44 spc. vs 45 ACP


March 27, 2007, 08:04 AM
I'm crurious about the ballistic similarities and/or differences between these two. From a reloading manual, it looks like you can get similar energy. I'm considering either of these for a new revolver. Not many 45ACP revolvers about tho but it would be nice for IPSC. A 44 mag revovler could do both, mag ans spc loads so that's a plus for me. Any toughts?

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March 27, 2007, 08:08 AM
Moon clips can be a blessing or a curse, gotta think which it is for you. They act kind of like a speed loader, but then again it is a pain you cant just drop the shells in the cylinder too.

Being able to shoot 44mag out of the same pistol is also a plus with going with 44spl over 45acp.

If you dont reload the 45acp will be cheaper to shoot.

March 27, 2007, 09:13 AM
I like both the .44 Spl. and the .45ACP in a small revolver for defense although I prefer a small 1911. I would not want a .44 Mag in a small revolver like that. I would not want to shoot it and I don't believe you would get that much more from a short barrel over a .44 Spl. anyway.

Ala Dan
March 27, 2007, 10:14 PM
Uum, .45 ACP cheaper to shoot; more plentiful ammo choices~! ;) :D

cold dead hands
March 28, 2007, 12:04 AM
Go with the bigger hole, it makes bad guys pants stinkier faster. hahahaha

March 28, 2007, 01:29 AM
I like the flatness of a 1911 over the cylinder of a .44 Special for concealed carry. The grip size is the drawback, but good posture along with a decent holster helps hide that.
For a revolver, if you reload there is always the .45 Auto Rim - you don't have to mess with moonclips
I think I'd go with the S&W Mountain Gun in .44 Magnum. Light, points well, and it can handle a wide range of power levels.

March 28, 2007, 07:22 AM
No so much worried about concealed carry as it's not allowed here. Issues would be home defence and competition shooting. This makes me lean a little toword the 45ACP but not many choices out there. S&W 625's are a bit dear for me.

March 28, 2007, 06:40 PM
You can crank the 44 Special up to 44 Mag Lite levels that the 45ACP cannot match.

Follow Elmer.

CSA 357
March 28, 2007, 07:54 PM
factory loads or hand loads? with hand loads you can take the 44 spec to levels well past the 45 acp, but my favorite carry gun is the 45 acp, csa:D

March 28, 2007, 08:26 PM
You can crank the 44 Special up to 44 Mag Lite levels that the 45ACP cannot match

Kind of what I had in mind. I'd handload the stuff. I really like my light 357 magnum loads, somewhere betweet 38 special +P and 357 magnum. Figure I'd do the same with 44 special in a 44 magnum gun.

March 28, 2007, 09:05 PM
You can crank the 44 Special up to 44 Mag Lite levels that the 45ACP cannot match

Kind of makes you go :D too. Just be carefull.:)

March 28, 2007, 11:40 PM
You couldn't go too wrong with either. Don't forget that a 625 should shoot .45 Super, and Clark Custom does mods for 460 Rowland. .45 Super is plenty of power that will fill most any practical need.

March 29, 2007, 07:26 AM
You cannot beat the 625 for speed of reloading - those moonclipped .45 ACPs are just fast. I am partial to the current 625-8 - both the standard 4" model and the 'JM' variant - only ~$30 more by MSRP. My JM came with an eased ejector star for faster reloads, a spring loaded gold bead Patridge front sight, hard chromed hammer and trigger, and the Miculek wood stock. It also had the very best out of the box trigger I've ever experienced from S&W. I reload, and after acquiring some new Starline brass (Avoid range sweepings!), my Federally primed loads are 100% dependable.

I am happy with the .45 ACP's range of loads, both homebrew and commercially boxed. Don't forget, the 230gr FMJ ball ammo only needs to do ~720 fps to easily make 'major' power factor for you competitors - and that's pretty mild (A stock 1911 would likely not cycle reliably at that level.). You can load the .45 Auto Rim case with a 255gr LSWC and enough powder to easily surpass it's speed in a .45 Colt's case - and still be within the .45 ACP/AR's SAAMI specifications. Of course, the AR cases can be loaded without the moonclips - they have a thick rim to take up the space of the moonclip, etc. The greatest attribute for the 625 is the availability of affordable ammo.

If you really want a .44 Special - and want to shoot Elmer Keith level loads from it, just start with a 629MG or a standard 4" 629... and use .44 Magnum cases. It makes little sense to destroy a good .44 Special - and possibly hurt yourself to boot. I replaced my 629MG with a standard 4" 629 and actually am happier. The full barrel, still partially lugged, and the larger hammer and trigger only add 2 oz to the MG's weight. The rr front and w/o rear sights are a plus, too, as the MG's have blk/blk. The MG's are in and out of production, where the standard 4"-er is a constant production item. Get some Hogue .500 Magnum grips, $35 from S&W Accessories, as they fit the K/L/N & X-frame gripframes. They cover the backstrap with absorptive material for better recoil control. You can shoot 'popper' .44 Russians to full-SAAMI spec'd .44 Magnums, just clean the chamber residue before you go to those Magnums. Full-house .44 Magnum ammo is easily found - .44 Specials require a well stocked gunstore - and deep pockets.


March 29, 2007, 04:34 PM
All the 44 fan needs is Powder Valley or Midway USA.:)

March 29, 2007, 04:42 PM
45 ACP would be much less expensive to shoot and have a wide selection of bullets available than the 44 Special. That being said, I still enjoy shooting one of the olde S&W 44 Specials.

March 30, 2007, 01:46 AM
So as others have mentioned, the factory ammo deal is no contest. The .45ACP is way cheaper with a much larger selection.

For handloading, the two are interchangeable with respect to cost. The .44spl won't have dented brass from getting ejected like the .45ACP. Interesting to note, the two frequently use identical powder and powder charges for identical bullet weights.

For CCW, it bears noting that the .44spl generates equal or greater energy (black hills ammo) out of a 2" barrel to that of a .45ACP out of a full sized pistol! Plus the .44spl doesn't have to rely upon evil expanding bullets to be exceedingly effective. The earlier advice about using .44mag brass for .44spl loads isn't so great for one reason. The powder charge for a .44spl will slump inside the .44mag case creating position sensitivity. The net result is vertical shot stringing (truly bad) depending on how you move whist shooting. The answer is easy however, buy .44 Mag brass and trim it to .44 spl length. Lee sells the needed tools for a grand total of $45.00.

March 30, 2007, 01:56 AM
250GR Kieth Bullet over 16gr 2400 will drop anything in North America short of a Grizzly.
Let's face it, wheelguns are just sexier anyhow.
That being said, there is nothing slouchy about 1911's. I just wish the shape of my hand and the gripframe of a 1911 went together better.

In a wheelgun, I like the .44 Special just because it's a true wheelgun cartrige.

My absolutely unscientific opinion,

March 30, 2007, 06:20 AM
Historically, S&W started turning the then available .44 Special frames into .45 ACP shooters in 1917 for our friends the Brits, who liked revolvers and the then quite new '1911' round. That round was made to mimic the then derated .45 Colt round. The .44 Special, a lengthened version of the first (1871) widespread used metallic centerfire handgun cartridge, the .44 Russian, dates from 1907. The 'Special', like it's use in the 1899 vintage .38 Special, simply means it was bp/smokeless compatible. Sadly, the .44 Special never gained a large following - just us gun enthusiasts. This is it's centennial year - and how many new offerings do you see available?

As to .44 Magnum vs .44 Special brass for reloading, if you employ a less sensitive as to case volume or propellant position sensitivity propellant, like Titegroup, they can be loaded quite similarly. For example, 4.8 gr, a near max load in a .44 Special case, will get a 240gr LSWC to over 740 fps from my 4" 629, with 5.2gr equalling that result with the same bullet in a Magnum case. A near max charge of 4.0gr of Titegroup in my 3" 696 will equal that 740+fps chrono result. That .44 Russian cartridge is a cutie - and so overlooked. It will leave even more carbon & lead residue in that .44 Magnum chamber, so clean well before going back to longer cases.

I still say the .45 ACP in a revolver is a great way to get a real big bore to shoot from a revolver without breaking your wrist or wallet. And it will save you gasoline - you won't have to drive far to find it on a shelf!


PS Of course, my basement 'factory' makes everything from 7.62 Nagant to .45 Colt both frugal and plentiful.

Vern Humphrey
March 30, 2007, 02:16 PM
with hand loads you can take the 44 spec to levels well past the 45 acp

Actually, in equivallent revolvers, the .45 ACP can be raised to energy levels equal to the .44 Special. If a given revolver design will take hot loads from one, it will take hot loads from the other. You'll have to hold the .45 ACP to about 80% of the .44 Special pressure levels, but the greater expansion ratio of the .45 ACP will allow lower MAPs to drive bullets to the same velocity as the hot .44 Special.

Having said that, I recommend not loading either .44 Specials or .45 ACPs hot -- unless you have pressure-tested loading data.

March 30, 2007, 02:56 PM
I have a couple of 45AR revolvers and many 44 Spls. You can load a 45 revolver with 250 grain bullets, but you are really pushing the envelope at 850fps. The classic Keith 44 Spl load of 7.5 grains Unique with a 250 goes about 950 fps and does not bother an N frame revolver. (Don't try this in a Charter Arms Bulldog!) But you will find that a 250 going 850 fps (my reloads, about 6.5 grains Unique) is quite powerful. I loaded up a bunch of 200 LSWC's in 44 Spl, at 800 fps they are mild to shoot, and with a bit more powder, got them up to 1200 fps without any trouble. At that velocity I quit because I had barrel leading.

A 44 Spl revolver IMO is much more flexible than a 45ACP revolver. Which is why few revolvers are in 45 ACP. For those who want to win in timed action shooting events, the 45 ACP with moon clips cannot be beat for quick reloading. But that stuff is a game.

If you are not going to an autopistol, then a 44 Spl is one of the best revolver rounds around. The "other" good one: the 45 Long Colt.

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