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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm told that 45 Colt can be handloaded to be on a par with 44 Rem Mag. Would these loads work in a Taurus Tracker revolver, or should the Tracker only use standard loads and save the heavy ones for a Ruger? Would standard Colt 45 loads out of a 6" barrel be sufficient for a backup deer hunting arm? How do they compare with 45 ACP? Or with 357 Rem Mag?

Next, how would 44 Rem Mag and 45 Colt compare with reloading costs? I'm talking about cheap bullets for plinking; hunting and defensive bullets would be a rare expense. Are cheap bullets for one less expensive than for the other? Black powder loads would also be used, and since 45 Colt has a slightly larger capacity, it seems the better choice if I were going BP only.
 

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Just about any centerfire handgun can be used as a backup gun when deer hunting. Deer aren't really all that tough. A head shot with most rounds will finish them off quickly.

Cost-wise the .44 Mag and the .45 Colt can both be handloaded for about the same price using cast lead bullets. If you go to loads beyond 1100 fps you will have to use jacketed bullets to avoid leading. Generally speaking the heavier the bullet the higher the price, regardless of caliber.

In my opinion the .45 Colt is a better choice for blackpowder. Fun, too. Lead bullets only, no jacketed stuff.
 

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The 45 Colt can be loaded to almost equal the .44. A hot load in the .45 Colt wont match a hot load in a .44 but it will surpass it if the .44 is loaded for plinking. Not something I care to do with a .44!
I'd save the hotter loads for the Ruger.
The Colt has more energy than the .45 ACP and the .357 with heavy bullets.
I think its one of the greatest pistol cartridges of all time. You can use everything from black powder or load em hot with jacketed stuff.
Try some Corbon stuff thru a 45 Colt and see if it isnt close to a .44 mag. Its more recoil than I like.
One other thing...the Corbon is only recommended for use in a Ruger, Colt Python and one other. I forget but I dont think it was a Taurus.
 

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They are both pretty much equal in all departments with the 44 edging up on velocity and I attribute that to lighter bullets.

A good read on the subject is Taffin's Six Guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, I basically want a recreational BP shooter that with factory ammo or similarly powered handloads can serve as a backup sidearm for whitetail hunting. It seems as though 45 Colt and 357 can fit on smaller framed revolvers while 45 Rem Mag needs a larger one. At least this seems to be true with Tauruses. Capacity doesn't really matter to me since they'll be close anyway, so 5 shots of 45 Colt is fine.
I am wondering though how factory 45 Colt out of a 6.5" ported barrel would compare to Taurus level 357 loads (as opposed to Ruger level which is higher) out of a 12" barrel. CDNN has both at similar prices. Both would be more than sufficient for home defense, so target shooting and backup hunting are the only other concerns. Oh yeah, and the 12" 357 comes with scope rings. Not sure if I want or not.
 

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i use 22 gr. 2400 with winchester large pistol primers pushing a 250 gr. jacketed for up to my 300 yd. plinking an messin around. im quite surprised with the accuracy i get with it from my 5.5 inch redhawk .45 colt. on the low end i use 250 gr. lead with a charge of 10 gr. of unique. i really enjoy the .45 colt.
my 5.5 inch redhawk .44 mag. gets the same charge with 22 gr. 2400 pushing a 240 gr. jacketed and up to 300 yds. it performs also. and it gets the 10 gr. of unique for the 240 gr. lead.
have not noticed any brass problems with those loads, but not saying they will work in other guns exactly like they do in mine. i worked these loads up and it just so happens both guns like the loads.
wouldnt take for either of em, enjoy em both. the .45 colt is a very close runner up with the .44 mag. trust em both for most any job at hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know Rugers can take heavier loads so much that reloading manuals will have a separate listing for Rugers. I'm looking at a Taurus 460 myself and am wondering if its level of 45 Colt loads are as much a rival of the 44 Rem mag as Ruger's are. The most I would ever ask it to do is dispatch a whitetail.
 

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I just read an article that tested the blackhawks -- turns out the 45 Colt can use some of the heavy loads the writer of the article pointed out the 44 could handle 80,000 cup and the Colt could handle 60,000 cup anything over this was bordering on catastrophic failure. One of the loads he found that out did the 44 was the 45 loaded with a 310grain Kieth Bullet at 1550fps. it developed a 40,000 cup and was supposed to be one of the loads rated higher than the 44Mag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's torture to an engineer. Need conversion factors, man, conversion factors!
 

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Here Ya Go BRG

http://www.reloadbench.com/gloss/cuppsi.html

CUP Versus PSI

Perhaps the greatest area of misunderstanding of pressure terminology, has arisen from earlier practice of referring to chamber pressure as some number of "pounds per square inch (psi)". Many earlier ballisticians believed that results of a firearm chamber pressure tests were accurately described as psi. The truth was their test results had little to do with actual pounds per square inch.

Their "crusher" testing and the testing still used in many ballistic labs, uses a barrel with a hole drilled into the chamber perpendicular to the bore's axis, usually 1" from the rear edge of the chamber. A slip fit piston is fitted into this hole with its end contoured to precisely fit the inside of the barrel chamber. In testing, a cartridge is loaded into the chamber and the piston slipped into place. A copper crusher is then stood on top of the piston and is securely held in position with an anvil. When fired, the cartridge case has a small disc rupture from it at the location of the piston hole. The hot and rapidly expanding gasses in the chamber push equally on the bullet base and on the piston base. The piston in turn moves heavily on the copper crusher, which is forced to collapse to a varying degrees depending on the total amount of pressure applied to it by the piston.

The amount of "crush" of the copper cylinder is then measured carefully and this crush length is compared to a tarage table which lists a specific value for the amount of crush which occurs.

There is, of course, more to the crusher pressure testing system then the foregoing few words might suggest. The point to be made is that the copper (lead for shotguns and some handguns) crusher method is a valid and useful tool for ammunition evaluation, but it does not actually express pressures in true pounds per square inch. This did not escape the attention of newer generation ballisticians. They set out to correct the misnomer of pounds per square inch and used instead the designation copper units of pressure (CUP's) or lead units of pressure (LUP's). However, the erroneous term PSI had become so accepted that it was frequently used interchangeably with CUP or LUP. While such use was technically wrong it created no major problems when everyone was talking about the same thing; the result of a copper or lead crusher pressure test.
 

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Here Ya Go BRG

http://www.steyrscout.org/intballi.htm

CUP - Copper Units of Pressure. In this pressure measuring technique a hole is drilled in the chamber and a piston fitted that presses on a calibrated copper slug (or crusher). (Some set ups also drill the cartridge case which changes the results compared to non-drilled cases.) The whole assembly is held in place with a yolk. When the cartridge is fired the piston presses on the crusher and deforms it lengthwise slightly. Measurement of the length change is used with a lookup table supplied with each lot of crushers to determine the peak pressure. The total deformation is effected by both the peak pressure and by shape of the pressure curve around the peak pressure. This method tends to give readings slightly lower than the actual peak pressure. A typical reading might be stated as 47,500 CUP which is supposed to be close to the actual average psi measurement. This method has been largely superseded by piezo-electric and strain gauge units which replace the copper slug with a crystal or strain gauge which changes its electrical properties in response to pressure or dimensional changes.
 

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Here Ya Go BRG

PSI - Pounds per square inch. It is often seen designated as PSIA. This designation is now used to signify a measurement of chamber pressure taken with a piezo-electric device. Piezo-electric units operate in a similar fashion to the copper crusher units but use a reusable crystal "crusher" that changes its electrical properties in response to pressure. When connected to suitable recording equipment the entire pressure pulse history can be recorded or displayed. The peak pressure recorded by a piezo-electric peak device usually reads higher than the figure determined by the copper crusher method and depending on the cartridge and the pressures involved the differences can range between 3,000 and 15,000 units..

There are also electronic strain gauge units. These work by measuring the expansion of the chamber area on firing by means of device that changes its electrical properties as it changes size. These devices are very sensitive and if one knows the thickness of the walls of the cartridge case and the thickness of the chamber walls very accurate and detailed information on the pressure curve can be generated.
 

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Brg

http://www.steyrscout.org/intballi.htm

Mechanical Calculation of Internal Ballistics

There are some "manual" methods of computing a fairly close approximation of the actual internal performance (i.e.: chamber pressure and muzzle velocity) of a given combination of cartridge, firearm, bullet, and powder but their details are beyond the scope of this page. The "Powley Computer," a slide rule type device has been available for many years and gives rather good results when used with the "IMR" type of powders and cases of similar capacity to the .308 and .30-06. It is based on some mathematically derived "constants" which provide a close approximation to the results derived by some rather complex mathematical gyrations. Several computer-based adaptations of this program are available from different sources.

At one time there was available a "do-it-yourself" pressure measuring device using a "crusher" type tool. Rather than utilizing a drilled chamber this unit was mounted on a firearm in place of the telescopic sight and when the firearm was fired the recoil impulse compressed the crusher which could be measured and compared to a calibrated table. Unfortunately, the unit was tricky to set up, required very precise measurements of the firearm's weight, and if memory serves me right worked best when the firearm was unrestrained in recoil (as in hanging from support wires). It was also only really suitable for rifles.

There are also electronic strain gauge units available that do a better job and allow one to see the pressure curve on an oscilloscope or a computer screen and which don't require a special free swinging support. The new Southwest Products/RSI $190 PressureTrace and the The $800 Oehler Model 43 "Ballistic System" with its $170 add-on a strain gauge pressure sensor are examples of this technology.

Strain gauge units with real-time microprocessor compensation such as the new PresureTrace have been show to actually be more accurate than either piezo or crusher measurements. By utilizing certain easily measurable parameters of the chamber wall thickness and cartridge case wall thickness in the firmware and software, the measurements from strain gauge units give results that are accurately given in PSI. (If no compensation is utilized with a strain gauges, the measurements are in arbitrary units, such as "coconuts" as my friend says, which still can be used for comparison readings.

Strain gages have been used in industrial instrumentation for several decades and is fully developed, proven technology. Denton Bramwell, (physicist and statistician with a great deal of test instrumentation experience) recently compared the results of various pressure measurement methods . He used a standard measure of how likely a system will give correct answers called "Sigma E" for comparison. (Smaller Sigma E values are best.)
System Sigma E
Copper Crusher
Fabrique Scientific Peak Strain Meter
Commercial piezoelectric
Microprocessor compensated strain gauge 1827 psi
1419 psi
1366
667 psi

The PressureTrace unit gives you the actual readings in your firearm, while the Oehler unit convert its measurements to what would probably be obtained by the load in a SAAMI specification test barrel. For the details on the PressureTrace go to http://www.shootingsoftware.com/pressure.htm and for the Oehler go to http://www.oehler-research.com.

I have worked with RSI on the PressureTrace unit and seen it in action and it is VERY neat. If you do order one I'd appreciate it if you would let RSI know that I sent you either by giving Jim my name or my affiliate number - AF10291954.

NOTE: While you can reliably compare the pressure generated by your handloads with the pressures generated by factory ammunition fired in your gun, or compare the pressures from different handloads in the same gun, strain gauges or recoil based pressure devices do not generate " SAAMI" specification pressure measurements (either PSI or CUP) even thought the results are probably more accurate, because SAAMI specifications currently requires piezo or crusher pressure technology and certain statistical analysis of the data.

Continuing on...

We know that as pressure goes up, so does velocity. Pressure goes down, so does velocity. If you are worried about pressures, and don't have access to pressure equipment, develop your loads using a soft primer like CCI and a chronograph and find the top node or stop when you get flattening or cratering. Then switch to a harder primer and adjust your load to give the node velocity.

While these devices can be very informative for someone with a interest in interior ballistics and the effect of things like different powders and seating depths, most folks who buy these sort of devices don't understand barrel harmonics and velocity nodes. (See the discussion of "load development" on my home page). They hope to be able to load all the way up and wring the last foot-second of velocity out of their guns. They forget that the top velocity/accuracy node reachable without signs of excessive pressure (primer flattening/cratering) is the top practical limit for a firearm.

So, what good is being able to "read" peak pressure? It is mainly academic. Using one of these devices can let you see the effect of burning rates on pressure curves and and the effect of the change of the shape of the pressure curve all of which have an effect on velocity. For many folks it is simply fun to see what is going on. With a highly sensitive unit with a high sample rate like PressureTrace you can also see the effect of many other things like neck tension, seating depth and powder/cartridge match.

The best way to develop loadings data for an cartridge for which data isn't available still remains careful load testing using a fully instrumented pressure test barrel. However, if some "factory" ammunition is available in the "new" caliber one can use a strain gauge and a chronograph, choose some powders listed for a similar cartridge with known data that will achieve a similar loading density and then verify the results with the equipment.
 

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Rules of the Road-Take heed to Rule #1

Rules of the Road
(Or, things to keep in mind when developing loads)

Rule 1 - Don't do anything stupid.

Rule 2 - For a given load a 3 percent rise in velocity requires a 6 percent rise in chamber pressure.

Rule 3 - For a 3 percent change in case capacity chamber pressure changes by 6 percent. Remember that case capacity varies drastically between brands of cases and that bullet seating depth also changes case capacity.

Rule 4 - Changing ANY component can drastically effect chamber pressure.

Rule 5 - You DO NOT need to wring the last possible foot-second of velocity out of your ammunition--it won't do anything for you. An accurate/moderate velocity load is better than an inaccurate/fast load. (See the external ballistics and load development pages)

Rule 6 - Temperature affects chamber pressure. While the effect differs with each powder, over the range of about 0º F to 125º F most modern commercial powders are fairly stable showing pressure variation of up to ± 3000 psi from loads developed at 70º F. Out side of this range the effect is still there but not as linear.) While most current ball powders handle temperatures changes well some types have exhibited a very non-linear response especially at temperature extremes outside of the above range and can result in catastrophic changes in pressures at temperatures much higher than the original temperature. Loads with any powders should be carefully worked up if their use in extreme temperatures is expected especially if at near maximum (Click here for a chart of temperature effects.)

Rule 7 - Don't do anything stupid.
 
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