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Just had work done to my 1876 SAA by Jim Martin. I have never shot this gun mostly because it needed a lot of work. Jim made the action tight and light. I would never had thought a gun this old would never have such a nice action. The Hammer was replaced by an original first generation with a patina to match my gun. Just amazing. I spoke to Jim about shooting it. He insisted on light black powder loads with 200 grain bullets for reduced pressures. Buffalo Bore sells a light black powder load with a 200 grain bullet that is supposed to have a bullet speed of 750 fps. That is all the info they give on this cartridge. Do you think this cartridge would qualify to what Jim was talking about? I have never reloaded metallic cartridges, just shotgun. I have the equipment to do it though. What type of powder and how many grains would qualify for a light load for a 200 grain bullet?
 

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I would presume we are talking about a .45 Colt but you did not say.
In all B.P. loads never leave any air space in the case.
To do this you can take up the extra space with wads, lubed or not, a cardboard tube, or cream of wheat.
I prefer extra lubed wads.
2f or 1 1/2f will give lower pressures than 3f.
So 25 grains of 2f wads that take up the extra space between the top of the powder and the base of the bullet and a good crimp should work.
You can start out at 20 or so grains but just try one to be sure the bullet exits the bore.
Montana bullet co. as well as Buffalo Arms sells SPG lubed bullets if you do not cast your own.
Jim is one smart cookie recommending the 200 grain bullet as it should hit closer to point of aim with a reduced load.
Take care, Duane
 

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The reduced power .45 Colt blackpowder load the OP is refereeing is sold by Buffalo Arms, not Buffalo Bore. Two different firms. Buffalo Arms sells a bunch of different blackpowder loaded ammunition. Great folks to deal with.
 

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Not sure what "reduced power" blackpowder loads means unless that implies that there is a filler. I use Cream of Wheat, usually about 2/3 black powder topped with 1/3 Cream of Wheat. I have never heard of insisting that a specific Colt Single Action revolver be fired with filler only with one exception. To the best of my knowledge, all Colt black powder era guns can be fired with black powder without a filler except for the original Colt Walker. Due to chamber capacity and metallurgy at the time, they were notorious for blowing up when loaded at full capacity.
 

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I find these discussions interesting, but what I do understand about ammunition is that the ammunition companies loaded rounds such as .44-40 with light loads should they be used in an old BP gun. This happened before WWII and sometime after.
 

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Reloading black powder is easy. Get your lead bullets, soft lead is better than hard alloy for smokeless. If you can scratch the lead easily with your fingernail, it's the right softness. Hold the bullet up to the side of the case, at the same level you will want to seat it to. Usually there will be a groove near the front, for the rim of the case to be slightly crimped into. Measure from the case mouth to the base of the bullet. You are trying to determine how deep the bullet will sit in the case, once seated. Now pour some FFF (or maybe FF for lower power) powder into the case until it reaches the level you determined that will be where the base is. You don't want the slightest air gap, the top of the powder should sit against the bottom of the lead bullet. Pour the powder out and measure it. This is the load. To get stronger loads, they would compress the black powder quite a bit, to get more in there. You don't want to do that for light loads. Prime cases, fill with your determined load, seat bullets. Done.
 

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While I have I do not recall encountering an early SAA with a cracked or damaged cylinder, and I own numerous ones, the Army had a problem early on with some of the cylinders cracking and Colt sent out unnumbered replacement cylinders. I never considered firing one that early. One thing I can say is that I have had a problem with older single actions key holing. Some would say it was the bore, some the ammunition and some a combination of both.
 

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As stated, 2f will be lower pressure than 3f. This is one example where I would be tempted to try the 45 “Cowboy” brass from Starline. Same size as 45ACP with a rim.

Dan
 

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Maybe I missed it somewhere but can someone post references to cracked cylinders in 1870's vintage Colt SAA revolvers? I've fired FFFg loads without fillers in 140+ year old revolvers and, so far, never a problem.
 

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Maybe I missed it somewhere but can someone post references to cracked cylinders in 1870's vintage Colt SAA revolvers? I've fired FFFg loads without fillers in 140+ year old revolvers and, so far, never a problem.
MRCVS.
A void in the case does have the possibility to create an “explosion” ATYPICAL of the explosion of the BP powder under compression.
It’s one of those things that may never damage the cylinder. But there is a chance.
 

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That's not what the above commenter is saying. He's talking about some history of cracks. I didn't hear anything about cracked cylinders. Just people blowing them apart with smokeless misloads.
 

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RIGHT! A void or air pocket can lead to the destruction of ANY firearm fired with black powder. The claim was that early SAA cylinders were prone to cracking when loaded properly and to capacity with a black powder load. Until I receive concrete evidence of this, I say malarkey!
 

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RIGHT! A void or air pocket can lead to the destruction of ANY firearm fired with black powder. The claim was that early SAA cylinders were prone to cracking when loaded properly and to capacity with a black powder load. Until I receive concrete evidence of this, I say malarkey!
I never said that...what most likely happened was due to the poor quality of Frankford Arsenal ammunition.
 
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