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.45 ACP cylinder for 45LC Colt SAA

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by kdave21, Mar 19, 2011.

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  1. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    I know this topic has been posted about before, and I have tried to find my questions in those threads but had some trouble getting specifics, sorry if this is all rehash...

    I am on the verge of ordering a Colt SAA from the Custom shop. While I want it in the traditional 45 LC, I can't afford to shoot 45LC on a regular basis, and I am not wanting to take on reloading right now. I know its an oxymoron buying a colt and not having money for ammo, but its reality, plus the colt will last forever, the ammo lasts just a second :)

    That said, Colt customer service said they could include a .45 auto cylinder for an extra $270.

    Questions (and these are probably REALLY dumb, but I usually learn alot when I swallow my pride and ask):

    1. To switch back and forth, all I have to do is switch cylinders right? Both calibers are safe to shoot from the same barrel right?

    2. I read that the ACP wont be as accurate because there is a big gap from the time the bullet gets to the forcing cone and causes it to wobble. Is this true, and if so, is it a significant amount? On the other side of that, I had read others that said ACP was just as accurate or more so than 45LC.

    3. How does an ACP stay in place without a rim?

    4. Looks like ballistics between the two are similar, does the acp cause any undue wear on a SAA that a LC wont?


    Any other insight or thoughts on this dual cylinder concept would be greatly appreciated. My thoughts were, is that it wouldnt take THAT long to get my 270 back in ammo costs. I wonder if 45 auto will be as fun to shoot as 45 LC...

    As always, thanks guys-
     
  2. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    While I do not own a SAA with a spare cylinder, my brother does and I have handles it often so I can give you some insight.

    Yes, just a cylider switch is all that is necessary. The bore on the 45s is the same.

    Not true with the example I have used. Also, S&W made the M25-2 as a target grade revolver and had no issues.

    The cylinder is cut so the cartridge headspaces on the mouth of the cartridge. The factory load will drop in and stay where it needs to. When you start handloading, use a taper crimp, to accomplish this.

    No, with factory equivalent loads, your revolver will outlast several generations of your family.

    It depends on your idea of fun. I like lobbing big bullets down range at moderate velocities so for me, it would be win/win. The only problem that might crop up would be the point of impact could vary between the two cartridges.

    Additional thoughts, even thought the two cylinder concept sounds pracatical,eventually you will probably find you are using one cylinder more than the other or perhaps even exclusively. I would counsel you to consider just ordering your Model P with the 45 ACP cylinder. The ACP was originally invented to duplicate the ballistics of the 1909 45 long Colt cartridge and it did so quite well. You can handload the ACP with bullets that are used in the long Colt and not need to worry about feeding issues and with the correct powder you will be able to duplicate the ballistics of any load the Model P in 45 long Colt would offer. Besides, with the extra $270 savings, you can start reloading!

    I have a lot of fun with my long Colts revolvers but there is nothing they can do that a properly loaded ACP cartridge can not do from the same platform.

    Either way, congrats on your purchase and please post a photo.
     
  3. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    Strawhat,
    Wow- thank you very much for taking the time to so diligently offer answers for each question, very helpful. I think that is a good idea to just order it in ACP to begin with, and one worth considering. I can always get the 45LC when I have more money to blow. I wonder how much they will charge for just the ACP since that is not one of their standard chamberings... I'll have to call them on Monday. Now to decide on barrel length...
     
  4. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I agree with StrawHat. There's certainly no reason not to get the convertible and it will be well worth the expense. Personally, I think a .45ACP SAA would be a hell of a lot of fun to shoot. Those short cases will eject much more easily, making it much quicker to reload. Go for it!

    However, for the handloader, the .45Colt can be loaded heavier. Think ACP pressures and 1000-1100fps with 250-270gr cast bullets.
     
  5. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    kdave21,

    Da nada.

    If I were making the barrel length choice, I would lean to the 5 1/2 barrel. I have had them all and favor that one.

    CraigC, I have loaded the long Colt with both the bullets you mention and like the way it shoots but in the ACP, I have only gone as high as the 260 grain cast bullets. Both the Keith bullet and the Lyman 454190 are good choices and can be loaded to better than long Colt velocities in the Model P. Not trying to turn it into a magnum because the original black powder ballistics are all I need.
     
  6. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Hell, I'd probably just find a good cast bullet load that shot to a similar POA as factory hardball, sight it in and stick with the ACP cylinder. Use cheap 1911 magazines for speedloaders. Be a hell of a fun sixgun to shoot and I'm trying to figure out why I don't already have one.
     
  7. ironhead7544

    ironhead7544 Member

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    You can get a workable reloading setup for 270.00. Just get the 45 Colt, thats what you want. Reloading is simple.
     
  8. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    if you decide to get the other cylinder later,you will have to return the gun to the factory,you will have shipping charges,plus any fees the ffl will charge.have them engrave part of the serial number on both cylinders.that way,if you have another with dual cylinders,they will not get mixed up.
     
  9. SAA

    SAA Member

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    You might have to check if the SAA is even available in .45 ACP-only. I would get the combo anyway if I wanted to shoot .45 ACP. If I didn't get the .45 Colt cylinder with the gun I'd regret it later, especially if the barrel was marked ".45 ACP". That just doesn't belong on a SAA!

    As far as the distance the bullet has to travel to the forcing cone and accuracy, it will mostly depend on the throat dimensions. If the bullets fit the throats snugly then the bullet won't "wobble" and accuracy will be supurb. However, if the throats are oversized, then the further the bullet has to travel to get to the forcing cone the worse the accuracy will be. It all depends.
     
  10. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Even a .45ACP-only sixgun will still be simply marked "Single Action Army .45".
     
  11. yhtomit

    yhtomit Member

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    kdave21:

    Interesting question! If I were to get a SAA, I'd sure want the .45ACP cylinder, and (as some others have suggested) if I could only comfortably afford on cylinder (and they're willing), I'd rather get the .45ACP than the Long Colt. The aesthetics of the gun are the same, but cheaper to shoot. (And it would mean not adding to the caliber menagerie.)

    It would be great to hear what the custom shop says when you talk to them -- I hope they'll let you do that, if you want.

    timothy
     
  12. SAA

    SAA Member

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    This is true. Thankyou for the correction.
     
  13. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    Thanks for all the thoughts guys. Im going to call Colt tomorrow again and find out a) what is the cost for 45acp only, and b) how much trouble is it to add a 45LC cylinder at a later time (it doesnt seem like I should have to send the gun in, but if I do, that is somewhat of a consideration).

    I totally agree that it would be best to have both cylinders, but Im at a point where $270 makes a substantial difference to me. I am guessing that a 45acp only will be more than a standard 45LC. More to come.
     
  14. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    I have an old 2nd generation Colt SAA in 45 Colt for which I purchased an extra 45ACP cylinder from Christy Gun Works. The cylinder is totally interchangeable with the 45Colt cylinder. No difference in accuracy was noted. The 45ACP headspaces on the front edge of the case and easilly ejects with the ejector rod.
     
  15. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    An auxillary cylinder will always need to be fitted to the sixgun so you have to figure shipping into the equation. I would suggest biting the bullet and getting both. If you ever decide to sell it, an ACP only would be more difficult to sell.
     
  16. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    While I dont see myself selling this, for the sake of conversaion....

    I have not been a part of the SAA world, so I can only speak from guesswork, not experience. But Im not so sure I agree with this sentiment. I have to believe that there are others out there who want the size/ballistics/feel of the .45 round, but are not interested in paying 45LC prices. At the local GS I saw that a box of 50 rounds of 45 LC was selling for 34.99. A box of 100 .45 autos was selling for 44.99. This equates to 70 cents vs 45 cents (if I have done my math right) per round. So basically, a 45LC costs a quarter more, per round.

    If I shoot 50 rounds per session, thats 12.50 saved each time by shooting 45 auto. I dont know, I guess I just dont want to feel guilty for what Im spending on ammo every time I get the urge to shoot.

    The one thing that separates me from a lot of Colt buyers is that ammo costs are a consideration for me. I recognize the fact that many of the guys that can drop 1200+ for one revolver are not worried about .25 a round.
    Even with that being said, I think it will be as easy, or perhaps easier to sell, because, based on my premise that there has to be others interested, there will be a demand for it, and there clearly is not much in the supply side of it.

    I am guessing that unless I really tear up the gun, I wont end up losing much on it in the event I am in a position where I need to sell it someday.
     
  17. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    After all of that I just said above, I will admit, I would prefer to bite the bullet and get the extra cylinder. Colt is working on a quote for me right now. It was kind of like when we built our house. There were a lot of things we would have liked to have, and things that would have helped with resale, but where do you draw the line? Especially when you consider I also want a Colt 1991? :)
     
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I live and breathe single actions and I'd bet the farm that most shooters buying SAA's want the big .45Colt. When purchasing a $1200 historical relic, practicality takes a backseat. Wanna know how many .45ACP-only single actions there are on the market? Zero. While .45Colt sixguns abound.
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I agree that even if Colt will make it with only a .45 ACP cylinder, which I doubt, the value of the gun in future years would probably be less then if you have both cylinders.

    The .45 Colt SAA is the historically correct caliber, and thats what peole want it in.
    An extra .45 ACP cylinder would just be icing on the cake.

    On the otherhand, you could just get it in .45 Colt, and for that $270 bucks extra get a reloading set-up and cut your .45 Colt ammo costs to about $8 bucks a box!

    Then develop a load that hits where the sights are pointed and stay with it.
    You would be money ahead in the long run by reduced .45 Colt ammo costs forever.

    rc
     
  20. SAA

    SAA Member

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    This is so very true, and the best route to go. However, it is the $270 that the op doesn't want to spend.

    You may not agree with it, but as CraigC has already pointed out, that's just how it is. True, there will me some market for a .45ACP-only SAA, but it will be much, much smaller than the market for .45 Colt SAAs.

    BTW, my .45 Colt loads cost me $6.25 per fifty. All you need is a Lee Loader ($36) and hammer, and your own cast bullets ($26 mould and handles).
    http://leeprecision.com/xcart/LEE-LOADER-45-COLT.html
    http://leeprecision.com/xcart/MOLD-DC-452-255-RF.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  21. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    Wow, thats a lot to think about. You guys almost have me convinced...I didnt realize it would be that cheap to reload,,,I had no idea.

    What makes it even tougher to decide though is that I got my quote from Colt today and they said there is no extra charge to have it in .45acp only, and they will fit the 45LC at any time in the future for no extra charge (other than the before mentioned 270 obviously). Which kind of makes it difficult to justify getting it now knowing I can get it at any time in the future, shipping costs aside. ($25, not a big deal). But...if reloading is easy and cheap, maybe I should just switch to 45LC after all. I just know myself, and I know if its a big hassle, I will lose interest in it. Call me lazy but with my job and kids I dont have a lot of extra time for extras...
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  22. kdave21

    kdave21 Member

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    Okay. Two questions.

    1.) How difficult / time consuming is it to reload? Keep in mind I have never ever done anything like that in my life. The closest thing I have done is shoot a Remington 1858 cap and ball revolver.


    2) Other than the "desire / acceptance / popularity" factor of future potential buyers in the case of trying to sell it someday, what is the real advantage of .45LC over .45 ACP? Granted, its not historically accurate, etc, but is there really much difference in the shooting aspect of it?

    The barrel will not say .45LC or .45ACP, it will simply say ".45" and yes, I have confirmed all of this in writing with the sales rep.

    Thanks
     
  23. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Here is a quick overview, ask any question you would like. Reloading ammunition is not all that difficult. From your writing it seems you are able to read and understand what folks write and reloading is all about following a recipe. The tools for reloading can be as simple as a tong tool or as complex as a progressive machine that perfoms multiple functions. I am old fashioned and recommend a good single stage press to learn on and then you can upgrade to a manual progressive if the need arises. There are several good reloading manuals available and you should get at least one and more is better in this case. Each of the powder companies offer some sort of maunal and th epress makers all have manuals for their machines. The biggest obstacle to reloading is the initial cost.

    The minimum you will need:

    A press

    Dies

    powder

    Bullets

    Primer

    Cartridge cases

    Powder scale

    The machine can often be purchased from a maker as a kit. Machines and kits are available from Lee, Hornandy, Lyman, Dillon and others. What I use and like may not work for you so read the brag sheets and get what you like or think will work for you.

    The actual making of ammunition requires concentration and a lack of interuptions. I go to my shop and my wife knows not to interupt except for emergencies.

    Powder, primers, cases and bullets are all available on line from places like Midway, Midsouth, etc.

    Go slow for the first couple of sessions, learn your machine and enjoy the results. There is no need for experimenting, lots of folks have done that and the manuals are the results of their efforts.


    The one thing the 45 long Colt will do the 45 ACP will not is launch heavier bullets. Originally, the 45 long Colt used 255 grain bullets at about 800 - 900 fps. The ACP launched a 230 grain bullet at 850 fps. In my revolvers I use a 280 grain lead bullet in the 45 long Colt at about 900 fps and the ACP gets a 255 grain bullet at about 900 fps. Is that a big deal? Maybe. I also use a 240 grain full wadcutter bullet in either cartridge and load it to about 900 fps. That is a load that is not available from the factory. If you get into casting, then you can really use bullets that are not commonly available in loaded form.

    You're welcome, knowledge is to be shared, otherwise it dies with the man.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  24. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    Sure you won't re-consider about reloading? $270 will get you a very nice reloading set-up. It is not that hard to do, if only you can follow directions.

    Check the videos in my signature link.

    I've been doing it lately with a hand press from the comfort of my couch. A box of 45 Colt would cost me about $9 or so. (assuming you had brass already, and all other components are new commercial production)

    It is really nothing to be intimidated about.

    45 ACP factory ammo is also expensive. Maybe better than 45 Colt, but still $20 a box or so. It won't take long for that reloading set-up to pay for itself.

    I'm willing to give you help if you need it.
     
  25. SAA

    SAA Member

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    Reloading a brass cartridge case is essentially the same as reloading a cap-and-ball revolver chamber. You already understand the fundamentals. The main differences are that cases have to be decapped and resized, and the bullets lubed (if you cast your own).

    I reloaded .45 Colt for years with the aforementioned Lee Loader before I ever got a press. The instructions are included. All you need is a hammer. Reloading obviously has to consume some time, but even more so if you get into it heavily with all the gadgets mentioned in StrawHat's post. Just start simple and do a little at a time. You will find it doesn't take many little sessions during the week to have plenty to shoot on a weekend.

    You can buy factory bullets and forego the casting. Your ammunition will cost a few pennies more per round, but you would cut at least 50% of the time off your total reloading time.

    The most critical thing is not to double charge the powder. That is the one step you should definitely complete uninterrupted.

    Your shopping list:
    pre-lubed bullets
    1 lb. Unique powder
    large pistol primers
    1- Lee Loader
    1- hammer

    Of course you will also need brass, but once you have it you will be able to reload it several times.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
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