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Old September 3, 2011, 11:10 PM   #1
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.45 judge conversion

I am pretty new to handguns so be easy on me. I bought a .45 judge that shoots long colts I am wondering if I can modify my cylinder with a moon clip to shoot acp shells as well. The long colts are fun to shoot but are pretty expensive.
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Old September 3, 2011, 11:15 PM   #2
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The only problem being cost is that for around the cost of machining your Judge for clips you could probably set up for reloading 45colt, not to mention 45 ACP isn't cheap in of itself. Other wise yes it could be done but if it were me I wouldn't sink that kind of money into a Taurus.
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Old September 4, 2011, 01:15 AM   #3
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It would probably work, but your brass may not like it.

.45 Auto is a tapered case, .476" at the case head and .473" at the case mouth.

.45 Colt is straight wall, .480"

May not seem much difference, but its enough for brass to swell each time its fired in that chamber, and coupled with sizing it back down, it will work the brass much quicker than normal, and shorten case life accordingly for a reloader. And, even new factory loads could split the cases in the chamber if there is too much slop around the case.

I wouldn't do it anyway, the cost to machine it for clips, and the fact that I don't really care for the brand of firearms would be huge turn offs for me.
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Old September 4, 2011, 10:06 AM   #4
Jim Watson
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Pinnacle will do the conversion for $85.

There are two questions:
First, is chamber spacing on the Judge the same as other Taurus 5 shot .45s like the Raging Bull? Probably, but you need to know for sure.
Second, will accuracy with .45ACP be acceptable after the bullet kind of wanders down that long long cylinder with hybrid .45 Colt - .410 Shot chambers?

Oh, yeah, and how many clips will you want at $69.96 per baggie of ten? That's right, $7 apiece.
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Old September 6, 2011, 09:11 PM   #5
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Also consider that the .45 ACP pressures exceed the design specs of your gun by a whopping 50%.
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Old September 6, 2011, 09:34 PM   #6
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Reloading equipment would be a better choice to save money. Plus it's easy to get started with the basics, and lots of fun in itself!
Lee makes good equipment at a very reasonable price. Check into it rather than modifying your Judge to something that might not work all that well anyhow.
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Old September 6, 2011, 10:17 PM   #7
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S&W Governor shoots 45LC, 410 & 45ACP

So it should work if modified for 45ACP also.

Most likely it would void the lifetime warranty.

But I think that reloading is a better option in reducing cost. I asked around and ended up with a 5 gallon bucket of wheel weight. Mold cost me $26 and a friend allows me to use his progressive set up.

Cost per reload is 3 to 5 cents. Brass and lead are the most expensive components.

I think the advantage of the 45ACP is the ease of reloading, as the 45LC speedloader contacts the grip. 45ACP on moon clips would be much shorter and eliminate the issue with the grip.
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Old September 9, 2011, 06:37 PM   #8
Tom C.
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Isn't the Judge 5 shot? If so, moon clips could be a problem.
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Old September 9, 2011, 09:36 PM   #9
Jim March
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Also consider that the .45 ACP pressures exceed the design specs of your gun by a whopping 50%. Not exactly.

Yes, the SAAMI spec for 45LC is 14k PSI. But, that's really there for older guns like the pre-war Colt SAAs (specifically, AFTER the black powder era but before WW2).

The "real" modern spec for 45LC "standard pressure" is between 20k and 22k. And a Judge that happened to be built right at the Taurus plant can cope with that kind of thing, and the 45ACP is a 21k round per SAAMI. I wouldn't push it to 45ACP+P mind you!

That said, if the goal is to shoot the gun at lower cost, you're better off with a low-end reloading setup for 410 or 45LC than to pay the machining costs and the cost for a set of moon clips. Your up-front costs getting into reloading will be lower and extra dies for other calibers won't be much extra.

For very low cost reloading stuff, go here:

Pay particular attention to the hand press kit for $38:

A set of powder scoops for $8:

A basic scale for $22, used to check the weigh on what you're scooping with the scoops, with a particular powder:

(HINT: take the scoop, push it down into the powder, let it fill up "naturally", lift it straight up and out, then slide off the "mountain" on top with something like a credit card. That gives you the same scoop every time.)

Dies - I'd go with carbide plus the factory crimp die for $33:

Get the primer pocket cleaner for a buck fifty, and at least a case length gauge for $3.80:

With lower-pressure straight-wall handgun rounds (incl. 45LC and 45ACP) you won't have to do a lot of case trimming (unlike the bottleneck rifle rounds). You can also start out cleaning shells by hand with a small toothbrush and basic cleaning solution - check which type, some cleaners make the brass go wacky.

Add all that up, you're at about $106. At that point you can reload 45LC cheaper than you can shoot surplus or reloaded-by-somebody-else 45ACP, esp. if you buy your bullets by the thousand-pack (which also saves on shipping).

You can actually go even cheaper with the "whack a mole" loader:

This replaces both the hand press and the die set.

WARNING: this doesn't do a full-length resize, so it's only useful if all the chambers on your revolver are even - which likely means they were all cut with the same bit/reamer set, each chamber done in sequence. Newer Rugers such as my New Vaquero are like that and hence compatible with this tool as long as I were to only reload rounds I fired. So to see if your Judge would work, take five fired shells and fit each fired shell into all five chambers, to see if there's any "free play" or tightness. If they all fit nice and snug and even into all the chambers then cool, you do have this critter as an option - the cheapest reloading kit available. I'd still score the other stuff, including the scale, dippers, etc. but for basic practice loads the data and single dipper that come with the kit would work.

Here's how the cheapo-loader works:

This video shows you how fast a single case can be reloaded with one of these once you're up to speed:

A much more detailed view:
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.45 , judge , moon clip

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