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.45 Colt - Charter Arms Bulldog

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  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,573 Senior Member
    .
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,964 Senior Member
    My dad’s version of that saying was “buy right, cry once”.  And I’ve always believed this… but I also see where it makes sense to buy less than top shelf when meaning to use the gear hard.  

    I mean does anyone really buy a Filson $800 coat to go chase after cattle?  I don’t.  Carhart/Wrangler will do just fine.

    I don’t mean to talk for Zee.  But, as I understand this, he’s buying these guns for use as utility guns on the ranch.  Stuff that will be subject to steady abuse.  I don’t think I’d do that to my Mountain Gun, which I do carry in the woods, but it’s not for rolling-in-the-mud occasions.

    These guns he’s playing with are rough.  But they go bang when needed and if they get all scared up there will be no tears shed.
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    Regarding your HBWC's in the .45 Colt case. . .

    My gut says to treat it like a true wadcutter and seat it deep to where you're crimping over the front edge of the bullet, THEN pretend that you're loading a .45 ACP with Bullseye.

    But, I have a .45 ACP revolver. I want this to be a .45 Colt!

    The deal is that you're loading with a case conceived for black powder.  The result is that you have more volume than you need for smokeless.  The slower burning fuels won't help you in those short barrels anyway.

    I'm guessing that if you can get those 240 grainers up to 850-900 fps, you should get 6-8 jugs out of it - probably rupturing the first four.  My .455 Webley MKIV HBWC's came out at about 230 grains and dented jug #5, bouncing back into #4, and that was using thicker pool chlorine jugs and were probably down around 600-650 fps.

    I still don’t see the reason to push them flat side first. The meplate is the same either way. So, I’d just as soon launch a cavity. 

    As I recall, I used Unique when I loaded the Keith 452423 in my 4.25" Redhawk and had them going around 1000-1100 fps.  Not a bad load, but I'm really coming to appreciate the higher RPM I can manage with such things at a lower .45 ACP-ish recoil level.   If you accept that the wound diameter won't differ by much at all, and you have a boatload of penetration at any sensible speed, the desire to make multiple large holes in a hurry becomes clear.

    Now one nice thing about the .45 Colt is that it's big enough to make some truly FEROCIOUS snake shot loads.  I have a steady supply of #9 shot that I mostly melt for bullets, but 90 grains of it atop 5 grains of Bullseye with a few card wads and a candle wax top seal work's GREAT for a .357 case.  Pattern density at 3 yards is all you could hope for.  I suspect you could EASILY double the payload for a .45. . . 

    I have CCI Snake Shot for it. 

      
    👍🏻
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    Within it's limitations, that 200 grain cast HP should be a good SD and varmint slug - just don't expect a lot of depth out of it.  20-1 lead/tin is a popular choice for a low/middle velocity expander - it's a tough "chewy" alloy that holds together well.  I.M.E., accuracy tends to degrade when you take it above black powder rifle pressures and speeds, but below 1200-1400fps, you should be fine (it's probably optimally a 900-950 fps bullet).  No provision for roll crimping on the ACP bullets - watch for recoil creep.

    I’m gonna pick up some of that CFE-Pistol and try the 240gr HBWC first. If that doesn’t work, I’ll order some of these 200gr Bullets. 

    I'm kind of a 230 grain purist when it comes to .45ACP, but there is a kind of magic to the reduced recoil of 200 grains at slightly higher speeds out of 5" 1911's.  If you're doing the non-expanding solid thing, the HG-68 SWC match bullet has a sizable following: https://www.mattsbullets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=71&products_id=195  No big meplat drama, but still plenty of penetration if you aren't trying to hold back a cavalry charge.

    I dunno. . .depends on what you're trying to do.  The 452423 is optimized for tissue damage inside of 100 yards (most of Keith's other SWC's were LFN precursors with delusions of riflery).  Since you might be alternating between side shots on coyote and raking shots on hogs, it's not a bad broad-spectrum option.
    I’m trying to let this gun be more than the .45 ACP revolver. So, more speed or bigger bullet. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    My dad’s version of that saying was “buy right, cry once”.  And I’ve always believed this… but I also see where it makes sense to buy less than top shelf when meaning to use the gear hard.  

    I mean does anyone really buy a Filson $800 coat to go chase after cattle?  I don’t.  Carhart/Wrangler will do just fine.

    I don’t mean to talk for Zee.  But, as I understand this, he’s buying these guns for use as utility guns on the ranch.  Stuff that will be subject to steady abuse.  I don’t think I’d do that to my Mountain Gun, which I do carry in the woods, but it’s not for rolling-in-the-mud occasions.

    These guns he’s playing with are rough.  But they go bang when needed and if they get all scared up there will be no tears shed.
    And that’s pretty much it. I carried the Mountain Gun one day working and was scared to death I’d scratch the crap out of it around all the metal and machinery. Carried my 4” GP-100 one day and it was just too damn heavy and bulky. 
    Remember, I work the ranch in shorts, t-shirt, and sandals. I ain’t the Marlborough Man. 
    I want a lightweight gun that carries enough umph and mass to deal with snakes, people, and put down wounded game after tracking them out if need be. 
    And I don’t want to cry if it gets messed up. Hell, the .357 Mag pug already has some light rust on the barrel from sweating through the holster!!
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    I hate that the fit/finish is crappy. I get buyers remorse every time I’ve picked one of these last three Charter Arms Revolvers up. Then, I end up figuring out a load they like and go to work. 
    They aren’t great. But, I like the size, weight, no moon clips, stainless, and chambering. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    And, I can say that I’ve carried a Charter Arms at the ranch every day since I got them a few months ago. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,320 Senior Member
    I guess it depends on how you view your .45 Colt.  Until you get into Ruger Only data, anything over 230 grains at 850 fps is just a +P .45 Auto with a rim on the case, so split your hairs how you will.  The .45 ACP and .455 Webley MKII were created to keeping their predecessor's performance by replacing black powder with smokeless in a shorter case.  Deep seating a hollow-base wadcutter in the excessively large Colt case to optimize a reasonable charge of fast smokeless isn't making an ACP; it's just maximizing the effectiveness of your fuel's octane rating. 

    The wadcutter flat face forward, or the 452423, will give you practical, bloodletting damage with CONSISTENCY of performance, and do it without the need to try to cram a .454 Casull charge into a platform not rated for anything like it.  In your rural existence, I'm thinking you may be called upon to deal with things up to and including putting down large livestock - and your phone may ring for that task at any time simply because you have a local reputation for being "that guy that hunts a lot of stuff".  Think of it in terms of African hunting - many hunt little bitty impala with a .375 H&H, not because they need to, but because of the other things they may encounter.    Your hollowpoints (especially that little 200 grainer) are kinda locking you into the box of targets on two legs that are 12" thick - the solids are a lot more all-purpose.

    Really, in that ranch role, a moderately loaded .45 Colt shooting a barrel-shaped bullet with a lot of momentum is a damn good choice and a Charter Arms that you can sacrifice to the abuses of the day ain't a bad call either - provided it shoots to the sights. . .and works.  I would probably drift away from the hollow bases if the loads are going to get hotter, as they are reputed to have integrity issues on launch as you get out of the old blackpowder pressure zone.  If they aren't expanding though, no need to run them that warm.

    Unique doesn't suck for such things, but much slower (H110, 2400, 296) are probably just fireball without effect in such a short barrel.

    As I've said, the 452423 was Elmer's dedicated purpose, blunt force trauma bullet, but if you want to keep things simple across multiple guns, the 260 grain 452424/454424 will fly better at distance and has probably killed everything that walks and probably even some things that swim.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    As far as Charter Arms. Fit and finish aren't everything. I like how the cranes lock up. If the internals are heavy enough to keep the cylinder turning, locking, and the trigger returning for the next shot. And the chambers maintain bore alignment after hard use. Not necessarily heavy load use, but use well dirty or wet. Then the gun's good if the price is right. Assuming it delivers payload where aimed.

    The nice thing about the 45 Colt/revolver combination is versatility and delivered energy in relation to recoil.

    A tinkers dam within reach of the tinkerer.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,320 Senior Member
    It may not check quite all the boxes, but a .357 Ruger SP-101 loaded with Matt's 165 grain wadcutters may check enough of them for your needs without falling into the "these guns are steaming piles of crap" category:

    It's stainless with a front crane lockup, so you can carry it hard and load it hot guilt free.

    It's steel and kinda heavy to absorb your toasty loads.

    It's a subassembly gun somewhat intended to be torn down periodically at the user level, so easy to deal with if you accidentally drop it in a pile of pig guts.

    Given that they've been around about 30 years, you can probably find them used, and Ruger will still service them free/cheap even if you aren't the first owner.

    If you ran that with an in-gun + glovebox stash combination of snakeshot, deep-drilling flat points and factory "social loads" (I like 145 grain Silvertips a lot) for unexpected trips to town, you would be ready for anything short of a cross-border incursion of cartel zombies. :D

    It's not delivering the big bore WFN I'd prefer if I had to put down a cow or horse, but it can probably do the job without crossing over into the realm of bulky.  I've always thought the 3" fixed-sight GP-100 with the smaller grip spur was an extremely sexy beast, but they haven't seen fit to do a .44 Special yet. . .and that still fails for size as a pocket gun.  Even with short barrels, K and L and N frames are still K and L and N frames.  The SP-101's "J-frame on steroids" might be the winner.

    I dunno. . .I think all agree we're in compromise land here - it's the best spitball I've got.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    I guess it depends on how you view your .45 Colt.  Until you get into Ruger Only data, anything over 230 grains at 850 fps is just a +P .45 Auto with a rim on the case, so split your hairs how you will.  The .45 ACP and .455 Webley MKII were created to keeping their predecessor's performance by replacing black powder with smokeless in a shorter case.  Deep seating a hollow-base wadcutter in the excessively large Colt case to optimize a reasonable charge of fast smokeless isn't making an ACP; it's just maximizing the effectiveness of your fuel's octane rating. 

    The wadcutter flat face forward, or the 452423, will give you practical, bloodletting damage with CONSISTENCY of performance, and do it without the need to try to cram a .454 Casull charge into a platform not rated for anything like it.  In your rural existence, I'm thinking you may be called upon to deal with things up to and including putting down large livestock - and your phone may ring for that task at any time simply because you have a local reputation for being "that guy that hunts a lot of stuff".  Think of it in terms of African hunting - many hunt little bitty impala with a .375 H&H, not because they need to, but because of the other things they may encounter.    Your hollowpoints (especially that little 200 grainer) are kinda locking you into the box of targets on two legs that are 12" thick - the solids are a lot more all-purpose.

    Really, in that ranch role, a moderately loaded .45 Colt shooting a barrel-shaped bullet with a lot of momentum is a damn good choice and a Charter Arms that you can sacrifice to the abuses of the day ain't a bad call either - provided it shoots to the sights. . .and works.  I would probably drift away from the hollow bases if the loads are going to get hotter, as they are reputed to have integrity issues on launch as you get out of the old blackpowder pressure zone.  If they aren't expanding though, no need to run them that warm.

    Unique doesn't suck for such things, but much slower (H110, 2400, 296) are probably just fireball without effect in such a short barrel.

    As I've said, the 452423 was Elmer's dedicated purpose, blunt force trauma bullet, but if you want to keep things simple across multiple guns, the 260 grain 452424/454424 will fly better at distance and has probably killed everything that walks and probably even some things that swim.
    Ok, your best argument yet for the flat first endeavor. 
    I’m going to pick up that CFE because it’s available, and try that cavity first and then flat first with the 240s tomorrow. 
    If that don’t work, I guess we will look at the 200gr hollow points. Past that……who knows. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    As far as Charter Arms. Fit and finish aren't everything. I like how the cranes lock up. If the internals are heavy enough to keep the cylinder turning, locking, and the trigger returning for the next shot. And the chambers maintain bore alignment after hard use. Not necessarily heavy load use, but use well dirty or wet. Then the gun's good if the price is right. Assuming it delivers payload where aimed.

    The nice thing about the 45 Colt/revolver combination is versatility and delivered energy in relation to recoil.

    A tinkers dam within reach of the tinkerer.
    Well said. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,737 Senior Member
    A beater gun like a working dog just has a certain charm to it.
    I have several firearms that I'm not afraid to abuse. Firearms don't want to be fondled, they want to work for a living.
    Hey if those CA revolvers get the job done, I wouldn't worry a great deal about the looks.
     

    Waiting for the lastest load tests.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member

    Tomorrow. 👍🏻
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #46
    Hell, I forgot I have the 185s to try with the CFE as well. Busy day. 
    And I already ordered 200 of those Matt’s Bullets 200gr hollow point Bullets. Why the hell not?

    I just love .45cal cartridges. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 24,981 Senior Member
    Then there's this:

    And it goes bang every time!
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
    )O(
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    Well, the search continues. Here are the results from both 240gr HBWC & 185gr Gold Dots using both CFE-Pistol & Unique. 

    Unique was noticeably faster and CFE was marginally more accurate. All four loads struck approximately 7” below POA @ 10 yards. 
    Recoil wasn’t bad with any of the loads. 
    I’m surprised the 185s were slower than the 240s. Only thing I can surmise is bearing surface in the case and the fact the heavies are .452” and the lights are .451” in diameter?  So, the heavies generate more pressure?  No clue. But, the 185s have yet to do what I want in any of the .45 Colts. So, they are going to be relegated to .45 ACP only, where they perform very well. 
    I still have the 200gr FBHP enroute to try before I do anything with the front sight. 
    I’m still ope. To suggestions. But, of the powder I have, Unique seems to be the winner for speed. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    I do have some 200gr Berry’s plated Bullets I just remembered that I could try. Yes?  No?

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,964 Senior Member
    Yep on the Berry’s, basically in the why not department.  

    Many unique loads are set low because of old guns chambered in .45 Colt.  You might be able to amp that up a hair if working judiciously and by that I mean SLOWLY and CAREFULLY.  Unique is a great, safe powder until it’s not.  Not real tolerant of loads over the limit so it’s .1 grain increases while load testing until it feels…. mildly stout?  But it’s ideal for the short barrels because it’s so fast it’ll give you everything it’s got in a short distance to the muzzle.
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,347 Senior Member
    Seems like the front sight is probably going to have to be taken down some, once you settle on a load for it.

    I've been able to get great accuracy out of the 250 grain Berrys bullets on Titegroup. Never tried the 200s and have never tested my 250 grain loads other than for accuracy. Always worth a try. 
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,347 Senior Member
    Since both the CFE loads fell on their face as far as velocity, my guess is the powder plays a role in the reason the 185s were that slow. The other factors mentioned very well could be playing a role as well. I've never used that powder. My guess is there's not enough barrel to let it do it's job. Fast powder like Unique, Titegroup, Trail Boss etc is probably the key there.
  • TugarTugar Senior Member Posts: 2,422 Senior Member
    And cuts your hand in the process. Might as well be cut from unsanded hardwood.
    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
    Winston Churchill
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    Tried 200gr Berry’s Bullets FP


    And 250gr Speer Gold Dots

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,964 Senior Member
    Nice having a range at home!  I guess this explains why they give you such a tall front sight.  In this one ported too?
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,737 Senior Member
    I don't know what load (powder charge) you used in each but from the results, I can only guess this.
    First off, you used a faster burn rate powder with the heavier bullet and the slower burn rate powder with the lighter bullet. Personally, I think you'd get better results the other way around (don't know for sure but that's what I'm thinking)
    According to burn rate charts, Titegroup (#14), Trail Boss (#19), Unique (#31) and CFE Pistol (#44).
    The Hodgdon website claims CFE is for competition and self defense but they use long barrels for alot of their numbers. Competitive user often use longer barrels than your Charter Arms.
    Just my opinion but I think the 185's would fair better with the Unique.
    Second, remember the nature of progressive powder? The more resistance, the faster the burn, the more pressure developed, the more speed you get. Heavier bullet with faster powder became more pressure and so on. I suspect the opposite happened with the lighter bullet and slower powder.
    Anyway, you have a backyard range so don't get discouraged. If I had that I would live back there. 🤣

    Finally, once you get a load you like and if it is still hitting around 6" low, you may have to shave about 1/14" of an inch of the front blade then you'll be more on target.

    Keep up the good work 👍
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    I don't know what load (powder charge) you used in each but from the results, I can only guess this.
    First off, you used a faster burn rate powder with the heavier bullet and the slower burn rate powder with the lighter bullet. Personally, I think you'd get better results the other way around (don't know for sure but that's what I'm thinking)
    According to burn rate charts, Titegroup (#14), Trail Boss (#19), Unique (#31) and CFE Pistol (#44).
    The Hodgdon website claims CFE is for competition and self defense but they use long barrels for alot of their numbers. Competitive user often use longer barrels than your Charter Arms.
    Just my opinion but I think the 185's would fair better with the Unique.
    Second, remember the nature of progressive powder? The more resistance, the faster the burn, the more pressure developed, the more speed you get. Heavier bullet with faster powder became more pressure and so on. I suspect the opposite happened with the lighter bullet and slower powder.
    Anyway, you have a backyard range so don't get discouraged. If I had that I would live back there. 🤣

    Finally, once you get a load you like and if it is still hitting around 6" low, you may have to shave about 1/14" of an inch of the front blade then you'll be more on target.

    Keep up the good work 👍
    I used both powders (Unique/CFE-Pistol) with both Bullets (185/240). 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #58
    Now it’s starting to act like a .45 Colt!!!
    Yeah, Bigslug was right. I finally loaded the wadcutters flat first and seated them at two different depths. One at the last lube ring and the other load seated flush (first time I’ve ever done that). 



    The lube ring load clocked 898 fps and hit a little low. 

    AND THE WINNER IS!

    The flush mounted 240gr wadcutter w/ 9.0gr Unique at 1,038 fps @ 10yrds!!!
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    Nice having a range at home!  I guess this explains why they give you such a tall front sight.  In this one ported too?
    Not ported. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 2,964 Senior Member
    Machine off and install a S&W N frame FO front sight which should be just about the right height.  Then again the gun might not be worth the cost, but your gunsmith is cost free no?
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,446 Senior Member
    edited October 2021 #61
    Mean looking bastiges!

    Got them in the gun at the ranch working now. 

    But, that got me to thinking………what if I turn them around and still seat them that deep?!?  Cavity forward like before but deep seated. 

    In theory, they should have the same velocity. No?  And they should expand like crazy at that speed!  So, if these work too and have the same POI, I might just stagger them in the gun. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
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