45 Long Colt vs 44 mag


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ExAgoradzo
March 7, 2011, 12:19 AM
I've had two different answers from men I think 'ought to know'.

"44 mag is much more powerful than a 45 colt"

"45 colt is better than the mag'.

Since I have a LC and don't have a 44mag, I'm just curious.

I suppose I could look up the ballistics, but your answers are much more fun (and often amusing!).


Yes, if anyone is watching: I ask a lot of questions...

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John Wayne
March 7, 2011, 12:38 AM
The .45 LC was originally a black powder cartridge. With original loadings, its ballistics are nowhere near the .44 Magnum. Modern DA revolvers can handle higher pressures than the old SAA Colts for which the .45 round was designed. These guns can safely shoot .45 LC +P ammo, which offers improved ballistics over the original .45 LC round, but still nowhere close to the .44 Mag; the reason being that the .44 Magnum is closer to a .43 caliber, while the .45 is an actual .45 caliber (.454" or thereabouts, IIRC)--the smaller diameter bullet used by the .44 Magnum allows the cylinder walls to be thicker and stronger, and able to withstand higher pressures. Also, the .44 Mag was designed for use in modern revolvers, without the danger and liability of the cartridges making their way into grampa's rusty old Colt and blowing it apart.

The exception is that some modern guns, notably Ruger and Thompson Center, manufacture their .45 LC guns sturdily enough to allow handloaders to exceed .44 magnum ballistics with the .45 LC, and at lower pressures. This, coupled with the fact that the LC makes bigger holes, is why some say it is the superior round of the two--and while that is an accurate assessment, it only applies to the two aforementioned platforms, and even then only if the user hand loads ammunition.

Arkansas Paul
March 7, 2011, 12:48 AM
This, coupled with the fact that the LC makes bigger holes, is why some say it is the superior round of the two--and while that is an accurate assessment, it only applies to the two aforementioned platforms, and even then only if the user hand loads ammunition.


Absolutely correct!
I love the .45 Colt but the only way to realize it's full potential is in a modern gun like a Ruger or Freedom Arms revolver. And not just any Ruger. The newer Vaqueros can't handle them safely either.
Also, handloading is important as well. You can get some .45 Colt +P stuff from Magtech and Buffalo Bore, but it's not that easy to find, and it's very expensive.
In short, if you don't handload, stick to the .44 mag. If you do, you will love the .45 Colt.

evan price
March 7, 2011, 12:49 AM
To be totally honest, the 45 Colt top-end loads are really only safe in certain guns- Ruger Supers, T/Cs, etc kind of like loading a 38 Special up to 357 Mag velocities required the S&W 38-44 Heavy Duty...whereas the true 45 Colt "Magnum" would the 454 Casull. The 45 Colt had a lot of potential left to be developed but only in guns that could safely handle the pressures developed. There are too many weak framed 45 LCs out there to have a "real" high pressure cartridge in circulation.

44 Magnum is a great caliber but it is pretty much maxed out. There's not a lot that more velocity is going to get you in .430".

That's why we have S&W "X"-frames.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 12:59 AM
If you are a hand loader and you have a stout gun, then 45LC is theoretically the way to go. But your options are pretty slim for a stout 45...unless you buy something rated for 454 casul...in which case you would just shoot 454 and then your comparison becomes moot.

My opinion is anything more powerful than a 44mag is too powerful for a handgun. However I would really really like to own a freedom arms 5 shot single action 454.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 01:02 AM
The .45 LC was originally a black powder cartridge. With original loadings, its ballistics are nowhere near the .44 Magnum.
Not only is the original 45colt inferior to the 44mag, but its my understanding it is also inferior to the 44 special and the old 44-40. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

ExAgoradzo
March 7, 2011, 01:09 AM
So my LC is a Ruger Blackhawk.
What I hear you all saying is that I should just stick with the fact loads, the hollow point, and borrow a buddies 44 mag when I want to hear/feel a bigger bang.

Would that LC be good in a pistol deer season? I'm guessing yes.

John Wayne
March 7, 2011, 01:21 AM
So my LC is a Ruger Blackhawk.
What I hear you all saying is that I should just stick with the fact loads, the hollow point, and borrow a buddies 44 mag when I want to hear/feel a bigger bang.

Would that LC be good in a pistol deer season? I'm guessing yes.

Well, not quite. I'm sure it can get a bit confusing. The simple answer is that your Blackhawk can safely shoot any factory .45 Colt factory ammo, is suitable for deer season, and if (and only if) handloaded will exceed the .44 Magnum. Read on for more :)

Basically, Ruger is known for over-building their guns. The Blackhawk platform is the one most well-known for being strong enough to handle the high-pressure .45 Long Colt loads--it's built almost as strong as a .454 Casull, so people load almost to .454 levels, in .45 cases. Ruger of course does not advise this as this is a liability for them.

High pressure handloads in this cartridge are also called "Ruger Only" loads, so you can safely handload using "Ruger Only" data. Sticking to factory loads won't hurt anything though (any factory load, +P or otherwise, should be safe in a Blackhawk). Regarding hollowpoints, bullet selection will depend on your intended purpose. For something like whitetails, yes; for bear, solid lead would be better.

If you want a bigger bang than .45 LC +P but don't handload, then yes, you'd want to get the .44 Mag.

For whitetail, the .45 LC is an adequate round. Just be sure of what loading you're using and keep its effective range in mind. It would only be advisable to hunt with standard pressure rounds at very close range.

*note* Ruger produces/produced several Blackhawk models, so be sure yours is one of the ones that can handle hot loads if you decide to load to that level

ExAgoradzo
March 7, 2011, 01:33 AM
Well, not quite. I'm sure it can get a bit confusing. The simple answer is that your Blackhawk can safely shoot any factory .45 Colt factory ammo, is suitable for deer season, and if (and only if) handloaded will exceed the .44 Magnum. Read on for more :)

Basically, Ruger is known for over-building their guns. The Blackhawk platform is the one most well-known for being strong enough to handle the high-pressure .45 Long Colt loads--it's built almost as strong as a .454 Casull, so people load almost to .454 levels, in .45 cases. Ruger of course does not advise this as this is a liability for them.

High pressure handloads in this cartridge are also called "Ruger Only" loads, so you can safely handload using "Ruger Only" data. Sticking to factory loads won't hurt anything though (any factory load, +P or otherwise, should be safe in a Blackhawk). Regarding hollowpoints, bullet selection will depend on your intended purpose. For something like whitetails, yes; for bear, solid lead would be better.

If you want a bigger bang than .45 LC +P but don't handload, then yes, you'd want to get the .44 Mag.

For whitetail, the .45 LC is an adequate round. Just be sure of what loading you're using and keep its effective range in mind. It would only be advisable to hunt with standard pressure rounds at very close range.

*note* Ruger produces/produced several Blackhawk models, so be sure yours is one of the ones that can handle hot loads if you decide to load to that level
"The simple answer is that your Blackhawk can safely shoot any factory .45 Colt factory ammo, is suitable for deer season, and if (and only if) handloaded will exceed the .44 Magnum."

This is what I wanted. The 44 mag part I'll do without until I borrow someone else's.
You also (in your deeper reply) answered another question re: hollow point.

BTW: my Blackhawk is an OM. But it is my 2nd fav gun next to my 357 BH OM.

B/c I don't handload, I'll be satisfied that I can bring a deer down or some other varmit if one gets into a place he doesn't belong.

Thank you all for your help.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 01:42 AM
There used to be kits to convert your 6 shot 45LC blackhawk into a 5 shot 454. Havn't seen or heard about them for a several years now.

zxcvbob
March 7, 2011, 01:51 AM
.45 Colt standard loads with heavy bullets will shoot all the way thru a buffalo (probably lengthwise) and they make a bigger hole than the .44. I don't know why you'd ever need more than that. The higher velocity of the .44 gets you a flatter trajectory and longer range, and there's nothing wrong with that either. Also .44's tend to have tighter chambers and tolerances, so you have a better chance of getting an accurate one.

Hot handloads in a Ruger .45 Colt are fun to shoot though :D

mes227
March 7, 2011, 03:00 AM
Not only is the original 45colt inferior to the 44mag, but its my understanding it is also inferior to the 44 special and the old 44-40. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Lighter 45 Colt factory loads produce similar muzzle energies as 44 Special (both in the +/-500 ft-lbs range). Factory 45 Colt +P loads produce similar energies as a 44Mag +P (eg, Buffalo Bores produce circa 1,200 ft-lbs for both). A hot 44-40 load will produce a ME of around 900 ft-lbs.

Because the 45 Colt bullets are larger diameter (0.453" v. 0.429") and usually heavier, the 45 also delivers higher TKOs than the 44 Mag (for Buffalo Bores +P loads: 26 v 23 at the muzzle), which is one of the best measures of stopping power. For hand loaders, the 45 Colt can be reloaded from lighter than a 44 Special to hotter than a 44 Mag +P+, and always with better TKOs for comparable loads. Which is one of the reasons some of us think it's the most versatile of the big bores.

CraigC
March 7, 2011, 03:06 AM
Factory Ruger .45's are nowhere near as strong as .454's. Remember that the .454 operates at DOUBLE the pressure that even "Ruger only" loads generate, 32,000psi vs. 65,000psi. So no, .45's are loaded to "near" .454 levels. That is only safe for custom 5-shot Rugers and those loads run 50-55,000psi.

When Linebaugh first wrote his article on the .45Colt back in the `80's, everything he wrote held true. However, times have changed, bullet selection has vastly improved and the playing field is level. Today, with maximum loads in either chambering, the .44Mag maintains a 50-100fps advantage over the .45Colt. The heaviest practical cast bullets are in the 355-360gr range and the .44 retains a sectional density advantage there as well. So the only real, measurable advantage the .45 has, in factory six-shot Rugers, is the slight increase in diameter. You and your quarry can decide how much that matters. I'm sticking to .44's because they do not suffer from ambiguous 140yr old chamber/bore dimensions that never seem to be right. While .45's often have oversized chambers and need tweaking, .44's typically shoot very well right out of the box.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 03:21 AM
Aha! so the 5 shot conversions DID exist. Glad my memory still works.

451 Detonics
March 7, 2011, 07:21 AM
The 45 Colt case was originally a balloon head case and was much weaker than today's brass. And even modern 45 Colt is not as thick at the base as the 44 Mag brass is. Personally I see no reason to try and make a Magnum out of the 45 Colt...if I want that much more velocity I use a Magnum caliber.

StrawHat
March 7, 2011, 08:27 AM
Some interesting reading

http://www.handloads.com/articles/default.asp?id=12

http://www.customsixguns.com/writings/dissolving_the_myth.htm

Linebaugh seems to cover it well enough.

bakert
March 7, 2011, 11:30 AM
I love the .45 Colt caliber for use in my Ruger Blackhawks with loads both mild and wild, BUT, finding ammo is pretty hard in most places and what is out there is pretty anemic.. If you're a hand loader it's not a big problem but to be honest, the .44 mag just might be a better choice for most folks who want powerful loads and the ammo is available in most all places. :)

Arkansas Paul
March 7, 2011, 12:40 PM
So my LC is a Ruger Blackhawk.
What I hear you all saying is that I should just stick with the fact loads, the hollow point, and borrow a buddies 44 mag when I want to hear/feel a bigger bang.


That's not what all of us are saying. I love heavy loads in my Blackhawk. The only way I would prefer a .44 is if I didn't handload.

CraigC
March 7, 2011, 02:44 PM
And even modern 45 Colt is not as thick at the base as the 44 Mag brass is.
Case strength is a non-issue. The case is only a gasket, it's the chamber that contains the pressure. Using good Federal and Starline brass, case life is not a problem unless the chamber is very oversized. Which many are. Point being, there is no reason NOT to load the .45 heavy in proper guns. The difference is just not what most people believe it to be after 30yrs of "more performance, less pressure" propaganda.


Linebaugh seems to cover it well enough.
Linebaugh does cover it well, very well. However, his article is nearly 30yrs old and is HEAVILY biased towards the big .45. He made his name building .45's, .475's and .500's, not .44's. Times have changed, bullet selection has improved and the .44 stands in the .45's shadow no longer.

Maximum loads:
.44Mag - 330gr (.255) at 1350fps = TKO 27.4
.44Mag - 355gr (.274) at 1250fps = TKO 27.3
.45Colt - 335gr (.234) at 1240fps = TKO 26.8
.45Colt - 360gr (.252) at 1150fps = TKO 26.7

Also note that at comparable bullet weights, the .44 has a significantly higher sectional density. With only the 355gr .44Mag equalling the sectional density of the mighty 430gr .475.

ljnowell
March 7, 2011, 03:12 PM
The 45 Colt case was originally a balloon head case and was much weaker than today's brass. And even modern 45 Colt is not as thick at the base as the 44 Mag brass is. Personally I see no reason to try and make a Magnum out of the 45 Colt...if I want that much more velocity I use a Magnum caliber

Yes, the original 45colt cases were balloon heads, that was a very long time ago. Modern 45colt brass is in no way not strong enough for the Ruger only hot loads. That s a fallacy that was repeated by chuck hawk for long enough that people believed it. The brass is a gasket, the chamber holds the pressure. The head of a 45 colt case will more than take the normal "Ruger Only" 45 colt loads. There is nothing unsafe about that.

bubba15301
March 7, 2011, 04:02 PM
original .45 colt load-40grs. ffg blackpowder, 255gr lead bullet -950 fps . 44/40- 40grs. blackpowder , 200 gr lead bullet- 1050fps 44 special 246 gr bullet at 750fps

CraigC
March 7, 2011, 04:51 PM
That s a fallacy that was repeated by chuck hawk for long enough that people believed it.
You'll hear similar nonsense from Wiley Clapp and Charles Petty. Along with other writers who should stick to what they know.

Conversely, it's also the rare instance where Elmer Keith was wrong. He blamed a weak .45 case for his grenaded 1st generation Colt SAA. Which was loaded with a cutdown .45/70 bullet at 300gr over a caseful of blackpowder. What let go was the old Cot with its thin chamber walls. His life's work taken on a whole though, I think we can forgive him for that. ;)

We must not forget that Dick Casull developed the .454 in .45Colt brass. Pushing 260's at 2000fps.

The weak case myth is exactly that, pure myth.

redactor
March 7, 2011, 04:52 PM
So my LC is a Ruger Blackhawk.
What I hear you all saying is that I should just stick with the fact loads, the hollow point, and borrow a buddies 44 mag when I want to hear/feel a bigger bang.

Would that LC be good in a pistol deer season? I'm guessing yes.

Both Buffalo Bore and CorBon make 45 Colt "Heavy" loads that will run in your BlackHawk, and match or exceed 44 Magnum standards. Bass Pro/Sportsmans Warehouse/Wholesale Sports had the 325 gr @ 1325 fps loads for about $35 per box of 20. I believe you can also order them from Cabelas for a similar price. The CorBon also offers several similar loads.

DM~
March 7, 2011, 04:59 PM
44 Magnum is a great caliber but it is pretty much maxed out. There's not a lot that more velocity is going to get you in .430".


I guess you never heard of the 445 super mag., or the .444 Marlin.

DM

Trad Archer
March 7, 2011, 05:05 PM
A standard 45 colt load will easily kill a deer.

Bula
March 7, 2011, 05:42 PM
A standard 45 colt load will easily kill a deer.

And you will not likely find the bullet either...

Either will do what you need, but if you're like most I know, you'll end up owning both.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 07:32 PM
Case strength is a non-issue. The case is only a gasket, it's the chamber that contains the pressure. Using good Federal and Starline brass, case life is not a problem unless the chamber is very oversized. Which many are. Point being, there is no reason NOT to load the .45 heavy in proper guns. The difference is just not what most people believe it to be after 30yrs of "more performance, less pressure" propaganda.



Linebaugh does cover it well, very well. However, his article is nearly 30yrs old and is HEAVILY biased towards the big .45. He made his name building .45's, .475's and .500's, not .44's. Times have changed, bullet selection has improved and the .44 stands in the .45's shadow no longer.

Maximum loads:
.44Mag - 330gr (.255) at 1350fps = TKO 27.4
.44Mag - 355gr (.274) at 1250fps = TKO 27.3
.45Colt - 335gr (.234) at 1240fps = TKO 26.8
.45Colt - 360gr (.252) at 1150fps = TKO 26.7

Also note that at comparable bullet weights, the .44 has a significantly higher sectional density. With only the 355gr .44Mag equalling the sectional density of the mighty 430gr .475.
Who cares about sectional density in a handgun?

Gaskets fail. Seems to me it would be possible to rupture a thin walled case if you have a stretched top strap and lots of end shake.

Prosser
March 7, 2011, 07:41 PM
Hard Cast bullet, 1150 fps, not my shot:
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/45deer0111150fps45ColtexitHardcast.jpg
Can the .44 mag do better?

CraigC
March 7, 2011, 07:48 PM
Who cares about sectional density in a handgun?
Anybody who hunts more than paper targets. :confused:


Gaskets fail. Seems to me it would be possible to rupture a thin walled case if you have a stretched top strap and lots of end shake.
Got any evidence to support the theory that the .45Colt's case is "weak"? If you do, you're the only one.

Hunt480
March 7, 2011, 08:00 PM
I have both and both are good but If your gonna buy either one for hunting I would say get the 44mag and be done with it, it is the superior performer off the shelf or reloaded IMO.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 08:38 PM
Anybody who hunts more than paper targets. :confused:



Got any evidence to support the theory that the .45Colt's case is "weak"? If you do, you're the only one.
Sectional density gives you effective range and thus flatter trajectory in rifles...and penetration against hard targets. Against targets made of meat penetration is moot. With a handgun, trajectory is nearly moot.

Cases fail all the time in semi-auto guns. All it takes is an unsupported area and high pressure. Common sense should tell you a big enough gap between rear of cylinder and breech face would give you an unsupported area. Especially if you have a cylinder machined for moon clips and you are not using moon clips.

Arkansas Paul
March 7, 2011, 09:19 PM
For the people who think .45 cases are weak, remember, Dick Casull did his testing for the .454 Casull with .45 Colt brass. He likely would have noticed if the cases had been weak.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 09:24 PM
He likely would not if he was using a decent gun...which he most likely was...and a single action at that. I don't think there's too many single actions out there machined for moon clips.

CraigC
March 7, 2011, 10:00 PM
Sectional density gives you effective range and thus flatter trajectory in rifles.
Sectional density is what yields deep penetration with non-expanding bullets. Has nothing to do with trajectory. Are you thinking ballistic coefficient???


Against targets made of meat penetration is moot.
Uh, what???


He likely would not if he was using a decent gun...which he most likely was...
He certainly was. Casull is a world class gunsmith and was utilizing custom Colt single actions with scratch-built five-shot cylinders and special heat treatment.


I don't think there's too many single actions out there machined for moon clips.
What are you talking about? Who said anything about the .45ACP? If you don't know the difference, you probably should bow out of this discussion.


Not only is the original 45colt inferior to the 44mag, but its my understanding it is also inferior to the 44 special and the old 44-40. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
No, wrong again.


Remo223, you really don't know what you're talking about, do you?

Casefull
March 7, 2011, 10:36 PM
I shoot numerous ruger 44mags, ruger 45 colt, and 454 freedom arms built by mr. Casull.
You can load up the 45lc in the ruger to 44mag velocities but remember the chamber walls are thinner cause of the larger bullet diameter. I shoot 45 lc in my casull a lot cause the brass is cheaper. Please do not compare a ruger to the casull. The strength and fitting of the casull is the best you will ever find in a pistol...If you handle one and work the action you would agree with me. They are so tight(not always good if you are in dirty enviroment) that a nick on the case rim or primer protruding a couple of thousands will keep the cylinder from rotatng. Rugers and colts feel like junk after you spend some time with a casull...don't get me wrong I like the rugers and colts but they will blow up if you get too hot.

Remo223
March 7, 2011, 10:41 PM
to post #34:


Yes I do. You seem to be very good at being stubborn. and playing dumb. Definitely have the passive aggressive rudeness down pat. Sectional density is related to coefficient. You should know that if you know anything about coefficent. ACP? who said anything about 45ACP? Surely you are not so naive that you think only ACP rounds are used with moon clips? If you are going to persist in this silly stubbornness maybe I will just refrain from reading your silly nonsense. I know exactly who Casull is. You are wasting a lecture my boy.

MR_A
March 7, 2011, 10:47 PM
I have 2 Ruger Vaqueros 1st models in 45 colt and I reload everything from 200 gr. to 250 gr. up to max loads and have never had any problems recoil is light to moderate nothing like the punishing recoil of the 44 mag. I do not hunt with them but I use to belong to sass and have fired many hundreds of rounds in each. I find the 45 colt a pleasure to shoot especially with light target or cowboy loads loads.

CraigC
March 7, 2011, 10:54 PM
Stubborn and playing dumb???

Then maybe you can explain to us the mooncip comment and how that could ever possibly be relevant???

Then explain to us how sectional density is unimportant and not a critical factory affecting penetration.

Then explain to all us dummies how penetration is unimportant.

The answer is no, you clearly don't know what you're talking about. Some of us don't have to be reminded that five-shot conversions exist. For this stuff is part of our every day.

evan price
March 8, 2011, 03:20 AM
44 Magnum is a great caliber but it is pretty much maxed out. There's not a lot that more velocity is going to get you in .430".

I guess you never heard of the 445 super mag., or the .444 Marlin.

DM

Sure, and I've heard of 454 Casull and 460 S&W Magnum.

1858
March 8, 2011, 05:35 AM
Maximum loads:
.44Mag - 330gr (.255) at 1350fps = TKO 27.4
.44Mag - 355gr (.274) at 1250fps = TKO 27.3
.45Colt - 335gr (.234) at 1240fps = TKO 26.8
.45Colt - 360gr (.252) at 1150fps = TKO 26.7

Also note that at comparable bullet weights, the .44 has a significantly higher sectional density. With only the 355gr .44Mag equalling the sectional density of the mighty 430gr .475.

Is the difference between the SDs significant in terms of terminal performance? What I get from this is that if you compare the heaviest bullets for both cartridges, the .45 Colt has 92% of the SD, 92% of the velocity, 98% of the TKO but only 74% of the maximum chamber pressure (had to look up those values). In practical terms, the .45 Colt and .44 Magnum can be pushed to just about the same performance levels. Choices for powder, cases and bullets are plentiful. They're both accurate cartridges, rifles are chambered and available for each, they're easy to load for, and they're both devastating on two or four-legged critters. So what was the question?

DM~
March 8, 2011, 10:03 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DM
Quote:
Originally Posted by "evan price":
44 Magnum is a great caliber but it is pretty much maxed out. There's not a lot that more velocity is going to get you in .430".

I guess you never heard of the 445 super mag., or the .444 Marlin.

DM

Sure, and I've heard of 454 Casull and 460 S&W Magnum.


I'm unclear how your answer to my question relates to your statement that the 44 mag cartridge "maxes" out the velocity of a .430" bullet?

If the 44 mag cartridges maxes out the .430" bullet and more velocity won't get you anything, doesn't the Supermag and 444 Marlin prove that statement wrong?

My .444 Marlin pushes a bullet a heck of a lot faster than any 44 mag can, and it extends the range of the .430" bullet by quite a bit!

DM

robctwo
March 8, 2011, 10:21 AM
I bought a .45 Colt Taurus SAA a few years ago. Not very accurate with any loads, and I tried a bunch.

A couple years went by, bought the 20" Puma '92 since I had the reloading stuff. Put some better sights on it, started fooling around with .45 Colt at the upper ends of the scale. Read all the articles. Lots of fun to shoot a few rounds, steel butt plate limited the fun without the sissy pad. I got it to shoot 6" groups at 100 yards with my old eyes. Realized that I had five deer/elk guns with scopes running 2.5-3 times as fast. Have not taken it out to shoot a deer yet, but might be useful in brush. No doubt it will kill anything in North America.

Last year I got into .45 Colt revolvers, Ruger and S&W. Heavy loads aren't much fun at the range. I have some good heavy loads for carry in the woods.

Just got through loading up 400 of my current favorite range loads, 6.0 gr Red Dot under 200 gr lswc. Very mild recoil, very accurate out to 50 yards. Not enough to purposefully take deer hunting, but I believe I could take a deer if I really needed to.

I haven't needed to go .44 mag, and already load enough different calibers. If I needed a flatter shooting hand gun round, the .44 mag has that advantage.

Pleasant discussions are more fun.

CraigC
March 8, 2011, 11:51 AM
So what was the question?
My answer is in response to the popular notion, propagated by Linebaugh 30yrs ago, that the .45Colt offers "more performance at less pressure". Like this:
The simple answer is that your Blackhawk can safely shoot any factory .45 Colt factory ammo, is suitable for deer season, and if (and only if) handloaded will exceed the .44 Magnum.
When in reality, they are very, very similar. A difference of 100fps is really insignificant. The difference in diameter is made up in the difference in sectional density. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. IMHO, the more important difference is the tendency for the .45Colt to have oversized chambers and under or oversized chamber mouths. While the .44's are nearly always accurate out of the box. Where the .45 really shines is in much stronger gun like the big Redhawk and custom five-shot single actions but really, even then, all you're gaining is velocity. Tighter chambers and proper dimensions yield better accuracy and a tad more velocity but what does that really gain us in the field? A lot of recoil for one thing. So if you're going to the expense of a custom five-shot gun, which will cost at least $2500, why not go bigger? Bigger and heavier bullets are far more effective than more velocity. In this context anyway.

Less pressure, so what? What does 8000psi less pressure gain us? Nothing. For a given bullet weight at a given velocity, recoil will be the same whether it's a .44 or a .45. Less pressure 'may' yield a slight gain in service life but I have yet to see any testing done in that regard. It is insignificant, a marketing phrase.

So no, I don't believe for one second that the .45Colt is the "obvious" choice for the handloader. Which might be why I own 7 .44Mag's plus 3 .44Spl's and 2 .44Colt's but only three .45Colt's. I love the .45Colt and enjoy those that I own, I just don't drink the KoolAid.

Vern Humphrey
March 8, 2011, 03:40 PM
Not only is the original 45colt inferior to the 44mag, but its my understanding it is also inferior to the 44 special and the old 44-40. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Okay.:evil:

Ballistically, the .45 Colt shot rings around both the .44-40 and the .44 Special. From a 7 1/2" barrel, the old colt with balloon head cases would get about 1,000 fps, while the .44-40 and .44 Special maxed out much lower with a silighly lighter bullet.

Elmer Kieth, who blew up a few SAA Colts, knew the SAA Colt's weak spot -- the cylinder locking notch, which is dead center of the chamber, and has very thin metal there. When he had his famous Number 5 made up, he specified .44 Special, so as to get a bit more metal there. He then proceeded to develop some very high pressure loads for it.

In a suitably strong handgun -- like a Ruger Blackhawk, the .45 Colt can be safely loaded to shade the .44 Mag.

mr.trooper
March 8, 2011, 03:50 PM
Splitting hairs by arguing over the .025" difference in bullet diameter is SILLY. Something as trivial as a slight variance in the lead alloy, or a minor difference in distance to the target could EASILY make up that difference or more.

Fact of the matter is that .44mag is far more versatile in today's market - unless you plan to restrict yourself to Ruger guns only and reload all your shells.

You can buy a box of Blazer .44 mag soft points at Walmart and shoot them out of any .44mag gun - this will get you 750 foot-pounds (light load) at the muzzle. Even cheap 'plinker' .44 mag ammo is plenty of power for deer at distance, black bear, or a tweaked up rapscallion. Heavier loads will do anything that needs doing, and still be safe to shoot in any .44 mag gun.

ljnowell
March 8, 2011, 06:43 PM
Cases fail all the time in semi-auto guns. All it takes is an unsupported area and high pressure. Common sense should tell you a big enough gap between rear of cylinder and breech face would give you an unsupported area. Especially if you have a cylinder machined for moon clips and you are not using moon clips.

What exactly is your point? If there is that big of a gap(meaning headspace is off) it would matter what kind of brass or caliber, it would go boom. How does this support the argument that 45 colt cases are weak? You are talking in circles and plainly know not what you are talking about.

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