Ignorant Question


September 12, 2007, 11:18 AM
I apologize for the dumb question, but I just got the new S&W catalogue and was taken aback by something.

The Model 625 and all its variants (including the retro "Model 22 of 1917") are advertised as being chambered for .45 ACP. Won't these revolvers also chamber .45 Colt (.45 LC) ? Or not?

If not, what S&W revolvers will? The Model 50? Or am I making things up?


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Sniper X
September 12, 2007, 11:24 AM
No, revolvers chambered for .45acp only chamber .45acp. On the other hand some revolvers chambered for 45 colt will also (I think) take the .45acp round with half moon clips...maybe some else can support me.

September 12, 2007, 11:40 AM
The rim on the .45 Colt is very thin, the rim on the .45 ACP w/ clips (or the .45 AR) is very thick - hence these cartridges are not interchangeable, the headspace is very different.

September 12, 2007, 11:40 AM
S&W makes the model 25 in both .45 ACP and, at times, .45 Colt. It appears there are no current models listed in .45 Colt, yet I have seen the guns available both on auction/sales sites and at vendor sites.

A model designed to shoot one round will not shoot the other.

Ruger makes a single action .45 Colt/.45 ACP convertible, and I have one. It requires two separate cylinders. The ACP headspaces off the cartridge mouth, via a ridge machined into the interior of the cylinder.

-- Sam

September 12, 2007, 11:48 AM
So contrary to my assumptions -- just to get this straight -- you CANNOT use moon (or half-moon) clips to shoot .45 ACP in a cylinder designed for .45 Colt? I thought you could in a DA revolver (Model 50 Target, for example) but not in a SA (i.e. Vaquero) due to loading problems (the clips, not case/round dimensions.)

Everybody confused, yet?

September 12, 2007, 11:56 AM
To my knowledge, the only revolvers that will chamber both are single actions that come with two cylinders, one for ACP, one for .45 Colt. .45 Colt is a LONG, HUGE case. You could probably fit two .45ACPs in there. .45 Colt, in the right handgun, can be loaded to levels that scare a .44 magnum. It's much more gun than any .45ACP and even within standard SAAMI specs, the Colt is a better performer by virtue of heavier bullets it can handle even though energy levels are similar.

I've always figured the .45ACP is a dandy semi auto round. I'll take the Colt in revolvers, though, thanks.

September 12, 2007, 12:13 PM
The rugers interchange the cylinders to get the correct headspacing and to use moons on the 45 auto.

The smiths were offered in 45 colt, but I suppose not enough sold, so they weren't continued. Same with the Redhawk.
If you want to buy a brand spanking new DA revolver that will fire 45 colt, go look at a Ruger Super Redhawk in 454 Casull.

September 12, 2007, 12:14 PM
These people will do a conversion to 45 Colt Double action revolvers, that will acomidate both 45 Colt, and 45ACP w/ moon clips.

Scroll down to the Moonclip section.


September 12, 2007, 03:21 PM
S&W has much weirdness in it's model number system, none as much as with the 45 Colt/45 ACP guns. Until after WWII, S&W only made 45 caliber guns as special order. After the war the Model of 1950 was available in three calibers, most were 44 Special, some were 45 ACP and a few were 45 Colt. The Model of 1955 guns were almost all 45 ACP, and a very rare couple in 45 Colt. In 1957 when S&W changed from names to model numbers, The Model of 1950 45 caliber guns with the standard tapered barrels were called the Model 26, and the Model of 1955 guns with the heavy barrels were called the Model 25. Engineering changes came and went with these guns continuing to have model numbers based on their barrel type, almost all being made in 45 ACP with just a few rare 45 Colt models made, most of them in a run of 200 Model 26's for the Georgia state police. These guns have short cylinders, with quite a bit of barrel protrusion into the cylinder window as the generally intended 45 ACP cartridge is fairly short for a revolver. The barrels of these guns were marked as 45 CAL as S&W didn't want "Colt" or even "ACP" (auto colt pistol) put onto their guns.
Until 1977, when S&W in another fit of weirdness decided that it's 125th anniversary model guns would be made in 45 Colt and brought out the 25-3 and 25-4 guns (25-4 are factory engraved, otherwise the same as 25-3 guns). They had short 45 ACP length cylinders, so some 45 Colt factory cartridges don't fit these guns. The next year S&W brought out the 25-5, which has a full length cylinder that all standard 45 Colt factory ammo will fit. Since then, S&W has occasionally made the Model 25 and 625 in 45 ACP with short cylinders, and occasionally made the Model 25 and 625 in 45 Colt with full length cylinders. Sometimes S&W changed the engineering level (the dash number) when they changed calibers, sometimes they didn't. When S&W brought back the tapered barrel with the Heritage models, they called it a Model 25 instead of a Model 26, so even the barrel type convention was abandoned.
Because S&W now uses different length cylinders for 45 ACP and 45 Colt, making a convertible gun is more difficult. You can have an old short cylinder 45 Colt gun fitted with a second 45 ACP cylinder, but then it can't fire some 45 Colt ammo. But you can have a gunsmith re-chamber a Model 29 44 Magnum cylinder to 45 ACP, cut it for proper head space with moon clips, use a 45 ACP extractor star and have it fitted to a 25-5 or other 45 Colt gun that has a full length cylinder and be able to shoot both 45 Colt or 45 ACP by switching the cylinders.

September 12, 2007, 04:13 PM
I have a S&W 325PD in .45acp with a 2 3/4 inch barrel and I noticed that the cylinder is long enought to hold a .45 colt but the cylinder hole is not machined out the same diameter all the way through.

It probably wouldn't fit a round where the bullet protruds too much like some of the 300+grain magnum versions available. But it looks like it would fit a cowboy round.

The cylinder is machined so a .45 acp will fit in it (using moonclips).

I can fit a .45 colt in it but it only goes in about 1/2 way (as far as a .45 acp) then it hits the line where the rest of the cylinder hole is a little bit narrower - just enough to keep you from stuffing a .45 colt into it.

I always thought this was a safety measure to prevent a possibly more powerful .45 colt round from being fired in the scandium .45 acp gun.

I would think if the cylinder was drilled out the rest of the way and a low power .45 colt was fired it should work - BTW - I AM NOT THINKING OF DOING THIS!

I know you can get a Ruger SRH machined to take .454, .45 colt and .45acp with moonclips sp why wouldn't it work on a S&W 325?

September 12, 2007, 04:31 PM
If I'm not mistaken revolvers chambered for 45 acp with moon clips could also shoot the 45 auto rim cartridge.

September 12, 2007, 10:43 PM
These people do it.

45LC conversion to 45acp w/moon clips.



Smith & Wesson, J-Frame 5 Shot, K-Frame 6 Shot, L-Frame 581,681,586,686 & 686 plus, N-Frame 27/28, 57/657, 29, 629, & 625 LC.
$80.00 (.45 LC cylinders can be cut to shoot both ACP and LC)

September 12, 2007, 10:54 PM
If I'm not mistaken revolvers chambered for 45 acp with moon clips could also shoot the 45 auto rim cartridge.

Lubecktech , you are correct, but why would someone do so? I haven't checked, but I would think .45AR ammo or brass would be have to special ordered in most cases. .45ACP brass is is plentiful and half moon clips are relatively cheap.

September 13, 2007, 09:26 AM
Thanks to Mr. McDermott for that detailed post. The historical info was interesting, but I think you've convinced me to simply stick with .44 Magnum.

September 13, 2007, 11:11 AM
History of S & W DA Revolvers in .45 ACP / .45 Auto RIm

IN WWI, Colt made 1911s but couldn't meet the demand for the
Doughboys, S & W came up with the half-moon clip so that
the large frame S & W as well as the large frame Colt were also
made for .45 ACP. They were both designated the M1917 by
the US Army. 151,000 S & W Revolvers were made during WWI.
After the war with these revolvers on the market, Remington-Peters
came out with the .45 Auto RIm cartridge. It has the same overall
length as the ACP round but it has a thicker rim than other rimmed
pistol cartridges in order to occupy the same space as the space
occupied by the moon clips.

Production was almost halted in the late 1930s when the Brazil
goverment ordered 37,000 S & Ws in .45 ACP/AR.
These can sometimes be found and are identified
by the Brazilian stamp on the RH side of the frame
behind the Cylinder.. Production was halted
in WWII>

After the war, most of the S & W had the DA action
re-designed to a shorter stroke except for the revolvers in
.45 ACP until it also stopped in 1949 - The next year, the
1950 Target w/Adjustable sights and the 1950 Army with fixed
sights arrived on the scene. The Target model was not
likecd by the target shooters of the day and S & W came out
with a non-tapered 0.790 inch 6 /12 inches in length
1955 Target model.

In 1957, when S & W assigned 2 digit numbers to the entire
line of revolvers, the 1955 became the 25 and the
1950, became the 22. The orig. 22 stopped in 1967 I

The Heritage line today incudes the MOdel 22 - a gun
with modern features made to look like the 1950 Army and
the 22 Model of 1917 to look like the WWI model right
down to the lanyard which was a requirement of the cavalry

THe MOdel 25 3 incher in the catalogue is a spcl. serial numbers
built for distributor Lew Horton.

THe 625 as has been said is confusing because of the variants in the
two calibers, Colt and ACP. Right now it's .45 ACP with a
5 inch Bbl. len.

The .45 COlt has a rim of about 0.046 thickness, The .45
Auto RIm has a rim thickness of 0.077 thickness. The Auto Rim
has slightly greater case capacity than the .45 ACP.

Starline offers ACP and Auto RIm brass - the AR brass
is only $ 5 more than the ACP per 500. Both are cheaper
than .45 Colt. I think the popularity of the COlt cartridge
in COwboy Action Shooting has had an effect on the COlt
prices as it's only 0 3 somebnting of and inch longer in

I have Leadhead Hardcast bullets loaded in ACP
and AR as follows.
200 gr. SWC at 1,025 FPS>
225 gr. TC-BB at 915 FPS>

They are both practice rounds as the bullets
only cost about 8 cents each - The hunting
or SD whatever yah want to call em are as follows

200 gr. hornady XTP at 975 FPS
225 gr. Barnes XPB at 880 FPS AR ONly

Why use the AR instead of the Oolt?
It's $ 6-7 cheaper per box of 50 and if I
want/need a souped up COlt load it'll go out of my
Marlin 1894 until I get it converted to AR.

September 13, 2007, 11:26 AM
I forgot to detail moon clips.

The original Moon Clip was called a "half moon" as it holds
3 rounds - Doughboys were issued a box of 24 rounds
of .45 ACP which came pre-loaded in the moon clips. Two went
into the revolver, and on the Doughboys 'kit' was a Shoulder
slung bandolier with three small pockets for the other 6 half-moon

SKeeter Skelton knew of a couple of LEO's in the rough border town
of El Paso who carried the 1950 Army - they carried Auto RIm
with 250 gr. SWC in the Revovlers with 230 gr. GI Ball ACP in half moon clips
for reloads in the 1950s. The moon clips indeed are a faster
reload than any of the speedloaders for rimmed cartridges on the market
In the late 1970s, somebody came up with the idea of a Full moon clip that
holds 6 ACP rounds for an even quickerreload. In wheel gun
competition, the moon clips have come out for the S & W Perf. Center
Model 27 8 shooter as well as the 686P 7 shooter - If yah can't
beat them, join them. I am considering getting my
686P converted - the cylinders are cut - since you can still extract the
rimmed .357 Mag cartridges with out these moon clips.

Quiz at the end of the week.... hahhahaha

pete f
September 14, 2007, 11:16 AM
ALSO> the conversion from 45 Colt, or LC, to a .45 ACP revolver was done to allow only one round for all handguns being deployed. Once the machine word was done. the revolver would only shoot .45 ACP or .45 AR.

.45 AR was never issued to doughboys, but it was issued to the british and to the brazilians later as part of their set up for the S&W pistols that they imported.

AS part of this and another large order of pistols, Brazil wanted to have S&W set up a plant to allow final assembly and repairs made in Brazil. This was the start of what became the Taurus lineage. For many years, Taurus produced a version of the K frame that was sold often for half what a S&W was going for.

Finally, the main use of .45 ACP's in moon clips is guys wanting to be like Jerry Miculek, who shoots six on target, reloads, and gets six more off in under 3 seconds


September 14, 2007, 05:37 PM
pete f "Also, the conversion from 45 Colt, or LC, to a .45 ACP revolver
was done to allow only one round for all handguns being deployed. Once
the machine word was done. the revolver would only shoot .45 ACP or
.45 AR."

IWrong on several points

1. The model that the S & W M1917 used by the Doughboys
was the S & W .44 1rst Model Hand Ejector, 1908-1915.
AKA The Triple Lock

The M1917 did'nt have the ejector shroud, nor the lock on the crane
to make it easier to produce in war time. The M1917s were
originaly made for the .45 ACP and had to use moon clips because another
shortcut was the cylinders weren't counter bored for headspacing
that was accomplished via the moon clips. Now, this confusion may be
because many, along with the Colt New Service M1917 were converted
to the more popular .45 Colt cartridge.

The .45 ACP was designed because the Army wanted a semi-automatic
that would approximate the .45 Colt load in the transition from the Colt
SAA and the failed .38 Long Colt.

2. I never said the .45 Auto RIm was ever issued to our Military.
it was for the guns on the civilian market - in company terms the
M1917 is designated the 2nd model Hand EJector. SOmetime in the
post-WWI era they prettied up the 1917 and it got the ejector shroud
once again and adjustable sights thus the 3rd model
Hand Ejector.

3. THe S&W and perhaps the big COlt had been in production prior to
1917 - it was contracted by the Brits for their similiar round
the .455 Webley ( & and maybe another brit cartridge I am forgetting about ) The .455 Webley was even shorter than the .45r ACP/AR and
it's loading was a heavier bullet that clocked 650 FPS.

I don't know that much about the Braziklian contract guns but I think they
may have been initially made in the USA until the Brazilians got their factory
going - something to look into I spoze.

September 14, 2007, 11:05 PM
The rugers interchange the cylinders to get the correct headspacing and to use moons on the 45 auto.

Um, No.

Ruger Single Action cylinders chambered for .45 ACP don't need moon clips, they head space on the case mouth. You can't use moon clips in SA, only DA.

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