion trying to make a point, but I was not trying to say that high-pressure is inherently more accurate, but that it helps with sealing the projectile to the inside of the bore better. Ideally, the bullet should be properly sized to match the gun for optimal sealing, regardless of pressure. That’s the point I was trying to make him at rather wordy post.
 

Midas11

Sergent
Joined
Feb 25, 2022
Messages
80
Location
GA
With a properly sized lead bullet 8 grains Unique. So far this load is accurate in all my caliber 45 Colts but must be the correct diameter. Not all chambers are the same.
Works very nicely in a lever gun too.
With BP I will take a case of 3F anyday.
 

Rclark

Hunter
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Messages
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Butte, MT
Ideally, the bullet should be properly sized to match the gun for optimal sealing,
Yes, true but.... should state that bullet sized to match the cylinder throats with the throats .001 over the bore size. That is what helps 'seal' the bullet in the bore. Since in .45 Colt (Ruger anyway) the bores are .451, the throats should be .452 with the bullets sized to simply pass the throats with finger pressure. If the throats are oversize, the bullets should be sized accordingly (that is why some .45s require .454 sized bullets for example). If the cylinder throats are less than .452, then the throats need reamed. And of course if the bullet is of the right hardness, it will also bump up the size of the bullet (Obturation I think it is called) to help seal the throats and get pass minor imperfections in the bore as well. Everything works together to make a good shooter :) . The purpose of the seal is to keep the hot gases behind the bullet... Otherwise the hot gases will get by the bullet and cause leading which will affect accuracy.

Not all chambers...
Correction 'throats' . The chamber is behind each cylinders throat. And yes, the throats may be different from gun to gun. That is why all of mine have been reamed uniformly to .4525 and that ... is that.
 

aciera

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 23, 2016
Messages
44
A friend taught me to shoot using 8 gr 231 and a 255 Keith.
Probably knows more about 45 colt than most I bet.
 

protoolman

Hunter
Joined
Oct 15, 2001
Messages
2,168
Location
ND
I have yet to find a Ruger .45 that will not fairly consistently hold a tight group with 8.5 grains of Unique and a 255 grain commercial cast or cast by me from wheel weight SWC bullet. I shoot that load in a small frame vaquero, Redhawk, and 2 Blackhawks. Herco loads shoot about the same but bulks up a bit better in the case. You can play around with a million variables for the ultimate accuracy of course but to answer your question, probably thousands of people have tried the Unique/255 GR lead bullet idea and stopped all further load development because it shot as well as factory ammo or better.
 

Wvfarrier

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
164
300 grain XTP loaded with Lil Gun to about 1100fps (this is a +p load). Its fearsome out of a rifle.
 

Large309

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 17, 2022
Messages
14
Location
North Carolina
Some hot .45 Colt loads that I've tried and really liked:
· 255 grain cast bullet & 16.5 grains of Blue Dot
· 255 grain cast bullet & 12.2 grains of Herco

These loads appear to be safe in my Ruger Bisley, but use at your own risk.

My favorite .45 Colt load is a 230 grain cast bullet with 7.5 grains of Red Dot or Promo. I haven't tried it with a 250 or 255 bullet yet.
"Everything they do is so dramatic and flamboyant. It just makes me want to set myself on fire!" —Lucille Bluth
 

buckeyeshooter

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
735
Location
Ohio
200 grain cast lead bullet, 7 grains of unique gives me 840 fps out of a 4 5/8 Uberti 1873. Great for Cowboy action shooting and plinking.
 

noahmercy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
Messages
360
Location
Sheridan, WY
My Cowboy Action load has proven consistently accurate in a wide variety of different 45s, and is my generic go-to. I use a bullet cast from a Lee 255 grain RNFP mould, lubed with Alox, and 6.0 grains of Titegroup. Groups under 2" from every handgun I've tried it from (USFA, Colt, Ruger, Cimmaron) and does great from both Marlin and Rossi leverguns. Handgun groups range from bragging-size to 2 inch at 25 yards, and the carbines/rifles from cloverleafs (Rossi) to a little over an inch (Marlin) at the same distance. I've popped jackrabbits at 200 yards with the 20" Rossi 92, and hit ram silhouette targets at 385 yards with the Vaquero, so it works for long range, too.

The Lee bullet has a flat base and I cast it soft enough that I can cut it with a fingernail. No leading and just a superb performer. I have never gotten anywhere close to the accuracy with hard-cast bevel-base/crayon-lubed bullets, and leading has been evident with that kind of slug. If one doesn't cast, Desperado and Rimrock bullet companies offer high-quality softer bullets.

Velocity is just right at 800 FPS from my 5 1/2" Vaquero. I have gotten slightly smaller groups from a couple guns using 5.5 grains, but since it was not as accurate in the others and the difference was small, I settled on the 6 grain load as "universal". I would recommend loading 5.5 up to 6.0 and seeing which is best. Titegroup is not position sensitive, so it makes a great economical choice for loading those big cases while still delivering consistent velocities regardless of if the powder is up near the bullet or back near the primer. The drawback? It is possible to double-charge, so- as with all handloading- attention must be paid.
 
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