Ballistics question regarding


November 11, 2008, 08:41 PM
traditional handgun ammo in rifles. The numerous rifles on the market that are replicas or semi-replicas of historic US rifles are made in calibers of 45 Colt, 44-40, 357, etc. I am interested in what happens to the ballistics of a 45 Colt when fired from a 20 inch barrel compared to a revolver. I want to buy a replica of a Winchester 73, most likely in 45 Colt. Can anyone tell me where to check this out? If I go to a Winchester ammo catalog the ballistics are given but apply more to handguns for their handgun cartridges. The old 44-40 or 44 WCF was made for both handguns and rifles. So, history and the Winchester Company tells us that the cartridges worked to a great degree in rifles for hunting and fighting. I would like some specifics. Thanks in advance for your help. (I have my eye on a Cimarron brand '73, what do you think of my choice?)

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General Geoff
November 11, 2008, 08:44 PM
Typically, the same cartridge fired out of a rifle will gain several hundred feet per second in muzzle velocity. If a particular .44 Magnum round does, say, 1600fps out of a 6" revolver, it'll probably do 2000fps or more out of a 20" rifle.

November 12, 2008, 02:03 AM
to see what this means in terms of usable range and what the drop is at 100 yards from a rifle compared to a handgun, etc???

November 12, 2008, 02:21 AM
Don't expect to make the factory 45 Colt a rhino roller out of a carbine. I've chrongraphed 45 ACP and 9 MM out of carbines and they only pick up about 150 fps. A 44 Mag or 357 will probably do better.

To answer your question about range and drop now. The extra velocity doesn't do a lot for range but the pistol caliber carbine does a lot for accuracy so I'd say about 100yds. The velocity gain does do something on paper but very little in regards to practical gain. This is regardless of the caliber you choose.

November 12, 2008, 06:38 AM
The simple answer is...It depends.

.357 and .44 magnum loaded with slow powders will gain more than .45 Colt loaded with a relatively quick powder.

I have had some experience with the pistol caliber carbines, and I'll do a comparison. The figures aren't exact, but are close.

The guns:

6-inch Smith M29. 4.75-inch Ruger New Vaquero. Winchester M92/94 Trapper carbines.

.44 magnum. 240-grain JHP. Olin 296 powder. Maximum or near-maximum charge.

6-inch revolver produced 1350 fps...give or take 10. 16-inch carbine barrel bumped 1800 fps.

.45 Colt. 250-grain cast SWC. 9 grains Unique...also a near-max charge for the caliber unless you hot-rod the cartridge using the "Ruger Only" data in the manuals.

4.75 inch revolver gave up 900 fps, give or take 10. 16-inch carbine broke 1100 fps by a fair amount.

Please note that the "Ruger Only" data does NOT apply to the New Vaqueros in .45 Colt caliber. Limit those revolvers to standard pressure ammunition. The .357 New Vaquero is good to go with magnum-level ammunition.

November 12, 2008, 07:53 AM
i would agree with 1911 tuner. if a person set out to increase the velocity of a pistol cartridge in a rifle, by handloading, and did so in a slow, methodic planed way. i am certain you could end up gaining a lot of ground. however, you would probably end up in untested grounds to find the maximum velocity out of them. possibly even using a relativly fast burning rifle powder. you would NEED a chronograph, and be very familliar with it, and be very familiar with the warning signs of high pressure. with enough experimentation, who knows what is really possible. but in uncharted teritoy, the consequenses could very well be disasterous! so if you decide to go that route, be extremely cautious. also, if you were going to try something of that nature, i would pick up the telephone, and actually call the powder manufacturer and see if they could give you any guideance. i dont know if i am curious, or dumb, but it sounds like an interesting proposition to me. but i do not have a pistol caliber rifle, and i am not going to go out and buy one (and all the reloading items that you would need) just to satisfy my curiosity.

November 12, 2008, 10:57 AM
at all and I do not shoot a great deal. I just like replica firearms from American history and will only shoot factory ammo. I have Ruger New Vaq in .45 Colt and so will probably buy that caliber in a replica Winchester 73 rifle. My experimentation will be completely non-technical. It will be putting up a target at 100 yards and explore the difference in ability to hit it with a revolver and a rifle using same ammo. Thanks to everyone and I welcome any more input someone might have.

General Geoff
November 12, 2008, 01:09 PM
I think the sight radius increase of the rifle will benefit you more than the extra bit of muzzle velocity, at that range.

November 12, 2008, 01:37 PM
180 Grn. Federal 357 round :
Out of pistol :
Muzzle :1080 fps/466 ft lbs.
100 yds. : 972 fps/378 ft. lts.

Out of rifle :
Muzzle : 1550 fps/960 ft. lbs.
100 yds : 1282 fps/657 ft. lbs.

In addition, the rifle shoots the same round quieter than the pistol.

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