.45 Colt vs .44 Mag

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Colt Smith, Mar 25, 2011.

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  1. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Uh, where's the straw man (a hugely overused internet term:rolleyes:)???
     
  2. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    44 mag for sure. If u want something lighter just get 44 special loads.
     
  3. MrDig

    MrDig Member

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    Never Mind I decided to do more research before I put my foot in my mouth so to speak
     
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  4. mohican

    mohican Member

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    I think this post needs some clarification -
    45LC can be shot in a 454 casull
    45LC and 454 casull can, to my knowledge be shot in the 460 smith

    Neither A 454 casull round or 460 S&W can be shot in a 45LC. Won't fit, and if by some fluke a 454 would fit in a 45LC cylinder the pressure is way too much.

    IMO, for a (cautious) handloader, the 45LC can be a better choice than the 44 Mag if you want to shoot 300-335 grain bullets in a proper (Ruger, Colt Anaconda) revolver.

    If you attach a bug out criteria (such as what ammo can I get at midnight at WalMart) then the 44 mag is better - you can get 240 grain loads suitable for deer hunting in White box Winchester or Federal varieties.
     
  5. Prosser

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    We agree on the effectiveness of the .44 and .45 Colt.

    What we don't agree on is people quoting Linebaugh's article to prove the .45 Colt is more effective. That is the strawman I see. I don't see it quoted once here, only linked to for it's value on the subject.

    John L.s major point is the .45 Colt can give you the same ballistics with 20% less pressure, IIRC. NOW I'm quoting him out of recall, not reading the article.

    Considering most of the loads he was recommending where at 32k, and the .44 was at 40K, that was a conservative estimate.

    This was his rationale for using a 6 shot, later, due to guys hot rodding the 6
    shots, he went to the 5 shot.

    I'm suggesting you are taking JL's article out of time and context in my prior post. It was both an article and a self-promotion and should be taken as such.

    At the time I bought my Seville I had a choice between .44(had just shot a bulldog to freezing using mild .44 mag loads), the .45 Colt/Linebaugh, or the .454 casull, which IIRC, cost the same as my mom's Mustang, not really a choice.

    I went with the .45 thanks to talking to Ross Seyfried, and John L.
    I would have been just as happy with the .44. I loved those 240 grain HPs.
    Gave me serious warm and fuzzies. .44 would have been cheaper, if less unique.

    "The .45 really only begins to come into its own in five-shot guns that can be loaded to 55,000psi or more. Even then, all you're gaining is velocity and ferocious recoil. All that velocity does it flatten trajectory. It does not appreciably improve killing ability. At that, if you're going with a five-shot, which may be a custom Ruger or FA, you're really better off stepping up to a .475 or .500. Because a significant increase in diameter and bullet mass does increase killing ability. "

    I don't agree with this. The benefits, and they are minimal, of the .45 Colt was the ability to equal the .44 at lower pressure. Less felt recoil, compensated by the fact that to equal the .44, you have to use more powder in the .45 Colt, so it's pretty close to a wash.
    When you started getting much over the .44 range, John L's guns started getting knocked out of time by recoil in the 6 shots.

    One of the most amazing things about Ross Seyfried's buffalo, that never made the article, was he indexed the gun with his off hand, while cocking the hammer with his right. He had to get the gun in time for each shot, since the insane loads he used where too much for the 6 shots, at least done by Linebaugh.

    Also the .45 Colt, loaded to high levels, does have a couple hundred fps
    velocity edge. That WAS a big deal when you are taking on a cape buffalo.

    The little .458 is pretty much the most practical of the big bores. It can be loaded to insanity, with loads going 38" in cape buffalo. In the states it's as much as you really ever need with saner loadings. It's half the cost to load for compared to the .475's and bigger.

    The same can be said of the .44 magnum, it's just a bit smaller bore,
    and higher pressure.

    One BIG advantage for the .44 is it can be loaded in smaller 5 shot revolvers, due to the case diameter. It's too bad this hasn't caught on a bit more. I always wanted a .44 Magnum similar to the .44 Special Bulldog that could be loaded to lowend .44 magnum levels for defense, perhaps even using .44 special brass.
     
  6. S.B.

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    mohican, 300 grainers can be shot in a S&W 25-5 as well, just not as fast.
    Steve
     
  7. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Oh please, it happens in practically every discussion on the subject. Folks read the article, drink the .45Colt Kool Aid and look no further. I can't count the times I've heard the BS about "more performance at less pressure" or "the .45Colt is better with heavy bullets" (seen right here in post #129). Despite the fact that in the real world, with real world comparable loads, there is no distinct advantage either way.


    Fact, to be repeated once again, is that the .44 retains at least a 100fps advantage across the board for all bullet weights. For comparable section densities, it can be as much as 200fps. For example, 330gr .44 at 1350fps vs. 360gr .45 at 1150fps or a 355gr .44 at 1250fps vs. a 395gr .45 at 1050fps.
     
  8. Prosser

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    With your logic, there is little difference between the .452 and the .475, or
    from .475 to .510.

    Diameter increase is about the same as from .429" to .452".

    If you load, as most do in a 5 shot .45 Colt, to .429" magnum pressure the velocity with the constant weight bullets tip in favor of the larger case.

    In other words: as you increase diameter, case capacity increases geometrically. Given equal pressures, and since we are using pretty much the same powders, 4227 or H110, the bigger case is going to push the same weight bullet faster. Not only is the case capacity increasing geometrically, but the amount of powder space used by the bullet(at a constant weight) is decreasing at a similar rate, as the bullet diameter increases. Therefore the potential for higher pressure, and more powder also gives a higher upside to maximum load possibilities.
     
  9. USSR

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    CraigC,

    When you start designing, building, and writing about high performance .45 Colt's, perhaps (and this is a stretch due to your pugnacious nature) then we will take what you have to say seriously.

    Don
     
  10. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    So what is it exactly that I'm saying that you think is untrue??? It's all right there in Hodgdon's data. I'm not making it up. The data is all right there for all to see, I'm just pointing at it.

    Nor am I calling out Linebaugh's work as false. I'm just saying that the article in question is almost 30yrs old and things 'may' have changed. Which they have.


    I'm not saying that at all. Or that one is better than the other in any way. What I'm saying is that the .45 has a slight diameter advantage, the .44 has a slight velocity and sectional density advantage. In other words, it's a wash. That the critters who are typically hunted with either cartridge will never know the difference. It's very similar to the .475 vs. .500's. The .475, due to its thicker walls, can be loaded to higher pressures and utilizes bullets of higher sectional density. Which is why the .475 is usually recommended over the .500's for dangerous game, because it tends to penetrate deeper. Linebaugh's own penetration tests bear this out.
     
  11. USSR

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    CraigC,

    A quick search of this site shows that you get quite upset about Linebaugh's article, and will quickly bring it up and deride it without it previously being mentioned. You are correct when you say "it's a wash. That the critters who are typically hunted with either cartridge will never know the difference". As to the slight difference in velocity and the slight increase in sectional density for the .44, what does that do for you when you can already drive a bullet from stem to stern through most animals found here?

    Don
     
  12. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I don't get upset, I just get tired of seeing the same misinformation every time this subject comes up, folks repeat statements from the article without having put a single thought into it. I'm not deriding the article and I have the utmost respect for John Linebaugh. My problem is not with John or his article, it is with its blanket application in 2012 when it was written in the 1980's. Things have changed in the last 30yrs and a lot of that stuff people repeat is simply no longer true.

    I don't know what thread you guys are reading but it's all through this one and is the only reason WHY I stepped in with my two cents. It was linked-to in post #11 which is also a very good, realistic post. So I really don't know what you guys are referring to when you say it was never mentioned. I've quoted them all through this thread, going back to 15months ago. It's also the reason why I reposted again in this thread (#120), because the article was submitted as the last word......again. :confused:

    My first post should've sufficed:
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7198457&postcount=23

    My intent here is not to poop on the .45 but to stop the unnecessary pooping on the .44 based on information that is no longer valid.


    Very little. That's kind of my point.


    As I've said many times before, I don't believe in velocity. If I want or need "more", I want bigger, not faster. This may seem a little contradictory here but read on. The reason I prefer the .44 is not because it is faster, has a higher sectional density or any other ballistic reason. It is because the guns tend to be better. It is a much younger cartridge and does not suffer from the ambiguous chamber/bore dimensions that plague the .45Colt. The guns, on average, tend to shoot better and require little or no gunsmithing to shoot well. Period. Not because I'm a true believer, not because I'm short sighted and can't see past my own choices but for those very specific, scientific reasons. It's because I have at least four .44Mag's that shoot into 2"@50yds with zero accuracy work. My fully accurized .45 Ruger will double that. My other two sixguns have grossly oversized chamber mouths. To get an accurate .45Colt, you need a custom gun or an FA. BFR's are out because the grip does not work for me. IMHO, the two cartridges are so very similar in capability in six-shot guns that I simply cannot justify a custom six-shot .45Colt. Further, a five-shot .45Colt, where the cartridge really begins to shine, costs the same as a five-shot .475 or .500. If I'm spending the coin, I want the bigger cartridge. Because it has been well proven that going beyond 1200-1300fps with cast bullets in a beltgun is pointless.

    This is why I am not a .45Colt true believer, although I will continue to enjoy my FIVE .45's for the foreseeable future.
     
  13. Prosser

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    Recent post about Ruger .45 Colt certainly supports your position:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=666388

    After selling my custom .45 Colt Seville/Linebaugh, I've been reluctant to buy another .45 Colt Ruger for the same reasons you point out, poor quality control, and having to customize the gun to get the accuracy of the cartridge.

    I do not have the problems you do with the BFR's, but you've now made me wonder how accurate, and well dimensioned they are.

    Everytime I try and buy a BFR I end up with an FA 83 for near the same money.

    We'll see.

    The advantage to the .45 Colt, in a proper gun, is it seems to be the sweet spot for adequate for everything for handgun hunting.

    If you go to the bigger guns, you double your cost for bullets and brass, not to mention the absurd prices for factory ammo.
     
  14. Prosser

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    As I have said prior: There is a geometric increase in case capacity and reduction in case consumption for bullets of the same weight, as caliber increases. The differences between .429, .452, .475, and .510 should best be thought of as the increase in effect on the Richter Scale for earthquakes.;)

    This starts presenting some pretty amazing numbers if you use a constant bullet weight, like 275 grains, and take it across all the calibers.

    Sectional density? Only a concern if you confine yourself to lead bullets.
    Even then, bullet weight overcomes functional SD penetration in actual animals at a point. If you can punch a whole side to side on a 2000 pound steer, or go end to end on a bison, how much more penetration do you need?
    Recoveredbullets500JRHor500MAX.jpg

    Punch bullets or turned solids are the answer if you need ultimate penetration in a handgun.

    The Linebaugh tests show a .454, relatively light bullet,

    454 Casull Punch Bullet 315 1,600 n/a 49.0 4" bone + paper
    Year tested:2004
    also:

    454 Casull Corbon Penetrator 360 1,500 45.0 n/a The bullet tipped at the end of its travel and was undamaged
    Year tested:2002

    This load has been used by a local hunter on cape buffalo. It gives you plenty of distance yet hits and penetrates VERY well.

    The below load is very close to the Ross Seyfried load that averaged 38" in cape buffalo":

    45 Colt LBT 350 1,400 43.0 n/a Penetrated the paper and stuck itself .25" in the wood backstop
    Year tested:2002

    the best .44 magnum:
    44 Magnum LFN 340 1,320 32.0 42.0 Turned sideways on paper test
    Year tested:2003

    It appears from this test that the sectional density of the .429" has less effect on penetration then we think.

    the .475 Linebaugh:
    475 Linebaugh LFN 430 1,272 64.0 20.0 exited back on paper test
    Year tested:2003

    500 Linebaugh LFN 500 1,086 57.0 n/a

    500 S&W WFN 440 1,449 40.0 18.0
    Year tested:2003

    Pretty much the same bullet, at lower speeds, cast hard, will penetrate 6 feet of bison, or side to side on a asian buffalo. Speeds tested are 950 and a 425 at 1350 fps, .500JRH.

    Apparently even with REALLY heavy bullets in the .510"s, the way to get penetration is to SLOW THEM DOWN, or shoot them out of a rifle, using solids.

    There appears to be a limitation on cast bullets past a certain velocity.
    At least shooting into wet newspaper, perhaps a pretty good simulation for
    big animals. The resistance provided by the skin and bone make the cast bullets deform, mushroom, and this reduces penetration. Decreasing velocity
    limits the deformation, and once through the skin, the bullet penetrates deep and true, as long as it doesn't deform on bone.

    If you are concerned with a big animal where penetration is key, you would be best served by a Belt Mountain Brass solid, or a Punch bullet for
    optimal penetration.
     
  15. Clark

    Clark Member

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    There was a TV show named after it 1957 -1960.


    But Dirty Harry really made the 44 mag sales happen.

    I like shooting both the 44mag and the 45Colt, as long as they are loaded with the good smelling H110 powder.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2012
  16. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Member

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    Just don't get the standard SBH with the squareback trigger guard. It'll take a chunk out of your knuckles if you load it heavy.

    Fine handgun, but you don't need blood at both ends.
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    That's something I never understood. Why make a gun especially for shooting a powerful, hard-kicking cartridge, and then put a trigger guard on it that hurts even when you shoot middling loads?
     
  18. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    Methinks they would all penetrate better when fired from a barrel with the correct twist rate for the given projectile. I'm not surprised that the .44 mag turned sideways toward the end, when firing a bullet fully 100 grains heavier than the 240 grains that .44 mag rifling is optimized for.

    I like both rounds. They both will do anything from small game, to self defense, to big/dangerous game, when properly loaded.
    I was a huge .45 Colt and ACP fan as a kid, and still am.
    I became a huge .44 special and magnum fan in my early twenties, and still am.

    If I had to choose between the two, I'd either be a neurotic mess, or I'd just choose neither one.
    Why? Because the Charter Arms Bulldog isn't chambered for either, and I can load .44 spl hot enough for my hunting needs. (Hunting loads fired from a larger .44 spl or mag, not from the bulldog).

    If I were going into bear country, I'd carry a big bore lever action rifle, or a 12 gauge pump (with Rottweil Brenneke slugs) and the .44/.45 would be a backup.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  19. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Apparently it works for some folks but I'm not one of them. IMHO, nothing was particularly suitable for heavy loads until Ruger's Bisley came forth in the mid-`80's (1986?).
     
  20. Prosser

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    Reminds me of arguing about a .416 Rigby vs. a .458 Lott. Both are more then enough. Both work. Both have their pluses and minus'. Both have worked on everything on the planet.

    Pretty much the same with the .429 and .452.

    Jaymo: I was in the same spot, left the bulldog behind, and never looked back. I don't think I'm a neurotic mess. On the otherhand, I could be wrong.:confused:

    After my bulldog locked up, thanks to 240s at around 950-1000 fps, I wasn't going to say the Bulldog was a major selling point for the .44 Special. What was was I could find a smaller, flatter package,
    the .451 Detonics that gave me better ballistics, and I could shoot everyday with max loads, for years.
    The constant practice means I'm VERY good with that little gun.

    I suspect the S&W .44's are probably the best guns for extensive use, and they are considerably bigger, if not heavier.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  21. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    I have never, EVER, had my knuckles rapped by the square back trigger guard on a Ruger Super Blackhawk. Or ANY trigger guard for that matter. Even with the craziest of loads. My brother has similar sized hands and his are whacked mercilessly. What works for one might not work for another. I like the Dragoon grip frame, it has a certain "style" to it that appeals to me.
     
  22. Prosser

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    Only gun I've ever shot that had speed enough to hurt me was and is my 360PD.
    Had to file the trigger guard down so it wasn't as sharp as factory.
    Fine now.
     
  23. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    That's funny, because I still say one of the more painful guns I've fired is a Ruger LCR in 357 magnum with my 158 grain handloads....

    That, or the first time out with my Airweight J frame firing 158 gr. +P 38 Special. I fired 75 rounds of that stuff trying to get a hang of the trigger and sights (this was my first J frame) and the meaty part of my hand between the thumb and index finger was swelled up like a golf ball for a week afterwards.
     
  24. Prosser

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    It's no illusion. The lightweight allows the gun to come back at you at speeds that are softened by the weight of the big guns.

    525's @ 1350 fps felt like they split my hand using the Bisley grip on a Ruger Max. That was through a shooting glove, but, it still wasn't moving as fast as full house buffalobore .357's out of a scandium j frame. The big gun had way more ft-lbs, but not near the speed.

    After the above load we went down to the .475 Linebaugh, and .500JRH.
    Pussycats compared to the max;)

    If you ever have problems with recoil on one of the above, just shoot a couple cylinders of 525's out of a max, and the .475 and .500 feel like a .38.
     
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