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In the last couple months started reloading and thrilled with obliterating target bulls with my new New Blackhawk convertible. Have loaded a hundred rounds of half 250 gr XTP and half 250 gr Blue Bullet FP, 10 gr Unique and Starline brass. I see a recipe in Hornady for Colt/TC using the same 250 gr XTP and 20.6 gr of Accurate #9, but I'd like to save .17 cents a round and use the 250 gr Blue Bullet FP. So the question is aside from probably a wider shot group I should be okay using Blue Bullet?
 

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Yes, it matters. The Ruger/ TC section is for high pressure loads. If you feel the need for that level of power then follow the recipes exactly. When you change components you are no longer working with pressure tested data. Why not just save the seventeen cents on standard pressure loads? Use the XTP bullets for the hot ones.
 

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Yes, it matters. The Ruger/ TC section is for high pressure loads. If you feel the need for that level of power then follow the recipes exactly. When you change components you are no longer working with pressure tested data. Why not just save the seventeen cents on standard pressure loads? Use the XTP bullets for the hot ones.
Roger that. Lesson learned and drilled into memory. XTP it is. Thanks.
 

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Hornady XTP will do everything you need but the hottest load I use is 300gr. XTP behind 18.0gr of 2400 which is not even at the maximum but it blows up cinder blocks at 100 yard with authority. I never felt the need to hot rod a load in the XTP as bull et does a phenomenal job whatever it hits.
 

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Blue Bullets (coated) are loaded using recipes for lead bullets which usually specify a reduced powder charge and usually not a very high velocities.

If you really want/need a +P load, stick with the XTP jacketed bullet.
 

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94Electraglide, As you may know, the 45 Colt cartridge has the lowest SAAMI operating pressure of any modern cartridge. The max SAAMI pressure standard is a mere 14,000 psi. SAAMI has not established a +P standard for the 45 Colt so I guess you could say …. any pressure over 14k psi would be considered +P.

One of the famous 45 Colt authorities came up with a concept that has been generally accepted by the shooting industry, but not by SAAMI. A tier 1 load's max pressure is the SAAMI standard of 14k psi. These loads can be fired in virtually any 45 Colt gun in sound condition. This is a max load for Colt SAAs and most Colt clones. A tier 2 load goes up to 23,000 psi. This is based on 45 ACP +P standards that Ruger says are OK in all their 45 Colt revolvers, including mid-frame New Vaqueros or Blackhawk Flattops. Last is a tier 3 load, which can go up to 30,000 psi, more than double the SAAMI standard. These loads are restricted to heavy frame Ruger Blackhawks, T/C Contenders, and a few other very strong revolvers …. but not mid-frame new Vaqueros or Blackhawk flattops.

So …. you can drive those blue bullets with a lot more pressure than SAAMI standards but certainly not as high as tier 3 loads. I think they will work just fine at pressures up to Tier 2. I agree with the other members …. use Hornady XTPs if you want to load at the high end. That said, these big heavy 45 cal bullets will knock down just about any animal in North America when loaded to SAAMI standards so there is really no need to subject yourself and your gun to those higher pressure levels that produce heavy recoil and shorten the life of your gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hornady XTP will do everything you need but the hottest load I use is 300gr. XTP behind 18.0gr of 2400 which is not even at the maximum but it blows up cinder blocks at 100 yard with authority. I never felt the need to hot rod a load in the XTP as bull et does a phenomenal job whatever it hits.
Thanks for the advise. I suppose I have given the impression all I want to shoot are the hot rounds but it's really the opposite. I make very good use of the 45 Auto conversion using #5 and the Blackhawk and Henry share the 45 Colt 7.5 gr Unique loads under the blue Bullets. Only 50 out of 500 cases I've loaded with the 10 gr of Unique. I think I'll stay away from 300 gr rounds for awhile. Last week a guy let me shoot his 44 Magnum and he discovered my 45 Colt Blackhawk is no slouch. I'll be safe. Thanks again.
 

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In the last couple months started reloading and thrilled with obliterating target bulls with my new New Blackhawk convertible. Have loaded a hundred rounds of half 250 gr XTP and half 250 gr Blue Bullet FP, 10 gr Unique and Starline brass. I see a recipe in Hornady for Colt/TC using the same 250 gr XTP and 20.6 gr of Accurate #9, but I'd like to save .17 cents a round and use the 250 gr Blue Bullet FP. So the question is aside from probably a wider shot group I should be okay using Blue Bullet?

I don't see an issue using the Blue Bullet, as long as you have correct data for reloading it to the velocities you are after. Blue Bullet themselves recommenced using the proper "published lead load data from reputable sources."
Lyman has some .45 Colt TC recipes using lead projectiles, but they give considerably less velocities than their published jacketed .45 Colt TC recipes.

According to Speer, you are already into Ruger only/TC loads with your 10 gr of Unique loads using a jacketed bullet.

Just sayin".......
 

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I don't see a problem either. All I load is lead bullets for normal to hot in revolver cartridges. Seems like LineBaugh, Keith, Skeeter, Ross, Pierce, etc. didn't use jacketed exclusively either....

Some food for thought from one of our 'pioneers' who's been there and done that:

The .45 Colt - Dissolving the Myth, Discovering the Potential

Others

Brian Pearce .45 Colt covering the 45-270 bullet

Taffin test .45 Colt

There are many other articles on the .45 Colt out there to read. The HandLoader magazine has had many over the years.

You might want to check the library here as there is a good article on lead bullets in revolvers there. Always more to learn!
 

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Here's some basic info on 45 Colt loads. Assuming 452" 250gr lead bullets, proper seating depth, and properly sized cylinder throats (.4525"), it takes about 8.5gr of Unique to achieve 14,000 psi chamber pressure. Any throats tighter than .4525" will increase chamber pressure considerably. Any bullet larger than .452" will also increase chamber pressure. Any bullet seated deeper than factory recommended depth will increase chamber pressure. A 250gr .451" jacketed bullet will reach 14k psi with just 7.8gr of Unique. Worst case …. 8.5gr of Unique can easily exceed 25k psi with the wrong combination.

Granted, most Ruger Blackhawks, Vaqueros, Flattops and New Vaqueros will hold up to 23k psi but you may really be pushing your luck if you load hotter without doing your homework. It's very easy to test your cylinder throats by inserting a .452" bullet into each throat from the front of the cylinder. If it takes more than "finger pressure" to push a bullet through, your throats are too tight and need to be reamed. Digital calipers are your friend …. check your bullet diameters and cartridge overall lengths. Never use.454" bullets intended for 45 cal rifles or pre-1951 Colt SAAs or clones. All modern US made 45 Colt revolvers (since 1951) have .451" bores …. way too tight for a .454" jacketed bullet of any weight.
 

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Iowegan is spot on as usual, but I want to add one thing. The pressures he is talking about is assuming proper throat diameter and it seems to me that most Ruger .45 cylinder throats are undersized and need to be reamed out to proper diameter. There are several threads on this forum on the topic and reaming them out is very easy and straightforward. Check your cylinder throats before venturing into hot .45 colt territory to make sure pressures stay where they should be.


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Great info on reloading the .45 Colt load...and it covered a question I had, and I am hoping to start reloading this summer...and .45 Colt is on the list (9mm, .38, .357, .45 acp, and .45 Colt.)
 

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When venturing into unknown waters with different components than those listed in published data a wise reloader ....starts low , slowly and carefully working his charges up while looking for signs of excessive pressure .
The key words being...start low and work up .

Starting with a maximum published load isn't the best way to get there .
Load safe and be smart.
Gary
 

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When venturing into unknown waters with different components than those listed in published data a wise reloader ....starts low , slowly and carefully working his charges up while looking for signs of excessive pressure .
The key words being...start low and work up .

Starting with a maximum published load isn't the best way to get there .
Load safe and be smart.
Gary
I couldn’t agree more Gary.
 

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gwpercle, There always has to be contrary opinion so I guess that's where I come in. More guns have been damaged and people hurt by using the "start low and work up" method …. mostly because they don't see "signs" so they keep increasing their powder charge until it's too late …. like taking enough pain killers to make your ears ring then backing off a few. Yes, I have used the "work up" method many times but I never exceed the max listed loads. I much prefer the "factory load" concept as outlined in my library document titled "Mysteries of Smokeless Gunpowder". Here's a link: https://rugerforum.net/e-library/29181-mysteries-smokeless-gunpowder.html

I don't put any faith in "pressure signs" and here's why: The most common pressure signs are hard extraction, cratered primers, and of course damaged guns, which are pretty obvious. For a standard primer to crater, it takes well over 30k psi, considerably more for a magnum primer. This means …. by the time you see primer pressure signs in a 45 Colt you are more than double SAAMI pressure standards, in fact you may well be over the tier 3 limit. Further, all spent primers show indications of pressure …. not necessarily excessive pressure, so you may get false indications. It is very common for factory ammunition to exhibit false primer pressure signs. Point being, primer conditions are an extremely poor way to judge chamber pressure for any cartridge but especially for low pressure cartridges such as 45 Colt, 38 Special, and 44 Special.

Besides excessive pressure, there are two other reasons for cases to be hard to extract, which are …. brass that is too soft or unfinished/rough chambers. It only takes about 10k psi for normal brass cases to expand enough to stick in an unfinished chamber. BTW an unfinished chamber is one that still has factory drill marks/machine marks that resemble threads in a nut …. only much thinner. Again, this is a poor way to judge chamber pressure because you may think it is too high when indeed it isn't. This would put an unrealistic limit on your loads.

Brass will expand and can sieze in a chamber. Why? When a cartridge is fired, both the case and the cylinder expand slightly. When pressure is relieved, the cylinder contracts back to normal but brass cases may not, so they may stick in the chamber. This can cause a false indication of over pressure just because the brass was too soft. One brand stands out in my mind but there are others .... AMERC. It uses a very soft brass alloy that is known for siezing in chambers. Most people do not anneal revolver brass for this very reason. Further, as brass cases are fired and resized, the brass gets "work hardened" so it takes considerably more pressure for cases to stick in a normal chamber. It's pretty common for cases to extract easily when pressure is well beyond max limits. Again, sticky extraction is a poor indicator of excessive pressure because there are just too many variables.

In case people don't know .... the SAAMI max pressure standards for all cartridges were established when the cartridges were designed .... sometimes more than a century ago (as is the case with 45 Colt). Factory ammunition is usually loaded right at the SAAMI max pressure limit because that's what customers expect for performance. SAAMI ammunition pressure standards also drive the gun manufacturing industry because guns have to be designed to hold up to established pressure standards without blowing up or wearing out prematurely. So .... it is a well established fact, factory ammunition loaded to SAAMI standards is safe to shoot (pressure wise) in an unaltered US made firearm. If you are afraid to shoot max loads in your gun, don't ever shoot factory ammo!!!

Here's a much more accurate way of determining max chamber pressure .... rely on established loads in a reputable reloading manual. Each and every load listed in reputable manuals (Speer, Hornady, Sierra, Nosler, etc) are pressure tested in SAAMI approved labs with very strict procedures. In fact loads tested from one SAAMI lab will be virtually identical when tested in a different SAAMI lab. These max loads do not exceed SAAMI pressure standards and in fact max charges are held well under max SAAMI limits as determined by the manual. In other words, without specifying the exact pressure, one manual may list max 45 Colt loads at 13k psi whereas another manual may list max loads at 13.5k psi, both being well below the max SAAMI limit of 14k psi. Depending on how far out on the limb a manual wants to go, this sort of thing happens in all reloading manuals and at a minimum, it confuses reloaders because max load data will be different. The fact being .... listed loads never exceed SAAMI standards but may be established well under actual max pressure limits, depending on the manual you use.

To take advantage of a reloading manual's data, you must use the same exact bullets, powder charge, and bullet seating depth. If you use load data (powder charge, primer, seating depth) from one manual and a bullet from another (or an unlisted bullet) all bets are off so stay well under the max powder charge.
 

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Here's a much more accurate way of determining max chamber pressure .... rely on established loads in a reputable reloading manual.
I agree. Very hard for the average shooter/reloader to gauge pressure by trying to read brass/primers in handgun cartridges.

Kinda why I included a similar quote in my post directly from the Blue Bullet website.

It's also curious as to where the OP got his 10gr load that he was already using, especially since he did not seem to know he was already using a Ruger only/TC recipe.
 
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