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Old July 31, 2012, 08:44 PM   #1
Bob Wright
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The .45 "Long" Colt........

There is a lot of palaver concerning the correctness of the term .45 "Long" Colt. To be sure, the correct title is ".45 Colt." Purists argue there never was a .45 Short Colt, but then:





Seems that in the early Twentieth Century, competition between Colt and S&W was such that Colt didn't want to acknowledge the existance of the S&W round, so they prevailed on one ammunition maker to call the round the .45 Colt Government. Ammunition makers tried to load the 250 Colt bullet into S&W cases and call that a .45 Colt round, but the public would have not of that, they wanted the long cased .45 Colt round, hence the .45 "Long" Colt.

Clear?

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Old July 31, 2012, 08:59 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Yup.
Elmer Keith said it best:
"Today we often hear the .45 Colt Peacemaker cartridge referred to as the .45 Long Colt. Some newcomers to the game claim there is no such animal but if they had shot the short variety that Remington turned out in such profusion before, during, and after, World War I, they would see there was some basis in referring to the .45 Colt as the .45 Long."
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Old July 31, 2012, 09:37 PM   #3
Mtn Biker
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Interesting!
So I assume the three on the left are the same round and the two on the right are also the same? Basically two rounds with different reference names?
Thanks
VL
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Old July 31, 2012, 09:47 PM   #4
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I've said it here many times, and I'll say it again.

Cartridge nomenclature is, and always has been, VERY fluid.

And, it seems that the .45 Colt/.45 Long Colt controversy is the ONLY cartridge which gets people all in a twist.

I've never been able to figure that out.

Why someone accepts 9mm Parabellum/9mm Luger/9mm NATO/9x19 with aplomb, but they get all stupid and froth and angry and grumpy when someone dares utter the word Long in connection with the cartridge.
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Old July 31, 2012, 09:47 PM   #5
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Excellent post!
While I knew there were shorter versions of the 45 Colt the pictures really get the point across.
Up until a few years ago Colt's website referred to the cartridge as 45 Long Colt.

Jim
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Old July 31, 2012, 09:52 PM   #6
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"Up until a few years ago Colt's website referred to the cartridge as 45 Long Colt."

Yep. When I showed that to one... person... who was very quick to froth and anger every time he heard the word Long, he just about blew several veins in his head.

His reaction was so violent I actually started to laugh at him. Probably not the best reaction, but damn it was amusing.
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Old August 1, 2012, 12:05 AM   #7
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Once again I will defer to Paco Kelly from his article on the .45 long Colt on his Lever Guns web site:

"Those that voraciously disagree with the word ‘LONG’ in the phrase 45 Long Colt............don’t e-mail me.....my spiritual brother (for almost a lifetime), and dear friend, John Taffin, has been trying to change my position for decades....and John may be correct, as all of you may. But in this, I am unrepentant...why? Because among other reasons, I have a full box of 45 Short Colt ammo produced in 1883 and that got me to really investigate! Not Schofield...but “45 Short Colt” Ammunition.....(230 grain bullet/hollow base/28 grains B.P.) People back then called them LONG or SHORT Colts when making purchases......so do I today."
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Old August 1, 2012, 12:28 AM   #8
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like so?
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Old August 1, 2012, 04:25 AM   #9
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This may be simplistic and more or less already stated, but the term "Long Colt" came about only because of Smith & Wesson's .45 Schofield, an unfortunate attempt to corner the military-revolver-contract market during the Indian Wars of the late 1800s. The Schofield cartridge case was shorter than the Colt, though not intentionally so, from what I've read. Just bad luck.

A Schofield .45 would shoot in a Colt SAA but a .45 Colt (the proper name, as noted by many here and even so engraved on the side of Model 25 Smith & Wessons) was too long for a Schofield. When it came time for bidding out a humongous contract for cavalry revolvers, someone in Army Ordnance at the time asked Smith to modify the Schofield revolver to chamber the longer Colt cartridge. All historical accounts I know of show that, solely due to ego, someone in power at Smith refused.

Today, you can shoot a .45 Schofield in a .45LC revolver, kinda sorta like you can shoot .38SPL in a .357 and .44SPL in a .44Mag, but not vice-versa.

The Army wisely wanted a single handgun cartridge for its troops, particularly in the wild West, and they sure as heck didn't want those troops to be shoving too-long Colt cartridges into Schofield cylinders while the arrows were flying, much less to deal with two sets of similar but different ammo in the field.

Conceptually, the Schofield revolver was a great solution for mounted cavalry shooters because of the ability to eject and reload on the run. It lost out because of someone's ego. Nevertheless, had it been accepted in a large contract it might have lost future sales because of the weight and complexity of the gun, versus the simpler and reliable Single Action Army.

Next time you go to a gun show and there's a table full of CAS replicas, heft a Schofield and then any SAA and see the difference.

Nifty history.
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Old August 1, 2012, 04:30 AM   #10
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Thanks for the interesting information.

I've always called it "Long Colt" to annoy the purists.

Been known to call a magazine a "clip" too...same reason.
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Old August 1, 2012, 04:37 AM   #11
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I have a 4" Redhawk in this particular caliber...but I've been having too much fun shooting it to care what anyone else calls it.
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Old August 1, 2012, 04:45 AM   #12
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LOL - I still call 'em "clips," too. That separates us from the young'uns. I don't know when it changed from "clip" to "magazine." Maybe it was about the time that some entrants into the Army weren't able to execute "Inspection Arms" with an M-14 that didn't have reduced-pressure springs.

I sure do hope that the badass enemies who next come charging at our troops are polite and politically correct and obey all the NATO and Geneva stuff, because, well because, well, why can't we all get along?
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Old August 1, 2012, 05:09 AM   #13
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Not S&W ego at all. It was a calculated business decision made for solid reasons.

First the company was running near full capacity supplying military revolvers to Russia and other nations. Smith didnt have the factory capacity to redesign an d manufacture what would be a rather miniscule run of handguns for the US government with no real hope or expectation of bigger contracts down the road.

Why interrupt an orders for nearly half a million guns just to make maybe 10,000? That doesn't make sense.

Second, the. 45 Long Colt (let the screaming begin) with its tiny rim would not function reliably in Smith's auto ejector system. Why go out of your way to create a gun with a mode of failure already built in?
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Old August 1, 2012, 05:25 AM   #14
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Bob, truly fascinating and thank you!
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Old August 1, 2012, 06:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
I have a 4" Redhawk in this particular caliber...but I've been having too much fun shooting it to care what anyone else calls it.
Me too. I even factory and custom loaded ammo that has "Long Colt" printed on some of the boxes.
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Old August 1, 2012, 07:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Thanks for the interesting information.

I've always called it "Long Colt" to annoy the purists.

Been known to call a magazine a "clip" too...same reason.
I bet you call a cotton swab a "Q-Tip", facial tissue a "Kleenex", and an analgesic tablet an "Aspirin" too, don't you!

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Old August 1, 2012, 08:49 AM   #17
Mike Irwin
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Ah CRAP! My computer just ate a response.

Anyway...


Slopemo,

The picture you've included isn't a historical piece. It's apparently a modern recreation, and a rather poorly done one, at that. I found what appears to be the original post series (on another board) where it was posted.

When the owner opened the box, it contained 16 cartridges, several of them being .44 Magnum rounds.

It was apparently a recreation, done for an unknown reason.

The major problems with it being a period piece are:

1. Cartridge is misspelled.

2. Wells Fargo NEVER EVER had a comma between Wells and Fargo.

3. There is, as far as I can tell, no Frankfurt in the United States, and certainly no Frankfurt Arsenal.

4. Frankford Arsenal, if that is what this is supposed to represent, was a US military ammunition facility and never manufactured ammunition for non-governemnt commercial companies.

5. Wells Fargo obtained its ammunition from Winchester, US Cartridge Co., or one of the other major commercial manufacturers of the day.

6. While I'm not 100% sure about this, I THINK that from the late 1880s onward Wells Fargo purchased and issued .45 Smith & Wesson ammuniton, NOT .45 Long Colt ammunition.

When the US military deaccessioned Schofield revolvers, Hartley and Graham purchased the lion's share, cut the barrels back, and sold many of them to Wells Fargo. There is evidence that Wells Fargo agents used these guns well into the 20th century.
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Last edited by Mike Irwin; August 1, 2012 at 09:18 AM.
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Old August 1, 2012, 08:57 AM   #18
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Ha- really? I'll check it out. It's a pic I right-clicked at some point.
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Old August 1, 2012, 11:14 AM   #19
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The box of cartridges is purely fake. I know the U.S. "gum mint" makes mistakes, but I think Frankford Arsenal would have spelled its own name correctly.

Here are a couple of facts to add to the mess. From 1874 on, the U.S. Army NEVER issued .45 Colt cartridges. ALL Army pistol ammunition came from Frankford Arsenal, and it was ALL the .45 Government (.45 Army or .45 Schofield or .45 S&W).

When the U.S. did adopt the Model 1909 revolver (the Colt New Service), they found both the .45 Government and .45 Colt jumped the extractor because of the small rim, and adopted their own cartridge, the Cartridge, Revolver, Caliber .45, Model of 1909, the same as the .45 Colt but with a larger rim. Only Frankford ever made that cartridge and it was the only cartridge ever issued with that gun. Due to the larger rim, only three of the Model 1909 cartridges will fit in a Model 1873 cylinder.

In spite of a lot of writing to the contrary, the .38 revolvers were not succeeded by the Model 1911 auto pistol; the next handgun to be adopted was the Model 1909. It was succeeded by the M1911.

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Old August 1, 2012, 12:23 PM   #20
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I started to call it the Long Colt too (as that is what I always heard)... Until I got my first .45 Colt revolver. Then I dug into the cartridge history (it is my favorite), and found it really was designed as the .45 Colt and that name hasn't been technically changed over the years. The 'long' came into existence 'back then' for very good reasons which aren't applicable today. When I reload it, you find the cartridge under .45 Colt in your manual(s) as it should. You see, in "today's world" there is absolutely NO confusion. So, I shoot .45 Colt, .45 Schofield, or .45ACP which is perfectly clear when we talk about the cartridge(s)... And don't forget the Auto Rim .45 or the hacked short cowboy .45 that some shoot.

But it is a free country, so call it what you like of course, I certainly don't mind or get all 'het' up . I just choose to call it what it is (probably the engineer in me).
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Old August 1, 2012, 12:46 PM   #21
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I used to call it .45 Colt simply because that is shorter and easier to say or type, but due to some of the foaming-at-the-mouth responses that adding "Long" to the name elicits, I started making a point to call it .45 Long Colt every chance I get as a tweak the Semantics Gestapo.

When I pointed out in one such debate that, at the time, Colt themselves were using the "Long Colt" term, I had one such purist all but stick his fingers in his ears and scream "no, no, no, no." He claimed that Colt was but a shell of its former self and that they had bowed to those too lazy to use the correct terminology. Apparently, he felt that he was a better authority on the cartridge than the company that introduced it.
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Old August 1, 2012, 01:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
I don't know when it changed from "clip" to "magazine."
It never did. They are two different things (he says with pursed lips and a wrinkled brow..)
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Old August 1, 2012, 01:51 PM   #23
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What are the actual rim dimensions?
I have always read that the .45 S&W had a larger rim than .45 Colt for reliable simultaneous extraction. OK.

I have also read somewhere that the .45 S&W rim was too large for a Colt SAA, in the same manner as the .45 1909, and that the .45 Government was a compromise cartridge the length of .45 S&W and the rim either of .45 Colt diameter or some intermediate size.
CotW 12th says so, but I have also seen it elsewhere.
CotW says some .45 S&W will work in some Colts, but not all, so the .45 Gov't came along.
They have some funny numbers though, with .45 Colt rim diameter listed .512", .45 S&W .522", ok, but .45 Gov't at .506".

If you want to shoot modern .45 Schofield in your Colt or clone SAA, it will work, so apparently they are making .45 Gov't or low end of tolerance .45 S&W. But if you want to use it in your Ruger, you may well have to cut the ratchet for clearance.

Last edited by Jim Watson; August 1, 2012 at 01:59 PM.
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Old August 1, 2012, 01:54 PM   #24
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so show a picture of an original box of ammo 45 Short Colt so we can see what it looks like
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Old August 1, 2012, 02:53 PM   #25
Bob Wright
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Here is a mixed batch of .45 Colt and .45 S&W cartridges loaded into the cylinder of a Colt New Frontier, they all fit comfortably:



Here are two .45 M1909 cartridges in the same cylinder, note that one will not seat fully as the rims overlap. This happens only in the Colt SAA, as the New Service will allow them to fit:



Haven't tried these in a Ruger.

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