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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have some questions about loading my 1894 45 Colt up to bear defense potential. I have a 45/70 GS but am going to leave it up at our other place in Haines this sumer because that is the most likely place I will run into a brown bear. Being that it is a ferry ride to get there I don't really enjoy having to check it in with the ships purser each time I go up. I do need a bear defense gun down here as well, and am wanting to develop a good load/bullet combination that cycles reliably, has a minimum of 300gr, and at least 1400fps, or more if possible. First, what would be the best GC hard cast bullets to buy that will cycle in my lever action? I see Beartooth has a 325gr FN DCG that they say feeds nice in all lever guns. Any other recommendations? I bought a pound of Lil Gun the other day which I plan on using for this. I am not necessarily looking for specific loads, just I am a novice reloader so any suggestions on developing a bear load for my 1894 45, and anything I should watch out for I would appreciate.
Thanks
 

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Using 454 Casull brass, cut down to 45LC size, a stout load of H110, and a 265g Cast Performance bullet, I'm getting nearly 2000FPS..........Will shoot right through a 200 pound deer...in the chest..out the a--!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
rbertalotto said:
Using 454 Casull brass, cut down to 45LC size, a stout load of H110, and a 265g Cast Performance bullet, I'm getting nearly 2000FPS..........Will shoot right through a 200 pound deer...in the chest..out the a--!
Thats good penetration! I am thinking heavier however to bust bone...
 

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I shot Buffalo Bore Heavy Colt 45 +P 325 LBTLFN out of a 20" Cowboy. I got an honest 1750 fps. Not too shabby. I sold the rifle before I worked up any handloads with this bullet ( i think it's a Cast Performance bullet, but could be wrong) I would think any 300+ hard cast at 1400fps+ would be a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I bought some 335gr ammo for my Blackhawk called "Alaskan Backpacker" which supposedly used H110. They really belted me in the BH but flat refused to cycle in my Marlin.. These have a really wide flat nose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am also wondering about crimping as all I have now is the roll crimp I have with my Lee seating die. I am pretty sure these need a heavy crimp. Any recommendations on a die that puts a good strong crimp for the 45 Colt?
 

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Yes Sir! Lee Factory Crimp Die! I crimp everything pretty hard too. You have to figure a 45 colt carbine with a 300+ hard cast around 1700 is "better" than a 45-90 with the old Express load. No one ever said a 45-90 wouldn't stop a bear! Of course, maybe the few who got ate up couldn't do it with soft lead, but a Hard Cast, it's got to be a better option! ha. Good luck!
 

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Looking for cast in a .45 LC I figure you would use whatever the CASS and SASS fellas are using, should cycle okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
preacher said:
Yes Sir! Lee Factory Crimp Die! I crimp everything pretty hard too. You have to figure a 45 colt carbine with a 300+ hard cast around 1700 is "better" than a 45-90 with the old Express load. No one ever said a 45-90 wouldn't stop a bear! Of course, maybe the few who got ate up couldn't do it with soft lead, but a Hard Cast, it's got to be a better option! ha. Good luck!
Okay, so I have a couple more questions about crimping. I own a LFCD for my 45/70 but not for my 45 Colt. I have heard they are made differently for the straight walled pistol cartridges and something about they don't work as well for cast because it resizes the bullet. I have heard there is a modification that can be done to the die to make it work like it does in the 45/70. I'd be interested in more info on that.. Another question concerns crimping and powders such as H-110 and reduced loads being potentially a very bad deal to do. The way I understand it, with H110, if reduced too much can cause the bullet to jump the crimp, and stick in the start of the rifling and then a pressure spike occurs and the gun goes kaboom. Is this right? Does crimping tight reduce this tendency? And since Lil Gun is close to H110 on the burn rate chart, is that powder susceptible to this phenomenon as well?
 

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My .45 colt FCD is different than the one I have for .41 magnum. The 45 colt doesn't size anything down per-se as does the .41. I don't like the .41 and don't use it.
I don't know about light loads as I never used them in a .45, for either handgun or carbine. Paco kelley writes a good article on the .45 colt in a rifle over on www.leverguns.com, it is very imformative, and he separates Marlin loads from Winchester '92 loads, which is wise. I also do not know how one would modify a 45-70 FCD to work on the shorter .45 colt. They are not that expensive. As far as heavy vs light crimping, I crimp everything hard, never had a problem. "However" , crimping a bullet w/o a cannelure or ahead/behind the cannelure of a Hard Cast will "squeeze" the ogive forward on any bullet you have to crimp , so just make up a dummy round and measure closely until you get it where you want. This is crucial only in rifle where you want the bullet to just "kiss" the lands i.e. 330 Beartooth in a 444. I crimp a 270 Keith ahead of the crimp groove for my Freedom Arms '97, which has a shorter cylinder than a Blackhawk. Works great.
 

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I'd mention that the 45-90 WCF was considered a giant-killer with a 300 grain medium lead bullet at 1600-1700 fps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
preacher said:
My .45 colt FCD is different than the one I have for .41 magnum. The 45 colt doesn't size anything down per-se as does the .41. I don't like the .41 and don't use it.
I don't know about light loads as I never used them in a .45, for either handgun or carbine. Paco kelley writes a good article on the .45 colt in a rifle over on www.leverguns.com, it is very imformative, and he separates Marlin loads from Winchester '92 loads, which is wise. I also do not know how one would modify a 45-70 FCD to work on the shorter .45 colt. They are not that expensive. As far as heavy vs light crimping, I crimp everything hard, never had a problem. "However" , crimping a bullet w/o a cannelure or ahead/behind the cannelure of a Hard Cast will "squeeze" the ogive forward on any bullet you have to crimp , so just make up a dummy round and measure closely until you get it where you want. This is crucial only in rifle where you want the bullet to just "kiss" the lands i.e. 330 Beartooth in a 444. I crimp a 270 Keith ahead of the crimp groove for my Freedom Arms '97, which has a shorter cylinder than a Blackhawk. Works great.
Thanks preacher, the only reason I asked about reducing loads too much was that it is my tendancy to do that when starting something new, but have read the dangers of it. Yeah I wouldn't know how to make my 45/70 fcd work with a 45 either. That is interesting that the 45LC die works differently than the 41.

I'd mention that the 45-90 WCF was considered a giant-killer with a 300 grain medium lead bullet at 1600-1700 fps.
Some of the bears I have seen would almost qualify as giants! ;D
 

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If the LFC die in 45 Colt has a carbide insert at the bottom of the die, and I believe it does, it will size the bullet in the case, especially if the bullet is significantly larger in diameter than .451" or so....and Marlins tend to like their bullets on the large side. For maximum case grip on the bullet, especially if of large diameter lead, do not use it.

Found it. It will size the bullet. It has the carbide ring.

http://leeprecision.com/xcart/CARBIDE-FACTORY-CRIMP-DIE-45-COLT.html

While H110/296 is not generally recommended for reduced loads, most of the problems occur because of the unique operating characteristics of revolvers.....that have a smooth bore called a cylinder, a long low resistance jump through that cylinder, and must also travel through a forcing cone before they hit the rifling in a revolver. Light loads in revolvers are especially bad with these powders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
35remington said:
If the LFC die in 45 Colt has a carbide insert at the bottom of the die, and I believe it does, it will size the bullet in the case, especially if the bullet is significantly larger in diameter than .451" or so....and Marlins tend to like their bullets on the large side. For maximum case grip on the bullet, especially if of large diameter lead, do not use it.

Found it. It will size the bullet. It has the carbide ring.

http://leeprecision.com/xcart/CARBIDE-FACTORY-CRIMP-DIE-45-COLT.html

While H110/296 is not generally recommended for reduced loads, most of the problems occur because of the unique operating characteristics of revolvers.....that have a smooth bore called a cylinder, a long low resistance jump through that cylinder, and must also travel through a forcing cone before they hit the rifling in a revolver. Light loads in revolvers are especially bad with these powders.
Got it, thanks, that makes perfect sense about the jump through the forcing cone. I had heard somewhere that Lil Gun doesn't have the same issue with reduced loads that H110 does but since I may want to shoot these in my Blackhawk too I need to make certain. As for the LFCD for the 45, both my Marlin and Ruger slugged the same at .4505 and have been shooting .452 and Unique with good results. I heard somewhere that these Lee FCD's could be modified so as to not size the bullet down, and I heard there is another die maker, perhaps Redding that makes a good crimp for the straight walled cartridges.

Am having internet problems so may not get back on for a while, something about a tower on the mtn got blown around in the wind.
Thanks for the info!
 

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I have used a Redding Roll Crimp die for the 45-70. It works great. I never had a problem with my Lee FCD on any of my 45 Colt loads, but admit I never loaded hard cast for the rifle, just shot the factory Buffalo Bore 325...awesome ammo! Good luck to you.
 

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In my 1894 Colt I'm loading the Ranch Dog TLC454-290-RF which is a 290 grain gas checked design. If you don't cast your own, then you can purchase these at http://bullshop.gunloads.com/ . I use regular 45 Colt brass and H-110 powder. My chrony shows 1628 fps and 1718 fpe at the muzzle and they cycle in the 1894 with no problems. I can PM you the charge and OAL if you want. Ranch Dog also has load data for this bullet on his web site http://www.ranchdogoutdoors.com/bin/TLC454290RF/data/loadnotes01.pdf . He also uses a harder bullet of somewhere around 19-20 BHN where I use as dropped from the mold of about 13 BHN but I still don't have any leading problems. I've used other heavy casts such as the Lee C452-300-RF and once you get the OAL down they cycle just fine. Although I use a lot of Lil'Gun in the 357 magnum and other calibers I've pretty much stuck to H-110, 296, and occasionally 2400 in the 45 Colt but that is just personal preference.

As for the Lee factory crimp die which I use, it does have a carbide ring installed which will size down the bullet. I got around this by removing the carbide ring which is very easy to do. First remove the crimp adjustment and internals of the die. Screw the die into your press as if you were going to use it. Then simply drop a empty cartridge mouth first down into the die. The rim on the cartridge will come to rest on top of the carbide ring. Take a large round punch or wood dowel and place it on the cartridge head and with a couple solid whacks using a hammer the carbide ring will pop right out. Simple and clean.......

One word of caution on sizing down the 454 brass. The 454 brass is thicker so powder space will be slightly reduced which means higher pressure. Start low and work up until your satisfied. The 454 brass is also expensive and so far I've experience no problems using regular 45 Colt brass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Gohon said:
In my 1894 Colt I'm loading the Ranch Dog TLC454-290-RF which is a 290 grain gas checked design. If you don't cast your own, then you can purchase these at http://bullshop.gunloads.com/ . I use regular 45 Colt brass and H-110 powder. My chrony shows 1628 fps and 1718 fpe at the muzzle and they cycle in the 1894 with no problems. I can PM you the charge and OAL if you want. Ranch Dog also has load data for this bullet on his web site http://www.ranchdogoutdoors.com/bin/TLC454290RF/data/loadnotes01.pdf . He also uses a harder bullet of somewhere around 19-20 BHN where I use as dropped from the mold of about 13 BHN but I still don't have any leading problems. I've used other heavy casts such as the Lee C452-300-RF and once you get the OAL down they cycle just fine. Although I use a lot of Lil'Gun in the 357 magnum and other calibers I've pretty much stuck to H-110, 296, and occasionally 2400 in the 45 Colt but that is just personal preference.
Hey, great, I might be going past Delta Jct this summer and be able to pick up my bullets and save the price of shipping.. I have been thinking about the RD 290 since Ranch Dog posted about these not long ago in the 1894 forum but thought I'd have to get into casting.

I can PM you the charge and OAL if you want.
That would be great!

As for the Lee factory crimp die which I use, it does have a carbide ring installed which will size down the bullet. I got around this by removing the carbide ring which is very easy to do. First remove the crimp adjustment and internals of the die. Screw the die into your press as if you were going to use it. Then simply drop a empty cartridge mouth first down into the die. The rim on the cartridge will come to rest on top of the carbide ring. Take a large round punch or wood dowel and place it on the cartridge head and with a couple solid whacks using a hammer the carbide ring will pop right out. Simple and clean.......

One word of caution on sizing down the 454 brass. The 454 brass is thicker so powder space will be slightly reduced which means higher pressure. Start low and work up until your satisfied. The 454 brass is also expensive and so far I've experience no problems using regular 45 Colt brass.
So I am wondering what is the purpose of the carbide ring? Think I will order a 45LC LFCD and modify it.. Thanks!
As for the .454 Casull brass I probably wont need it as I am not going to try not to approach that high of pressure anyway. My plan is to order 100 Starline 45 colt brass and use those for this project. Once I find the load and sight in the gun I probably will just keep them on hand to take along in the mag tube when out on the boat or hiking. I am not a recoil junkie!! :eek: :p

I have one other question that is related. Nearly all of the warm load data I am finding for the 45 Colt is listed "for Ruger only". I do understand that the 1894 will handle pressure close to the Blackhawk 45 Colt but what I am seeing is the velocity listed in the data is often for a 7" barrel and I know that a 20" Marlin will shoot the same loads much faster. Short of buying software and learning how to use it, is there any rule of thumb to use to predict what the velocity increase should be so I know, when I use my chronograph that I am in the ballpark in terms of pressure?
 

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I shot Ruger Only loads out of my 45 colt MarlinCB with the Hornady XTP 250, w/no problems. I got 1750 with good accuracy ( WW296 powder) I chronoed the BB 320 hc also at 1750, and the label said around 1350 or so on the box for a revolver. A definite gain in a rifle. As you know by now, it's very difficult to see pressure signs from a levergun, so a good chrono is a benefit for this...OR just buy a few boxes of Buffalo Bore ammo for this one particular use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
preacher said:
.OR just buy a few boxes of Buffalo Bore ammo for this one particular use?
That would be easier! I have had my eye out for it locally here for a while now but without luck. The reason I can't just order ammunition, (or even powder and primers) is that Juneau isn't on the road system (takes a boat or plane to get here) and because of that they wont ship it. Only the stores who can order in quantities big enough and have it put on a barge can get it here.. The one box of 335 gr ammo for the 45 colt that I did find (from a small ammo maker in AK) works well in my revolver but the Marlin refuses to cycle it
 

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The reason for the carbide ring in the Lee dye is for those that load and shoot several different guns. By sizing to factory specs one doesn't have to fiddle around with things for each gun, especially those in CAS shooting at large targets up close. If someone sizes down to .451 or .452 the carbide ring doesn't really matter but if one like myself shoots over size casts then it is a real pain.

Can't remember where I read it and I think it was RD that made the comment that said buffalo Bore has Starline special make their brass for the 45 Colt and it is a little thicker in the webb than standard brass. If that's true and you get your hands on some of Buffalo Bores brass, you might want to hang onto it.
 
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