Author Topic: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum  (Read 3027 times)

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Offline Bladeforger

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Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« on: April 11, 2010, 02:22:54 pm »
Even though a 45-70 is on the short list, a nice otagonal barrel Marlin 1894 cowboy is on the "shorter list". Probably Christmas.

Now I'm trying to decide between the 45 (Long) Colt and the 44 Magnum. Considerations are that the lever will be accompanied by a sixgun in the same cartridge and that I want to be able to load up both complementary loads (function fine in both the rifle and the pistol) and hotter loads for the rifle only.

I'm guessing, and hope some of y'all know, that the Marlin in 45 Colt can handle the same pressures as the Marlin in 44 Magnum--something that gets a 220 to 240 grain boolit with a gas check going to somewhere around 1900 to 2000 fps. Is that right?

What other considerations are there in deciding? By the way, pistol to accompany would almost certainly be the Blackhawk or a Bisley Vaquero, but I'd be open to suggestion there, too, except for the Redhawk. (Want single action not double action even though the Redhawk will handle over 50,000 CUP.)

If Elmer Keith were alive, I'm sure he'd vote for the 44.  Paco Kelly would say 45 Long Colt.

What do you say?

Keith

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Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« on: April 11, 2010, 02:22:54 pm »
 

Offline kynardsj

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnuam
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 03:21:34 pm »
I'm a 45 LC kind of guy. If you reload you can do what you want with either but I still lean toward the 45.
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Offline Lurker

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnuam
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 03:55:14 pm »
Even though a 45-70 is on the short list, a nice otagonal barrel Marlin 1894 cowboy is on the "shorter list". Probably Christmas.

Now I'm trying to decide between the 45 (Long) Colt and the 44 Magnum. Considerations are that the lever will be accompanied by a sixgun in the same cartridge and that I want to be able to load up both complementary loads (function fine in both the rifle and the pistol) and hotter loads for the rifle only.

I'm guessing, and hope some of y'all know, that the Marlin in 45 Colt can handle the same pressures as the Marlin in 44 Magnum--something that gets a 220 to 240 grain boolit with a gas check going to somewhere around 1900 to 2000 fps. Is that right?

What other considerations are there in deciding? By the way, pistol to accompany would almost certainly be the Blackhawk or a Bisley Vaquero, but I'd be open to suggestion there, too, except for the Redhawk. (Want single action not double action even though the Redhawk will handle over 50,000 CUP.)

If Elmer Keith were alive, I'm sure he'd vote for the 44.  Paco Kelly would say 45 Long Colt.

What do you say?

Keith

I would say do what ever flops your mop... I have both 44 Magnum, and 45 Colt (not long Colt), in rifle and pistol...

The main thing to do is choose a bullet style that feeds well in your rifle.

Bill

Offline Bladeforger

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2010, 04:19:12 pm »
I'm a 45 LC kind of guy. If you reload you can do what you want with either but I still lean toward the 45.
Thanks for the reply, kynards!

What makes you lean toward the 45?  

With regard to reloading to what you want, have you loaded anything for the 45 that is up at the top end of velocity?  Like 1900-2000 fps out of a rifle?  If so, did you see any signs of excessive pressure?

Thanks,
Keith

Offline cwlongshot

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnuam
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2010, 04:32:31 pm »
If your gonna hunt with it. and if your gonna load for it, hands down 45 Colt!!  If not the 44 mag will suit you just fine.

Even if loaded they are quite simular, but the 45 Colt will handle heavier bullets better. I prefer the heavier bullets. The 45 Colt in a good strong action can be loaded to surpass "full house" 44mags loads.

CW
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Offline Bladeforger

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2010, 04:44:17 pm »

I would say do what ever flops your mop... I have both 44 Magnum, and 45 Colt (not long Colt), in rifle and pistol...

The main thing to do is choose a bullet style that feeds well in your rifle.

Bill
I just knew I'd get my hand slapped for the word, "Long".  ;D  

So, okay, since you have both... maybe both in the leverguns... and maybe maybe maybe both in a Marlin lever... which one would you grab first?  And why?  

I was reading an article by Steve Lee, http://www.leverguns.com/articles/lee_marlin44.htm "Magnum Marlin, My .44 caliber friend", and he says that the .44 Magnum is his rifle to grab first.  However, most of what he says in the article could/might apply to the .45 Colt just as well as to the .44 Mag.  

Probably some of the SASS / cowboy action shooters have one or the other as a favorite, but there again, most of the cowboy action shooting is done with tamer loadings... which I'd be shooting myself for plinking or casual target practice and fun.  After all, most of our shooting is, indeed, for fun.  I've even been thinking to go out to the range and see what this cowboy action is all about.  

Just thinking that some more businesslike loads are good to have, too, and that is a consideration.  Logically, both cartridges ought to be able to run out some hot loads from the Marlin, but I wanted to be sure on that one as well--case strength is a limiting factor on the .45 Colt I think. (?)  Certainly the Colt has it all over the .44 Magnum for nostalgia and history...

Keith

Offline Bladeforger

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2010, 04:47:51 pm »
If your gonna hunt with it. and if your gonna load for it, hands down 45 Colt!!  If not the 44 mag will suit you just fine.

Even if loaded they are quite simular, but the 45 Colt will handle heavier bullets better. I prefer the heavier bullets. The 45 Colt in a good strong action can be loaded to surpass "full house" 44mags loads.

CW
Whoa!  Really!!  Okay, this is the kind of stuff I was wondering about.  What kind of velocity and bullet weights are we talking about, CW?  And, yes, I definitely reload.
Keith

Offline kynardsj

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2010, 05:27:19 pm »
Yeah I call them Long Colt too. I have loaded some 250 grain Hornady XTP's over 25.5 grains of Lilgun. From a revolver they're supposedly running 1410 fps. Add 300 fps or so from a rifle and they're scooting. I shot them in my 454 Casull rifle and they were pleasant but were quite a handfull in a 4 5/8 inch Blackhawk. No particular reason for liking the 45 better, just do. I've had 44 mags too that hand loaded shot mild or wild so I guess it's a nostalgia thing.
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Offline dpe.ahoy

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2010, 05:47:31 pm »
If you want to run heavier bullets, the 44 Marlin has the 1 in 38" twist that may not be as accurate, or it may shoot fine, some do some don't.  The 45 colt has a faster twist, both will handle Ruger/TC loads easy.  DP
Handi's:22Shot, 22LR, 2-22Mag, 22Hornet, 5-223, 2-357Max, 44 mag, 2-45LC, 7-30 Waters, 7mm-08, 280, 25-06, 30-30, 30-30AI, 444Marlin, 45-70, AND 2-38-55s, 158 Topper 22 Hornet/20ga. combo;  Levers-Marlins:Two 357's, 44 mag, 4-30-30s, RC-Glenfields 36G-30A & XLR, 3-35 Rem, M-375, 2-444P's, 444SS, 308 MX, 338Marlin MXLR, 38-55 CB, 45-70 GS, XS7 22-250 and 7mm08;  BLR's:7mm08, 358Win;  Rossi: 3-357mag, 44mag, 2-454 Casull; Winchesters: 7-30 Waters, 45Colt Trapper; Bolt actions, too many;  22's, way too many.  Who says it's an addiction?

Offline cwlongshot

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2010, 06:01:48 pm »
My favorite load for the Long Colt is WW296 powder, a CCI 350 primer and a 300Gr bullet. Exits my 10 Contender at just shy of 1300fps and better then 1600fps from my 16" Marlin and almost 1700 from my 20" Marlin!! This load has shot length wise threw two different deer!! the first time the bullet was recovered just under the hide at the rump and the second it was gone! I like SPEERS 300SP, but its a bit fragile @ top velocities. Sierra's 300 is better but too long for the Marlins action. Speer makes a 454 spec 300 GD bullet that really shoots well.

CW
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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2010, 08:36:50 pm »
I would never want to chance droppping at +P. 45lc +P load in a SA revolver.

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2010, 08:50:35 pm »
http://www.go2gbo.com/forums/index.php/topic,196009.0.html  This is a link to " ask Veral Smith". Same topic with cast bullet info. Lots of comments plus Veral's insight.
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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2010, 08:52:38 pm »
You really need to read Paco Kelly's webpage on the 45Colt rifle - a great read and I printed it out for research fodder - http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/45coltlevergun.htm

Oh, and it's title is "45 (long) Colt in Leveraction Rifles" because he has a full box of "45 Short Colt" produced in 1883 and no, they are not Schofield...but read his article. It answers most of your questions.
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Offline southernutah

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2010, 10:23:11 pm »
Just personal preference I started with a 44 mag pistol. A lot are in to classic firearms and go with the 45 LC.

Offline Bladeforger

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2010, 06:37:33 am »
Thanks to EVERYONE who has replied, and I appreciate the useful information!!

My favorite load for the Long Colt is WW296 powder, a CCI 350 primer and a 300Gr bullet. Exits my 10 Contender at just shy of 1300fps and better then 1600fps from my 16" Marlin and almost 1700 from my 20" Marlin!! This load has shot length wise threw two different deer!! the first time the bullet was recovered just under the hide at the rump and the second it was gone! I like SPEERS 300SP, but its a bit fragile @ top velocities. Sierra's 300 is better but too long for the Marlins action. Speer makes a 454 spec 300 GD bullet that really shoots well.

CW
THANKS, CW!!!
If you want to run heavier bullets, the 44 Marlin has the 1 in 38" twist that may not be as accurate, or it may shoot fine, some do some don't.  The 45 colt has a faster twist, both will handle Ruger/TC loads easy.  DP

Aha!  I was wondering about the 1 in 16 twist, if I'm remembering it right, and what difference that would make.  Given the .452 of the .45 versus the .429 of the .44 I wasn't sure...

I would never want to chance droppping at +P. 45lc +P load in a SA revolver.
Except one that I knew could handle it, me neither.  Since I currently do NOT have a revolver in either caliber (a shame, I know) then you can bet that the pistol I'll get to accompany the rifle will be up to the hottest loads I'd put in the rifle--even if it might not be fun to hold.  A sore hand is one thing, but shrapnel in the face is another. 

Bill Ruger's Blackhawk will handle up to 50,000 CUP with safety margin to spare according to writers who have spoken to the engineers.  I had a Blackhawk in .357 that I had to sell some years back to cover a crummy run of crummy income months.  Since then, I keep a pad of savings to cover "them thangs" and buy the guns more slowly--can't part with good friends like that easily.  I never replaced the Blackhawk because it was too obviously overkill for the .357.  For what I'm wanting in a .44 or .45 (leaning now heavily to the .45), the Blackhawk will be perfect.

You really need to read Paco Kelly's webpage on the 45Colt rifle - a great read and I printed it out for research fodder - http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/45coltlevergun.htm

Oh, and it's title is "45 (long) Colt in Leveraction Rifles" because he has a full box of "45 Short Colt" produced in 1883 and no, they are not Schofield...but read his article. It answers most of your questions.
I see why you printed it!  I just printed it, too!

Thanks, again, everyone!  I'll go read the Veral thread tonight!

Keith

Offline billy_56081

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2010, 07:19:48 am »
If you own a standard revolver in 45 colt having ruger level handloads around can be bad news.
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Offline Lloyd Smale

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2010, 05:47:03 am »
I went with the cult thing and the 45 colt for years. Never saw what it did that my 44 mags didnt do just as well and ive allways had better luck finding accurate 44s then 45s and that includes lever guns. For all practical purposes though its a toss up. About like trying to claim either the 270 or 280 is the better of the two rounds. (everyone knows the 280 is ;) )
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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2010, 09:36:20 am »
Considerations are that the lever will be accompanied by a sixgun in the same cartridge and that I want to be able to load up both complementary loads (function fine in both the rifle and the pistol) and hotter loads for the rifle only.

Sounds like you know what you're doing, but I've just got to stick my nose in.  Be very carefull with using different strength loads for two different guns of the same chambering.  If the stronger load is too hot for the weakest gun, Murphy Law says that it will eventually find its way into said gun.  You probably know this, but just a reminder. :)

By the way, I have a Puma and a Blackhawk in 45 Colt, and love the combination.
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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2010, 10:41:59 am »

Now I'm trying to decide between the 45 (Long) Colt and the 44 Magnum. Considerations are that the lever will be accompanied by a sixgun in the same cartridge and that I want to be able to load up both complementary loads (function fine in both the rifle and the pistol) and hotter loads for the rifle only.

I'm guessing, and hope some of y'all know, that the Marlin in 45 Colt can handle the same pressures as the Marlin in 44 Magnum--something that gets a 220 to 240 grain boolit with a gas check going to somewhere around 1900 to 2000 fps. Is that right?

If you are looking for a combo and guessing it would be a hunting or even cowboy action combo  I would say 44 mag.
the quote you said above of hotter loads for the rifle, has me concerned.  If you are going to have seperate ammo for each gun why get ones that share a caliber if not to use the same loads in BOTH guns?  I say 44 mag as all of the pistols rated for 44 mag can handle hot loads.
Not all 45 Colts can.  What will work in a Ruger will not work in a Colt SAA or Clone and will tear up one of the S&W No 3 clones (I have one, a neat gun).
As we all know Mr. Murphy lurks and waits for something simple like this.
And slower or lighter bullets can be loaded for the 44 to douplicate 45 colt / 44 special or a little warmer like I make.  My plinker 44 load is a 180 grain copper washed fmj bullet over blue dot to about 1,000 fps.  Using the 44 mag case to mak specials will ensure function in the rifle.
If you are going to get a handgun that can handle the higher pressure hand loads..... Flip a coin.  Heads 45 Colt.  Tails 44 Mag.  Best 3 out of 5.  ;)

Offline jimster

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2010, 02:21:18 pm »
I was always worried about the hotter 45 colt loads finding it's way into a Colt/Colt replica, even though I always tried to mark everything and keep track, I was always worried I'd mess up somehow with all those different 45 colt loads laying around, and having some revolvers that could not take it, and some that could. I decided a long time ago the 45 colt would be loaded to no more than 900 fps out of a handgun, that comes out better in rifle barrels anyways, and I was satisfied with the 45 colt being no more than that.  I also decided that if I needed higher pressure and speed I'd use a different caliber or magnum of some kind.  A 900 fps load out of a 45 colt revolver does a lot, out of a rifle barrel it will do more, and it's very mild shooting so I have come to like that.  I think if your looking for speed and more pressure, go with the magnum, any revolver chambered for that will be fine with no worries.  Far as 45 colt goes, it is my favorite for some reason, but I'm satisfied for what it is without hot rodding it too much. 
 

Offline dpe.ahoy

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2010, 08:41:20 pm »
Well Lloyd, of course the 280 is better, and for me I like the 45 better, got both.  I don't own any hand guns that are delicate in the 45, my Blackhawk and my 94 Winchester Trapper are the weak ones in my house.  DP
Handi's:22Shot, 22LR, 2-22Mag, 22Hornet, 5-223, 2-357Max, 44 mag, 2-45LC, 7-30 Waters, 7mm-08, 280, 25-06, 30-30, 30-30AI, 444Marlin, 45-70, AND 2-38-55s, 158 Topper 22 Hornet/20ga. combo;  Levers-Marlins:Two 357's, 44 mag, 4-30-30s, RC-Glenfields 36G-30A & XLR, 3-35 Rem, M-375, 2-444P's, 444SS, 308 MX, 338Marlin MXLR, 38-55 CB, 45-70 GS, XS7 22-250 and 7mm08;  BLR's:7mm08, 358Win;  Rossi: 3-357mag, 44mag, 2-454 Casull; Winchesters: 7-30 Waters, 45Colt Trapper; Bolt actions, too many;  22's, way too many.  Who says it's an addiction?

Offline cwlongshot

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2010, 04:17:27 am »
Hot loads making it into my expensive and valuable SAA's IS A CONSERN! But for me its prety easilly overcome, I ONLY load my lighter loads with lead, swc or TC bullets. The jacketed stuff is hot!

MY consern is should someone else get the wrong bullet into the wrong gun. Should I not be around any longer. I keep them clearly marked, the hot stuff gets RED boxes and CLEAR markings. SAA loads go in blue boxes and are labled for what they are. I keep a accurate log with consecutive numbers and clear labeling. NOT fool proof, but as long as I am in control of things, it works.

As stated, its not even close, the 45 is the big boy on my block...

CW
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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2010, 09:53:34 am »
Hot loads making it into my expensive and valuable SAA's IS A CONSERN! But for me its prety easilly overcome, I ONLY load my lighter loads with lead, swc or TC bullets. The jacketed stuff is hot!

MY consern is should someone else get the wrong bullet into the wrong gun. Should I not be around any longer. I keep them clearly marked, the hot stuff gets RED boxes and CLEAR markings. SAA loads go in blue boxes and are labled for what they are. I keep a accurate log with consecutive numbers and clear labeling. NOT fool proof, but as long as I am in control of things, it works.

As stated, its not even close, the 45 is the big boy on my block...

CW
I had a similar problem with a trap door and a customer about to stick a +p we were shooting through the No 3 and the 1895, in to it  After we ran out of the cowboy loads.
At that point I desided that either I need to keep all the ammo I have at trap door levels or I need to get rid of the trap door or someone is going to get hurt.

Offline 243dave

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2010, 10:17:54 am »
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but if the 45colt is loaded with some of the heavy bullets that are designed for the 454 they will be too long for the SAA replicas.  I load and hunt with the 300gr xtp mags in my 94 trapper and they appear too long to fit in the cylinder of the colt replicas when seated at the crimp.  This is another option of ensuring high pressure loads don't get into the weaker replica pistols.  Dave   

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2010, 03:39:40 am »
Do not rely on that Dave. A sammi spec 45 colt chamber is a sammi spec 45 Colt chamber... SOME throats are longer, but do not rely on a weaker action to always be short. The cylinder length on any revolver I know of, is long enough for the 300 XTP's crimped in upper cannelure, they will chamber.

CW
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Offline Bigeasy

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2010, 04:47:18 am »
I'd go for the 44 mag.  If you go 45 Colt, then, depending on your six gun (the New Vaquero will not take the pressure of the Blackhawk, or a Marlin 1894 rifle) you will need to maintain and keep separate at least 2 different loadings.  Kind of defeats the purpose of carrying a rifle and revolver in the same caliber.  Even if you buy a strong revolver, you still have to keep your loads away from other peoples six guns.  By the way, the practical killing difference between the two on game is about zero.

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Offline 243dave

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2010, 12:23:21 pm »
CW,  I use the 300gr xtp Mag, not the regular 300gr xtp with the dual crimp grooves. When crimped in its only groove they are long, too long to work in the saa.  For example my loads I shoot in my 45colt trapper(300gr xtp mags) has a OAL of 1.680" while the saa cylinders are only 1.660" long.  Its impossible to fire these rounds in the saa replicas.  Such long OAL's is a sure way to make sure the round is never fired in a saa.    Dave       

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2010, 01:52:44 pm »
CW,  I use the 300gr xtp Mag, not the regular 300gr xtp with the dual crimp grooves. When crimped in its only groove they are long, too long to work in the saa.  For example my loads I shoot in my 45colt trapper(300gr xtp mags) has a OAL of 1.680" while the saa cylinders are only 1.660" long.  Its impossible to fire these rounds in the saa replicas.  Such long OAL's is a sure way to make sure the round is never fired in a saa.    Dave       
That's good if you use the single grove 300 grainers.
But I have a movie sceen in my rain from the 80's I think it was the over the hill gang.  Well it had Art Carney and George Burns in it and  anothe older actor that I can not remember, but they borrow (steal) their nephews gun collection and the three of them are sitting at the kitchen table with a pile of different ammo and three revolvers trying bullets in the different guns to see what fits.  Figure if it fits it is right.  I would hate to see great SAA's or even replica's destroyed buy relitives and hurt trying to shoot your guns.
One of my friends was given ammo from one of his friends widow's and he was able to shoot for 5 years on that ammo.  (he knew the load) but had some of the ammo been for a different gun there could have been problems.  No matter what you write on a box it may not be read or understood.

Offline kingstrider

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2010, 09:19:54 pm »
Its funny how this argument pops up on every board sooner or later.  If you handload and cast your own bullets then the .44 gets the nod due to a larger variety of molds.  I have Marlin 1894s in both calibers and deer can't tell a difference between the two.

Offline 454Puma

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Re: Deciding between 45 Colt and 44 Magnum
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2010, 07:30:22 pm »
I"m a 45 LC guy have a SRH and a Win 94 AE in 45 LC! Don't own a 44 Mag as they are both so close it would be redundant to own both!  Now the Ruger being a 454 will handle any 45 LC load you'd want to shoot! How ever the Win 94 will NOT handle Ruger only top loads! I broke the Win 94 shooting them!  So now I keep them around the 35,000 PSI range in the Win 94 which gives you about 1700 fps loads! That is a very potent round and with a 255 gr Bullet Cast WW will shoot end to end on most animals!!! ;D
One shot , One Kill

 

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