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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've inherited a Colt Bisley model in pretty good condition, along with the dies for reloading. I've never reloaded handgun but don't anticipate there will much difference from rifle reloading. My question is how do I tell if this hand gun is rated for smokeless powder? The serial number is 241XXX which I believe dates it to 1903. The gun itself is all origional including the grips and seems in pretty fair shape with the expected wear in the blueing etc.

I doubt I'll shoot it very often as it's much cheaper to plink away with my colt frontier .22. Still, any info on it would be much appreciated.

 

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you are correct on 1903 dom, single actions built after 1900 are considered safe for smokeless, however use common sense on your loads after all the steel is over 100 yrs old. nice looking gun and above average condition wise. you didn`t mention the caliber??
 

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Thanks Icdux... it's a 45 cal. I got some loads with the gun, some blackpowder and some smokeless which is why I questioned what I should load. I guess either works as long as you stay within safe loads but it seems to me that blackpowder is much more corrosive so to maintain the gun I'd be best off loading smokeless at the lower end of the recommended loads. Would that be correct? I have to admit I like shooting blackpowder though.
 

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A very mild load would be of 8.0 grains of Unique(DO NOT EXCEED in this older gun)with a 250-255 gr. lead bullet-and here I would try and get a "Cowboy Action bullet" sized .454-NOT the .452,as these older Colts had that size bore. IF the bore is very nice,no pits,you can use some of the swaged lead bullets,like by Hornady. With less than a "mirror bore",I'd go with cast lead.

This load should approximate the usual factory Colt load for the early 1900s,which the sights should be regulated for.

I have a Bisley,4.75" 38/40,one of the last Bisley's made,and factory refinished in 1950. I shoot it with the same amount of Unique and a 180 gr. hard cast lead. Great shooter(and looker) but I don't abuse it.

I get "double pleasure" from shooting and "working a piece of history",as it was intended.

Good Luck,and enjoy that wonderful Colt!!

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks very much Lone, I've printed your reply out and will try it when I reload. I've shot this one once and the trigger is a real joy, nice and crisp.
 

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Hi, I have a 38-40 Bisley, 1906, and have shot many rounds of smokeless ammo without difficulty. I find the Bisley a little stranger fit in my hand than my 1890 SAA .41. I loved shooting it but have put her into retirement where she is next to the SAA "out in the open." Got some good original stocks on ebay, as it had other non Colt stocks when I obtained the Bisley. Rick
 
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