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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to handload a black powder round for a .45 Long Colt SAA, vintage 1876. Do any of you have any advice or tips? I have reloaded smokeless powder rounds before, but not black powder. I have a copy of Loading the Black Powder Rifle Cartridge, by Paul A. Matthews, and have read it. I welcome any advice, but specifically recall from the book that the cartridge must be full, and do not know if this means you fill the round completely full with black powder and compress with the .45 calibre bullet, or if you fill to the full amount, less the depth of the bullet. If this was the case, what about settling of the powder? Any favourite loads? Any other sage advice? I have handloaded smokeless powder rounds quite a bit, but never black powder. I know, of course, that all metal in contact with the powder should be brass or aluminum, there should be no plastic involved, etc. And, I realise it is highly flammable. But I just don't have any 'experience' with the black powder.
 

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Hi mrcvs,


Use 3f of course.

To determine the practical volume for any given Cartridge using Black Powder, simply decide where the base of the Bullet will be once Crimped, and, have the uncompressed Powder Level be as much above that line, as subsequent compression will 'compress' TO that line.


For Revolver Cartridges, this would tend to be on to about 1/8th of an Inch or so - meaning, the uncompressed Powder will occupy a volume to about 1/8th of an inch Higher, than the Base of the Bullet is to be, once the Bullet is seated and Crimped, thuc compressing the Powder in the Bullet Seating procedure ( on one's Press of course ).

One has to sort of try a few and see - if the Bullet does not end up as deep as one was intending, once it is compressed well, then, for the next round, use a little less Powder.

If the bullet is deeper once compressed, than one had intended, use a little more Powder.

Once getting the right amount, pull the Bullet, and, weigh the Powder, and, or measure it's Volume and or modify a spent Case by cutting it down a little for it to be a Scoop one can then use, leveling it off with a Knife or however one likes, in order for it to give uniform results.

The old 'IDEAL' Powder Measures of Black Japanned Cast Iron, were intended for Black Powder or Smokeless, and they are very finely made and very finely adjustable and accurate.

That is what I use for BP Metallic Cartridge Loading.

Good compression is best...( meaning, one does somewhat 'grunt' on the Lever of the Press ).

One can also use a reduced Loading of Black Powder, and, add 'Cream of Wheat' to the top of it, to complete the volume which is to be compressed to end up where the Base of the Bullet is to be.

I compress using the Bullet itself, as I seat the Bullet in the Case, on my Loading Press.

A good Crimp of course, is best.

When getting back into Black Powder after a 30 odd year hiatus, and having bad memories of the mess and of using 'Crisco' over the Balls in Cap & Ball to avoid pecky 'Chain Fire' events, I decided to think about things rationally and in depth and from scratch.

I elected to try making 'Lube Wafers' using torn strips of regular Paper Towel, which I ran through a mixture of Molten Bees Wax and a little Olive Oil.

Once the strips are cool, I use a Gasket Punch 'Hole' Cutter over End Grain Pine or other Wood, to make appropriately sized 'Wafers' which are then about .035 thick or so.

I elect a diameter for the Wafer, which will 'cup' when put into a Cartridge Case ( Or Cap & Call Chamber ).

These worked perfectly, and, I could shoot any Revolver, Cap & Ball or Metallic Cartridge, more or less endlessly, with no 'binding' or fouling...no mess, no 'soot' on my Hands or Face, etc.

The tiny bit of Powder the Wafer displaces, is never missed or meaningful in the resulting FPS of the Bullet.


Swiss Powder is considered the best.

Your Revolver probably will prefer .450 to .455 Bullets, and, of pure Lead.


Do you have a Mold for this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't have a mold. I purchased cast bullets from Western Bullet Company.

Having reloaded only smokeless powder before, I recall reading about the wafer in Matthews' book. I never really understood why you need the wafer??? Why can't you just fill with the black powder? What purpose does it serve?

Also, why use a filler Cream of Wheat and, if so, how much? Is it simply to decrease the cost of the load (less powder)?

I see compressing the load has no effect on combustability. I have no basis to judge this on, but I wanted to be cautious in that I thought perhaps too much compression could lead to an explosion. Again, not based in fact, but an assumption...
 

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A cardboard wafer under the base of the bullet helps prevent gas cutting. Use a blackpowder lube in the bullets, not a harder smokeless lube. I used to use SPG. Don't mess with the case filler, just fill the case to a where the base of the bullet sits. Or, you can compress it a little with the base, but you don't have to. Compression has just been found to create more uniform ignition, but as long as the case if full to the base of the bullet, you're ok. If you do compress, you don't need to really compress the heck out of it with pistol cartridges. Don't weigh the powder, fill it by the volume you need to that level, or about 1/16 or so more.
 
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