Handloads for Non-Handloaders.
By John Taffin
Back in 2010 in this column, I shared “Handloads For Non-Handloaders” which came from Garrett Cartridges. Friend Randy Garrett ran a one-man shop providing extremely high quality .44 Magnum and .45-70 hunting ammunition. Most of which was loaded with Hard Cast Hammerhead bullets. After several decades of providing hunters all over the world with these cartridges, Randy found himself physically unable to keep doing it so he put his business up for sale. It was purchased by Ashley Emerson and moved to Texas and is now known as Garrett Cartridges of Texas.
Ashley is carrying on the tradition and has added other loads. One of those is his new .454 using a 365 grain Hard Cast Hammerhead Gas Check rated at 1,350 fps. He backed it up with a second load using the same bullet rated at 1,500 fps, both from a 71/2″ Freedom Arms Model 83. Once I shot some of his loads through a 91/2″ Ruger Super Redhawk, I knew what I was taking on my Dream Hunt (covered here in the July/Aug 2015 issue). Three shots of the “lighter” load cut a cloverleaf at 50 yards and the decision was made.
The Garrett Cartridges 310-grain Super Hardcast Hammerhead
.44 Magnum is rated at 1,100 fps from a 71/2″ barrel.
Garrett Cartridges of Texas offers two levels of loads for the .454,
365-grain bullets at 1,350 and 1,500 fps.
Just as Randy Garrett did, Ashley Emerson casts, sizes and lubricates each bullet himself and also loads each individual round by hand, no automated machinery — and he does it personally.
Three .44 Magnum loads are offered, all loaded with Super Hard Cast Hammerhead bullets. These consist of the 310 grain Defender (1,020 fps from a 4″ S&W), the .44 Magnum Hammerhead using the same bullet (1,325 fps) which is perfectly suited for the Ruger Super Blackhawk, and the .44 Magnum +P Hammerhead using a long 330 grain bullet (1,400 fps) which can only be used in longer cylinders and revolvers like the Ruger Redhawk and Ruger Super Redhawk. Garrett Cartridges of Texas also continues to offer six different .45-70 loads for various strength-levels of rifle actions.
Ashley has five new .45 caliber loads all using Hard Cast Gas Check Hammerhead bullets. Three of these are .45 Colt loads. Ashley calls these The Good, The Gooder and The Ugly. The “Good” load is the .45 Colt +P which is a 265 grain Hammerhead delivering 1,000 fps from a 71/2″ barrel. This load is designed to give shooters of 2nd and 3rd Generation Colt Single Actions, S&W Model 25’s and Uberti replicas of the SAA produced since 2000, a serious every day carry load which they could also use for hunting. For any Non-Handloader this is a good load to look at for the prized Colt Single Action or even in a Ruger Blackhawk or one of the new Flat-Tops.
Going up the line to the “Gooder” load, we have the .45LFR (Large Frame Revolver) which is a 365-grain Hard Cast Hammerhead rated at 1,250 fps from a 71/2″ Ruger Bisley or full-sized Blackhawk. It turns either sixgun into a serious hunting gun.
There’s a reason the third load is called “The Ugly.” It’s designed for really putting the hurt on bears or boars. The Ugly is a 405-grain Hard Cast Hammerhead rated at 1,350 fps from a 71/2″ Redhawk. The same load does 1,250 fps from a 4″ Redhawk which, in such a short barrel, outperforms the original .45-70 Trapdoor Carbine load!
New from Garrett Cartridges is the 45LFR .45 Colt +P 365 grain
Hammerhead rated at 1,250 fps for use in long cylindered sixguns.
This brings us to the two new .454 loads. My choice is the 1,350 fps load, cataloged as the .454 Hammerhead. With its 365-gr. bullet, it’s proven to me it will do anything I need a hunting load to do at this stage of my life. The 454HH is the same bullet at 1,500 fps and should you decide you need a little more power, this would be the choice. Either one of these loads will handle any hunting situation.
To come up with the bullets for these new .45 and .454 loads Ashley took a good look at the original .44 Hard Cast Hammerhead Bullets and expanded them to .45 caliber. All have the same crimp groove, design elements and all are gas checked and made of Randy Garrett’s secret Super Hard Tough Alloy.
If you find yourself too busy to handload, take a good look at Garrett Cartridges of Texas.
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index