Saturday, June 27, 2009

45 Colt load for the Ruger New Vaquero

My favorite packin around gun is the Ruger New Vaquero in 45 Colt. Not only is it beautiful it is capable - from putting Grouse on the menu to the peace of mind that comes with the cartridge that made all men equal - thanks Sam Colt. I sleep well knowing that whatever pokes its nose in the tent better have an invitation.

"Nothing says go away like the muzzle end of a 45." - unknown

My keg of SR 4756 is now empty... A powder I just happened onto turned out to be a real winner in my 45 Colts. Thousands of rounds and many smiles later I'm contemplating purchasing another Keg (= over 4,000 carges / keg). It meters well in my Lee Perfect Powder Measure, it is fluffy so fills the case nicely and a double charge is easy to spot and it is one of the cleaner powders I've tried. Bullseye, W231, AA#5, SR 7625, and Unique... all worked at least OK but had at least one drawback or lacked good data in 45 Colt.

A friend recommends Hodgdon Tightgroup. It is supposed to meter well (but might not fill the case enough to make a double charge easy to spot), isn't temperature or position sensitive and it is economical (few grains / fps). The reason I haven't tried it is the most popular powders have been sold out since the Presidential elections - primers , bullets and brass too...

A powder that I still come across and have had success with is Red Dot. I still have some so I gave it a try. Under the 255 grain Lee bullet it has really excelled with single digit standard deviations, promising accuracy and clean burn. While it doesn't seem to meter well it does Scoop (Lee Powder Scoops) very consistently - I still weigh every charge. Red Dot is typically at the bottom of the price scale too... coupled with lower weight charges = inexpensive shooting.

At the range today it continued to impress. Under a 255 grain RNFP cast bullet I was able to find a load that shot Point of Aim = Point of impant while averaging 935 fps with single digit SD. This load is a bit north of the published data but there were NO signs of excessive pressure. The primers look normal and the cases fall easily from the cylinder. As a bonus the load burns cleaner than my favorite SR 4756 load. The results are good enough that I will continue testing and may consider changing my go-to 45 Colt powder to Red Dot.

On an off topic note; 22lr ammo has been non-existent for months. On occasion I come across some CCI Mini-Mags for about $8/100. YIKES!!! Using the prices I paid for components (not counting my time or the brass) I'm shooting 45 Colt for less - paying $0.25/ pound for lead = ~ $0.01 per bullet, Primers last cost me less than $30 / 1000 so <$0.03 each and a paying $20 / lb for powder costs me less than $0.02 per charge. Hard to believe that shooting 45 Colt is cheaper than 22lr... My current reality...

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