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Thread: revolver barrel twist

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    revolver barrel twist

    I am a new member here but have been lurking for a while. I have read a lot of posts related to optimum bullets in ruger 44 and 45 revolvers. I was wondering if I could get the thoughts of some of the experienced on this forum. Assuming correct dimensions in the revolver throat, barrel, trigger etc. What are the optimum bullets/velocities in these guns(in your opinion).

    Thanks

    Brad Hurt

  2. #2
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    Hard to say what the best twist would be because of the long freebore, the distance from the case end to the beginning of the lands. Faster the boolit hits the lands, the more boolit destruction, which requires more and higher lands to compensate. A longer barrel also compensates, giving more time for the boolit to rotate faithfully. Experience shows that 20 twist is about right for most boolits in the 44, assuming standard land configuration. The 45 is at 16 twist standard, but that is too fast in my opinion, and should be more like 22. Add 4 to each of these for good rifle twists using standard boolits. ... felix
    felix

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Brad,

    What twist rate you need depends on the bullet weight and velocity potential of the cartridge. Take 45 caliber. 45 AR is 15 twist, Colt is 16, 454 Cassul is 24 twist. And no matter what twist rate you have, a longer barrel gives you more velocity so that you don't need as much twist, which is why Felix says rifle twists can be slower.

    And as a result, you will usually hear guys say that the only way they get any accuracy is to run it right on the top. That is generally where a gun is set up to stabilize. Some guys like longer barrels for cast. Kinda the same thing. If you hollow point, you throw the weight to the rear and stabilization will happen at a lower velocity.

    So what you need, depends on cartridge and bullet weight.
    Evaluate everything you read for safety and use common sense.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks for the replies and I am sorry if I miss stated the question, but I am not asking about optimum twist. What I am interested in is optimum bullets and optimum velocities of these bullets in standard ruger sa 44 mag and 45 colt revolvers.

    This is assuming good internal dimensions in the revolver. I have seen a few hint at some different experiences in other threads, and I was hoping those would chime in and throw out some of the ample light that seems to be on this forum.

    Thanks again

    Brad

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Concerning my experience with .45 Colt, 7.5" Blackhawk, the shorter the boolit the better. The moulds I have for it are:

    454424 SWC 250 gr, 454190 Round with tiny flat point 250 gr, 452490 SWC Gas Checked 250 gr, Lee 300 (or maybe 310, can't remember for sure) Wide Flat Nose Gas Checked, and the Group Buy Lee/Catshooter 310 Keith SWC

    I've run them all between 800 and 1200 fps, some to 1300.

    Hands down favorite is 454424. Usually run it 900 to 1000 fps with Bullseye or Herco, does 2" groups at 25yds. That's the best I can do with my skills and iron sights.

    A close second is 454190. It tends to lead as it gets over 1100 fps but I don't shoot many rounds faster so its ok. The round flat point should be more areodynamic and perhaps a bit more accurate at 50yds, but I can't tell it.

    452490, I don't shoot much b/c it needs gas checks, but it is as accurate as 454424 and I've run it to 1300 fps with 2 to 3 inch groups at 25 yds. If I was to hunt with this gun, I'd use this boolit.

    The 300 grainers just haven't been very good groupers. Usually I see 3 to 4 inch groups at best with the Lee WFN gas checked, and usually over 4 inches with the 310 Keith SWC. Velocities running 1000 to 1200 with H110, Lil'Gun, 2400 and H4227. I've been disappointed in my results with the 300 grain boolits. I realize part of it may be due to the recoil, I just don't shoot as well as with the lesser recoiling 250's.

    I'm not an expert, but I that's my experience.

    By the way, .45 Colt is a hoot to shoot. I love it, but have intentionally started shooting more .357s just to conserve lead. That .45 Colt can go through a lead pile like a 4 door dually goes through gas.
    "Time and money don't do you a bit of good until you spend them." - My Dad

  6. #6
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    Next time out, shoot several of those heavy jobs with the same load as before into a backstop area that you know you can find the boolits. You don't need a target. Look at the best looking boolit assuming you can find more than one. Notice how much stripping took place towards the nose of the boolit, exhibited by wide land marks. The land marks should be near perfect at the rear of the boolit for the boolit to shoot half way OK, even at 25 yards. Any more slippage than half way down the bearing surface on the boolit is too much for distance shooting. You need a shorter, and/or more bearing length of a style to shoot better in that gun at that velocity. ... felix
    felix

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    +1 to Shoot/Shoestrings comments on the 45 Colt. In 44 Special and Magnum, I am very fond of both #429421 and #429244, which are standard weight SWCs. From 750-1200 FPS+, they shoot very well for me.
    ".....Just as every cop is a criminal

    And all the sinners saints

    As heads is tails

    Just call me Lucifer

    'Cause I'm in need of some restraint....."

    Rolling Stones, "Sympathy For The Devil"

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    1 in 20 for the .44 and 1 in 16 for the .45. It is not true that light boolits shoot better. I use 320 to 330 gr's in the .44 and it will shoot from 240 gr's up.
    The .45 will shoot from 250 to 350 gr boolits.
    I NEVER shoot closer then 50 yd's and if I don't get an inch or less I grit my teeth. Some of my best groups are with heavy boolits and 296 powder.
    Here is what my Vaquaro does at 50 yd's with a 347 gr Lyman boolit.
    Last edited by 44man; 12-12-2008 at 09:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Felix, that is the reason I use hard boolits. I do NOT believe that a boolit needs to be close to the rifling or forcing cone. My 45-70 BFR has such a run to the end of the cylinder that you need a flashlight to see the boolit down that hole.
    I am running 1632 fps with a 317 gr boolit and I don't know what with a 378 gr but both will do an inch or less at 100 yd's.
    Here are some groups at 50 yd's.
    Last edited by 44man; 12-12-2008 at 09:17 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master on Heavens Range
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    44man, true what you say. As long as the boolit spins faithfully, your accuracy will be splendid. ... felix
    felix

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Notice the left group is 3 shots in about .450 and the right center group is 5 in 7/16".
    I know all of you know I hate semi wadcutters in any form and this is why. I just can not get any of them to shoot like this.
    My goal is to get everyone here away from 25 yd's and to realize what their revolvers can do.
    2" at 25 yards would turn my gun into a safe queen!
    My best group lately with my .44 using my 330 gr boolit was 3 shots in 1-5/16" at 200 yd's.
    My friend brought over a brand new BFR. 10", 45-70 last week. I loaded some of my 378 gr WFN boolits for him. I mounted his red dot and it only took 5 shots to center it at 50 yd's. Each 2 shot group before I hit center was 1/2".
    I swung to a liter bottle of water at 100 yd's and blew it up. I had some 1-1/4" pieces of a spray can tops on sticks down there and they vanished!
    Of course I use Felix lube too!

  12. #12
    anachronism
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    Brad, you'll find your Rugers shoot very well with most bullet weights. Is there anything special you'd like to accomplish with them? Are you just looking for a decent plinking load, or are you planning to take them hunting? Not all combinations work well in every gun, and most people are content with bullets in the 250 gr range for either caliber for most purposes. If you want to get into the heavyweights, and the super-heavyweights, that often requires a bit more effort.

  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    I have been shooting and casting bullets for many years and have experiences with both of these cartridges, but have never gotten 1" groups @ 25 yds from a factory gun. 1 1/2" is about the best. I have used mostly 250 grainers in both cartridges although I have done some pretty good shooting with 300+ bullets in the 45.

    What I am interested in is more ideas on this than basic nuts and bolts. I had read some interesting ideas on what these guns prefer(based on twist) and this is what I was looking to explore.

    Thanks for the replys.

    Brad

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    I love the LBT style truncated cone boolits for accuracy. I think they center in the forcing cones straighter.
    There are only a few things needed for accuracy, a decent fit to the throats and good neck tension. That is the only reason I use harder lead, so the brass can't size my boolits when seating. Water dropped WW's works fine at about 20 BHN.
    However boolit design is also very important and I have tested about 50 semi wadcutters for all of my calibers recently and none gave me super groups. Some were decent but nothing to brag about.
    Ruger's will shoot with the best of them. S&W's are SUPER accurate but grip sensitive. Overall, the easiest guns I have found for pinpoint accuracy have been the BFR's. They seem to shoot any boolit I come up with EXCEPT semi wadcutters. Even light LBT types for the rifling twist will outshoot them.
    Here are some BFR twist rates;
    .475 is 1 in 15"
    45-70 and .450 is 1 in 14"
    .460 is 1 in 20"
    .454 is 1 in 20"
    .500 S&W is 1 in 15"
    Desert Eagle .44 is 1 in 18"
    Notice all are pretty fast but the range of boolit weights I have been able to shoot baffles me as to how easy it is to work an accurate load.
    The 1 in 20" twist for the Ruger .44's also works fine and I have pop cans here I shot at 200 yd's with the SRH I had. No problems holding 1/2" at 50 yd's.
    Don't give up, they WILL shoot. My secret is that I am never satisfied.
    There is one make of gun that drives me nuts but I won't mention it.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I haven't had a big bore revolver in about 2 yrs due to a divorce. I was going to order a 45 blackhawk to replace the one I had,(and probably will later) but the 50th ann. 44s were on sale and I thought here is my chance. I got it in Friday and as I reported in another thread it is on its way back to Ruger.

    I have shot mostly Keith style swc bullets in the past and I have shot a lot of them. I am in on the keith 44 group buy right now( my first). Since finding this site I have read disparaging remarks about keith bullets. Specifically what are some bullets you would recomend for the 44 and 45 cal Rugers in the 250 to 300 grain weight range. I shoot wheel weights almost exclusively, water dropped most of the time. If I can come up with 1/2" to 1" groups at 50yds it would sorely beat anything I have done.

    I do shoot frome a rest and record my results.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Brad--

    The Keith-type or SWC boolit form has two kinds of commentary--those who swear by them (my view) and those who swear at them--and that camp is well-represented in this thread!

    I've had generally decent accuracy with the SWC design in most revolvers in several calibers over the past 30 years or so. I don't have and haven't owned any "premium" revolvers like a BFR or a FA, just factory-grade general purpose wheelguns by Colt, S&W, and Ruger. I do use some heavy-for-caliber boolits, and some round/flat noses as well. In my experience, neither variation has resulted in better overall accuracy for me--but the combination of my skills and the revolvers' limitations make 2" @ 25 yards about as good as it gets for me. My eyesight is going to h--l in a handcart, which isn't a big help either.
    ".....Just as every cop is a criminal

    And all the sinners saints

    As heads is tails

    Just call me Lucifer

    'Cause I'm in need of some restraint....."

    Rolling Stones, "Sympathy For The Devil"

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Sorry to have revived this thread with my first post, but I didn’t think it necessary to post a new thread when my question about twist rate is so directly related to optimum bullet weight. After hours and hours of lurking prior to and after registering on CB (my home on the Net) I came to the conclusion (too much to choose from) that my next firearm purchase will be a Stainless Ruger Black Hawk or Bisley in 45 LC with a 5 1/2” barrel. (I’m still undecided as to which grip style at the moment.) Twist for either revolver is 1:16. Opinions here are to use a boolit in the 260-330 grain range. My preferred boolit will be primarily for deer and hopefully be a WFN in the 1100-1200 fps neighborhood.

    The majority of general consensus on CB for hunting revolvers seems to be heavy for caliber and most everyone here has their favorite two or three recipes for a specific gun with stable bullets being the norm. I haven’t been able to find any posts where someone had calculated a handgun’s optimum boolit(s) based on given parameters such as desired boolit weight and velocity. The only referenced methodology for finding the “optimum bullet(s)” seems to be to find those two or three go-to loads for the specific handgun by a lot of pleasurable shooting via trial ’n error.

    Now with all the time I have spent researching and reading up on my future purchase plus being one of “those types” that has to know for not other reason than just to do it, I figured why not calculate an optimum bullet based on the revolver’s twist and desired boolit velocity. After all, I found all sorts of firearm related calculators and formulas on the Net to use for computing everything else under the sun. (Most firearms related calculators and formulas pertaining to revolvers are not applicable in the real world as a dead deer is a dead deer.) Well the calculations haven’t panned out. My inquiring mind “needs” an explanation as to why the twist calculators and formulas that I have found on the Net don’t jive with the manufactures’ twist rates.

    Every twist calculator or formula I tried using a .452 300 grain WFN at 1100-1200 fps gave a twist rate of well over 30. The same goes with other .452 boolits of various lengths and weights. The 44 Mag handguns follow this same trend of twist ratios. Yet revolvers produced by manufactures have twist rates of 16 to 20‘ish. Even using Don Miller’s Twist Calculator, which is a more modern version of the Greenhill formula and has been made part of other ballistic software programs, computes similar twists that drastically differ from manufacturers’ revolver twists. Is every twist calculator and formula “biased” toward rifles? How do manufacturers determine what twist to use in handgun length barrels? Does anybody know of a twist calculator or formula for handgun length barrels?

    Felix? You seem to be rather adept (and then some) at math! Can you provide an explanation of the disparate twist rates if there isn’t a semi-accurate twist formula for handgun barrels?

    44man? With your revolver experience and seeing as how you are so proficient at “thinking out of the box” (for which you deserve many kudos) plus tout twist rate as one of simpler means to the accuracy you have shown in your infamous target pictures, maybe you have an opinion or knowledge to share?

    Anybody else care to comment?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    There is no paperwork in the world that works. Ask me about the stupid Marlin 1 in 38" twist in the .44! None work for a rifle either.

    As far as I am concerned, shooting various twist rates with intended boolits for the caliber is the only way.
    What I have found with revolvers is the faster twist rates will shoot a much wider range of boolit weights and shoot them all very well. I do not need just one specific boolit. Each boolit will have a sweet spot without ever reaching a max load for the powder.
    The Ruger .45 with the 1 in 16" will shoot anything I stuff in it from 250 to 350 gr. The .44 will shoot from 240 to 330 gr. (heaviest I have)
    When the twist gets slower, the top weight it will handle drops drastically. To shoot heavier boolits you need to up the velocity and pressure too much to suit me.
    The strange gun is the BFR 45-70, it loves a 300 gr bullet or boolit yet still packs little groups with a 420 gr which is the heaviest I have tried. I expect it will shoot much heavier too. It doesn't seem to matter what I use. I cut the last WFN cherry for a mold by just looking at it as I filed the nose and just cut lube grooves by eye. It came out 378 gr and breaks 1" at 100 yards if I do my part.
    Now who would expect a 1 in 14" twist would ever work in a 45-70? Run that through Greenhill once!
    My BFR .475 is the same. I have shot as light as 350 gr decent but it just starts to come on with 400 gr and it shoots everything up to 460 gr.
    My suggestion is to pick a boolit you like and work loads for it.
    I had to delete pictures, I was filling up my allowance.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    And then S&W come up with the Gain twist for the 460. Its one fine gun and every time I shoot it ,I just look at the groups and wonder why they didnt do that before. It has shot the 185gr as good as the 310gr. I load a 45acp load in schofield brass and a 45 colt with a 252 and the 310gr in a 454 brass and all do well

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by shotman View Post
    And then S&W come up with the Gain twist for the 460. Its one fine gun and every time I shoot it ,I just look at the groups and wonder why they didnt do that before. It has shot the 185gr as good as the 310gr. I load a 45acp load in schofield brass and a 45 colt with a 252 and the 310gr in a 454 brass and all do well
    The reason for the gain twist was bullets were stripping the rifling at the high velocities.
    My friend has been shooing a borrowed .460 and he is also amazed at the accuracy.
    But then again, it is hard to find any S&W that does not shoot.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check