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Old 09-07-2017, 04:11 PM
gman51 gman51 is offline
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Default 45LC and 45 ACP compare

I haven't ever shot a 45 LC and I was wondering how does it compare to shooting a 45 ACP? Which one is the hotter more powerful round? Are they basically in the same fruit basket?
I figured I could get the answer here quicker than checking Google for the answer.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:27 PM
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Hi, The ballistics of a .45 Long Colt (or .45 Colt) versus the .45 ACP is basically a wash. I hand load both with 200-240 grain jacketed bullets and both around 700-800 fps muzzle velocity; hence, the muzzle energy is about the same. In my .45 ACP revolvers, I usually shoot .45 Auto Rim loaded just like .45 ACP, but usually with a lighter 185 grain bullet for less recoil and it beats have to load moon clips.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:54 PM
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In standard velocity loads, they are essentially the same. Having much greater case capacity, and being chambered in some mighty strong revolvers (like the Ruger and Freedom Arms) and long guns, the .45 Colt can be loaded much hotter.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:57 PM
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All depends. Most 45LC and 45ACP will be roughly equal. However, if you have a Ruger, Freedom Arms, or T/C, there are +P loads that are safe to use. Example-Buffalo Bore has a +P load with a 325gr bullet at a published 1325fps.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:19 PM
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My "plinking" rounds are loaded about the same as my .45ACP rounds as I run them through clone SSA's and want to keep them mild. For my lever 92, I load them pretty warm with a hog bullet. If I wound one, I can finish them off with light load to the brain housing group
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Old 09-07-2017, 06:19 PM
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You can safely load 270-280 grain 625 loads up to the 950-1000 fps range. Brian Pearce is a good resource on doing this, he had articles in Handloading in 2002 and 2007 if you can find them. This post covers this pretty well.

Heavy Bullet .45 Colt loads for 625-6
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Old 09-07-2017, 06:26 PM
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In factory form, basically the same. In handloads, you can go way beyond the 45acp even in a Colt SAA. A 300gr LFP @ 950fps is doable in a modern Colt w/o bending anything, more in the Ruger BH.
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:53 PM
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Having shot both for many years in a variety of guns, I find the .45 ACP to be more useful overall than the .45 Colt. Both work very well with cast bullets, in fact, jacketed bullets offer no advantage in either cartridge.

From a purely practical perspective, few would shoot very heavy (270-300 grain bullets) in the ACP. However, as a trick, it's probably possible. While one can shoot very heavy bullets in the .45 Colt, the benefit of such bullets over a 255-260 Lyman #454424 or something similar would certainly be of dubious worth unless there was a significant accuracy advantage.
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Old 09-08-2017, 01:36 PM
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Back somewhere around 1905 Mr. John Browning designed the 45 ACP to mimic the 45 Colt in a semi-auto at normal pressures and it does. The 45 Colt however can be loaded with heavier bullets so that could be an advantage. Felt recoil is similar depending on the gun you are shooting.

Is there a particular reason why you are asking or just curious?
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:46 PM
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The question is hard to answer definitively because of the range of ammo available at retail. The 45ACP was intended to mimic the ballistics of 45 Colt ammo loaded in government armories or contract production.

Both cartridges are loaded to very mild levels for SASS shooters(for example) and can be loaded to very hot velocities in guns strong enough to handle the pressure(for shooting steel knockdown targets).

Lots of fun exploring the possibilities.
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:52 PM
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I was just curious about how they compare. Thanks for the responses.
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:06 PM
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I can't say positively as I've never done a comparison , but I suspect you'll find the .45 ACP autos somewhat more accurate than .45 Colt revolvers. That's not because of the cartridges, but because of the guns each cartridge is available in. That's a general statement; there are always exceptions.
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:21 PM
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45 acp,45 colt and 44 special in standard loads are basically all the same
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:23 PM
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I load my 45 colts with 255 gr slugs to about 1000 fps in a 4" barrel. Factory 45 colt ammo is kept to lower power levels because there are still lots of older 45 colts around. You not going to get that kind of velocity out of a heavy slug with an acp. You may not be able to load a S&W to the levels of one built on a super Blackhawk frame, but, they will easily handle more than factory rounds deliver. I will also dispute the accuracy of a regular 1911 vs a stock S7W revolver. Unless it is a high end or tightened up 1911 the revolver will be more accurate as well as be a lot less fussy about bullet shape and power level needed to function reliability,
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:08 PM
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the "easy answer" is to get a 625 chambered in 45 Colt and have it cut for moonclips so you can find out for yourself... I did not realize this so I ended up with a 625 in each caliber... oh well, not so bad... and like so many have stated... off the shelf ammo "feels" about the same in each...
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:52 AM
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Most loadings of the .45 Colt are on the conservative side because they will fit in guns more than 100 years old! There are loads that can be assembled that will replicate the .44 Magnum but can only be shot in modern strong long guns.

The average .45 acp is loaded with a 230 grain bullet at 850 - 890 fps. A .45 Colt is usually loaded with 250 - 255 grain bullets and can easily be loaded to 1,000 fps. So IMHO the .45 Colt is a more powerful cartridge but to make it hot you need to make sure the gun can handle it.

The .45 Colts sold commercially in the big box stores are fairly watered down for use in old tired guns. What they call a "Cowboy Loads" will do just over 650 fps out of a 4.75 - 5 1/2" " SAA. So really is matters quite a bit which load you are talking about.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:23 AM
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The significant comparison I have found is when I strap on my cartridge belt. "WARNING" DO NOT SWIM THE CREEK WITH A BELT FULL OF COLTS. Weight in the field is a major consideration. Generally a full cylinder and an ammo wallet are all that is necessary.
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
Back somewhere around 1905 Mr. John Browning designed the 45 ACP to mimic the 45 Colt in a semi-auto at normal pressures and it does. The 45 Colt however can be loaded with heavier bullets so that could be an advantage. Felt recoil is similar depending on the gun you are shooting.

Is there a particular reason why you are asking or just curious?
From what I've heard and read the truth is the 45 ACP load was developed to mimic the 45 revolver load, NOT the 45 Colt load.

Remember the Army had 2 45 revolvers in service at the same time, the SAA and the S&W Schofield. Ammo for the Schofield, 45 Schofield, was similar but shorter then 45 Colt, something like 38 Special and 357 Mag, the main difference being length.

Because 45 Schofield ammo could be used in SAA but not the other way around after the late 1880s the Army went to just one cartridge, the Schofield, as their standard issue handgun ammo.

Yes this handicapped the Colt but it also made it much easier to supply ammo in the pre-computer age.

.45 Schofield - Wikipedia
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robvious View Post
the "easy answer" is to get a 625 chambered in 45 Colt and have it cut for moonclips so you can find out for yourself... I did not realize this so I ended up with a 625 in each caliber... oh well, not so bad... and like so many have stated... off the shelf ammo "feels" about the same in each...
WOW! Talk about a timely thread!

I have an old 1917 commercial I picked up recently that has been reamed to accept 45 Colt. I've shot it with 45acp & moon clips, but I haven't tried it with 45 Colt rounds yet. I just picked up some 45 Colt brass at the gun show yesterday so I can give it a go.

I'm going to load them using my 45acp dies. I think they can be adjusted to load 45 Colt - at least I hope so. I've already set them up and resized, de-primed, flared and a couple cases and it all looks good to go.

The only thing I'm a little uncertain of is the crimping, but I'm pretty sure my Lee FCD taper-crimp die can be adjusted to work. I'd rather apply a roll crimp, but I think the taper should get the job done just fine.
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:23 PM
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Although your reamed out cylinder may accept .45 Colt cartridges, you will have excessive headspace. Headspace for a rimmed revolver cartridge is the distance from the rear of the cylinder to the recoil shield. The correct rimmed cartridge for your revolver is the thick-rimmed .45 Auto Rim cartridge. The much thinner rimmed .45 Colt cartridge may not fire properly because the firing pin may not reach the primer. Worse, the excessive headspace could lead to bulged or blown out cases.
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:28 PM
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Although your reamed out cylinder may accept .45 Colt cartridges, you will have excessive headspace. Headspace for a rimmed revolver cartridge is the distance from the rear of the cylinder to the recoil shield. The correct rimmed cartridge for your revolver is the thick-rimmed .45 Auto Rim cartridge. The much thinner rimmed .45 Colt cartridge may not fire properly because the firing pin may not reach the primer. Worse, the excessive headspace could lead to bulged or blown out cases.
Yeah, I noticed that about the headspacing due to the thin rims. I'm confident there won't be a problem with the 45 Colts not firing. The hammer nose appears to have been made a little longer to compensate - long enough that it just slightly perforates 45 acp primers. I don't plan on loading much above the minimum so I seriously doubt that there will be any blowout issues, but we'll see how well it works.
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:18 PM
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The correct way (if there is such a thing) is to rechamber the .45 ACP chamber with a .45 Colt cutter, but a little short of full depth. The rear end of the .45 Colt case sticks out slightly, preserving the proper headspace, as the .45 Colt case headspaces on the case mouth, not the case rim. This is not dangerous, except to the collector value of the revolver. I would not crimp, it is not needed for standard or lighter loadings.

The original .45 Colt and .45 Schofield cartridges were designed for black powder, and the longer case length was necessary to get the MV desired. The .45 ACP never used BP, only smokeless powder. As smokeless powder is more efficient in a smaller volume case, it wasn't at all difficult to come up with .45 ACP ballistics which were comparable to those of the .45 Colt and .45 Schofield. For all intents and purposes, the .45 ACP has equivalent ballistics to the older standard .45 Colt revolver loads.

Ballistics of the .45 Colt can be greatly improved with smokeless powder in cartridges such as the .454 Casull, but only if the revolver is designed to handle the far greater chamber pressure produced.

I load .45 Colt with a .45 ACP carbide die set, but I neck size the cases only (about 1/3d the case length), not full length. That helps case life. I also de-prime as a separate operation using a .45-70 die.

Last edited by DWalt; 10-01-2017 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 10-01-2017, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
WOW! Talk about a timely thread!

I have an old 1917 commercial I picked up recently that has been reamed to accept 45 Colt. I've shot it with 45acp & moon clips, but I haven't tried it with 45 Colt rounds yet. I just picked up some 45 Colt brass at the gun show yesterday so I can give it a go.

I'm going to load them using my 45acp dies. I think they can be adjusted to load 45 Colt - at least I hope so. I've already set them up and resized, de-primed, flared and a couple cases and it all looks good to go.

The only thing I'm a little uncertain of is the crimping, but I'm pretty sure my Lee FCD taper-crimp die can be adjusted to work. I'd rather apply a roll crimp, but I think the taper should get the job done just fine.
It can be done. I use my Hornady 45 acp dies and Lee f.c.d. and it works fine.

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Old 10-01-2017, 05:54 PM
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Thanks for the confirmation of loading the 45 Colt with my 45acp dies DWalt and Beardog. Good to hear from others who have already done it, that my theory works in practice. If I decide that I really like shooting the 45 Colts I'll probably get a set of dedicated dies for them. At this point it is just a "because I can" kind of experiment, since the old 1917 is the only thing I have that will take the 45 Colt round.
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:39 PM
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I have a pair of Colt M1909s as my only.45 Colt revolvers at present. Pretty much identical to the Colt version of the M1917 (I have one of those also) except for the chambering, both models are really Colt New Service revolvers.

Last edited by DWalt; 10-01-2017 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robvious View Post
the "easy answer" is to get a 625 chambered in 45 Colt and have it cut for moonclips so you can find out for yourself... I did not realize this so I ended up with a 625 in each caliber... oh well, not so bad... and like so many have stated... off the shelf ammo "feels" about the same in each...
Just so happens I was out this morning with my Ruger. 45 Colt was a load of 7 grains of Unique with a cast 250RNFP-45ACP was Federal 230 FMJ Match ammo from 2003 made for the Gov't. 45Colt was a nice gentle recoil, ACP was a sharper heavier recoil.
Not quite comparing apples to apples but just thought I would give my $0.02.
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Old 10-02-2017, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC38 View Post
I have an old 1917 commercial I picked up recently that has been reamed to accept 45 Colt. I've shot it with 45acp & moon clips, but I haven't tried it with 45 Colt rounds yet. I just picked up some 45 Colt brass at the gun show yesterday so I can give it a go.

I'm going to load them using my 45acp dies. I think they can be adjusted to load 45 Colt - at least I hope so. I've already set them up and resized, de-primed, flared and a couple cases and it all looks good to go.

The only thing I'm a little uncertain of is the crimping, but I'm pretty sure my Lee FCD taper-crimp die can be adjusted to work. I'd rather apply a roll crimp, but I think the taper should get the job done just fine.
While you can make the 45 ACP dies work, why? You have a very nice revolver and some brand new 45 Colt brass. Why not just get a set of 45 Colt dies so that you are sure you can produce the best ammo possible. If the ammo is not accurate what is to blame, the gun or the dies?

If price is an issue you can buy a new set of Lee 45 Colt Carbide dies for only $29.49.
Carbide : Lee Precision Carbide 3-Die Set .45 Colt

If you don't want to buy Lee RCBS has them on sale for $44.99 on Midway USA right now and the Hornady dies are $42.99
Hornady Custom Grade New Dimension Nitride 3-Die Set 45 - MPN: 546582

RCBS Carbide 3-Die Set 45 Colt (Long Colt) - MPN: 19112
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Old 10-02-2017, 08:44 PM
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While you can make the 45 ACP dies work, why? You have a very nice revolver and some brand new 45 Colt brass. Why not just get a set of 45 Colt dies so that you are sure you can produce the best ammo possible...
Looks like you must have missed post #24 above - where I specifically addressed that question

BTW, I don't have a bunch of brand new 45 Colt brass either - I picked up a box and a half worth of once-fired brass at the gun show last weekend for $10.

The gun isn't really a "nice" one either. It's previous owner had it bumper-chromed because it was rust-pitted. It's just an old shooter that I bought to play around with.

Thanks for the links to the dies. If I like how the 45 Colt rounds shoot out of the old gun I may pick up a set.

Last edited by BC38; 10-02-2017 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:49 PM
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Just in case anyone was interested, I loaded 15 rounds of 45 Colt with 230gr LRN and AA#2. I loaded 5 each with 5.5gr, 5.7gr, and 5.9gr. I used my Lee 45 ACP 4 piece die set. I was able to apply a good firm crimp with the FCD. Although it is a taper crimp die, I cranked it down a turn or so farther than usual and it produced something reasonably close to a light roll crimp.
They shot just fine. As expected, the headspacing was definitely excessive, and the rounds rattled back & forth a little in the cylinder - a little less than 1/16" or so - but firing them didn't seem to do the brass any harm. I guess the web that close to the base is thick enough to prevent it causing any damage to the brass.
Shooting them didn't seem appreciably different than shooting the 45acp rounds with the same bullet over 4.9gr of Herco. With the weight of the N-frame I guess that isn't too surprising since both loadings are in the middle of their respective ranges.

Last edited by BC38; 10-12-2017 at 11:51 PM.
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