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Old 03-14-2011, 03:52 PM
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Default .45 Colt Loads with Unique

I've loaded .45 Colt with 230 grain lead cast round nose bullets for years. Started out with 7.5 gr. of Unique and worked up to 9.0. I get the best accuracy right there. The 7.5 seems a bit light and the 9.0 doesn't "feel" hot.

Note that its for a Ruger Blackhawk. I've looked high and low and can't find a whole lot of data for 230's and Unique.

Just looking for an opinion re. using the 9.0 load in a S&W model 1950.

Last edited by GypsmJim; 03-14-2011 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:13 PM
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Bought my Ruger Blackhawk .45 in 1973. I used to shoot it a great deal in the 1970s, not so much anymore.
My favorite load was the Keith cast semiwadcutter 454424 of 255 grs. over 8 grains of Unique.
I don't have much experience with 230 gr. bullets, but heed this warning about Unique powder:
One day out camping, after the pistol and ammo sat in the car trunk all day in 15 degree weather, I dragged them out for some plinking.
Shooting at a can on a stump, my bullets were hitting over, under and wayyyyy under the can.
Later, I learned that relatively small charges of Unique in large cases ignited or burned poorly. Switching to Magnum primers cured the problem.

If I figure that my loads with Unique might get cold, I'll use Magnum primers. Otherwise, for standard "fair weather" loads I'll use regular primers without a problem.
I don't much care for heavy loads in the .45 Ruger. I have a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum for that.
A 255 gr. slug at 900 fps is still a fearsome beast. Not much point in my using heavy loads, just to put holes in paper and cans. But, if need be, it will still anchor any man or beast in North America.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:53 PM
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I loaded 9 grns of Unique under a 255 cast RNFP lead and shot them with zero consequences in my 25-5. WLP primers. I found that 8 grains were a bit more accurate than 9.....I have never loaded a 230 grn bullet...
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:19 PM
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If you're wondering if the load is safe or not, my old Lyman (45th Edition) suggests a load of Unique for a 235 grain cast bullet well in excess of what you're shooting. That was with a Colt SAA too so I think you're pretty safe in the Ruger.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:15 AM
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I load 255 gr. RNFP hard cast bullets over 8.0 grains of Unique to feed my two Colt 4 3/4 " SAA's. I find them very accurate and pleasant to shoot. Certainly not a maximum load, but more than adequate for Cowboy Action Shooting and punching holes in paper or informal plinking.

Chief38
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsmJim View Post
I've loaded .45 Colt with 230 grain lead cast round nose bullets for years. Started out with 7.5 gr. of Unique and worked up to 9.0. I get the best accuracy right there. The 7.5 seems a bit light and the 9.0 doesn't "feel" hot.

Note that its for a Ruger Blackhawk. I've looked high and low and can't find a whole lot of data for 230's and Unique.

Just looking for an opinion re. using the 9.0 load in a S&W model 1950.
Sir, bear in mind that the Smith 1950 Target has a shorter cylinder than a Ruger does. If that means shorter seating of the bullet, permissable loads drop, too. By how much I wouldn't hazard to guess.

Hope this helps, and Semper Fi.

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Old 03-15-2011, 08:36 PM
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Lyman's latest Cast Bullet Handbook shows with the RCBS #452-230-CM bullet and Unique a load of 7.4-9.3 gr.

An older Lyman manual I have shows 6.0-9.5 gr of Unique with the 235 gr lead bullet Lyman # 454309.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:39 PM
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One load for my Ruger 45's, Win/marlin lever 45's and my Smith 25's/625's is a cast(WW) 255 gr. swc pushed by 8.5 grains of Unique. Works equally good in all. Is exceptional in the Win. 94 trapper out to 100 yards or so.
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:12 AM
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For my "everyday" load in the M25 -7, I feed it 9.0gr of Unique under a 240gr to 285gr LSWC. Either the H&G #502 or a copy of the RCBS 45-270-SAA. The latter mould is a HP version that can cast solids too. The HP weighs in at 265gr and will take the same amount of powder. Velocity for all is just over 1000fps. Plenty fine.

FWIW These loads are only good in modern revolvers/carbines though.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:39 AM
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T hat load should give absolutely no problems to your S&W. 8 to 9 gr. Unique and a 255 gr. bulet are pretty much the "standard" .45 Colt load, and yours should give lower pressures with the lighter bullet.
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:19 PM
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When I started loading the 45 Colt, I wanted to keep it simple, seeing I have many different loads for all other calibers I load.
I use the 45-270-SAA (actual weight 283gr.) over 9 gr. of Unique, I used to use the same charge under the 255gr. RNFP also.
The above loads are all I shoot in my 25-5's, Mountain Gun, Blackhawk, Uberti SAA clones and Rossi 16" Trapper carbine.
With those big hunks of lead, I don't see a need for more velocity. It is going to pass right on through
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsmJim View Post
Just looking for an opinion re. using the 9.0 load in a S&W model 1950.
Looks like we're allmissing something here. If this is a 1950 Target or 50 Military in 45 Colt, then that is one scarce and expensive gun. Not sure that I would be using loads in the upper end with Unique. One of the aggravating things about Unique is the consistency of the chrges thrown by a powder measure Although I keep my powder measures very cleann and static free, the Unique can vary by .5 grains and when you are up at the upper end, then the margin fro error decreases. I would be very judicious in the use of upper end loads in a gun that scarce. If I haver misunderstood your post about the gun, let us know and we may find that as interesting as the original question. Take care.

P.S. I have a 50 Target in 45 Colt and I hand weigh each charge when I load for that one. No hurry, I want it right and keep it to factory levels.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 50 target View Post
Looks like we're allmissing something here. If this is a 1950 Target or 50 Military in 45 Colt, then that is one scarce and expensive gun. Not sure that I would be using loads in the upper end with Unique. One of the aggravating things about Unique is the consistency of the chrges thrown by a powder measure Although I keep my powder measures very cleann and static free, the Unique can vary by .5 grains and when you are up at the upper end, then the margin fro error decreases. I would be very judicious in the use of upper end loads in a gun that scarce. If I haver misunderstood your post about the gun, let us know and we may find that as interesting as the original question. Take care.

P.S. I have a 50 Target in 45 Colt and I hand weigh each charge when I load for that one. No hurry, I want it right and keep it to factory levels.
Sir, not all of us missed it.

Quote:
Sir, bear in mind that the Smith 1950 Target has a shorter cylinder than a Ruger does. If that means shorter seating of the bullet, permissable loads drop, too. By how much I wouldn't hazard to guess.
Hope this helps, and Semper Fi.

Ron H.
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Old 03-20-2011, 05:41 PM
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Thanks to all that posted. Just for the record, I DO understand that 9.0 is at the top end of the range, I just wanted to be sure it wasn't ABOVE it. I must have at least a dozen books going back 40 years, but the .45LC / Unique / 230 LRN combination was a bit elusive.

Also, as far as OAL is concerned, my "standard" load is well within the length of the S&W cylinder. That was the first thing I checked.

My powder charge variability with Unique is no wheres near 0.5 grains, so that's not an issue either.

I just bought the gun and am anxious to try her out. The 9.0 load was all I had in stock and I had no empty cases.. I'll probably reduce the load back to 8 or 8.5 in the future, and give it a try. Its just that with all the calibers and guns I own, I "try" to develop a "Target formula" that will work for all my guns in that particular caliber.

Thanks again for all the good advice.

Last edited by GypsmJim; 03-20-2011 at 05:43 PM.
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44 magnum, carbine, colt, military, model 25, model 625, mountain gun, rcbs, rossi, ruger, saa, uberti

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