.44 Special vs .45 ACP


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BluedRevolver
April 21, 2012, 08:20 PM
Would a top teir .44 Special load like this: http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=271

be as powerful in terminal ballistics as a .45 ACP load like this?: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/796682/hornady-custom-ammunition-45-acp-200-grain-xtp-jacketed-hollow-point-box-of-20

the .44 is .002" smaller with a little less meplat, but does that matter with hollow points? It's also 10 grns lighter but it's also 150 fps faster.


I've seen people say that the .44's smaller meplat gives the .45 ACP the lead

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MachIVshooter
April 21, 2012, 08:57 PM
Well, I run a 210 gr. SJHP at 985 FPS out of a 2.5" Bulldog pug, and that's not even a max load.

.44 Spl. runs at lower pressure than .45 ACP (15,500 PSI vs. 21,000 PSI), but has considerably more case capacity (35 grs. vs. 25 grs.). Once you actually put a bullet in, the .44 Spl. has about double the case capacity of a .45 ACP.

As for one being better than the other in real-world terminal performance? Not really. 6 of one, a half dozen of the other.

bluethunder1962
April 21, 2012, 10:57 PM
I have found 45 acp's are a lot easier to find and cheaper and I have not been able to find 44 spl in bulk. 44 mag's are just to much for my "terder" hand.

hogshead
April 21, 2012, 11:05 PM
I think they are very similar in performance out of a short barreled gun . Just the platform is different the 44 being a revolver and the 45 being an auto usually. I have a 44 Charter and like it for hiking because of being able to fire rat shot.

BluedRevolver
April 22, 2012, 06:27 PM
Is it true that "bigger is better"?

19-3Ben
April 22, 2012, 07:29 PM
the .44 is .002" smaller with a little less meplat,

Why do you assume that the lower diameter means it has a smaller meplat. The meplat is just the flat part at the front of the bullet. Without needing to have a profile conducive to feeding into the chamber from a feed ramp, a .44spl may well have a wider meplat than the .45.
To go back to your example, using Buffalo Bore, you can have a .44spl full wadcutter (http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=282) where the whole darn diameter is "meplat."

jimniowa
April 22, 2012, 09:16 PM
Short barrel pistols in .44sp or .45acp to me is for carry and SD. My primary carry gun was a .44sp 2" with 5 shots. This is a great gun to slip in your rear pocket (jeans). I would load it with 210g sthp for mild temps and 240g jsp for the cold. The people you want to avoid wear heavy clothing even furs in the winter, the jsp would not eat up the excess material of clothing. I switched to a 3" .45acp because of the extra ammo capacity 7. It is as easy to carry as the snubby and I load 230g fmj bullets for it. We plan on relocating south so the .44sp will be a good trail gun with bird shot. In short barrels I doubt there is any difference in the stopping power with similar loads.
Jim

Owen Sparks
April 23, 2012, 01:10 AM
I have experimented with handloading both with the exact same charge of powder under the exact same weight bullet and the 5" .45 1911 gives significantly higher velocity than a 3" vented Bulldog revolver does.

In an apples to apples comparison with both fired in revolvers with the same length barrels, (a 1917 S&W .45 ACP and the .44 Special fired in a Ruger Redhawk), preformance with a 200 grain bullets over 6 grains of Unique, was virtually identical.

Elmer
April 23, 2012, 07:01 AM
Why do you assume that the lower diameter means it has a smaller meplat. The meplat is just the flat part at the front of the bullet. Without needing to have a profile conducive to feeding into the chamber from a feed ramp, a .44spl may well have a wider meplat than the .45.
To go back to your example, using Buffalo Bore, you can have a .44spl full wadcutter (http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=282) where the whole darn diameter is "meplat."
Exactly.

Sam1911
April 23, 2012, 07:55 AM
Lots of good info on that question in this thread: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=638054

With the two loads you listed, you're really picking the fly poop out of the pepper (so to speak) to tell any performance difference between them.

There are competing theories that would support either as "THE BEST" and until you do ballistic gel testing (or shoot a herd of goats (http://www.thegunzone.com/strasbourg.html)and measure how long it takes for them to expire) you won't know for sure that ... well ... they're just about the same.

Based on these two loads, fired from guns of equal barrel length, capacity, and weight, there would be no compelling reason to choose one over the other.

Wil Terry
April 23, 2012, 10:55 AM
YOU BET DIAMETER COUNTS, IN SPADES !!!
The 44SPL is truly a 43 caliber round and the 45ACP is indeed an actual 45 caliber round. And that is a hellofalot more than .002".

Sam1911
April 23, 2012, 12:06 PM
Wil, can you expand a bit on your feelings on this? Beside strictly numbers (0.02" or 10% fontal area, or whatever), what exactly is the "hellofalot" difference in terminal effect?

Better sectional density for the .44 Spc? Better momentum for the .45? How do you feel one is superior -- and how would you characterize the differences in effect on a living body? (Beside allowing you to be 0.01" off your point of aim and still hitting a vital structure?)

Boxhead
April 23, 2012, 02:38 PM
While I will not argue on this I will note that your math is wrong.

.45 -.43 = .02 not .002

Sam1911
April 23, 2012, 03:06 PM
Right. Edited.

CraigC
April 23, 2012, 03:14 PM
6 of one, a half dozen of the other.
Precisely! There are a "hellofalot" better things to worry about than the difference between these two.

MachIVshooter
April 23, 2012, 05:19 PM
YOU BET DIAMETER COUNTS, IN SPADES !!!
The 44SPL is truly a 43 caliber round and the 45ACP is indeed an actual 45 caliber round. And that is a hellofalot more than .002".

The .0225" diameter difference between a .44 (0.429") and .45 ACP (0.4515") bullet is slightly more than the thickness of a matchbook cover (~0.015"). If you think that really counts for anything in this regard, I urge to to do some research on handgun wounding ballistics. Wounds by common service cartridges (9x19mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .38 Spl., etc) tend to be indistinguishable from one another in the OR or morgue. Move down (.22, .25) or up (10mm, .41 mag, .44 Mag) significantly and the differences can become apparent. But I promise you, no person hit by or doctor examining the wounds created by a .44 Spl. and a .45 ACP is going to be able to tell which is which.

Deaf Smith
April 23, 2012, 07:04 PM
In a modern .44 Spl. N frame, like my Lew Horton 24 3 incher, the .44 special becomes quite a good round. But in a N frame like my (ok I'm bragging) 625 3 inch .45 ACP, you can use .45 SUPERS!

Both rounds are mighty good and as others have said, there really isn't all that much difference. I guess it all depends on if you reload (the .44 then becomes more versatile.)

Deaf

weregunner
April 24, 2012, 02:19 AM
When a person is shot by a big bore cartridge how is that person supposed to tell the difference? Same goes for animals shot with big bores.

They can tell the difference? I can see this now. " I'm not going to fall over or die from this. It's just a .44 Special!" "Hey, it tickles!" Yeah,right.

"IT"S A .45!!!!!! GOTTA GO DIE AS OF YESTERDAY!!" Ker-splaaat! Really? Puuulease!!

I've got both .45 ACP pistols and .44 Special revolvers and feel more than adequately protected by either.

buckhorn_cortez
May 6, 2012, 10:33 PM
You can get much higher velocity from the .44 Special. It can be loaded to .44 magnum levels if you're using a modern revolver (N frame), and I don't think anyone is going to argue that a .45 ACP has anywhere near the terminal ballistics of a .44 magnum.

Remember, the .44 magnum was developed by Elmer Keith using .44 special pistols and brass. The reason the .44 magnum cartridge is longer is so you cannot load a .44 magnum in an older single action .44 Special that is not rated for higher pressures.

I have loaded .44 Specials for my N frame that are 19 grains of H110 with a 240 grain bullet - and that is exactly the load I also use in my .44 magnum.

I have .45 ACP, .41 magnum, .44 Special, and .44 magnum - I wouldn't want to get in front of any of them - no matter what the diameter differences may be.

jmr40
May 6, 2012, 11:01 PM
True, but in real world shootings even 44 mags have not proven to be much, if any more effective than the best loads in 44 Special, 45 ACP, 40 S&W or even 9mm. The added speed might make for a more effective hunting round for big game at longer ranges, but does not seem to make much difference in humans at typical SD ranges.

mdauben
May 7, 2012, 12:54 PM
You can get much higher velocity from the .44 Special. It can be loaded to .44 magnum levels if you're using a modern revolver (N frame), and I don't think anyone is going to argue that a .45 ACP has anywhere near the terminal ballistics of a .44 magnum.
Personally, I prefer the idea of the .44spl better in an L Frame gun like the 696. Its plenty of gun for an actually .44spl and much handier for CCW. If you are trying to push .44mag perfomance out of a .44spl case in an N Frame gun, why not just shoot the .44mag? If using factory ammo, .44mag can often be found cheaper than .44spl, anyway. ;)

As far as the "terminal ballistics" of the .44mag go, on paper they do indeed surpass the .44spl, .45acp or just about any other common SD round. The problem is, IMO, that there is more to being an effective SD round that just terminal numbers. I personally think the .44mag is "too much" for SD (too much recoil, too much time between shots, too much penetration, too much muzzle blast/flash) and I would take a .45acp (or for that matter, a 9mm) over a .44mag for SD every time. :cool:

CraigC
May 7, 2012, 01:07 PM
If you are trying to push .44mag perfomance out of a .44spl case in an N Frame gun, why not just shoot the .44mag?
Because oftentimes the .44Spl is plenty, not to mention that 24's are lighter and better looking than 29's and have better sights.

Besides, a 250gr at 1200fps is not .44Mag performance. It's the upper end of the .44Spl's performance. A 240gr at 1450fps is .44Mag performance. A 355gr at 1200fps is. Why the need to pigeon-hole a cartridge?

http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/sixgunsiii/large/IMG_8791b.jpg

Why load the .45Colt heavy when you can just shoot the .44Mag? Why monkey around with the .38-40 when so many other cartridges do the same thing with less effort? Well, because we want to.

Elmer
May 7, 2012, 01:07 PM
True, but in real world shootings even 44 mags have not proven to be much, if any more effective than the best loads in 44 Special, 45 ACP, 40 S&W or even 9mm. The added speed might make for a more effective hunting round for big game at longer ranges, but does not seem to make much difference in humans at typical SD ranges.
Exactly right.

mdauben
May 7, 2012, 01:19 PM
Because oftentimes the .44Spl is plenty,
Well, I would agree, but I wasn't the one suggesting that the .44spl be pushed to .44mag levels in an SD weapon, I was the one questioning the reasoning of doing so.

not to mention that 24's are lighter and better looking than 29's and have better sights.
I'm no expert on these two guns, and I have neither the guns or the stats to compare, but are you saying the 6-shot, N Frame S&W 624 weighs less than the 5-shot, L Frame S&W 696? This seems counter-intuative. Also, don't both guns come with the standard S&W red-ramp front, adjustable rear sights? Or am I just totally confused? :confused:

Sam1911
May 7, 2012, 01:22 PM
but in real world shootings even 44 mags have not proven to be much, if any more effective than the best loads in 44 Special, 45 ACP, 40 S&W or even 9mm. The added speed might make for a more effective hunting round for big game at longer ranges, but does not seem to make much difference in humans at typical SD ranges.

For some reason I'm reminded of an interview with John Cleese when he was asked to describe his old friend Graham Chapman, in one word.

Cleese: "Dead."
Interviewer, laughing: "Ok. Ok. In two words then."
Cleese: "Very dead."
Interviewer, laughing harder: "All right then. Describe him in FOUR words."
Cleese: "Not at all well."

:)

Some is good. Some more might be a bit better. A whole lot more? Not any better and quite possibly worse.

CraigC
May 7, 2012, 01:52 PM
I'm no expert on these two guns, and I have neither the guns or the stats to compare, but are you saying the 6-shot, N Frame S&W 624 weighs less than the 5-shot, L Frame S&W 696? This seems counter-intuative. Also, don't both guns come with the standard S&W red-ramp front, adjustable rear sights? Or am I just totally confused?
I'm confused that you're confused. I clearly stated 24 vs 29 and clearly pictured three N-frames together, a 6" 29, 6" 24 and a 4" 629MG.

CraigC
May 7, 2012, 01:55 PM
I don't think there is any question that the .44Mag in full-house loads is "too much". I might also point out that the OP never mentioned that the purpose was self defense. So why are we assuming this is a self defense discussion?

John Cleese is a piece of work! :)

Sam1911
May 7, 2012, 02:15 PM
I don't think there is any question that the .44Mag in full-house loads is "too much". Having run "Bill Drills" with 300 gr/1250fps loads, and done weak-hand-only work as well with them, I know I COULD. But it's hard to run those .20 sec. splits that way! :D

I might also point out that the OP never mentioned that the purpose was self defense. So why are we assuming this is a self defense discussion?
Fair enough point. 'Course, he never brought up Magnums anyway.

stevehenry1
May 8, 2012, 01:27 AM
To me, the main difference is that you can buy .45ACP just about anywhere, even Walmart. But finding .44 SPL is a LOT HARDER. Also, in factory loadings, the .45ACP has a LOT of options in loading 185-230 grain, FMJ, hollowpoints, etc. .44 SPL, if you can find them , are usually only found in cowboy loads, at least around here.

If you load your own, that narrows things somewhat. It's a personal choice that has more to do with the shooter than it does with the caliber . For me, since I shoot a 1911 as well as .45ACP wheelguns, I will stick with the ACP> That's MY CHOICE, everybody else has to do the same for themselves

Rampant_Colt
May 8, 2012, 01:56 AM
All this talk about velocity, muzzle energy, yada, yada, yada..

Bullet construction and design dictates terminal bullet performance within its design parameters. Having said that, there are more and better bullet designs available like HST, Golden Saber, Ranger-T, etc, for the .45 ACP than for the .44 Special.

Sam1911, the Strassbourg Goat Tests may or may not have even happened, and cannot be utilized as a a credible terminal ballistics reference source, and the Thompson-LeGrande-Hatcher "studies" draws a hypothosis based on unscientific generalizations.



Good information about this subject can be found in the links below:

http://www.gunthorp.com/wounding_factors.htm

http://www.ballisticstudies.com/Resources/Articles/The+Effects+Of+The+Meplat+On+Terminal+Ballistics.html

Sam1911
May 8, 2012, 07:16 AM
Sam1911, the Strassbourg Goat Tests may or may not have even happened, and cannot be utilized as a a credible terminal ballistics reference source, and the Thompson-LeGrande-Hatcher "studies" draws a hypothosis based on unscientific generalizations.

Certainly true enough ... seems the amount of "credible scientific data" to prove which caliber, S.D., bullet construction, energy, momentum, depth of penetration, expansion diameter, etc., etc, is most effective continues to remain at zero desptie more than a century of speculation and attempts to quantify the matter.

But, I didn't bring the Strassbourg or TLH study up, so?

CraigC
May 8, 2012, 07:24 AM
Having said that, there are more and better bullet designs available like HST, Golden Saber, Ranger-T, etc, for the .45 ACP than for the .44 Special.
That is, self defense bullets. The OP didn't mention self defense. There are more, better sporting bullets available for the .44Spl than the .45ACP. So again, it all depends upon your intended usage.

Sam1911
May 8, 2012, 08:09 AM
The OP didn't mention self defense.
True. And now, we've been going around this question for three WEEKS and the original poster hasn't even stopped back in, once, to say what he meant. :rolleyes:

Rampant_Colt
May 8, 2012, 10:31 AM
From the OP (whom has been curiously absent from his own thread..)
Would a top teir .44 Special load like this:
<edited>
be as powerful in terminal ballistics as a .45 ACP load like this?

: the .44 is .002" smaller with a little less meplat, but does that matter with hollow points? It's also 10 grns lighter but it's also 150 fps faster.

I've seen people say that the .44's smaller meplat gives the .45 ACP the lead
What people? Where've you been?


<edited>
There are competing theories that would support either as "THE BEST" and until you do ballistic gel testing (or shoot a herd of goats (http://www.thegunzone.com/strasbourg.html)and measure how long it takes for them to expire) you won't know for sure that ... well ... they're just about the same.

"Shooting a herd of goats" is the Strassbourg Tests

The OP didn't mention self defense.
Guys, terminal ballistics is the study of the behavior of projectiles when it hits a target. ie; self-defense.

I stand by what I said about that there are more and better bullet designs available for the .45 ACP like HST, Golden Saber, Ranger-T, etc, than for the .44 Special. But being this is an apparent hit n run thread, I guess it's all in vain.. LoL

Sam1911
May 8, 2012, 10:44 AM
"Shooting a herd of goats" is the Strassbourg TestsOh! I didn't see my own reference. Actually, while I did have that in mind when I posted that two weeks ago, I literally meant to say, he could go shoot a herd of goats and see what he thought afterward. :) In other words -- convince yourself through testing.

Guys, terminal ballistics is the study of the behavior of projectiles when it hits a target. ...

Yes, but...

...ie; self-defense.Or hunting. Or any other circumstances under which you'd be attempting to cause an effect on a target with your bullet. .44 Spc. makes a dandy hunting cartridge. He hasn't said what he was planning to use this info for. I assumed self-defense, just as you did, but "terminal ballistics" covers a lot more than just that.

Rampant_Colt
May 8, 2012, 10:58 AM
Yup, t-ballistics applies to hunting, too. Until the OP comes back to clarify what he meant, I guess we're all just chasing our tails assuming what his query is about

Paging BluedRevolver to the Handguns and Revolvers aisle

CraigC
May 8, 2012, 03:38 PM
Terminal ballistics has nothing to do with how many legs the target has.

I do not believe we really need to know the purpose to debate the capabilities of each cartridge. As long as we make no assumptions and do not drive in only one direction.

unionguy
May 8, 2012, 09:46 PM
I'll admit I get lost in these terminal ballistics conversations. I keep things simple: I use the most powerful cartridge that I am accurate with (including followups) in my full sized handgun and my concealed carry.

NMGonzo
May 8, 2012, 11:26 PM
.45 colt is the right answer.

What do I win?

CraigC
May 9, 2012, 07:56 AM
In sixguns appropriately sized for the .44Spl, it has it all over the .45Colt.

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