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Old 04-01-2010, 07:24 PM   #1
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.45 Colt Long loading data?

I ordered a Marlin 1894 .45 Colt lever action rifle (it's sweet). While I'm waiting, I'm investigating loads and looking for anyone who might have input?

For now I'm shooting the same cartridge in a Ruger Black Hawk (I was thinking/keeping cost of components down) are these loads interchangeable between the two guns? My Speer Reloading Manual doesn't give anything but Cowboy loads for the rifle and not many of them. SO I'm looking for input.
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:15 AM   #2
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250-grain RNFP cast bullet. SWC if the rifle will feed it. Start with 15 grains of 2400 and work up to about 17-17.5...carefully. The Marlin action is stronger than the Winchester's, so it will better tolerate the recoil forces trying to hammer it apart.

If you plan to interchange ammo between the rifle and the Blackhawk, it's best to err on the side of caution because the revolver dictates the limit. The Blackhawk has an aluminum grip frame. Overly heavy recoil forces will spring it. (Ask me how I know.) If you keep the two separate, then you can get by with stiffer loads for the rifle...but keep in mind that it's not indestructable. You may also discover that Marlin's Micro-Groove rifling doesn't care for cast bullets. Some do...Some don't...and nobody except the rifle seems to understand it. You may be forced to go to jacketed bullets in the same weight range for the rifle.

Be aware too that Ruger has never sanctioned any of the "Ruger Only" hot rod data in the manuals. If you call them and ask...they'll tell you that their revolvers are proofed for SAAMI standard ammunition...and that's all they'll admit to. The 2400 data mentioned above should not be used in a New Vaquero. Proceed with that in mind.

9 grains of Unique is a factory duplication load with a 250-grain lead bullet. The same load will produce about 1250 fps in the carbine, and is an accurate, powerful load for about anything short of Moose and Brown Bear. In your 4.625-inch Blackhawk, expect something around 900 fps.

Jacketed bullets tend to produce slightly lower peak pressures than lead bullets of identical mass, but higher average pressures for the trip to the muzzle. This is a consideration, although the Marlin action is amply strong enough to handle any reasonable pressure...but pressure isn't the killer. Recoil impulse is.

Finally...There's nothing that you can prove with a handload that hasn't already been proven. The pressures required to accelerate a 250-grain bullet to 1500-1600 fps in that 20-inch barrel are more than sufficient to blow your eyeballs through the back of your head.

Or...as a wise old man once said:

"Son...We're all goin' to hell in a handcart. Ain't no sense in greasin' the wheels."

Last edited by JohnnyT; 05-01-2010 at 10:55 AM.
Old 04-30-2010, 04:18 AM   #3
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Lotta good information to be found here.

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