I have been perusing this site for years as a nonparticipating member. I'm gonna change that finally. For my first ever post I thought I would share the results of a little reloading experiment I am conducting with my newest rifle, a .45 Colt Rossi M92 lever gun. It has a 24-inch octagon barrel with the 1-in-30 inch twist that all these Rossi levers have. The fit and finish are supreme and the wood has a nice walnut tone with well-defined grain. Having read descriptions of this rifle on slightly older posts, I was surprised to find the kind of quality I did on this new firearm.
I wanted to find a nice, accurate load for this rifle. First, I researched loads on this site, in reloading manuals and elsewhere on the internet looking for accuracy loads in particular. I found several that used a variety of bullets, boolits and powder. I narrowed the loads to those that used the bullets and powder I have in stock. All of these loads were touted by the authors as extremely accurate in their particular firearm and these were usually in 20-inch barrels. So I fixed up a bunch of primed brass and loaded them up with “pet loads” (credit to Ken Waters for that term). Then it was off to the range for the first test.
All loads were shot at 25 yards into paper plate targets with a 1-inch black bull. The rifle was set up as it came from the factory, i.e. it had the wild buckhorn sights. No modifications were made to this very smoothly functioning rifle, and I used my shoulder for a “lead sled.” That may not have been wise, as this curved steel butt is none too forgiving with stout loads. I did not chronograph the loads…that will come later when I try to come up with deer and elk loads.
Here's what I found:
Bullet Powder Amount Group size(5-shot)
258g lead Trail Boss 4.7g 1.9 in
340g lead LilGun 20.5g 2.5 in
258g lead LilGun 15.6g 0.9 in
340g lead Unique 9.5g 2.8 in
300g JSP 5744 16g 1.0 in
300g JSP Reloader7 20g 2.4 in
Factory* 1.8 in
*WinBonded PDX1 225g HP (handgun load)
Load #2 above was one heck of a stout one and rattled my teeth pretty good. It looks like a good start on a hunting combo. But I want an accurate, easy to shoot load.
I am certain each of these bullets and powders will combine somehow for a sweet spot load in this rifle. But since the results of this test gave me a head start, I decided to refine the most accurate powders (which I also have in abundance) and attempt to match them to the boolit I have the most of, a 340g piece of lead with GCs in place, the 454350B from Montana Bullet works measuring .452 in.
The rifle got a new sight for this go-round, too, the peep sight from Steve that fits into the bolt safety hole…very nicely, by the way. My old eyes have a MUCH easier time with peeps and I am used to them from childhood and decades of practice with them.
I chose Lil Gun and 5744 as my powders for this 2nd round test based on their performance in the first test. I estimated the amount of powder for a 340g boolit from various reloading tables and bracketed the loads up and down by 0.5g. Here are the results:
Powder Amount Group size
LilGun 12g 1.3 in
12.5g 0.5 in
13g 1.7 in
13.5g 2.4 in (50 yd)
14g 2.6 in
5744 10g 1.4 in
13g 2.8 in
13.5g 3.2 in (50 yd)
14g 2.4 in
14.5g 2.5 in (50 yd)
15g 1.6 in
So there it is. Lil Gun at 12.5g and the 454350B GC is a pretty tight combo. There was just one ragged hole in the target. For really light and dirty loads, 10g of 5744 looks okay. And it looks like 14.5g of 5744 at 50 yards ain't so bad nither.
Now to try some distance work with this peep-sighted lever and those Lil Gun loads!