sixguns said:...would love to hear the story of that cylinder.
Since Sixguns asked on another thread here is the story.
I've seen it mentioned here at least once that someone was shooting their S&W or Ruger in .45 Colt or 44 Special using a "mild" load that wouldn't extract from their Colt.
I first found that to be true in a new 44 Special, Colt Single Action Army. Cylinder looked good on inspection but the cases had to be pounded out on some of the cylinder's chambers where they would fall out of my S&W. I couldn't easily see anything and the cases looked normal when they came out of the gun. I finally just replaced the cylinder and everything was fine. I still shoot that gun a lot. I later used that same out of spec 44 Special cylinder for a custom cut .45 cylinder.
On the .45 cylinder shown above I was loading what I had thought was a light load of WW231. A load i had shoot a lot of in a S&W .45s and a USFA. WW231 is a fine grain, fast powder and likely one of the worst you can use in the huge .45 Colt case. When I fired the round that made the biggest bulge you see on the locking slot, I felt the difference in recoil. Nothing traumatic but more recoil than normal. Thought that odd as I reload on a progressive machine with very accurate powder drops. Three of the rounds were sticky on extraction. The fourth had to be pounded out. Still clueless as to what happened, on the next full cylinder I noted the gun couldn't be cycled normally as the bolt wouldn't go into lock up on the worst of the cylinders. Slow I know but at that point I finally tore the gun apart and inspected the damage.
No question the cylinder is now unusable and unsafe.
While I certainly could have just set my powder drop incorrectly, and likely did to cause this damage, I did go back and check and spend some time pondering the result. My powder charge wasn't listed as anything close to max. The conclusion I came to was to no longer use 231 in the big Colt case. I use Unique specifically for the . 45 Colt now, but Trail Boss is a better answer I think just not as economical to load the high numbers I want to shoot. As anecdotal evidence to just how weak a Colt .45 cylinder is I had two locking notches budge on another new Colt that I intentionally only used factory ammo in a few years later. Again the sign that it had happened was sticky extraction. Nothing really serious this time and the cylinder is still usable, I had it replaced anyway. But once I knew what to look for, the lock slot bulge was obvious. That gun was shipped from Colt "in the white" and have always wondered if that cylinder missed heat treat.