.45 vs .44


March 21, 2012, 07:59 AM
Ok this is a debate I've had with myself for a while now. Here's the question:

If you had to leave your home and vacate to the rocky mountains of Colorado would you rather have a .45acp or a .44 magnum on your hip?

Now my "bug out" primary is already an AR15 which is extremely effective against human enemies. My problem is that a .45 would be effective against humans (high cap, faster target acquisition, more common caliber) but not great for large game defense. And a .44 is decent in both realms.

I don't need to hear advice like "you need a .22lr" or "12 gauge!" or even stuff like "water is better than a gun". Those are all valid points but would like to hear a discussion about .45 vs .44 mag in this scenario.

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March 21, 2012, 08:01 AM
.44 mag without question in the rocky mountains.

March 21, 2012, 08:09 AM
.44 loaded with hardcast, no question.

charlie echo
March 21, 2012, 08:11 AM
44 mag, with hard cast, 310 or 320 grain bullets, full charge (I buy mine from Garrett Cartridges) Might even defeat some vests. 45 ACP's mainly for urban social use, although a magazine full of .45s has downed a bear last year for someone.

I even have shot-shell 44 loads, for snake or birds.

March 21, 2012, 08:12 AM
That is a no-brainer, .44 Magnum, unless like the header says .45 vs .44 then I would rather have the .454 Casull...........

March 21, 2012, 08:16 AM
A .45 ACP revolver (a modern one) also shoots .45 Super.

Buffalo Bore offers a 255 gr/1090fps HCFN round in .45 Super. I guess, if you think you'll need more than that, your answer is .44 Mag.

For "regular duty," you'd still be able to use any available .45 ACP or .45 GAP rounds. And .45 Super, .45 GAP or .45 ACP rounds take less space: I can easily carry 4 reloads in a "double" speedloader pouch.

March 21, 2012, 08:27 AM
Good morning
Within the parameters described the 44 Mag is always going to be far better. No 45ACP (my favorite auto caliber) is going to be able to propel a 250+ grainer at 1350+ fps. That load with take care of 99% of al practicle conditions. Easy to load down to 900 fps where the 45 ACP is. For a real light weight plinker a .430 roundball with 4 grains Unique will quietly pop bunnys.. Plus the revolver will function always no matter what the load.
So for versitility a revolver with a couple speed loaders is a tough pachage to beat.
Mike in Peru

March 21, 2012, 08:41 AM
Smart way to pose the question, excellent.

With the AR as your long gun, the .45 is your better choice, for several reasons.

What part of CO you headed for? :D

March 21, 2012, 09:23 AM
Definitely the .44Mag but the .45ACP would do fine, properly loaded.

March 21, 2012, 11:45 AM
I live in the CO Rockies, and I would say your odds of needing a weapon against "large game" are incredibly low. The most dangerous animal in CO is likely the moose and there are very few of them - mostly in the Rocky Mtn Natl. Park area.

The occasional black bear or mountain lion are highly unlikely to attack humans - it is quite rare to even see a mountain lion, less so a black bear, but still uncommon. For the type of situation you describe, I would be much more concerned about defense against two-legged predators.

Of course, you could just trade that AR-15 for an AR-10 or M1A and be better prepared for any size predator in the lower 48. My $.02

March 21, 2012, 12:06 PM
my vote Ruger loads 45 Colt.....will do everything a 44mag will do with bigger hole...

Wil Terry
March 21, 2012, 12:40 PM
I always carry a heavy loaded 45COLT when I am in the ' high lonesome'. ALWAYS !!!
It distinctly outperforms the 44MAG period.
And so it goes...

Owen Sparks
March 21, 2012, 12:57 PM
You can always swap out the six full powered bear loads for six medium power self-defense loads that will be more controllable for use against two legged predators when you get back to civilization. You can even charged it with snake shot for use on fishing trips or take it hunting. The .45 ACP is a better tool for shooting at other armed people, but the .44 is much more versitile for the outdoorsman.

March 21, 2012, 03:52 PM
.45 Colt

March 21, 2012, 03:55 PM
I love the .45 ACP, but the destination specified, definitely the .44 Magnum.

March 21, 2012, 04:45 PM
I wouldn't be going with a caliber so much as a package. Depends on which .44 you are wanting to carry, how long you are going to be up there. The conditions and surroundings etc.

Advantages to .45 ACP is lighter, easier to carry guns, read commanders, etc.
You already have a food rifle. .44 Magnum in Colorado? Have they been invaded by Brown bear lately?

.44's are generally heavy, and I'd want to know where my ammo is going to come from, in either case.

March 21, 2012, 04:50 PM
Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 magnum loaded with Buffalo Bore 340 gr +P+. This far exceeds anything that the .45 colt can do and is in the range of many .454 Casull loads. I vote .44 magnum all the way.

March 21, 2012, 05:10 PM
Well the first thing I'd ditch is that .223. It is not enough gun for hunting in the mountains where distances can be long.

No question I'd take the 44. With the revolver you can hunt both small and deer size game whereas the 45 Auto you are basically limited to a 25 yard gun for small game hunting.

I know it is hard to accept but the .223 isn't worth a whole lot outside of prairie dogs and shooting a whole lot of rounds fast.

hariph creek
March 21, 2012, 08:09 PM

Sorry, had to do it.

March 21, 2012, 11:30 PM
I would also choose the .44 Magnum over the .45 Auto for the Rocky Mountains...

March 22, 2012, 12:17 AM
If you truly feel you may need it for defense against wildlife the 44mag is clearly the better round against large game. The 45acp is probably the better round against bipedal animals simply due to higher capacity, lower recoil for follow-up shots, ability to carry more ammo, quicker reloads (might be debatable if you're really good with speed loaders I guess), etc. Someone did kill a grizz with a 45ACP in AK, IIRC it was in Denali but the bear ran off after the attack and was found dead the next day.

Rather than comparing the calibers I think you need to find out the answer to these and the choice will be easy:
1) What are your chances of a potentially life threatening encounter with a bear/moose/etc vs some other threat where the benefits of the 45 would be preferable.
2) Which platform and caliber can you shoot more accurately with? It's an old cliche but a well placed 45ACP is going to be a better deterrent against a bear than a miss with a 44mag.

That being said, personally I would probably go with the 44mag but would rather have a 357 or even 41mag. Your chances are slim of running into a wild animal you will need to defend yourself against but the more powerful round gives you the ability to reliably hunt larger game if necessary. Plus, I shoot a revolver much more accurately than any pistol I've ran across. A revolver loaded with 357's or even 38spcl is the perfect woods gun for me (assuming no grizzlies); a really light 38 load even gives you a decent option for small game. If I had to take an autoloader into the woods where I may need it against bears I would be looking at a 10mm.

Honestly, though? I think you'll be fine with either...buy which platform you like or want the most so you can enjoy it the other 99% of the time.

March 22, 2012, 12:18 AM
.45 as in .458win mag? :)

March 22, 2012, 12:47 AM
Since I own a Marlin 1894 and a Tracker in 44 mag that's what I would grab but hey, I would take my 45 along if I had room.

March 22, 2012, 01:09 AM
in the mountains I would prefer a .44 , 6 or 5 rounds of .44 mag to me is better than 8-14 rounds of .45 acp...for large animal defence

March 22, 2012, 01:20 AM
If you have something you can pocket carry, then just throw it in the bag, properly locked of course to make it pass TSA.

I carry my SP101 pocket carry most of the time EDC so out in the woods, it is still there with my .44 magnum in cross carry bandolier. May come in handy when wolves make it back to CO!!

March 22, 2012, 02:08 AM
If all i had was a 45acp. It would be stoked with Double Tap 45 +p 255 gr SWC Hardcast. That may work on a Black Bear????

March 22, 2012, 02:22 AM
44 mag all the way.

March 22, 2012, 05:22 AM
the 45 acp should be fine for "large game defense", PROPERLY LOADED. hardball or hardcast flatpoint bullets should work ok.

even a 44 mag should have the appropriate bullet (don't want to bounce one off a bear's skull).


March 22, 2012, 05:37 AM
Since you specified 45 acp, not just any 45 caliber, I would go with the 44 magnum in a single action revolver, preferably a Blackhawk. The SA is a simpler mechanism to maintain, can handle more diverse ammo, and won't toss potentially valuable brass all over the landscape. This is supposed to be a bug out situation, so I assume preserving resources is desirable. Also, as you can tell, I'm a revolver guy. ;)

My own preference would be a Blackhawk in 45 Colt, maybe with the optional 45 acp cylinder to use for lighter applications.


March 22, 2012, 05:42 AM
If choice 44 mag., but would not throw 45 away.

March 22, 2012, 08:20 AM
4" or 5-1/2" .44 Mag. for ease of belt carry.

March 22, 2012, 08:36 AM
I go with the .44 Magnum with the Buffalo Bore 305gr. Hard Cast, Gas Checked - LFN (http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=48)

March 22, 2012, 11:34 AM
.44 trumps .45ACP in SO many ways for outdoor uses. If it were ME heading to the mountains, though, make mine a .45.......COLT....as in my Blackhawk. I'll do the handloading for it.

March 23, 2012, 12:42 AM
S&W .44 mag, no doubt.

Seven For Sure
March 23, 2012, 01:18 PM
Realize somebody already mentioned it: 10mm. Who would choose 10mm over 44 mag in grizzly country: me.

I read something somewhere (Don't you love my refs?) that any caliber 200 gr. and up and 1,000 FPS+ is capable of penetrating a grizz skull. Which means a 200 gr. 45ACP +P @ 1,000 with a SD of .140 should do it. A 200 gr. 10mm @ 1200 with a SD of .178 will definately do it.

A Glock 20 is the same size as a 3" L frame, smaller than a 3" N frame with 16 rds. on tap before a reload. Also remember most 44 mag box flap velocity #'s are from 6" vented test barrels. Is the 44 magnum mpre powerful than the 10mm? Yes it is. The 10mm loaded properly is still a very viable SHTF sidearm caliber for protection against anything in the central and even northern Rocky Mtns. IMO of course, as always!

March 23, 2012, 02:37 PM
.44 mag in levergun.

Sidearm is just that, something for backup.

March 23, 2012, 02:46 PM
You know settlers carried pistols and rifles in 44-40 and 38-40. Would not be the greatest against bear, especially mad bear.

You have to think about weight if you are going to carry all this.

March 23, 2012, 02:51 PM
I am picking up my Winchester 94 Packer hopefully next month in .44 magnum which will make a perfect camp/truck gun. It will lob 300 grain bullets at approximately 1800 fps which is in the range of 45-70 loads at the lower end. Great little addition to go along with my Marlin .444 and my Ruger SRH.

I think anyone that ventures into grizzly country with anything less is not using all of their marbles. Even that is way below grizzly minimal calibers. Even the African caliber weapons fail to stop these critters at times. This is not a time to consider little SA as a grizzly side arm even though there are cases where it has worked. Penetration and stopping power is the name of the game in grizzly country and I hope I never have to put those factors to a test. The Feds are scarier than that grizzly.

March 23, 2012, 11:02 PM
Doncha just love all the big bear experts on gun boards? :D DAMN, I'm glad I live in Texas. Nothing here but a few blackies out west, mountain lions, and gators to worry about. Don't go swimmin' with the gators, black bear are just big racoons. Lions, well, they're out there, but attacks are really rare here cause there ain't that many around and the ones that are around have plenty of hogs to eat. :D

March 24, 2012, 11:20 AM
I'd trade that AR for an AK, .44 Mag Revolver and a .45 ACP Semi-Auto :p

Jim K
March 24, 2012, 11:06 PM
I happen to have known two guys who got into that argument (well, a woman and a lot of liquor were also involved). Contrary to what I would have expected, the guy with the .45 auto was the winner; he died several hours later than the guy with the .44 Magnum.


March 25, 2012, 01:35 AM

March 25, 2012, 09:37 PM
Suburbia .45 acp kills anything you may come across: and does so very well. I don't even bother with hollow points: The 230 grain FMJ at 850 fps has buried fascists, communists, totalitarians, zealots, guerrillas, anarchists and tribesmen on various continents across the globe. Dead, planted: in the ground. With great success and ample zeal. When it comes to predation creatures of the two legged variety: few other pistol cartridges have been as time honored and successful as the .45 acp.

That being said: it's not my first choice for dealing with quadrupeds. Particularly the big furry ones with very menacing teeth...

For just such an occasion: the 250 grain SWC keith .44 magnum load has proven equally affective against four legged predators as the .45 acp has been against their two legged counterparts.

Usually I like to give $0.02, that was $1.50, free of charge: it's on me.

March 26, 2012, 02:30 AM
rocky mountains of Colorado would you rather have a .45acp or a .44 magnum on your hip?

........... My problem is that a .45 would be effective against humans (high cap, faster target acquisition, more common caliber) but not great for large game defense

What exactly do you think you'll run into out here?

Pumas are the greatest danger (which is minimal to an adult male), and they'd be easily dispatched with a .45. They're not that big at ~150 pounds for a large tom, and pretty thin skinned. The problem is getting a shot off on the stealthiest predator in North America....

We do have black bears, but they're pretty timid creatures. I, as well as many family members & friends, have run across them numerous times, and they can't get away fast enough. They want nothin' to do with us bipedal critters.

I suppose a ticked off moose is always a possibility, but they don't hunt us, so just be aware of your surroundings and don't put yourself in the position where one feels threatened by you.

Me? My sidearm when hiking/camping/hunting is a 10mm.

March 26, 2012, 03:38 AM
10 mm in CO is probably just fine. WY, MT, ID, not so much since they do have grizzly up here as several people every year find out and some tragically. Here, big bore and high powered is the name of the game. CO, yes, 10 mm is a great choice properly loaded of course.

March 26, 2012, 09:57 AM
When hiking, I usually have a medium framed .357 on me. It's light and powerful enough and trumps the .45 ACP by a good margin on game. I can load it with wadcutters, make the elevation change, and shoot small game for the camp fire. One inch at 25 yards accurate off the bench. Versatile. :D

March 26, 2012, 11:53 AM
It distinctly outperforms the 44MAG period.
The .44Mag distinctly has a 100fps advantage across the board with all bullet weights. The .44Mag, at the upper end, maintains a sectional density advantage over the .45Colt. The two cartridges are so distinctly equal it ain't even funny.

The 230 grain FMJ at 850 fps has buried fascists, communists, totalitarians, zealots, guerrillas, anarchists and tribesmen on various continents across the globe.
Ever tried hardball on something live? I have, it is dismal beyond words. Yes, it's put a lot of people in the ground but so has the .22LR. :rolleyes:

March 26, 2012, 01:23 PM
+1 on hardball^^^^^

I bought my .45 colt because I handload and I wanted it. .44 mag works just as well as the high end .45 stuff, I won't argue that point. I don't own a .44, though, never really wanted one, and I don't load .45 Colt to the ragged edge, either. Just ME.

March 27, 2012, 01:22 AM
Im thinkin a .44 Redhawk Alaskan. Would prefer a longer barrel but dont want anything to bulky. Any opinions on the Alaskan?

March 27, 2012, 02:22 AM
I don't know CraigC. The main problem is most people don't move .45 hardball fast enough. I used to take a .45 Colt case, fill with H110 put 230 grain Super hard cast Nevada 230 grain ball on top and go shooting. Funny things start working better when the bullets going 1800 fps...:evil:

March 27, 2012, 03:07 AM
Would prefer a longer barrel but dont want anything to bulky

If you can find one, a 629 mountain gun would probably be ideal. Not currently produced, though.

That said, the 629 in a given barrel length is a couple ounces lighter than the Redhawk, and much smoother. I have a 3" pre-lock 629, and wouldn't trade it for two Alaskans. I do have a SRH .454, and while a nice gun in it's own right, it is quite crude by comparison.

March 27, 2012, 09:19 AM
I don't load .45 Colt to the ragged edge...
I don't load the .44Mag to the ragged edge either. I have and I can but for normal use, it's just not necessary.

The main problem is most people don't move .45 hardball fast enough.
Well, if you move them fast enough that they instantly deform and fragment on impact that's a little different but not really relevant to this discussion.

March 27, 2012, 09:38 AM
O no a shtf and bear thread rolled into one. Everyone knows you can't kill a bear with a 45 or a 44 you have to have a Howitzer. Seriously I would buy a SBH convertible 45 LC and 45 acp. The best of both worlds.

March 27, 2012, 11:39 AM
If black bears are what you're worried about, then carry bear spray and whatever gun you want. If mountain lions are your concern, then I'd refer to the "best pistol for pistol whipping" thread just in case you forgot your bear spray.

March 27, 2012, 04:33 PM
44 mag., no question about it. I have spent most of my life in the mountains Co. included and have encountered nasty critters on more than one occasion.

I've been face to face with bears countless times, and they were not running away from me either! When turkey hunting a years back I was sitting against a tree waiting for it to get light enough to start calling when a bear fell out of a tree, nearly landing on me. It stood there and looked at me face to face for a good 15 or 20 seconds before walking off. And Mt. Lions are a pretty good threat too!

March 27, 2012, 04:46 PM
The main problem is most people don't move .45 hardball fast enough.
Well, if you move them fast enough that they instantly deform and fragment on impact that's a little different but not really relevant to this discussion."

I think it is. The problem with the .44 magnum is finding ammunition, components etc. Not that it's really hard, but the .45 ACP/Long Colt combination does give you an awful lot of options and the benefits, or better, then the .44 magnum.

With a strong revolver the .45 Colt can be loaded to the same levels as the .44 magnum, and with slightly heavier bullets. With a .45 ACP cylinder you can use .45ACP/.45 Super and .460 Rowland?

I came to this conclusion in 1980. Made reloading life a lot easier and cheaper.

Gamestalker: How big was the bear, and what type? What was it doing in the tree? Keeping your blind warm;-)?

March 27, 2012, 10:59 PM
And Mt. Lions are a pretty good threat too!



16 total cougar attacks in CO over the last two decades.

Black bear attacks are equally rare.

In the CO rockies, you are many, MANY times more likely to die as the result of an accident or the wrath of mother nature than a wild animal attack.

March 28, 2012, 08:42 AM
With a strong revolver the .45 Colt can be loaded to the same levels as the .44 magnum, and with slightly heavier bullets......I came to this conclusion in 1980.
Sorry but this ain't 1980 and it's no longer true. Actually, the .44Mag retains a 100fps advantage over the .45Colt through all bullet weights. With bullets of equal sectional density. At the upper end, where the .44 runs a 355gr and the .45 runs a 360gr, the .44 has a sectional density advantage. So no, the .45 does not run at equal levels or with heavier bullets. Unless we're talking about FA's or custom five-shots.

Since when is there a problem finding .44 ammo or components???????

March 28, 2012, 11:19 AM
In the CO rockies, you are many, MANY times more likely to die as the result of an accident or the wrath of mother nature than a wild animal attack.

+1 I really never worried about the wildlife in the areas i've hunted or hiked, mostly west Texas and New Mexico for hiking and some hunting out there. I've heard the squall of lions in the evening, sends a chill up your back, but attacks are REALLY rare and hardly ever on an adult male. There was a lion attack recently in the basin area of Big Bend NP, on a 6 year old. The daddy stabbed it and it limped off. I haven't heard if they ever caught up with it. It was a couple months ago and Art Eatman in the hunting forum had posted it from an Alpine, Texas newspaper site. When attacks DO happen, EVERYONE hears about it because it's so rare.

Down in the Bend, I worry more about armed coyotes and mules than the bears and the lions. There's legitimate concern along the border and I carry a flat shooting and accurate .357 magnum revolver in my fanny pack down there that I can reach out with since it has to be concealed and I can't carry a rifle in the park. Haven't been out there in a year. Never get tired of going back in the spring. I've quit bothering in mid summer. I'm too old to risk heat exhaustion. :D

March 28, 2012, 04:27 PM
I was talking about a Ruger setup for 5 shot.

Do you really NEED anything more then a 5 shot .45 Colt?

I've said this before: I would feel just fine carrying a .44 magnum. I still like the utility of being able to use one size bullet for both the .45 ACP and the .45 Colt.

March 28, 2012, 10:38 PM
I would vote for the 454 Casull with a cylinder for both cartridges.

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