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Old September 16, 2010, 05:53 AM   #1
Talkinghalls
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Ruger Vaquero Question

I have been brought up mostly around .40's and .308 rifle rounds. I know NOTHING about .45's. And I have very (for lack of better word) confused on this topic.

I always thought that the .45 would be like any other round... I guess its not

So I must ask the age old question
What is the difference between the
.45 Colt
.45 Long Colt (I've heard its slightly longer, but on other websites I've heard that there is no difference)
.45 ACP
.45 GAP

http://www.ruger.com/products/vaquer...eets/5104.html

The Ruger website/add say's that it shoots a .45 Colt

I've been looking at a few on GunBroker and the adds on there say the new (2010) model shoots a .45LC

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=190834370


To be frank I am about to just give up on trying to figure out the difference in the rounds (more or less in fear of buying the wrong type in bulk :barf: ) and go with the .357/.38sp.

any help would be great.
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Old September 16, 2010, 06:09 AM   #2
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Actually, its pretty simple.

First 45 GAP was developed specifically for Glocks (GAP= Glock Automatic Pistol) - I do not believe anyone even makes anything in 45 GAP anymore, so rule that out.

45 ACP (automatic colt pistol) is the automatic pistol round most associated with 1911s and combat pistols. A modern day load and very common.

45 Colt, 45 Long Colt, 45LC, are the same cartridge. Larger than the 45 ACP, they are most widely used in cowboy guns, and were the cartridge that won the west (according to some accounts). 45 colt is a slightly more expensive round, and many that shoot it do reload.


Ruger makes convertible Cylinders for blackhawk revolvers (I do not believe they do for Vaqueros) So that you can shoot 45 acp and 45 colt out of the same revolver.

As for which caliber to choose, in a Vaquero 45 colt is the way to go.
(45 Colt is my caliber of choice when it comes to wheel guns)

That being said.. 357/38 is a decent choice as well, due to the lower cost of being able to shoot 38s


Hope that helps a little.
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Old September 16, 2010, 06:16 AM   #3
Talkinghalls
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That helps a lot!
So just double checking to see if I understand this correctly.
.45 colt and .45 long colt is the same round zero size difference?

Yeah I may have to check into getting the black hawk instead.

Thank you very much.
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Old September 16, 2010, 06:42 AM   #4
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Just to let you know, Ruger does make the Vaquero in .45 Colt, and the convertible model comes with an extra cylinder that chambers .45 ACP. Check out gunbroker.com ,auction # is 190834398. Hope this helps.
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Old September 16, 2010, 08:29 AM   #5
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.45 Colt/.45 Long Colt are the same thing. A lot of people who do know the history of the .45 Colt say there is no such thing as a .45 LONG Colt, because there was never a .45 Short Colt.

I call it a .45 Long Colt, or .45 LC, to avoid confusion in a gun shop. Seems if I go to a new shop where I am not known and ask for .45 Colt, I end up with a box of .45 ACP in front of me.

When some smarty pants wants to really show off his knowledge and expertise in a gun store, he will remind you (Tell you) there is really no such thing as a .45 Long Colt, just the .45 Colt. I always refer them to the Colt Fire Arms Web-page (http://www.coltsmfg.com/products-c1-...Revolvers.aspx).

The designation came along when they had the .45 Colt and the .45 Schofield. The Colt would not work in the Schofield, but the Schofeild would work in the colt. In order to ensure the army units on the Western Frontier received ammo it could use, the units took to ordering the .45 Long Colt. (The Schofield round was shorter than the Colt round.)

You'll sometimes hear the same type of arguments about the Ruger Vaquero and the Ruger New Vaquero. The New Vaquero should not be called a "New" Vaquero, because their was no "Old" Vaquero. Instead it should be called the "New Model" Vaquero. Both are good guns and I enjoy shooting mine. I do not care if you called it a rooty tooty wheelie twirly thing-a-ma-bob.... It is still fun to shoot .45 Long Colts out of it.
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Old September 16, 2010, 08:59 AM   #6
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To further confuse things, there is the Cowboy .45 Special: which works in revolvers (and some modified rifles) chambered for .45 Colt.

Quote:
I do not believe anyone even makes anything in 45 GAP anymore, so rule that out.
Glock is still making them; local shop received some G38s a couple of weeks ago.

Regards,
Greg
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Old September 16, 2010, 09:23 AM   #7
Jim March
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One more CRUCIAL thing. Power levels on the 45LC.

(Sidenote first: there's a round known as the 45Schofield which was likely the one considered the "45 short" and caused the 45 Colt to become known as "long".)

OK. There are now FOUR basic classes of power in the 45LC.

1) Black Powder. Real Colts made prior to 1895 or so (I don't know exactly!) couldn't handle smokeless powder. Rounds made of "holy black" or a substitute are still loaded both for old guns and some classes of CAS/SASS competition.

2) Original cowboy loads or close clones: these top out at 14k PSI or less, usually involve a 230gr round doing 750-800fps or less. Per CAS/SASS rules, they can't break 1,000fps even from a carbine, so they have to be mild. There's a few guns made that shouldn't exceed this power range, such as the replica breakopens.

3) Modern 45LC fighting/working loads. Topping out at around 20,000fps or a fraction higher, these are safe in post-WW2-era Colt SAAs, most S&W DAs, the Ruger NEW Vaquero and most Colt SAA clones. Typical factory rounds drive a 200gr JHP at 1,100fps, or a 255gr hardcast hunting load at 1,000fps. Speer has an interesting 250gr monster JHP from hell loaded to about 900 that makes a lot of sense as a personal defense load.

4) Rugers in 45LC other than the NewVaq, the Colt Anaconda in 45LC and any 454Casull gun can handle 45LC+P loads that meet or exceed 44Magnum bullet energies. Buffalo Bore has a 325gr hardcast doing 1,300fps that so far as I'm aware is as extreme as the factory loads go - but some others come close. Some of these will grenade even some newly made 45LC guns. Caution is warranted. These loads happened when Ruger chambered 44Magnum-class guns in 45LC *and* retained the 44Mag-level heat treat on the cylinder in 1972 - nobody had ever done that before. Guys like John Linebaugh figured out what was possible in that event .
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Old September 16, 2010, 09:29 AM   #8
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Uncle Buck (thanks unc ) covered it fairly well. The .45 Colt (the proper name) had been given an alias .45 'Long' Colt back in the 1880s (as explained above) which is no longer needed. There is the .45 Colt, and the .45 Schofield (rarely seen now a days), and the .45 ACP. Alas, some still like to call it the 'long' Colt . Sounds 'cool' I guess . And starts threads like this one .

As for the Vaquero and New Vaquero. Most people don't have a problem with calling the Vaquero and 'old' Vaquero. It is when it is referred to as the 'Old Model' Vaquero that some have a problem with. Both the Vaquero and New Vaquero are 'New Model' revolvers. The 'Old Model' refers to 3 screw, pre-transfer bar revolvers. Hence there never was an 'Old Model' Vaquero.

Now does that clear it up . Hah!
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Old September 16, 2010, 09:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
You'll sometimes hear the same type of arguments about the Ruger Vaquero and the Ruger New Vaquero. The New Vaquero should not be called a "New" Vaquero, because their was no "Old" Vaquero. Instead it should be called the "New Model" Vaquero.
That subject qualifies as one of the most confusing, worthless discussions on the 'net.

It is not a Blackhawk, Single Six, or Bearcat, and applying the same parameters to the Vaquero will only frustrate all involved.

The KISS priniciple comes to mind.

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Old September 16, 2010, 10:51 AM   #10
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Ok. One last question (well no promises on that one).
my father has a glock 21 (.45 ACP,) and the recoil on it is not terribly bad, my fathers .357 blackhawk kicks harder. (Also the Glock is much lighter than the black hawk.)

Will a .45 colt round be harder (recoil wise) than the .45 ACP, or .357?
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Old September 16, 2010, 11:13 AM   #11
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Wheelgun get the .45 Colt,45 ACP in a wheelgun will require you to use "moonclips" so the cartridge has something to hang on to..45 ACP is rimless cartridge designed for semi automatics.Felt recoil will dependant on bullet weight X fps X weight of the firearm.Some loads for the ACP will feel heavier in a semi auto than a comparable .45 Colt in the B/H.Semi auto will be a lighter gun and the B/H heavier.Single action revolvers rule with the .45 Colt.
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Old September 16, 2010, 11:50 AM   #12
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Ok, thank you all for your help and info. If you have anything else that could possibly help me decide which one to get I'd appreciated it.
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Old September 16, 2010, 12:01 PM   #13
gb6491
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Quote:
45 ACP in a wheelgun will require you to use "moonclips"
That's not quite true. "Moon/half moon clips" make it easier to extract the spent casing in guns with cylinders that have a central ejector rod. They are not necessarily needed to chamber and fire rounds. The .45ACP round is said to head space on the case mouth. To accommodate this, revolvers chambered in .45ACP have stepped chambers: when loaded with loose rounds, the case will go into the chamber until the case mouth hits this step and stop (just as it would in a semiautomatic pistol chamber). Clips are not used on single action guns, becuase extraction is handled one chamber at a time by the extractor rod.
Regards,
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Old September 16, 2010, 12:09 PM   #14
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It always scares me when questions indicate someone has a gun but do not even know what round/caliber it shoots.
Simplest answer with modern made guns, is to read what is stamped on the barrel.
To 'un-confuse' yourself, you can look at the websites of the various ammo and component manufacturers.
Coming here is good. You have had good replies so far. But, often, we see responses that are incorrect. And, that means when we are dealing with stuff that can go "bang", misinformation can be dangerous.
e.g. I have seen some say a .45LC can be loaded to .454 Casull pressures. That is potentially dangerous.
If you plan to reload, buy a good, current, reloading manual. Very valuable.
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Old September 16, 2010, 03:11 PM   #15
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That Vaquero will shoot 45colt and 45 long colt. Two different names for the exact same thing.

NOT to be confused with 45GAP or ACP
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Old September 16, 2010, 05:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
my father has a glock 21 (.45 ACP,) and the recoil on it is not terribly bad, my fathers .357 blackhawk kicks harder. (Also the Glock is much lighter than the black hawk.)

Will a .45 colt round be harder (recoil wise) than the .45 ACP, or .357?
Depends on the firearm. Glocks tend to shoot slower with the frame flexing/taking some of the felt recoil (in my experience). Wheelguns, like your Dad's Blackhawk tend to "rollup" in your hand depending on the grip shape with nothing to flex or slide back and forth.

The .357 is quite a bit different round than the old .45acp. depending on the load... we're talking velocity. Pretty snappy in some guns (e.g., J frame vs. N frame) you get both bark and bite.

Depending on the frame size, barrel length, grip shape, etc, the older .45LC is typically loaded to pressure levels the older guns can handle and should offer no more recoil than the other two mentioned. (the semiauto .45 absorbing some of the energy w/ the slide action) If the pistol has the old plowshare grips familar to most SAA's it should rollup in your hand a bit, which aids somewhat in cocking the hammer back for the next round.

If you do not reload and you do buy a .45 Colt, plan on spending some $$ on ammo. Or reloading equipment...
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Old September 16, 2010, 05:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
That's not quite true. "Moon/half moon clips" make it easier to extract the spent casing in guns with cylinders that have a central ejector rod. They are not necessarily needed to chamber and fire rounds. The .45ACP round is said to head space on the case mouth. To accommodate this, revolvers chambered in .45ACP have stepped chambers: when loaded with loose rounds, the case will go into the chamber until the case mouth hits this step and stop (just as it would in a semiautomatic pistol chamber). Clips are not used on single action guns, becuase extraction is handled one chamber at a time by the extractor rod.
Regards,
Greg
Yes you are correct,I was making general statement indicating that "additional actions/equipment" is necessary to shoot .45 ACP in a revolver,it's just not as easy as opening the cylinder and dropping in 5-6 rounds in closing and shooting.Better cartridges for a revolver than .45 ACP.it's like 9mm revolver only bigger.
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Old September 16, 2010, 05:52 PM   #18
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Auto rim?

Quote:
Yes you are correct,I was making general statement indicating that "additional actions/equipment" is necessary to shoot .45 ACP in a revolver,it's just not as easy as opening the cylinder and dropping in 5-6 rounds in closing and shooting.
Has anyone even mention .45 auto rim?
Never seen any of it commercially, but I did reload with auto rim brass when I was shooting a lot with my SW 625 .45 ACP revolver.
This eliminated moonclips entirely.

You could probably even use these in a speed loader, although I had never tried that, being into bullseye more than combat at the time.
I really did like that fat short brass, though, and it reloaded just as easily as any other cartridge.

I have never seen much of it around since then.
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Old September 16, 2010, 06:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Will a .45 colt round be harder (recoil wise) than the .45 ACP, or .357?
All else being equal (equal sized Blackhawks), it will depend entirely on the load you choose to shoot.

A lot of .45 Colt ammo is loaded to cowboy action shooting levels (or "cowboy loads"). Others are loaded to standard pressure, while some (like Buffalo Bore and Cor-Bon) are loaded to full potential, but are only safe in stronger firearms (full-sized "original" Vaquero, full sized Blackhawk, etc).

Cowboy loads won't recoil as much as most .357 mag ammo. They're easy shooting.

Standard pressure loads are stouter, but are not offensive to shoot. They don't recoil as hard as stout .357 loads either, but a bit harder than the felt recoil of a semi-auto .45 ACP..

The Cor-Bon, Buffalo Bore, Grizzly, and other .45 Colt ammo loaded to full potential will make the .357 seem like a white mouse in comparison. They aren't horrible to shoot, but they'll certainly get your attention if you aren't used to harder recoiling revolver cartridges.

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Old September 16, 2010, 07:19 PM   #20
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I have 2 Vaquero's, an original and a new model. Both in .45 Colt. Fun to shoot, fun and cheap to reload. Modified both grips to feel and handle the same. I would recommend highly the .45 Colt round....Yes I blued the hammer and trigger sides....LOL
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Old September 16, 2010, 08:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
It always scares me when questions indicate someone has a gun but do not even know what round/caliber it shoots.
I do not own the gun yet, I am doing a tad bit of research before I blow 500+ on a handgun. I do not want to buy a say .45 then wish I bought the .357 instead, based on ammo prices/recoil. Then trade the one I got for a different at half the price I bought it for! (similar situation happened to my grandfather. he bought a .38spc lightweight rev. by tarsus shot it once and traded it back.

One of the main reasons for all the confusion with the ammo was I made a mistake (one I will not make again ) I went to the local Wal-Mart and asked the guy in the sporting goods area about the ammo and he told me the difference between .45 colt and .45 long colt was size, and that any and all .45 handguns can fire .45LC, GAP, and ACP. I wanted to double check. Also I will never ask them for advice regarding ammo ever again.

I do not reload ammo so I may have to go with the .357. (In other words I went to the local gun store and saw the price for the .45 )


Again Thank you everyone you all have been very helpful.
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Old September 16, 2010, 09:22 PM   #22
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Quote:
I do not reload ammo so I may have to go with the .357. (In other words I went to the local gun store and saw the price for the .45 )
Ruger makes some models that come with dual cylinders (Creade mentioned this earlier).
You can get one that will shoot .45 Colt/Cowboy .45 Special in one cylinder and .45 ACP/.45 Auto Rim in another.
Another model with dual cylinders is setup for .357 magnum/.38 Special in one cylinder and 9mm in the other.
In my area, prices normally run cheapest for 9mm, followed by (in ascending order) 38SPL, 45ACP/357 Magnum, and 45Colt.
Regards,
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Old September 16, 2010, 10:59 PM   #23
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Well Uncle Buck, I guess I'm one of those "smarty pants" whom you despise. When I go to a gun store, I ask for .45 Colt, and I have yet to be handed a box of .45 ACP. I'm at a loss to understand how calling two different cartridges by two different names (.45 ACP and .45 colt) creates confusion, but calling the same cartridge by two different names (.45 colt and .45 long colt) clarifies things.

You can refer me to the colt web page, if you like. I can refer you to every loading manual out there, plus every authoritative reference, the ruger web site, and even manufacturer's headstamps. They all say .45 colt. So what? Let's allow history and the facts to decide it and the fact is (whether I tell you or remind you, as you say) that there never was a .45 short colt. And no, the .45 schofield/S&W was not a short colt. It was a cartridge designed and produced by colt's competitor for a S&W revolver. Calling the .45 colt a long colt is as meaningless as designating the name of the .45 ACP. the .45 ACP long, because we now have the .45 GAP. I do understand the common usage of the term, ".45 long colt. However, I think that we should strive to use correct terms and not call people names when they make the effort.

Second, I don't get frightened when someon asks for clarification of different cartridges and what cartridge is used in a specific firearm, as long as they are asking and learning. If perfect knowledge were a requirement for gun ownership, then none of us here would own guns because at some earlier time, we were all asking and learning the same lessons.

Third, gb6491: a minor point. The .45 blackhawk convertible will not fire the .45 auto rim. There isn't sufficient headspace on an unaltered cylinder.

Fourth: .45 Schofield may be uncommon, but it is not unobtainable. Midway offers it with a starline or hornady headstamp and indicates that they can ship it tomorrow.

Last edited by hammie; September 16, 2010 at 11:53 PM.
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Old September 17, 2010, 12:57 AM   #24
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Quote:
Third, gb6491: a minor point. The .45 blackhawk convertible will not fire the .45 auto rim. There isn't sufficient headspace on an unaltered cylinder.
Oops, thanks for pointing that out. I should know better; I remember reading an article that Guns and Ammo did about altering a Vaquero .45ACP cylinder to accept the Auto Rim. My apologies to the OP for leading him/her astray.

That's what I get for playing with my Smitty 1917 too much.
Regards,
Greg
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:36 AM   #25
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I think over time, we lost the comma....

The Army adopted the .45 Colt, and the Colt SAA. A little while later, they also adopted the S&W Schoefield, and its shorter .45 caliber cartridge. The .45 Schoefield would fit, and fire in the Colt gun just fine.

Most of the Army ammo was the shorter S&W round, to ensure it would function in either gun. I think it most likely that the term "long Colt" came from people asking for ammo specificly for the SAA.

"gimme some of that .45 long, for the colt" or ".45 long, Colt" over time became .45 Long Colt, in common conversation.

The original name, and the one most often used still today is .45 Colt. But, .45 Long Colt is a valid, acceptable name also, as some makers (including Colt themselves) have used it "officially" in catalogues.
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