.45 Colt hunting load suggestions?

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,543
1,041
In deference to my Colt New Service revolver, I've always loaded the .45 Colt on the mild side. Helped Dad with some mid-level loads for his Blackhawk a long time ago, but have never approached the upper level loads for Ruger revolvers.

Not sure I need to.

My son wants to take that same old 4 5/8" Ruger Blackhawk bear hunting with him again this fall, to go along with his tried & true .30-06 Model of 1917. (Hey, I told the kid I'd buy him a new gun, but he seems to like all the old stuff).

Recommendations for a bear-hunting .45 Colt/Ruger load? We'd only end up popping a bear with a handgun at rather close range - such as if it ran off after a hit and we tracked it down in the brush.

Please remember that my son at 21 years old is a real lightly built fellow, 5-11 and only about 150 pounds. He's built for long-distance hiking and biking, not powerlifting. Although he's a decent handgunner, he's not fired any real stout stuff. We'll practice beforehand of course. His practice load is generally a cast 230 gr lead bullet over a mere 7.8 grains of Unique. It's very mild and easy to shoot.
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For bear, I was thinking some reasonably tough, expanding bullet in the 250 - 300 gr range, at roughly 1000 fps. Thoughts?

Thanks, Guy
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,151
329
The best load I ever had in my Ruger 45 colt was 300 grain Sierra and 20 gr of h110/win 296---Heavy load though
 

Too Tall

Handloader
Jul 5, 2011
341
0
I have used a load real close to what Fotis suggested, only hard cast 300 grain LBT. My Father used to say "Like driving a spike through them." "Hurt like hell, and gives them something else to think about."
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,151
329
ALSO A GOOD CAST 250 GR WITH 15 GRAINS OF 2400 WILL DO IT.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,304
564
Guy, besides the 300 grainers, I would think one of the Beartooth bullets made for the Blackhawks doing about 1000-1100 would penetrate through any bear walking with a decent load of 2400 or H110.

I gotta say, I really love your boy's 45 Colt. That is nearly perfect for packing in bear country and offers excellent protection or offense if needed!

Fotis, is that 300 grain Sierra for the .451's as tough as the .429 version?
 

Kodiak

Handloader
Oct 4, 2006
1,051
0
In my stainless BH 4 5/8" .45LC I use the Beartooth 330 gr. cast bullet. Seated into the front crimping groove, they set right at the front of the cylinder. Load 20.0 of H110 under them and you have your bear load! This is not a casual load and is not to be used by the faint of heart :shock: !

YMMV,
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
The 250 gr Hornady STP in Federal cases with 19.0 grains of LilGun with CCI 350 Mag primers will give him 1150 fps and the bullet will be fine for black bear. An alternate load would be 7.7 grains of TiteGroup at 1050 fps with standard primers if you wish to keep the load more easy to handle. I use both loads in a either USFA 5.5 inch Colt clone or a USFA Bisley 4-1/2 inch barrel with a slightly beefier cylinder than Colt. I am 5'9" (now) and weigh less than your son. These loads, especially the 950 fps load should be no problem for him.

The only Blackhawk that I currently own is a 7-1/2 inch Bisley, .357 Mag which I could load up with 158 grain bullets for bear but would much rather have the larger bullet at less speed than depend on the .357 which despite high velocity with the 7-1/2 inch barrel, does not have the knock-down power of a 250 grain .452 bullet at 1050 fps. I would also defer to the .45 Colt as the better caliber choice.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,304
564
I need to bookmark those loads Charlie. A 45 Colt is on the list of wants.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
It looks as though US Firearms (USFA) has gone out of business. I have alway preferred them to Colt style action pistols because they are better crafted. I own a Rodeo Model and a Bisley model. USFA still has a website but no guns for sale. They seem to have stopped producing all of their current hand guns and have no products listed on their catolog pages. Does anyone know what is going on with them?
 

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,752
214
You should be able to find what you're looking for here.

http://www.customsixguns.com/

From what I understand, his loads have been pressure tested and are good ones. My normal .45 Colt is either a 4.5" Colt or for serious stuff a 5.5" Ruger Super Blackhawk Bisley in .45 Colt chambering. I did try a couple of his loads in the Bisley but never wrote them down My bad. :( Juat means I have to start all over again. Been too busy playing with rifles and have neglected the hand gun route. Anyway, take a look.
Paul B.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
I use the 225 grain lead bullets also as a cheaper plinking load. I usually don't push them over 1000 fps. I use 6.5 grains of TiteGroup at about 950 fps. I usually keep handloads at about 950 fps. I can not afford to replace my USAF SAA's and 950 fps takes care of most issues which I need the .45 for.
 

onesonek

Handloader
Apr 4, 2008
1,544
0
I'd love to have a 5.5" BH Bisley.
I haven't hunted with the .45 Colt round as of yet, but hope to next season, or maybe hogsthis spring. I know guys that have in BH with 300 gr. or heavier cast. They pretty much say the same results, quick kills hardky any tracking.
I do cast and load it for the Encore however. It's a .454 chamber, and load the Colt brass with the 310 gr.. Stuff the .454 brass with the 360 grainer. The tumble lube groove design allows me to crimp the longer loaded length in the Colt brass. Just helps me keep the two load weight serprate easier. Plan is the 310's for critters under elk, and the360 for elk and bigger. Naturally with the longer barrel and no cylinder gap, I run faster.Still, I suspect in that shorter barrel, a 300 gr. or there abouts, would run out in the 1100 fps + easy enough. Put it on bone, and it'll be a bang flop, from what these guys tell me,and double lunger, won't go far if anywhere.

310gr. left, next to .458 405's
100_4141.jpg


360 gr. right next to .458/470's
AM453-460004.jpg
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
35,024
1,423
Your bullets are assuredly attractive. You've done a superb job casting them, Dave. I always enjoy seeing them.
 

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,752
214
I've tried 300 gr. bullets in my .45 Colt Bisly and 300 gr. bullets in several .44 Magnum handguns and they all shoot 6 to 8" high at 25 yards with the rear sight set as low as possible. Accuracy is good though I understand Ruger sells different front sights for the Redhawks so maybe I'll look into that. Currently the .44's and .45's shoot just fine with 250 gr. bullets. The one .44 Suer Blackhawk that is a challenge and fun is my 4.5" gun that came with a standard Blackhawk grip frame. That one will get your attention with a load of 24.0 gr. of W296 and a 250 gr. Keith style semiwadcutter. I put a larger grip on it but it looked ugly on the gun so it's back to the small grips. My Keith style bullet for the .45 runs right at 260 gr. in my alloy.
I'm going to go back to #2400 for the .44's as the muzzle blast from W296 is viscious as hell and the flash is brighter than sunlight at noon. I'll be doing a run of .44 Spl. and Mag. in the very near future. The bullets are cast, the brass is prepped so all I have to do is get the lead out and git-R-done. :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Seems like I have a jillion .357 Mag. and .38 Spl. to load as well. :roll: How did I get so far behind?
Paul B.
 
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