Manual Catalog

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Manual Catalog

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Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks Japan Parts Manual / Catalog User Guide

The original mega-mag: although the .454 Casull never attained the .44 Magnum's iconic status, it still provides remarkable versatility and crushing power.

Dick Casull and his friend Jack Fulmer began experimenting with
souped-up loads for revolvers of various calibers during the early
1950s, At the time, the .357 Magnum was being promoted as the most
powerful handgun cartridge in the world, but Casull and Fulmer were
convinced that the .45
Colt

 was more effective on deer and even larger
game, especially when it was loaded to higher-than-normal velocities.
Standard factory speed for the .45 Colt was 870 fps with a 250-grain
bullet for just over 400 ft-lbs of energy. Their goal was to increase
that to a whopping 1,650 ft-lbs by loading a 230-grain bullet to 1,800
fps. It represented a huge step forward in handgun power since, at the
time, the .357 Magnum was factory rated at 690 ft-lbs.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As was soon discovered, the
limiting factor

 was handgun strength.
The Colt single actions the men were working with were plenty strong for
the .45 Colt loaded to its original performance level, but six of the
big cartridges take up a lot of cylinder room, leaving chamber walls
quite thin. The margin of safety with hot loads was extremely narrow.
Cylinders blew and topstraps sailed into orbit long before the desired
velocity was reached.

At the time, Casull was working for P.O. Ackley and without
Ackley's expertise along with his shop full of tools and machinery,
the project might have died with the last blown Colt
SAA

. Machining a
new cylinder from Type 4140 steel and heat-treating to a Rockwell
hardness of 42C increased strength, but what really enabled it to
contain pressures far beyond the capabilities of the Colt cylinder was
reducing its capacity to five rounds. Doing so put more steel on the
outside and between chambers. Just as important, it positioned the
cylinder stop notches between chambers rather than over them. The new
cylinder--along with reheat-treating the Colt frame--enabled Casull to
meet his velocity goals.

At the time, Hercules 2400 was the slowest powder available, but it
proved stubborn about igniting in the big .45 Colt case. Enlarging
primer pockets so Large Rifle primers could be used helped, but too much
unburned powder remained in the barrel. The solution at the time (and a
dangerous one at that) was
triplex
 /tri·plex/ () triple or threefold.



triplex

triple or threefold.
 loading. I won't mention charge
weights, but a pinch of Unique went into a case first, followed by a big
dollop of 2400 and a bit of
Bullseye

 finished it off. Seating a bullet
compressed the three powders enough to prevent them from mixing.
Muzzle

 velocities for 230- and 300-grain bullets were 1,800 and 1,500 fps,
respectively,

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The power was there, but accuracy left a bit to be desired. After
experimenting with barrels made by Ackley in various twist rates, it was
discovered that 1:24 produced much smaller groups than 1:16, which is
standard for the .45 Colt. Casull called his cartridge the .454 Magnum,
and during the 1960s and on into the 1970s he built a number of handguns
chambered for it for various customers. Most were on the Colt frame, but
he also converted a few Ruger Black hawks.

In the November 1959 issue of "Guns & Ammo," P.O.
Ackley broke the story of a hand-built revolver with strength far
exceeding those built on the other frames. The frame was beefier than
the Colt and its cylinder slightly larger in diameter. The gun also
weighed about 10 ounces more. Velocities increased to 2,000 fps for a
230-grain bullet and 1,710 fps for a bullet weighing 300 grains.
Muzzle
energy

 exceeded 2,000 ft-lbs.

Casull knew that the likelihood of any ammunition company loading a
cartridge capable of totally destroying other guns chambered for the .45
Colt cartridge was slim, so in order to prevent his cartridge from being
chambered in them, he increased case length to 1.383 inches. Those first
cases were pocketed for Large Rifle primers, but the switch was later
made to the Small Rifle primer.

A new company called Freedom Arms was eventually formed, with the
first Model 83 revolver in .454 Casull built in 1983. It has often been
described as the most accurate magnum-performance revolver ever built,
and having shot one for many years, I cannot disagree. I consider five
shots inside five inches at 100 yards excellent accuracy from a
revolver, and the Model 83 in .454 Casull often trims that by two or
three inches. It is also capable of averaging five inches at twice the
distance with loads it likes.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

From a practical point of view, the .454 Casull uses about the
maximum amount of powder that can be burned in a .45-caliber revolver
with any degree of efficiency. Increasing the charge by going with a
longer case yields very little velocity gain. The .460 S&W Magnum
case is a longer version of the .454 Casull, and when it burns about 20
percent more powder to reach top speed with a 300-grain bullet, the
results are a bit more noise and
recoil
 /re·coil/ () a quick pulling back.



elastic recoil  the ability of a stretched object or organ, such as the bladder, to return to its resting position.
 but not a lot of gain in
velocity.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Not long ago I shot a Model 460 revolver with a 12-inch barrel from
the S&W Performance Center. The fastest loads I came up with for
300-grain bullets were 1,602 fps with H4227 and 1,634 fps with
Lil'Gun. And that was from a foot-long barrel. The .454 is capable
of pushing a 300-grain bullet from a 7 1/2-inch barrel at 1,600 fps.

Reloading

 manuals tend to agree with my experience. For its
300-grain Gold Dot HP, Speer shows a
maximum velocity

n.
1. The maximum rate of an enzymatic reaction that can be achieved by progressively increasing the substrate concentration.

2.
 of 1,591 fps for
the .460 in a 8 3/8-inch barrel and 1,630 fps for the .454 in a 7
1/2-inch barrel. Technicians who shot data for the Hornady manual used
those same two barrel lengths and came up with a maximum speed of 1,650
fps for both the .454 and the .460. That's not much difference.

There is no
scarcity

 of .454 Casull factory loads. Federal and
Winchester offer three each, and two loads are available from Hornady.
Cor-Bon has eight options loaded with bullets ranging in weight from 240
to 360 grains, and there are seven loads from Buffalo Bore. In addition
to various jacketed bullets, Buffalo loads a 365-grain hardcast lead
bullet at 1,525 fps that has a reputation for extreme penetration on the
largest game animals. The Barnes 250-grain
XPB

XPB Crosspoint Buffer
 is available in the
company's Vor-Tx ammo line (loaded by Remington). SAAMI maximum
chamber pressure for the .454 Casull is 65,000 psi, but most factories
and those who shoot data for various handloading manuals hold it to
55,000 or so. This is still about 15,000 psi higher than the .44 Magnum
is commonly loaded to.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It is not unusual for factory loads to equal and even exceed
advertised velocities in some guns. Federal Premium loaded with the
300-grain A-Frame is supposed to move out at 1,530 fps, but it clocks
1,555 fps from my 7 1/2-inch Freedom Arms Model 83. Hornady lists 1,650
fps for its 300-grain XTP-MAG, and my
chronograph
 /chron·o·graph/ () an instrument for recording small intervals of time.



chronograph

an instrument for recording small intervals of time.
 says it is just about
dead on the money. Winchester's 265-grain Dual Bond is rated at
1,800 fps, hut in my gun it averages 1,837 fps.

Most shooters I know who own guns in .454 Casull mostly shoot .45
Colt ammo in them and reserve full-power loads for hunting. Punching
paper with .45 Schofield ammo from Black Hills reduces recoil even more
during practice sessions. Bullets fired from the shorter cases have to
leap through a great deal of space in the long .454 chamber before
entering the barrel, but close-to medium-range accuracy is still quite
good.

However, shooting either or the two shorter cartridges in a .454
chamber can leave a ring of fouling. The chambers in a Freedom Arms
revolver are reamed to absolute minimum diameter, and if the ring of
fouling is not removed prior to firing .454 ammo, it can prevent the
case from springing away from the bullet during firing, resulting in a
hazardous jump in pressure. Removing the fouling with a brass brush and
solvent will prevent this from happening. Or you can simply buy an extra
.45 Colt cylinder.

Unprimed cases are available from Starline and Hornady. A few
reloading rules should be adhered to. Full-length-sizing virgin cases
prior to loading them is one. A sizing die made for the .45 Colt should
not be used, because a die reamed specifically for the .454 reduces a
case to a smaller diameter and that along with a hard roll
crimp

 will
keep bullets from creeping forward and tying up cylinder rotation. I
prefer to maintain a maximum overall cartridge length that positions the
nose of a bullet no closer than .010 inch from the front of the
cylinder.

If I could have only one powder for the .454, it would be W296 or
H110, which is actually the same powder with different names.
Lil'Gun and Accurate 1680 are also quite good. Those powders are
for full-power loads or close to it, and charge weights lighter than the
lightest loads shown in various reloading manuals should not be used.
Using quicker-burning powders to push a cast bullet along at modest
velocity saves wear and tear on gun and shooter and can be quite
accurate to boot. "Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook" has
plenty of data. The Model 83 is the only magnum-performance revolver I
have shot that's accurate enough to indicate preferences in
primers. The Remington 7 1/2 is my first choice, with the Federal GM205M
in a very close second place.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Not all .45-caliber bullets are suitable for use in the .454
Casull. All are safe to use at .45 Colt velocities, but when loaded to
maximum .454 chamber pressures, those with soft lead cores and
relatively thin jackets can obturate excessively when entering the
forcing cone of the barrel, causing pressures to
skyrocket
  
n.
A firework that ascends high into the air where it explodes in a brilliant cascade of flares and starlike sparks.

intr. & tr.v.
 to dangerous
levels. If the maker of a particular bullet does not include the .454
Casull in its loading manual or on its website, it is not suitable for
maximum-velocity loadings. The No. 14 manual from Speer has
reduced-velocity loads for standard bullets and high-velocity loads for
bullets capable of withstanding the strain.

Hornady's manual also has loads for its two types of
.45-caliber bullets, the standard
XTP

 for .45 Colt chamber pressures and
the XTP-Mag for use in full-power .454 Casull loads. The two types of
bullets differ in construction. The core of the XTP is pure lead, and
its jacket tapers to a thickness of about .010 inch near the nose. The
core of the XTP-Mag is made harder by the addition of 5 percent

antimony
  [Lat. antimoneum], semimetallic chemical element; symbol Sb [Lat. stibium,=a mark]; at. no. 51; at. wt. 121.75; m.p. 630.74&degC;; b.p. 1,750&degC;; sp. gr. (metallic form) 6.
, and its jacket is .025 inch thick at the nose. While I am on
the subject of data sources, Hodgdon's manual has loads listed for
a wider range of bullet weights (240 to 395 grains) than any other data
source.

A number of bullets are suitable for full-power loading. Three are
the Swift A-Frames weighing 260, 300 and 325 grains. I recently took my
all-time best whitetail deer with the 300-grain A-Frame at 1,500 fps
from an inline muzzleloader, and expansion at 223 yards left nothing to
be desired. The Hornady 240- and 300-grain XTP-Mag bullets are also
quite good, as is the 250-grain XPB from Barnes. Barnes also has a
275-grain XPB, but it is made specifically for the .460 S&W Magnum
and the distance from its cannelure to its pointed nose is too great to
stay within maximum overall cartridge length for the shorter .454 Casull
chamber. Speer's 300-grain Gold Dot hollowpoint is another great
option.

CHRONO/ACCURACY RESULTS

200 YARDS

BULLET/WEIGHT (GR.)    POWDER/CHARGE  MUZ. VEL.  AVG. GRP.
                        WEIGHT (CR.)      (FPS)      (IN.)

HORNADY XTP-MAG/300      A-1680/33.0      1,644       5.11

SPEER GDHP/300             H110/31.0      1,588       6.12

SWIFT A-FRAME/100       Lil'Cun/31.0      1,610       5.19

100 YARDS

HORNADY XTP-MAG/300          Hornady      1,638       5.62
                             Factory

SWIFT A-FRAME/300    Federal Factory      1,555       4.87

HDRNADV XTP-MAG/240     Lil'Gun/38 0      1,868       3.65

BARNES XPB/250             W296/2B,0      1,802       3.65

SWIFT A-FRAME/265          H110/37.0      1,744       1.84

SWIFT A-FRAME/325          H110/28.0      1,464       2.44

BARNES XPB/250       Federal Factory      1,548       2.63

COR-BONSN/300        Cor-Bon Factory      1,619       4.55

HORNADY XPB/240      Hornady Factory      1,855       3.21

WINCHESTER DB/260       Win. Factory      1,837       5.18

25 YARDS

LYMAN CAST/255           Unique/12.5      1,248       1.11

RCBS CAST/270            Unique/12.5      1,210       0.94

LEAD FN .45 COLT/250     Black Hills        834       1.48
                             Factory

LEAD FN .45              Black Hills        751       1.43
SCHOFIELD/180                Factory

NOTES: A Freedom Arms Model 83 with a 7 1/2-inch
barrel and a Nikon 2.5-8X scope was used for all
loads. With the exception of the cast bullet loads,
all powder charges are maximum and should be
reduced by four grains for starting loads. Hornady
cases and Remington 7 1/2 primers were used.
Accuracy shown is for five five-shot groups fired
from a benchrest at the indicated distances.
Velocities are averages of 25 or more rounds
clocked 12 feet from the muzzle with an Oehler
Model 33 chronograph.

For all-around big-game use, a good 300-grain bullet is tough to
beat. When exiting the muzzle at 1,500 to 1,600 fps, it drops only about
four inches more at 150 yards than a 240-grain bullet at 1,900 fps.
Sectional density of the heavier bullet is about 25 percent higher, and
there is very little difference in recoil.

Having a revolver in .454 Casull is a lot like owning a
high-performance car. Its power is seldom actually needed, but when it
is, few cartridges offer more.

RELATED ARTICLE: Other Options

During the 1960s P.O. Ackley rebarreled a few Winchester Model 92s
to .454 Casull. Heat-treating their receivers increased strength, but it
was asking a lot of a rifle originally designed to handle the
mild-mannered .38-40 and .44-40 cartridges. This held especially true
for any shooter I who dared load the .454 to its original 65,000 psi.
More recently, several companies have imported Model 92 copies in .454,
but I believe all have been discontinued. Legacy Sports International
still offers the Puma, and while it was once available in .454, that
chambering is not an option in the company's 2013
catalog
 descriptive list, on cards or in a book, of the contents of a library. Assurbanipal's library at Nineveh was cataloged on shelves of slate. The first known subject catalog was compiled by Callimachus at the Alexandrian Library in the 3d cent. B.C.
.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The big cartridge definitely gains speed in a longer barrel,
especially in a closed-breech gun. A maximum load in the Swift reloading
manual pushes a 300-grain bullet along at 1,992 fps--from a 20-inch
pressure barrel. That's a good 400 fps faster than from a 7
1/2-inch revolver barrel--and
darned
  
adj.
Damned.

Adj. 1. darned - expletives used informally as intensifiers; "he's a blasted idiot"; "it's a blamed shame"; "a blame cold winter"; "not a blessed dime"; "I'll be damned (or blessed or darned or
 close to what I get with a bullet
of the same weight in my Marlin 1895 In .45-70 Government.

The only other standard-production .454-caliber revolvers I am
aware of are the Ruger
Super Redhawk

 and the Raging Bull from Taurus.
Like the Freedom Arms Model 83, both have five-round cylinders. My
experience with both is limited to shooting a few rounds
offhand
  
adv.
Without preparation or forethought; extemporaneously.

adj. also off·hand·ed
Performed or expressed without preparation or forethought. See Synonyms at extemporaneous.
 from
each gun, so I am no expert on either. But I will say that neither is as
comfortable to shoot as the Model 83. Between the two, I find the Super
Redhawk to be much kinder to the hand than the Raging Bull.

The 4 1/2-pound weight (plus scope) of my Model 83 makes it quite

tolerable
  
adj.
1. Capable of being tolerated; endurable.

2. Fairly good; passable. See Synonyms at average.



tol
 to shoot. This is probably due to the fact that it has a
straighter grip than a standard Colt SAA. As far as I'm concerned,
the Model 83 is more comfortable to shoot than the Ruger Super Blackhawk
in .44 Magnum. When wearing a padded glove from my days of metallic

silhouette
 , outline image, especially a profile drawing solidly filled in or a cutout pasted against a lighter background.
 competition, I can go 50 to 60 rounds in one session without
stress or strain. I could survive more, I suppose, but shooting is
supposed to be fun.

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