browning/colt prototype .41 caliber cartridge?...


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jason41987
May 1, 2012, 03:29 PM
back in the early 1900s, when john browning and the colt company were working on some of the first automatic handguns, they were working on a prototype cartridge... little information is known about this cartridge, and ive only been able to gather two facts so far...

first, it was 41 caliber, based on the .41lc, so it most likely had a bullet diameter of .400"...

and second, it seems a statement was once made about it being more powerful than the .45acp

.40S&W typically has more kinetic energy and pressure than .45acp, though its a very, very minute amount... could this prototype cartridge have been an early, independantly designed cartridge that would have been a match for the modern .40S&W?

the .45ACP has an overall length of about 32mm.. is it possibly this was designed to fit the handgun they had already been working on for the .41 caliber cartridge, meaning the prototype could have also had an overall length of 32mm, which would match the dimensions of the 10mm?...

anyway... im curious, so much is known about john browning and colt... but so little is known about this project of theirs that was stopped after the US military specifically asked for a .45 caliber cartridge in their handgun... so on some not so distant alternate reality where this cartridge had come to fruition, what would it be now?

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56hawk
May 1, 2012, 03:36 PM
I've also wondered about what the specs for that cartridge were. It would seem that Browning got it right before Thompson and LaGarde messed things up for everyone. :evil:

jason41987
May 1, 2012, 03:43 PM
well, one other thing i learned about their handgun developements in the early 1900s is that the 1911s original design didnt have a grip safety... that was something the US military specifically asked for... i guess browning figured it was safe enough with the hammer down, and that the thumb safety was good enough for those who needed more

in my best opinion.. completely speculation... i think this mystery cartridge had a 32mm overall length to fit comfortable in the action, and in the magazines, but maybe wasnt as high pressured as the 10mm, so was ballistically closer to the .40S&W

jason41987
May 1, 2012, 06:51 PM
so.. im guessing theres just not much information on this to go around?

56hawk
May 1, 2012, 07:35 PM
Not much except that the gun still exists:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163739&d=1335911639

Jim Watson
May 1, 2012, 07:43 PM
I, too, have read about the experimental .41 Auto of 1903.
I doubt it was more powerful than the (yet to be specified) .45; the old parallel ruler guns were just not that stout. A heavier bullet than the .38 Auto's 130 grains but no faster.
I figure they (Colt and Browning) dropped the .41 project when they read the Thompson-LaGarde report of 1904 and realized the Army was set on a .45 just like Grandpa fit the Commanch' with in the 1870s. They sure didn't mess around getting a .45 gun and ammo on the market as the model of 1905. Amazing how close it was to the Frankford Arsenal .45 cartridges of 1906.

I was always intrigued by the 9.8mm Colt on the 1911 pattern. The gun was about a 7/8 scale 1911, the same in every mechanical respect. The American Rifleman article about it said that Eugene Reising worked for Colt in those days and was showing the gun in Europe. The home office cabled to tell him to come home from the Balkans, that the US Army contract was all the business they needed. FN built a prototype about the same size, the 9.65mm Grand Browning. I expect WW I ended whatever plans they might have had for the concept.

I can imagine how neat a little gun a 1911 scaled down to just take .40, also 9mm and .38 would be; but it probably would not pay anybody to tool up for one. No more than it did Colt in 1912 or in 1929 when they revisited the idea.

jason41987
May 1, 2012, 08:16 PM
anyone ever seen any cartridges that ever went to the .41 caliber colt?.. it would be interesting to see case dimensions for it.. i guess one could measure the shape of the bore to get atleast some idea of overall length and diameter

jason41987
May 1, 2012, 08:33 PM
hmm.. i look at the .38 ACP... roughly 1100-1200fps... look at the 45acp, roughly 1100-1200fps, but with a heavier bullet... both cartridges have about a 32mm overall length...

so.. if we look at what john browning and colt had before the 45acp, and the 45acp itself.. we find similarities, of roughly around 1100-1200fps cartridges, and 32mm overall length....

1100-1200fps is a pretty common load for .40S&W... as well... if i had to put down money on what this cartridge was... i think i may have discovered it.. a .40 caliber cartridge, 32mm overall length (10mm size) loaded at pressures that would have allowed for 1100-1200fps (.40S&W ballistics), meaning this .41 ACP (thats probably what they were going to call it) would be the size of the 10mm with the power of the 40S&W

Jim Watson
May 1, 2012, 09:03 PM
45acp, roughly 1100-1200fps, but with a heavier bullet

Not in 1905 it wasn't. The original .45 Rimless Smokeless was advertised as a 200 at 900 fps but was probably slower. Fleaweight bullets, progressive burning powder, and chrome moly steel are necessary for four digit velocity out of a .45.

jason41987
May 1, 2012, 09:06 PM
and i doubt .38ACP was 1100-1200 in the early 1900s either... as powder improves, so do all cartridges that use it

Jim Watson
May 2, 2012, 12:39 AM
A chart of the ammunition tested by Thompson and LaGarde in 1904 gives the .38 Auto a 130 gr FMJ at 1107 fps. Strangely, a 120 gr softpoint only did 1048 fps.

JRH6856
May 2, 2012, 02:01 AM
I can imagine how neat a little gun a 1911 scaled down to just take .40, also 9mm and .38 would be; but it probably would not pay anybody to tool up for one. No more than it did Colt in 1912 or in 1929 when they revisited the idea.

JMB designed the 380ACP as a .78 scale of the .45ACP. Llama used the same scale in building a 1911 pattern in .380, the Llama III-A. From 1954 to 1975 it even used the same toggle link action, then it was changed to blowback. I have one. It would be neat to have it in 9mmP.

jason41987
May 2, 2012, 10:33 AM
umm... dont confuse the .38ACP with the .380ACP, two entirely different cartridges

JRH6856
May 2, 2012, 01:29 PM
umm... dont confuse the .38ACP with the .380ACP, two entirely different cartridges

I'm not confusing the two, just drifting off topic in response to the comment about a scaled down 1911.

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