jordanka16

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I'm not usually one for physical print magazines, but the latest issue of Handloader has a great article on .45 Colt +P data. Usually all you find is wimpy loads for blackpowder guns, or smoking hot ruger loads. DA N frames and most modern single actions will handle something in between but there's rarely any data for them. Brian Pearce who wrote the article is a good authority on these loads and I have used his data before. The new issue has a great variety of bullets and powder so you'll find something I'm sure. I got some new stuff to try out for my favorite revolver cartridge.

20220507_194635.jpg
 

Frank RW

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meh, i get 1400FPS with a 15grain pellet. ;) FPS is hardly the baseline I'd use for any gun.
 
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I suggest that when you load some hot 45 colt that you have a way to mark them. Hot 45 colt in a Colt SAA will bust the cylinder. Either fingernail polish on the back or only load jacket bullets or something that stands out.

Colts are made for low pressure, Smiths can't take a little more and Ruger and contenders take hot loads. Most rifles in 45 Colt are fine with hot loads.

Good luck and have fun
 

jordanka16

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Grab a copy of the Speer #9 manual. Special loads for the Ruger Blackhawk and other strong single actions. Almost 1400 fps with a 250 grain.
There's lots of data for those, that's 30k psi and up. And most other data is 14k psi in deference to the older single actions.

This is in between, 23k psi, essentially .45 ACP +P pressure. Plenty of .45 colts that can handle more than original pressure but not quite the ruger levels. I shoot these in my 625 mountain gun, I get the same performance as .44 mag but with less pressure so less wear on the gun, and they're much more pleasant to shoot in such a light gun.
 
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“Most rifles in 45 Colt are fine with hot loads”… Don’t include the 1873 in that list. Toggle linkage will not put up with it for long. Also very questionable they ever made it in 44mag. 73 is really best with what it was intended for, 44-40, or if you’re into CASS, 38/357.
Marlin 1894, Winchester 1892, Rossi R92, Henry (Blech) are strong platforms.
 
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I saw this as well a couple weeks ago at Freddy's and and picked it up for the same reason.
Quite the extensive list of bullets and powder combinations for sure.

I've been saving my penny's to get a revolver to go with my lever action and didn't realize there were so many options other than the Smith and Wesson's. Granted it would have to be a SAA as opposed to a DA/SA but I'm looking forward to getting one and trying it.

And then to top it off while passing thru Sportsman's last night they had some TCM so I was able to pick up a pound of that to try with some of the loads I was looking at.
 
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I'm a little put off by the use of the term "+P", because it is technically a designation by SAAMI for loads above normal but below some other established floor. And then gun makers are supposed to acknowledge if their weapon is "+P rated" or not. But there is not +P for .45 Colt or .40 S&W, and the confused responses in this thread with Ruger loads shows why it is a problem.

And, you can't really compare .45 Colt +P to .45 ACP, because the case volume is so different. 9mm and .40 have the same max pressure, but .40 has more case volume and creates much more muzzle energy and recoil as a result. Peak pressure doesn't tell the whole story. In the case of .45 Colt and .45 ACP, .45 Colt is more powerful even though it is at a much lower pressure.

N frame cylinders were designed for smaller .44 cases, and are getting pretty thin at the notches when opened up for .45 cases. So I would want to get a warm fuzzy about how the load data author determined that whatever pressure limit he's calling "+P" is the right one for a S&W. Plus, older S&W low pressure guns didn't have the cylinder heat treat that more recent ones did. Are these +P loads good for all of them?

I do think that an N frame should be able to handle something warmer than standard pressure .45 Colt, but I don't know what sort of testing program one does to determine that. I doubt there were any proof loads involved.
 
The standard load .45 Colt has killed anything on the North American Continent with one carefully placed shot. As a factory load it is quite adequate. I've tried some of the more powerful loads and had them stick in my Ruger Blackhawk. The cases had to be driven out. I knocked apart 44 Colt cartridges for that reason. I'll stick with less than "+P" stuff as if I need something bigger I'll use a rifle.
 

jordanka16

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I'm a little put off by the use of the term "+P", because it is technically a designation by SAAMI for loads above normal but below some other established floor. And then gun makers are supposed to acknowledge if their weapon is "+P rated" or not. But there is not +P for .45 Colt or .40 S&W, and the confused responses in this thread with Ruger loads shows why it is a problem.

And, you can't really compare .45 Colt +P to .45 ACP, because the case volume is so different. 9mm and .40 have the same max pressure, but .40 has more case volume and creates much more muzzle energy and recoil as a result. Peak pressure doesn't tell the whole story. In the case of .45 Colt and .45 ACP, .45 Colt is more powerful even though it is at a much lower pressure.

N frame cylinders were designed for smaller .44 cases, and are getting pretty thin at the notches when opened up for .45 cases. So I would want to get a warm fuzzy about how the load data author determined that whatever pressure limit he's calling "+P" is the right one for a S&W. Plus, older S&W low pressure guns didn't have the cylinder heat treat that more recent ones did. Are these +P loads good for all of them?

I do think that an N frame should be able to handle something warmer than standard pressure .45 Colt, but I don't know what sort of testing program one does to determine that. I doubt there were any proof loads involved.
Other articles he's written hes talked about testing many guns to destruction to determine max pressure.

And at least for the N frame Smith's, the number comes from the ACP guns, which have identical chamber wall thickness to a .45 colt gun and S&W rate to +P, which is where the 23k number comes from. I don't know if I'd go to that in an old one but even a WW1 vintage 1917 will handle 21k ACP loads all day.

I would bet that any numbered model 25 or 625 is easily capable of handling these loads for a lifetime.
 
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Other articles he's written hes talked about testing many guns to destruction to determine max pressure.

And at least for the N frame Smith's, the number comes from the ACP guns, which have identical chamber wall thickness to a .45 colt gun and S&W rate to +P, which is where the 23k number comes from. I don't know if I'd go to that in an old one but even a WW1 vintage 1917 will handle 21k ACP loads all day.

I would bet that any numbered model 25 or 625 is easily capable of handling these loads for a lifetime.
Sounds like he's doing the science. But I don't agree that 23,000 PSI in a low volume case is the same as that in a high volume case. The duration and curve of the pressure is going to be different and produce different effects.

But the important part is actual testing. I agree that if a pre-War .45 LC is fine, then they all are.
 
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Other articles he's written hes talked about testing many guns to destruction to determine max pressure.

And at least for the N frame Smith's, the number comes from the ACP guns, which have identical chamber wall thickness to a .45 colt gun and S&W rate to +P, which is where the 23k number comes from. I don't know if I'd go to that in an old one but even a WW1 vintage 1917 will handle 21k ACP loads all day.

I would bet that any numbered model 25 or 625 is easily capable of handling these loads for a lifetime.
As was said due to volume of case in the 45 colt there is a different pressure curve. Though if he used modern 45 auto Rim in his testing it may have been closer.

Most reloaders use powders that fill the case so it doesn't detonate. Unique is my powder for 45 Colt for that reason first and second it shoots straight.

Elmer Keith wrote about loading the 45 colt and blowing up a gun. He changed to 44s because the bolt cut in the cylinder had thicker walls.
 

Legs

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Years ago I handgun hunted with a Ruger 45 colt Blackhawk 7.5 " barrel and handloaded extensively for that purpose. No confusion as to what I was achieving. Loads were worked up from early Speer reloading manuals, tested for all the indicators, and proofed on eight inch standing alder trees. Shatter factor was impressive, great energy dump, and a 44 mag couldn't compare.
Those hot loads were marked with red marker across the base so as not to use in my Anaconda, Winchester trapper, or a Interarms single action I had at the time. I do use those loads in a contender and a Puma 92, as well as the Blackhawk. My point is that hot 45 colt loads have a place, with careful selection of components and firearms.
On another note, I believe Hornady and Federal both offered 45 colt in "personal protection" packaging of 20 rounds and labeled them +P. Because they were 225 grain lead hollowpoints led me to believe they were hard cast bullets and would not expand much. A softer expandable bullet will just lead up a barrel, so I didn't believe the PP line would be around long, and I was right.
I have always appreciated a cartridge that makes a half inch hole.
 

oremike

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I have a Blackhawk and have noticed that bullet hardness matters. for loads < 1000 fps the softer BN 12 bullets work fine but for velocities above that a BN of 18 works better. My Ruger likes either ends of the spectrum but not the middle loads so much.
 
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Go ahead load 'em up hot, we need more photos of catastrophic failure. I need spare parts, always! Pushing the limits with handloads is something best left to those who can afford to sacrifice a gun occasionally, like gun rag writers.
 

Certaindeaf

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Go ahead load 'em up hot, we need more photos of catastrophic failure. I need spare parts, always! Pushing the limits with handloads is something best left to those who can afford to sacrifice a gun occasionally, like gun rag writers.
This is why I use -P.







not really
 

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