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.44 Mag or .45 Colt. accuracy and reach ONLY

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by proven, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. proven

    proven Well-Known Member

    for the purposes of accuracy and reach at longer distances, what would you choose? .44 mag or .45 colt? the platform will be a ruger blackhawk (super for the .44). i'll be handloading for both.
  2. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    .44's tend to shoot better out of the box. Ruger still can't get the chamber mouths right in their .45's. They also tend to have oversized chambers. The .44 also maintains at least a 100fps advantage across the board with all bullet weights, which means it shoots flatter. Right up to 355-360gr bullets.
  3. proven

    proven Well-Known Member

    i've read of fixes for the chamber issues on the .45s. does this work, and at what cost? i'm looking at the 5.5 barrel length, so would the extra fps in the .44 matter that much? how much flatter is it, say out to 100-150 yds?

    i'm leaning towards the .45 because it's already found in the configuration i want. stainless, 5.5" bbl and bisley grip frame. just wondering what i'd be giving up by passing on the .44 mag.
  4. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    It's relatively cheap and easy when they're too small, which they tend to be these days. You can send your cylinder to "cylindersmith" if that's the case. It's less than a hundred bucks I believe.

    We're not really talking about huge differences here. A hundred feet per second will make a difference of just a few inches at 200yds. So given that most folks are shooting at rocks and coffee cans at that range, it's not really enough to get worked up about.

    The configuration may be the deciding factor. Ruger did produce .44Mag's in the same configuration for Acusport several years ago but it was one run. The .45's, on the other hand, have seen at least two or three production runs. We bought Dad one ten years ago and it's a fine shooter but they are few and far between. The only other .44 Bisley configurations are either 7½", the new 3¾" model for Lipsey's or fixed sight Bisley Vaqueros. Or you could build your own like I did but that ain't easy either. Ruger has since discontinued stainless Bisley grip frames (as parts) and those that have them, tend to hold on to them. I have a spare myself. The .45's are much easier to find and if that's what you want, go for it.

  5. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    When John Linebaugh was commissioned to build a revolver specifically to reach 1 MOA or better, he chose the 45 long Colt as the cartridge.
  6. 98Redline

    98Redline Well-Known Member

    Flip a coin, both cartridges are proven performers.

    Regarding the trajectory, it all comes down to the bullet and loading. Speed and BC will determine the trajectory.

    I can tell you this much, out of my 7 1/2" Super Blackhawk a 320gr SWC hard cast bullet pushed at 1350fps has a point blank range of about 120 yards. It is about +2.5 at 60 yards and about -2.5 at 120 with a zero at 100.

    Get a similar configuration in the .45 colt and you can achieve nearly identical ballistics.

    All that said, trying to shoot something with a 4 1/2" revolver at 100+ yards is a serious challenge. I would say a gun like that would be a more effective 50 yard max gun in the hands of most shooters. I am sure the gun itself is plenty accurate but the shorter sight radius on the barrel will put you at a serious disadvantage over longer 7 1/2" barrel guns.
  7. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    You can 'build' an accurate sixgun in any chambering. You just can't go out and buy a highly accurate .45Colt unless it's a Freedom Arms. Even Colt, as improved as their newer SAA's are, still cuts their chambers for .454" bullets.

    And John made his name and his living building .45's 'because' they are lacking from the factory, so it was a natural choice.
  8. lloveless

    lloveless Well-Known Member

    I have the .44 mag SBH with the 4 5/8 inch barrel. I shoot either a 240 gr lswc/jsp or 300 gr lwfn. Acurracy of the gun is better than me. CraigC I love the grips on your gun!
  9. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Those are American holly from CLC.
  10. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Well-Known Member

    The last Ruger Redhawk I bought had cylinder throats cut to the right size .452"/4525. As far as chambers go I've hada Ruger Bisley,Blackhawk,Redhawk a Colt Anaconda and fired cases came out looking like a Pilsner glass. I did do some investigating on why the chambers were cut so generously and the Saami specs are the problem. Chambers are .003-.005 bigger than they need to be IIRC. This is a guess on my part buy I figure that since the 45 Colt started life as a black powder cartridge te chamber were cut "large" to allow for easy extraction of the cases when there is a lot of bp residue from extended firings The 2 Ruger SA I had a smith hone out the chamber mouths and I think it was $50 each to have done,mouths are now .453"
  11. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Gunsmiths like Linebaugh typically cut .45 chambers at .480". Nearly all factory .45Colt chambers are a lot bigger than that.
  12. flipajig

    flipajig Well-Known Member

    Me personly would chose the 44 mag.
    Easy to load for you can go from mild to wild. I have a 7 1/2 " SBH and woulnd trade it for any thing. With my hand load and cast Boolit I feel good out to 50 yds with iron sights
    With a scope you can stretch it Out some.
  13. murf

    murf Well-Known Member

    suggest the bisley hunter (only comes in 44mag).

    as per craigc, the 45lc guns are still "hit and miss" regarding chamber dimensions.

    the bisley grip handles recoil better, the top rib allows for a scope.

  14. critter

    critter Well-Known Member

    I have had both calibers in Ruger Bisley 7 1/2" models. Accuracy for both was just amazingly super and the effectiveness on game is so close I couldn't tell any difference. I was not, however, shooting big and heavy stuff. Since you reload, I'd say pick your own preference. You can't go wrong.
  15. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    Go for the .45 your not giving up anything you'll notice without a ruler. I've found more vairiance from group to group then from gun to gun if you know what I mean.
  16. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    "Flatter" is definetly a relative term. For an idea of what the bullets do out to 200 there's a handy little external ballistics calculator you can use online at Hornady.com . You just need to find a good idea of the BC of each bullet you're wanting to check. It may mean having to use some other maker's BC for a similar bullet if you can't find the one you want to use.
  17. proven

    proven Well-Known Member

    craigc, that is one beautiful sixgun! that's pretty much what i have in mind. i figured the 5.5 barrel would suffice for now and i could always cut it down later if i wanted. did some searching around and it seems as though the stainless bisley grip frames may be available directly through ruger if they have them in stock, however they won't sell the hammer or trigger as parts. i guess if i really decided in favor of the .44 i could always get a super blackhawk bisley hunter and have a new barrel installed. not sure how pricy that may be though.

    as i understand it the chamber mouths can be reamed as most are undersized. but what about the chambers themselves, what's the issue there?

    at any rate thanks for the replies. i compared similar loads from bufflao bore just to get an idea and it seems as though the .45 only gives up just over an inch at 100 yards.
  18. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    Proven, if the cartridges fit in easily and can be shucked out easy and there's not a huge amount of powder fouling down the outside of the cases then the chambers are fine. But if your gun has any issues with ejecting the empties then it's possible your gun has poory reamed chambers. But that is ONLY if you are having trouble pushing out the empties. If it's all fine then your chambers are fine.

    No point in looking for trouble where there ain't none.... :D
  19. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    The .45Colt is basically guaranteed oversized chambers. The problem is not the cartridge, it's the SAAMI chamber specs. They're way too generous. Like I said, Linebaugh and other custom `smith's cut .45 chambers much tighter than any factory gun*. The larger chambers overwork the cases, cause velocity/pressure loss and can affect accuracy. Which is why the best .45Colt's are rechambered from something else. A tight chambered sixgun might shoot 100fps faster. Of course, this is not so bad that you can't enjoy a Ruger .45. It's bad enough that I have little use for the cartridge. Which is why I own seven .44Mag's, four .44Spl's, two .44Colt's and only four .45Colt's (two or three of which are going on the chopping block). Not when the .44Mag and .45Colt are so close in performance, yet .44's shoot better out of the box and require no gunsmithing. It just ain't worth the trouble. I've got a Bisley Vaquero that has had all the accuracy work possible, working with a factory cylinder and barrel. It shoots okay but does not shoot as well as any of my .44Mag's did out of the box. If I need more than the .44Mag offers, I'll go up to a .475 or .500. Not a .45Colt.

    Don't get me wrong, the .45Colt is a wonderful cartridge and even better when chambered in a properly built sixgun. Hell, I spent all day yesterday handloading for and sighting in my newest .45Colt. I'm just not in love with it like many are. I don't buy any of the business that it's better than the .44Mag.

    *(Freedom Arms is always the exception when describing pitfalls in mass produced revolvers)
  20. murf

    murf Well-Known Member

    hey proven,

    i thought you were looking for "accuracy and reach" (needs clarification). you also mentioned 100 and 150 yards.

    a 7.5" barrel is better for 100 yards (a 10" barrel is even better). the 44mag chambering will be more accurate (see above posts by craigc and myself).

    if you want bling, just say so. we do that, too.


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