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.44 Special vs. .45 ACP

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BluedRevolver, Dec 20, 2011.

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  1. BluedRevolver

    BluedRevolver Member

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    Which one do you think is better for self defense? Which has more stopping power?

    Both shot out of a revolver.

    What about a 230-240 grain .44 Special going 1000-1050 FPS, loaded with a good hollow point? Would that be just as good or better as far as stopping power than a typical 230 grain .45 ACP JHP going 850-900 fps? If so, would it have more recoil, and how much?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    With commonly available factory loads the .45 ACP is superior.

    With handloads, or expensive Buffalo Bore ammo, the .44 Spl is superior.
    Handloads can safely push a 240 JHP or 250 grain SWC to 1,000+ FPS in a modern .44 Spl revolver.

    Overall, regardless of ammo differances?
    For SD use, the .45 ACP revolver is superior, because it uses moon-clipped ammo.

    They are measurably faster to reload six rounds then when using speed-loaders with .44 SPL.

    rc
     
  3. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    They both pack a punch, I'll leave it to the ballistics experts to argue over which is "better".

    As for me, the nod goes to .45ACP because it's a bit easier to find and I already own guns in .45ACP. I'd love to get one of those S&W 325 Night Guards.
     
  4. Ghost Tracker

    Ghost Tracker Member

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    Stopping power? The only reason to have a handgun is to fight your way to a rifle or shotgun. That being said, between those two (and they're among the best) I lean toward the .45 ACP. Are you talking both calibers from a revolver? Or are we to take capacity & reload time into account?
     
  5. dastardly-D

    dastardly-D Member

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    Better ?

    It's mighty hard to get that 44 Special revolver to jam with H. P's.Either way,they're both are very effective !:D
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    How do you get a .45 ACP revolver to jam with HP's?

    rc
     
  7. Ghost Tracker

    Ghost Tracker Member

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    Are we certain the OP has clarified that? :cool:
     
  8. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    I assumed he was sticking to revolvers since he posted in the revolver forum, could be wrong though.
     
  9. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    The one that's closer to me at the time.
     
  10. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    I wouldn't want to get shot with either one. It is not as hot through the air as a .357 Mag., it's not as powerful as a .45 Colt or .44-40 Win. I don't believe (I typically only run .44 Mag. loads -- So I am no .44 Spec. expert), but still has enough punch to do some real damage. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  11. BluedRevolver

    BluedRevolver Member

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    I'm talking strictly revolvers, both .44 spec and .45 acp
     
  12. mashaffer

    mashaffer Member

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    Probably mostly academic as excellent ammo is available for both (see Buffalo Bore for example). In standard bullet weights for caliber .44 spl has a slight advantage in sectional density (.186 v.s. .162) but factory loads and handloads of both lighter and heavier than normal bullets are available for both. Assuming that they are to be used in modern revolvers the choice would be entirely a personal preference IMO. If the ACP is out of an autoloader then of course your options there are not as broad but there are still plenty of really good options.

    My preference would be the .44 but can't fault the choice of .45ACP either. And of course .45LC is no slouch either.

    mike
     
  13. BluedRevolver

    BluedRevolver Member

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    i wish ruger made a .45 acp double action revolver...
     
  14. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    I would give the nod to .45 ACP, for a lot of reasons.

    Yes, you have faster reloads with moonclips. Moonclips help in other ways, too. They are smaller than speedloaders, so that in a double speedloader pouch, you can store 4 loaded full-moon clips. Also...

    Revolvers DO jam. Do a bad job of ejecting the empties, and end up with a rimmed cartridge under the extractor star, and you'll see what I mean. Has anyone managed to do that with a full-moon clip? I haven't.

    You can max out your revolver with .45 Super loads. If you have a gunsmith lengthen the case-mouth relief cut in the charge holes, you can load .460 Rowland.

    Powerful stuff. .460 Rowland can in theory deliver a 255 gr bullet at 1300 fps. (Similar bullet out of a .45 Colt "+P" would be about 1450.)

    From unmodified revolvers, .45 Super can deliver that same bullet at 1075. .44 Special can push a 255er (with higher sectional density) to 1000.

    So...what was the question? :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  15. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    .429" vs. .452"?

    LooseHORSE:eek: gave you a good run down on the ballistics.

    At those velocities both are going to be near the top of the handgun area.

    The guns that the .44 special is shot out of, with a few exceptions, leave a huge upside for heavy ammo. Buffalobore gets into that:

    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=88

    1300 fps with a 255 grain bullet is nothing to sneeze at.

    The pressure for .44 special is very low and between that and .44 magnum
    is a long way to play.

    Also, the smaller diameter of the .44 special allows more metal in the cylinder, and more strength then the larger .45 Colt.

    The advantage of the .44 Special is due to the lower pressure, it can be put in smaller guns, with a smaller diameter cylinder. Result is a easier to conceal
    powerful gun. Problem is finding one.

    You need to decide if the difference in revolver cylinder size, and the gun you are going to buy is going to make a difference in how you conceal the gun.

    Also, you might look at the difference in ammunition cost if you are reloading.

    When faced with this choice, I went with the .45's. I could load the same bullets in .45 Detonics, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt.

    The .429's only fit in one auto, the AutoMag, that I know of.
    Also, at the time, in 1980, 20 rounds of the only .44 Special ammo around, and it was Remington garbage, was 25 dollars a box. :cuss:

    On a good note, if you can conceal some of the bigger guns, some of the scandium .44 Magnums are perhaps the best .44 special revolvers ever.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  16. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    Double tap. Please delete.
     
  17. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    If you double-check, I think you'll see that the claimed velocity for Buffalo Bore's 255 .44 Special (out of a six-inch barrel) is closer to 1000fps; which is still nothing to sneeze at.
     
  18. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    Sorry about the name mistake. I fixed it.:eek:

    From Buffalobore's website:
    "Heavy .44 Special Ammo - 255 gr.S.W.C.(Keith-type)G.C.(1,000fps/M.E.566 ft.lbs.) - 20 Round Box - (for big game up to 500 lbs.)

    Real Gun Velocities

    1. 6" Ruger .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk

    a. Item #14A - 1203 fps
    b. Item #14B - 1044 fps

    2. 3.25" S&W Model 396

    a. Item #14A - 1155 fps
    b. Item #14B - 984 fps

    Note: This Heavy .44 Special ammunition can be fired in every .44 Special or .44 Magnum gun made EXCEPT CHARTER ARMS .44 SPECIAL BULLDOG.

    Item 14B - Exterior Ballistics Charts for several Muzzle Velocities

    _______________________________

    Muzzle Velocity @ 1300 fps for Item 14B"

    It appears I made a mistake, seeing the last line, and so did the website. I think they posted the velocity for 14A as 14B in the last line.

    I used to load 240 grain HP's in .44 Special to lowend .44 Magnum velocities.
    No problem, other then I shot my gun apart.:banghead:
    Charter Arms .44's don't like heavy recoiling .44 ammo.
     
  19. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    An N frame Smith will take the old Keith load that launches 250s a little over 1200. Of course instead of doin that I'm gonna do what Elmer did and go back to the Skeeter load in the Specials and shoot real magnums in my 29.
     
  20. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    It's tripped me up before, too. I don't think it's a website mistake; maybe they post those tables in case someone (with a really long barrel) chronos the load at 1300; they now have a table. There are multiple tables below that 1300-muzzle-velocity one: a 1200, a 1100, a 1000, etc.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Just to be fair.

    Buffalo Bore +P .45 Auto Rim:
    255 gr. H.C. F.N. (1,000 fps/ M.E. 566 ft. lbs)
    200 gr. Jacketed Hollow Point (1,200 fps/ M.E. 639 ft. lbs.)
    225 gr. Hard Cast Wadcutter @ 1,125 fps/ M. E. 632 ft. lbs.)

    Buffalo Bore .45 ACP +P
    185 gr. J.H.P. (1,150 fps/M.E. 543 ft. lbs.)
    230 gr. J.H.P. (950 fps/M.E. 461 ft. lbs.)
    255 gr. Hard Cast FN (925 fps/M.E. 484 ft. lbs.)

    rc
     
  22. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Finding one is bliss:neener:
    [​IMG]
     
  23. 336A

    336A Member

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    Mavracer beat me to it, he is correct that the N frame Smits and the new Ruger .44 SPL FT will safely digest the famous Kieth load. They can also push the 200gr Speer GD over 1300fps safely though I believe that is beyond that bullets design limit. Kieths load generated around 25,000 PSI in Whites Lab. Brian Pearce wrote a very good article about the Ruger .44 SPL FT in the Hanloader Mag. He also put together quite a few high performance handloads that stayed in the 25,000 PSI realm using H110, AA#9, and 2400.
     
  24. Prosser

    Prosser Member

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    I looked at the S*w and the Taurus offerings. For me it's just too big to conceal. That's in my screwed up state, and not using my custom shoulder rig.

    As long as it's freezing, I could carry one, but, why stop with a .44 Special?

    Skeeter and Keith picked the .44 because it had thicker cylinder walls, and was stronger, due to the smaller case diameter.

    That said, in this day and age, a number of .45 caliber guns can be had with
    wall strong enough to push out the 25k range loads for the .45 colt.

    If this is a house gun, then the ability to conceal is irrelevant. If it's a house gun, then something big, and heavy would be my choice, in .44 Magnum, or .454 and you can load to your hearts content.

    If I can get to it, or the situation calls for it, my house gun is a Mosin Nagant M44. If I can't, there is something to be said for a high powered
    hand gun that you can hold behind your back while checking noises, that might be your roommate.

    I get the warm and fuzzies at around 200 grains, at 1200 fps, or, 230 grains
    around 1100 fps, or, 250-260 grains at 1100 fps, or more.

    Detonics picked the 200 grain load, at 1200 fps, using a Speer Flying Ashtray. The LEO shootings indicated it was VERY effective.

    You should also know your bad guy. The great thing about LFN bullets at the above velocities is they don't have to expand to leave a very large hole, like 1" or more.

    Deer:
    [​IMG]
    LFN, hardcast, 1150 fps.

    I had this conversation with my gunsmith, and he has two views. One is the .45 ACP just works.
    Then he counters with that soft lead 260 grain bullets out of the .45 Colt, at 1000 fps might not penetrate, and or deviate from the path, missing vital organs. This is his argument for hardcast bullets.
    Not sure I buy that, but, if you want a heavier soft lead, or jacketed bullet, then 275 grains might do the trick.
    I think that John Browning had a pretty good idea with a 200 grain solid, at 950 fps. I don't think he would object to more velocity, but, the 1911 guns at the time didn't really have the strength that the guns today do, and probably wouldn't have held up to .45 Super loads.
     
  25. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I've had far more revolvers fail to work than autos. I'd pick the 44 from a revolver. I actually think the 44 special is the best of the revolver rounds. I much prefer it to 357 mags. Shooting 45 ACP from a revolver does not interest me.
     
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