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Thread: 45 long colt big game load

  1. #1
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    Default 45 long colt big game load

    Hello to all, I have a Ruger Blackhawk (new model) 7 1/2" barrel and I was looking into my reloading books and realized that it equals or beats the 44 mag. I have taken caribou and moose with a bow and rifle and I would like to try my late grandfathers 45. My question to you guys is, for hunting purposes, should I be using something along the lines of a 225 gr hornady FTX or a hard cast bullet over 300 gr. I have never handgun hunted before so any favorite load, bullet, powder, or whatever is very helpful. Just looking for some guidance to set off on the right foot come this hunting season. I will mainly be trying to take Caribou and/or Black Bear with this gun. Thank you all in advance for any advice.

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    I'm pretty much of a traditionalist when it comes to the 45 Colt. Over the last 40+ years I've whacked truck loads of deer, one elk and one moose with it. All shots have been inside 50 yards. All have been one-shot kills, but always broadside lung shots.

    My standard deer load is a 250-255 grain semiwadcutter cast from Lyman #2 alloy launched with enough Unique to exit the barrel at 700-750fps, depending on barrel length. Pretty darned mild by any yardstick. For my elk and moose I beefed it up with a 300 grain hard cast with enough 2400 for the same velocity.

    You hear about lots hotter loads, but I'm consoled that my load was plenty heavy. I didn't recover the bullet from either the elk or the moose, and they never got out of sight before dropping. Plenty goodenuff for me. But I'm a geezer with more faith in shot placement than powder measures.

  3. #3

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    225 gr hornady FTX really extends the distance that the cartridge is effective. Suggest you mark one cylinder with finger nail polish (Red) and use that for sighting in and for the first shot at game. You should be able to group about 5" at 100 yards, which I would consider an effective distance for that cartridge and that barrel length. The real limiting factor is that those sights work on a florescent 6" paper target, but get difficult on a large animal. Six O:Clock hold is the way to go.

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    Match the bullet/load for the game. I'd surely not want that 225gr for hunting moose and bear in Alaska. Might be a good Dall Sheep or Blacktail load but there are also bears around. Who cares about "long range trajectory" for handgun hunting? The idea is to get close right? Like within a 100yds.

    A 300-360gr lead flat Ruger Only load will kill them all. Mine shoots a 355gr at 1200fps very well. Recoil is non-issue. I've also done some experimenting with a 255gr Ruger Only load, 1400fps that is very accurate as well but I can't see any advantage of the lighter load. The 355er will do a better job at penetrating whatever it hits no matter what the distance.

    So, what bullet would rather have hitting a moose, bear, caribou or even sheep or deer?



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    Also, if you haven't done so. You need to read John Linebaughs writings. He "wrote the book" so to speak on Ruger Only 45 Colt loads.

    http://customsixguns.com/writings.htm
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    I'll second what Brownbear said, as well as the recommendation to read John Linebaugh's writings on the subject. Tho, reading between the lines of your OP I'm guessing you've already discerned you don't need to push the .45 Colt to Mach-5 in order to gain extremely effective penetration.

    The RCBS 45-270-SAA is a great cast bullet for the .45, as are the LBT designs. You can't hardly go wrong with any of those moving at ~800-1200 fps. The load I've settled on is my 45-350-NMB (New Model Blackhawk); the Accurate mould #45-350B which is also cast by MBW (454350B), over 16.5 grains V-N110, with Federal Match (standard, NOT magnum) primer, and Starline brass, at ~1100 fps. !That is a large frame Ruger only load!

    My vote would be for a heavy-ish cast bullet as opposed to the Hornady. The effectiveness of the .45 for hunting lies in the mass of a heavy cast bullet. Such need not be traveling supersonic to gain lots of penetration. That big slug carries a lot of inertia with it; it's the old freight train at 850 fps vs. the Honda Civic at 1300 fps analogy... The freight train is gonna win.

    Note: the 270-SAA usually weighs in at +/-282 grains with Lyman #2; the 350-NMB comes in at +/-347 grains with Lyman #2.
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    I have been a .44 Mag user since the 70's, but have only shot 2 caribou and some bunnies with that caliber. Knowing what I know now and if I was starting all over again I would have a couple of .45 Colts. One would be a S&W Mountain Gun and the other would be a Ruger Redhawk of some flavor, probably the new one with the 4.25" barrel that shoots .45 ACP/.45 Colt loads.

    I just think a .45 Colt makes a bigger hole and pushes heavier bullets easier. A 300 grain hard cast LBT .45 Colt load at 1,200 fps mv is a potent load and should be plenty for any herbivore. As far as heavier loads at more velocity goes, I know they exist and I don't want to shoot them, let alone try and become proficient with such a load. My upper limit is a 280 grain hard cast LBT out of my .44 Mag. S&W Mountain Gun. I am not a believer in hand guns for big bears and I don't want a scope on my hand guns. But, to each their own.

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    This is just slightly off topic, but does anyone have a good heavy factory round safe enough for the S&W .410 Governor in 45 long colt?
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mkay View Post
    This is just slightly off topic, but does anyone have a good heavy factory round safe enough for the S&W .410 Governor in 45 long colt?
    If you're not reloading, these are OK
    https://www.buffalobore.com/index.ph...ct_detail&p=45

    If you reload, here's a good article with some load data for non-Ruger 45 Colt loads:
    http://americanhandgunner.com/everyday-workin-loads/
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    Thanks, Bob
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

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    325 Gr LBT with 21-22 grs of H110 should about do the trick for anything you come across.

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    As long as the heavy load you want to hunt with is fired in the Ruger or some other stout, modern handgun, you may load it up. If grandpa's old .45 is a Colt SAA or some other older revolver, then you need to stick with loads appropriate for those older firearms. Don't blow up an old Colt.
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    I'll play the devil's advocate here, why not start out with a .22 LR and practice on rabbits, coons, squirrels etc. When you get proficient and you're accuracy is coming around then try for larger game?
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