45 Colt – Comparing Hornady FTX LeveRevolution Factory Loads To Hornady XTP Handloads
Back in April I did some horse trading at a gun show and acquired my first revolver, a used Polymer Taurus Judge. I picked up some Hornady factory ammo to be able to go out and shoot it that day, as well as picking up some plated projectiles and Winchester AutoComp powder at the local gun store based on a hodgdonreloading.com recipe and ordering a set of Lee dies. When I started weighing powder charges I was immediately concerned about low case fill. Which was justified in this post. And again in this post. After sticking a bullet in the barrel with the Hodgdon recipe I talked to the local gun shop owner about what powder he had that was better case filling, he checked a few manuals and presented me with Alliant Claydot and a recipe for 5.0gr from an older Alliant manual. I tried this recipe, it still produced low velocities (200-300 fps) and resulted in another bullet just poking it’s nose out of the barrel which I failed to photograph. I also found a recipe in Propellant Profiles (Sixth edition currently Out Of Print and unavailable on the Wolfe Publishing website, watch for a new edition.) for 5.2gr of Claydot, this was marginally better, no barrel obstructions, but still very low velocity.
Since then I’ve had a bit of buyer’s remorse for buying a polymer revolver and traded up at another gun show for a new in the box steel Judge Magnum capable of 3″ .410 shells confident that I could come up with a working load; I’m pretty close now.
Deciding to cautiously go it on my own, with a steel frame revolver, I loaded up some more 250gr plated round nose at 5.5gr of Claydot and the load came alive.
All the rounds felt good. The 200 – 400 fps loads felt good, they felt as strong as the 600 fps shoots. I think the paper cover cards flying over the chronograph may have caused errors.
So I loaded up some 250gr Hornady XTPs at 5.7gr of Claydot with these results.
There was one 636 fps I took out as an outlier, I will blame that on myself. Claydot is a flake powder that tends to bridge in the powder drop, maybe I should have tapped the lever on the upstroke and downstroke of the powder measure a couple more times. Without the outlier the Extreme Spread would be 21 fps and the Standard Deviation 8 fps; quite nice.
Going forward with load development I would like to match the velocity of the FTX LeveRevolutions, I’m thinking of upping the charge to 5.9 or 6.0gr to see if I can get some expansion on the XTPs. I have a pack of polar fleece as used by Paul Harrell to catch projectiles that escape the water jugs. My previous experience with 9mm is that they always stop by the 3rd jug and expand nicely, the Colt 45 does not seem to be expanding in water at the recorded velocities like a 9mm does. Looking at the reaction of the jugs there seems to be a significant amount of energy being dumped. The 1st and sometimes 2nd jug is jumping off the table; that is not insignificant.
As I said the Judge is my first revolver, but it will not be replacing my daily carry S&W Bodyguard anytime soon.
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I owned a Marlin 60 since 1987, but never really got ‘into’ guns until 2011 when I bought my first 9mm pistol. That was soon followed by a .380 and a 12 guage pump, and I was all in. I had done some 20 guage reloading growing up, and threw myself into 9mm and .223 reloading in 2017, .380 in 2019, 7.62×39 in 2020 and my first revolver in 45 Colt in 2022. It is so satisfying to go to the range and string together ever improving groups with ammo I loaded myself; it doesn’t hurt that I’m a little OCD about technical things, the tangible/visible rewards are really gratifying.
I have a nagging but as yet unattained ‘want’ for a .358 Yeti unloader, it just looks like a really cool caliber. My next learning curve, space permitting, is casting and coating.