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Black Powder Velocity with .45 Colt

CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
Hello all,
I own several .45 Colt pistols already, I would like to ask those of you with experience with black powder a few questions.
1: What is the real velocity and energy of a .45 Colt load as of the 1880's?
2: What is the real velocity and energy of the .45-70 of the 1880s.
I know that these loads have been dumbed down with there current smokeless powder loads, and would like to build a real load, that duplicates the power that was generated with the black powder load.
I do not have a chronograph yet, but I am working step by step to build accurate and true loads that were carried by the folks of the time. I am not impressed with the "Cowboy Loads" that have taken over and made the mighty .45 a mere image of its proper self. All of my .45s are of modern vintage and steel, the same goes with my .45-70, so I know they can take smokeless powder pressures.
Thanks for all you have done to continue our great journey through out the shooting sports.
RVG

Comments

  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,493 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think that the cowboy loads pretty much replicate the loads of yesteryear, that's why they were first cooked up. There weren't any stompin' magnums with BP back then compared to what you can do with them now:

    http://www.jspublications.net/tips/45ColtBP.html

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/buffalo_cartridges.htm
  • slumlord44slumlord44 Member Posts: 3,702 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Never ran black through a chronograph but did it with a case full of Triple 7 Pyrodex. Ran around 900FPS with a standard lead bullet. Not sure what it weighed but it was whatever the original bullet was. 250 grains maybe? You do not want to be shot with it for sure.
  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,317 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Reports have full charge .45 Colt BP loads doing well over 900 fps in the 7.5" Army barrel.

    A .45-70 will do about 1200 fps with a compressed load of BP under the later 500 grain bullet.

    It is no particular trick to equal these velocities with nitro in a modern or well preserved older gun.
    But in the rifle, at least, black is more accurate.
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was pretty sure that a 7.5 inch .45 Colt blackpowder brought a wallop with it. And 800 fps out of a 4 3/4 is nothing to sneeze at either. Thats why it was such a potent load, I believe the Schofield load was a bit lower but still lethal. There was a reason that .45 Colt was so highly regarded, big bullet at respectable speed. I shoot a .45 ACP SW MP at work with +P 230 grains. It doesnt make 900 fps when chronograped. Does the difference in grain size really make that big a difference with power level and pressure? Plus can I clean with soap and water or should I do something different.
    Thanks for your help folks
  • krazy4kragskrazy4krags Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Howdy all,

    I thought I remembered the military load for the 45 'Long' Colt was 25 grns of FFg powder, which pushes the 250 gr lead bullet at approx 850-900fps. Despite the favoring of the SAA over the Schofield's the use of the 45 Schofield round on the plains during the Indian wars was so prevalent that the front sights for the Colt SAA were set for the Schofield Ammunition. Whether this was by chance as the user was expected to file down his own front sight or that the military ordered them this way is open to debate, but it is well known that the Schofield round is just a fraction shorter than the Colt round which is where we all know the name 'Long' Colt comes from.
    Nevertheless, the Colt round can be loaded with more powder and still be safe in old or reproduction guns reaching velocities hanging around 1000fps, but if you want to hot-rod a 45LC use a Freedom Arms, Vaquero, or Blackhawk-beefier frames.
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanks Krazy,
    I dont want to hot rod, I want a good all around load, that is similar to what was really out there. There is not much in this country that a 255 gr. .45 at 900-950 fps cant handle. I apprecitate it greatly.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 13,200
    edited November -1
    The early BP Colt load was 40 grains of black and a 250 grain bullet in folded head cases. These cases had greater capacity than today's solid head cases so you can't duplicate original loads using black powder.
    Cowboy loads are very light loads, unequal to standard loads or original loads.
  • GatofeoGatofeo Member Posts: 230 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The original U.S. military load for the Colt and Schoefield was a 230 gr. roundnosed bullet over 28 grains of black powder, probably FFFG grade but may have been FFG or between those two grades.
    This was loaded in a case shorter than the civilian .45 Long Colt case, so it would function in both revolvers (the Smith & Wesson had a slightly shorter cylinder).
    Velocity with that 230 gr. bullet was around 700 fps.

    The civilian load produced by the factories for the .45 Long Colt was a standard length case, loaded with 40 grs. of black powder under a 250 gr. roundnosed bullet. This load will produce about 850 from a 4-3/4" barrel, and 900 fps from a 7-1/2" barrel.

    Civilian black powder .45 Long Colt loads were made surprisingly late, up to about 1938.
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thats a hot round, even compared to todays standards, a 250 gr bullet at 900 fps will smack the snot out of anything standing.
    Thats what I want, 800-900 fps, dont need more in the handgun. Just accurate and hitting hard, it will be faster out of my rifle probably.
  • bartman45bartman45 Member Posts: 3,008 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Just started loading real bp in for my SAA 45. Goex ffg @ 37-38gr, no wad, 255gr cast. I loaded 4k rounds with Trailboss last year,and, after the first bp shot, was amazed at the power of this load. Large orange fireball, cloud of smoke, and pistol winding up almost vertically. Got the attention at the range. Gave me new view of what it must to have been like to have used that load in the 1880's. Awesome experience.[:D]
  • machine gun moranmachine gun moran Member Posts: 5,198
    edited November -1
    I've read that Frankford Arsenal loaded .45 Colt ammunition with 35 to 38 grains of BP, and that commercial loaders went heavier, up to 42 grains (Bridgeport). It's about the same level of chemical energy that was used in the 44-40 and 38-40, which both also had a reputation as man-killers.

    Those 1800's dudes were serious about taking people out from under their hats, and they used what was known to work. Modern 'cowboy' loads generally orient towards only enough power to avoid stuck bullets, as target preservation and minimizing 'splash-backs' are considerations.
  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,493 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ya, there are a lot of SASS loads that are pretty mild, I should've been a bit more clear...these are the loads I was referring to. I've used many of the Unique loads, and I found this chart to be pretty much spot-on:

    http://www.reloadammo.com/45cload.htm

    The good old .45 Colt was a fire-breathing handgun round in the days of black powder, and it sure did have enough ponies to put down any scoundrel smacked with it.
  • bartman45bartman45 Member Posts: 3,008 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Riomouse911
    Ya, there are a lot of SASS loads that are pretty mild, I should've been a bit more clear...these are the loads I was referring to. I've used many of the Unique loads, and I found this chart to be pretty much spot-on:

    http://www.reloadammo.com/45cload.htm

    The good old .45 Colt was a fire-breathing handgun round in the days of black powder, and it sure did have enough ponies to put down any scoundrel smacked with it.


    The "days of blackpowder" just got to my neck of the woods. Smokeless
    powder and jacketed bullets are but a fad.....[:D]
  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,493 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Indeed...sometimes I wish I could go back to those days...[8D]
  • CSI21CSI21 Member Posts: 1,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would miss toliet paper and antibiotics
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