This topic contains 6 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Larry Gibson 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #33585
     Larry Gibson 
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    After the successful test of several cast bullets in the 38 S&W Ed Harris sent 2 different cast bullets of 45 Caliber to pressure test using Alliant Bullseye powder in various 45 caliber handgun cartridges. Pressure testing would be via the Oehler M43 PBL with the test firearm being a TC Contender pistol with 10″ 45 ACP and 45 Colt barrels. The 3 bullets from Accurate moulds were;

    45-240H1
    45-262H
    45-290H

    The cartridges to pressure test the 3 different cast bullets in were;

    45 AR
    45 Colt (Ruger Load)
    45 Colt
    (three 45 Colts shown w/3 different bullets loaded)
    45 Schofield
    45 Webley

    Ed sent along the desired charges of Bullseye powder he wanted tested along with other specifications as to loading. I duplicated the loads he requested. A brief description will be added under each cartridge discussion with full data being listed on the Oehler test data printout. There were 152 test cartridges total.

    Testing was conducted on 15 February, 2017 on the 100 yard Sara Park range in Lake Havasu City Arizona. Temperature was a moderate 65 – 70 degrees with little wind. Here is the bench set up with the M43 and the M35P. Again the Start screen for the M35P was at 12.5′ in front of the M43 start screen which was at 15′. The M35P was used in tandem with the M43 in case sufficient data wasn’t measured for a shot. Then at least the velocity would be saved. This occurred several times during the testing, especially when there wasn’t sufficient pressure generated by a cartridge for a measurement. It takes about 7,000 psi to expand cartridge cases, then another several thousand psi are needed to apply stress to the barrel so a measurement can be obtained. The lowest recorded psi with both barrels was 11,100. Any cartridge fired that did not record a psi therefore produced less than 11,100 psi.

  • #33586
     Larry Gibson 
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    I’ll give myself a bit of an alibi here regarding accuracy. A group testing was with the target at 25 yards. I used a black 2 ¼” bull aiming at 6 o’clock. Both barrels have standard Contender iron sights. With my tired old eyes I do well to shoot 1 ½” groups at 25 yards with iron sights anymore. The Contender was rested o the sand bag shown and an additional sandbag (not shown) was used to brace/rest the forearm on, the position was steady. Looking down the sights through the screen we see;

    Test results:

    45 AR; The 45 AR cartridges were tested in the 45 ACP barrel. Since the 45 AR cartridge is simply a 45 ACP with a rim test results would be applicable to an actual 45 AR cartridge. Notice in the cartridge photo above a slight roll crimp was also used. I had to size the front driving band/portion of each bullet .452 to get the loaded cartridges to chamber. Otherwise the bullets were sized .454 and were lubed with LLA (by Ed). The Extractor of the Contender 45 ACP held the cartridge in place so headspacing on the case mouth was not a problem. The medium roll crimp was the same as I do with 45 AR cartridges.

    However, the 45 ACP Contender barrel is normally quite accurate with most all reasonable 45 ACP loads. In this case accuracy was actually poor with all 3 bullets. That may or may not have been due to the use of the extractor to headspace causing ignition problems. Additionally there was 16″ of vertical impact difference between the loads. This caused other problems as the screens were hit by at least 3 bullets. I was able to repair the screens and continue testing. After repair a “reference” ammunition test was conducted to verify the consistency of the measurements. All was well, just nicked and scarred…….I have some of the 45-240H1s and 45-290H bullets left and in the near future will load them in the Webley cases (very similar to AR cases) and test in the 45 Colt barrel for accuracy.

    All 3 bullets in the 45 AR test were loaded over the same 4 gr charge of Bullseye powder.

    Note on the Oehler M43 PBL test data printouts the group is pasted onto the printout or the bullet holes are traced onto the printout. The M35P printout is pasted to the left of the M43s Shot Data and Summary fields for quick comparison.

    45 AR w/45-240H1: The M43 printout for the 45-240H1 bullet shows only 8 shots, the first 2 shots went high over the target and were not captured on paper. The second 2 shots did not capture the complete time/pressure trace as the time was set for 2 milliseconds. That was changed to 4 milliseconds and the trace data was then captured and recorded. We see the psi MAP is a mild 12,000 psi(M43)

  • #33587
     Larry Gibson 
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    45 AR w/45-262H: Here we see an anomaly that often occurs but few understand. Ever notice in loading manuals the heavier bullet will higher velocity or a greater max powder charge? Here is an example. We have the same load components except for the bullet. This 45-262H bullet is 7.5 gr heavier than the 45-240H1 and has a different profile. Yet it is 15 fps faster and appears to have a lower MAP…..just FYI as it’s an interesting observation. Again accuracy with this load as loaded isn’t all that good. The MAP for this can be considered to be less than 15,000 psi(M43).

    The last shot (did not measure) of this test hit one of the screens which caused problems with the next test.


    45 AR w/45-290H: Had real problems with this test. Began getting much higher velocities with one really high reading(?) than the M35P was recording. One shot was completely off the target and two of the shots keyholed with two more screen strikes. Thus I disregard the M43 velocity reading and rely on the M35Ps. An examination of the screens showed severe damage to the last (stop) screen for the M43. The lens was tilted forward which would have refracted the light and would have resulted in a higher velocity because the “stop” would have been sooner. Fortunately Oehler Skyscreens are readily reparable and I carry spare parts so a repair was made, “reference” test conducted and the testing could continue.

    The Map for the 45-290 was still only 15,000 so it would be quite usable in 45 AR revolvers. However zeroing may be a problem as there was 16″ of vertical impact dispersion between this load and a standard 45 ACP load.


    The poor accuracy may have been the result of the lower velocity levels of these bullets with this load in the 16″ twist barrel. The 262H and the 290H bullets were considerably long than the 240H1 bullet let alone a 230 45 FMJ. The 45 Colt barrel has the same twist. Yet with the same bullets at lower velocities accuracy was excellent. Thus I really suspect the roll crimp and dependence on the extractor for headspacing is the real culprit for the poor accuracy.

    I shall post the other tests in their own thread. There is a lot of data and test information and to put it in one thread would get confusing. With different threads addressing each cartridge we may keep also our comments pertinent to the cartridge of discussion without confusion.

  • #33588
     Larry Gibson 
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    Here is the test 45 Colt firearm; TC Contender with a 10″ octagon 45 Colt barrel. I’ve laid the 455 Webley, 45 Schofield and 45 Colt cases on it so you can see the relation of the strain gauge to each cartridge. The gauge is centered as per SAAMI specs for the 45 Colt cartridge.

    455 Webley

    The 455 Webley is an interesting cartridge and one that is very close to the 45 American Cowboy. The Webley case is just a few thousands inch shorter and wider in diameter though not by much. For this test and what Ed requested was to make the cases out of Starline 45 Schofield brass. The 45 American Cowboy is somewhat popular in the SASS CBA matches in SAA’s with 45 ACP cylinders. I just happened to have some once fired Starline 45 Schofield cases from a test I did for Powder River Cartridge Co, VihtaVuori and Laser Cast bullets. It was easy enough to trim 50 of them to 455 Webley length of .87″ I initially cut of the majority with a small tube cutter then trimmed to final length with a case trimmer (RCBS).

    The cases were then sized and deprimed with a Hornady 45 Colt FL die. The rim of the Schofield is a little larger in diameter than the 45 Colt so to get the now 455 Webley cases to chamber in the Contender 45 Colt barrel I had to reduce the rim diameter. I did that easily enough on my little Uni-Mat Lathe. The Hornady 45 Colt expander (M-die) was used to expand and flare the case mouths. Cases were primed and then charged with 3.5 gr of Bullseye as per Ed’s request. BTW; all powder charges were individually weighed on a Redding powder scale for all of these tests. The 3 different Accurate bullets were then seated to each bullets crimp groove and a medium crimp applied. Testing was done as mentioned in the first thread.

    Test results:

    455 Webley w/45-240H1

    455 Webley w/45-260H

    This load is also very mild. The M43 recorded the psi of nine of the ten test shots. The MAP is 11,800 psi(M43) . The velocity again is fairly low at 648 fps. This is a real consistent load as shown by the small psi variation of only 900 psi for the nine shots. Accuracy again was very good. I called the low shot. While the range I was at is very nice it does face into the sun so this time of year there is considerable glare off the front sight. It probably accounted for the low three shots.

    455 Webley w/45-290H:

    This heavier bullet picked up a bit on velocity and psi given the same 3.5 gr charge of Bullseye. The MAP was a very uniform 12,600 psi(M43) which is still very mild actually. All ten shots were measured by the M43. Again we see very low ES’s across the board. Accuracy also was excellent. I called the 2 high shots as I over compensated for the glare…….my bad…….

    This load (3.5 gr Alliant Bullseye) proved to be an excellent one for the 455 Webley. Given the low psi MAPs all three bullets over this load should be excellent performers in 455 revolvers. The weight of the bullets plus the large meplat should give very good terminal performance on target.

  • #33589
     Larry Gibson 
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    45 Schofield

    This test report is short and very sweet. I only tested one bullet in the 45 Schofield case; the 45-240-H1. It was loaded over 5 gr Bullseye. A 240 gr cast over 5 gr of Bullseye is a classic load in the 44 SPL and I expected no less than excellent performance with that weight bullet out of the similar length 45 Schofield case. I was not disappointed.

    I already had 12 cases from a previous test with the rims turned down to fit the Contender 45 Colt Chamber so I loaded all 12 cases. The M43 recorded the results of the first 10 shots while the M35P recorded the velocities of all 12. Note the very close velocities obtained; the M35P screens being in front of the M43s recorded within a couple fps the same velocity but just a couple fps faster as should have been. Both machines recorded the exact same ES and SDs! The MAP psi was a very mild 12,200 psi(M43) with only a 1,700 psi ES. For that low of a MAP the Time/pressure traces are very uniform…..a good sign indeed! The velocity of 843 fps from the 10″ Contender will probably be 750 – 800 fps from a 4 – 6″ barreled revolver. The group is excellent for me anyway and I still got a tudge of vertical stringing due to the glare.

    Test results:

    Doubt you’d go wrong with that load in any 45 Schofield revolver and it should also be excellent in any 45 Colt. Actually a 45 ACP cylinder reamed out to 45 Schofield might just be an excellent idea……..

  • #33590
     Larry Gibson 
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    45 Colt

    A three of Ed’s bullets (45-240H1, 45-262H & 45-290H) were all tested in “standard” level 45 Colt loads intended for the Colt and clones SAAs consisting of 6 gr Alliant Bullseye. Cases were Starline with Winchester WLP primers being used. The SAAMI MAP for the 45 Colt, in deference to the older and “weaker” design of the older revolvers, is 14,000 psi (transducer/strain).

    Test results:

    45 Colt w/45-240H1; Very good load giving excellent internally uniform ballistics with a MAP of 12,900 psi (M43) and a velocity of 930 fps out of the 10″ Contender barrel this load should prove to be an excellent one in revolvers giving velocities in the 800 fps range. Accuracy was excellent and I was still plagued by glare on the front sight with this load as the 2 low shots were called low. On the next three tests the sun had shifted enough I was able to shade the front sight. Accuracy noticeably improved with more uniform groups.

    The 45 Colt Starline cases used in this test were once fired and had not been trimmed. How important is trimming is an often asked question. How much does seating depth affect the psi is another. This next test is the exact same load as the above with the exception the cases were trimmed .006 back to the Lyman “trim to Length” of 1.275″. Conducting one test of each is by no means conclusive as a test of at least 5 strings each would be needed for any conclusive answer to those two questions. Comparing the two tests here we see the trimmed case test gave pretty much the same accuracy, a lower velocity, a slightly better ES and SD of velocity, a slightly higher MAP with a greater psi ES and SD as the same load with the untrimmed cases. Hardly enough difference if any to draw any conclusion.

    45 Colt w/45-262H: Excellent load for sure this one is. The internal measurements were very good giving a Velocity ES of 18 fps with an SD of only 7 fps for 10 shots is very good. The psi measurements were just as good with the time/pressure traces being very smooth. Accuracy was also very good. At 914 fps I would expect this should give 800 +/- fps in revolvers. The MAP was 13,600 psi again making it quite safe for use in “older” guns.

    45 Colt 45-290H: The 1st thing that strikes me about this longer, heavier bullet is that at the so far tested lower velocities stability may be an issue in the 16″ twist test barrels. I called the lower shot but that flyer at 9 o’clock came out of nowhere. Given the excellent internals this load had the accuracy should have been better if stability was not an issue. The MAP at 14,600 psi(M43) on this one is slightly over the SAAMI MAP for the 45 Colt. I wouldn’t worry about it with any revolver made for smokeless powder loads though. The “classic” 45 Colt load of the 454190 RNFP over 8.5 gr Unique used for many years in such “older” revolvers gave a MAP of 18,000 psi(M43). I would suspect this load to give 750 +/- fps in revolvers.

  • #33591
     Larry Gibson 
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    45 Colt (Ruger Level Loads)

    Ed sent along a request to test his 45 Colt “Ruger ” level loads consisting of 7.5 gr Bullseye under the 45-240H1, 45-262H and 7 gr under the 45-290H cast bullets. None of the three loads generated a MAP higher than the “classic” 45 Colt load of 8,5 gr Unique under a 250 gr 454190 RNFP cast bullet. That “classic” load is shot by most everyone in Colt SAAs (Gen 2+) and the clones of today. I have shot thousands of that load myself with the 454190 and the 45-255-KT through my Uberti clone SAAs without a single hitch.

    This is also the last of Ed’s loads to test. Here is a picture of the test firearm; TC Contender with a 10″ octagon 45 Colt barrel. I’ve laid the 455 Webley, 45 Schofield and 45 Colt cases on it so you can see the relation of the strain gauge to each cartridge. The gauge is centered as per SAAMI specs for the 45 Colt cartridge.

    Test results:

    45 Colt Ruger Level w/45-240H1; Excellent uniform internal and external ballistics with the 7.5 gr Bullseye load. Note the M35P velocity measurements were within 1 – 2 fps of the M43s velocity measurement for the entire ten shot test. The ES (24/25 fps) and SD (7/8 fps) of the velocity measurements is excellent. The MAP is 16,500 psi(M43) with excellent ES and SD measurements also. Accuracy is about the best I can do anymore with iron sights. Velocity in a revolver should be 900 – 950 fps +/-. Overall an excellent load.

    45 Colt Ruger Level w/45-262H; Once again we see excellent internal and external ballistics with the 7.5 gr Bullseye load under this bullet. A velocity ES for both the M35P and the M43 of 16/15 fps and an SD of 5 fps for both is superb, especially for a ten shot test. The MAP at 17,700 psi(M43) also has superb ES and SD psi’s. The accuracy is also about as good as it gets with me. I called the low shot low and also the high shot but did not really call it. None the less it’s excellent. Revolver velocity again should be around 900 fps +/-.

    45 Colt Ruger Level w/45-290H; Very interesting here as we see the longer, heavier 45-290H bullet over 7 gr Bullseye come into its own as velocity increases which perhaps has improved the stability(?). Looking at both the velocity (M35P and the M43) and psi measurements for each shot we see they are very uniform for the 1st 8 shots. Then for whatever reason the bottom fell out on the last 2 shots. Both the velocity and psi for both shots was low. Those two shots also are the low two hits in that otherwise excellent group. While the MAP is listed at 17,400 psi(M43) it includes the 2 low shots. If we look at the first 8 shots the MAP is actually closer to 18,200 psi(M43).

    All in all these 3 loads are very good for use in adjustable sighted revolvers as the impact was 4 – 16″ higher than any of the other loads. The Contender sights could not be adjusted any lower and the groups were impacting 11 – 12″ high at 25 yards.

    Larry Gibson

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