I use 11.5 gr of Unique in my Ruger Vaquero and Accusport Bisley. The max load listed in my lyman 48th edition is 12.2gr. However, I do have some questions about that. My manual is a little coy about the pressures their listed loads are doing. Anybody know how come a lot of the manuals don't list the pressures for "Ruger Only" loads? And does anybody know roughly what pressure I am running with 11.5 gr of Unique and a 250gr Hornady XTP. These loads are accurate, and my cases don't show any signs of over pressure. However, the recoil seems "blasty" and sharp. I used to use IMR 4227, and H110 and those loads did not seem to have such a "blasty" and sharp recoil. But they were near max as listed in the Hornady manual. Maybe I just need to buy a wider variety of powder again, but I had sort of consolidated down to Unique because it was cheap and did most of what I needed. One type of powder was better than none during this past lean winter with little work for a carpenter during the recent housing slump. Sorry Bountyhunter for sidetracking your post.
B.Roberts, Most reloading manuals have setteled on 25,000 psi as the maximum chamber pressure limit for "Ruger Only" 45 Colt loads. The SAAMI max for standard 45 LC loads is 14,000 psi. According to my data (QuickLOAD), 10.5 gr of Unique and a 250 Gr jacketed bullet gets you very close to the 25k limit (25,060 psi). 11.5 gr of Unique runs 29,877 psi and 12.3 gr of Unique runs 34,105 psi ..... a bit too warm for my Rugers.
I have an unopened can of H110 just hanging around waiting to be used. The gunshop where I get my powder only carries the Hodgdon stuff, and get this - no reloading manuals - so I picked up some Universal Clays for loading my .45 Colt. I just couldn't find much information on using the H110 outside of the "Oh my gosh you're going to blow your gun up!" super-hot Ruger-only loads. I really didn't want to start there. I have also read in a few places that regular primers work fine and others that you need magnum primers. So, in order to try and bypass all the confusion, I went with Universal.
Of course, that plan wasn't perfect. Some people around the Web seem to feel that Universal and Unique are interchangable, as far as loads go.
Eh, my son just got up and we have to go pick mommy up from the hospital, so I have to cut this short now.
I would also be very interested in finding some reliable data for using H110 in our .45 Colts (using 255gr lead!).
Thanks again Iowegan. That explains the blasty recoil. I think I was getting more power at less pressure with IMR4227 and H110. I did not get good results with H110. I have since learned that they need super heavy crimps and heavy charges to get consistant burns, which probably explains the lack of good accuracy of the ones I loaded. I did get really good results with IMR4227. I will have to pick up a can and save the Unique for my standard lead loads. I agree with Iowegan, 34,105 psi is to warm for my Rugers. I don't want to load any higher than 32,000 psi, and I prefer to stay away from absolute max loads as an added margin of safety.
Iowegan, I forgot to ask if you know why some manuals would load to 25,000 psi and others would load to 32,000psi? Do you think the 32,000psi (80% of the 44mag's 40,000psi for the 45colt) has any merit. Thanks, it is great to have you on this forum. There is such a wealth of knowledge on this forum. You guys are great.
Gang, If you want "Ruger Only" loads for a Blackhawk, Redhawk, or heavy frame Vaquero, go for the H-110 or W-296 (same stuff). You do indeed need a large magnum primer or the Winchester primers marked "for standard or magnum loads".
I use 20.5 gr of W-296 and a 260 gr Speer JHP bullet. These move out at a brisk 1200 fps from my 5.5" Vaquero. You can go as high as 23 grains and still be under 25k psi. Lil'gun produces less pressure which isn't as good as it seems. To get good repeatable powder combustion and enough pressure for bullets to obturate, lower pressure is not desirable. I know many handloaders think the lower the better but that is just not true. On the other hand, you always want to stay under max rated pressure.
I apply a normal crimp but do use a Dillon sizer die that is a bit tighter than most other brands. Lee sizers are typically loose and don't have enough neck tension to hold a heavy bullet in the adjacent chamber when the gun recoils (bullet pull). 90% of the neck tension should come from the sizing die and the last 10% from the crimp die. If you try to apply an extra heavy crimp, chances are you will distort the bullet or stretch the brass to a point of being counter productive.
B.Roberts, I can't answer your question except to say ... SAAMI has never established a standard for a "Ruger Only" load. I guess just about anyone could make their own max pressure standard irregardless of safety. Personally, I think 25k is a good max pressure. Look at what momentum does with a 250 gr bullet at 860 fps vs a 260 gr bullet at 1200 fps ... it goes from 30.7 lb-f/s to a whopping 44.6 lb-f/s. That just about all I care to handle recoil wise, and then only a few rounds. BTW ... momentum of 35-40 is recommended for large critters such as elk, moose, and bear. Anything more powerful would be an overkill on both ends of the gun.
Take a look at what the two Johns (try a Google for John Taffin or John Linebaugh) do with 45 Colt Rugers. They have established loads that far exceed my self imposed limits. I don't like damaging my guns nor do I enjoy hospitals so I keep my max pressure in the 25k psi range.
Snuffy, True story ... About a year and a half ago, I was in the process of moving from Iowa to Nebraska and was throwing out a lot of stuff. I came upon an old 8 lb keg of W-296 that was empty ... don't know why I kept the container. Where's a camera when you need one? The paper label on the keg came unglued and guess what was underneath? Yup, a Hodgdon H-110 label. Turns out all the W-296 powder was made by Hodgdon and packaged with Winchester's label. There's enough difference in each lot of powder to make a token difference when you reload. Look at any reloading chart ... with the same bullet, H-110 and W-296 will always be within a few tenths of a grain for the same velocity.