Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The .45 Colt.

In honor of the 45th edition of the Carnival of Cordite let us discuss my favorite big bore cartridge, the .45 Colt. I am lucky enough to own three .45 Colts, two clones of the Colt Single Action Army and a stainless steel version of the Winchester Model 92 rifle, the Navy Arms clone made by the Rossi people down in Brazil.

Those interested are invited to check out my new grips on the longer barreled revolver. This set is from the Buffalo Brothers in Mesa, Arizona. The materiel is supposed to look like old ivory. I am interested in shooting the gun with the new grips and see how the checkering helps the grip. Putting these grips on was quite a little job, they are cast oversized and in three pieces. Once we sanded them down to fit we then had to glue the three pieces together to make them into one piece grips. The next set I get will be the same color but, perhaps, a different design.

Shooters and, especially handloaders should bear in mind that their are two levels of .45 ammo, the old stuff, loaded to black powder pressures and modern, loaded to much higher pressures for Ruger revolvers and Marlin and Model 92 clones. Black powder level pressures are about 14,000 PSI, the modern stuff is loaded to above 30,000 psi. Do not ever put that hot stuff into a Single Action Army or Remington clone, nor a clone of the '73 Winchester rifle or carbine. Doing so is building a grenade with an instantaneous fuse. I, having both do not load much to the higher pressures level, when I do it is always with jacketed bullets, rather than cast lead. I really want to avoid putting one, or more, of the hot loads into one of my Colt Clones.

The Smith and Wesson Model 625 double action revolver is stronger than the old Colts and new clones, but not so strong as the Rugers. Nobody bothers to load ammo specifically for the S&W. I would not try pushing a 250 grain bullet much over 1000 fps with the S&W.

Do not fall under the impression that the black powder loads are wimpy, though. It is no great trick to push a 250 grain bullet out of the muzzle of a revolver at over 900 feet per second. Until the .357 Magnum was developed the most powerful handgun cartridge made in America was the old black powder .45 Colt. A handloader can match those old ballistics with nine and a half grains of Unique behind a 250 cast or swaged lead bullet. With 12.9 grains of Alliant's Blue Dot one easily beats the old ballistics, at the old pressures, too.

Because of changes in the cartridge cases we can no longer pack 40 grains of fffg black powder behind a 250 grain lead bullet, it simply won't fit. I have managed to pack a tad over 35 grains, that is quite a load. We can almost match the old ballistics by loading 35 grains of that expensive Swiss brand powder behind the 250 grain bullets. The average one grease groove bullet will work in a revolver with good black powder lube, not so well in a rifle, there simply is not enough lube for the longer barrel. That requires one of the more heavily lubed "big lube" bullets or a grease cookie. The grease cookie takes up about three grains worth of powder room. The longer tube of the rifle will more than make up for the loss of powder. Of course we then get into the two different load thing again, too. I am saving my nickels and dimes for a "big lube boolit" mold. I would probably already have one except the guy that contracted the Lee people to make them only had them make six cavity molds instead of the less expensive two cavity type.

The shooter who has a Ruger revolver instead of the Colt or Colt clone has a revolver that will beat factory .44 Magnum loads. A handloader can 26.5 grains of Hodgdon's H110 behind a 250 grain Hornaday JHP for 1450 fps. Or try 20.2 grains of Hodgdon's Lil'Gun behind the 300 grain Speer JFP for 1200 fps a Marlin or Winchester '92 Rifle clone one can plan on a three to four hundred fps increase in velocity. Within their range limitations these ballistics will drop deer and black bear easily and more than a few elk have fallen to them, too.

When reading the gun magazines we sometimes still see the rumor of thin, weak cartridge cases in the .45 Colt. That may be true of some foreign brands of case, do not believe those rumors in modern American cases, though buy a few bags of Star Line brass and forget about weak cases.

Speaking of the .45 Colt cases, another change in them since 1873 is that the rims are a little bigger, the modern cases have rim enough to work in the lever action carbines and rifles. The shooter with very old handloading gear may need to splurge on a new shell holder.The new cartridges just barely fit in the first generation Colts.

Non handloading shooters have the full range of ammo available, provided their pockets are deep enough. There are a lot of standard pressure loads available. The shooter who wants a standard pressure round that is a good one for defensive use would be well advised to try the Federal or Remington 225 grain lead hollow point. It runs about 900 to 960 fps from a revolver. If I used one of my .45s for a primary defense gun it would be stuffed with those. If one is a fan of the .45 ACP autopistol round this is a near twin of the more effective JHP rounds. Other possibilities are the Winchester 225 grain Silvertip JHP round or the Speer 250 grain Gold Dot Hollow Point. The Speer would be my choice for a defensive round in a revolver with nonadjustable sights. The lighter bullets would shoot low in most cases.

Hunters with Ruger revolvers would be well armed with one of the loads from Buffalo Bore or Grizzly Ammunition's choices. These loads run from 260 grain bonded core JHPs at around 1350-1450 fps to those monster 325 to 335 grain lead semiwadcutter slugs at 1250 fps. Bear in mind that these rounds cost more than a dollar each. If ever there is a good reason for handloading, these rounds embody those reasons.

There is one more level of power, the loads for the custom five shot revolvers. These loads are very much like the .454 Casull and I don't quote them. Speaking of the .454 Casull, The folks that made my .45 Colt rifle teamed up with Legacy Sports and are making a clone of the '92 Winchester in .454. I would suspect that shooting one is like shooting standard .45-70 loads in a very light carbine. I have loaded some fairly hot .45 ammo and set it off in my rifle and that crescent butt plate backs right up. Fortunately the Legacy has a more modern flat butt plate, with the old-time crescent butt plate one would have to examine his teeth carefully after shooting. The crescent butt plate would knock my fillings out. I am not interested in buying that new rifle though eventually I am sure I shall shoot one. Someone in one of my clubs will buy one. I shall give a review when I shoot it. The only other differences are that the magazine tube is a little different and that they have those newfangled fire sights, the sights holding those colored plastic inserts that gather light. The fancy name for these is fiber optic. Since these sights are verboten in cowboy action shooting I ignore them. I would put a Marble's tang sight on this.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Random Pictures

A few random pictures from our last trip. The top picture is Captain Fatbob, the Black Pug of Doom. Also known as Bentley, we don't go very many places without him. He is the prince of Linda Lou's heart and the owner of anything edible within about five hundred meters or so. It is amazing how he chases George off the food. I am told that there is a doggie psychology reason for this. A big dog sees a critter Captain Fatbob's size and thinks "puppy" but then the little dog does not act like a puppy. Dogs, being only marginally smarter than Teddy Kennedy or Algore, can not make that work in their little doggie brains, this enables most little dogs to get away with actions that would cause a fight to the death among two dogs of equal size. Kind of like why it is illegal to shoot Dems. Damn shame.

The next picture down is a crowd of the usual suspects out off Bloody Basin Road north of Phoenix. Our oldest boy, Andy, and our oldest grandson are in that crowd, as well as myself and Andy's bro-in-law and a pal. Then the batteries in the camera died as I got everyone lined up and shooting real black powder rounds. Another shame. Someday I shall get a picture both revolvers, the shotgun and the .45 Colt rifle all shooting at once, the smoke and flame out of those old time rounds is impressive.

The next two shots down are of the grandkids in San Antonio. They both love Captain Fatbob. He is not quite sure about that stick horse, yet. The boy is MJ, the girl is Alexandra. Dunno how many granddaughters we are going to have, the family history seems to long long on boys and short on cash. Like seven grandkids and only one girl.

Update, 1/21/06: I was going to finish this yesterday, a good pal of mine has had some kind of heart event and instead was kind of busy. We are not real sure if it was an actual heart attack or just something scary like a muscle cramp of some sort of the muscles around the area, he did not have the sense to go to the ER, instead he now is sitting at home waiting for a stress test. Another guy in his fifties, thinking he is still twenty years old. I need a large stick. And a twenty year old to swing it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Iran And The Bomb.

All the real smart people are agonizing over what to do about Iran and their lust for nukes. Too many of these smart people, folks like Victor Davis Hanson, don't know what to do about Iraq. They are convinced that my man Dubya is tossin' and turnin' all night, unable to sleep because too many Lefties will cry if he blows Iran off the map. Right. Rule number one of Dubya watching is that he does not particularly care what Teddy Kennedy and Cindy Sheehan thinks. Sure, he would like it if everyone was happy but, ultimately he will do what he thinks is right. Look at how we on the Right, the one that elected him, have been screaming since about the fourth week of January, '01. Meanwhile Dubya just goes about his business.

Here is what will happen, probably while the Congresscritters are shut down on one of their ninety-leven holidays per year, even more probably after the mid-term elections, Dubya will call the Pentagon and tell them to let fly. The B-2 Spirits and F-117 Frisbees will lift off, the cruise missiles will fly from the Navy's boats and Iran's Air and Anti-Air will disappear. Then the hard work will start. The War Powers Act gives Dubya some sixty days before the Congresscritter have anything to say. Since I am in a generous mood I shall give the Iranian Air and Anti-Air three days before the last is gone. That leaves the Zoomies and Rotorheads fifty-seven days to fly around Iran blowing up anything larger than a Red Ryder Beebee Gun. Now, since Iran sits astride one of the world's more valuable bodies of water, their will also be a little work for the military's snake eaters and sneaky Petes, blowing up the various anti-ship capabilities. Dubya used to be an oilman, after all.

Now I am told that this is impractical, the anti-war types will have a field day. They will. There simply are not enough of them to matter. Dubya is not running, can not run for any office, he is through after this term. Nor will there be enough Donks to mount an impeachment. There are simply too many Americans that remember the end year and a half of the Carter Administration and the Beirut Barracks Bombing. If I wake up tomorrow and find that Iran is a smoking, glowing sheet of radioactive slag, I will regret the lost oil. Thing is, we don't have to destroy

Friday, January 13, 2006


For some strange reason Blogger is inserting my url into every url that I try to link to in a blog entry. It has always done that, I did not mind too much when I could edit that out. Now Blogger won't let me edit it out. When I roll over the url I can see my url before the one I want, when I click edit html, it does not show up so I can remove it. Any ideas?

Big Ed

One of my favorite places in the world to visit is Tombstone, Arizona, this last trip we made the drive down there. We drove down to Tombstone with my niece that lives in Casa Grande, her two kids and my sister. Oh, and Bentley the Pug. This was a general shopping and tourist trip for everyone but me, I had a specific reason for the trip, I wanted to meet Big Ed Douglas, the proprietor of San Pedro Saddlery one of the best makers of holsters for cowboy action shooting there is.

All of the gun and history buffs reading this site know that Tombstone is the site of that famous gunfight between the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday and the Clantons. Oddly in the 1880s wild west a gunfight with a body count of three was a real big deal, national news. Just a few days ago there were three people shot in a Dallas murder, it did not seem to make the national news. I love the ways the anti-gun folks always are yammering about how concealed carry permits will turn our cities into Tombstone or Dodge City when the crime rate is ten times (or more) what it was back then.

Oddly, the Gunfight At The O. K. Corral is poorly named, it was actually the gunfight in the vacant lot between the O. K. Corral and Fly's Boarding House. Does not trip off the tongue so well, though.

Anyhow, we walked down from the 'center' of the tombstone tourist area to San Pedro Saddlery having gotten directions from a feller selling tickets on the wagon tour...Rule # One, don't never believe how close the guy giving directions says something is. Don't walk, drive. I like to killed myself. Worse was walking back. Most worse was that I got there without my gun belt and shootin' irons, if most worst is the proper phrase.The whole purpose of that trip, for me anyway, was to pick out a better holster for my second revolver and to buy a pair of shooting gauntlets. Well, I met Big Ed, got the gloves and talked about that second holster. Big Ed is not particularly tall, he sure is broad, though. A friendly sort, thank the Lord, he has hands and arms that look as if he could crush anvils, barehanded. I suspect that it has been some time, decades perhaps, that he has seen his feet while standing. Ever see one of those guys with a great big belly that you just know that if you haul off and punch him in the belly you will break knuckles all the way to your elbow? That is Big Ed.
Anyhow, I have picked out my Christmas, Birthday and Aniversery gifts for the next five years, right there on Big Ed's site. If you have a desire for the old fashioned, hand made leathercraft, check out that website.

Udate...for some reason my server won't allow me to remove the wrong prefix from San Pedro Saddlery's web page. If you are interested in this website, just use the name and dot com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

William Is Three.

I have not had much to say over the last week or so. Everything I thought of writing a little something on, someone else wrote, and better. We did finally get the photos scanned in, so over the next few days I shall write something to go with the pics as I post them.

Here comes the first couple, of our grandson William's third birthday party. As y'all can plainly see, William is a sturdy lad, son of an engineer so he is pretty bright, too. His arm is developing nicely, when my squad in the Army of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is fully trained, William will probaby be the Grenadier.

Just so you know, William is not engaged yet, offers of dowry may be left in the comments.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Home At Last

I'm home. It was an adventure. Went and got George, the German Shepherd, that dog is still growing. He is still not lifting his leg to pee, I hope he figures that out. Many tales of the adventures of our dog sitters, not least is the eaten garden hose and his new habit of trying to grab a hand and lead his people around. Still lots of work to do with this dog.

I have a few photos that must go into the computer so I can post them.

Mainly, though, I am flat out tired. I shall take a couple of days off and then tell of our adventures.