Big caliber, low pressure DA revolver?


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Squeaky Wheel
February 6, 2012, 09:42 PM
I would really like to have a revolver that shoots a large caliber, with low pressures (relatively speaking). The 2 calibers that seem to fit the bill are .45 ACP and .45 LC. I plan to start hand loading and want to be able to get maximum life out of my brass -- this is why I would prefer low pressures as opposed to .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum. I know about the S&W M25 in .45 ACP that makes use of moon clips. However, they seem to be pretty rare and expensive. I'm concerned about .45 LC with the loose tolerances on bore/chamber diameter.

I'm not interested in SA revolvers like the Blackhawk. Anybody else a fan of big, slow, low pressure calibers in DA revolvers? Also, I say revolver because I don't like the idea of chasing my brass (am planning to start hand loading). Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

Additionally -- a bonus would be finding a lever action rifle/carbine to pair it with to maximize my plans with hand loading with a common caliber.

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surveyor
February 6, 2012, 10:36 PM
I know about the S&W M25 in .45 ACP that makes use of moon clips.

well what about the S&W M25 that does not make use of moon clips as its chambered in 45 colt...

it would be easier to pair up with a 45 colt lever, as I can't remember any being in acp..

in acp a marlin camp rifle comes to mind, but it would pair better with a 1911 as the mags are the same, instead of a tube fed lever..

I saw a little better than 90% 25-5 8 3/8" barrel in the last month for $600

in the acp models you can use 45 auto rim brass if the moon clips are not your thing..

myself, I really like the moon clips in a 25-2 6"..it is the 45 that is causing me to reload..

I have a few models of smiths that the evil pawn shop guy has a look out for.. the 25 or 625 is one of them (in acp)

JTQ
February 6, 2012, 10:50 PM
Mike Venturino, in American Handgunner, in the not too distant past, wrote an article claiming the .45ACP as the best revolver round. I'm sure he had some planned exaggeration in the article, but he did make some good points for the .45ACP.

One point that I hadn't thought of previously, is that the .45ACP didn't have a history as a black powder round and therefore had the proper length case for an appropriate powder charge. He feels it is less likely to double charge a .45ACP than a .45 Colt.

He had some pretty cool bullets for his .45ACP revolvers, one of which was wadcutter in the 225gr weight range that looked very cool.

wanderinwalker
February 6, 2012, 10:50 PM
I would really like to have a revolver that shoots a large caliber, with low pressures (relatively speaking). The 2 calibers that seem to fit the bill are .45 ACP and .45 LC. I plan to start hand loading and want to be able to get maximum life out of my brass -- this is why I would prefer low pressures as opposed to .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum. I know about the S&W M25 in .45 ACP that makes use of moon clips. However, they seem to be pretty rare and expensive. I'm concerned about .45 LC with the loose tolerances on bore/chamber diameter.


IF you were handloading already, I'd say just get the more common 29/629 in .44 Magnum. You don't have to reload it to full-tilt-boogie all the time and I think .44 Magnum brass might be immortal when loaded to less than Magnum loads.

Example: Normal 240gr factory .44 Magnum ammo clocks 1300-fps from my 6" 629 (Winchester White Box, not something exotic). My favorite load with a 240gr lead bullet is a whopping 950-fps. Very sedate, easy on the gun, easy on the brass, easy on the shooter and still knocks steel over with authority that makes .45 ACP shooters green with envy. For an even softer shooting load, I've used 200gr lead bullets at the same speed.

And then you can pick up a Marlin 1894 carbine to have a matched set! ;)

(To be fair, I'm considering selling my 629 and Marlin and getting out of the big bore game for now. But they are great guns and the .44 Magnum is a versatile cartridge.)

pintler
February 7, 2012, 12:43 AM
I plan to start hand loading and want to be able to get maximum life out of my brass -- this is why I would prefer low pressures as opposed to .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum.

As wanderingwalker said, you can handload 44 as low as you like. AFAIK, no one makes a lever action in 45ACP, so that leaves 45 Colt or 44 (either 44, although IIRC some levers don't like 44 Special).

FWIW, the SAAMI pressure specs are:
44Spec 15500
44Mag 36000
45ACP 21000
45 Colt 14000

9mmepiphany
February 7, 2012, 05:02 AM
this is why I would prefer low pressures as opposed to .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum.
...as already listed above, I don't think the .44Spl is usually consider a high pressure cartridge.

My answer the door gun is a S&&W M-696 (L-frame) that is loaded with Blazer 200gr Gold Dots. It was Mag-Na-Ported when I got it and it shoots like a .38 Spl

CajunBass
February 7, 2012, 05:54 AM
If you're going to reload, you can make anything you want to into a "low pressure" cartridge. My 38 brass lasts almost forever.

Back when I had a 44 Magnum, I loaded it with a 44special load; 240 grain SMW at about 950 fps. That thing was a blast to shoot in a Super Blackhawk. Whenever I get around to reloading for a S&W 21-4, 44 Special, I'll look for something similar. I don't see why brass life would be an issue.

I also got a 25-5 in 45 Colt. I've never seen any issue with the throat size on mine. Maybe I just got lucky and got a "good" one, because I'd never heard of the problem until after I bought it. I don't do anything but plink with it, but I can hit milk jugs with it just fine. And you talk about fun to shoot. Man that gun is. Those big cartridges look like artillery shells when I load them, and trash cans when they come out. :)

StrawHat
February 7, 2012, 06:24 AM
The 25-2 (45 ACP) is an amazing revolver. Always built by S&W as a target revolver. The 25-5, (45 long Colt) was built to less strict tolerances and SOME revolvers had problems with oversized chamber mouths. S&W has corrected these problems and an unpinned model in 45 long Colt is now held to better tolerances. I have experience with both cartridges and find no preference as a handloader.

However, if you want to team one up with a lever rifle, the long Colt is the only one offered as a factory option. If you want a lever rifle chambered for the 45 ACP, it is a custom build and pricey.

Here are two of my S&W 45s. The 45 ACP is on the top, the long Colt is the lower revolver.

http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc194/StrawHat/Model25family005.jpg

Both are great shooters but for carrying I prefer a 4" barrelled revolver.

Sam1911
February 7, 2012, 06:59 AM
If you handload, the question becomes completely moot. You can load low-pressure .500 S&W Mag, if you want.

If you were stuck only buying factory ammo I'd suggest .44 Spc., .45 ACP, and .45 Colt.

I shoot many (many) .44 Specials through my 4" 629. I use lead bullets and a charge of Trail Boss for a very soft-shooting round. "Immortal" is not a bad description of the lifespan I'm getting out of my brass.

My standard competition load (200 gr. LRN @ ~850 fps) is soft enough that my daughter was shooting that gun & load at age seven.

CraigC
February 7, 2012, 08:00 AM
...this is why I would prefer low pressures as opposed to .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum.
I'm trying to make sense of this because the .44Spl is the second lowest pressure cartridge you listed at 15,500psi. Compared to the .45ACP's 21,000psi and the .45Colt's 14,000psi.

That said, like the others have pointed out, if you handload, anything can be a low pressure cartridge. Which is good because any of them require handload to both realize their potential and to be able to shoot any appreciable amount. IMHO, the .44's tend to be more accurate and suffer less from ambiguous blackpowder-era chamber dimensions than the .45Colt.

earplug
February 7, 2012, 10:36 AM
This fits the bill for what your want.
The smaller case size of the 45 ACP works better with light to moderate loads. Small charges of powder burn more efficiently in the smaller case.
Resizing and reloading 45 ACP is easier then long magnum or 45 Colt cases.
The brass lasts longer, and is very easy to find.
Moon clips are wonderful.
My number two choice would be a 44 special.

Old Fuff
February 7, 2012, 11:24 AM
Because .44 Magnum brass is made to withstand high pressure, it will last almost forever when used with lighter powder charges. Usually they go until the primer pocket is worn to the point where seated primers don't stay seated when subjected to normal recoil factors. Also of course you can trim them to .44 Special length if neck cracks start to develop.

.45 ACP does make a good revolver cartridge, and .45 Auto-Rim is even better, but brass is hard to find.

Anyway, looking at availability of components and cost thereof, I think a .44 Magnum is your best bet - just don't load it that way. Also you'll have a larger base of revolvers to chose from.

Frank V
February 7, 2012, 11:56 AM
Handloading, low pressure, brass lasts a long time, now let's throw in versatility, & it sounds just like the good old .44 Special & a N frame to me!:)
Now if you really want to go whole hog, consider a Colt New Frontier?
Frank

TonyT
February 7, 2012, 12:34 PM
SquekyWheel,
The 44 Special is also a low pressure round which can be loaded quite hot. If you use Tail Boss powder and lead or plated bullets you can produce mild rounds in 44 Special, 45 ACP or 45 Colt. Fired 45 ACP brass can often be picked up at local ranges. S&W makes or made revolvers in all three calbers and you can easilly find used Model 624, or 625's for sale.

wanderinwalker
February 7, 2012, 12:41 PM
...I shoot many (many) .44 Specials through my 4" 629. I use lead bullets and a charge of Trail Boss for a very soft-shooting round. "Immortal" is not a bad description of the lifespan I'm getting out of my brass.
...

I only say "immortal" because I haven't had to toss whole batches of .44 Magnum brass yet. I've been reloading .44 Magnum since I was 16, I'm 28 now and I still have brass in rotation from the first boxes of factory ammo my dad and I shot up. The headstamps are still clearly visibly on most of them even. The .44 Special brass seems just as tough.

Boxhead
February 7, 2012, 12:42 PM
In my view, the simple answer is the 45 Colt.

http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa437/boxhead61/Stroh45019.jpg

http://i1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa437/boxhead61/Knife375348fire004.jpg

freedom475
February 7, 2012, 07:25 PM
Another vote for the N-fame 44mag...the brass lasts forever!! I have brass that I got used and am still loading it 25 years later...I have one old 44Norma brass that I kept track of and it was loaded just short of 100times! (and it was used when I got it) and it finally gave up the fight last fall when I was loading with hot loads of H110. Most brass with develope neck splits...but the norma started to crack horizontally just ahead of the base.

StrawHat
February 9, 2012, 01:04 PM
Brass is brass, the factories do not make them weaker or stronger. I've got some 45 long Colt brass from the last century and other batches of stuff from even earlier. Some of the 44 Magnum loads I used were good for two or even three reloads others went for twenty or more. It all depends on how you load it and take care of it.

CraigC
February 9, 2012, 01:46 PM
Agreed, the only real issue here affecting case life is the oversized chambers the .45Colt is usually plagued with but it is not really a big deal either.

BigG
February 9, 2012, 02:12 PM
The beauty of reloading is making the ammo just the way you want it. Therefore, I'd get a Model 29 Smith 44 Magnum and load the ammo to whatever shot good at low velocity. Here's mine:
http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i115/BigG_photos/Picture19026.jpg

DWFan
February 10, 2012, 04:45 AM
A .45 Colt Ruger Redhawk. If you ever decide to load the higher-pressure rounds for use in the lever-action, the S&W can't handle them.

PapaG
February 10, 2012, 08:52 PM
If I could only have one revolver it would be................oops, I can have more than one. But one of my favorites is my 625 in 45 acp. I'm working up loads using auto rim cases and am quite fond of not having to moon and demoon (the cartridges) and I do have a pile of those things.
The acp/ar is not a 45 Colt but in most standard loads can come quite close.
(Not giving up my 29-2, my 686, or my 624 but the 625 rates near the top)

mes227
February 11, 2012, 12:07 AM
If I could have but one revolvers....it would be a S&W 625 in .45Colt with the cyl cut for moonclips and thus .45acp and .460 Rowland.

captain awesome
February 11, 2012, 12:43 AM
trailboss powder is your friend. no risk of over charging at all, as you can load any handgun round completely full of it and it wont go over pressure(from the mouth of the very knowledgeable John Ross. If you want to do that you could get anything 41 mag and up, as others have said, you can tailor your loads to be what ever you want. personally I would choose something magnum so the brass would be stronger, and last a while. I love my 480 Ruger SRH, My Smith 629 (44mag), My Dan Wesson 445 supermag, and my S&W 500 magnum. Any of those would fit the bill, and there are a lot of others out there also.

Owen Sparks
February 11, 2012, 12:51 AM
I have the same batch of .44 Special brass that I bought in 1980 and have NEVER had to discard one. My usual load is 6 grains of Unique under a 240 grain lead bullet.

captain awesome
February 11, 2012, 12:53 AM
Brass is brass, the factories do not make them weaker or stronger.

this is incorrect. I can feel the difference when sizing 38 special and 357 mag. Both have the same loading, I just load the 38 special cases to the same OAL as the 357's to stay under pressure, only firing them out of my 357 revolvers.(I ended up with a bunch of 38special brass for free, so I figured why waist it by just letting it sit there unused?) Point of this is, the 38 special brass was much easier to re-size, suggesting that the brass is either thinner or weaker or both. magnum rifle brass is much stronger than your typical low pressure handgun round. to say brass is brass and there is no difference is foolishness.

either way though, most brass will indeed last a very long time at low pressures, magnum brass or not. over stretching the mouth on the expander dies is very detrimental to case life.

Gordon
February 11, 2012, 02:04 AM
My favorite low pressure big bore is a .455 Eley. I have a Webley Mark V 4" gun that is a work of art as is my other fair condition 6" .455 S&W Triple Lock in this caliber presently. I had 500 rounds of factory Fiocchi Ammo I bought when a gun store went under 20 years ago. Before that I shot the then available Kynoch surplus military .455 ammo . These things uncork a 265 conical at 650 fps or so. Amazingly these things were known "stoppers" of wild savages ect. and rated #1 in the Thompson-LaGarde Hand gun effects tests of the early 20th century. I have no doubt the quick handling and outstandingly accurate Mark V Webley made in 1914 would lay you low in close combat ! I fiddled with some 280 grain Wadcutters I still have the old Lyman mold for. Herco worked well with 5 grain loads in my good condition guns and gave 620 FPS in the 4" barrel and 650 fps in the 6" Triple lock. They shot higher than the 265 factory load the sights were set for and I only had a 100 empty Fiocchi cases when I fooled with them about 1987. Now the safe queens have about 300 factory rounds between them, maybe when I retire...............

sw282
February 11, 2012, 04:13 AM
l have a SW M24 44spcl. lts a Lew Horton model w/3'' barrel. Most accurate handgun l have ever owned is a SW M25-3. 45LC. Big throats too. Rem 454 250gr slugs can be finger pushed thru any of the throats. Shoots 452 Speer swc bullets just as good. They rattle thru the throats. My favorite big bore revolver is a COLT SA 7 1/2'' in 44-40. l dont know the SAAMI pressure for the Colt

StrawHat
February 11, 2012, 06:33 AM
captain awesome
...this is incorrect. I can feel the difference when sizing 38 special and 357 mag. Both have the same loading, I just load the 38 special cases to the same OAL as the 357's to stay under pressure, only firing them out of my 357 revolvers.(I ended up with a bunch of 38special brass for free, so I figured why waist it by just letting it sit there unused?) Point of this is, the 38 special brass was much easier to re-size, suggesting that the brass is either thinner or weaker or both. magnum rifle brass is much stronger than your typical low pressure handgun round. to say brass is brass and there is no difference is foolishness...

captain awesome,

Section some of the handgun brass and compare thicknesses at comparable points. The factories do not go out and design some brass to be weaker than others. The brass that is commonly available today is built to give long life with reasonable loads. For nearly a century people have talked of the "weak 45 long Colt case" well, modern 45 long Colt cases are built as strong as the 44 Magnum case.

But the point I was trying to make is that properly loaded cases will last for a long time. Overloading them (any cartridge including magnum rifle) will greatly reduce their lifespan.

Stainz
February 11, 2012, 08:58 AM
I love my 625MGs in .45 Colt:

http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u307/Stainz_2007/IMG_3430.jpg

I've been reloading since shortly after acquiring my first 625MG (625-7 above - with square conversion Ahrends grips), which was my first-ever S&W (9/02). If I didn't, ammo costs would head me towards a 4" 625JM in .45 ACP. A frugal big bore - ammo cost and wrist wear - you can buy a 250 round box of UMC .45 ACP ball ammo - 230gr FMJ in brass - on a Sunday afternoon at most WallyWorlds for <$100 inc s/t. Try to find .45 Colt!

If you reload, you can switch from .45 ACP to .45 Auto Rim by just changing your reloading press' shell plate. As the .45 Colt is actually a 14 kPSI max cartridge, and the .45 ACP/AR cartridge is rated at 21+ kPSI, you can load hotter than standard .45 Colt levels. No magazine to feedramp interface to fit, so your bullets can include typical .45 Colt loads - like my 255gr LSWC loads. I usually put my warmer loads - still within .45 ACP/AR specs - in the .45 AR cases - and use the HKS #25 speedloaders to load them. Sometimes, I just carry a pocket full of the 'cute' little AR rounds. They are 'cute' in the same vein as .44 Russians - short cases/big bores.

I recall the duel between Venturino and John Taffin over the .45 ACP & .45 Colt. I love the normal .45 Colt, but have to admit - the .45 ACP/AR is a better choice. Brass is affordable and available - even the AR - from Starline.

Stainz

PS I have a 625JM, too. However, in a post apocalyptic world, my Governor would be the best to grab - it'll take moonclipped .45 ACP/GAP; .45 Colt/Schofield; and 2.5" .410 shotgun shells!

jj1962hemi
February 11, 2012, 09:10 AM
I have a S&W Model 1955 (Model 25 target in 45 ACP) with a 6" barrel. It's a damn fine gun and white box ammo is cheap. As it's been said, though, a companion rifle will be hard to find. 45 ACP brass is really easy to get, though. I'm still buying my ammo off the shelf!

sugarmaker
February 11, 2012, 10:34 PM
S&W 500 shooting 450 cast / 39 grs H4198 for 1125FPS, very low pressure.

Driftwood Johnson
February 11, 2012, 11:04 PM
Howdy

Then there is the grandaddy of the Model 25 and the Model 1955, the original Model 1917.

This pair are from the Brazilian contract of the 1930s.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/011.jpg



I just picked this one up this week. As a matter of fact it is sitting next to me on my desk right now. I just made up some light 45 Auto Rim rounds for it because it is about 95 years old and I don't want to stress it. Hope to try it out tomorrow.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/1917%20original%20model/1917andammo.jpg

The article by Mike Venturino referred to earlier was actually about the 45 AR round and how great it is. Small capacity just like the 45 ACP, so you don't get the inefficiency you get with the 45 Colt round when loaded with a small Smokeless powder charge. But you don't need clips with the 45 AR, it was designed specifically for revolvers like the 1917 that fired the 45ACP. Just has a really thick rim to take the place of the clips. No, you cannot shoot it in a revolver chambered for 45 Colt, but you can shoot it in any revolver chambered for 45 Auto, and the rims means you can eject without needing clips.

Brass is not hard to find, Starline makes it and you can order by phone or on line. I order from Starline a couple of times a year when I need brass that nobody else makes, stuff like 45AR, 45 Schofield, and 44 Russian.


*******


If you want to shoot a 44, you can find lots of slightly used 44 Mags on sale, often along with a half shot box of 44 Mag ammo. Seems a lot of folks want a 44 until they shoot one. Then they sell it and the other half of the box that did not get shot. But you can shoot 44 Specials all day long in a 44 Mag.

Or you can get a revolver specifically chambered for 44 Special. The beauty of a 44 Special revolver is it is not as big and heavy as a 44 Mag. You just have to be content with the relatively mild mannered 44 Special cartridge, which can be a real pleasure to shoot when loaded lightly. Hardly kicks any more than a 38 Special.



Model 24

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/Model2401.jpg



Model 624. This one does not have those awful big grips on it now, just a tasteful set of Magna grips.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/624_01.jpg




Sometimes you can find some really funky old 44 Special revolvers, like these 44 Handejector 3rd Models (Model of 1926). These two were nickel plated at some time after they left the factory, dead giveaway is the triggers and hammers were plated, but they are terrific old guns and fun to shoot. The top one was made in 1929, I forget when the bottom one was made.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/IMG_0097cropped.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/Model1926.jpg



The point is, there are lots and lots of options for shooting mild mannered big bore double action revolvers.

jgh4445
February 12, 2012, 03:13 PM
Mes...I do have a 625 Mountain gun that was origianlly a 45LC. I sent it to Pinnacle and had the cylinder milled so I could also shoot 45 ACPswith moon clips. ( They both shoot to the same POA with my handloads). Are you saying that I can also shoot 460 Rowlands in this gun?

TAG2501
February 12, 2012, 08:55 PM
Look at the Ruger Redhawk in 45colt. Or for a lighter pistol, S&Ws; n-frame mountain gun un 45 colt - if you can find one

mes227
February 13, 2012, 12:24 AM
Mes...I do have a 625 Mountain gun that was origianlly a 45LC. I sent it to Pinnacle and had the cylinder milled so I could also shoot 45 ACPswith moon clips. ( They both shoot to the same POA with my handloads). Are you saying that I can also shoot 460 Rowlands in this gun?

I can't think of a reason why not. It's exactly the same frame as the 629, and the .44 Mag has almost exactly the same parameters as the .460 Rowland. The .460 Rowland fits in the .45 Colt cylinder (I just checked again), and except for being a few tenths longer they have identical dimensions as .45 acp (thus they won't fit in a 625 chambered for .45 acp unless you have the cylinder drilled deeper). I have a Dan Wesson .460 Rowland revolver and it chambers .45 acp fine. For the Mountain Gun all that seems to be missing is a moon clip to hold the Rowland up for the firing pin.

I'm deeply intrigued with the idea of of having my 625 set up to take .45 Colt, .45 acp and .460 Rowland.

Anyone have experience with this?

Boxhead
February 13, 2012, 06:23 AM
"If you reload, you can switch from .45 ACP to .45 Auto Rim by just changing your reloading press' shell plate. As the .45 Colt is actually a 14 kPSI max cartridge, and the .45 ACP/AR cartridge is rated at 21+ kPSI, you can load hotter than standard .45 Colt levels. No magazine to feedramp interface to fit, so your bullets can include typical .45 Colt loads - like my 255gr LSWC loads. I usually put my warmer loads - still within .45 ACP/AR specs - in the .45 AR cases"

I believe the OP was looking for the lowest pressure loads hence the 45 Colt. One can also load the 45 Colt to 21kpsi and shoot 325 gr WLN's at 1000-1100 fps though this is counter to what the OP desires.

jgh4445
February 13, 2012, 08:28 AM
Mes...as stated in my above post, I sent my 625 45LC to Pinnacle gun works. They milled the cylinder so it would accept 45 ACP's with a moon clip. Google Pinnacle. They do good work and it made my 625 two guns (with the Rowland three) guns in one. (pinnacle-guns.com. The moon clip conversion is $80.00)

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