Ruger Bearcat 4.2″ Barrel

Ruger Bearcat (Adjustable Sights) 4.2″ Barrel

Ammunition Bullet Weight (grains) String Size Avg Velocity Ext Spread Std Dev Notes
Federal 550 Round Value Pack (old, need to confirm grain) 36 6 Shots 984 66 26 Old pack with some corrosion on the bullet plating, but clean brass. Hard to load. Spit lead once. Box says 1280 @ muzzle, 1020 @ 100 yards
CCI 40grain CPRN “AR Tactical” 40 6 Shots 964 51 19 Easy to load
Aguila Super Extra 40gr 40 4 Shots 948 54 22.2 Nominal 1,255 fps @ muzzle, 1036fps @ 100 yards
Aguila Golden Eagle “Eley Prime” 40 4 Shots 847 18 7.8 Discontinued? Exposed lead. Nominal 1080fps.

Cleaning Load with CFE

Cartridge: 45 Colt

Brass: Winchester, 1x fired

Primer: Rem 2½ Large Pistol

Powder: CFE Pistol 8.8gr (per Hodgdon)

Bullet: 250 gr Nosler JHP, #43013

Crimp: Heavy Lee factory crimp

Velocity: 841 fps (814,868,844,850,825,845)

Extreme Spread (6 shots): 814-868 = 54fps

Standard Deviation (6 shots): 19fps

LabRadar Series: S29

Firearm: Ruger Blackhawk, 5.5″ Barrel

Notes: Low flash.

Hodgdon claims 915fps at 13kPSI with a Hornady XTP, WLP Primers, 7.25″ test barrel. I started with the maximum load, on the assumption I would get a cleaner burn at a higher pressure (since 45 Colt is much lower pressure than most modern pistol rounds CFE was presumably designed for). I felt safe doing that because I had a tremendous safety margin since this was intended for a Ruger Blackhawk.

The WLP primer Hodgdon used in their load data is suitable for hard-to-ignite “magnum” powders. Given the inconsistent performance of this load, I should try the WLP or a magnum primer, with my next CFE load, and see if I get more consistency.

I tried this same load with mixed brass, and 250gr HiTek coated lead bullets and got:

Velocity: 963 fps (940, 948, 952, 963, 937, 948, 972, 963, 967, 972, 980, 966, 948, 951, 983, 983, 971, 977, 978)

Extreme Spread (19 shots): 983-937 = 46.12

Standard Deviation (19 shots): 14.63

LabRadar Series: S106

Notes: Recoil was not bad, but a bit snappier than I expected