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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking I might set my Redhawk up to shoot lead bullets and am wondering what is involved with reaming the throats and cutting the forcing cone. Is this something I could do myself, or should I look for someone with experience? If I set my redhawk up to shoot lead with minimal fouling I'll save a lot of money on bullets. The price difference between jacketed and lead is quite a bit.
 

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I would look for someone to do it the reamer isnt cheap and cutting a forcing cone is not super easy unless you have one it a bunch of times
 

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If it was me I'd do it on a SA, but probably get a 'smith for the DA like your Redhawk. Find a local with a good rep. Shipping cost will put the hurt on you unless you have an FFL that will do it for cheap.
 

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if it was me I would just load and shoot and not ream the forcing cone at all.
 

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Bountyhunter, Reaming the cylinder throats is very easy and so is chamfering the forcing cone. I made up a set of instructions for both, including pictures and will email them to you if you want (PM your email address to me). The degree of difficulty for a DA revolver is no different than a SA revolver. It will take about 5 minutes per hole to ream the throats and clean up for the next one. Reshaping the forcing cone takes about 15 minutes. These times are for a person that has never seen either tool. So in about an hour, you're ready to go to the range.

No power tools are used ... only "hand power". The cylinder reamer sells for $80 and the 11 degree forcing cone tool is also $80. The forcing cone tool works on any revolver from 357 cal to 45 cal so it's worth having if you own several revolvers. If you own several 45 Colt revolvers, it's worth buying the throat reamer. If not, I'll be glad to rent you the complete 45 Cal set for $30 plus round trip postage. This includes the 11 degree forcing cone tool, shaft, centering cone, handle, Alen wrench, and breaker bar. For the throat reamer, it includes the pilot bearing, brass guide case, and a drill chuck to use as a "handle".

Here's my take on revolvers chambered for the 45 Colt .... the cartridge was designed for low pressure loads with lead bullets. Revolvers can be very accurate and will shoot clean with lead bullets if you do the reaming. Otherwise you are pretty much restricted to .451" jacketed bullets. If you do ream, Hornady has an excellent solution ... they sell the .452 JHP XTP in .452" diameter, which is optimum once you ream the throats. So ... you can get the best of both worlds ... an inexpensive target load that is very accurate plus serious "magnum" level or mid-range loads with jacketed bullets that are also very accurate but way more powerful. This makes any Ruger 45 Colt revolver much more versatile.
 

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I was wondering have ya takin the gun to range to see how it shoots now? What groups if any are ya getting?
 

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I guess times have changed and the tools are a lot cheaper than they used to be my bad
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I was wondering have ya takin the gun to range to see how it shoots now? What groups if any are ya getting?

I haven't Snuffy. But with .451" throats it'll foul for sure. If I ream them to .452, as Iowegan said, I'll be able to shoot lead and still load up some hot jacketed loads in .452. That's sounds great to me. :)
 

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Bountyhunter, Reaming the cylinder throats is very easy and so is chamfering the forcing cone. I made up a set of instructions for both, including pictures and will email them to you if you want .
Iowegan,
Could I bother you to send me a copy of that?

[email protected]

Thanks much!
 

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Cayoot, Email sent with the instructions attached.
 

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Cayoot, I just rented and returned Iowegan's kit last week. The instructions were clear and easy to understand. Plus, Iowegan was great to deal with. I highly recommend doing the forcing cone and cylinder throats yourself if you feel comfortable with his instructions.

I just tested my vaquero and bisley yesterday. My order of cast bullets has not arrived yet, so I was limited with my bullet testing to the 200gr swagged lswc's that I normally use in my 45 acp pistol.

Vaquero (blued steel): fewer flyers, accuracy in the 2.5-3" range at 25 yards. This is an improvement in this revolver. No leading.

Accusport Bisley (stainless): accuracy about 2" at 25yards. Not an improvement in this gun. However, I was able to shoot one hundred rounds through the gun without seing the accuracy drop. It used to shoot that well for only several cylinders before accuracy went south. Very light lead deposit in the first 1/8th" of forcing cone.

The vaquero use to get light lead deposits in the forcing cone and lead splatter on the face of the cylinder. That appears to have stopped.
The bisley used to leave lead all the way down the barrel. That appears to have stopped as well.
 

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B.Roberts, Once you get the lead fouling reduced, your potential for accuracy improves tremendously. The next step is to buy bullets in the BHN 10 hardness range (very soft). Using polyester fiber filler on top of the powder to ensure a uniform burn really improves max velocity spreads and virtually eliminates "position sensitive" issues. This reduces flyers and tightens the groups.

I own five revolvers chambered in 45 Colt. Both my Colt Anaconda and my Beretta Stampede came from the factory with .4525" throats and smooth forcing cones. Out-of-the-box accuracy with both guns was very good with normal bench groups under 2". My Rugers were a different story. My Blackhawk and both Vaqueros had spastic throats. Nearly all throats were too tight but some were oval and within the same cylinder, the throats were different size. Accuracy was pretty grim with all the Rugers ... with 5" groups being the best I could muster ... then I was left with badly fouled bores. After reaming the throats to .4525" and chamfering the forcing cone with an 11 degree reamer, my groups with all the Rugers improved where 2" groups were normal and lead fouling was almost totally gone.

After doing some refining with the ammo, the groups with all my 45 Colt revolvers shrunk even more. The Beretta is the best with sub-inch 25 yard groups and my Rugers all stay under 1.5" @ 25 yds. My load is Starline brass, WLP primers, 8.5 grains of Unique powder, a .75 grain pinch of polyester filler on top of the powder, and a swaged Hornady 255gr .454" LRNFT bullet. This is a factory equivalent load and runs about 860fps from a 5.5" barrel. You can increase the powder charge up to 9.5 grains for 950 fps and still be under max chamber pressure. Accuracy wasn't quite as good at the higher powder charges but was still under 2" @ 25 yds and almost no fouling. Any load over 9.5 grains started bore fouling. I suspect a slightly harder bullet would fix the fouling.

Edited to add: I put a copy of the throat reaming and forcing cone chamfering instructions in the Library Forum if anyone wants to download them. PDF format.
 

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Thanks for putting those in the library, Iowegan. I just measured my .45 Vaquero's throats, and not a single one measured greater than 0.4495!! :eek: :( Isn't that EXTREMELY small? So I'm thinking I need to (1) slug the bore -- once I figure out how to do that, and (2) ream the throats appropriately (and possibly do the forcing cone).

I can't believe they are that small. I would think that I just measure wrong, but when i measure the converted .44 Special from Clements, I got the .430 that he said it was set up for, prior to contacting him and finding that out. So I'm pretty confident with the multiple measurings that I did that the Vaquero is that small. :(
 

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dogboy, Slugging the bore might be fun just to see what it actually is but .... it's really an unnecessary step. You can't control the bore diameter and the "fix" is the same even if the bore is out of spec. A variant may have escaped the factory but all 45 cal Rugers I have tested ran well within spec (.4505-4515"). Bore diameter never gets larger because as tools wear, their diameter gets smaller and so do the bores. When the tool diameter drops below SAAMI spec, it is replaced. The exception is when Bubba gets involved and fire laps the bore or the gun has been fired a zillion times and has worn.

Yes, your throats are way too tight so you will need to open them up to improve accuracy and reduce lead fouling. Unless you want to spend megabucks, the standard 45 cal reamers (Climer or Manson) are set at .4525" (optimum for revolvers shooting lead bullets) so your choices are very limited. Lead bullet diameter should be ... no less than .452" and no more than .455". Personally, I use the Hornady Cowboy 255 gr LRNFT swaged bullets. They are .454" diameter and run BHN 10. Accuracy in all my 45 Colts is great and fouling is minimal. If you load up to the "Ruger Only" velocities, go up to BHN 15 or use jacketed bullets.

The easiest way to measure throat diameter is to push a jacketed .451" bullet into the throat from the front of the cylinder, nose first. If the bullet does not pass through the throat with minimal finger pressure it's too tight for jacketed bullets and way too tight for lead bullets .... no caliper required. If the .451" passed through, try again with .452" lead bullets (a new bullet for each throat). Same deal ... they should pass through with minimal finger pressure if you plan to shoot lead. In most of the Ruger 45s that I have seen, you would need a BFH (big hammer) to push a jacketed bullet through ... tight little buggers.
 

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OK, no need to slug. I'm not that curious. So it sounds like I go with the standard reamer. Looking through Midway, it looked like there was plenty of both lead and jacketed bullets in the .452 diameter range, for when I get around to reloading the caliber. In the meantime, while I'm still shooting all factory, I still should see accuracy improvement whether the bullets are .451 or .452, from what I've read elsewhere on here, iirc. I guess even if the bore matched the 0.449 throats close enough, I'd still be OK with the throats opened to .452.
 

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dogboy, Yes, my point exactly .....You always want the bullet to be delivered to the forcing cone with a larger diameter than the bore. One might think that would leave excessive fouling but what really happens is several tons of pressure reshapes the lead and forces the bullet into the bore with a very snug seal. This will keep the bore from fouling, assuming the lead is soft.

BTW, all factory ammo loaded with lead bullets use at least .452" diameters ... many are as large as .454". You will indeed see an improvement in accuracy and less lead fouling if you ream the throats. Accuracy with jacketed bullets will improve considerably too. What your gun is doing is squeezing the bullets down like a sizing die. When the bullet gets in the bore, it's too small to get a good seal. That results in both fouling and accuracy problems.

Chamfering the forcing cone with an 11 degree reamer will help too. The reason you have a forcing cone is to compensate for slight misalignment between the cylinder and the bore. It's very rare to find perfect alignment on just one chamber, let alone all six. The forcing cone gets its name because it actually forces alignment between the bore and cylinder. When a round is fired and the bullet starts into the cone, the cylinder has a few thousandths slack so it will move and be forced into alignment. The factory cone is 8 degrees so by increasing the angle to 11 degrees, you make the revolver more tolerant to alignment issues. A more generous forcing cone will funnel the bullet into the bore with less damage. Additionally, if you have a typical Ruger, the forcing cone probably has machine marks and is rough. This in itself will cause bullet damage and fouling ... both resulting in accuracy issues.
 

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Well, the forcing cone doesn't look too awfully bad. Certainly not like the one in this post. It actually looks reasonably smooth. But, I'd believe that it would be even better with the 11 deg cone. I guess, though that I'll just sent the cylinder off to cylindersmith instead of trying to do it myself. Less expensive that way. Then I'll see about the forcing cone. IIRC, the tool for it was cheaper, and I can do all my revolvers with it. Not just the Vaquero. Whereas I'd need at least two throaters, at $80 a piece.
 

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You guys got me thinking now ! So I did a little test ! all I had with me were some hornady 240 grain xtp bullets that are .452 I dropped them into each cylinder and they fell right through ? I would thnk that means that the cylinders are all .453 or larger ? this is in a Ruger SRH in .454 casull ?
 
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