View Full Version : 45 long colt vs. 44 magnum?

January 7, 1999, 10:19 PM
I preface my remarks by saying I am not a handloader. Because I am not versed in this area I raise the following: I own and shoot a Ruger New Model in 45 Long Colt. I have used only factory ammunition and find shooting it very pleasant and I can hit what I'm aiming at (most of the time anyway).

Recently a hand loading acquaintance said that he could load the 45 Long Colt to be "nearly as powerful" as a 44 magnum. It was his opinion that the result was "better" than the 44.

Any truth to his statements? Can this be done? Is there any truth to what he says? I'm not about to do this (even if it might be true) but I must admit to some real curiosity.

What about it?

Walt Welch
January 7, 1999, 10:28 PM
Well, dairycreek, IF the .45 Colt had brass designed to withstand the working pressure of the .44 mag (which it doesn't); and a larger dia. thicker rim were put on the case to prevent difficulties in extracting stuck cases, why, then sure. You could reach .44Mag pressures and velocities. If you could a find a gun in which to safely do so.

If you lack any of the above things, however, DON'T DO IT. Walt

4V50 Gary
January 7, 1999, 11:03 PM
Walt's words flows of wisdom.

While the 45 Long Colt with the right brass can be loaded as hot if not hotter than a 44 magnum, the real question is, can the gun take it safely? I'm glad that you're not going to experiment with your gun.

January 7, 1999, 11:28 PM
I hate to disagree with a man of your caliber, but the myth of weak .45 brass goes way back to the days of ballonhead cases. Modern .45 brass is plenty strong enough to handle "magnum" pressures.

The .45 Colt can not only be handloaded to meet the .44 Magnun, but can actually surpass it! A few years ago I got the bug to magnumize the .45 for my Blackhawk. I had 300gr bullets moving at about 1300 fps. I played around with these heavy loads for a while and came to the conclusion that it wasn't needed. The really great thing about the old colt cartridge is that it is more than capable of doing anything the .44 mag can, without all that buck and roar. These days I load it to standard pressure and velocity and enjoy it much more. If you want a magnum, buy a magnum. The .45 Colt is fine just as it is.
BTW: The Ruger Single actions are extremly strong and can handle the hot loads without problems. Most loading manuals have a seperate .45 Colt section just for Rugers and the TC Contender. WARNING- Never put one of these hot loads in a Colt SAA or one of its clones!

[This message has been edited by Grayfox (edited 01-08-99).]

Art Eatman
January 8, 1999, 10:53 AM
Dairycreek: Your acquaintance is fairly well correct. The reason is that for a given weight of bullet, a larger diameter bore/bullet-diameter allows APPROXIMATELY the same velocity at a SOMEWHAT (but noticeably) lower chamber pressure.

January 8, 1999, 02:07 PM
I have been wanting to play with this for a while. If one is really concerned that the platform is not sturdy enough (I consider a 230-grain bonded JHP @ 1300 fps to be ideal for deer, so a Ruger will be plenty strong for me), a Freedom Arms revolver or the new Taurus .454 will have more strength than you should require. (.454 is to .45LC as .44 Mag is to.44 Special, or .357 is to .38)

January 8, 1999, 05:19 PM
The ammo co I used to work for made brass for casull (sp?). it was not "just" longer 45 colt brass. The 45 colt can be "hotter" for new 45 colt revolvers (Rugers and the like) but not to the same pressures as a 44 Mag. 454 casull yes, 45Colt no.


January 9, 1999, 02:25 PM
No argument: take one example I used, 44mag to 44 spec. Obviously, 44 spec cannot deal with the pressures that a 44 mag can. The same goes for .357/.38 and .454/.45LC. I was merely trying to address the strength issue, though it is my understanding that Freedom Arms and Rugers are strong enough to give plenty of power the 'ole SAA could never deliver. If one needs a .454, buy a .454.

January 9, 1999, 02:39 PM
I have learned a lot here. But, one bit of clarification please. Do I understand correctly that a revolver chambered for the 454 Cassull could also safely fire 45 Long colt rounds? In the same way that one can use 44 special in a 44 Magnum and 38 Special in a 357 Magnum?

[This message has been edited by dairycreek (edited 01-09-99).]

Bryan Whited
January 9, 1999, 05:54 PM
Yes, 45 Long Colt can be used in a 454 Causal just like the 38 special in a 357 magnum.

In this thread the one thing that I did not notice is that the Colt 45 can not shoot these hot 45 Long Colt rounds. The problem being their cylinder walls are very thin and will not hold the pressure. The Rugers are much stronger so they can and do handle these hot 45 Long Colt rounds with no problems. In fact the thin cylinder walls is one of the reasons for the myth of weak brass for this round.

old biker
January 14, 1999, 12:34 AM
Hi guys. I'm the new guy on the board. Thought I'd point ya to the experts on Big Bores www.sixgunner.com or www.earp.com Jim Taylor has a column on the various pressures from Hornady labs. 30,000 is safe in the Ruger.45LC. BTW, Freedom makes pistols in almost all calibres worth owning. .22, .357, .44Rem Mag, .454Casull and .50AE also the .41Mag. And this year they introduced the mid-frame in .45LC