The .45 Special is for people without .45 ACP cylinders for their .45 Colt revolvers who are interested in loading it as light as possible. I have a .45 ACP cylinder for several of my .45 Colt Blackhawks. They work very well. I have had the cylinders modified to take .45 AR. The reason for this is so I have ammo interchangeability with my .45 ACP/AR double action S&W 25-2 and 625-8JM without having to resort to clips for the Smiths.
Here is an article that appeared in Guns last year on the subject.
.45 Colt lite
Guns Magazine, August, 2005
Q: I have a question concerning light charges of pistol powder in large capacity revolver cases like the .45 Colt and .45 Schofield. Would a reduced charge of pistol powder in such a case lead to "detonation" effect resulting in damage to the revolver and possible injury to the shooter or bystanders?
If this were a strong possibility, would reducing the case volume reduce the possibility of detonation? I have considered the possibility of trimming the .45 Long Colt case to the length of a .45 ACP case for this purpose. I would essentially have a .45 Auto Rim case without the thick wide rim. Would it be possible to load .45 cal., 250-grain .452" bullets and a light charge producing 700 to 750 fps?
I have loaded the .45 Auto Rim case with 250-grain .45 lead bullets at 720 fps. This load has given me very acceptable results in my old Mark VI Webley and Scott modified to take the auto rim. It recoils very little, is accurate at 20 yards and is very easy on the old revolver. I would like to duplicate the load for use in Cowboy Action Shooting after I retire and return to the U.S.
Perhaps there is already something on the market similar to what I have described?
A: You are going to a lot of unnecessary work for nothing. The bullet has to rattle down .387" of chamber wall before entering the chamber throat if the case is cut back to the .45 ACP's .898" from the Colt's 1.285". This could be detrimental to accuracy and it will certainly stink up the chamber walls with lead.
The velocity of 720 fps you wish to achieve is easily obtainable with today's powders from our major players such as Hodgdon, Alliant, IMR and Accurate Arms. I've used Hodgdon TiteGroup (913/362-9455, www.hodgdon.com) to good success in both the .45 Colt and .45 Schofield. At the starting charge, velocity with 250-grain lead bullets is about 715 fps in .45 Colt. The load data is available on Hodgdon's website or you can call and get a Cowboy Action Loads brochure mailed to you. If you stick with a powder company's recommended starting charge, you won't have any trouble with detonation.
If the cavernous case still worries you, wait a bit. Hodgdon's new Trail Boss powder is much bulkier than other pistol powders and it will deliver mild pressure and velocity while still filling the case enough that a double charge will be readily apparent. Trail Boss will occupy from 50- to 100-percent of available case capacity. A double charge of the maximum loads will either overflow the case or will not exceed SAAMI proof pressures depending upon the cartridge case being loaded. The high load density of Trail Boss will make it very easy to visualize in a case and powder sensors will work more efficiently. The unique appearance of Trail Boss will make it impossible to mistake it for any other product.
If you truly want to load the ACP-length case, though, look into getting an accessory .45 ACP cylinder .fitted to your gun.
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