.45 Colt questions


May 8, 2007, 04:07 PM
I was ogle-ing a Ruger Vaquero at the shop the other day, and had always heard people bragging about the .45 LC, but have never shot it myself.

I love shooting .44 SPL, don't really care for .44 mag. I seem to be more accurate with revolvers than with pistols, so the .45 seems like a good idea (esp. with light loads). I have thought about getting into CAS, so it seems even more enticing.

Overall, is it a good round to have? What revolvers would be the best for all-around use?

Thanks, much.

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May 8, 2007, 06:39 PM
My Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt is probably my most often used gun right now. In a Vaquero,(not the New Vaquero which is not as strong), or the Blackhawk loads from mild to some with pretty impressive ballistics can be used if you're into that kind of thing. Some of the various .45 Colt clones and the S&W model 25 with regular loads are also very nice from what I hear but no experience with them myself. There is a rather limited selection of good .45 Colt factory loads available but that's also true with the .44 Sp. With loads in the 800 to 850 fps range it's pleasant to shoot but when you get into the 900+ velocities with the 250/255 gr or heavier bullets in the Rugers, you know you're shooting a big bore revolver. Very easy to reload for and a variety of bullet weight from 200 grs on up can be used. I think you might like it.

May 8, 2007, 07:20 PM
I had a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt with the extra cylinder for .45 ACPs. Sorry I got rid of it. With the larger cylinder (compared to the Colt SAA) you could load it up a bit. It was a shooter and capable of pretty good accuracy. I mainly loaded the 250 grain SWC lead bullet with Unique powder.

I now have a Colt SAA in .45 Colt. I don't shoot it that much but it does okay with Unique and the 250 grain bullet. I tried loading 200 grain bullets; the recoil is less but not as accurate as the heavier bullet.

If you thinking of CAS, I would consider the newer Vaquero in .45 Colt. From what I've read, it handles well and you would only be shooting Cowboy loads which are pretty mild. And for the money, you could get two Vaqueros for the price of one Colt SAA.

Navy Vet & SWIFT Boat OIC

May 9, 2007, 11:03 PM
I had a .45LC Blackhawck about 15 years ago. I loved the feel and look of the gun, but it had a problem. The bore and the cylinder throats were a different diameter by about .005". I don't remember now if the bore was too large or the throat, but in eithre case it was not an accurate setup.

The best 25 yd groups I could get from a bench rest with my handloads were 5"-6", and even worse with factory lead bullet rounds. A local gunsmith told me that a lot of .45LC Blackhawks had that problem from the factory and the only answer was a new cylinder or a new barrel that would have the same diameter, but there was no guarantee that Ruger could supply the correct size part. It must have been the cylinder throats that were too large, otherwise the smitty could simply have reamed the throat out to match the bore. I really liked the gun, and I really, really like the old .45LC round, but unless Ruger has corrected that bore-throat mismatch I would stay away from them. My Blackhawk was built over 15 years ago, and I would think that surely Ruger has corrected the problem by now. But check it out before you lay your greenbacks down just to be sure.

May 9, 2007, 11:27 PM
I love shooting .45 Colt.
I have a Colt SAA, an Uberti SAA and a Smith doiuble action Mountain revolver.
My choice for all around revolver is the Smith but heavy loads are a no=no in any of these guns.
No biggy for you since you like the mild stuff.
6 grains to 6.5 grains of 231 Winchester with 200 to 250 grain lead bullets makes a decent all around load.

Lately I have been shooting more and more .44 special and I can understand why you like this cartridge too.
It is really a better cartridge all around than the Colt load.
180 to 240 grain bullets, better ballistics, and thicker cylinder walls make this a seriously good load.

May 10, 2007, 02:49 AM
depending on the gun it's fired from and how it's loaded you can go from a 650fps 250grainer that is as easy to shoot as a .38 special or you can opt for a 350 grainer at 1100+ fps. The former load is easier to shoot than your .44 special and the latter load packs a nastier wallop than even the most heavily loaded .44 magnum. It is a remarkably capable round in either a handgun or a short lever action carbine. I guess by now you've figured out that I really like the old girl, eh? BTW - not all Rugers have the chamber throat problem that was mentioned. My new model Blackhawk in .45 Colt is very accurate with cast bullet loads and also Federal factory loads. If I absolutely had to hit a running rabbit with a handgun, that is the one I would pick.

May 10, 2007, 06:54 AM
I've had a myriad of .45 Colts over the years, but the aforementioned 625 Mountain Gun is my favorite. I even horse-traded a SS Bisley BH .45 Colt for a second one last year. Since it is in a 625 .45 ACP cylinder/frame, one can assume it will take closer to the 21+kpsi of that round, rather than the somewhat anemic 14kps of the .45 Colt. Still, my loads are milder, peaking at measured ~850 fps from 255gr LSWC or 250gr GDJHP.

Speaking of .45 ACP... talk about an older round that really is nice in a revolver, try this one - or it's thick rimmed sibling, the .45 Auto Rim. Sadly, I agree with the article in a mag a year or so back by 'Duke' Venturino heralding the round over the .45 Colt - in normal loads, it does warrant consideration. And, for the non-reloader, .45 ACP's are available anywhere - usually at half the price of .45 Colts. A true large bore, with frugal cost and recoil. A standard 625 in .45 ACP, your choice of barrel length, is a keeper.


May 10, 2007, 08:42 AM
The 45 Colt, like the 44 Special, can be loaded considerably hotter than the factory load if you are putting it in the right revolver.

The 45 Colt suffers from a couple of things that are due to it's heritige. One is the narrow rim, oriignally designed for a push rod ejection, it's liable to jamming with a star extractor. Starline made a run of 45 Colt brass with extra wide rims, wish they would do it again. The other problem is that the SAAMI specs for the chamber date for BP days when you had to allow room for crud buildup. As a result 45 Colt chambers tned to be oversized, a detriment to accuracy and case life. Then there is the question of throat diameters, where neither Ruger nor S&W seem to have been able to get their act together. The 454 Casull is essentially a 45 Colt Magnum. In the 454 all these probelms have been corrected.

Bottom line: When everything is right, the 45 Colt is a very good cartridge, but you gotta pay attention.

May 10, 2007, 09:45 AM
I love my 45 Colt/ACP convertibles, here pictured beside a couple of Stainless 44s.

Dropping those big fat shells into the chamber is sorta like dropping shotshells into a 12Ga double, kinda goes kerschlunk! Warms the cockels of your heart.

May 10, 2007, 10:00 AM
My original 625MG, a 625-7 from '01 - bought new by my wife as a present 8/02 - and my latest, a LN 625-6 from '96. The -7 has Ahrends square-conversion cocobolo stocks; the older sports S&W Crimson Ironwood Dymondwood Combats. The HKS 25-5 carries the Speer 250gr GDJHP's; also pictured, a 250gr GDJHP, 255gr LSWC, and a 250gr LRNFP in a Starline .45 Schofield case.



PS Standard .45 Colt rims work well in the 625MG - not so well in the .45 Colt 5.5" SS Redhawk. The larger rims of the Schofields work well in everything.

May 10, 2007, 10:16 AM
RE the undersized Ruger chamber exits: I've heard that current production uses more appropriately sized reamers, so the small and variable sizing may just be a thing of the past. No doubt, left untouched, I imagine it's effects on grouping would be greater than that of the oversized bp chambers. Thankfully, undersized exits are easily remedied. S&W had addressed the problem of too large chamber exits, not remediable, by the time the 625MG's appeared. Both of mine match my only Ruger now - a 4.6" SS BHG Vaquero. I, too, love the .45 Colt - my introduction to SA and DA revolvers (BH convertible - first SA; .454 SRH - first DA). My only cf rifle now is a Puma M1892 24" oct SS in .45 Colt - sporting a Marbles Tang Sight for 100yd plinking. Super fun - a big old round, indeed!

Of course, if you don't reload... consider a standard 4"/5" 625 in .45 ACP - or the 625JM, my favorite. You can buy .45 ACP's anywhere - for less than half what local gunstores only sell .45 Colt cowboy loads for. The .45 AR's can be found at Georgia Arms, etc, too.


May 10, 2007, 11:05 AM
The .45 Colt cartridge is an old one, probably close to 110 years old.

Its inception was originally made for black powder loads of around 30 to 40 grains of BP. Don't quote me on that.

Therefore, when reloading this cartridge you have a huge volume case capacity to contend with when using smokeless powders today.

It is also wise not to load too low of powder grain weight, as a possible catastropic cylinder rupture may occur. Though this phenominon is not always the case and doesn't happen to everyone, but it has happen in past years.

For cast bullets of 230 to 255 grains weight I lean towards 8.0 grains of 800X, 7 to 8.0 grains of HS-6 depending on bullet wieght, 7 to 7.5 grains of Unique and 5.8 grains of Tight group works very good for me.

Always check your loading manuals to be 100 % safe on any suggested hand loads.


Here is an old yellowed target from years past on the Titegroup loads.

Gun used was .455 S&W 2nd model converted to .45 Colt caliber...


May 10, 2007, 12:18 PM
I got into reloading , then found the 45 colt, this is a cartridge that anyone who reloads should get one to tinker with, and anyone who has one should reload. I just picked up a new vaquero a couple monts ago and have so far had the best luck with oregon trail 250gr LRN over IMR trailboss. Very soft shooting, and consistent. The throats and forcing cone are both .452, they now use 1 drill bit to drill the chambers istead of a jig with 6 so the chambrs are more consistent. Hopefully soon I can get one of those S&W 460's to try out, probably the only pistol that can drive a 250gr bullet under 700fps to over 2200 and anywhere in between.

Vern Humphrey
May 10, 2007, 02:08 PM
The .45 Colt is one of those cartridges that begs to be reloaded -- with it's large case capacity and the avaliability of guns like the Ruger Blackhawk, it runs the gamut from mild to hot and spicy.

May 11, 2007, 10:27 AM
The one thing I don't like about the 45 Colt is the (conserative) load data. Some manuals have "Ruger" loads but the powder selection is pretty limited. Choices usually include H110, W296, 2400, 4227... Good stuff but limiting.

I'd also like to see some data, with pressures listed for the 45 Colt in a rifle.

The 44 Rem Mag has lots of Data available and the reloading can get to impressive hunting velocities without "going off the reservation."

That being said the 45 Colt is one of my favorites. I load more of it than any other cartridge.

May 11, 2007, 10:39 AM
Next time you go to a gun show, try and pick up some older reloading manuals like Lymans #45 or before that issue, Hodgdons #26 is a good one too.

These are pre Redhawk Ruger loadings.


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