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44 Magnum v 45 Long Colt

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by el Godfather, Jul 20, 2012.


Which is more powerful?

Poll closed Apr 15, 2015.
  1. 44 Magnum

    71 vote(s)
  2. 45 Long Colt

    40 vote(s)
  1. el Godfather

    el Godfather Well-Known Member

    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?
  2. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    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.
  3. olafhardtB

    olafhardtB Well-Known Member

    You can find 45 Colt ammo and components and ammo but not as easy as 44 magnum.
  4. el Godfather

    el Godfather Well-Known Member

    Whats the hottest possible 44 Magnum load (ft-lbs) engery wise that you can hand load for Ruger SRH?
  5. bluethunder1962

    bluethunder1962 Well-Known Member

    I got both. 44 mag is lot hotter.
  6. Snag

    Snag Well-Known Member

    All things considered I like the 45 Colt better.
  7. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Well-Known Member

    We JUST had a lengthy discussion on this topic.
  8. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Well-Known Member

    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!!!!!! ;)
  10. powell&hyde

    powell&hyde Well-Known Member

  11. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    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?
  12. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

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

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Thank you! :D
  14. firesky101

    firesky101 Well-Known Member

    Where is the option for they will both do anything you want in the lower 48?
  15. Prosser

    Prosser Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Well-Known Member

  17. .44 Associate

    .44 Associate Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. Prosser

    Prosser Well-Known Member

    If 325's at 1350 fps won't get it done, out of either caliber, you need a bigger caliber or a rifle.
  19. mavracer

    mavracer Well-Known Member

    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 ;)
  20. Nick5182

    Nick5182 Well-Known Member

    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.

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