Handguns and Ammunition Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,951 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I'm wondering, why did the .45 Colt fall from grace?

It seems to me that if we have defense revolvers chambered in .44spl we could have them chambered for this fine old cartridge, or even for the .45 S&W (loaded with modern components of course).

The .45acp is based off of the ballistics of the .45 Colt, so why not put the old workhorse to use in large frame snub revolvers?

I know it enjoys limited use; I'd just expect to see more of it.

Thanks,

Josh <><
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
898 Posts
Josh, the .45 Colt's long history works against its popularity, sort of--follow along and I'll 'splain that statement.

For several years now, most of the "name" ammo makers have seemingly worried more about liability than performance. So, they play the "what if" game in terms of how they load certain older cartridges. In the case of the .45 Colt, it's obvious they're afraid somebody will stick any type of enhanced, "hot-rodded" factory loads in Great-Grampa's old Peacemaker, with disastrous results. So, it seems like only the small companies like CorBon will load .45 Colt and the like for use in stronger, modern guns.

(BTW, let me add that the traditional, safe-in-all-guns loads for .45 Colt would suit me just fine 90something% of the time; for more potent ammo I'd just brew up my own.)

Good ol' .38 Super suffers in the same kind of purgatory, seems to me. But that's another topic..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,359 Posts
Brian hinted at part of the problem. One must remember that the .45 Colt was originally a blackpowder cartridge. That meant much lower pressures than we see with today's Nitro-cellulose propellents. There are just too many revolvers and even Winchester rifles still out there that were built for blackpowder. Similarly, we have Damascus steel shotgun barrels and modern shotgun shells - Very ugly results.

Then too, the .45 Colt has ballistics that other, more modern cartridges exceed. The .45 Colt's decendent, .45 ACP has in many circles been replaced with .40 S&W or .357 SIG.

Having said that, Taurus and S&W both make modern double action revolvers in .45 Colt.
 
G

·
My issue with the 45 colt in a swing-out revolver has always been the case rim diameter, which is closer to the the case diameter than a 44 spl or 44 magnum. as a result of thgis, the 45 colt can be less reliable in extraction than those 44's

The 45 colt was designed for loading gate revolvers, so the rim is of no corcern in extraction, and experiences very low stress in these applications.

It may be purely subjective, but it is why I don't have a double action 45 colt revolver
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
898 Posts
Good point, car541. While my S&W 25-5 never gave me any extraction problems, my Winchester 94 in .45 Colt did, due to the relatively tiny overhang of the rim you mention. Guess it could happen in a DA revolver too, especially if dirty.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,951 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Brian and Car541,

I thought I had read someplace that modern ammo makers are using a larger rim because of the proliferation of rifles in .45 Colt?

Thank you,

Josh <><
 
G

·
What Car 541 pointed out about the smaller rims is a concern in double action .45 colts. I carried a S&W 25-5 for years and while I loved the caliber and the gun, I did have several times where the extracter would slide over the rim on a fast reload. The gun would be out of action till I could get a pocket knife out and dislodge the spent shell out from underneather the extracter. I still carry this gun as a trail gun but this was a shortcoming of the cartridge. It is still my favorite handgun for hunting in a single action Ruger and it really shines for its versatility.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,053 Posts
The only things wrong with the .45 Colt are:

1. there is not as many good self defense loads as with the .45 ACP (there are some and that probably is enough).

2. It must be chambered in a revolver (actually I once fired an autoloader in .45 Colt but that was unique).

Neither one of those should keep one from considering it. And if you are an *acomplished* reloader #1 is irrelevant. If you are not an *accomplished* reloader then you should not carry handloads in any caliber.

I have seen more critters shot with other calibers but I have to say, I have never seen one that failed to drop to the shot from a .45 Colt loaded with a 255gr Keith bullet at 900-1000 fps (of course all the ones I have seen were hit well... I feel sure it doesn't work any better than anything else if shot poorly).

But then that will go through about 3 men too if that is a problem :-/

Roll on!
Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,399 Posts
Hi there all,

During the 1980's, Ross Seygfried pioneered and championed hand loading the .45 colt up to .44 magnum ballistics in the Ruger Bisley for several years and in some cases it matched the .44 magnum.

I can't add much to what else has been said except that with the ressurgence of Cowboy Action Shooting has bred new life into this old cartridge. I have often opined for buying a Ruger Blackhawk .45 to load it up and beyond current factory offerings as a hunting cartridge.

Big bullet+ Big ballistics=Successful Large Critter Cartridge.

However, other things have taken prescendence over that project. But now that you mention it, that would be fun to reload and chronograph!

"But then that will go through about 3 men too if that is a problem"-Jim

Excellent point!

Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
I can't speak for current production but the two R*gers I had didn't work all that well. Combination of .454 chamber throats and .451 groove diameter. S&W had a similar problem for a while. Factory Silvertips (.455 OD) shot great in them, but not much else.

If you need a .44 Magnum, get a .44 Magnum.

I love the .45 Colt, but the brass is thin, the chamber walls are thin, the rim is nearly not there, etc. Used in the pressure range it was designed for (or slightly higher) ir's a great round. It ain't a magnum.


Regards,

Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
I can't speak for current production but the two R*gers I had didn't work all that well. Combination of .454 chamber throats and .451 groove diameter. S&W had a similar problem for a while. Factory Silvertips (.455 OD) shot great in them, but not much else.

If you need a .44 Magnum, get a .44 Magnum.

I love the .45 Colt, but the brass is thin, the chamber walls are thin, the rim is nearly not there, etc. Used in the pressure range it was designed for (or slightly higher) ir's a great round. It ain't a magnum.


Regards,

Pat
Pat, your information in this regard is sorely lacking. The brass is not thin. The chamber walls vary from maker to maker. In a properly designed gun, the rim is no issue.

The .45 Colt can be loaded to velocities matching the .44 magnum, with lower pressures. This alone makes it a great cartridge for handloaders, assuming they are using it in a gun that is built for this sort of thing: The Ruger Blackhawk or Vaquero, for instance, or any of Freedom Arms' offerings. It is true that with Rugers there can be a problem with chamber size, but mine does not have this problem and I am happy with it.

In the circles I move in, the .45 Colt is highly respected and considered as a great platform for experimentation. In answer to Josh's original question, it has not fallen from grace at all. Like the .44 spl, it is a connoisseur's cartridge: from the lightest plinking loads to standard-pressure defensive rounds to heavy thumping big game loads, it can do it all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
Hiya!

My information may be dated, but it isn't 'lacking' :) I have not loaded for the .45Colt in a number of years now. What I saw then may have changed; I'll welcome updated information.

Sectioning brass (and game bullets) has always been a hobby of mine. .45 Colt brass was thinner than the magnum. If you have sectioned any recent brass I'd appreciate an update. Brass has been getting thicker across the board for a long time. Loads that were safe 20 years ago no longer are with new components.


In keeping with Josh's original post, I was referring to S&W Hand Ejectors and similar DA revolvers suitable for daily carry. The chamber walls are _thin_. In an N-frame six-shot design, the recesses for the cylinder stop are right over the chamber. A smaller-frame five-shot (such as the Taurus or an L frame S&W) would have walls much thicker and the the locking recesses are in the thick web between the chambers.

The extraction issues with the small rim in DA revolvers have been covered by others here. PistolPete has more experience carrying the 25-5 than I have. (We've also argued the hot load issue a number of times. :) )

Ruger may make a Super Redhawk in .45C now; I don't know. It would hardly qualify as a carry piece though.

While I did use a Ruger Blackhawk .45C as a car gun for a while, SA revolvers usually aren't considered for carry nowadays.

The monster single-actions from Ruger and Freedom have engineering design, metalurgy and heat treat suitable for 40-50,000 PSI. I have no quarrel with hotrodding these. Extraction is a non-issue with a SA.

BTW, the original blackpowder loads were fairly hot; close to 1000fps with a 40 grain charge. With modern solid-head brass I could only get about 35 grains of 3F in it. Still an excellent hunting load, and with Keith SWC bullets the extra 11% of frontal area is significant I think.

I guess it comes down to what your personal comfort level in reloading is. My philosophy has always been, if you need more power, get a more powerful cartridge. The exceptions were where (in HiPower competition) the caliber was mandated so one had to squeeze every last FPS out of the case.

Regards,

Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,053 Posts
PFF;

I am not sure about all brass but nearly 20 years ago I sectioned some Federal and Winchester .45 Colt Brass. It was the same thickness in the web and the area just ahead of the web as .454 Casul brass (and .44 magnum Winchester).

What I do see is that the standard .45 Colt chamber dimensions (even in modern weapons like the Anaconda) are a touch oversized and this creates an unsightly (and eventually brass weakening) bulge in the case with heavy loads.

A friend has a 5.5" Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt. The chambers in that, unlike my Blackhawk, are tight. As are almost all the revolvers chambered in .454 Casul.

I sort of look at the .45 Colt as actually two cartridges: #1- The old one (in which you could handload 260 gr bullets to 1000 fps with no problem - except in black powder frames or cheap knockoffs) and #2 - the Modern One in which even factorys load 300+ gr. bullets to some 1300 fps.

#1 will do for about 99% of all hunting or defense duties.

#2 is considerably more effective than the .44 Magnum on really big critters (except in the later generation .44 loads that came out to try to catch up to it).

#2 should not of course be fired in any of the old Colts or their replicas and I would probably even limit my handloads in those depending on make or age.

I think Ross sent a bunch of loads off to HP white to test. When they both launch the same weight bullet in equal barrel lengths the .44 is running around 37,000 PSI vs 25,000 for the .45 Colt.


Onward,
Jim.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
Hi Jim,

Thanks for the update on the brass. Interesting. Great to see someone whose opinions I respect also do things like section brass. (If I'm the only one doing something, I'm eccentric; if more are doing it then its a collaborative investigation. :) )

I think it was about 1980 or a year or so later when I looked at it last. The area just ahead of the web didn't thicken slightly, and the transition radius to the web was smaller.

I have no quarrel with the .454 Casul; the guns are designed and proofed for it, and so marked. Same dimensions (basically) but not the same animal.

SA (especially 5-shooters) .45C guns are also much stronger than a S&W 25-5.

I guess I should have said that _I_ will not shoot hot .45C loads in a S&W Hand Ejector carry gun. Only other carry piece I know of in .45C is from Taurus, and I have no experience with those.

Regards,

Pat


(BTW, do you also section bullets? I'd be interested in comparing thoughts on those also.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,053 Posts
PFF;

I agree (so does PMC with their +P+ load which specifically mentions not shooting it in a S&W - it is OK in a Colt Anaconda according to them).

Actually the Colt 4" Annaconda (in which the cylinder is thicker and the bolt cuts are off centered), would probably make a fine CCDW weapon. Mine is a 6" which is a touch long for that purpose but it fits in my 5" Kramer holster for my 1955 target (of course the barrel sticks out an inch) and it hides quite well under a bush jacket...just too long for summer wear and I would hate to think about putting it in an IWB - there is already too much of me inside my pants (at least around the fat roll ). :)

Onward,
Jim
 
G

·
I found an article that John Linebaugh wrote that was very interesting regarding the use of "warm" loads in the S&W Mdl 25-5. I have tried some of his loads and I felt that they were a little hotter than I wanted to run in my gun but I figure that if anybody knew what a gun could handle it would be him. I have talked to several people that believe that gun can be run up to 23,000 cup alright but still advise against shooting a large amount of the pressure level through the gun. I find in my 4" gun that a good hard cast 250 gr SWC at 1000 fps will get the job done on anything here in Texas. I will carry my Ruger Bisley Blackhawk for anything bigger than that. Pff, as a side note, my throats were .449-.450 on my Ruger and my barrel was .451 so I actually had to Open the throats. My groups sizes came down considerable when I firelapped the barrel and opened up the throats. My carry load for that gun is a 300 gr hardcast at 1200 fps.
http://www.handloads.com/articles/default.asp?id=12
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
Hiya Pete,

Interesting info on the throats on your R*ger. Just the opposite of the two I had. One of the reasons I don't have any more R*gers. Good guns, basically, but I got sick and tired of doing their Quality Control for them. (Plus their quirky chamber throat and bore dimensions, which I understand they have finally fixed, at least in rifles.)

Good to see you raise your periscope here.


Regards,

Pat
 
G

·
I keep meaning to buy a single action army clone in .45 Colt..I was tempted by the Beretta Stampede Inox..don't think I'd carry it..just think it'd be really cool to have
 
G

·
Nothing wrong with the .45 Colt or the .44 Special. I think Jim hit the nail on the head when he said that the .45 Colt is sort of two different cartridges in one...I use standard pressure 255-grain LRNs in my Uberti SAA clone and they do very well in that environment...the revolver does fine with them and is not overstressed. They are good plinking and fun rounds.

For personal defense, I use the .44 Special, mostly because adequate defense loads are more available in it; however, if all I had handy was the Uberti with its standard .45 Colt loads, I'd use it without hesitation...I don't think anyone wants to face a 255-grain chunk of lead chugging their way at 750-850 fps....

Bob
 
G

·
Does anyone have experience with the newer Buffalo Bore loadings around 1,000 fps.? Would one of them suit for a defensive load in an N frame Smith.

Regarding N frame Smiths, I understand that before the -9, that they had oversize chambers and didn't shoot that well-a 25-5, for example. Is this correct?
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top