View Full Version : Colt DA .45 Colt 1909 MIlitary Revolver

March 10, 2006, 10:56 PM
While I was nosing around a gun shop today I found one that is in VG shape. It has had a reblue job and someone added a modern front sight (Micro on the base) and an adjustable rear sight done ver proffesionally. Otherwise all the serial numbers match with the exception of the cylinder latch(37xx2) and the serial number is 37xx1. It has all the proper parts and markings which are readable. Inspectors mark of R.A.C. on the frame and cylinder and is marked "United States Property" and Colt D.A. 45 on the barrel. The bottom of the handgrip frame says "US Army Model 1909".According to the site I went to it was chambered for a 45 Colt cartridge which is the same as the .45 Colt (Long) except it had a wider rim to help with extaction. My question is Will .45 Colt (Long) work in it :confused: I am betting that this is what the previous owner shot.

March 11, 2006, 05:38 PM
The 45 Colt and the .45 long Colt are one and the same, in fact the purist wiil argue that there no such thing as the long Colt cartridge. The proper name is .45 Colt and as far as I know the rim on the .45 Colt is standardized. I don't know of a wider rimed .45 Colt cartridge. There is a version of the .45 ACP that is rimed but thats a diffrent animal.

March 11, 2006, 08:52 PM
Just did some research ( which I should have done before) the 1909 Colt was chambered in .45 Colt. Your serial number falls with in the correct range as do the markings. If someone says .45 Long Colt , it's really just the .45 Colt. Don't let it confuse you.

James K
March 11, 2006, 09:40 PM
Hi, Eghad and RJay,

Well, true and not true. While Colt chambered the Model 1909 for the .45 Colt, it was always issued with a special Army round made for it, called the Revolver Cartridge, Cal. 45, Model 1909. That round differed from the .45 Colt in having a larger rim. When the Army first adopted the Model 1909 (it, not the M1911 pistol was the first response to the failures of the .38 revolver in the Philippines), they found that the small rimmed .45 Colt tended to jump the extractor, tying up the revolver. So they developed the new Model 1909 cartridge with a larger rim. (There had been no problem with the SAA's rod ejector, of course.)

Either round will fit and fire in the Model 1909, but Model 1909 ammo can't be loaded in the Colt M1873 except in every other chamber, making the old "six shooter" a "three shooter." That didn't matter to the Army, since by that time, the SAA had been phased out of service. The Model 1909 cartridge was loaded only at Frankford Arsenal.


March 11, 2006, 10:52 PM
I read about using that ammo in a model 1873. Seems every once in a while with a full cylinder it had a tendency to send the topstrap and the top half of the chamber up into the air

March 11, 2006, 11:27 PM
Thanks Jim, The older I get the more I find out I don't know. Would that be the .45 Colt Goverment?

March 12, 2006, 02:49 PM
IIRC, the designation of .45 Long Colt was adopted because in the 1870s the
Army adopted the S&W Schofield revolver (Schofield was an Army officer, obviously he had connections.) using a cartridge simply called "45 Army" (I think). The Colt SAA was also in use, it could fire the .45 Army, the Schofield
could not fire the .45 Long Colt because of its shorter cylinder.

March 31, 2006, 07:50 AM
It is funny how long people have been arguing about the .45 Long Colt. I think it may have started because there was both a .38 Long Colt, also used by the army, and a .38 Short Colt. However, there were also two .45 Colt revolver cartridges, the latter one made for the DA Colt New Service. I don't know what cartridge the RCMP used for their New Service Colts and I have never seen it mentioned in the context of short and long Colt. But I am also assuming the Colt revolver used by the army (and Marines) was in fact the New Service. I don't think it has the positive safety mechanism.

Elmer Keith called the .45 "short" Colt a sqibb load but that is probably an exaggeration. I wouldn't believe that a 1909 cartridge would necessarily blow up a SAA but sometimes an old revolver might be refinished one time too many, resulting in thin cylinder walls. Then, too, it may have been the result of some handloader trying to improve the performance of his handgun.

It still surprises me that people think it is a good idea to try to hotrod a handgun cartridge because they think the factory cartridge is loaded too weak. They should use another cartridge. Another thing is the way people might buy a fairly expensive gun (aren't they all?) and then search for the cheapest possible ammunition to use in it. Not that I haven't done both things!

James K
March 31, 2006, 07:40 PM
The M1909 cartridge is a smokeless powder round and is a bit hotter than the .45 Colt, but not enough to blow up an SAA. It could have been loaded a lot hotter for that New Service.