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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2nd gen. (1970) colt saa that has .4555 cylinder throat diameter. It doesn't shoot commercial loads particularly well and I'm looking to get a little more accuracy out of it. What diameter of bullet should I be looking at for reloads? Is there anything else I could do to help with accuracy. I have already sent the gun to Jim M. for an action tune. Thanks!
 

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A "soft" 454 bullet should work well, if you reload. I'm a reloader so I forget but it's either Winchester or Remington that sells a "Silver tip" round that is over sized that should shoot well. Your lucky, almost all 2nd and 3rd gen Colts SAA throats measure .456 or larger.
 

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Remington’s factory 250 grain bullet is sometimes offered as reloading components and features a slightly hollow base. It works well, try some factory Remington to see if it will work for you. If your going to cast, then Lyman’s 454190 flat point shoots well in all my Colts including single actions, New Service and anaconda. Sized to .454 of course.
 

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Best thing your could do to make the gun more accurate is have a 2nd gen .38 cylinder cut to proper .45 Colt specs with tighter throats. The other option is commerical lead bullets sized .454". They are available easy enough.

this may interest you
http://www.coltforum.com/forums/single-action-army/272305-projects-part-ii-gun-one-7-5-45-colt.html

The cylinder out of one of my first year 3rds with .454" bullets dropped into it. Throats of all different sizes. Groups from this cylinder showed the same inconsistency.




This is actually a cylinder from a more recent BP framed Colt. Same bullets .454" in a "drop test" and as you can see way, way more consistent in cylinder sizing. Bullet selection and sizing can only help to a point. But as others have mentioned .455 isn't really bad for a Colt.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So if I found a 2nd gen. cylinder in a smaller caliber than .45 I could have it reamed out to better tolerances than what came from the factory. Who does this kind of work? anyone on this forum? Would it still be safe to shoot? Sorry if these are dumb questions but I'm kind of new to this saa game.
 

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The cylinder out of one of my first year 3rds with .454" bullets dropped into it. Throats of all different sizes. Groups from this cylinder showed the same inconsistency.

That picture shows every bullet inserted into the cylinder with the all bearing surface of the bullet either fully in the cylinder or just the a smidgen exposed. If you can get that tight of a fit with just dropping the bullets into the cylinder you are golden. That tiny amount of variation could be from the bullets themselves.

The perfect fit is when you need a small amount of thumb pressure to push the bullets through. If a bullet drops through with no resistance then it's too small. If you can't push the bullet through with only your thumb it's too large. Too large isn't as big of a detriment to accuracy (assuming all the cylinder throats are the same size), however you can run into problems chambering a round if the bullets are too big. Using a .454 sized bullet will be better than a .452 or .451 bullet, but using a slightly larger bullet that fits the throats perfectly is your best bet.
 

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Reddog said:
That picture shows every bullet inserted into the cylinder with the all bearing surface of the bullet either fully in the cylinder or just a smidgen exposed. If you can get that tight of a fit with just dropping the bullets into the cylinder you are golden. That tiny amount of variation could be from the bullets themselves.....
Consistent throat sizes...and consistent accuracy with the right size bullets.



throats that are over size and not consistent below...and not very accurate as a result.


What you are seeing in the photos of both cylinders is NOT bullet variation but cylinder throat size variation.

ctk said:
So if I found a 2nd gen. cylinder in a smaller caliber than .45 I could have it reamed out to better tolerances than what came from the factory. Who does this kind of work? anyone on this forum? Would it still be safe to shoot? Sorry if these are dumb questions but I'm kind of new to this saa game.

Yes..have a smaller cylinder re-cut to tighter specs. 38 Special are the most common donor cylinder. Saw one in the for sale forum last night. Dave Lanara does. Others do as well. Safe? Yes, the gun will be safe. Common thing to do in with a 45.
 

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If you dropped the bullets into the cylinder and that was the result, than those cylinders are much more consistent than just about all factory cylinders. If all those bullets were the exact same size and dropped into the cylinder and that happens than each throats is probably within .00025 of one another. Most gunsmiths are going to have a hard time getting better results than that.
 

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I've attach a picture of some of my home cast bullets .454 sized sitting in a cylinder with .453 throats. All these bullets are resting on the ledge where the throats start. That doesn't mean anything other than that the bullets are larger than the throat diameter. None of the bullets can be pushed through with thumb pressure.
 

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Reddog said:
If you dropped the bullets into the cylinder and that was the result, than those cylinders are much more consistent than just about all factory cylinders.......
Yep, and why it is worth it to me having a custom cylinder cut by a really good machinist. I have one Colt factory cylinder and 3 custom cylinders I had made that are this consistent for the chamber throat size and that tight for a .452 bullet (the 3 custom) and the Colt which will hold the .454s.
 

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This topic comes up with 45 Colt ruger revolvers of which the complaint appears to be too tight of throats. The consensus being that the throats should be slightly oversized. Another thought is that the oversized throats allow pressure relieve with the thin colt cylinders.
 

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smkummer said:
This topic comes up with 45 Colt ruger revolvers of which the complaint appears to be too tight of throats. The consensus being that the throats should be slightly oversized. Another thought is that the oversized throats allow pressure relieve with the thin colt cylinders.
.452, .453 and .454 will get the job done. Colt 's are often .456 which even that is workable. .457+ not so much.

Ruger throats are often .450" which is no help but more easily fixed by just reaming to the proper specs. Too small is easier to fix than too big. But as is, either is not a good thing.
 

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Grand-dad's New Service .45 Colt throats measured in at .447-.449 accuracy was barely acceptable at 25yds. off a rest, (about 6-8" groups average). A .452" throat reamer from Brownell's improved things quite a bit, the job took about half an hour to complete.

I see no advantage to using jacketed bullets in a standard .45 Colt loading, or hard cast commercial bullets either. I cast my own in a variety of molds from 200gr. wad cutters meant for .45ACP to 255gr. .45 Colt bullets and most are around the 12bn hardness level, for some revolver bullets I like them even a bit softer. No leading issues with a good lube and plenty of it. Any leading that does accumulate in the area just forward of the forcing cone is easily taken care of with a Lewis lead remover.
 
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