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  1. #1
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is offline Senior Member
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    .45 Colt and .45 ACP in revolvers

    The question often comes up about preferences of .45 Colt, .45 ACP, or convertable in revolvers. A number of years ago I tried out several guns, Colt M1917, Smith M1917, Smith 625, and Ruger Blackhawks.

    First, the .45 ACP revolvers: The early Colts require half-moon or full moon clips, as the cylinder was straight bored and the cartridges had no "step" on which to headspace. Later guns did incorporate this feature, as did all Smith & Wessons. All required clips for positive extraction, there being no rim on the ACP case for that purpose. In the 1920s a thick rimmed .45 cartridge, the .45 Auto Rim, was introduced to eliminate the need for clips. Generally, these guns had long cylinders, which meant a long bullet travel in the cylinder throat. Used with jacketed, ball type ammunition, accuracy was not the best as the hardball bullet had a rather short bearing surface. Later target type wadcutter bullets had more bearing surface and provided improved accuracy.

    The .45 Colt revolvers had equal accuracy problems, with varying bore/chamber throat dimensions. With bore and chamber dimensions standardized, the .45 Colt began to shine. Especially with the coming of the heavy framed Ruger Blackhawk. Handloaders found that heavy bullets, intended for .45-70 rifle loads, could be sized down and loaded to some high velocities in the .45 Colt when used in Rugers. I've loaded 350 gr. lead bullets to velocities reported around 1300 fps. I never took anything with this, but have read reports of its use or buffalo and bears.

    The convertible revolver, the single action, merely requires swapping cylinders to change from one round to the other. And no clips are required with the rod-ejecting SA. Without modification, .45 Auto Rim cannot be used in the Ruger convertible, as there is not enough headspace for the thick rim. The .45 Cowboy round, or the .454 Short, can be used in an un-altered .45 ACP single action cylinder.

    For Cowboy Action Shooting, the .45 Colt is the natural choice. For maximun power, the Ruger in .45 Colt. For a DA revolver, the Smith .45 ACP.

    Bob Wright
    Pontificatin' again
    Last edited by Bob Wright; 02-07-2007 at 10:56 AM.

  2. #2
    TomC is offline Member
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    I have several revolvers in .45 Colt, .45 ACP and convertibles. I think the main problem with .45 ACP or .45 AR in a long cylinder revolver isn’t the long jump in the cylinder, but the long jump in an oversize chamber. My S&W 25-2 has .455” throats. It shoots most loads well, but some can be pretty bad. I have a 625-8JM. It has .452” throats and seems to shoot everything well.
    My Rugers in .45 Colt have had the throats opened to .452”, Blackhawks and Redhawk. The Redhawk is a very strong revolver, even stronger than the Blackhawk. I have no reservations about using reasonable +P loads in it. The .45 Colt in S&W revolvers, IMO, has no advantage over the .45 ACP due to the limitations of the S&W revolver.
    For those who use the .45 Colt in CAS, and want to use light loads, might be better served with .45 AR or this new case which has the .45 Colt rim on a .45 ACP length case. Small charges of fast powders in large cases has the potential for disaster.

  3. #3
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is offline Senior Member
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    That is exactly the reason fro Trail Boss powder, it bulks up and fills the big .45 Colt case at SAS levels of performance.

    Bob Wright

  4. #4
    STINGER is offline Junior Member
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    Bob

    Not trying to oversimplfy here, but why not just shoot 45S&W loads and not have to do the change cylinder and screw up the tra la la .

    Schofield loads almost mirror 45acp loads as far as performance goes. Yes they will ring the cylinder throat just like 38 spec does in a 357mag cylinder. So who cares already, thats why we have brushes and solvent.

    I shoot more S&W loads in mine than I do 45LC loads anymore. I reserve the LC loads for hunting.

    Best wishes, Bill

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