View Full Version : Can the new S&W Governor shoot .45+P Colt loads?

January 24, 2011, 09:56 AM
Like the title says, interested in knowing if the S&W Governor .45ACP/.45LC/.410 2.5" shoot .45+P Colt loads?

Be interesting if it does...

Tom Servo
January 24, 2011, 01:26 PM
Not sure, as nobody's had a chance to shoot one yet. It's a Scandium frame, so I wouldn't push it too much, but my main concern is this: what exactly is .45 Colt +P?

We have SAAMI designations and maximum pressure guidelines for .38 +P and 9mm +P, but there is no industry standard I know of that gives specifics for .45 Colt +P. As such, a +P load for that is pretty much whatever the guy loading it says it is.

For a gun with that has that much freebore, I'd worry about overpressure.

January 24, 2011, 01:46 PM
I am not sure about the scandium frames either. A friend of mine has one of the 44 mag revolvers that came apart ( as in blowup) after 1200 rounds of factory loads. Don't think I want any part of that.


Tom Servo
January 24, 2011, 01:54 PM
You can do some truly unwholesome things with .45 handloads. I know I have :)

Problem is, the Scandium frame worries me. I've seen serious breakage in the .357's. Specifically, where the Scandium mates to steel.

January 24, 2011, 02:13 PM
I wouldn't push it beyond CIP specs (which are a little higher than SAAMI -- I *think* that's 1200 atmospheres, or roughly 17600 psi)

There is no official +P standard that I know of for .45 Colt, but I generally keep mine under 25000 psi, and I wouldn't shoot those in a scandium frame. I've seen .45 Colt "Ruger" load data creeping higher and higher lately; who knows how high the ones you buy might be.

January 24, 2011, 04:00 PM
stick with standard loads with any smith and wesson .45 colt. it's plenty potent stuff anyway.

January 24, 2011, 04:27 PM
I used to hotrod the .45 in my Ruger but finally came to the conclusion that the Keith SWC's I shoot are going through a deer at standard velocity too so what's the point.

January 24, 2011, 04:57 PM
but my main concern is this: what exactly is .45 Colt +P?

This would qualify:


Go ahead, as so many Judge owners say, "It's just a FUN gun..... a NOVELTY."

January 24, 2011, 05:18 PM

here. description says ANY post-war .45 colt gun. 255gn @ 1000fps. that'll do it.

Jim March
January 24, 2011, 06:13 PM
Yeah...look, with a six-shot chamber, and S&W not having a good way of offsetting the bolt stop the way Ruger does, plus the Scandium frame, I would be REAL leery of anything past the "standard pressure" loads Buffalo Bore sells (255gr hardcast @ 1,000fps, 200gr JHP @ 1,100). Those loads are probably running about 20k PSI pressure, *maybe* 21k. Those are sane in anything except maybe a break-top action.

Y'all understand by now that the "Scandium" guns are actually aluminum? With trace amounts of Scandium as an alloying agent?

January 24, 2011, 09:19 PM
"what exactly is .45 Colt +P?" Anything above SAAMI spec of 14 k psi. Buffalo Bore, Double Tap and Corbon all sell them.
"I used to hotrod the .45 in my Ruger but finally came to the conclusion that the Keith SWC's I shoot are going through a deer at standard velocity too so what's the point."
Exactly - unless you are after dangerous game.

Jim March
January 24, 2011, 09:46 PM
Well...yes and no. Pre-WW2 Colts have to stay at around 14k. After WW2 they were a fair amount beefier and all the recent clones have used the post-war Colts as a starting point and many have beefed 'em up from there.

So for a post-war Colt or reasonably good clone including every Ruger (even the mid-frame NewVaq45) and all the Italian guns (esp. post-2001 or so), 20k to 21k as a max is very reasonable. This has become the standard for "standard pressure" 45LC.

And yes, a Judge can shoot that too, so can all the S&W DA 45LCs, almost certainly so can the new "Governor". Only 45s that I know of that shouldn't go there and were made recently are the replica break-tops and the cartridge conversion cylinders and/or open-top guns, which really need to stay down around 14k.

The 45LC+P label is reserved for stuff that approaches or even exceeds the 44Mag in terms of bullet energy. They still don't match the 44Mag for pressure mind you, but the larger case capacity means a 45LC+P at 33k can match or exceed the real work of a 44Mag at 43k. That's IF the 45 load is designed correctly, with a slow-burn powder that keeps close to that 33k for a longer period of time.

Cor-Bon is more conservative. They have a load with a 200gr JHP doing 1,100fps that they label "+P". I don't know what the actual pressure is; it's possible it's designed stupidly and is doing a sharp spike of about 25k or more pressure. Buffalo Bore swears that their version of the same load with the same ballistics is suitable for the Ruger New Vaquero in 45LC, which means they're staying below 21k. Maybe Cor-Bon is too, I dunno. Buffalo Bore does NOT have a rep for blowing up guns despite their verified potent loads. Tim Sundles has a pressure test machine; best bet is, he's using modern slow-burn powder to keep his peak pressure low but at or near that peak longer, which would net a genuine increase in bullet performance without blowing up guns.

Anyways. I consider the real start to 45LC+P as being past 21k PSI or thereabouts. Buffalo Bore, DoubleTap Ammo, Grizzly Cartridge Company and a number of others agree. Hell, Hornady has a 45LC load involving a 225gr jacketed doing 960 at the muzzle that has to be up past 14k pressure:


I agree that a whole lot can be done with a 21k load! But there is a legit role for the "44mag equivalents" in a strong gun like the post-1973 Blackhawks built on a 44Magnum-class frame.

January 24, 2011, 11:38 PM
Thanks for the info guys.

Question...what's the point of shooting a .45 LC over the .45ACP out of a judge or governor? Seems the ACP out performs most .45LC loads....

Jim March
January 25, 2011, 12:16 AM
There are some factory loads that ship in 45LC that you just can't get in 45ACP. Speer's 250gr JHP for example, various big hardcasts that wouldn't feed in an auto, etc.

The 45LC is fundamentally a revolver round, so there are bullets meant for it that are too funky in shape to feed in a 45ACP auto. The situation is exactly the same with the 38Spl/357mag bullet shapes as opposed to 380/9mm - radical bullet shapes in the best 38+P ammo gives them effectiveness out of proportion to their raw energy numbers when compared to 9mm. I know of several 38+P loads packing about 250ft/lbs of energy that I consider more deadly than any of several 9mm loads packing 350ft/lbs energy that might fail to expand due to needing to compromise the nose cone shape for feed reliability.

If you handload the differences between 45ACP and 45LC aren't as great - you can cram odd-shaped slugs into 45ACP cases just fine. But you still have a downside: the smaller case capacity in the 45ACP means that pressures spike faster. Handloading the 45LC is more forgiving because the extra case capacity gives you a "cushion" to an extent.

You can still screw up with either of course!

Let's put it another way...let's say you're trying to approach the "edge" of what's safe in your gun. In 45LC the "edge" won't be as sharply defined. In 45ACP smaller adjustments in powder will cause a bigger shift in pressure when you approach the outer limits of safety.

With all calibers, if you're near the starting load (nowhere near the edge), adding, say, a 5% powder increase won't cause a major spike in pressure. Get near the edge, and you can get into a situation where a 5% boost causes a 20% pressure spike, or more. Sometimes way more, with fast-burn powder. The performance edge for any cartridge is volatile. With more case capacity, the edge is less volatile than with a smaller case...possibly enough to save a newbie handloader's butt.

Upshot: the 45LC is the more useful caliber for most purposes - except three:

* 45ACPs will load faster via moonclips.

* There's a lot of quality factory personal defense ammo in 45ACP.

* Cheap practice fodder if you're not a reloader.

That said, I'm interested in owning a 45LC/45ACP convertible wheelgun, but mine would be a newly minted Blackhawk. The .410 in a rifled barrel handgun has no appeal for me whatsoever.

January 25, 2011, 07:39 AM

Thanks for your knowledge on the subject, it helps. I personally never thought about the judge until lately. One being S&W's Gov., two because I have several uses for it. Snake gun, fun gun and wife's home defense gun. Winchester makes a .410 that shoots 3 disks with 12 large BBs. That's 3 .45 caliber holes and 12 more wounds inside less than a 10" area at 7 feet and 15" at 15 feet.

Not sure when I will pick one up. But it's becoming more appealing to me lately.

January 25, 2011, 02:47 PM
... who claim those of us who don't like the Judge are unfairly bashing Taurus...

... I don't see any real point to the "Governor," either, and I'm a S&W fan.

If you want to shoot hot .45colt, get a revolver designed for that. IMO, the Judge and the Governor are probably acceptable anti-snake guns, but trying to push either of them as big-game guns is probably not the best idea.

January 25, 2011, 02:55 PM
Wait 'till Ruger jumps in with the Ultra Super Redhawk chambered for 458 Lott/ 410 with a 4" long cylinder. Introduced along with Hornady's new 3 1/2" magnum 410 self defense load. 2 saboted 32 cal XTP HP bullets and 6 #1 Buckshot.
I think it will be announced April 1.:D

January 25, 2011, 04:15 PM
If you handload the differences between 45ACP and 45 Colt aren't as great Exactly. One other thing in the .45 Colt is a rimmed round. The .45ACP would not work (I don't think) if also trying to load a .410 shell in a cylinder setup for .45ACP.

No such thing as .45 Colt+P. Only .45 Colt and .45 Colt Ruger Only loads.

January 25, 2011, 09:06 PM
Personally, I would never hunt anything with this pistol. It would only be used on rattle snakes or other venomous snakes if the situation presented itself.

As for the point of the gun, to each his own applies to this particular firearm as with any. Obviously there is a point because it sells. I personally like it because of the Winchester S410PDX1 ammunition and my wife can use a revolver easier than a semi auto. So this revolver, with the Winchester S410PDX1 is a no-brainer for home defense....

Also, as long as I can purchase ammo from a ammo manufacturer and it says .45 Colt +P (corbon, doubletap, etc) I will continue to call it a .45 Colt+P...

Hornandy is releasing a .45 Colt critical defense round that supposedly offer great expansion.

michael t
January 27, 2011, 11:59 AM
I wouldn't waste money on it or the Taurus :barf:

S&W copying Taurus how the world has changed .:rolleyes: Was a time I respected S&W .

January 28, 2011, 12:46 PM
If you want something hotter -- just buy a 460 -- or a 500 - hotter yet!
the 460 is great - you can go from a wristbreaking 460 - to a wrist twisting454 casull to a normal 45 long colt. The shotshells for the 45 lc may not be as devasting as some of the shells for the .410 but will make an impression. ++++the are legal in CA. Anyone ever shoot a 4" 500 with 500gr handloads? -- Now that is personal protection.. If you do not hit them with the bullet, the muzzle blast will surely set them on fire!
Why take a chance on screwing up a nice piece, when ther are alternatives?

January 28, 2011, 02:05 PM
Dont get me wrong..a John Ross .500 S&W is on my list someday :)

January 28, 2011, 05:47 PM