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Looking to load some 45 Colt for a single action cowboy revolver. Looking to shoot steel for the most part but would like a manageable recoil. I will need lead so recommendation for bullet weight and powder would be appreciated.
 

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I cast the Lyman 452-424 250gr. Keith bullet, the Lee 452-255-rf 250gr bullet and the RCBS 45-270-SAA for .45 Colt.

I load 7.5gr of HP38 in Starline brass and crimp in the crimp groove of each of these bullets.

The Lee bullet works well in my Winchester (Miroku) 1873.

The Lyman and RCBS bullets shoot great in my USFA Rodeo II.

I do favor the heavier RCBS 45-270-SAA. It is an accurate bullet with a wide meplat. With wheel weight alloy it drops at 285gr.

I lube all of these bullets with White Label 50/50. It is basically the NRA style formula.

The RCBS bullet shoots great in my Marlin (Rem.) 1894CB also.

If you can't find any Win231 or HP38 I have also used Unique with the above bullets also.
 

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I use 200 grain RoundNoseFlatPoint..RNFP cast lead and usually about 5.8 grains of Trailboss, as it fills the case better than most pistol powders. Some people say it costs more because they only get 9 oz in the jug. If you buy it right and do the math, it's very negligible..the difference in cost.Another good .45 Colt powder is the ol' standby,Unique.
good bullet suppliers..Brazos,T&B,Outlaw,and Badman.
 

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I've standardized on 7.5 grs. H Universal behind 250/255 grain SWC or LRN for a general purpose and range load . It doesn't have unpleasant recoil and is accurate. Probably 850 FPS. Also have a bunch of Dry Creek 267 grain SWC's that usually get launched with 6.5 grs. 231/HP-38. Another pleasant load that is very accurate and gets right at 800 FPS. These loads do not exceed standard pressure 14,000 psi. Will make steel clang.
 

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Buy a loading manual.
 
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I have a few Colt SAA's as well as a few different molds including the Keith molds. One thing I have found is they all shoot 3-4" high with a 255gr and it's hard to file your front sight taller. What I have found to work good and shoot POA/POI is just plain old 200gr SWC that I cast for my 45 ACP's.
I load them light with Titegroup and the are very accurate.
I've heard tell that the original Colt's were tested with 255gr at 50yds but I don't know if that is true.
 

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I have a few Colt SAA's as well as a few different molds including the Keith molds. One thing I have found is they all shoot 3-4" high with a 255gr and it's hard to file your front sight taller. What I have found to work good and shoot POA/POI is just plain old 200gr SWC that I cast for my 45 ACP's.
I load them light with Titegroup and the are very accurate.
I've heard tell that the original Colt's were tested with 255gr at 50yds but I don't know if that is true.
I believe if you increase the MV of your 255 gr loads the POI will move downward toward the POA.
You have already done this by reducing your bullet weight by 55 grs which would increase your MV.
I don’t know the range you were seeing the 3 inch high POI, you may have been looking at the mid range trajectory for a 50 yd zero.
I also have read that sights and black power load were calibrated to a 50 yd zero. My New Vaquero’s have a 5.5” barrel not the 7.5 inches of an original revolver. I will be testing mine for a load to synchronize the POA to POI at 50 yds.
 

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255gr lead in front of 8.0gr Unique.

Recoil is nothing more than a training issue.

Buy Lyman #50 and read it.
 

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255gr lead in front of 8.0gr Unique.

Buy Lyman #50 and read it.
My advice too. 255 gr lead in front of 8.0 Unique is the "standard load" and will probably take care of most of your needs. I cross check every load I use in SEVERAL reloading manuals before loading and the Lyman #50 is the best reference in my opinion. The Speer manual would be my 2nd choice.
 

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I have used Unique, W231/HP38 and Titegroup, usually under a 250 or 255 gr RNFP or SWC. I have started to prefer the RNFP since it feeds better in my Rossi 92. I have also gone to the coated bullets.

If you have fixed sights, I have found that the 200 gr bullets do not correspond well to the sights, at least for me.
 

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I have used Unique, W231/HP38 and Titegroup, usually under a 250 or 255 gr RNFP or SWC. I have started to prefer the RNFP since it feeds better in my Rossi 92. I have also gone to the coated bullets.

If you have fixed sights, I have found that the 200 gr bullets do not correspond well to the sights, at least for me.
That was my experiences as well; Using a pair of Ruger Vaqueros in cowboy shooting and reducing the loads resulted in the 200 gr bullets shooting low.
I ended-up reversing the loading, using heavy bullets in the handguns and light bullets in the rifle, ('cause I could adjust the rifle sights for POA/POI).
Regarding the Rossi 92s; used two of them, and they too preferred the RNFP.
Interestingly, the Browning 92, and the Miroku Winchester 92 are both quite tolerant of any bullet shape.
Edit; The Rossi's were in .45 Colt, while the Browning and Winchester are in .44Mag,, so that may have influenced the differences in feeding.
 

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Hodgdons reloading web sight has min-max loads for Hodgdons powders, Usually a couple of preferred Bullitt weight & design,COL, etc. the joy of reloading is finding the pet load for your specific gun. Start at the minimum powder charge, and work your way up very gradually. Make up approximately 5 rounds of each load, and find what works best for you in the specific gun you’re shooting. A quality (current) reloading manual is well well worth the investment, as a lot of new powders may not be listed in the older reloading manuals. Best of luck, and stay safe.
 

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Hodgdons reloading web sight has min-max loads for Hodgdons powders, Usually a couple of preferred Bullitt weight & design,COL, etc. the joy of reloading is finding the pet load for your specific gun. Start at the minimum powder charge, and work your way up very gradually. Make up approximately 5 rounds of each load, and find what works best for you in the specific gun you’re shooting. A quality (current) reloading manual is well well worth the investment, as a lot of new powders may not be listed in the older reloading manuals. Best of luck, and stay safe.
I don't disagree about the reloading manuals, though nowadays you can pretty much find all the data you need online from the various powder and bullet companies. I read all my reloading manuals (Hornady, Hodgdon, Speer, etc.) from cover to cover in my earlier reloading years, and I found it invaluable to read all the comments, caveats, etc. that were to be found there. It really sets the context in one's mind. As far as just simple load data, however, it's all there online now, at least all one really needs. Since I'm nearly always casting my own bullets, and the particular shapes and weights aren't an exact match to the major manufacturer's bullets used in the load data, I end up interpolating most of my load data anyway.

As far as .45 LC loads go, this is a subject of special interest to me right now because I've just ordered a 16" Rossi R92 trapper model in .45 LC. I really wanted the 20" model, but any of these are out of stock everywhere and hard to find right now, but Palmetto State Armory had some 16" come in stock, so I ordered one (last night, this is current).

I don't own any .45 LC pistols, but I see a Vaquero or equivalent in my future, and it's going to be interesting to find some loads that can be used effectively in either the pistol or the carbine. I accept that a load that takes full advantage of the 16" barrel will probably involve powders that are slow enough, and in great enough quantity, that they may work in a revolver but be unnecessarily boomy in muzzle blast and possibly incomplete powder burn, not to mention issues I've never dealt with before like finding a load that will shoot to POA on a fixed and difficult-to-modify sight setup.
 

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7.2 - 8.0/Unique/250 RNFP. If it burns dirty, seat the bullet slightly deeper, and/or roll crimp the projectile slightly more firmly than usual.

And YES, a loading manual or three would be a big help. I'm not enamoured of the tacit, often brusque entreaties to "buy a manual" that some folks get from "old hands" on this & other forums, but the advice is basically quite sound. I don't mind sharing data with people, as long as it's not max load data. But I always warn them to check it against published data, put out by someone who does this stuff for a living.
Above all, ALWAYS check any loading data you get from someone on the net against data published by someone reputable in the shooting industry. However well-meaning someone on here or another site might be, they can always miss-type a charge or bullet weight, or an overall length, or the wrong primer type & put you in a real jam, if you don't verify the load of interest.
 

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I have found that very light loads in 45 Colt may not seal up very well and can cause some blowback into your face when shot from some rifles. I have to load the rifle loads for my Marlin to the max load given for Trail Boss in order to avoid gas blowing back into my face. It does not really matter in revolvers and only makes for dirty cases.

I use 8 grains of Unique and 255 grain SWC as my standard load most of the time except for revolvers in Cowboy shooting.
 

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Another vote for 8.0 grains of Unique behind a 250-255 grain cast lead bullet. Bullets sized .452 diameter work well in my Colt New Service .45. Have worked up to 8.5 grains of Unique with the same type bullets, but see no real reason to stay there for general purpose loads.

Realistically, the .45 Colt with a 255 grain bullet loaded to moderate velocities will accomplish the majority of tasks that one could reasonably ask of a handgun.
 
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