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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Most of the time when you look for .45 rifle data and you only fine pistol info. I have a 20" M92 (.454 cal) and have done trial and error testing to develop some accurate .45 Colt rifle loads.
I shoot Cowboy Lever Action Silhouette and the targets are 40, 50, 75, 100, 150 and 200 yards out. The goal is to have accuracy at 40 yards and at 200 yards – without running out of sight elevation adjustment (I don’t like to “hold-over”).

At first I was having some luck with a 230gr bullet moving around 750fps, good, but inconsistent. Next I tried 185 and 200 cast bullets – these were OK at 50 yards, but miserable at 100 yards and over.

I will admit I’m a tightwad – I didn’t want to buy the heavy bullets because they cost more. However, I did buy 100 each of 250gr LRN and 255gr LSWC bullets. Trying to get my groups tight and predictable.

My conclusion is that .45 Colt rifle loads need to be similar the old school loads – a heavy bullet moving at moderate speed. I should have stayed with the traditional Colt loads and would have shooting better scores – but now I know.

My results, best to worst:

  1. 255gr LSWC (Keith style bullet) over 5.7gr of 700X with Starline case & Federal Large Pistol primers – good accuracy and clean burning. 3 1/2” drop from 50 to 100 yards.
  2. 255gr LSWC over 8.0gr of Title Group, same case and primer. A stout load. Hit 4” lower at 100 yards than 700X.
  3. 250gr LRNFP over 700X, same case and primer. Similar results to 255gr, but larger group spread at 100 yards.
  4. 250gr LRNFP, 8.0 Title Group same case/primer. Hot load. Hit low at 50 yards, did not find target at 100 yards.

My rifle is a 20” stainless steel .454 M92 Rossi with a Marbles Tang sight and a slightly lower front sight. After testing I bought a 500 count box of 255gr LSWCs for my summer shooting.

Michael
 

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...My results, Best to Worst:

  1. 255gr LSWC (Keith style bullet) over 5.7gr of 700X with Starline case & Federal Large Pistol primers – good accuracy and clean burning. 3 1/2” drop from 50 to 100 yards.

My rifle is a 20” stainless steel .454 M92 Rossi with a Marbles Tang sight and a slightly lower front sight...
What velocities were you getting with your "BEST" load out of the 20" barrel? :huh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't have a crono but my "best" load was around 1000fps. The pistol data says 5.7gr of 700x and a 250 lead bullet should be around 850fps - this load could easily go 150fps faster in a rifle barrel, perhaps more. I had leading problems with 200gr bullets - nothing yet with the 255s. The 200gr were either moving too fast or slightly undersized, or both.
Note that all my loads are with cast bullets. Jacketed bullets are still hard to find in southern Arizona.
In silhouette matches we don't shoot fast - so any feed problems with the SWC are minimal (most of the time they feed just fine). If you plan to "cowboy" it, you might be better of with a round nose bullet.
 

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many commercial cast bullets are too hard for low pressure use, more pressure is need to get them to "bump up" and seal the bore. when you tried the 200gr bullet was it with a max load? also, are you allowed to use .454 brass? if so, you might find better accuracy with full length brass to fill the chamber and reduce the jump to the bore. I like Titegroup, you might also try Trailboss. 9.0gr is the max load of Trailboss in a .454 case with 250gr lead bullet, it lists at 1,011fps from a pistol. 2400 would be another powder to look at.
 

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I like Trailboss, HP-38 or Universal in 45 Colt but in 454 Casull I prefer Lil'Gun, Accurate 2400 or IMR 4227. I also use Lil'Gun in my 45 Colt Rossi 92 for a 290gr LRNFP GC Ranch Dog bullet or with a Lee 300 gr LRNFP GC bullet for hunting purposes. As neither are really pleasant to shoot a lot of with out a limb saver of some type. Oh and I've recently loaded up a few rounds to test using Sierra 300 gr JSP loads with 2400, Lil'Gun and 4227 but have yet to shoot.
 

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I am no expert here, but if I may be so bold, I would suggest the problem with consistency is the bullet diameter and it has nothing to do with bullet weight. If you are using cast lead bullets from a manufacturer and did not specify the diameter, you are most likely shooting a .452 dia. bullet in a rifle bore of .454. The bullet is not large enough to engage the lands properly, even with a large powder charge, to get the correct spin on the bullet. The bullet is skipping down the barrel and therefore will not be stable in flight. Moving up to a .453 dia. will help, but it will not be the same as using a .454 that the rifle was designed for and this will require a larger flare of the .45 casing.

I would recommend Penn Bullets, 230gr. Lead TCBB (truncated cone bevelled base) bullet in .453 dia; this bullet is rated at 900 to 1000 FPS. And the truncated cone is far more stable out to 100 yards and beyond than a SWC and they feed flawlessly in a lever action rifle. I also recommend starting with 5.8 grains of Tightgroup (working the load up) which is estimated to push this bullet at 857 FPS from a 5 inch barrel; which should be around 12 to 18 percent increase in a 20 inch barrel or maybe more. When loading this bullet, besure to use a firm tapered crimp. Of course other powders that are rated to push a 230gr. lead bullet at 857 to 1000 FPS will work as long as the load density does not exceed 100%. This is just my opinion and the load data provide here is not certified and should not be used as a safe load.


Be safe
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
AOCM.RET - I think you may have hit on the root of my problem. Guess I should slug the barrel and know for sure.

M
 

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I too am very surprised that there is so little data available for the rifles that use handgun calibers.
I shoot lots of .38/.357 in both and have basically been on my own, especially for anything with any hopes
of working between the different barrel lengths.
In your situation though, you do have a bore diameter issue along with the lack of data.
You could always get another rifle chambered for the same as your handgun [.45colt].....
or a handgun chambered the same as your rifle [.454casull].
Good excuse for a new purchase....:)
 

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I am no expert here, but if I may be so bold, I would suggest the problem with consistency is the bullet diameter and it has nothing to do with bullet weight. If you are using cast lead bullets from a manufacturer and did not specify the diameter, you are most likely shooting a .452 dia. bullet in a rifle bore of .454. The bullet is not large enough to engage the lands properly, even with a large powder charge, to get the correct spin on the bullet. The bullet is skipping down the barrel and therefore will not be stable in flight. Moving up to a .453 dia. will help, but it will not be the same as using a .454 that the rifle was designed for and this will require a larger flare of the .45 casing.

I would recommend Penn Bullets, 230gr. Lead TCBB (truncated cone bevelled base) bullet in .453 dia; this bullet is rated at 900 to 1000 FPS. And the truncated cone is far more stable out to 100 yards and beyond than a SWC and they feed flawlessly in a lever action rifle. I also recommend starting with 5.8 grains of Tightgroup (working the load up) which is estimated to push this bullet at 857 FPS from a 5 inch barrel; which should be around 12 to 18 percent increase in a 20 inch barrel or maybe more. When loading this bullet, besure to use a firm tapered crimp. Of course other powders that are rated to push a 230gr. lead bullet at 857 to 1000 FPS will work as long as the load density does not exceed 100%. This is just my opinion and the load data provide here is not certified and should not be used as a safe load.


Be safe
Funny thing is I sized my bore on my 45 Colt Rossi and .452 is perfect as it is .001 larger than the grooves in the barrel. I might add the 454 Casull Raging bull is also perfect for a .452 45 Colt or Casull bullet. It really is necessary if one is going to shoot cast bullets to size the barrel and by the way all 3 of my Uberti SAA 45 Colts match the rifle also.

It would also help to know what the BHN is on the rounds you are using as in some cases that can make a difference as to range and accuracy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I solved most of my problems by seating the boolet out further - as to make it .454 length AND, adding a more secure roll crimp has improved the accuracy.
I'm using a lower-than-factory front sight & Marbles tang sight - they come with a "short" sight stem. At 50 yards I'm 70 clicks up and run out of sight elevation at 100 yards. My next move is to replace the "short" sight stem with the higher "standard" stem. I shoot Cowboy Silhouette and for the 150 and 200 yard targets I'm just guessing the amount of hold-over with my current set up.
Now that I've figured out how to load properly, adjust sights and replace rear stem I should be good to go.
Yea, there is no good data on loading rifles that use pistol cartridges.
Michael

PS: I was going to buy some .454 brass - until I saw the price! Winchester must think they are really special to change $2 a case.
 

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Hornady has load data for .45 colt (rifle) By coincidence the rifle they used was a 20" barreled Rossi model 92. The data is limited to 225gr. and 255 gr. but is fairly complete for those two bullet weights.
 
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