It was .45 day at the range yesterday, with three different calibers represented; .45 Colt, .450 Adams and .44 Colt (I know, I know, but it shoots a .45-caliber bullet so it counts!) The guns were almost all single-actions- the JP Sauer& Sons Sherrif, the ASM SAA, The Dandy, The British Lion Bulldog revolver and the Remington .44 Colt conversion I’ve been fussing with for months.
The three cartridges:
First, the long-barreled Remington .44 Colt. I thought that I had the timing fixed, but the drag of a loaded cylinder was sufficient to throw the timing off. It was accurate, and the load seemed to work well- this uses a 200gr. Heel-base bullet over 6.5gr. of Trail Boss with a CCI300 Large Pistol Primer.
The problem with the timing turned out to be very, very simple- the sprocket is just a tiny bit too small, and the hand slips off it too soon. If it were even .5mm larger it would work. I’ll make a new cylinder for it with a larger sprocket.
Next up was the Dandy and it’s new five-shot cylinder chambered for .450 Adams. This was not so much to test the gun as a new load. My original test load was 2.0gr. of Trail Boss under a 200gr. LRN bullet with my usual CC300 primer. This is a very low-powered load- it will get the bullet out the barrel and downrange, but it’s probably moving about 350fps. This was fine for testing, and it’s hard to imagine it would blow up a gun that was not already severely compromised. After developing some experience with the round I tried a load with the same bullet over 4gr. of unique. This was more like it; it actually sounds like a gunshot when you touch one off. A wimpy gunshot. The maximum capacity of this case/bullet combination is about 3.3gr. A little more work with Trail Boss and I’ve worked up to a load of 3gr. of Trail Boss, and there I will stay. The Dandy’s cylinder would handle .45 Colt, so I had no qualms about testing this load in it.
This load works great. It’s accurate and has a good snap to it. I think that this load replicates the power of the original loading quite well, and Trail Boss is specifically made for loading in black-powder cartridges.
Having tried it in The Dandy I decided to try it in the British Lion bulldog revolver; it’s pretty stout and I was confident it would handle it fine. It did, but the recoil was quite noticeable. Again, accuracy was good. I like this load a lot, but I think I won’t be using it regularly in the antique guns. I’ll either stick with the 4.0gr. Unique load, or perhaps develop an ‘in-between’ load using Trail Boss.
The J.P.Saeur & Sohn custom Sheriff is shooting very high and somewhat to the right; I need to fabricate a new, taller front sight and install it, with a bit of adjustment for the drift to the right.
The load used was 8.0gr. of Unique with a 200gr. LSWC. This is a good mid-range load, but I made a bit of as boo-boo… I checked the OAL of the round against the JP Sauer– forgetting that it is built on an oversize cylinder and frame (the same as this company’s .44 Magnum.) When I tried them in the ASM Single Action Army they protrude slightly from the front of the cylinder. Um… oops.
Fortunately I had some other .45 Colt with me; my ‘open-top’ load using a 200gr. LRNFP over 7.2gr. of Unique. I could also fire .450 Adams through it, and did. Despite shortening the front sight it is still shooting a little low, so I’ll need to have another go at it.
This is a really nice gun; I really enjoy shooting it. The trigger is about 4.5 lbs. and it breaks crisp and clean. Once it’s shooting to POA I expect I will be shooting it quite a lot.
I also got to shoot a very nice custom Glock19 that the shooter next to me brought. I’d let him shoot the British Lion and he offered to let me shoot his Glock. It had a custom slide and barrel and an after-market trigger. Unfortunately the range was not an ideal environment to get exact details, so I cannot tell you exactly what barrel, slide and trigger were. It was a nice shooter, and his buddy had a .45 Glock that he let me fire. Good guns. I let them shoot my Detonics Mk.1 .45, and they were much impressed, both with the light felt recoil and accuracy.
It was very satisfying to have The Dandy work so well, and I had a great time with some of the other shooters. Good day indeed.
Michael Tinker Pearce 30 August 2018