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I just purchased a New Service that was orgionally in .455 eley and sent back to the factory in 1932 and converted to .45 Long Colt. Am looking for a load to use that will be accurate but not too much pressure as I understand that the cylinder walls are thinner after the conversion and I surely don't to damage the pistol. Any suggestions or should I just start with a minnum load and work my way up?
 

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Always start low and work up.

Loading manuals differentiate between the .45 Colt in Colt SAA's and in Ruger single actions. If you stick with the loads for the Colt revolvers you will be fine. I have found Trail Boss to be an excellent powder for shooting and having fun in the big cases. Unique has been used for years and can produce some very good loads as well.

I don't believe Colt would have rechambered a cylinder that would not be safe.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. The cylinder walls are not thinner, but the chamber is longer. I don't think you will have any problem with standard .45 Colt loads, although they are a bit stouter than .455 Eley. If you have any concerns, you may want to look at Cowboy Action loads which are generally lighter than standard .45 Colt loads. Depending on how they did the conversion, you may still be able to use .455 Eley ammunition in it. The Ely rim is thinner than the Colt. If they shaved off the back of the cylinder to allow Colt use, the headspace may be too large for Eley. If they just relieved the area around each chamber for the Colt rim, the Eley may be able to be used since its rim diameter is larger than the Colt's, provided the relief area is not too large.

One other thing to consider is that modern .45 Colts use 0.452" bullets, whereas the pre-WWII guns use 0.454". Some Cowboy ammo is loaded with the larger bullet, and Remington may still make some. Pretty much anything is possible if you reload.

I think you're going to like shooting it, now matter how you go about it.

Buck
 

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.455 Eley Cartridge is .476 at the Lips, .480 at the Base ( not counting the Rim )

.45 Colt, used to be .480 all the way.

Bullets for both used to be .454-ish.

I have a couple 'conversions' myself, and, I wish they would have just let them be instead! I have gotten kind of fond of the old .454/476 Eley Cartridge.

But, anyway, I doubt COLT'S used a different Alloy for the Cylinders of the .454 Revolvers, so, a 'converted' one should stand up just the same as one originally in .45 Colt I would think.


Loading Tables from the 1940s for .45 Colt had no option but to have been for anything .45 Colt, which meant SAAs and New Services, and the occasional S&W New Century or 2nd Mdl Hand Ejector, and, they showed Loadings which are quite a bit more stout than those of to-day.


This kind of scares me, since I am sure many Black Powder era SAAs ended up digesting who knows how many home-loads, made on the basis of those Loading Tables.

It was even worse I am sure, in the early 1900s, far as Home Loads.


Anyway, seems to me that the kindest option for these .455 conversions, or other similar era New Services, is to keep one's loadings in a medium to upper-medium range, and to kindly stay back from the 'top' Loadings shown for .45 Colt...while of course still distinguishing these from, and avoiding entirely, the 'Ruger Only' Loadings.


Really, making one's own Black Powder Cartridges for .45 Colt, is a joy, and, the Ballistics are very good, so, that is another option for fun and for practical Shooting also.


The original Ballistics ( if memory serve ) for .45 Colt, was 255 Grain soft Lead Bullet, and, 40 Grains of 3 F BP, giving right on to about 1000 FPS out of a longer Barrel.


That seems plenty respectable to me!


Modern era .45 Colt Cartridge cases do not allow one to get 40 Grains of .3F into them, but, one can get in ( I forget now, but, something like ) 36 Grains anyway, and, that is still pretty peppy! Especially if one uses a good Brand, such as 'Swiss' Powder ( instead of 'Goex' ).
 

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A few years ago, there was an article in Guns & Ammo about reloading for the Model 1917 (actually a New Service) and some of the loadings shown for .45 ACP and .45 Auto Rim were very, verry hot, based on the muzzle velocities provided (like 1200+ ft/sec). The author said all these were safe, but I don't know how he determined that.

Anyway, loading toward the lower end of the propellant chatges provided in any reputable loaging manual should be safe for any revolver chambered in .45 Colt. I believe in keeping loadings down toward Cowboy Action Shooting levels if all you are doing is target shooting. And that goes for any caliber and any revolver Why subject your revolver to unnecessary wear and tear?
 
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