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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been a reader of Chuck Hawk's website for a long time now. I enjoy his objective, almost scientific, writing style when it comes to describing different calibers, weapons, whatever.

Even though he gives the .45 Colt a good writeup for the revolver, but when he writes about it in a rifle, he doesn't have very many good things to say.

First of all:
This is kind of amusing when you think about it. The guys who insist on correct period dress and pre-1900 antique or replica arms also are responsible for .32 H&R Magnum, .38 Special and .45 Colt rifles for use in their competitions. None of these ever existed in the American West. Go figure!"
Why is he going make a point about that? The sport is about the shooting and the atmosphere, not what kind of bullet comes out of your gun. If he's going to call that negative, he might as well mention that most CASrs use replicas and not real period weapons.

Secondly he uses the .45 Colt cowboy loads for his example of how bad it is as a rifle cartridge. Why is he using a Cowboy load when he knows they are 250 fps slower than the real thing? Blackpowder .45 Colt could easily achieve 950fps from a 7.5 SAA. Earlier factory loads could even pass 1000 fps! That type of velocity generates somewhere around 550 ft lbs at the muzzle.

Lastly, he seems to base his conclusions simply on numbers on paper. Kinetic energy isn't the end all to the lethality question when it comes to handgun bullets. Yeah sure, .45ACP doesn't do so well against car doors and body armor, but a normal .45 slug actually enter and exit a body with enough force to enter another. Easily. Several times.

During the 1930's Auto-Ordnance experimented with a more "powerful" .45 cartridge for the Thompson Submachinegun. It is no longer made, but the ballistics of he cartridge used, the .45 Remington-Thompson (bullet weight of 250 grains reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,450 feet per second) were found to be a waste. Part of this had to do with the fact that they were still using FMJ ammo back then, so that extra kinetic energy was not utilized when a round struck a target. So the end result was similar to that of the standard 230gr .45ACP hardball fired from a Thompson at 920fps, a large .45caliber bullet hole though and through.

For what it's worth, for ranges between 7 and 100 yards, I think a .45 Colt lever gun is a very effective and viable "light rifle".
 

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I would agree the .45 is an effective an viable cartridge in a rifle.

No getting around the fact though that it is a poor performer compared to "rifle" rifle cartridges.

If you had to kill deer to make a living, would you rather have a 45 Colt or a 30/06?
 

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HAve to agree with art of what is said, for the guys who demand authenticity in Coyboy shoots the .45colt (and .32HRM, 38special,357,etc.) has no real place in a rifle. These are the guys that suffer over a missplaced proof mark and the exact font used for the lettered stampings.

Think it's silly, but it's the details that make the day for these guys (although I haven't inpsected their cloths to see if any modern fabrics have snuck into their "period" dress).


For the rest, it's either about the fun of shooting or about the need to win.

As a rifle round, each caliber has it's strong suit..and we, as hunters, should play to the stengths. 45colt is great at chunking out 250-300gr. of flat nosed lead. Hunting in situations where that is the best choice makes the 45 colt a great choice.
 

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I am not a Cowboy shooter so I don’t have an opinion on the equipment used in the game. I will say I am certainly pleased the Cowboy shooters convinced Marlin to make the 1894 in .32 Magnum. I am a small game hunter and a big fan of the .32 Magnum.
Your example of “period” equipment is right on. Certainly if we are just having fun polymer grips are just as functional as real ivory.
As to the ability of the .45 Colt to cleanly take deer from the rifle we need to keep in mind deer are shot using .45 Colt handguns every year with no difficulty. Loads tailored to the .45 Colt rifle are even more formidable. Forum members Marlin Collector and John Kort certainly have a good handle on the .potential of the .45 Colt in a rifle. If you missed it the link below will take you to a discussion of extra heavy bullet use in .45 Colt rifles. The .45 Colt loaded for today’s rifles has a lot of potential, if you search around on this Forum there is also some limited discussion of the .454 in lever rifles that eye opening.

http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=22882
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I agree 100% william. I am not a cowboy shooter either; the statement you made regarding that makes sense.

Even though firing standard pressure 45Colt out of a rifle only gives the bullet a 200fps boost or so, it is still infinately more practical than shooting from a sixgun. You double your ammo capacity (I can fit 13 rounds in my legacy), you have a much better sight radius, and when fired from a rifle the .45 Colt is a very mild recoiling cartridge unlike a revolver.

The .454 is even better because it is the professionally magnumized version of the grand old .45. Trying to push .45 Colt +P is no longer necessary. I wish Mr. Cascull would have just named it .45 Magnum, but .454 works too. From a rifle, I hear you can take anything that walks in North America. Although I wouldn't feel too comfortable shooting pistol ammo that beats out some rifle ammo from a revolver.

I find that the old .45 firing a 250gr bullet at 950fps is perfect for a pistol. I know the SAA can handle up to 1000 fps, but that's on the upper end of it's structural integrity. When fired from the 24" tube in my marlin, it breaks the sound barrier at 1200fps. I don't know about Chuck, but 250gr traveling at 1200fps ain't no wimp.

The main reason I like my .45 Colt Winchester is that I can use the same exact ammo that I use in my SAA. I know there are many more cartridges optimized for rifles such as the winchester, but you can't fit a .30-06, .45-70, or .30-30 (realistically) in a pistol.

As a matter of fact, I think it's more realistic to compare the .45 to the .30 Carbine round. You don't see alot of recolvers shooting .30-06, but you do see lots of .30 carbine revolvers. Besides trajectory, I believe the .45 Colt is a better round than the .30 Carbine.
 

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I don't care what ANYBODY says. the old colt can be loaded from lite plinker loads to full blown +p's. in a strong rifle it will rival most of the black powder loads from the turn of the century.
spend some time at the loading bench and you will gain respect for the "old"colt. my 265gr lyman kieths over 27gr of 296 get 1800+fps out ove my 94 legacy.
the boys standing around have a very uniform look :confused: when you shoot some heavy loads from the old colt.Jim.
http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/45coltlevergun.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well I guess it all just comes down to the fact that you can't have your cake and eat it too. Whatever optimimized load you make for the rifle probably won't be too practical for a pistol, and the optimum load for a pistol won't be pushing the rifle to it's full potential. Same exact thing happened with the .44 WCF.

If you want a load that works in both the pistol and rifle, you'll be comprimising the rifle more than anything. But even then it's still more accurate and harder hitting with than the pistol using the same load.
 

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Yep that what i'm talkin about. Keith load of 18.5gr of 2400,shoots about 1150 from a pistol. put it in my 94 an it shoots about 1500fps.
that 265gr bullet has alot of power even at moderat velociety...... Jim.
 

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I am cowboy action shooter, but I'm not too picky about authenticity. I have two rifles I use (a Win '92 and '73 replica), both chambered for .45 Colt. I think of the .45 Colt, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, etc. as "being in the spirit" of the period cartridges. When loaded to the appropriate pressures, there's really no practical difference between them, so I don't see the big deal. Plus, the straight walled cases are a breeze to load. I also hunt with the .45 Colt and .44 Magnum from rifles and love them!
 

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45 Colt fan

Army GI said:
... Whatever optimimized load you make for the rifle probably won't be too practical for a pistol, and the optimum load for a pistol won't be pushing the rifle to it's full potential...
My 24" barreled 1892 and my 7.5" barreled Bisley LOVE 250 grain cast bullets with a full charge of H110 and 300 grain cast bullets with a full charge of LIL'GUN. Yes these are 30,000cup loads, and I have been accused of trying to start a fire with the 300gr load in my Bisley. But they are accurate and fun to shoot in both guns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
.45colt said:
Yep that what i'm talkin about. Keith load of 18.5gr of 2400,shoots about 1150 from a pistol. put it in my 94 an it shoots about 1500fps.
that 265gr bullet has alot of power even at moderat velociety...... Jim.
Darn right, those .45 Colt loads pack a wallop! Alot of people look at the numbers, but they forget about bullet weight!

I am cowboy action shooter, but I'm not too picky about authenticity. I have two rifles I use (a Win '92 and '73 replica), both chambered for .45 Colt. I think of the .45 Colt, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, etc. as "being in the spirit" of the period cartridges. When loaded to the appropriate pressures, there's really no practical difference between them, so I don't see the big deal. Plus, the straight walled cases are a breeze to load. I also hunt with the .45 Colt and .44 Magnum from rifles and love them!
Do you use the standard .45 Colt, or high pressure .45 Colt for hunting?

Also, did you know that the .44 Magnum when fired from a rifle is almost;) the equivalent of the high velocity .44-40!

Also, how is CAS? I'm thinking about getting my dad into it (he's also a baby boomer in love with Westerns) but I haven't had alot of exposure to it.
 

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My ruger-only loads for the .45 colt were pushing 300 grain bullets at about 1700fps from a 24" Marlin 1894.

That's a surprising amount of performance on both ends! And it's an easy 150 yard hunting trajectory, no problem.....
 

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Well, a 45 caliber wound channel is more effective on soft tissue associated with a deer than 30 caliber high speed bullets.

if that means anything... a 30-30 will kill a deer just as dead as a 45lc or a 30-06. Distance and brush being equal. thicker the brush, the heavier the bullet I can use with a 45lc. The longer the range, the better suited the 30-06 is.

I have yet to see a deer that was going to complain either way.

45lc in a rifle makes sense for carrying the same ammo and more of it.
 

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Hey GI, I just joined here, and I also just joined SASS. I too am a "baby-boomer" who loves the westerns. I have been invited to and attended a couple shoots as a guest, and I tell you, get your Dad involved if you can! Also, I use two 51 Navy replicas for my pistols, if he's never fired one he'll REALLY dig that! If you go that route, clean a blackpowder weapon with VINEGAR based Windex, and it's a BREEZE, I got lucky and got tipped off to that one early.
 

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As I own both the 45LC and 454 Casull in lever gun I can atest that the 45LC is a super Lever action round for both Plinking and Hunting! My Win 94 is "Wissel Pig" accurate out to 150Yds- For those who don't know that is a western ground vermin! That's a 6" tall by 2" wide target! And most of the time all you see is 2x2" head! Now for some big game hunting like elk/deer or bear 300gr-325gr at 1700-1800 fps and you got a 100-125 yds thumper that will plant them where you shoot them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
smokinhydes1 said:
Hey GI, I just joined here, and I also just joined SASS. I too am a "baby-boomer" who loves the westerns. I have been invited to and attended a couple shoots as a guest, and I tell you, get your Dad involved if you can! Also, I use two 51 Navy replicas for my pistols, if he's never fired one he'll REALLY dig that! .
I've seriously been contemplating that. Maybe soon!

As I own both the 45LC and 454 Casull in lever gun I can atest that the 45LC is a super Lever action round for both Plinking and Hunting! My Win 94 is "Wissel Pig" accurate out to 150Yds- For those who don't know that is a western ground vermin! That's a 6" tall by 2" wide target! And most of the time all you see is 2x2" head! Now for some big game hunting like elk/deer or bear 300gr-325gr at 1700-1800 fps and you got a 100-125 yds thumper that will plant them where you shoot them!
Do you have any companion revolvers?
 

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As in the North American Arms? No, my wife carries a regular .22 in her purse but I don't have one of the BP ones. I can tell you that little revolver is pretty amazing in its quality, fit and function. And that little bitty barrel actually puts the round where you point it within reasonable range.
 

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The 45Colt is a great round for the rifle either as a companion for a revolver in the same chambering or as a stand alone hunting or plinking arm.
I am a CAS competitor and have used 45Colt as my main caliber since I first started shooting in 1985. When I went to my first match, I hand all three arms needed, but unfortunately I only a Winch 94 in .30-30. No go.
I borrowed a rifle for a couple of matches and then bought a Rossi in .38/.357Mag. I soon found that at the modest velocities required to prevent damage to the steel targets, (Real reason for "cowboy loads") the .38/.357 wasn't much fun; it's bang was so much less than the revolver!
I then bought a used Uberti 1873 Rifle from a friend and haven't looked back. I also now have a EMF/Rossi Model 92 Short Rifle in .45Colt.
While I might agonize over the authenticity of my spurs, chaps, holsters, etc. the actual caliber of my match arms is immaterial. I know others may find that a sticking point, but I've don't recall ever being told, that "sorry, your rifle isn't authentic enough to play our game."
I have had folks ask about my choice for a rifle. Some mention that an '73 was never chambered in .45Colt and why did I choose to go with a non-authentic chambering. The answer is simple: I was set up to reload .45Colt on my progressive press already and didn't feel the need to set up for another cartridge.
The Winch '73 and Colt SAAs are strictly for CAS. I've got others for hunting. The 92 clone in .45Colt might also be used for javelina, but haven't seen one when carrying it hunting. I'm sure it'll also be great on coyotes around the farm. Not sure I'll load ammo that'll match levels safe in Ruger/Contenders, as I certainly don't wanna mix up ammo that might get used in my Colt SAAs.
A .45Colt in a rifle makes good sense to me. It might not make any sense to others. And that's ok. Just as I passed on any number of Winch 94's in 32 Special as I don't see what that cartridge does that my .30-30s can do. I am certain others see it differently. Does it make sense?
Does it have to?
I'm sure that the .44-40 can do anything a .45Colt can do in either rifle or handgun, except be useable in my .45Colt SAAs. And vice versa.
As someone in an earlier reply said, it fits into the spirit of the game, and that sez enough.
Besides, they call those folks that fixate on authenticity to the brink of obsession (if not over), RE-ENACTORS, not Cowboy Action Shooters. But, hey, we have room for them in our sport, even though we won't fit into theirs!
Enjoy, shoot, and brag. :cool:
 

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Army GI
Yes I have a revolver ,SRH 454 shoots both calibers eqully well- though if I shoot a bunch of 45 LC through it I got to clean it before shooting 454's -it gets some build up in the chambers from the shorter Colts . So when I hunt with the Win 94 in 45LC the SRH is stocked with the same loads , and when the Puma is used its got 454 Casull in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think the hunting laws are stupid. You need a .44 mag or .45+P to hunt deer, yet the .44 WCF blackpowder cartridge has taken more deer only second to the .30 WCF.
 
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