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  1. #1
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    The .44 Magnum versus the .45 Colt

    "No people in the world ever did achieve their freedom by goody-goody talk and moral suasion: it being immutable law that all revolutions that will succeed must being in blood, whatever may answer afterward."
    Mark Twain

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    Good article.It makes you wonder though why it took so many years to build a gun strong enough to handle a hot 45.Smith and wesson colt never did build a strong enough gun to handle the real hot loads and could have easily done so.Since the redhawk and black hawks it is more and more common to see people in areas with dangerous game packing hot loaded long colts in rugers.They have the 454 casull and 460 but the big horking frames make them only good for hand gun hunting and target shooting.Packing one of those anchors out fly fishing or picking berries etc would be a chore.
    I suppose S&W would worry about dumb dumbs loading up the hot stuff in there older 45 N frames and blowing it up and i suppose there are people who would and changing the casing would be a pain for ammo manufacturers.

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    Dave, no news here on the fact a 45 Colt can be hot-rodded to exceed 44 magnum ballistics. However, I have always accepted the 45 Colt factory cartridge for what it is - a ‘reasonably’ light recoiling round with a lot of lethality going downrange. I really have no need for a marginally more powerful .45 round with somewhat marginally increased felt recoil, here in the southeast. I might mention that my 44 magnum Mountain Gun isn’t all that comfortable shooting heavy factory loads.
    A logical need for more power might lead to a 454 Casull or 480 Ruger. However, I consider the factory 45 Colt cartridge in a double action S&W a fine outdoorsman round and good for self defense as well, with acceptable recoil and muzzle blast.
    That said my pal Tom, shoots wild hogs in Florida with his souped up 45 Colt hand loads in his 4 & 5/8 inch Ruger single action, while his pristine 4 inch model 29-2 sits home in it’s case. I remain to be convinced those hogs would have expired any slower if shot with a similar 44 magnum bullet.
    Hank

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    Good article David, it made me reconsider a topic that I've pondered over the years.

    I enjoy both calibers and have several revolvers chambered in them. Over the years I have considered hotrodding the 45 Colt (utilizing an appropriate revolver), but never got past the thinking stage............primarily because I have several good shooters in 44 Special (short cylinder), 44 Mag as well as 45 Colt...........I don't see much point in risking hotrods in any of my 45's. Heck, if I want more energy than stock 45 Colt loads, then in my personal situation and opinion it seems to make common sense to just switch guns.

    However, the point is well taken. Undoubtedly, some modern heavy framed revolvers will handle the pressures associated with a hotrod 45 Colt cartridge and they may lend versitility to the chambering.

    Regards All,

    Geezer
    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act"..........George Orwell

  5. #5
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    My love affair with the .44 caliber guns started early in life, an made a point of getting one as soon as I was old enough. The first I spied was a 624 with 4"bbl, an then a 624 with 3"bbl. Neither have been hotrodded. I've never owned a .44Mag or .45Colt, and I think the .44spl's are just perfect for all the shooting I'll do with those.

    I still loved the artical!!
    P.S. I haven't forgotten about the patches, just need to find a "roundtoit"

  6. #6
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    The regular old 45 long colt is a great caliber and very useful in many ways. I dont mean to step on any toes but it also has the potential in a hotter load to do the same thing a 44 mag will do.Some people feel the slightly larger hole of the 45 makes it more efficient.Im not sure that is as true as some believe.There is just not that much difference in 44 and 45. The 44 mag is just basicly a hopped up 44 special.I was just making a observation that its odd that the long colt was passed up many years ago as being chambered as a 45 magnum and colt and S&W building guns to handle the new load.
    In some parts of the usa a mild 45 long colt is not the caliber most would want to hunt large game or protect your self with from large dangerous game.Niether is the 44 special.Where I come from hand gun hunting isnt very popular.You use a rifle for most every thing.The magnum used in summer when fishing and camping berry picking hiking etc for protection from big critters.Most big game killed with a hand gun are shot from a dirt four wheel drive trail by some one who just slammed the brakes and jumped out with the magnum off the dash or seat.
    I am not a reloader so I have a 44 magnum and not a 45 long colt. But i may have if hot ammo was common and guns besides ruger that didnt break the bank could handle the loads and still be a N frame or redhawk size.The 454 and 480 only come in the super redhawk a bigger heavier hunting gun than the regular redhawk and N frame.
    In any case there are a lot of calibers in handguns and rifles that were developed over another caliber that could have been simular in performance and they also puzzle me as to why one was picked over another.Every reloader researches and tests and builds there own personal recipe for what they feel they want and more and more seem to be going with hot 45 over 44 mag.
    My neighbor and I were just disccussing that last night all the people we know who pack a 45 compared to people who pack 357 and 44 mag.He is from Montana just a few miles from where I am from and we are stuck for work here in Nevada and cry at each other about going home and hunting etc.

  7. #7
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    David,
    As always a well written and well organized article. I have my model 29 but it's still unfired. My wifes best girlfriend has a Uberti in 45 colt and I love shooting it. she also has a rifle that shoots the 45 too.
    Most of the time she packs some pretty hot loads for the 45, and the pistols balance is ideal for it.
    I can understand the quandry of choosing one cartridge over another. I believe whichever revolver your shooting will have a greater impact on that decision than the load itself.
    Teach them the truth, and let them sort thru the cobwebs of liberalism that have infested their minds.
    When the time comes that I don't want a new gun, call the undertaker!
    When they come for your guns, give them the ammo first!
    .45 ACP, Because shooting twice is just plain silly!


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  8. #8
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    Another great article, David!

    Never needed more power here than .357 Magnum/.45 ACP/.45 Colt. If I did I would probably go for a long arm. Not afraid of recoil, but I am not a big fan of it.
    I can not abide useless people.

    The only way Obama can become a bigger idiot is by gaining weight.

  9. #9
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    Terrific piece by Mr. Lapell.

    My thought: The old .45 Colt is, like so many older pistol and rifle rounds, grossly underloaded by the ammo companies, probably on the advice of company attornies. Sadly, there are people who will not read warnings, or, having read them, will ignore them.

    But in truth, the old .45 Long Colt is potentially an incredible magnum: its powder capacity is greater than the .44 mag. It was the basis for the experimentation that led to the development of the .454 Casull. When the big, stout Ruger revolvers hit the scene, several experimenters had custom, 5-shot cylinders made, then began cranking up duplex and triplex loads (that is, two or three different kinds of powders, including black powder and certain rifle powders). I'd like to really know how much damage was done to the firearms and various parts of the anatomy of some of the experimenters...

    The eventual outcome was the .454 Casull, with a big, very robust frame and 5-shot cylinder and a lengthened case to protect the idiots who ignore warnings (go back and re-read the first two sentences in this post).

    But with a late-model, sturdy Ruger or S&W, no question that hotter handloads can safely be accomplished without approaching the .454 pressures,velocities or energies. If I were using a vintage Colt or one of the many very nice SAA replicas (mostly made in Italy, occasionally in Spain), I'd stick with factory ammo and velocities.

    Bill

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    For those who feel they are better protected or have a superior hunting handgun with a hot 45 Colt, have at it, by all means. My original point was if I have a 45 Colt revolver that is throwing a 250/255 grain bullet at 900 feet per second, in my neck of the woods such ballistics are more than adequate for whatever I may encounter.
    If I felt the need for anything with more power than my S&W 44 magnum, I have an S&W 460 which will shoot 45 Colt, 454 Casull, or the more powerful 460 round. Yeah, it’s more gun than I need, unless . .Some folks claim there is “Big-Foot” stomping in these mountains. If I remotely took this serious I’d be lugging that 460 – but I am comforted in knowing that if he ventured into my area, he’d be in one of my neighbors' freezer in short order.
    Hank


 

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