Solution? Gas Checks!

The solution lies in using copper gas checks for over-powder and over-shot cards, but there’s a hitch. Gas checks for .45 Colt are 0.460" diameter. Brand-new factory brass is usually 0.474" outside diameter, which means about 0.454" inside at the mouth, then tapering still smaller toward the base of the case as it thickens inside. So how can this work? The secrets are to use a 0.439" diameter .44 caliber gas check for the over-powder card, and to push those 0.460" gas checks through a Lee 0.452" bullet sizer for the overshot cards.

Grins finally arrived on the scene with Load #13. It consists of using fired cases trimmed to 1.270" and resized in a die that leaves them 0.475" in diameter, then generously neck flared. Power comes from six grains of Unique topped with the .44 gas check, cup side up. Using 180 grains of #12 shot leaves a 0.452" gas check 0.035"–0.040" below the top of the flared case mouth, cup side down. This ensures crimping doesn’t compress the powder charge, which is dangerous with pistol powders.

Using a Hornady die, a roll crimp that reduces case mouth size to 0.405"–0.410" holds everything in place. A faint shot rattle assures me I haven’t compressed the powder charge. To me, it’s the near-perfect home-made .45 Colt shotshell. The imperfection is I’m probably going to get significant barrel leading from the soft lead shot. However, Kano Kroil does an excellent job of floating this stuff loose.