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.45 LC ... where does it fall as a self defense round?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Alan Fud, Apr 16, 2004.

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  1. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    For self defense purposes, how does the .45LC (the round itself -- not the gun firing it) compare to other calibers (9mm? .357mag? .40S&W? .45ACP? etc.?) and what is the best commercial .45LC ammo out there for self defense purposes?
  2. Hal

    Hal Well-Known Member

    No brainer - .45acp.
    The .45acp is the "replacement" for the .45 Colt ;)

    For big "D", I prefer the 200 gr Blazer. "Caldera" sized cavity.

    Second choice is the [[[weak]]] Cowboy load,,,but only in my Winchester Trapper, not my Blackhawk 4 5/8" revolver. I agree, the Cowboy loads are somewhat anemic out of most revolvers. Out of a carbine, they are perfectly acceptable (ballistic-wise).
  3. Majic

    Majic Well-Known Member

    I would say it starts with the .45acp and goes up from there. The wimp loads are as powerful as the .45acp and it can be made as effective a .44mag. That covers a lot of ground.
  4. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Well-Known Member

    Note that there are the original "blackpowder" level SAAMI spec ammo (14,000 psi), and more powerful stuff for modern stronger guns.

    WW 225 gr. Silvertips and Federal 225 LHP are good low pressure ammo.
    I agree that the Speer 200 JHP is good.
    Don't forget the Cor-Bon with the 200 Speer JHP (+P), my preference.
  5. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Well-Known Member

    With a strong gun like a Ruger you can safely handload .45 Colt to be better than just about anything, really.
  6. RWK

    RWK Well-Known Member


    I believe the .45 Colt is an excellent defensive round, and I respectfully take small exception to those who suggest it is essentially only a .45 ACP replacement. More specifically, the .45 ACP was developed -- almost a century ago -- to roughly duplicate .45 Colt ballistics. However, in the last 100 years numerous improvements in metallurgy, propellant chemistry, bullet design, and so forth have created a completely new realm for the .45 Colt.

    At the STANDARD PRESSURES (non +P), some .45 Colt rounds essentially equal .45 ACP loads; to illustrate:
    a) Standard pressure 225 grain .45 Colt Winchester Silver Tip -- 920 FPS/423 FtLbs
    b) Standard pressure 230 grain .45 ACP Winchester JHP -- 880 FPS/396 FtLbs

    Conversely, other STANDARD PRESSURE (non +P) .45 Colt loads BASICALLY PERFORM LIKE .45 ACP +Ps; for example:
    a) Standard Pressure 200 grain .45 Colt CorBon JHP -- 1100 FPS/537 FtLbs
    b) +P 200 grain .45 ACP CorBon -- 1050 FPS/490 FtLbs

    Finally, the .45 Colt -- in a strong, properly designed revolver, such as most Rugers -- can FAR EXCEED .45 ACP loads and essentially duplicate .44 magnum ballistics; to document:
    a) +P 265 grain .45 Colt CorBon BCHP -- 1350 FPS/1073 FtLbs
    b) 260 grain .44 magnum CorBon BCHP -- 1450 FPS/1214 FtLbs

    To summarize:
    > At its lowest pressure loadings, modern .45 Colt defensive rounds essentially duplicate .45 ACP ballistics
    > However, many commercially available STANDARD PRESSURE .45 Colt defensive rounds equal or exceed +P .45 ACP ballistics
    > At top-end pressures, the .45 Colt effectively replicate .44 magnum ballistics -- PARTICULARLY FOR NON-COMMERCIAL HAND-LOADS.

    I frequently carry a Smith 625-9 (four-inch Mountain Gun) loaded with Georgia Arms 200 grain STANDARD PRESSURE “Gold Dots†that provide 1100 FPS and ~540 foot pounds of muzzle energy -- and that’s in a non +P round. I respectfully suggest that is a darn potent defensive load.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2004
  7. DigMe

    DigMe Well-Known Member

    Just don't use whatever round failed to kill "the bride" in Kill Bill Vol. 1!! :)

    The bullet looked like a Federal Castcore but the bottom of the shell definitely did not say Federal.

    brad cook
  8. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    Thanks RWK. I've been thinking about getting a Taurus Raging Bull chambered in .454 Casull (under the assumption that if the gun can handle .454's, it can handle any commercially available hot .45LC round) and shooting .45LC's out of it. From what you are saying, it sounds like one gun can serve multiple purposes depending on what ammo is used. Thanks again.
  9. Quartus

    Quartus Well-Known Member

    Safe assumption. Good choice, assuming you have considered the reloading issue.

    Back in the 80s, there were a lot of departments using the .357 as their standard round. But thanks to Dirty Harry, the word, "MAAAAAAGUM!!!!!" got bad rap, and it became uncomfortable to have officers carrying such a deadly round.

    Be afraaaaiiid. Be VERY afraaaiiid! :what:

    (I suspect that this influenced the move to autos, but that's another debate for another time.)

    In California, the Santa Ana PD decreed that officers could carry anything they wanted, as long as it wasn't An Eeeville Maaaaagnum! (TM) Oh, and no hollowpoints, boys. Nope - don't want to kill 'em too dead.

    Local gunshops experienced a run on S&W model 25s in 45 LC, and the round of choice was the WW Silvertip.

    They seemed happy with it.
  10. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    Speer has just come out with a 250grain Gold Dot monster-hollowpoint-cavity slug specifically for the 45LC. It's designed to open just north of 800fps or so, and is probably at it's peak around 900 - 950, should do OK up through 1,050 - 1,100. It's basically the same concept as the 135grain "snubby special", just scaled up.

    It's available right now in a Speer load, and expect it soon in Georgia Arms, Black Hills, Proload and the like.

    This critter *might* prove to be THE ultimate defensive handgun round, period, bar none, end of discussion. If not, I expect it to be damned close.

    It would be quite definately the first round I'd load in that 454 :).
  11. Penman

    Penman Well-Known Member

    There were two or three California PDs that authorized the S&W 25-5 for uniform carry, I think Long Beach was one of them years ago. They supposedly had good results with the Federal and Silvertip loads.
  12. RWK

    RWK Well-Known Member

    For Jim March

    Do you believe the new Speer 250 grain Colt would "overstress" a new, stainless 625-9 Mountain Gun?

    Thanks -- Roy
  13. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    Uh Roy, isn't the 625 chambered for the .45ACP (at least that is what their website says)? Wouldn't the cylinder chamber be too short for the .45LC?
  14. RWK

    RWK Well-Known Member


    No, Smith 625s/25s are chambered for either the .45 ACP or the .45 Colt -- but not both. My 625-9 -- and Jim’s post re the new, Speer, 250 grain Gold Dot -- concern the .45 Colt (not the .45 ACP).

    S&W’s current production (pursuant to their website) includes only one .45 Colt revolver: Catalog number 160929 is a beautiful, blue Model 25 (see http://www.swfirearms.vista.com/store/index.php3?cat=301523&sw_activeTab=1). My experience is most (probably >80 percent) of Smith’s 625/25 revolvers produced over the last decades are chambered for the .45 ACP; however, more than a few are designed for the .45 Colt.

  15. Alan Fud

    Alan Fud Well-Known Member

    Thanks for clearing that up.
  16. popbang

    popbang Well-Known Member

    RWK, the idea for the Speer 250 grain hollow point is to give those using weaker actins (read not Rugers) a bullet that will expand at lower velocity. So, when the load comes out it should be safe for SAA's, and clones there of, and the S&W's. Just checked the Speer site and they list velocity at 900 fps. Looks like a good choice.
  17. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Well-Known Member

    Personally, I find the .45 Colt to at the top of the heap, for self defense.

    My 25-5 Smith is chambered for .45 Colt. I have an additional cylinder for .45 ACP as well. Both cartridges are accurate, and a pleasure to shoot. I have put thousands of rounds of pretty stout loads through it, and it is still in exellent condition. A few years back, I had the square butt converted to round. I installed all new springs, replaced the targer trigger and hammer, and had it hard chromed. I added Trijicon night sights, and hand carved Rosewood grips.
  18. Jim March

    Jim March Well-Known Member

    RWK: Speer's factory loading for the 250 Gold Dot is NOT a "+P" and has no "Ruger ONLY!!!" sort of warning. It's supposed to be doing about 875 - 900ish from a 4" tube. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot fairly large numbers of these through an S&W DA N-Frame-based 45LC. Stress on the gun will be *maybe* a hair higher than you'd see with Winchester Silvertips but the difference will be minor. The Cor-Bon 200s at 1,100 from a 4" will probably be a bit more stressful than the 250 Gold Dot (at least as Speer is loading them now, Georgia Arms or others may heat 'em up a tad). The Cor-Bon 200s in turn can also be shot rather extensively from at least the more recent batches of S&W 25s and at least modestly in early ones.

    Mind you, 25s will last longer if even lighter loads ("cowboy action grade" plain lead) is used as the mainstay of practice. Hell, they'll more or less last forever if "babied" in that fashion :).

    Remember though, check two things rather regularly: make sure the screws are tight, and check for endshake once in a while. When endshake starts to appear, that's not good. When it starts to get worse, that's bad. Endshake allows the cylinder to act as a battering ram at both ends of the frame, and should be corrected once it develops. Yes, revolvers can run with "zero detectable endshake", and should be kept as close to that as possible.
  19. RWK

    RWK Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Jim, for your (as always) superb answer. Best regards -- Roy
  20. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Well-Known Member

    What about say in a Vaquero? Thought about getting a Vaquero for a long time (about six years) just to scratch the cowboy gun itch, and carrying a .45 ACP every day, I'd want a real cowboy caliber (.45 Colt) though I thought about .44 Mag for a while due to the .44 Special versatility thing. But if Speer comes out with that new load, maybe another look at the Colt is a good thing for last-ditch use (primary would be fun-gun, but having some JHPs nearby is always nice) and maybe a Marlin levergun in the same caliber? :)
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