44 Magnum v 45 Long Colt


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el Godfather
July 20, 2012, 02:13 AM
Dear THR:
Between the 44 Magnum and 45 long colt, which do you prefer? Which is more powerful? I think 44 Mag from the internet searchs.

Anything else you would like to share?
Thanks

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StrawHat
July 20, 2012, 07:13 AM
With factory loads, the Magnum is the more powerful load. However, applying that power well...

Years ago, in my youth, I had to have magnums. The bigger the better. Well they didn't make them any bigger than the 44 so I got a 29-2 and started handloading in ernest. Elmer's load was good and I used it a lot. Also laoded some hotter loads but usually went with the Keith load. I used this revovler and load for white tailed deer and pronounced it "Fantastic"! Then I started hunting with a buddy who carried a Model P Colt, chambered for the 45 long Colt and loaded with black powder under a cast lead bullet. Well, anyone who knows anything will tell you that combination won't work in the field and I told him so. We both got deer that first year, his dropped pretty close to where he shot it, mine required trailing. We both made similar hits so I chalked it up to luck that he did not have to track. Next time out similar results. Eventually, I realized that for all the velocity and penetration the Magnum produced, the long Colt was the better anchor. I now hunt with the long Colt cartridge and have sold off all but one of my Magnums. I use the original ballistics, 260 grain bullet at 950 fps, and often use black powder. If the game is not dropped, it is because of me, not the cartridge.

If you use a S&W, you can step up the loads a bit. And of course if you use a Ruger SBH or RH, you can really step them up, to the point they will allow you to trail game just like a Magnum.

So, I opt for the 45 long Colt at the original ballistics. A cartridge that is still delivering what it was designed to do.

olafhardtB
July 20, 2012, 07:19 AM
You can find 45 Colt ammo and components and ammo but not as easy as 44 magnum.

el Godfather
July 20, 2012, 09:45 AM
Whats the hottest possible 44 Magnum load (ft-lbs) engery wise that you can hand load for Ruger SRH?

bluethunder1962
July 20, 2012, 09:53 AM
I got both. 44 mag is lot hotter.

Snag
July 20, 2012, 10:06 AM
All things considered I like the 45 Colt better.

Hammerdown77
July 20, 2012, 10:26 AM
We JUST had a lengthy discussion on this topic.

CraigC
July 20, 2012, 10:51 AM
Yep, there was a very extensive discussion about it recently, I'd suggest finding it.

If you're talking about standard pressure .45Colt, then the .44 wins hands down.

If you're talking about .45Colt loads for modern SAA's and Ruger mid-frames at 21-22,000psi, then the .44 wins hands down.

If you're talking about "Ruger only" .45Colt loads at 32,000psi, then it's a wash.

If you're talking about custom five-shot .45Colt loads at 50-55,000psi, then the .45 wins hands down.

BBQLS1
July 20, 2012, 11:22 AM
I voted for the Magnum. For all practical purposes, it'll do more than the .45 Colt. Still I prefer the .45 Colt..... partly because it's a cool old cartdrige, it's bigger, throws more lead, and in the right gun/application offers way plenty power for almost any task if not any. It'll penetrate that's for sure.... and that's what you really care about anyways.

But heck, if power is what you crave why not .454 Casul.... or .460 S&W Mag.... or .500 S&W Mag.... or .50 BMG!!!!!! ;)

powell&hyde
July 20, 2012, 12:04 PM
Whats the hottest possible 44 Magnum load (ft-lbs) engery wise that you can hand load for Ruger SRH?
Buffalo Bore makes a 340gr bullet that steps out at 1478fps and ME at 1649.. http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=9

Vern Humphrey
July 20, 2012, 12:55 PM
Both the .45 Colt and the .44 Magnum can be loaded hotter (in strong guns) than most of us would care to shoot on a routine basis.

I personally like the .45 Colt -- I have a Ruger Blackhawk and a Colt New Service. I find that loads that are safe in the latter (approximately .45 ACP pressure levels) will shoot through white tail deer lengthwise. What more do you need?

ljnowell
July 20, 2012, 02:03 PM
Yep, there was a very extensive discussion about it recently, I'd suggest finding it.

If you're talking about standard pressure .45Colt, then the .44 wins hands down.

If you're talking about .45Colt loads for modern SAA's and Ruger mid-frames at 21-22,000psi, then the .44 wins hands down.

If you're talking about "Ruger only" .45Colt loads at 32,000psi, then it's a wash.

If you're talking about custom five-shot .45Colt loads at 50-55,000psi, then the .45 wins hands down.

Not only should that end the thread, it should be posted in every such thread after this to end it.

CraigC
July 20, 2012, 02:08 PM
Thank you! :D

firesky101
July 20, 2012, 02:33 PM
Where is the option for they will both do anything you want in the lower 48?

Prosser
July 20, 2012, 06:46 PM
If you have to run either one over 30k pressure you need a .475(get a bigger gun).

They are no longer in the discussion of 'most powerful'.

If that's what you need, in a compact package, for under a 1k, buy a BFR in .500JRH or .475 Linebaugh.

That said, they both are similar in cost, and both are adequate, or more then adequate for anything in the 48. Reminds me of the .308 and 30-06 of the handgun world.

Texan Scott
July 20, 2012, 08:39 PM
Ok, I know I said I would save this for the next 'what if a polar bear tries to eat me?' thread... but here it is:

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=296785896

... in case you honestly NEED that kind of firepower... :D

.44 Associate
July 20, 2012, 08:55 PM
As pointed out, CraigC wins the thread.

I have only one thing to add: "energy" is nearly useless when discussing handguns. There are other, much more important, factors. Chief of those is frontal area. Game animals are much more impressed by it than by "energy". That's a big factor in the effectiveness of the .45, and so a big factor behind the "cult" of the cartridge.

Prosser
July 20, 2012, 09:25 PM
If 325's at 1350 fps won't get it done, out of either caliber, you need a bigger caliber or a rifle.

mavracer
July 20, 2012, 10:02 PM
As to the power question CraigC nailed it, as to my preference I love both equally good thing it's the right to keep and bear arms ;)

Nick5182
July 20, 2012, 10:07 PM
I prefer the. 45 colt mainly because it's not as much of a wrist-breaker as the .44 mag. Much nicer on the arms during extended firing sessions. As for power, double tap makes some very hot . 45 colt ranging in the 1300+ fps range (if I remember the correctly, I could be wrong though.) Just make sure your firearm can handle loads that hot. My ruger blackhawk can handle them fine.

Cocked & Locked
July 20, 2012, 10:32 PM
Off the shelf .44 magnum ammo wins every time against .45 Colt.

If the .45 Colt is handloaded with Ruger only loads for BH and RH revolvers then it becomes a coin toss.

My preference is the .44 magnum but I enjoy both. :uhoh:

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259637/399676561.jpg

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259637/140235855.jpg

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259637/390177500.jpg

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6263277/393403283.jpg

Are you thinking about one or the other...or perhaps both el Godfather? By the way, off topic but I've got your hat. ;) Off topic, but I've got your hat.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259764/317273115.jpg

BCRider
July 20, 2012, 11:05 PM
.....If you're talking about custom five-shot .45Colt loads at 50-55,000psi, then the .45 wins hands down.

According to my two manuals that's at the top or well over even .454Casull max pressure.

I'd suggest that the comparison between .44Mag and .45 Colt was surpased a good 15,000 psi before this.... :D

Prosser
July 20, 2012, 11:10 PM
The 5 shots were loaded to real insanity, and many took it for a long time.

If you stay with H110, you can pretty much fill the case and load the bullet on top, and the guns can take it. The BFR's are even stronger then the custom rugers.

BCRider
July 20, 2012, 11:12 PM
... or 2400. It provides very close to the same pressure per powder volume but I enjoy the bigger fireballs... :D

CraigC
July 20, 2012, 11:15 PM
According to my two manuals that's at the top or well over even .454Casull max pressure.

I'd suggest that the comparison between .44Mag and .45 Colt was surpassed a good 15,000 psi before this...
Load data in that range is typically provided by the gunsmith who builds them. Most factory .454 loads are in that pressure range. Of course, as noted, if you're going five-shot, you're better off with a .475 or .500.

Scipio Africanus
July 21, 2012, 02:20 AM
What CraigC said, both times :)

I own both, load for both, shoot both, like both, trust both.

I can't pick one over the other :o

Prosser
July 21, 2012, 03:58 AM
If you get a hold of some old .454 loading guidelines from Freedom Arms, in the old days, they weren't shy. They had the strongest revolvers made, with the best materials, and took advantage of rifle like pressures in a handgun.
The absolute max for my Seville was 345-360 grain bullet at 1550 fps. Look at the loading tables, using H110, and you can guess at the grains. I could tell you, but if you used it, you'd probably blow yourself up.

Worked for 38" of penetration, 5 times, on a cape buffalo, Ross Seyfried doing the shooting. Recoil was so harsh it knocked the gun out of time, and you had to put it back with your finger before the next shot.
Linebaugh called it a built in safety feature. I thought it was a good way to get yourself killed.

Lion hunt cape buffalo. If you manage to get yourself in a pride of hunting lions, and they change to you being the target, I don't think it's as easy hitting a 400-500 pound cat, moving at 50 miles an hour that can jump.
That vs. 1500 pounds of horns and hoofs, coming at 25 miles an hour. Seyfried put 5 shots into the buffalo, in 2 seconds, and the buffalo skidded to a stop pretty much at his nose.
If that was a lion, he MIGHT have got off two shots. They better be REAL good.

Sport45
July 21, 2012, 07:43 AM
I haven't tried it, but I've read the standard 6-shot Redhawk is good for 50,000 psi in .45 Colt.

The 30,000 psi loads are plenty for me...

Barr
July 21, 2012, 08:14 AM
If it comes to the point I need more than a .44 Magnum or .45 LC can offer, its time to either grab a lever carbine in one of the two or get a .30 caliber rifle.

MCgunner
July 21, 2012, 09:36 AM
It really depends on the gun. From my Blackhawk in .45LC, I don't load it up to what some say is its limit in that gun and even if I did, there are some WAY hot heavy bullet .44 mags out there. From a Freedom Arms revolver, I'd load the colt well past what I load it in my Blackhawk and it'd leave the .44 loads behind in that gun and still do it at lower pressures.

I can say, .45 Colt is plenty. I don't need more, not here in Texas for what I hunt. Actually, I've never shot anything other than a few trapped hogs with my .45 Colt and that was with a 255 grain cast FP at 950 fps. I've killed hogs and deer with my .357 Blackhawk, all I REALLY "need". :D The deer are sorta small here, you must understand, and hogs are normally shot out to 50 yards, my longest being 60 with the .357.

One_Jackal
July 21, 2012, 09:45 AM
Yep, there was a very extensive discussion about it recently, I'd suggest finding it.

If you're talking about standard pressure .45Colt, then the .44 wins hands down.

If you're talking about .45Colt loads for modern SAA's and Ruger mid-frames at 21-22,000psi, then the .44 wins hands down.

If you're talking about "Ruger only" .45Colt loads at 32,000psi, then it's a wash.

If you're talking about custom five-shot .45Colt loads at 50-55,000psi, then the .45 wins hands down.
Another thing the 44 mag has in it's favor is availability. Numerous times I have left my ammo at home and some airlines don't want ammo on their planes. I can always find 44mag ammo, even at country stores.

MCgunner
July 21, 2012, 09:56 AM
I've flown twice in my life and that didn't concern handgun hunting. Ammo availability is of no concern to me as I make my own and Midway has components for many calibers. YMMV and probably does.

Coal Dragger
July 22, 2012, 01:36 AM
Prosser,

I've loaded and fired 360gr bullets in my FA at what loading guide says should be around 1350-1400fps and they are on the energetic side. Although manageable, I can just imagine how much "fun" they would be at 1550fps. By fun I mean unpleasant and generally nasty to hang on to, much less try to focus on good marksmanship while knowing the revolver will do everything it can to hit you in the face as a reward for touching the round off.

At the power range I am loading them in the 360gr bullet should probably still flatten anything I care to shoot at on this continent, so my motivation level to go any higher is pretty low. I was surprised that the bullet gives good accuracy, even though FA states that the twist rate for their .452" barrels are really optimized for 240-335gr bullets. I noticed improved accuracy with these as velocities increased, was that also your experience at 1550fps?

Bobson
July 22, 2012, 01:48 AM
I've always read that it depends.

If you reload, 45LC can be loaded to be "more powerful" than 44 Mag; but if you're comparing factory loads only, 44 Mag typically packs more punch.

Prosser
July 22, 2012, 02:49 AM
"Prosser,

I've loaded and fired 360gr bullets in my FA at what loading guide says should be around 1350-1400fps and they are on the energetic side. Although manageable, I can just imagine how much "fun" they would be at 1550fps. By fun I mean unpleasant and generally nasty to hang on to, much less try to focus on good marksmanship while knowing the revolver will do everything it can to hit you in the face as a reward for touching the round off.

At the power range I am loading them in the 360gr bullet should probably still flatten anything I care to shoot at on this continent, so my motivation level to go any higher is pretty low. I was surprised that the bullet gives good accuracy, even though FA states that the twist rate for their .452" barrels are really optimized for 240-335gr bullets. I noticed improved accuracy with these as velocities increased, was that also your experience at 1550fps?"

I got 12 rounds of Seyfried buffalo rounds sent to me by John Linebaugh.
I found that at that level of recoil, the grips had to be custom tailored to my hands, though at the time I didn't know this. Accurate? An elephant would have been safe with those loads at 7 yards, with the small SA grips on my Seville. I never have shot anywhere near what Seyfried is capable of.

The Hawaii pig guys settled on 1350 fps, with a 325 grain bullet. Shot a lot of these, and, never did figure out I needed custom grips. Jack Huntington finally just made me a set of grips, and it made all the difference in the world on the seville.
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/seville%207%202006/SevilleCodyonbarrelcopy-1.jpg
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/seville%207%202006/Sevillecopy-1.jpg

When I bought the .500 Max and .475 FA 83, they had grips for small hands.
At that level of recoil I was lucky to hit the backstop, much less a target, with the little grips the guns had on them. Here is a before picture of the .475 and .500:

http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/FAMILY%20PORTRAITS/FamilyPortrait1.jpg

Problem is the grips on the guns are REALLY nice. Micarta on the FA, Buffalo Horn on the .500 :uhoh::(


I had them changed to grips sized for my hands:

http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/FAMILY%20PORTRAITS/Group5.jpg
http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f99/Socrates28/FA83500JRH852010/GIRLS3LEFTPS852010copy.jpg

And they are as easy to shoot as the Seville was, except for the .500 MAX.
525 grain bullets over 1350 fps are a whole other ball game.

To tie this to the thread reasoning:
Both calibers really require custom grips, fitted to you hand size for anyone to evaulate how accurate they are.

To answer your original question:
Logically the fuller the case, the more consistent combustion, and velocity is going to be, and, that means accuracy. That is one problem with loading for low recoil, at the bottom of the pressure scale. With a big case, it's better to have it 95% full. The lower the number, the more the velocity variation.

I can't speak to .454 or heavy Colt loads in an FA, since I've never had a FA 83 that wasn't converted to another caliber. The original Casull loads were for lighter bullets.

The Sevilles by Linebaugh were designed to shoot heavier bullets. At the time my gun was VERY accurate, but, I never shot enough 360's to speculate on twist. My gun shot heavy bullets VERY well. I do remember he mentioned he had the right twist for the caliber, and his guns would consistently shoot into 2-3 inches at 100 yards, with a variety of bullets.
I think he went over that in his letters to me, but I'm not up for going back and looking right now.

Jack Huntington pointed out to me that big bullets tend to smooth out a lot of the accuracy problems in 5 guns by just being long. They tend to get ducks in a row, and heavy for caliber bullets tend to be more accurate then
light for caliber bullets, and, if the gun has an accuracy flaw, the heavier bullets tend to show it less then light bullets.

The bigger the case, the more recoil you are going to get. That is the trade off with the .44 and .45. When you really get down to it, a .44 Special
is probably the .308 of big handgun rounds.

hawk45
July 26, 2012, 08:53 PM
.45LC is just a cool cartridge with great history. For how old the round is, it's still very relevant today for plinking on up to hunting and even self defense. The .44 Mag is a beast, but can be loaded down like any cartridge or use 44spls. If you are going to buy factory.. go .44 for sure. If you are looking to pick one and stick with it.. think about future purchases.. will you be getting a double-action, single-action, lever, carbine? I've tried to limit the cartridges I reload for.. but in the end I buy guns for the art they are and how they perform for a given task.

460Kodiak
July 27, 2012, 10:14 AM
I was faced with this same issue several years ago. My solution was to buy a 460. That way I can varry my power levels from 45 cowboy loads all the way up to nuclear moose killer levels, and all with factory ammo.

I don't yet reload, so once I do, I suspect that my love for the .45 will grow.

Vern Humphrey
July 27, 2012, 03:57 PM
The .44 Mag is a beast, but can be loaded down like any cartridge or use 44spls.
Which is virtually the same situation as the .45 Colt -- if you want higher velocity for your Ruger, buy specialty rounds or handload.

BCRider
July 27, 2012, 04:05 PM
I don't yet reload, so once I do, I suspect that my love for the .45 will grow.


Once you see how many more rounds you can load per buck than you can buy off the shelf your love of the big "4somethings" will grow a lot faster and far more than you can suspect.... :D

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