.45LC or .44 Mag?


February 23, 2003, 01:20 AM
I would like some opinions on handgun hunting. I'm going to be purchasing a Ruger single-action that I want to use for fun shooting and also for hunting. The advice I'm looking for is which caliber to use. I'm leaning towards a .45LC/.45ACP combo gun because:

1. My primary CCW is a SA Mil Spec 1911A1 and for budget reasons I can also shoot the .45 ACP out of the Ruger .45LC/.45ACP.

2. I'm thinking that .45LC would be sufficient for short-range hunting here in Western Washington. Of course, I wouldn't be going after elk with this gun.

I know that .44 Mag would be a sufficient round for hunting but I'm not 100% positive about the .45LC.

Can anyone give me some advice from experience?

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February 23, 2003, 12:43 PM
I've been semi-seriously looking into the .44 Mag. vs. .45 LC questions for some time. (Unable to obtain either until at least March 17 :( ) While others here will most likely respond shortly, I believe you will find that the .45 LC is gonna hang right in there with (or sometimes exceed) the .44 Mag. for hunting purposes.

From what I've seen of the Ruger combo option, the the maximum barrel length is 5 1/2", which would be a slight bit on the down side for me. Not sure about scope mounting on that model.

The .45 ACP tho a real good option if you already have such and plan on more plinkin' than huntin'. :)

February 23, 2003, 01:45 PM
The .45LC has more energy than the .44 mag when loaded up to potential, and greater frontal diameter as well.
If you don't reload, you can buy Buffalo Bore .45LC that will equal anything you can handload. And your Ruger is entirely capable of handling such loads.

In my opinion, the .45 is the way to go.


February 23, 2003, 02:50 PM
The 45lc can do what a 44 does if you handload or buy the right ammo.The 44 has the advantage of buying the ammo anywhere whereas the hot 45lc might be hard to find in some places.Make sure that single Ruger can handle the hot loads.Most ads I see for hot loaded 45lc ammo lists the Ruger Redhawk as the recommended pistol choice.

February 23, 2003, 04:37 PM
I have the Ruger .45 Colt Bisley (sadly not the .45 acp conversion cylinder tho). BELIEVE ME the .45 Colt is AMPLE for any handgun hunting in N. America (within its range). Mine LOVES the heavy 300 gr hard cast bullets and big loads of H110. (I also have a .44 mag-a Ruger Redhawk so I am familiar with both).

DO get the Ruger convertable. You have a very versitile gun that will serve all your purposes really well. I would recommend the Bisley config as it is better at handling heavy recoil in the serious loads. Good luck and HAVE FUN!

Art Eatman
February 23, 2003, 11:11 PM
I''m with critter on this. I've loaded 300-grain bullets in both .44 Maggie and 45 Colt. They seem to have equal thump. Both ends. :) Redhawk; Blackhawk. No problems.

FWIW, for equal performance, the .45 wil have lower chamber pressures.


February 23, 2003, 11:20 PM
Generally, the 45LC can match a .44 mag load .... and if a tough gun like a Ruger, not always an easy decision. I have .44mag and always have.

It is though useful in the .44 to have the option to use 44 spl as well . a very comfortable load .. and so IMo that makes the .44 a tad more versatile.

Plus as has been said .. .44 ammo is easy to find.

February 23, 2003, 11:48 PM
If you don't reload, you better be wealthy enough to buy the expensive .45LC hunting rounds at 65.00 a box.

I know the .45LC can be hot rodded to and above the .44mag, but with compareable factory ammo at half the price I'll recommend the .44mag to the non-reloader.

Art Eatman
February 24, 2003, 07:33 AM
whiskey, you're sure correct about "over the counter" common ammo.

I gotta quibble a bit about "hot-rodding" the .45 Colt. The reloading books specify limiting these loads to handguns as strong as the Ruger, and give loads with pressures that are reasonable for them. From that standpoint, then, it's not hot-rodding. :)

Just another reason to reload. :)


February 27, 2003, 05:59 AM
If I were in your position, I would go with the .45 LC for the reason you mentioned. I own both calibers, and also handload, and yes, you can duplicate performance in both calibers.

I would recommend you stick with lead bullets instead of jacketed if you stick with factory loads. In that situation, you are looking for penetration, not expansion. I remember a lot of old timers telling me the same two things about lead bullets; You can eat right up to the hole, and they leave a blood trail a blind man can follow. I have found this to be true. I load lead bullets in both my .44 and my .45 for practice and hunting.


February 27, 2003, 02:52 PM
45Colt (there is no 'Long') is equal to the 44Mag, and exceeds the 44Mag in heavier bullets. In modern guns.

Steve Smith
February 27, 2003, 05:49 PM
for the price of ONE box of Buffalo Bore hot .45 Colt, you can pay for a reloading setup that will have you making your own in no time.

.45 Colt for me..bettern' .44 Mag any day.

February 27, 2003, 11:29 PM
Between the two, I would go for the 45. Like the others mentioned, the 45 can hang right in there with the 44 with the proper loads. Also, there is cheap cowboy ammo out there for plinking. One other thing is that someone mentioned the barrel length difference with the combo. The 45 does not need the longer barrel like the 44 in order to achieve your magic numbers. Read this article and it may clear up any concerns. Have fun....


there are a few more on Linebaugh's page that are interesting to read. Check them out....


October 27, 2009, 11:00 PM
I own both.
My 45 LC is the best all round. ESPECIALLY on follow up shots. My 44 mag is all over the place after the first shot. My 45 LC is still at or near the bulls eye for follow up shots.
My 44 is a heavy large frame SW target model and my 45 is a short barrel sheriff model ruger with a lot of smithing.
If I had to chose one it would be the 45, hands down.
Cherokee...somewhere in a swamp in Georgia

October 27, 2009, 11:20 PM
.45 ACP through the Ruger won't have anywhere near the same POI as your hunting ammo.

You're wasting your money, trying to save money that way, IMO. Don't waste your money on the combo gun; get a single-stage reloading press with the money instead. Hot .45 hunting loads and .44 Magnum hunting loads are not too expensive if you make them yourself. They're STUPID expensive if you buy factory, as noted above.

My 44 mag is all over the place after the first shot.

Mine isn't. Not in a Super Blackhawk, and not in a Smith Mountain Gun. I'm not sure what you're talking about.

If you mean recoil, a .45 loaded to the same power will recoil about the same. And in a single action with a plowhandle grip? Not even relevant.

Otherwise, I'm not sure what you mean.

If I had it to do over again, I'd get the Ruger .44 with the "Bisley" grip that's not really a Bisley grip. It's a Keith grip, designed specifically for hot handgun hunting loads.

As it stands a .44 Super Blackhawk has been a popular hunting revolver for a long time for a reason, and I shoot my long barrel SBH at 100 yards for practice. Good enough for deer with irons.

Now, if I can find some !@#$ deer... Haven't seen one since the season started. They all packed up and went to Hawaii or something.

April 19, 2011, 01:09 PM
I'm sorry to cite Wikipedia. I know that's a no no for a lot of people, but in my experience, most of the pure "data" has been mostly reliable. According to Wikipedia, the .44 magnum has much higher muzzle energy than the .45lc. it ranges is the low to mid 2000s Joules, while the .45 LC is mostly around 500-750 Joules. That's a pretty big difference in energy. I know a lot of guys don't put a lot of stock in muzzle velocities and energy, and focus more on bullet diameter, but just think of it this way. if you jumped off a 50 foot cliff into water, it's gona hurt, and the water will probably stop you in 5-10 feet. ouch. but if you jumped into the same water from an airplane, you're going to stop in that same 5-10 feet, but it's going to feel a little more like a concrete sidewalk after a swan-dive off the Eiffel Tower. That's what bullets do, they deposit all of their energy in the first 6-10 inches no mater what their diameter is. Unless of course it's a pointed bullet. But how many of you shoot those from your revolvers?

April 19, 2011, 01:34 PM
This thread was started in 2003, rehashed in 2009. He has probably bought it and nearly worn it out by now. (LOL) But welcome to the High Road, it's a great forum. And we've all done it at least once.

April 19, 2011, 04:07 PM
That's what bullets do, they deposit all of their energy in the first 6-10 inches no mater what their diameter is. I hate to disagree with Wackypedia, and your Joules energy dump in 6"-10" theory.

But either a .44 Mag or +P .45 Colt cast SWC will shoot clear through two or three deer, and keep right on going.
To expend most of it's remaining energy on the backround landscape!

According to Wikipedia, the .44 magnum has much higher muzzle energyWrong again, at least to a point.

Most factory .44 Mag ammo is loaded to full Magnum pressure and high velocity.
Most factory .45 Colt ammo is loaded to standard old black powder pressure & low velocity.

But if you compare .44 Mag with .45 Colt +P loads, you will see there is very little difference in energy figures, with the slight advantage going to the .45 Colt.

.45 Colt +P = 1,267 ft/lb energy

.44 Mag = 1,189 ft/lb.

The .45 Colt also makes a slightly bigger hole then the .44 Mag for blood to leak out and air to leak in. (.429" vs .452")


April 19, 2011, 05:58 PM
Make mine the 44 mag. pleease!


April 19, 2011, 07:34 PM
44 mag performs right off the shelf, before I started reloading I hunted with the 44 for years. The hunting ammo was available everywhere and still is. The 45 cannot compete with the 44 in standard performace ammo. Even if you do reload I think the 44 still out performs a 45 IMO. The only advantage the 45 has is the wider meplat but its not enough to matter. The overall performance of a standard 44 mag load needs no help from the reloader. I like the 45 too but it does not and cannot out perform the 44mag.

Art Eatman
June 19, 2012, 09:23 PM
"...as long as we're going to dig up old threads..."

Aw, let's don't and say we did.

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