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I shoot a colt's saa. A maximum load is 8.5 gr unique at 900 fps. What velocity could I expect from a carbine 16 in barrel? A 20 in barrel?
 

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Loki, there are doubtless ballistic formulae to help one figure this out, but if you have access to a chronograph, or don't mind shelling out $100 or so for one, it's a great tool to use. I've found that some printed velocity figures are almost spot-on, yet others in the same books or charts are quite a ways off from what MY individual gun produces..
 
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I don't have the data here at work, but out of a 20" barrel you should get about 1100 fps with that load.

You can actually load a .45 Colt case up quite a bit hotter for a good lever rifle such as Marlin or Winchester 94, or a Winchester 92. If you want some good info, check out Paco Kelly's article on this topic at leverguns.com. Paco's stuff on leverguns has no peer in the gun literature.
 
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I have an article clipped from a very old shooting magazine. They compared pistols and carbines in 9mm, 45acp, 45colt, 38spl and 357mag. Only the magnum had a significant increase in velocity.

Carbines in 45LC get a maximum of 100 fps more than handguns using standard commercial loads. A 250 gr bullet shot with accuracy at 1000 fps would be a real attention getter ;)
 
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