doctoring my .45

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/06/2012

Hello, newbie here. Just getting my feet wet with handguns and reloading. I have three Ruger single actions: .357, .44 Special, and .45 Convertible.

I've been working with my .45 Ruger Convertible. Accuracy was not what I get with my .44 so I started looking into it. I read that I needed to ream the throats, so I got a Manson reamer and reamed both cylinders. According to the paperwork this should have put the throats right at .452. I tried pushing some commercial cast bullets through but they wouldn't come close to going through even though the box said they were .452. Next I pushed some of the bullets through my Lee .452 sizing die. The bullets were on the larger side, but after sizing them they still wouldn't go through the throats. After reaming my accuracy seems a little improved, but I'm still getting lots of leading (long streaks) in the barrel. I just ordered a .451 sizing die, and I'm going to try that next. Has anyone had a similar experience? Any answers or suggestions? With my .44 Special the bullets go through the throats with a tiny bit of pressure. That gun is as accurate as I can shoot it. I want the bullets to go through the .45 throats the same way. Thanks.

admin's picture
Joined: 07/07/2010
Welcome... the forum, Leadpusher. I'm sure someone will be along to give you some good ideas.

terry_p's picture
Joined: 05/08/2012
Round velocity

If you are getting leading in BBL then I suspect you load does match you cast bullet hardness level. What are you using for a load and have you chronied the load?

Chris3755's picture
Joined: 08/02/2010
Old Machinist

As an old machinist I have a belief that things should be measured before and then after to see what has been done. You said you read that you needed to ream the chambers in the cylinders so you reamed them with a .452 reamer kit and the .452 bullets will not push through the throats yet. Did you measure them with a gauge? There are several ways to measure an inside hole such as a chamber throat, the easiest being a ball type expanding gauge which can be had from many vendors including both the gun supply places like Brownell's or Midway and the machinist supply stores too. Once you know the real size you can determine what to size your lead bullets to.Of course you can go trial and error by ordering different sizing dies until you find the right size but it would be easier to measure first and order the right size. Once that is done then you can work on bullet hardness vs velocity etc. to determine where leading is reduced or eliminated. Chris

Mak's picture
Joined: 03/01/2011
Ruger mysteries

Ruger makes some exceptionally durable and reliable sixguns, but in general they simply are not as accurate as some other offering by competing manufacturers. Gun people are kind of funny, they think that they can have accuracy, reliability, light weight, whisper soft hammer springs, and triggers that a 100 year old Grandmother would like.
Yes, chamber throats are important, and generally speaking, the throat diameter should be close to the bore diameter, however, this assumes that the chambers themselves are cut correctly. If the throats are off by a large extent, chances are the chambers will be as well. If this is the case, it should be possible to use shorter, roundnose, smaller diameter bullets that could shoot better. An old trick is to load 45 ACP bullets in 45 Colt cases, just be sure to use a taper crimp. If this is too daunting, a SWC cast can be seated with the crimp over the shoulder, and this will seat fully into your gun.

The apparent fact that you now have .452" throats, yet commercial bullets that are likely the same size will not drop through is, as Chris said above, neither a good measure, nor an accurate method of understanding what is happening in your cylinders.
This is complicated by the fact that 45 ACP bullets run .451" diameter, not the .454", or more commonly, .452" of the .45 Colt.
The 45 caliber is the single most difficult caliber to find guns properly dimensioned. I honestly do not know or understand why this is the case, yet it most assuredly is. That said, it is impossible to fully diagnose the condition of your gun without the ability to examine, measure, and review the piece. Any number of situations may apply, however, by trying either of the two suggestions above, you should be able to fully enjoy your gun.

mworkmansr's picture
Joined: 09/21/2010
I learned something new

Thanks for the info about split ball bore gauges. Got to get one for myself.

Don't worry. Be happy.