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Thread: Loading for 45 Colt S&W 25

  1. #1
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    Loading for 45 Colt S&W 25

    My loading manuals list mild loads for older revolvers and high powered loads for Ruger and Contenders. Where does the Model 25 fall. I've been using the mild loads. I would like to know what is considered a full power load for this revolver.
    "EXPERT= Ex is a has been, spurt is a drip under pressure" Unknown

  2. #2
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    My advice would be to stick with published loads for the .45 Colt. If you need more power than that, buy a magnum.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  3. #3
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    If I remember correctly one of my loading manuals suggests that the S&W N Frames are not considered as strong as the Ruger/Contender guns. Not that the N Frame will grenade, but more that wear will more rapidly make the revolver unusable.

  4. #4
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    The 25-2 is the same basic revolver in .45acp and is considered to be OK with .45acp+P @23,000psi. If you check Brian Pearce's .45Colt loading articles you will find that the new Flattop Ruger .45 convertibles are considered to be in that same category.......
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  5. #5
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    I shoot 8.5 grains of Unique with Elmer's bullet in my 25-5's!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddixie884 View Post
    The 25-2 is the same basic revolver in .45acp and is considered to be OK with .45acp+P @23,000psi. If you check Brian Pearce's .45Colt loading articles you will find that the new Flattop Ruger .45 convertibles are considered to be in that same category.......
    ^^^^^^^^ This...
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddixie884 View Post
    The 25-2 is the same basic revolver in .45acp and is considered to be OK with .45acp+P @23,000psi. If you check Brian Pearce's .45Colt loading articles you will find that the new Flattop Ruger .45 convertibles are considered to be in that same category.......
    This was always my take on this also. John Linebaugh also has an article on this on his website. For what it is worth, I only shoot 8.0gns of unique with a 250gn bullet in my m-25. To me, it just isn’t comfortable with anything heavier. My bisley blackhawk is a different story.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Yep, the 25-5 is considered to be a Tier 2 gun; good for up to 23k psi, same as the Ruger New Vaquero.

    Don
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  9. #9
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    I have similar revolver, but in stainless -- the 625-3 “45 Cal of 1983” 5”Barrel .45ACP using moon-clips -- and a friend's 625 in .45 Colt --other than chambering -- seems to be identical. Hence, I'd suggest any .45acp loads pressures would be a probably safe one for your firearm? With the Covid-19 closures, I do not know if they're still open, but I'd ring the Sierra Bulletsmiths (800-223-8799), and inquire with these always helpful and most knowledgeable persons! (I know Redding has shut its doors until the virus ends...)
    BEST!
    geo

  10. #10
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    Use caution loading for the m25-5. I load only Kieth cast for light/medium Smith and Ruger loads. I use jacket Hornady slugs for "Ruger only" loads. AND I usually don't take both out to avoid an ammo mix up. The Smith M25-5 in 45lc is a great gun and now very expensive, take of it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by scattershot View Post
    My advice would be to stick with published loads for the .45 Colt. If you need more power than that, buy a magnum.
    Best advice. I'm still shooting a very well-used 25-5 I bought new forty or so years ago, not long after they were introduced. It remains tight and shoots cast bullets well at the pressures and velocities it was intended for.

  12. #12
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    The only issue I had using “Tier 2 Loads” was that I ran out of rear sight adjustment and needed a much taller sight to use those loads. One of the reason my “Mountain Gun” went down the road. Should have just put a taller front sight on it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by osteodoc08 View Post
    The only issue I had using “Tier 2 Loads” was that I ran out of rear sight adjustment and needed a much taller sight to use those loads. One of the reason my “Mountain Gun” went down the road. Should have just put a taller front sight on it.
    The S&W 25-5 shares the same problem. You quickly learn to aim low when deer hunting.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by shell70634 View Post
    My loading manuals list mild loads for older revolvers and high powered loads for Ruger and Contenders. Where does the Model 25 fall. I've been using the mild loads. I would like to know what is considered a full power load for this revolver.
    Although I've seen some pretty stiff loads put through the Model 25, if I were you I would be a little solicitous with yours. I have a M-25.5 I bought in the mid-80s, and although I didn't treat it with kid gloves, I never attempted to put Ruger level loads through it.
    That said, even the relatively mild loads in most manuals outclass anything the .45 ACP can do by a wide margin. I put powerful 185, 200, 225 and 240gr JHP bullet loads through mine, as well as 200, 225, 230, 240, 250 and 255gr lead bullets. If one of the 250gr+ bullets going 950-1000 fps doesn't do it for you, then IMO you should probably get a big magnum.
    You might check out Ken Waters' _Pet Loads_ for the loads he considered safe in a S&W. Although it's dated information, some of the better loads can still be put together.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    8 grains of Unique and 225 to 250 grain bullet and be happy. The N frame Smith 25 is a tough gun but the cylinder can bulge or burst long before the frame is affected. As mentioned, the Model 25 is a spendy piece of weaponry so treat it kindly.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master BigAlofPa.'s Avatar
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    I have a 25-5 from 1980. No way do i want to damage it from hot rodding loads. It's in real nice condition. I keep my loads around 800 fps. I do plan on getting a Ruger blackhawk 45 LC. Then i can crank it up some.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by scattershot View Post
    My advice would be to stick with published loads for the .45 Colt. If you need more power than that, buy a magnum.
    You must not load the .45 Colt? .45 Colt IS a magnum out of the right gun. As much as I love S&W revolvers, an S&W is NOT the right gun.

    As many have said here, stick to low pressure loads in an S&W. 30,000+ PSI loads should only be fired in the correct Rugers (Redhawk, the heavy frame Blackhawk models), some rifles, and Contenders.

    .45 Colt still has quite a bit more power than .45 ACP within its original pressure limits from the 1800s. A 255 at 800+ FPS is quite a bit more stout than .45 ACP. But you're not going to be shooting 300 grain bullets at 1200 FPS out of a 4" barrel like I do in my Ruger Redhawk, and if you do, you're going to find yourself with a broken S&W.

    If you want to hot rod the .45 Colt in an S&W, then buy the .460 S&W in the X frame. It is capable of "Ruger Only" .45 Colt loads and then some by a substantial margin. It'll take my 1200 fps load to 1800+. And it already hurts real bad at 1200, so keep in mind you're going to have to really be a glutton for punishment to handle that. I'd even go as far as to say it's unnecessary.

    .45 Colt out of the right gun is more powerful than a .44 Magnum. The key is the RIGHT GUN. A flat top Vaquero or an S&W Model 25 or some Taurus is NOT THE RIGHT GUN!!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Time for a little sanity here. While you may not want to load your 25-5 up above SAAMI specs for the .45 Colt, the gun itself can take it easily within reason. And, no, I'm not talking about 30k psi Ruger only loads. Reason? The same gun in .45 ACP (25-2) is rated for .45 ACP +P ammo at 23k psi. John Linebaugh builds .45 Colts for a living and has done extensive research with the 25-5. When John Linebaugh speaks, I listen.

    Don
    NRA Certified Metallic Cartridge Reloading Instructor

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by USSR View Post
    Time for a little sanity here. While you may not want to load your 25-5 up above SAAMI specs for the .45 Colt, the gun itself can take it easily within reason. And, no, I'm not talking about 30k psi Ruger only loads. Reason? The same gun in .45 ACP (25-2) is rated for .45 ACP +P ammo at 23k psi. John Linebaugh builds .45 Colts for a living and has done extensive research with the 25-5. When John Linebaugh speaks, I listen.

    Don
    https://saami.org/wp-content/uploads...sting-Copy.pdf

    Page 186 contains the proof limits for .45 Auto +P

    Interesting read for sure (although not a place I'd go with my reloading practices, and I don't consider myself overly conservative).

    I love my N frame btw, but it's not a .45 Colt.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by downzero View Post
    You must not load the .45 Colt? .45 Colt IS a magnum out of the right gun. As much as I love S&W revolvers, an S&W is NOT the right gun.

    As many have said here, stick to low pressure loads in an S&W. 30,000+ PSI loads should only be fired in the correct Rugers (Redhawk, the heavy frame Blackhawk models), some rifles, and Contenders.

    .45 Colt still has quite a bit more power than .45 ACP within its original pressure limits from the 1800s. A 255 at 800+ FPS is quite a bit more stout than .45 ACP. But you're not going to be shooting 300 grain bullets at 1200 FPS out of a 4" barrel like I do in my Ruger Redhawk, and if you do, you're going to find yourself with a broken S&W.

    If you want to hot rod the .45 Colt in an S&W, then buy the .460 S&W in the X frame. It is capable of "Ruger Only" .45 Colt loads and then some by a substantial margin. It'll take my 1200 fps load to 1800+. And it already hurts real bad at 1200, so keep in mind you're going to have to really be a glutton for punishment to handle that. I'd even go as far as to say it's unnecessary.

    .45 Colt out of the right gun is more powerful than a .44 Magnum. The key is the RIGHT GUN. A flat top Vaquero or an S&W Model 25 or some Taurus is NOT THE RIGHT GUN!!
    And I would argue that what you are saying is NOT a 45 colt. What you have is a high pressure 45 wildcat. You don't think you can get a 255 grain going 800+ in the ACP? You can do it within standard pressures, not even +p. It makes no sense at all to load a 45 colt to 44 magnum levels. Both 44 magnum and 454 casull exist. By that same thinking, a 45 acp in the right gun is called the 45 super. Some get over 1300 fps with 255 guns bullets in those guns, but they are no longer called 45 ACP.

    I say keep the 45 colt, especially that S&W to lower pressures. I don't think 23,000 is going to be the end of the world, but don't be trying to turn it into a magnum cartridge. There is no good reason to do it.

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