WidenersLee PrecisionMidSouth Shooters SupplyTitan Reloading
StainLess Steel MediaInline FabricationRotoMetals2Graf & Sons

Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Volume of FFFg for 45 LC

  1. #1

    Volume of FFFg for 45 LC

    As I type this note, I have 30 grains of Goex FFFg in six Starline 45 LC brass. Iíll be seating an Elmer Keith cast bullet (Lyman #452424) 255 grain bullet in the brass, once I get the black powder load figured out. This is where I need your help. The Lyman Blackpowder book recommended 35.5 grains of FFFg. The footnote (page 319) says ďAll loads shown are volume equivalent, not actual weight. All black powder loads shown completely fill the case and are compressed by the bullet 1/16 inch.Ē

    I started with 35.5 grains measured. This brought the powder up to within 1/16 inch of the top of the case. I used a Lee powder measure to see how much I could compress the powder. Well, not much compression was evident. The OAL of the case with the Keith bullet should be 1.575. I donít see how I can seat the bullet and compress the powder that much.

    So, I loaded 30 grains of Goex FFFg. Eyeballing the Keith bullet next to the case with the 30 grains of FFFg, it appears that the bullet would now compress the powder about 1/16 if I was to seat the bullet at 1.575.

    The question is: If I load by volume, where should the powder be in the 45 LC case to seat the Keith bullet?

    So, I need your help. If you havenít figured it out by now, you should know this is my first load using blackpowder. Iíve loaded smokeless powder for 40 years. So I am accustomed to using grains of powder and to having some ďopen spaceĒ between the bullet and the powder. This is a new gig for me and so I want to be sure I am thinking and loading correctly. Iíll be shooting these loads from either a Colt SAA 45 LC or a Ruger Blackhawk 45 LC. Thanks, and sorry for such a long post. Ken

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Snow ninja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    185
    General rule of thumb is powder should come up to about 1/16th inch above base of bullet when seated. Then when you seat and crimp you get about 1/16" compression. This goes pretty much for all bullets and caliber combinations. Air space is your enemy with BP. So you are on the right track. When loading BP, just keep the scale on the shelf, BP is not consistent enough to have a regular volume to weight ratio. Keep up the good work, and when in doubt, fire them through the Blackhawk first and watch for problems.
    Do the best you can, with what you've got, where you're at. -Theodore Roosevelt

  3. #3
    I think the answer to my question is found on page 141 of the Lyman Blackpowder book. The author says “The right amount (of Blackpowder) is however much a case will accommodate and still allow a bullet to be seated to the desired depth.”

    So I need to figure out how much compression will take place (I’ll estimate 1/16 inch) and then seat the bullet to 1.575. Now for the question of how to lube the bullet. I have Orange Magic on hand. Lyman recommends Black Powder Gold. Hum? And there’s more. My bullets are cast using #2 Lyman alloy. I wonder if I should cast new Keith bullets using pure lead? Ken

  4. #4
    This helps. Keep the scale on the shelf. Think volume. Powder should come up to about 1/16th inch above the base of the bullet. Blackhawk first. This is great! I’m starting to get the concept. Thanks Snow ninja!
    Last edited by pepperodin; 04-22-2018 at 06:54 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ala.
    Posts
    536
    Don't shoot BP in any cartridges any more, but I know that you need to use a a soft BP specific lube, helps to keep the fouling the bbl soft, etc. As far as alloy goes, I think you're ok with a harder alloy as long as the boolit doesn't need to "slug up" to fit the bore. In other words, if the boolit fits the throat and the bore. JMHO

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    far far away
    Posts
    98
    my good pepper -

    try this article, it may help. I have more where that came from.
    The CAS guys do this a lot.

    http://www.davidscottharper.com/shoot/BP_for_CAS.htm

    btw "orange magic: is a smokeless lube and not advised. I like SPG
    or plain deer or sheep tallow if you can get it.

    yhs
    shunka
    Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Boulder CO
    Posts
    760
    So, shooting for fun, competition, or old school self defense?

    The only hard and fast rule is no space between powder and bullet base. After that, it depends. 30 grs FFFg under 255 grs is no slouch. That'll give you bark and bite. If you're after faster/harder, compress to your heart's content. Even the old balloon head cases didn't get to 40 grs without pretty severe compression. The most I have managed under a 250 grs boolit is 37.5 grs. That's awfully barky!

    If shooting for fun or CAS, load em down for economy and accuracy. 21 grs FFFg topped up to bullet base and slight compression with ye olde cornmeal and capped with a 200 grs big lube makes plenty of smoke and is an accurate load. 21-23 grs with your 255 grs will do you right for paper punching. As per advice above, lots of soft, non-petroleum product based lube. Enjoy!

    Shunka - great link there!

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Canada, Ontario, Durham region
    Posts
    128
    I use a digital scale to weigh my Black Powder charges. I can easily put 35 or 36 grains of 2fg into a Starline 45 Colt case. The trick is to use a powder compression plug installed into your expander die body and take advantage of the power your reloading press to push the powder down to what ever level is required to get the case mouth to line up with the crimp groove on your bullet.
    DON’T use your bullet to compress the powder charge, it will damage bullet nose for sure.
    I had Buffalo Arms custom make me a powder compression plug for 45 Colt as their 45 caliber rifle plug was too fat in diameter. Track of the Wolf sells a 45 cal. compression plug that designed to fit into a LEE case mouth expander die body. I think they also sell it as a complete kit for people that don’t already own the LEE expander die body. I bought both at the same time it was a race to see which plug would arrive first. Both plugs worked great. I did not want to load small powder charge weights (the bullet could compress those). Use the tail of your vernier calipier to measure from the packed flat powder surface to the case mouth and keep pressing the powder down till you get it down to the level required to match up with the crimp point on your bullet. It usual for me to goof up and over compress the powder by ~8 to 10 thousandth that small air space causes NO problems at all on firing. For all I know the powder may uncompressed 10 thou in the time the cartridge sits waiting to be fired. A 35 grain compressed charge will not spill out of the case even if dropped on the floor. If you need to remove a compressed charge of black powder you must use a twist drill bit (rotated by hand) the deeper you drill the looser the powder is till the last of it falls out. My Ruger New Vaquero in 45 Colt has a 5.5” barrel 35 grains of Goex 2fg with a CCI 350 magnum primer gave me a 3 string 30 shot average of the 3 strings at 817.8 fps. ES 28 to 58 fps and SD 9 to 17 fps. Your 3 fg powder will be faster.
    Remember to get a compression plug, don’t load BP with out one.

  9. #9
    Black Powder 100%


    cajun shooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Livingston, La. 20 miles east of Baton Rouge, La.
    Posts
    4,416
    Your alloy is way too hard for BP loads and will cause you to have blow by in your bore which will cause leading and inaccuracy. A BHN of 10 is a very good place to start. You need to do a search on this forum as there is a ton of info about the need for bullet obturation. This is much more important than your powder load. Take Care David
    Shooter of the "HOLY BLACK" SASS 81802 AKA FAIRSHAKE; NRA ; BOLD; WARTHOG;Deadwood Marshal;Bayou Bounty Hunter; So That his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat; 44 WCF filled to the top, 210 gr. bullet

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Canada, Ontario, Durham region
    Posts
    128
    I have been using a 20:1 lead:tin alloy from Rotometals, which I believe is about 10 to 11 BHN and leading has not been a problem. Try you Lyman #2 alloy BHN 15 to 16 I think, if you get leading bad go to 20:1 alloy.

  11. #11
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Boulder CO
    Posts
    760
    Quote Originally Posted by greenjoytj View Post
    I have been using a 20:1 lead:tin alloy from Rotometals, which I believe is about 10 to 11 BHN and leading has not been a problem. Try you Lyman #2 alloy BHN 15 to 16 I think, if you get leading bad go to 20:1 alloy.
    For Black Powder even BHN 10 is at the upper limits. The softer the better.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



    missionary5155's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Danville ILLinois untill November
    Posts
    5,621
    Good morning
    If you do not have any BP lube handy Bees wax and any vege oil will suffice. Olive oil (45%) + beeswax (55%) has been our favorite for many years. Only lube I can make indoors without disrupting the pleasant atmosphere.
    For just 6 rounds Johnson paste wax (floor, car, aircraft...) will work fine.
    Mike in Peru
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Home built Matchlock similar to what an early 1600 Colonial soldier might have.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Posts
    10,321
    Thanks, Mike. You posted that before I could. Simple lubes are best for BP - they basically have to keep the fouling soft so the next round can push it out the barrel. Soft lead that obdurates and appropriate geometry in your revolver does the rest.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    Posts
    3,100
    I agree with the comment of leaving the scale on the shelf. When I am setting up to load a BP carried, I use a casing with a spent primer in it - measure the seating depth of the particular boolit I'm going to use - mark the casing for the seating depth of the boolit and then fill the case to about 1/16" above that point. I then seat the boolit - then pull it to check that the powder load is compressed. If everything is kosher as far as the compression of the powder, I then make a dipper to measure the correct amount of powder - if I'm using 2F - mark the measure as 2F - if I'm using 3F - mark the measure for that amount. To make my dipper measures, I usually use a cartridge casing - cut it down if necessary. If you're using a 45 Colt - use a 45 Colt casing and cut it down or try a 45 Schofield and cut down if necessary.

    I load 38 Special with BP and I found that a 38 Colt Long casing work perfect for a measuring dipper for me. (I load q bit of 38 Colt Short and 38 Colt Long). If you are one who likes to use a card over the powder or a grease/lube cake under the boolit- then allow for those thicknesses when setting up your dipper measure.

    As already mentioned - the important thing is that the BP is a compressed load with no ir space. I have shot BP muzzleloaders for 50 + years and BP cartridge for less than that - but I have never weighed a
    BP charge and have always used volume measures. What seems to mess folks up is when a manual gies a specific charge of BP for a cartridge casing - then when you follow it - it doesn't come out like it's supposed to. Different bands of brass will have different interior volume capacity - can vary in OAL, etc. - and, different brands of lBP powder - even though the same granulation - can measure differently when comparing weight to volume measure.

    I'm a "plinker" - so I'm sure that the serious competitive shooter would probably disagree with me on this - but for general shooting - and I'll use the 45 Colt as an example since that is what you are loading - I doubt that you would notice a whole lot of difference in overall performance for general shooting with a few grains (weight) difference fro what a manual says and what is actually possible to get in your casing for a compressed load with your particular boolit.

    I load BP cartridge to shoot in my H & R Handi Rifle. I have loaded 38 Colt Short, Long, 38 Spl, 357 and am about to play with the 360 DW casing which is a tad bit longer than 357 Mag. (I haven't reamed my chamber for the 357 Max). For general plinking, there is a noticeable difference on POA and POI between, say, a 38 Colt Long loaded with BP and a 357 Mag with BP - both with same boolit - but there is enough difference in the volume of BP used in those casings to make it that way. A couple of grains difference (by weight, not volume) in the same cartridge really doesn't show up for me.

    You'll have fun with your 45 Colt loads. I have a Uberti Cattleman with a 7 1/2" barrel and it is a whole lot of fun whether I use Red Dot, Unique or real BP - I use the 454-190 255 grain boolit that I cast. If I do my part, I am amazed at how accurate I've been able to shoot it out to 50 yards.

    One thing I'll mention is that I use a Lee 4 hole classic turret or sometimes my Lyman 310 hand loading tools for my 38 or 45 Colt. I'm pretty "low tech" so when I load my BP cartridges, I just finger lube them with my lube I've bouncing for many years (1 Lb of Crisco with I real beeswax toilet bowl ring). I do have a separate set of dies that I use on the turret press when loading BP because the seating die will get dirty with the BP lube. I just pull the seating stem when it does while it's on the press and clean it with bore swab and solvent - then use a dummy round to reset the seating stem and keep going. Everyone does it differently - you'll soon have it figured out and wonder why you didn't load with the BP sooner! Enjoy and have fun!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Posts
    10,321
    One other thing - don't try to compress the powder by seating the boolit - if the boolit is soft enough it will deform the boolit. You need something else to compress the powder - and a separate seat die with the se'sat stem filled and smoothed will work. That's what I did for my 44-40's.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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