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Considering a 41 mag, 44 mag, or 45 colt

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by RJR, Apr 24, 2011.

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  1. RJR

    RJR Member

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    Hi all,
    I'm considering the 41 mag, 44 mag, and 45 colt for my next handgun. I will be using it for punching holes in paper, a back up sidearm for pig hunting and in bear country, and, who knows, I may even try Cowboy Action shooting. I will be handloading so I would like a range of loads from lighter range loads to pig/bear stopping loads. I like the Ruger Blackhawks and Vaqueros and may save up for a Redhawk?
    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Kasinefect

    Kasinefect Member

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    I own all three. The .41 is a good round but unless you reload you may have trouble finding enough ammo to shoot in the loads you like. The .44 is a great all around hunting load and if you load it in .44 Spl you are good to go for cowboy action. the same is true for .45 Colt and is the caliber I used in cowboy action back when I was into it. Cowboy loads as a rule are somewhat downloaded anyway.
     
  3. RJR

    RJR Member

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    Can I shoot 44 special in a 44 mag revolver or do I need a different cylinder?
     
  4. rikman

    rikman Member

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    Yes, you can shoot 44Spl in a 44 Mag gun. Great accurate round...
     
  5. Hunt480

    Hunt480 Member

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    If I had to make a choice it probably would be the 44mag, but I got all three.
     
  6. murf

    murf Member

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    if you want to do the cowboy thing later on, you may want to stick with the 45 long colt. since you reload, it will do all you require.

    murf
     
  7. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    For your purposes I'd go with the .44mag..
     
  8. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    If cowboy shooting you will want a SA revolver and caliber could depend on what you find a better buy in. Handloading would preffered for cowboy shooting but both the 45lc ruger only loads or the heavier 44 mags will do the job as a backup egualy as well. and yes the 44 sp loads shoot in the 44 mag. Just clean the powder out of the cylinder before going back to 44 mag. In a DA/SA the ruger SRH is hard to beat and prices can be found down around 700 dollars at a good dealer.
     
  9. jimniowa

    jimniowa Member

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    For a hunting carry gun I have a SBH 4.5" and load with 240g swc or jfp depending on the hunt in .44sp. I carry it in a "Doc Holiday" cross draw rig, and maybe be combined with a RH for pistol hunting in .44mag or shot gun or rifle of other cals.'s. It is my main carry gun in the field.
    Jim
     
  10. Walking Dead

    Walking Dead Member

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    Get the .44 mag. At least you can have some choices for ammo.
     
  11. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Given all of your requirements, I think that a Ruger Blackhawk chambered in .45 Colt would be the best fit. It's a single-action revolver in the most "classic" Old West caliber, which is good for Cowboy Action shooting I would think, and it's strong enough to handle handloads that rival or even surpass .44 Magnum for the other purposes you have in mind (if you didn't plan on handloading, then I would have suggested the Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum).
     
  12. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Might as well be like the some of the rest of us and go get all three. Then your covered for any occasion.
     
  13. TriTone

    TriTone Member

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    I've heard from a few different people that the New Vaqueros aren't built like the old ones and can't handle the real Hot 45 loads like the old ones. I haven't looked into it myself but thought I'd pass it on for you to look into since you're shopping. I know my grandpas old vaquero is built like a tank and he loaded the thing DARN hot.

    Just did my first Cowboy match this weekend. Very relaxed and fun - definitely a recommendation if you can piece together all the equipment you need!
     
  14. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    While the Vaquero is a great gun I would not suggest shooting a steady diet of stout hunting loads from it. It's intended for cowboy shooting primarily and so it's a bit light for shooting the high power stuff. The gun won't blow up or be a safety concern but it's likely that a steady diet of big power loads will pound the cylinder out of timing sooner than on some other guns.

    Also the fixed sights will prove less than ideal for a variety of different power loadings. The ability to adjust the elevation for the different power levels makes the Blackhawk a much more ideal gun for your various needs.

    I'd personally stick with .44Mag or .45Colt since brass is just that much easier to come by. And there's a huge array of bullets and loading recipes for anything from cowboy action soft to serious wrist thumpers.
     
  15. TGReaper

    TGReaper Member

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    Not allowed in cowboy action but everyone should have a "Redhawk"

    Mfg Nov.1980 . Wife bought it for me Feb.1981

    [​IMG]

    TGR
     
  16. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    The Vaquero is built on the same large, .44Mag sized frame as the Blackhawk and Super Blackhawk. It is not lacking in strength. John Linebaugh even likes to build them into .475 and .500 packin' pistols. It's the New Vaquero that is downsized to similar dimensions as the Colt SAA and should be loaded appropriately. Although they can handle much more th an just powderpuff cowboy loads. Most authorities consider them strong enough to handle handloads in the 21-22,000psi range. Think 250-260gr cast bullets at 1050-1100fps.
     
  17. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    You're right Craig, it's the New Vaquero I was thinking of.
     
  18. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    In 45 caliber (or the smaller 44) that is enough to take any game on this continent. I use the 45 long Colt and with my black powder loads I get complete penetration on white tailed deer. 260 - 270 grain bullets at +/- 900 fps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  19. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    I'd choose between 41 and 44 Mag, if it were me, depending on which had the better used gun available for it. Non-reloaders buy more 44s, so I bet there are some sweet deals out there in 41.

    44 Mag is 0.429", and 41 Mag is 0.41", so there's not much of a difference, caliber-wise. Brass will be more plentiful for the 44, but it doesn't really matter, because you won't need to scavenge and chase it.

    45 Colt has a pretty thin rim, that is not as durable for reloading as either the 41 or 44, both of which are modern cartridges. It is also more authentic for CAS, if that matters to you. (lots of CAS shooters use a lever action rifle in 45 Colt, even though they were not made back in the day) The only advantage it has to my way of thinking is the bigger bore. But I also feel like it isn't worth much.

    In a single action revolver, you'll probably find the most variety of guns at the fairest price in 44. 45 Colt is in most demand, and I'm not sure how many 41s were made in SA guns.
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Huh??? The .45 has a very narrow rim, relatively speaking and in instances causes extraction problems in leverguns and DA's. However, the brass is just as robust as any other "modern" cartridge. The only problem lies in the typically oversized chambers of most .45's that overworks the cases a little. Which is not really a big issue. I'm all about the .44Mag over the .45Colt but only for the right reasons. In practical terms, for the handloader, there is very little difference between the two.
     
  21. RJR

    RJR Member

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    Thanks for all the discussion. All good stuff to think about. What I'm gathering from the wide range of opinions is that any of those calibers will be just fine. It's going to be a tough decision. Probably will be a blackhawk or older model Vaquero, see which one feels better in my hand and has the sight picture that I like.
    Rich
     
  22. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Are you thinking of older "balloon head" .45 Colt brass? Newer brass (since WWII or so) in this caliber is far more durable and perfectly suitable for handloading and reloading.
     
  23. RJR

    RJR Member

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    Any good sources for used guns out there? The local gun shop is pretty limited.
     
  24. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    As long as you either reload or make sure ahead of time that you have a supply of ammo, you can't make a bad choice.

    If you have no intentions of ever reloading, get the .44 because ammo is much more readily available and a little cheaper than the other 2.
     
  25. Smaug

    Smaug Member

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    CraigC, Manco: I was just quoting the comments from the Lyman manual there, having never reloaded 45 Colt before. I believe they're talking about modern brass. They said the thin rim is prone to rip off, leaving a case stuck in the die. I took their word for it.
     
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