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Mystique And Legend of The .45 Colt

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Mr. Mosin, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. BobWright

    BobWright Member

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    I think, my idea only, was that what they really wanted was to adopt the Colt New Service as the official service sidearm, keeping the M1909 revolver. But the Frankford Arsenal designed cartridge, the M1906 rounds, were already specified, and Smith & Wesson was banking on adopting that round in revolver form.

    But the Luger pistol was held in very high esteem. I think maybe if Ludwig Lowe had been able to produce those 200 specimens, the Luger might have become the M1911.

    Bob Wright
     
  2. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    I have been reading Mike Venturino for many years, and I am surprised he makes two glaring errors in that article. The first is saying that the Walker Colt was the first revolver with Sam Colt's name on it. Technically that is true, because Colt's first company, the Patent Arms Company, did not actually have Colt's name in the company name. The Patent Arms Company in Paterson NJ produced the Paterson Colt, which most certainly was a Colt design, the first of his designs. Unfortunately, the pistol did not sell well and the company went belly up after only being in business about 3 years in 1840. The second error Mike makes is stating:

    "Being down and out Samuel Colt had no manufacturing facility in which to produce the handguns ordered by the U.S. Government via Sam Walker. Therefore he subcontracted production to Eli Whitney of cotton gin fame."

    Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, died in 1825. Over 20 years before Colt designed the Walker Colt. The Walker Colt was produced by Eli Whitney Jr, Eli Whitney's son. Jr was a successful inventor and manufacturer in his own right, and had taken over his father's armory.

    Mike Venturino knows his stuff, he has been writing about Colt and other firearms for many years, the first error is just a technicality of definitions, but I am surprised he made the second error.
     
  3. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    Yes. The Gov't Mdl of 1911 was originally intended to basically be a semi-auto SAA
     
  4. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    No. Semi auto replacement for the DA M1909.

    The SAA was on its way out, for obvious reasons.
     
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  5. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again

    I should mention at this point, that up until the late 20th Century, there were never any rifles chambered for 45 Colt. The first lever guns chambered for 45 Colt appeared in the 1980s.

    And of course everybody is going to ask why.

    Here is why. This photo shows a bunch of old 45 Colt cartridges. What do almost all of them have in common? Tiny rims.

    potTLQBej.jpg



    The 45 Colt on the far left is one of the original 45 Colt cartridges as produced by the Frankfort Armory. This is the cartridge that was supplied to the Army for the Army's tests of the Colt Single Action Army in 1872 I think, working from memory without consulting my library. The case is copper, not brass. This is the 'folded copper case' Dave T refers to. It was internally primed, the cannelure at the bottom of the case holds the interior Anvil Plate in place. The priming mixture was sandwiched between the rear of the case and the Anvil Plate. The soft copper case was easily dented by the firing pin so the internal priming could be ignited, with the resultant flame passing through two holes in the Anvil Plate to ignite the main powder charge, which yes, was originally 40 grains of powder. But the kicker is, look how tiny that rim is. Only about .504 in diameter. The sole purpose of the rim of the early 45 Colt cartridges was to keep them from being shoved into the chamber when the firing pin struck the cartridge. Ejection was always done by an ejector rod that poked out the empties from the inside, so there was no need for a larger diameter rim. Just look at that rim. There is no way a rifle extractor could get a grip on such a tiny rim. OK, notice that all the other old rounds have no 'extractor groove' for a rifle extractor claw to use to get a good grip. They are all around .506 or .507 in diameter. The round all the way on the right is one of my reloads in modern brass. The current SAMMI spec for rim diameter of the 45 Colt is .512. That one is actually a couple of thou less, but still with the extractor groove, plenty for a rifle extractor to grab.

    OK, what's with that one 2nd from the right? That is the round developed by the Frankfort Arsenal for the Double Action Colt. The rim diameter on that one is .537, plenty for the extractor of the double action Colt to grab.


    I am a CAS person. I have already shown what the flame, smoke and recoil is like from my BP 45 Colt loads. By the way, most of the stuff commercially marketed under the name Cowboy Loads in 45 Colt is not such a pipsqueak load as many folks think. I have bought a few boxes of it over the years. The pipsqueak, mouse fart loads that so many associate with CAS loads are pretty much confined to hand loads, not commercially produced stuff.

    The reason for this is simple. It is The Mystique and Legend of the 45 Colt cartridge. I can't tell you how many CAS shooters just had to have 45s for their first pistols in CAS. Then they discovered how much recoil there is in a standard load. So they go on the endless quest of trying to come up with a 45 that will buck and roar about the same as a light 38 Special. That is where the reputation for light CAS loads of the 45 Colt has come from. Most of those guys eventually discover that the huge 45 Colt case does not behave very well when loaded with 2 flakes of Whiz Bang. There is just too much empty space. Many of them eventually trade in their 45s for 357 Magnums and shoot light 38 Specials in them.
     
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  6. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Some tall tales

    But all tales are rooted in truth...

    Think of it this way... Everyone romances the late 60s muscle cars. Yet a factory V8 mustang in 03 would nearly run circles around every one of em. The 69 Camaro with a 396 would be staring at the tail lights of my 03 mustang with a 281. Not to mention cars now in 2020...

    45 colt was the big boy until surpassed by 44mag because of the more-than-double pressure rating. 36,000 is a whole lot more than 15,900.

    Not knowing what SAAMI is, im sure some ol cowboys' reloads were exceding the 15,900 psi limit of 45Colt, or whatever the BP equivalent was/is. Especially once smokeless became available.

    Regardless, im a fan of 45Colt. Plenty of punch without the magnum recoil.
     
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  7. stanley_white

    stanley_white Member

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    Until someone posts a YouTube video of them shooting a horse at 100 yards with an original 45 Colt load I remain dubious

    -Stan
     
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  8. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    To me, regular 45colt, 44 special, and 45acp all feel similar to shoot and have about the same effect on the target.

    It's probably better than a 38 special or 9mm, but it's not like a 30-06 or something.
     
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  9. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    My point exactly. But sometimes an animal drops DRT for no apparent reason and 130 years ago some soldier decided that the Indian war pony in question was knocked down by the awesome power of the 45 Colt cartridge.
     
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  10. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    This has been really interesting. I mean, I've enough education to remember Newton's laws; but I didn't know if the original cartridge had a different alloy of lead in the bullet, or if an equine was that easy to kill, or what.
     
  11. Antihero

    Antihero Member

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    Some of the cowboy loads are really weak. I passed on some aguila that was a 200gr bullet at 600fps recently. That's about useless really
     
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  12. Antihero

    Antihero Member

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    Interesting.

    I do think that for cavalry having a single action that is totally safe after firing it is a huge plus ( and was something I considered mentioning for my SA for CCW since I'd be in a car but God help me if I brought up that AND bear lol). Having a safety cone on after each shot is interesting really
     
  13. ontarget

    ontarget Member

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    Seems to me that you don't get much safer than the hammer resting on a spent primer after each shot. Unlike a DA which one could pull the trigger reflexively if their horse becomes unruly, with an SA one would still have to cock the hammer. Even if your finger was on the trigger an accidental discharge is quite unlikely.
     
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  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    When it is said "they" wanted an "automatic SAA", I think it is meant for the ballistics of the .45 Government round, not some kind of mechanical nightmare.
    I have always wondered why the FA 1909 was a wide rimmed .45 LC for simultaneous extraction instead of the FA 1906 made for a short time in rimmed and rimless versions for test trials.

    I also wonder if they had dragged out the autopistol selection a bit longer to let the Old Indian Fighters retire or die off, we might not have gotten a .38, .40, or 9.8mm pistol.
     
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  15. Mr. Mosin

    Mr. Mosin Member

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    And where would we be today ? With 1911's in .38 Super, of God forbid... Luger's in 9x19mm ?
     
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Well, we ended up with 9mm, even though not the expensive Luger.
    What would be wrong with a .38 Auto in American police and military holsters?
     
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  17. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I do too.
     
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I reckon it comes with age but there's a lot of myth, legend and nonsense surrounding the .45Colt. Which is a shame because it's totally unnecessary. The cartridge is capable and fascinating without all the BS. The bit about killing horses being high that list. It makes its way into virtually any discussion of the .45Colt and terminal ballistics, even though it has ZERO value in that context. It has yet to be repeated by someone who's actually shot horses with blackpowder loads.


    In Mike's defense, I'm technically a #2 but I rarely use it. My first and last name are all that's on any of my correspondence, the "II" rarely makes an appearance and the old man even lives in the same county. ;)
     
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  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I doubt the "knockdown power" but I bet a horse shot with a .45 is not going to be reliable transportation.
     
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  20. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    That there is some funny, fantasy island type stuff ;)
     
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  21. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I get the point being made but if ya wanna run circles around a `69 Camaro SS396, you might need a better example than an `03 Mustang GT. :p
     
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  22. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep!

    Over half a century ago, I bought a new Colt SAA in .45 Colt. I probably chose the .45 chambering for reasons of tradition, but I did like the balance.

    I could shoot it better one handed than an Army 1911, my Colt OMM, or a Commander. But not a Gold Cup NM.

    Had carry been lawful then, I would have bought a holster.

    I chose it for recreation , but I ended up taking it to Colo. to a cabin in which I had been worried by large animals the year before.

    I did need it--someone jimmied the lock and broke in.

    He departed very quickly after seeing the muzzle.

    I'm past the age of enjoying recreation with firearms, but if I were not, a few .45 SAA revolvers with some nice grips, and some nice leather would be on the wish list.

    Knocking down horses would be far from my mind.
     
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  23. tark

    tark Member

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    Driftwood, you just solved a mystery for me!! I recently traded for a near new Uberti Cattleman with a 7 1/2" barrel. I was quite impressed by the quality and finish of the gun. I had been looking for one for a long time. I have 450 rounds of factory loaded 45 Colt ammo that was given to me. The boxes are marked "COWBOY" When I fired one I was rather surprised at how stout it was.

    Now I know why. Thanks !!!
     
  24. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    It wasn't the Old Indian Fighters who demanded a .45 -- it was the Modern Moro Fighters in the Philippines who demanded it. The Army already HAD a .38 handgun, and it wasn't up to killing Juramentados fast enough to keep them from carving up Americans. That's why the Army brought the old SAAs out of storage, refurbished them and re-issued them. They did the job the .38s didn't do.

    The Army conducted tests, shooting cadavers, beeves and horses with guns of various calibers and concluded we should have at least a .44.
     
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  25. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    A lot of the senior officers during the Philippine Insurrection were Indian Wars veterans. They were wedded to the big bore.
    One report I read said that the .45s refurbished and sent to the Philippines were not as decisive as hoped. What was really liked was a shotgun.
    The British had dealt with savage warriors with the .303 Dum Dum and successors.

    The Thompson LaGarde Report would not be convincing by present standards.
     
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