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

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

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  1. proven

    proven Member

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    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
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    CraigC Member

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    .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 Member

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    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
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    CraigC Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    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 Member

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    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
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    CraigC Member

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    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 Member

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    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!
    ll
     
  9. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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

    highlander 5 Member

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    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
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    CraigC Member

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

    flipajig Member

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    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 Member

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    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.

    murf
     
  14. critter

    critter Member

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    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 Member

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    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 Member

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    "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 Member

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    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 Member

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    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
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    CraigC Member

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    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 Member

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    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.

    murf
     
  21. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    Well, I just discovered something interesting. I measured the chamber and throat diameters on my Ruger Bisley and Freedom Arms Model 83 Premier Grade and here is what I found:

    Ruger Bisley:

    Chamber: .4835/.4840
    Throat: .4510

    Freedom Arms Model 83 (.45 Colt cylinder):

    Chamber: .4835/.4840
    Throat: .4535

    I did not expect the FA chambers to be that large.

    SAAMI specs call for .4862 chamber diameter so both of my cylinders are much less than that. My problem is my RCBS carbide resizing die overdoes it and results in a .4690 case size after resizing.

    I have been meaning to get a custom carbide resizing die from RCBS to a diameter that doesn't work the brass to death, maybe .474/.475 or so.

    Dan
     
  22. proven

    proven Member

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    murf, i tend towards the 4 5/8 and the 5.5" barrels not because of bling, but ease of carry. the 7.5 inch barrel just seems like a lot of gun to be hanging from my hip even though i'm sure it would be more accurate and offer better range.

    the reaching out and accuracy is for the range. i know i want a ruger bisley in either .44 or .45 with a 4 5/8 or 5.5" barrel and considering that i am having fun exteding my shooting with my handguns to 50 yards and beyond, i figured i'd get input on which caliber is better in those respects.
     
  23. fastest45ever

    fastest45ever Member

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    I agree with what Craig has posted.
    What I don't get is why most people buy Rugers when BFR's are around.

    www.magnumresearch.com/Firearms/Magnum-Research-454-Casull-Revolver-65-inch-Barrel.asp

    My next .45 Colt is going to be either Freedom Arms or BFR, depending upon what pops up.

    Still, unlike the Single Six I just bought, it appears the Rugers would be easy to open up a little bit on the throats, and it looks like they are cutting the chambers just fine, if they match FA specs.

    I would like to know what the specs are on a FA 83 .454 Casull.

    Solution might be to use .454 Casull dies to reload with, in a .454 Casull revolver, using 45 Colt brass.
     
  24. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    I personally like the 45 colt. I have a blackhawk with a 7 1/2" barrel. Nice gun, and the throats were right straight out of the box. As far as power, accuracy, etc, I think that its a wash if handloading. The absolute top max power is probably going to go to the 44 unless you want to load really hot. Linebaugh has said that the blackhawk in six shot configuration will not split a cylinder until 60K psi. If you were to push it to say 50Kpsi I believe you would outpower the 44 by a nice amount. I keep my loads to 32k or so, and find that they have enough power to do anything that needs done. Any more needed and I should have used a 454 casull or a 500 mag.
     
  25. murf

    murf Member

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    proven,

    understand, i'm partial to the 4.625" barrels myself. they can hit at 100 and 200 yards, but takes more concentration.

    i think lipseys is offering a 3.5" stainless super blackhawk. may want to check it out on the ruger website.

    bergmen,

    the 45 colt chamber is tapered per the saami drawings. .486" at the heel and .480 at the mouth. sizing dies are usually carbide and can only size the whole case to one dimension. i size two thirds of the case on all loads for my 45lc. it works well for me. case comes out of the die looking like a 44-40, sort of.

    murf
     
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