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Big caliber, low pressure DA revolver?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Squeaky Wheel, Feb 6, 2012.

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  1. Squeaky Wheel

    Squeaky Wheel Member

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    I would really like to have a revolver that shoots a large caliber, with low pressures (relatively speaking). The 2 calibers that seem to fit the bill are .45 ACP and .45 LC. I plan to start hand loading and want to be able to get maximum life out of my brass -- this is why I would prefer low pressures as opposed to .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum. I know about the S&W M25 in .45 ACP that makes use of moon clips. However, they seem to be pretty rare and expensive. I'm concerned about .45 LC with the loose tolerances on bore/chamber diameter.

    I'm not interested in SA revolvers like the Blackhawk. Anybody else a fan of big, slow, low pressure calibers in DA revolvers? Also, I say revolver because I don't like the idea of chasing my brass (am planning to start hand loading). Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

    Additionally -- a bonus would be finding a lever action rifle/carbine to pair it with to maximize my plans with hand loading with a common caliber.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  2. surveyor

    surveyor Member

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    well what about the S&W M25 that does not make use of moon clips as its chambered in 45 colt...

    it would be easier to pair up with a 45 colt lever, as I can't remember any being in acp..

    in acp a marlin camp rifle comes to mind, but it would pair better with a 1911 as the mags are the same, instead of a tube fed lever..

    I saw a little better than 90% 25-5 8 3/8" barrel in the last month for $600

    in the acp models you can use 45 auto rim brass if the moon clips are not your thing..

    myself, I really like the moon clips in a 25-2 6"..it is the 45 that is causing me to reload..

    I have a few models of smiths that the evil pawn shop guy has a look out for.. the 25 or 625 is one of them (in acp)
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  3. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    Mike Venturino, in American Handgunner, in the not too distant past, wrote an article claiming the .45ACP as the best revolver round. I'm sure he had some planned exaggeration in the article, but he did make some good points for the .45ACP.

    One point that I hadn't thought of previously, is that the .45ACP didn't have a history as a black powder round and therefore had the proper length case for an appropriate powder charge. He feels it is less likely to double charge a .45ACP than a .45 Colt.

    He had some pretty cool bullets for his .45ACP revolvers, one of which was wadcutter in the 225gr weight range that looked very cool.
     
  4. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    IF you were handloading already, I'd say just get the more common 29/629 in .44 Magnum. You don't have to reload it to full-tilt-boogie all the time and I think .44 Magnum brass might be immortal when loaded to less than Magnum loads.

    Example: Normal 240gr factory .44 Magnum ammo clocks 1300-fps from my 6" 629 (Winchester White Box, not something exotic). My favorite load with a 240gr lead bullet is a whopping 950-fps. Very sedate, easy on the gun, easy on the brass, easy on the shooter and still knocks steel over with authority that makes .45 ACP shooters green with envy. For an even softer shooting load, I've used 200gr lead bullets at the same speed.

    And then you can pick up a Marlin 1894 carbine to have a matched set! ;)

    (To be fair, I'm considering selling my 629 and Marlin and getting out of the big bore game for now. But they are great guns and the .44 Magnum is a versatile cartridge.)
     
  5. pintler

    pintler Member

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    I plan to start hand loading and want to be able to get maximum life out of my brass -- this is why I would prefer low pressures as opposed to .44 Special and/or .44 Magnum.

    As wanderingwalker said, you can handload 44 as low as you like. AFAIK, no one makes a lever action in 45ACP, so that leaves 45 Colt or 44 (either 44, although IIRC some levers don't like 44 Special).

    FWIW, the SAAMI pressure specs are:
    44Spec 15500
    44Mag 36000
    45ACP 21000
    45 Colt 14000
     
  6. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    ...as already listed above, I don't think the .44Spl is usually consider a high pressure cartridge.

    My answer the door gun is a S&&W M-696 (L-frame) that is loaded with Blazer 200gr Gold Dots. It was Mag-Na-Ported when I got it and it shoots like a .38 Spl
     
  7. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    If you're going to reload, you can make anything you want to into a "low pressure" cartridge. My 38 brass lasts almost forever.

    Back when I had a 44 Magnum, I loaded it with a 44special load; 240 grain SMW at about 950 fps. That thing was a blast to shoot in a Super Blackhawk. Whenever I get around to reloading for a S&W 21-4, 44 Special, I'll look for something similar. I don't see why brass life would be an issue.

    I also got a 25-5 in 45 Colt. I've never seen any issue with the throat size on mine. Maybe I just got lucky and got a "good" one, because I'd never heard of the problem until after I bought it. I don't do anything but plink with it, but I can hit milk jugs with it just fine. And you talk about fun to shoot. Man that gun is. Those big cartridges look like artillery shells when I load them, and trash cans when they come out. :)
     
  8. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    The 25-2 (45 ACP) is an amazing revolver. Always built by S&W as a target revolver. The 25-5, (45 long Colt) was built to less strict tolerances and SOME revolvers had problems with oversized chamber mouths. S&W has corrected these problems and an unpinned model in 45 long Colt is now held to better tolerances. I have experience with both cartridges and find no preference as a handloader.

    However, if you want to team one up with a lever rifle, the long Colt is the only one offered as a factory option. If you want a lever rifle chambered for the 45 ACP, it is a custom build and pricey.

    Here are two of my S&W 45s. The 45 ACP is on the top, the long Colt is the lower revolver.

    Model25family005.gif

    Both are great shooters but for carrying I prefer a 4" barrelled revolver.
     
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    If you handload, the question becomes completely moot. You can load low-pressure .500 S&W Mag, if you want.

    If you were stuck only buying factory ammo I'd suggest .44 Spc., .45 ACP, and .45 Colt.

    I shoot many (many) .44 Specials through my 4" 629. I use lead bullets and a charge of Trail Boss for a very soft-shooting round. "Immortal" is not a bad description of the lifespan I'm getting out of my brass.

    My standard competition load (200 gr. LRN @ ~850 fps) is soft enough that my daughter was shooting that gun & load at age seven.
     
  10. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I'm trying to make sense of this because the .44Spl is the second lowest pressure cartridge you listed at 15,500psi. Compared to the .45ACP's 21,000psi and the .45Colt's 14,000psi.

    That said, like the others have pointed out, if you handload, anything can be a low pressure cartridge. Which is good because any of them require handload to both realize their potential and to be able to shoot any appreciable amount. IMHO, the .44's tend to be more accurate and suffer less from ambiguous blackpowder-era chamber dimensions than the .45Colt.
     
  11. earplug

    earplug Member

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    Buy a 45 ACP S&W 625

    This fits the bill for what your want.
    The smaller case size of the 45 ACP works better with light to moderate loads. Small charges of powder burn more efficiently in the smaller case.
    Resizing and reloading 45 ACP is easier then long magnum or 45 Colt cases.
    The brass lasts longer, and is very easy to find.
    Moon clips are wonderful.
    My number two choice would be a 44 special.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Because .44 Magnum brass is made to withstand high pressure, it will last almost forever when used with lighter powder charges. Usually they go until the primer pocket is worn to the point where seated primers don't stay seated when subjected to normal recoil factors. Also of course you can trim them to .44 Special length if neck cracks start to develop.

    .45 ACP does make a good revolver cartridge, and .45 Auto-Rim is even better, but brass is hard to find.

    Anyway, looking at availability of components and cost thereof, I think a .44 Magnum is your best bet - just don't load it that way. Also you'll have a larger base of revolvers to chose from.
     
  13. Frank V

    Frank V Member

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    Handloading, low pressure, brass lasts a long time, now let's throw in versatility, & it sounds just like the good old .44 Special & a N frame to me!:)
    Now if you really want to go whole hog, consider a Colt New Frontier?
    Frank
     
  14. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    SquekyWheel,
    The 44 Special is also a low pressure round which can be loaded quite hot. If you use Tail Boss powder and lead or plated bullets you can produce mild rounds in 44 Special, 45 ACP or 45 Colt. Fired 45 ACP brass can often be picked up at local ranges. S&W makes or made revolvers in all three calbers and you can easilly find used Model 624, or 625's for sale.
     
  15. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    I only say "immortal" because I haven't had to toss whole batches of .44 Magnum brass yet. I've been reloading .44 Magnum since I was 16, I'm 28 now and I still have brass in rotation from the first boxes of factory ammo my dad and I shot up. The headstamps are still clearly visibly on most of them even. The .44 Special brass seems just as tough.
     
  16. Boxhead

    Boxhead Member

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    In my view, the simple answer is the 45 Colt.

    Stroh45019.jpg

    Knife375348fire004.jpg
     
  17. freedom475

    freedom475 Member

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    Another vote for the N-fame 44mag...the brass lasts forever!! I have brass that I got used and am still loading it 25 years later...I have one old 44Norma brass that I kept track of and it was loaded just short of 100times! (and it was used when I got it) and it finally gave up the fight last fall when I was loading with hot loads of H110. Most brass with develope neck splits...but the norma started to crack horizontally just ahead of the base.
     
  18. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Brass is brass, the factories do not make them weaker or stronger. I've got some 45 long Colt brass from the last century and other batches of stuff from even earlier. Some of the 44 Magnum loads I used were good for two or even three reloads others went for twenty or more. It all depends on how you load it and take care of it.
     
  19. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Agreed, the only real issue here affecting case life is the oversized chambers the .45Colt is usually plagued with but it is not really a big deal either.
     
  20. BigG

    BigG Member

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    The beauty of reloading is making the ammo just the way you want it. Therefore, I'd get a Model 29 Smith 44 Magnum and load the ammo to whatever shot good at low velocity. Here's mine:
    Picture19026.jpg
     
  21. DWFan

    DWFan Member

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    A .45 Colt Ruger Redhawk. If you ever decide to load the higher-pressure rounds for use in the lever-action, the S&W can't handle them.
     
  22. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    If I could only have one revolver it would be................oops, I can have more than one. But one of my favorites is my 625 in 45 acp. I'm working up loads using auto rim cases and am quite fond of not having to moon and demoon (the cartridges) and I do have a pile of those things.
    The acp/ar is not a 45 Colt but in most standard loads can come quite close.
    (Not giving up my 29-2, my 686, or my 624 but the 625 rates near the top)
     
  23. mes227

    mes227 Member

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    If I could have but one revolvers....it would be a S&W 625 in .45Colt with the cyl cut for moonclips and thus .45acp and .460 Rowland.
     
  24. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    trailboss powder is your friend. no risk of over charging at all, as you can load any handgun round completely full of it and it wont go over pressure(from the mouth of the very knowledgeable John Ross. If you want to do that you could get anything 41 mag and up, as others have said, you can tailor your loads to be what ever you want. personally I would choose something magnum so the brass would be stronger, and last a while. I love my 480 Ruger SRH, My Smith 629 (44mag), My Dan Wesson 445 supermag, and my S&W 500 magnum. Any of those would fit the bill, and there are a lot of others out there also.
     
  25. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    I have the same batch of .44 Special brass that I bought in 1980 and have NEVER had to discard one. My usual load is 6 grains of Unique under a 240 grain lead bullet.
     
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