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Colt 1873 1st gen. historically correct bullet and blackpowder load ?

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Hi Fellas,

Can anyone tell me what exact lead bullet type and weight, as well as powder load, was used to make the .45LC cartridge the US army was issued for the 1873 1st generation colts? On the internet I find conflicting information. Many thanks ! :)

Montana Slim:
The loading changed slightly over the years. Early cartridges from Frankford Arsenal (1874) contained a 250 gr lead bullet & 30 gr gunpowder, likely equivalent to today's 2F grade. Cardboard wads would be added between powder & bullet, if needed, to take up any excess space in the load. The bullet resembles a round nose, except for a small flat point on the nose. This feature was likely from the bullet punch / swaging process. I haven't researched who sells an authentic mold, but don't expect the big makers to have an equivalent. If I wanted dummy rounds that look right, I'd use my 230 gr RN lead bullets - after making a flat with my small ball-peen hammer. For shooting, I'd choose one of the "big lube" designs.


I've taken down a few originals.  Use this bullet:  The arsenal bullet was swaged and had a slight cup at the base, this is as close as you can get, and it carries plenty of lube for revolver use.  Powder charge between 30-35 grains,  The original powder grind seems between modern 2f and 3f in grind, and is of high quality.  I would use 3f.  The variation in charge comes from the different cases and primers used by the different arsenals/contractors, the machinery simply set to drop the powder in the case to fill to the bullet base with little to no compression.   The Army's performance target seems to have been a heavy bullet in the low 800s. That sounds familiar . . .

Civilian loads used compressed 35-40 grain loads for more power/better ad copy.  The army was more concerned with maximizing the number of rounds they could get out of a pound of powder.  This rapidly drove the move to the shorter Government case with still less powder and a lighter bullet. (this was already in the works even before the adoption of the Schofield)

FWIW the same powder grind was used in the 45-70 as well. 


Addendum: if you can find an old Ideal 454190 mold, with the perfectly square lube grooves, THAT is a nearly perfect copy of the Government bullet, minus the cup base.  But for all practical purposes the Accurate is just as good.

Bullet alloy was 16-1 lead-tin.


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