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Old November 13, 2008, 10:05 PM   #1
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44 special, 44 SW special

Are these two cartridges the same. One or the other shows up in the same space in the reloading data books. I don't know if this needed a new thread but I could not find a relevant thread to ask it in.
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Old November 13, 2008, 10:41 PM   #2
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I think they're the same.

Interesting aside here, in one of the Dirty Harry movies he mentioned that he shot light "special" loads from his 44 magnum, for better control. I took it to be he did just like a lot of the LEOs who used to shoot 38 specials from their .357s back in the 70s.
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Old November 13, 2008, 10:50 PM   #3
Gun 4 Fun
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In a word, yes. They are one and the same. The .44 special was a S&W development, the .45 Colt was a Colt development. Also, it is .45 Colt not .45 Long Colt or LC. Never has been such a round.
That got started when people were trying to differentiate the.45 Colt from the .45 ACP which stands for Automatic Colt Pistol.
I know you asked about the .44, but the subject almost always comes up.
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Old November 13, 2008, 11:46 PM   #4
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That got started when people were trying to differentiate the.45 Colt from the .45 ACP which stands for Automatic Colt Pistol.
There was a Schofield break top revolver that took a shorter cartridge than the .45 Colt that was adopted by the U.S. Army in about 1876, if memory serves correctly. The short Schofield round would fit the .45 Colt single action revolvers, but not vice versa.

Some Cavalry units only issued the short round, since it worked in both pistols and some officers carried the Schofield (Custer sometimes did). They weren't as sturdy as the single action, but easier to shoot (the .45 Colt had some recoil), and much quicker to load.

It was inevitable that the term Long Colt (though unofficial and technically incorrect) would be used in order to make a distinction between the two rounds designed for two different guns, both being used withing the same Regiment.

In keeping with the subject of the thread, it's correct,as mentioned, that the .44 Smith & Wesson Special is sometimes referred to as just the .44 Special.

Last edited by Nnobby45; November 13, 2008 at 11:58 PM.
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Old November 14, 2008, 08:19 PM   #5
Bart Noir
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From Jbar4Ranch:
When the Schofield round came along, more than one manufacturer simply cut down existing supplies of .45 Colt brass, and loaded the new .45 Schofield round. As such, there actually was a ".45 Long Colt" and a ".45 Short Colt". Opening a box of Schofield ammo and seeing .45 Colt headstamps was confusing, so boxes with the cut down .45 Colt cases were often labeled ".45 Short Colt" or ".45 Colt Short". There were sufficient ammo boxes marked as such that many still exist today in various collections. Mike Venturino has at least one in his possession. Boxes labeled ".45 Long Colt" are very common. Original vintage Schofield cartridges with .45 Colt headstamps also aren't particularly rare among collectors today. It took a generation for the ".45 Long/Short Colt" label to be more or less dropped, and today when it's brought up, it always seems to be a point of contention.

From Unspellable:
If you have true Schofield cartridges you will be able to put six in a New Service but only three in a SAA due to the wider rim. However, all the current production brass I've seen head stamped as 45 Schofield actually has the same rim as the 45 Colt or the 45 Government, aka "Short Colt" in which case you can get six in a SAA.
I also have some US military issue .45 cartriges (copper cases, inside primed) that are not as long as the .45 Colt. They have the smallish rim of the original .45 Colt so that they work in the SAA, but they must have been made after the Army sold off the Schofields. This is because the small rims are not so good in the Schofield, as they can slip under the extracter star. Yes, revolvers can jam

The shorter .45 rounds had less powder than the original .45 Colt. It seems that the troopers thought the original load was too "hot" and then liked the Schofield rounds since they were not as heavily loaded. So the Army reduced the loading, at least at the Gov arsenals.

Bart Noir
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Last edited by Bart Noir; November 14, 2008 at 08:25 PM.
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