The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 27, 2008, 09:59 PM   #1
9mmhpfan
Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2007
Posts: 85
45 long colt cowboy ammo for self defense

I was doing some research and found that the Winchester Cowboy Action .45 Colt load pushes a 255 Grain flat nosed lead bullet at 750 fps out of a 5 inch barrel. This approximates the orginal black powder load for the 45. This was the load that gave the 45 caliber handgun it's stopping power rep. If it was a good man stopper would it still be a good one to use today?
9mmhpfan is offline  
Old December 27, 2008, 10:08 PM   #2
tlm225
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2004
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 661
I for one would not volunteer to take a hit from it. The original BP loads actually traveled at 900-1000 FPS (depending on the charge). Our modern "cowboy" loads are made for lower recoil, not to duplicate original performance.
__________________
All that is neccessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke
tlm225 is offline  
Old December 27, 2008, 10:13 PM   #3
zxcvbob
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2007
Location: S.E. Minnesota
Posts: 4,186
The original loads were closer to 950 fps. But a 250-255 @ 750 fps should still make a pretty big hole in a bad guy -- probably all the way thru.
__________________
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun"
zxcvbob is online now  
Old December 27, 2008, 10:18 PM   #4
Deaf Smith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 31, 2000
Location: Texican!
Posts: 3,244
9 fan,

I don't think homo sapiens have changed all that much since the 1870s, so I think that .45 load would be fine and dandy.
__________________
"The government has confiscated all of our rights and is selling them back to us in the form of permits."
Deaf Smith is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 12:58 AM   #5
chris in va
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Louisville KY
Posts: 12,528
Pretty close to 45acp, don't see why not. Problem is most 45LC is out of a SA revolver, so needs a lot more practice for defensive scenerios.
chris in va is online now  
Old December 28, 2008, 01:12 AM   #6
Swampghost
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: Florida, east coast
Posts: 2,106
Off topic, I use .44 CA rounds for deer under 50 yds. in my 1894 Marlin. It's only the first round but that's the one that counts.
__________________
NRA Patron Member
Swampghost is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 02:12 AM   #7
Jim March
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,309
Modern "cowboy action" ammo is NOT designed to duplicate "old west" conditions.

At the height of what we think of as the "old west" period (1873-1890ish) there were NO 45LC leverguns or long guns of any type, other than maybe a one-off custom here and there. That's because the 45LC rim was too narrow for reliable extraction. 45LC leverguns do exist today, and "cowboy action" ammo is designed so as not to go past 1,000fps in a rifle barrel. Cowboy action shooting sports use metal targets at close range with lots of bystanders - it's a safety issue that has NOTHING whatsoever to do with authenticity.

That load at 950fps is a good deal more dangerous than the same at 700/750.

Next...there are some spectacularly good modern loads in 45LC. Why the hell not carry them? The best is likely the Speer 250gr "giant hollowpoint from hell" JHP. It will do about 900-950 from a typical 4" barrel, and will expand reliably from 850 on up. It's a scaled up version of the 135gr 38+P "snubby special" concept. I think it's likely this is the most deadly subsonic load in existence in anything like a standard caliber.

Winchester's 225gr Silvertip is also a good load and still stays subsonic. It's not as good as the Speer 250 but it's worlds ahead of "cowboy loads" which aren't even close to authentic to start with.

There's also various 200gr supersonic (1,100fps or more) JHPs that I don't recommend. They'll be more noise than they're worth since some great subsonics are available as stated above. That said, the 200s will do just fine on target.

All of the JHPs will be SAFER in bystander-dense situation. They're less likely to go through the target into somebody else, and yeah, that happens.

For wilderness carry in a modern SAA-strength-class gun, the 255 to 260gr SWCs going about 1,000fps make lots of sense, and would do quite well for personal defense should that come up. They'll also do tolerably well against a black bear, real well against cougar and might stop a decent-size piggie in a pinch. For urban carry they'd be insane, the odds they'll blow through a human at lethal speeds on the other side are about 100%.

Any handgun is fundamentally inadequate. OK? They're not good stoppers. They don't fling bullets fast enough to damage tissue AROUND the bullet's path - that takes something around 2,100fps or so for "hydrostatic shock". Opinions vary on that point, but the thing is, the fastest common handgun rounds you can score (357maggie doing 1,600fps) is NOT going to get into hydrostatic shock territory.

So you ought to be more picky about ammo.

That's my take anyhow.
__________________
Jim March
Jim March is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 08:03 AM   #8
Socrates
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2005
Location: East Bay NorCal, People's Republik of Kalifornia
Posts: 5,866
Jim and I agree on somethings, and need to discuss others.

A soft lead, gas checked HP, that weighs 260 grains, going at least 1000 fps gives me the warm and fuzzies. Likewise a 260 grain JHC bullet at 1450 fps is supposed to be VERY effective on black bear...
One of the things that bothers me about light HP's for caliber, like 200 grain 45 HPs, is they need to be going at least 1200 fps to get adequate penetration.

The good news is you can move 185 grain .429" HPS at 1600 fps, and barely get 15" of penetration.

The S&@ X frames can move 200 grain bullets or so, at 2300 fps, and, that would be into the rifle velocity range...

By the way, there are handgun rounds that ARE adequate
stoppers, just most people don't carry them: .475 Linebaugh, up. Also, the 45 Colt loads, 260 grains @ 1450 fps certainly resemble that remark, as well...
Socrates is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 08:13 AM   #9
9mmhpfan
Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2007
Posts: 85
Thanks for the helpful information.. My question was guided by ammo availablity. Stores around here that carry the 45 Long Colt ammo only carry the cowboy action stuff and although I am not relying on my old model vaquero with 4 3/4 inch barrel as primary self defense weapon in a handgun platform ( Steyr M9A1 9mm fills this role) I wanted to have some ammo for it for a just in case scenrio.
9mmhpfan is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 09:12 AM   #10
rogertc1
Junior member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2004
Location: Maquoketa
Posts: 1,335
I find it is best to just order .45L it on line...better choice. Which one can't do in all states. I prefer the Silver Tip Ammo and that LeverEvolution looks great with the red tips in the chamber.

Last edited by rogertc1; December 28, 2008 at 05:24 PM.
rogertc1 is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 09:30 AM   #11
Pilot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2000
Posts: 3,652
Think about reloading to get the most performance and flexibility of the .45 Colt. It outperforms the .45 ACP in its standard load which is fine for SAA style guns.
__________________
Pilot
Pilot is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 09:37 AM   #12
Tom2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 23, 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 5,648
Were the original loads made with bullets that were dead soft lead? Like for muzzleloaders? They did not alloy the lead to make it hard like a modern SWC for hunting, did they? Because those old soft lead bullets acted like a soft point jacketed bullet, only more so. They really tended to flatten or spread out a bit when poking a soft target, didn't they? Round balls did. Never saw a picture of a round ball recovered from a hunt or a victim that was round anymore. So 900 fps and a dead soft heavy lead .45 bullet ought to live up to it's reputation, even if it is not up to what modern ammo does. Then again the British large bore revolver loads were not as hot as the .45 Colt. For the Webleys etc. they had something in the 700 or so speed and they thought it effective.
__________________
Your gun is like your nose, it is just wrong for someone else to pick it for you!
Tom2 is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 10:10 AM   #13
Sarge
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2002
Location: MO
Posts: 4,911
The load you referenced will most assuredly kill and it will incapacitate, assuming you hit the centerline straight-on. What it won't do is knock a big hole through elastic tissue and vessels.

Seeing as how contested events of this nature are hardly ever choreographed in favor of the protagonist, it don't hurt to have a little better bullet at a tad more velocity. Going to a heavy SWC and bumping the throttle up 100 fps or so will make a notable difference; or you could follow Mr. March's lead and simply select one of several excellent factory defense loads in this caliber.

I happen to like the Federal's 225 lead hollowpoint at 900 fps. It should do about as well as the better .45 ACP loads using a 230 grain bullet.
__________________
I'm inclined to think if a man hasn't gotten his point across in 4912 attempts, 4913 probably isn't going to do it.
Sarge is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 10:42 AM   #14
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,088
The "cowboy" load of a 255 at 750 is very close to the .45 S&W-Schofield-Government which was considered a good manstopper in the day, even though not quite up to the full power 1873 Colt round. But since you can do better, why not DO better?
Jim Watson is online now  
Old December 28, 2008, 02:24 PM   #15
Crosshair
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 16, 2004
Location: Grand Forks, ND
Posts: 5,320
Blazer makes a very nice 200 grain HP 45 Colt load that is well suited for self defense. It's held to standard 45 colt pressure (non "Ruger-Only") so you can use it in any 45 Colt gun. It's a good trade off between power and controlability. Energy wise, it's just behind the .357 mag at the muzzle.

Blazer ammo.
__________________
I don't carry a gun to go looking for trouble, I carry a gun in case trouble finds me.
Crosshair is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 04:28 PM   #16
Socrates
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2005
Location: East Bay NorCal, People's Republik of Kalifornia
Posts: 5,866
Old model Vaquero's are strong guns. I'd look at this load for your purpose:
http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunitio...ult.htm#45colt
Item 3C: 260 gr. J.H.P. (1450 fps / M.E. 1214 ft. lbs.)
(Big game up to 350 lbs.)

That was my favorite commercial 45 Colt load. Supposed to work well on black bears, and hogs.

Item 3E:

255gr. Gas checked soft cast bullet
(1000 fps M.E.566 ft. lbs.)
Per Box of 20
$33.95

Item 3F:

200gr. JHC (Speer low velocity Gold Dot)
(1100 fps M.E. 537 ft. lbs)
Per Box of 20
$33.95

The 255 grain above is what a modern equal to the old cowboy loads, but, gas checked, for no leading.

Double Tap has a SWC load as well.

With a strong gun, I see NO reason to limit yourself to the anemic 45 Colt loads offered by most factory ammunition.
Socrates is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 04:37 PM   #17
Rampant_Colt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 17, 2006
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 1,478
Federal 225gr lead hollowpoint
Winchester 225gr Silvertip
Speer 200gr JHP Blazer
Speer 250gr Gold Dot
Corbon 200gr JHP
Remington 255gr SWC

all of the above loads are suitable for self-defense use
__________________
member of an elite paramilitary organization: Eagle Scouts
Rampant_Colt is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 04:51 PM   #18
orionengnr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 9, 2004
Posts: 4,985
CorBon DPX 225 gr (massive hollowpoint) @1100 fps
orionengnr is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 04:58 PM   #19
zxcvbob
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2007
Location: S.E. Minnesota
Posts: 4,186
I cast my own .452 bullets and have several molds [230 to 255 grains]. I may have to try casting some SWC's or flat-nosed bullets using dead soft lead and see how they do. I usually use a mixture of wheel weights and scrounged lead from the pistol range.

I generally load .45's to about 1000 or 1100 fps; no gas checks because I'm too cheap (even when I load them to 1300+ fps, the leading is not bad.)
__________________
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun"

Last edited by zxcvbob; December 28, 2008 at 05:37 PM.
zxcvbob is online now  
Old December 28, 2008, 05:02 PM   #20
Socrates
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2005
Location: East Bay NorCal, People's Republik of Kalifornia
Posts: 5,866
With the lighter bullets, you can move them up to 1600 fps, and still not have too much penetration. That energy has to go somewhere, and, I would NOT want to be the one to find out where...
Socrates is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 05:46 PM   #21
Webleymkv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,890
Quote:
With the lighter bullets, you can move them up to 1600 fps, and still not have too much penetration. That energy has to go somewhere, and, I would NOT want to be the one to find out where...
Careful now Socrates, the Facklerites will soon arrive with torches, pitchforks, and links to firearmstactical.com.

Personally, I think the .45 Colt suffers from the same problem as the .44 Special in that there aren't many HP loads that are "just right." Everything seems to be either severely downloaded, uses light bullets, or is .44 Magnum level hunting ammo. A good lead or semi-jacketed 250grn+ HP at 1000-1100 fps from a 4" barrel would be ideal IMHO. Outside of that, Federal's 225grn LSWCHP would be my choice.
__________________
Smith, and Wesson, and Me. -H. Callahan
Well waddaya know, one buwwet weft! -E. Fudd
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures. -J. Caesar
Webleymkv is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 07:53 PM   #22
Sarge
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2002
Location: MO
Posts: 4,911
Quote:
With the lighter bullets, you can move them up to 1600 fps, and still not have too much penetration. That energy has to go somewhere, and, I would NOT want to be the one to find out where...
Since this comes up frequently in discussions of defense loads, I'm going to point out something that seems painfully obvious- to me at least.

We are talking .45 Colt here, which probably means somebody's CAS gun; in fact the OP references CAS loads. Maybe a Taurus Judge, etc. Probably not a Freedom 454 Casull or a Ruger SRH.

The majority of .45 Colt revolvers are not suitable for those loads. The typical recreational shooter can't handle them, and they don't want to bear the expense, flash and blast to become competent with them. I have killed deer with the Sierra .45/240/JHC at 1350, which is well under your 1600 fps recommendation; while the recoil was tolerable the muzzle flash was mighty, and my ears (as well as another fella's, who I was hunting near) rang for the rest of the day. The terminal effect was good; but it wasn't a lightning-strike kill, either. I know guys who do just as well with a big .45 SWC, at 900 fps.

It isn't remotely necessary to employ Casull-level loads in order to make the .45 Colt work well against a human antagonist. That's the beauty of this old centurion; it works pretty well in its original, black powder format. We could argue about it I suppose, but it's hardly necessary. I have 135 years of history to back my position.

See Gunsmoke for further
__________________
I'm inclined to think if a man hasn't gotten his point across in 4912 attempts, 4913 probably isn't going to do it.
Sarge is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 08:21 PM   #23
9mmhpfan
Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2007
Posts: 85
I would just like to thank everyone who contributed to this OP. Many varied opinons give me many different options to choose from.
9mmhpfan is offline  
Old December 28, 2008, 08:43 PM   #24
Socrates
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2005
Location: East Bay NorCal, People's Republik of Kalifornia
Posts: 5,866
Quote:
I am not relying on my old model vaquero with 4 3/4 inch barrel as primary self defense weapon in a handgun platform ( Steyr M9A1 9mm fills this role) I wanted to have some ammo for it for a just in case scenrio.
Sarge did not read the OG posters comments.

Or mine:
Quote:
Old model Vaquero's are strong guns. I'd look at this load for your purpose:
http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunitio...ult.htm#45colt
Item 3C: 260 gr. J.H.P. (1450 fps / M.E. 1214 ft. lbs.)
(Big game up to 350 lbs.)
My lighter bullets meant 165-200 grains, and, due to their light weight, in a relatively heavy Vaquero, they don't kick much, at all.

You can move a 240 grain bullet, at 1400 fps, with 45ACP pressure. Why anyone would want to turn their beautiful 45 Colt into a 9mm with these factory loads really escapes me...
Socrates is offline  
Old December 29, 2008, 09:51 AM   #25
Phantom Captain
Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 78
My single action .45 is in the drawer next to my bed. So yes, it's one of my HD guns.

I cast and reload my own using only old school 30 grains of Goex BP. I use a pure soft lead 250 grain bullet out of a Lyman .452 mold. Cases are Remington with CCI primers. Like I said, 30 grains of 3f Goex in each. I wouldn't want to get hit with one of them, that's for sure. It's a wicked hard hitting round.







__________________
49th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Co. F
Phantom Captain is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13340 seconds with 7 queries