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Hello out there, I'm reaching out with a question for anybody out there with some reloading experience.
I recently picked up a Vaquero 5.5" revolver in 45LC, and I want to start loading my own ammunition for it using Hornady's 225-gr FTX bullets. I'm not going to try anything until I'm comfortable that I know what I'm doing, so I wanted to start by talking to the community here to see if anyone else had come up with a good load for that bullet in this gun before, and what manuals, powders, or other resources y'all might recommend as a starting point for a beginner.
I'm told that the 'New' Vaquero has a significantly weaker frame than something larger like the Blackhawk, so I really want to be certain of how powerful a load is SAFE in that frame behind a 225-gr projectile, to maximize velocity and expansion on the hollow point.
 

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First and foremost greetings from Maine and welcome aboard. If needed to get you rolling, there are hand loading tutorials on line that you could watch. As far as actual loads, you can go to the hodgdon website. There are lots of loads listed for the particular bullet that you mentioned. Most powder manufacturer's websites will also have 45 colt load data to choose from. Stay within standard 45 colt data and you should be fine.
 
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What I always recommend for new/newer to the game is “The ABC’s of Reloading”, there’s plenty of good information to get you started and pointed in the right direction safely. Also since you plan on using Hornady’s bullets grab one of their books for bullet specific data. If you switch bullets to say Sierra or Speer purchase their book.

If you are told to immerse yourself with as many books as you can ignore them.......keep it simple. The ABC’s of Reloading or the Lyman book for example has more than enough information to safely get you started rolling your own.
 

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Just remember that “Ruger Only“ loads do not include the New Vaquero even though it’s a Ruger. If, as has already been mentioned, you stay with the original .45 Colt loads you’ll be fine. Most reloading manuals separate the loads so there’s less confusion, but a good rule of thumb would be to look at the velocities mentioned with each load. Most “normal” .45 Colt loads run under 1,000 fps for a 250 grain bullet, many even in the 650/800 fps range. Hot loads, for Blackhawks and other stronger revolvers, will run up into the 1200/1300 fps range. Have fun !
 

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Welcome to the site ...
Since you plan to load Hornady 225 gr. XTF I would advise you to get a copy of the Hornady Reloading Manual , latest edition (mine's the 8th Edition) .
The loads have developed using this exact bullet and this is a great thing .
there are two sections ..Revolver and Ruger & T/C Contender . This helps keep the higher pressure loads sorted out and they discuss Ruger Blackhawks and Bisleys and their differences in the opening of the chapter . Perfect for your needs.
There are even some lead bullet "cowboy" loads in there .
Getting all your info and datta on-line is iffy ... Buy The Hornady Manual and read the chapters preceeding the load data ... more good information , diagrams and details in there ...at your finger tips than you would believe .
Others are the Lyman manuals , 50th Anniversary and Cast Bullet Manual 4th Edition.
I started reloading with no knowledge and a brand new Hornady Manual , first printing 1967.... got off to a good start with it and now it's 2020 ...those Hornady Manuals have provided invaluable information .
Remember , we are right here for you ...have a question ...log on and ask !
Load Safe,
Gary
 

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I hate to rain on the OP's parade, but that is the worst possible bullet to choose. My original Vaquero 4.6" .45 Colt loves the Hornady factory rounds with the FTX. They are accurate and powerful. I saved the brass to reload like I do all my .45 Colt brass. The problem is that Hornady uses short, non-SAAMI spec cases to get a short enough C.O.L to fit that long bullet in the cylinder. All loading manuals give load data for standard length cases. Pressure data is generated with those cases and the cartridge overall length is published. Unless the Hornady manual has powder charges and recommended C.O.L. for that particular bullet in their Non-Standard cases I wouldn't mess with it. I am having good results with the Missouri Bullet Co 250gr Cowboy #1 bullet for fun shooting medium loads. The Hornady Frontier 230gr RNFP Frontier bullet has also worked well for me. I'm saving the short Hornady brass to make up some Schofield level plinking loads.
 

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The latest Hornady Manual has all the information required to load their flex tip bullets in the 45 Colt. Hornady explains how the cases must be shortened to get cartridges to meet the recipe COL specification.
The most important thing about purchasing several reloading manuals is each manual has different authors describing each aspect of the reloading process in a different way, so if there is confusion in any step of the reloading process it maybe cleared up by reading the text of a different manual.
 

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@FukuroYoru - you did not mention whether you have a Vaquero (large frame, identical to the Blackhawk/Super Blackhawk) or the New Vaquero (mid-frame, identical to the original BH, anniversaries, and flattops). The New Vaquero is capable of handling Tier 2 loads in 45colt, although it is not capable of sustaining Tier 3 Ruger Only loads. As a new reloader, you should stay under the Tier 1 standard pressure ceiling (what you’ll find in the standard 45 colt section of your reloading manual) until you are better educated and experienced in what these Tiers mean.

As mentioned above, and especially pertinent to the New Vaquero, the FTX is typically loaded in shorter-than-Standard cases to accommodate the longer ogive. The Hornady reloading manual is important for loading this bullet, as it simply does not load similarly to other, more conventional 225 grain bullets.
 

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Looked at all of my reloading books and even the oldest 1974 stresses using data for Blackhawk and TC contenders and warned against pushing your luck with any other model I suggest getting a “one book one caliber”put out by loadbooks usa inc.
 

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For my "max" tier II load for the Flattop and New Vaquero, I use 12.0 grs of HS-6 with a 250 grain Speer deep Curl.
According to Bryan Pearce (2012 Handloader article on the RCBS 270 SAA bullet) max for the mid frame Rugers is 13.0 grains of HS-6. I don't want to push it, so I load 12.0. It shoots well in both my Flattop and the NV I just got, velocity out of the 5 1/2" barrels is 1025 fps.
As always, start a few grains under and work up to the 12.0 grain load.

Most of the time though, for range use, I shoot a 250 grain plated HSM Cowboy bullet with 8.0 grains of Universal, gives 860 fps.

I tried to find Pearce's article and put a link here, but I always have trouble locating it.
 

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Sandog, I don't think that article is on-line anymore :( . Glad I downloaded it and have a printed copy in my '.45 Colt Book'!. I do use 13.0g HS-6 under 255g SWC for my woods load. Works ok in my New Vaquero, flattop, and large frame BHs.

As for the OP,

I don't load jacketed bullets or bullets lighter than 250g... So can't comment on the OP question for that FTX bullet and what would be a good load. Look it up in the Hornady Manual for .45 Colt. My loads are straight up round nose or flat point lead bullets... Ever since I've shot .45 Colt. Anyway, good advice above. Any SAAMI load will be 'safe' in your gun. Just go with that for your loads. Page 951 in the 10th Edition of the Hornady Manual gives you some loads for that particular bullet. That's where I would start. Of course read on re-loading in general.
 

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First, it is sometimes easier to get the basics of reloading with a mentor, who can help you set up the dies for the first time, and walk you through the process. You did not specify your reloading experience, or if you had purchased a press. If not, I would start with a friend if possible. Or post on the reloading forum. As for manuals, the Lyman manual is my favorite, though I use Speer and Hornady as well.

Assuming you are already reloadIng, I would recommend starting with a lead 250-255 grain Flat nosed or SWC bullet with a conventional rolled crimp groove. Acme Bullets is my go-to. But there are others that sell similar products. A basic load would be 8.0 grains of Unique behind a 255 SWC (.452 dia.) You can easily go up and down .5 grains and still be within the safe range of a Vaquero or Blackhawk, regardless of model. That would be a good deer hunting load, target load, or defense load. It’s a big bullet. With 8.5 gn, at 950 fps, its a heck of a load. When I first started shooting .45 Colt, I experimented with “magnum” loads. After a while, I realized that one of the nice things about shooting a .452 diameter lead bullet that weighs 255 gn is that it works well, if not best, at 800 to 950 fps, on the whole. In a rifle, you will get a little more velocity with the same load. You can also get the same results with HP-38/231.

ETA: One of the main characteristics of the .45 Colt, even in a large frame Ruger, is that it performs superbly under 1000 fps with a large lead flat-nosed bullet. I am not a ballistics expert, having made a lot of dumb attempts to make the .45 Colt something other than what it is. But those things that are its limitations are also its strengths as a round. .44 Special is similar. It’s actually a joy to shoot a powerful cartridge that is effective without being hard to shoot.
 
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