Volume of fffg for 45 lc z gas guatemala

As I type this note, I have 30 grains of Goex FFFg in six Starline 45 LC brass. I’ll 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 “All 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.”

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 don’t see how I can seat the bullet and compress the powder that much.

So, I need your help. If you haven’t figured it out by now, you should know this is my first load using blackpowder. I’ve loaded smokeless powder for 40 years. So I am accustomed to using grains of powder and to having some “open space” 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. I’ll 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

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.

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.

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.

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!