.45 Colt vs .45 Schofield


Shotgun Willy
March 30, 2008, 12:35 PM
Can anyone tell me the differences between .45 Colt and Schofield brass? I've tried the search function but struck out. Somewhere I got the impression that Schofield is shorter than Colt, and that it might be useable in Colt revolvers. Any truth in this? I was thinking that using Schofield brass would let me load a lighter charge of BP without having to use cornmeal. Any ideas? Thanks.

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March 30, 2008, 12:45 PM
It is becoming more popular with the Cowboy Action Shooting since it is a mild load and can be shot in the guns chambered for the .45 Colt. It's like shooting a .38 special in a gun chambered for .357 magnum.
Bullet is .452" diameter. This case was originally designed for black powder. Using modern smokeless powders can be a real problem. It does not fill the case very well and especially when you want to back off to a mild cowboy action load. Ignition can be inconsistent at best. You have to be careful not to go too light, or a bullet could stick in the barrel. However, for these very reasons, the .45 Schofield is a popular choice since the case is shorter than the standard .45 Colt and therefore mild loads with bullets weighing from 200 to 255 grains can be shot with less recoil. Just as it is much better to make a mild load with a 158 grain bullet in .38 special than to try to make that same mild load with a .357 case. If you have an original, old firearm chambered for this round, you should stick to black powder loads for safety. The steel was not as strong in the original guns as compared to modern reproductions. A recomended powder to use in smokeless would be Trail Boss as it fills the case and provides a mild recoil load.

March 30, 2008, 01:29 PM
If you look at this link there is pictured both of the rounds in question. Definitely the Schofield brass is shorter


March 30, 2008, 07:54 PM
Schofield brass has a larger diameter rim also. It was enough to make them not feed in my Thunderbolt magazine until I turned them down several thousandths. Most pistols in Colt will take them no problems, but there might be some that the rims will touch and interfere with chambering.

March 30, 2008, 10:29 PM
the schofield cartridge is safe pressure wise for any 45 colt revolver. the only issue is the rim size may not work fine in all firearms.

The sneaky fact is, that when the colt company designed the peace maker and its cartridge for the government contract testing committee, they modified the competitions cartridge by making it longer and with a higher chamber pressure.
think .44 russian becoming .44 special.

the army used both the schofield and the colt guns and ammo because both worked, used an almost identical bullet.
supply issues had the wrong ammo going to the wrong troops, ie schofield toting guys were getting hte colt ammo and vice versa. the colt boys had no concerns at all as they could use the schofield.
eventually the schofields were removed from service being top break and the army liked the more powerful colt cartridge.
but the troops like the schofield being easier on the shooter.

Jim Watson
March 30, 2008, 11:16 PM
Caution: Ruger .45 Colts may require cutting the ratchet to clear the larger rim of .45 Schofield.

If you really want a light load, look at the Cowboy .45 Special. Same rim as .45 Colt, same length as .45 ACP. Just holds the SASS minimum smoke load. Modifications available to get them to run through rifles.

Shotgun Willy
March 30, 2008, 11:38 PM
Thanks guys, I've been curious about that. I've got an R&D for my 1858 that I rarely use because Blackhills ammunition is cost prohibitive. I bought a Lee classic reloading kit for .45 LC and haven't used it yet. I'd prefer to avoid messing with smokeless powder and am probably going to just fill it up with 2F APP, so I can get a softer load and not have to mess with fillers. This also has the added benefiet of not having to worry about what the bullets are lubed with.

March 31, 2008, 12:09 AM
Oddly enough, the original .45 Colt load of 40 grains of BP proved a bit hard to handle for the soldiers,(very close to today's .44Mag) so the Army had manufacturers to back off to a 30 grain load. The Schofield held 28 grains if memory serves, so basically the Army ended up with a Schofied load in a Colt case.

Elbert P . Suggins
March 31, 2008, 02:05 AM
I shot 45 Long Colt and 45 Schofield last year in CASS. I used a 3rd gen. Colt and and a 2000 S & W Schofield from the Performance Center. I think all the Italian Schofieds have a long enough cylinder to shoot 45 long Colt also but mine followed the original S&W cylinder design which allows me to only shoot the shorter 45.

Elbert P . Suggins
March 31, 2008, 08:49 AM
Also I tried 45 Schofield in the Beretta Gold Rush which is a replica of the Colt pump action Lighting design. Everything locks and jams up tight requiring magazine tube disassembly.

Shotgun Willy
March 31, 2008, 02:33 PM
Thanks, I don't shoot CASS, not that I haven't thought about it. I was just thinking of possibly cheaper ways to feer my R&D.

March 31, 2008, 09:05 PM
This is where the designation .45 LC (Long Colt) arose. It was to distinguish the .45 Colt from the Schofield cartridge, which, as stated, were often used interchangeably in the Colt revolvers. The "proper" (i.e. original) designation for the .45 LC is simply ".45 Colt".

Yes, the Italians have recently come out with a "Schofield" revolver that takes the longer .45 Colt cartridge (longer cylinder and a longer travel of the ejector rod). I think the break top design was a significant advancement in combat handguns of the day. That was a real milestone. Now, if they'd have incorporated moon clips at the same time, they'd really have had something.

April 1, 2008, 03:34 AM
There was a ".45 Short Colt", and it wasn't the .45 Schofield:


To be honest, they weren't called "Short Colt", they were simply .45 Colt, but shorter than the so-named .45 Long Colt round we know today.

Likewise, they didn't have the Schofield's larger rim needed for extraction in that particular Smith & Wesson break-top revolver.


Note the obvious difference between the two .45-caliber Colt rounds:


April 2, 2008, 11:17 PM
In my experience, shooting the .45 S&W aks Schofield out of an Uberti made S&W #3 produced better accuracy than shooting the .45 Colt cartridges out of hte same gun. I am not sure why. With the low velocity rounds made for Cowbody Action Shooting recoil is not much of an issue. So, my hand is steady enough. I will leave it to the wizards among us to figure out why this is?

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