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Old September 1, 2018, 11:08 PM   #12
Aguila Blanca
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 13,422
Originally Posted by Pathfinder45
I have read several times over the years that the 45 Colt was the most powerful handgun cartridge in America until the advent of the 357 magnum.
That's a new one. What I have often heard (and have not had reason to doubt) is that the .44 caliber Walker Colt was the most powerful handgun until the advent of the .357 Magnum. But the Walker Colt wasn't a cartridge firearm, it was a percussion cap revolver, and it was huge. It wasn't intended as a sidearm, it was intended as a "horse pistol," to be carried by a cavalryman in a holster attached to his saddle. The .44-40 cartridge held 40 grains of black powder -- the Walker Colt held 60. It fired a .454" lead ball at 1,000 to 1,350 feet per second and was considered "effective" to a range of 100 yards.

Not to shabby for a revolver.

By contrast, the .45 Colt cartridge held 28 to 40 grains of black powder and achieved a muzzle velocity of "up to" about 1,000 feet per second.

In short, the .45 Colt in a SAA was a handgun. The Walker Colt was a hand cannon.
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