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Old 02-24-2012, 02:04 PM
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Default 455 conversion to 45 auto question

On the WWI era British S&Ws made in 455 (either first or second version) what was done later to convert the cylinder to 45 acp/moons or 45 autorim? The case diameters of all these cartridges appear to be pretty close to the same diameter (.476+/- a few thou). The case/cartridge lenghts are different, however. Was the chamber just lengthened? Was the cylinder shaved to change headspace? Can you still fire 455 in a converted gun? Thanks
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:12 PM
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Default 455 to 45 acp

Randy:
The one I have, the cyl. was shaved to accept 45 acp or 45 auto rim.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:13 PM
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Tha standard modification to the 455 was to convert to 45 Auto-Rim or 45 Long Colt. The cylinder was shaved to accept the thicker rims and I think both required some chamber rework, since both casings are longer than the 455.

I am sure that you could chamber 455 in them, unless the cylinder was adapted to take moon-clips, but the chambers might be a little big, so a split case could be a possibility. Other problem is that the firing pin might not hit the primer with enough force, given it would be farther away with the shortened cylinder

Last edited by glowe; 02-24-2012 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:30 PM
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The best of the .455/.45 Colt conversions were done by deepening the chamber AND cutting a rim counterbore at the rear without shortening the cylinder. These guns will still fire the .455 without difficulty, as its rim is somewhat larger than the Colt, and using the counterbore preserves the .455's headspace. The ACP/AR conversions are usually shaved, and no longer handle the .455.

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Old 02-25-2012, 12:00 AM
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Larry has nailed it. Good description.

Bill
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:21 AM
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Too...the Bullets normally associated with present day .45 Colt, or, .45 ACP ( especially when they are Hardball ) tend to be a little too small for the Barrel Bores of the .455 S&W or Colt Revolvers.

So, if one has such an old 'Conversion' and wishes to take it seriously, it is good to measure the inside diameter of the Cylinder Bores, and, of the Barrel, to decide what diameter Bullets to be loading into one's Cartridges for it.

Mine seem to like .454 pure Lead Bullets...while, recovered .452 Hardball show barely any whisps of Rifeling impressions, so, the usual .45 ACP fare is too small for mine...and, this even hold true often enough for the .45 ACP Pistols as such - their Bores were often enough too large from the get-go for the kind of Bullets which would be normally fired in them.

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Old 02-25-2012, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Waidmann View Post
Larry has nailed it. Good description.

Bill
Yes!

Any 455 to ACP/AR conversion would still allow the use of 455 Mark II since they are slightly longer than 455 Colt. And since the case mouth would headspace on the original chamber shoulder, once faced off, the case head would extend out of the chamber slightly and have the same relationship to the firing pin for reliable ignition.

If I were to convert one to ACP/AR I'd leave a slight rim on the circumference of the cylinder face to eliminate the need for a new cylinder stop in the lower corner of the cylinder window. Or better yet recess the chambers for the AR like for the 45Colt to retain the original cylinder serial number. I could still shoot ACP individually w/o moon clips since I hate them anyway.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:57 AM
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Does anyone have experience with the conversion being done through the relieving of the recoil shield? This seems very risky to me. Would the cylinder then not need to be changed?
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:02 PM
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I've read about them done that way on this forum and it does avoid the need to modify the face of the cylinder but the chambers would still have to be lengthened if converted to 45 Colt; not so for ACP/AR.

IIRC there was discussion surmizing that if the gun was sent to the factory for the conversion, that's the way it was done.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jhvaughan2 View Post
Does anyone have experience with the conversion being done through the relieving of the recoil shield? This seems very risky to me. Would the cylinder then not need to be changed?
There was an article in an old Guns & Ammo that suggested this approach. The idea was that very little material needs to be removed from the recoil shield to convert from .455 to .45 Colt. As I recall, the article said if you're lucky, you may not have to remove any metal at all. You still had to ream out the chambers, obviously.

Of course, .45 Auto Rim would be a different story, requiring a lot more material to be removed, I do suppose.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:20 PM
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"I could still shoot ACP individually w/o moon clips since I hate them anyway."

But would .45 ACP headspace on the .455 chamber mouth?
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
"I could still shoot ACP individually w/o moon clips since I hate them anyway."

But would .45 ACP headspace on the .455 chamber mouth?
Well I've never had a shaved 455 cylinder to actually try, I'll admit. But I have shortened 45 Colt cases, primed them and fired them reliably in a 45 ACP unmodified cylinder. What that told me was that although there is excess headspace for the 45 Colt, there was enough leeway in the firing pin travel to reliably ignite them.

So when I lined up 455 Colt, 455 Mk II and ACP cartridges, with the small difference in extra length of the 455 MK II over the ACP it appeared that the leeyway in firing pin travel would ignite the ACP. Although theoretical on my part.

Hopefully someone with an unmodified 455 cylinder could drop in an ACP and see how far it sticks out when headspaced on the 455 chamber shoulder.
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:50 PM
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I don't have a S&W .455, but I do have a Webley & Scott MK V that has been converted to .45 ACP/AutoRim. I dropped in a .45 ACP and it sank slightly below the edge of the faced off cylinder.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:13 AM
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I had a fun thing happen - bought a 1914 Colt 'New Service' in .455 which the Seller said had been converted to .45 ACP and Moon Clips.

Nice old Gun, so I figured what-the-heck.

I get home, and, I find that .45 ACP and Moon Clips will not permit the Cylinder to Close.

I try .45 ACP CArtridges by themselves, and, they fit well, the Cylinder Closes well, and, I suppose they would fire fine, as their Head Space appears to be about right...but, one would have to eject them with a Pencil or something.

.45 Colt is too long.

A little time goes by, and, I am at a Gun Show and a guy has a Box of .455 Cartridges and I buy them...I get home, and, "Bingo", they fit perfectly, and, the Cylinder closes perfectly, but appearently, the old Colt Cylinder was shaved just a little, and, it does allow .45 ACP to fit with no Moon Clips, ( whether the shaving had anything to do with it or not, I do not know ) so, there is yet one more variation on the theme.

If I put a .45 ACP Cartridge into the Muzzle, so the Bullet itself is in the Bore, it goes in all they way to the Cartridge Case mouth, so, this suggests to me that again, as usual, a .45 ACP Bullet is way too small for a .455 Barrel.

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Old 02-26-2012, 03:35 AM
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Well, to be completely honest now I'm confused.

Oyeboteb, my expectation was like your experience with your New Service. If your Colt cylinder still has the serial number on the rear face, perhaps the cylinder wasn't shaved/converted at all.

And Muley Gil, I'm baffled by your experience. Your cylinder was shaved and the ACP still went all the way into the chamber. I wonder if since the 455 headspaces on the rim that the Webley's chamber shoulder has a looser tolerance than the Colts or Smiths. It would be interesting to know how far a 455 would drop in with the rim removed.

Thank you both for your test results.
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:22 AM
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Oyeboteb, I have a New Service much like yours, still in its original .455 Colt chambering. (".455 Colt" is what Colt called the cartridge; I doubt the Brits ever used that designation, but that's what Colt put on the barrel).

IIRC, I shortened some .45 Colt cases in an attempt to see if they would function without thinning the rim. I found that I could put one of these cases in a chamber and position it so it was at the lowest point (farthest away from the barrel) and I could close the cylinder just fine. The problem was, the cylinder would bind when the action was cycled. So the .45 Colt rims are just too thick, at least in my Colt.

I found that .45 ACP cartridges had excessive headspace, and that if I put them in moon clips it was impossible to close the cylinder.

My brother was kind enough to thin the rims of some .45 Colt cartridges and then shorten the cases to the correct "Mark I" length (0.890") and I use these modified cartridges for loading .455 Colt cartridges for this old war horse. It used to be possible to buy similar modified .45 Colt cases from Buffalo Arms, but I haven't been to their website in years so I can't say they are still available. Last time I went to their website, it was really hard to find anything.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:26 AM
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Ready for a long winded response????

I don’t even know just where to start when considering .455 conversions….
First, realize that nearly all .455 chambers are designed to accept either the .455 MkII cartridge or the .455 MkI cartridge (aka .455 Colt in Canada). The main dimensional difference in these rounds is case length with the MkI being longer then the MkII. The 45 ACP and 45 AR are both shorter and have a smaller head diameter than the .455 so there is no need to deepen the chamber. A .45 ACP will drop into an unmodified .455 chamber and fall .100 below the chamber mouth. (measured in a .455 TL) The difference in head diameters between the two are around .004 which can cause a little swelling of the case, but shouldn’t be a deal breaker unless loading hot rounds. (which no one should be doing in a conversion in the first place.) The .45 Colt has a slightly larger head diameter so this problem shouldn’t quite as pronounced. At the same time the .45 Colt case is longer and the chambers will need to be deepened in order to accept it.
Now we get to headspace… I can’t find what headspace is recommended for the rounds under discussion, so I am going to consider that normal headspace ranges from about .004 to .013. Anything less than .004 can cause hang-ups in cylinder rotation and anything over .013 can cause case stretching, misfires, and a whole symphony of undesirable results. (Especially with an already too small head diameter.) So, in order to accommodate the thicker rim of the .45ACP/45AR , (the AR being designed to allow its use without clips), so rim thickness can be considered the same for both cartridges. Remember the 45ACP is designed to headspace on the case mouth, not the rim. (1917 S&W had a headspace shoulder built in so one could use 45ACP without clips, but extraction had to be done with a stick. 45AR works just fine.) The .455 chamber does not have this shoulder so all headspacing is dependent on the rim of the case. This means that something will have to give to get either the 45ACP/AR or the 45 Colt to fit. The given remedies are shorten the cylinder, shave the standing breach (recoil plate), rebate the charge holes or a combination of the above. The various rim thicknesses are: .455 = .035, 45 Colt = .055 and the 45 ACP (w/clips)/45AR = .085. To allow use of ACP or AR will require that app. .050” of metal be removed somewhere. However this will also add .050 to the headspace requirements for the .455 which is way over the recommended max. A suggested way around this is to rebate the charge holes to allow the smaller rim diameter of the 45AR (.516) to drop in far enough to headspace and still allow the .455 rim (.535) enough cylinder face to headspace. (This will also allow the 45 Colt rim (.510) to fit if the charge hole has been deepened.) The only problem with this is that it precludes using clips on 45ACP as they will try to headspace on the same surface as the .455, which was the original problem. (Remember, no shoulder for the ACP to headspace on.) If you are willing to give up 45ACP, this is a pretty elegant solution as it doesn’t change any external dimension of the gun, the cylinder stop is still within specs, it retains the cylinder serial number, etc. The only problem is that it will add around .030” to the headspace of the .45 Colt. (The difference in rim thickness between it and the Auto Rim). This is outside the recommended range, but as long as the loads are kept in the lower range, shouldn’t cause many problems. So, if you want to keep the ability to use 45ACP in clips, it’s pretty much shave the cylinder or breech face with all of the inherent problems included, the main one of pretty much writing off safely using .455. (I suppose one could try making up some kind of a .050 “moon shim” that could be placed on the back of the cylinder and have the .455 rounds placed through it.)
Now, I have seen a few .455’s that will close on a 45 Colt rim, but they have to be loose to the point of being way out of spec as the Colt rim is .020 thicker than the .455
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:04 PM
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Great post deadin!
I will only add a couple of pics I was going to post anyway.

This of how far GI 45acp ammo drops into an un altered S&W 455 chambered cylinder.



..and a couple of a Smith 455 cylinder altered to take 45 (Long) Colt ammunition. Not a very well done job but it shows what is done in the process.
The other pic shows the fresh cut lengthened chamber w/original blued throat.
This cylinder has an 'in the white' extractor fitted. No ser#'s on either part.
Maybe some NOS parts never fitted that someone intended to make up a conversion with.


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Old 02-26-2012, 10:10 PM
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Oyeboteb, I have a New Service much like yours, still in its original .455 Colt chambering. (".455 Colt" is what Colt called the cartridge; I doubt the Brits ever used that designation, but that's what Colt put on the barrel).

IIRC, I shortened some .45 Colt cases in an attempt to see if they would function without thinning the rim. I found that I could put one of these cases in a chamber and position it so it was at the lowest point (farthest away from the barrel) and I could close the cylinder just fine. The problem was, the cylinder would bind when the action was cycled. So the .45 Colt rims are just too thick, at least in my Colt.

I found that .45 ACP cartridges had excessive headspace, and that if I put them in moon clips it was impossible to close the cylinder.

My brother was kind enough to thin the rims of some .45 Colt cartridges and then shorten the cases to the correct "Mark I" length (0.890") and I use these modified cartridges for loading .455 Colt cartridges for this old war horse. It used to be possible to buy similar modified .45 Colt cases from Buffalo Arms, but I haven't been to their website in years so I can't say they are still available. Last time I went to their website, it was really hard to find anything.

Hi Jack Flash,


What fun!


Mine says "NEW SERVICE 455 ELEY" for the Barrel Stamping text.

My Cylinder has been 'shaved' a little, and looks like it...but just what was accomplished by this, I do not know.


I think I paid like $36.00 for a Box of factory .455 Cartridges at the Gun Show, some non-ammo seller who had a few odd Boxes of this and that, and, I figured I'd save the Brass ( if I ever shoot it enough to do so, ) and, then, re-Load them.

It was not that long ago, that one could not hardly give away any .455 Colt New Service or S&W 2nd Model Hand Ejector, and no one wanted them.

I am glad I wised up enough in time to get myself one of each ( Colt, and, S&W ), just to have for fun, before they went quite so pricey as they are now.

Next time I go to the Range, I will try mine with some every day K-Mart .45 ACP Cartridges, and, see how they fire.

I expect they will fire just fine, even with their slight excess of Head Space...and even with the Bullets being too small for the Barrel and so on.

I have a few old Boxes of factory loaded .45 Auto-Rim, and, several old Boxes of factory primed Cases, and, I should dig those out and see how - or if - they fit, too.

Have you tried those with yours?
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:16 PM
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I have an S&W 2nd Mdl HE which was originally chambered for the .455 ELEY, and, which had been modified to chamber .45 Colt AND .45 ACP.

Well, golly, what is a boy or girl to do with that?

What I did, for it and for an other New Service I have, both of which have Cylinder Bores and Barrel Bores which really need something of about .454 in diameter for the Bullet...

What I did, was to modify some .45 Colt Cases, at their annular incised 'groove' at the Rim, by slightly widening and deepening the groove, for them to fit nicely into the usual Full Moon Clips, and, I loaded those Cartridges then with some nice, soft pure Lead Bullets of .454 diameter.

Well, this worked just dandy, and, looks really cool also.

As much as one may enjoy the look and convenience of the Full Moon Clip full of .45 ACP, having them in .45 Colt is just all the more fun.

Easy to do, and works like-a-charm, and, satisfied the Head Space issue of .45 Colt when just by itself, and, obliges the need for a .454-ish Bullet...and, eliminates Bullet Jump associated with the use of the .45 ACP Cartridge in Moon Clips in those Revolvers also able to chamber the .45 Colt.

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Old 02-27-2012, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Oyeboteb View Post
I have an S&W 2nd Mdl HE which was originally chambered for the .455 ELEY, and, which had been modified to chamber .45 Colt AND .45 ACP.
Well that's clever! So apparently its chambers were reamed for the 45 Colt but not long enough for the case to seat on the rim. That way the cases stuck out far enough for the headspace to be tight enough for reliable ignition when loaded separately and also enough to use your modified cases with moon clips.

And of course that was enough headspace for 45 ACP with moon clips as well. So the only option you don't have is loading ACP w/o clips and who would want to do that anyway because of the ejection issue.

That's the most brilliant solution I've ever heard of!
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:25 AM
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Ready for a long winded response????
Dean,

Bravo, I do believe we have the final word on this now, thanks to you!

Well done,
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:29 AM
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Well that's clever! So apparently its chambers were reamed for the 45 Colt but not long enough for the case to seat on the rim. That way the cases stuck out far enough for the headspace to be tight enough for reliable ignition when loaded separately and also enough to use your modified cases with moon clips.

Sorry, I was not clear on this - the condition with both these Revolvers ( the .455 S & W and the .455 Colt, but not the Colt .New Service .455 Eley I was mentioning previously, a different one I have had for ever,) is that who-ever had bored and also shaved the rear of the Cylinders to convert them from the .455 to .45 ACP/.45 Colt, did so in a way where .45 Colt fit in all the way to where the Rim was flat against the Cylinder, but when doing so, it then had quite a generous Head Space, since the Head Space between Cylinder and Recoil Shield was calculated for .45 ACP in Moon Clips.

They would fire the .45 Colt just fine, with the generous Head Space, but one day I had a Cartridge Case seperate about in it's middle, and, this seemed to me to be less than ideal.

Where, my use of .45 Colt in Moon Clips solved all the various issues, of Bullet Jump, Head Space, and, allowing me to use chubbier than usual Bullets.

Quote:
And of course that was enough headspace for 45 ACP with moon clips as well. So the only option you don't have is loading ACP w/o clips and who would want to do that anyway because of the ejection issue.
Yes, in those two Revolvers, .45 ACP with no Moon Clips would not work well or would not work at all...as the Cartridge would dive down into the Cylinder Chamber doo deeply for the Firing Pin to reach! Lol...

Quote:
That's the most brilliant solution I've ever heard of!

Thank you!

I know I had some images of the .45 Colt in full Moon Clips, but I have not been able to find where I had put them.


The "New Service 455 Eley" I recently got, who's Cylinder has been shaved, but, whose Cylinder Chambers appear to be original in depth and undisturbed...now, it looks like it will manage .45 ACP without Moon Clips, and, maybe, that is what it was modified/shaved to do.

It's Cylinder will not close with .45 ACP in Moon Clips, and, of course, will not abide .45 Colt, either since it does not fit in near far enough...though it still abides .455 Eley perfectly, if possibly with just a teeeeeeny bit more Headspace than originally intended, but not sos much as one could notice by looking, for having had it's Cylinder shaved a little.


So, as our excellent Thread is showing, there are quite a few ways in which these originally .455 S&W and Colt Revolvers had been 'converted', and, it can take a while to get them figured out.


I will post an image showing this sometime soon.

Last edited by Oyeboteb; 02-27-2012 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Oyeboteb View Post
Hi Jack Flash,

... Mine says "NEW SERVICE 455 ELEY" for the Barrel Stamping text.
...
I think I paid like $36.00 for a Box of factory .455 Cartridges at the Gun Show, some non-ammo seller who had a few odd Boxes of this and that, and, I figured I'd save the Brass ( if I ever shoot it enough to do so, ) and, then, re-Load them.
...
Next time I go to the Range, I will try mine with some every day K-Mart .45 ACP Cartridges, and, see how they fire.
...
I have a few old Boxes of factory loaded .45 Auto-Rim, and, several old Boxes of factory primed Cases, and, I should dig those out and see how - or if - they fit, too.

Have you tried those with yours?
My face is red. Mine says ".455 Eley" on the barrel just like yours. I have some Dominion (Canadian) brass headstamped ".455 Colt" which somehow caused me to get confused. (On occasion, I do get confused ).

$36 for a box of .455 cartridges is not bad. Are they Fiocchi? If so, I'll bet they are Mark II. If instead it is British service .455, they are almost certainly Berdan primed and very corrosive.

I would caution against trying to shoot unclipped .45 ACP in your revolver. I did this and I found out it was pretty reckless of me. The first one would go off ok, but the recoil would cause the other five to sink deeper into their chambers, so the next one would not fire. Worst case, your firing pin may just barely touch the primer of the second one and cause a hang fire. It goes without saying that this could be disasterous if you are engaged in some kind of rapid fire exercise. In other words, don't do it!

If .45 Colt will not function in my revolver because the rim is too thick, then naturally the even thicker rimmed .45 Auto Rim wouldn't either.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:49 PM
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My face is red. Mine says ".455 Eley" on the barrel just like yours. I have some Dominion (Canadian) brass headstamped ".455 Colt" which somehow caused me to get confused. (On occasion, I do get confused ).

Ahhh, welcome to the Club!

Lol...

The only people I have ever known who did not make mistakes or get a little confused now and then, were people in a Coma, and, for all I know, they still made mistakes or got confused, but in that situation, no one else would have been able to tell, and, they did not seem to have anything to say about it either, so...


Quote:
$36 for a box of .455 cartridges is not bad. Are they Fiocchi? If so, I'll bet they are Mark II. If instead it is British service .455, they are almost certainly Berdan primed and very corrosive.
I just had a look, and the Box of Cartridges are 'Hornady', Mk-II, 265 Grain Lead.

Now that I am looking at the Box, I am not sure that I was correct about what I paid, not that it matters, but, I think it was more like 20-something, as it is a 25 Round Box.

I bought some other Ammo that day, which was like $36.00 and I was getting those two mixed up.

Buck-a-round is about the upper limits of where I can retain any enthusiasm about buying Pistol Ammo I think.

Quote:
I would caution against trying to shoot unclipped .45 ACP in your revolver. I did this and I found out it was pretty reckless of me. The first one would go off ok, but the recoil would cause the other five to sink deeper into their chambers, so the next one would not fire. Worst case, your firing pin may just barely touch the primer of the second one and cause a hang fire. It goes without saying that this could be disasterous if you are engaged in some kind of rapid fire exercise. In other words, don't do it!
Oh! Yipes! - thanks for the mention/caution on that. That does not sound like fun at all.

I will proceed with this in mind then, and, likely just load two rounds, and, after firing the first, I will inspect the positioning of the second before continuing.


Quote:
If .45 Colt will not function in my revolver because the rim is too thick, then naturally the even thicker rimmed .45 Auto Rim wouldn't either.
Ahhhh...makes sense...


I need to find my old Boxes of Auto-Rim so I can try those in mine. But, I am now thinking they shall be too fat in the Head for this Revolver, just as they are with yours, since .45 ACP in Moon Clips clearly prevent the Cylinder closing on this particular one of mine.

Where, so far, it seems like the 'conversion' or modification in my instance, was to permit the use of un-Moon-clipped .45 ACP, since, nothing else so far appears to fit! ( Other than .455 Mk-something-or-other Cartridges proper, or, .450 Adams I suppose, or .476 Enfield, or their likes, since they were all the same diameter and varies by length by only a little, Lol...).

Cylinder Chambers are a little deeper than the .455 Mk-II Cartridge Case length is long, and, the 'step' is not a 90 degee one, but, rather, is a little softened or rounded in it's way.


So, I will see if .45 ACP by itself drifts or sinks into the Chambers from recoil, or, not...I am not even sure just what the .45 ACP is locating on, since it also is a little shy in Case length to meet the actual position of the 'step'...and that then will help decide what the 'conversion' had accomplished ( if it had in fact accomplished anything beyond making the rear of the Cylinder appear a little 'shaved' ).

Last edited by Oyeboteb; 02-27-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:31 AM
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... I will proceed with this in mind then, and, likely just load two rounds, and, after firing the first, I will inspect the positioning of the second before continuing.
...
Good Luck. I would still advise against it.

At least ponder the following quotation first. My life has been a testament to its veracity.

"Good judgement is the result of experience.
Experience usually results from bad judgement."
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:36 AM
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My two cents worth. A Deputy friend had a Webley in 455 and mentioned that he'd like to shoot it, but couldn't find any ammo. I checked and both Hornady and Fiocchi make 455 ammo, expensive as it is. While checking, I noticed that Graf and Sons had new Fiocchi 455 brass at a good price and ordered 100 along with a set of Lee 455 dies. I loaded the rounds with 250 grain cast 45 colt bullets over a mild charge of TrailBoss. I presented him with the ammo, which he later claimed a kill on a charging armadillo. I patted myself on the back for a job well done. Later he announced that no more of the rounds would fire, so I got the Webley to check it out. It dawnwd on me that the revolver may have been modified to shoot 45ACP with moon clips. I secured the loaded moon clip in my M325 and it dropped right in. I then fired 66 rounds in 11 loaded moon clips loaded with 225 cast bullets(45ACP) with no problem. I cleaned and returned the revolver with an explanation of what happened. He's not a fan of moon clips, so I guess I'll have to get 100 auto rim brass and load him some conventional ammo. The point is, at least in this Webley, the cylinder had been shaved enough that the firing pin would not reliably strike the 455 rounds with their thin rims. Also, If I ever find an unmodified 455 1st or 2nd model S&W I would grab it up and shoot 455 reloads. BTW, the 455 is the same length as the 45 GAP. History sometimes does repeat it self. Bob!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Roadranger View Post
BTW, the 455 is the same length as the 45 GAP. History sometimes does repeat it self. Bob!!
That's another interesting tidbit.

This thread should be a "Sticky".
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:52 PM
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Good Luck. I would still advise against it.

At least ponder the following quotation first. My life has been a testament to its veracity.

"Good judgement is the result of experience.
Experience usually results from bad judgement."
Oh... no worries!

I tried Thumb-pressing the .45 ACP Cartridges in the Cylinder Bores of the New Service .455 Eley, and pressing pretty hard, I could not get them to go in any farther than where they drop in to, nor any farther than a still acceptable Head Space.

Seen here, is one round of .45 ACP, and, one of .455 Webley -





A side view, from the side, showing the same two rounds but with the Cylinder closed -




Looking into the empty Chambers -




The Revolver in question, itself -



Last edited by Oyeboteb; 02-28-2012 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:05 PM
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Don't rely on the forward edge of a 455 chamber to reliably headspace any round. It was never intended to. It isn't cut to a square edge as in a 45acp or 9mmL.
Chamber specs are very different from it's cartridge specs and reading the latter and expecting the former can lead to trouble.

The Webley conversions in particular can be very nicely done,,or can be almost brutal to look at.
These revolvers were done by the thousands as cheaply and quickly as possible just so they could market them in the USA to sell for $12 out of a magazine ad.
Small individual workshops were the primary source of the conversion work.

Some are way out of spec w/ excessive headspace w/the 45acp/AR.
It pays to do a bit of measuring before shooting these.
Headspace in a revolver is just as important from a safety standpoint as any other firearm


IMHO, avoid commercial 45acp ammo in the conversions.
Webley cylinders of any Mark are like finding a diamond in the desert now. Damaging a cylinder on one pretty much leaves you with a parts gun. Once in a while you can find a cylinder though but you pay dearly.
I have the remains of a couple I've replaced for people over the years, the rest were gone. All from commercial 45acp ammo.

I wouldn't shoot the stuff in a S&W 455 converted either, but that's just old conservative me. I don't think the 455 had the same heat treat as the 1917,,but I could be wrong.

Take it easy on 'em,,their around 100yrs old or more and most have been through a couple of wars,,at least.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Roadranger View Post
My two cents worth. A Deputy friend had a Webley in 455 and mentioned that he'd like to shoot it, but couldn't find any ammo. I checked and both Hornady and Fiocchi make 455 ammo, expensive as it is. While checking, I noticed that Graf and Sons had new Fiocchi 455 brass at a good price and ordered 100 along with a set of Lee 455 dies. I loaded the rounds with 250 grain cast 45 colt bullets over a mild charge of TrailBoss. I presented him with the ammo, which he later claimed a kill on a charging armadillo. I patted myself on the back for a job well done. Later he announced that no more of the rounds would fire, so I got the Webley to check it out. It dawnwd on me that the revolver may have been modified to shoot 45ACP with moon clips. I secured the loaded moon clip in my M325 and it dropped right in. I then fired 66 rounds in 11 loaded moon clips loaded with 225 cast bullets(45ACP) with no problem. I cleaned and returned the revolver with an explanation of what happened. He's not a fan of moon clips, so I guess I'll have to get 100 auto rim brass and load him some conventional ammo. The point is, at least in this Webley, the cylinder had been shaved enough that the firing pin would not reliably strike the 455 rounds with their thin rims. Also, If I ever find an unmodified 455 1st or 2nd model S&W I would grab it up and shoot 455 reloads. BTW, the 455 is the same length as the 45 GAP. History sometimes does repeat it self. Bob!!

Hi Roadranger,


Thanks for the mention of Graf & Sons carrying .455 Brass.


Too bad the .45 GAP does not have a rim!


Isn't there some shorter Cowboy Action round in .45 which came out awhile back? Same diameter as .45 Colt, but shorter?
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2152hq View Post
Don't rely on the forward edge of a 455 chamber to reliably headspace any round. It was never intended to. It isn't cut to a square edge as in a 45acp or 9mmL.
Chamber specs are very different from it's cartridge specs and reading the latter and expecting the former can lead to trouble.

The Webley conversions in particular can be very nicely done,,or can be almost brutal to look at.
These revolvers were done by the thousands as cheaply and quickly as possible just so they could market them in the USA to sell for $12 out of a magazine ad.
Small individual workshops were the primary source of the conversion work.

Some are way out of spec w/ excessive headspace w/the 45acp/AR.
It pays to do a bit of measuring before shooting these.
Headspace in a revolver is just as important from a safety standpoint as any other firearm


IMHO, avoid commercial 45acp ammo in the conversions.
Webley cylinders of any Mark are like finding a diamond in the desert now. Damaging a cylinder on one pretty much leaves you with a parts gun. Once in a while you can find a cylinder though but you pay dearly.
I have the remains of a couple I've replaced for people over the years, the rest were gone. All from commercial 45acp ammo.

I wouldn't shoot the stuff in a S&W 455 converted either, but that's just old conservative me. I don't think the 455 had the same heat treat as the 1917,,but I could be wrong.

Take it easy on 'em,,their around 100yrs old or more and most have been through a couple of wars,,at least.
Yeah, makes sense..!

As for me, I have no desire to shoot .45 ACP in my New service .455 Eley, other than to try a couple rounds to see if it works.

In mine, .45 ACP and Moon Clips will not permit the Cylinder to close, and, .45 Colt is too long to fit.

The Cylinder has been shaved a little, and, it is difficult to understand why, or, what purpose it had served.

.45 ACP, especially Hardball, is a loussy choice for these anyway, as the Bullet is then way too small to properly occupy the Cylinder Bore, or to ever engauge the Rifeling well, as well as causing a somewhat spikey pressure once slamming awkwardly in to the Forcing Cone, compared to the relative friendlyness of ( ideally, properly sized/diameter ) Lead, so, fooey on the .45 ACP for these, indeed.

I will guess that the 'Heat Treatment' supposedly done to the Cylinders of the Model 1917 S&W and Colt Revolvers, was not done for the .455 Models, as well as that, both Companys were selling quite a lot of their .455 Revolvers to the UK by 1914, and, of course, the Model of 1917 was still more or less three years away at that time, so...I would not expect the .455s to have had 'Heat Treated' Cylinders.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:37 PM
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..'Isn't there some shorter Cowboy Action round in .45 which came out awhile back? Same diameter as .45 Colt, but shorter?'


45 Schofield
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
45 Schofield
Not short enough..
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:32 PM
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No, not the old Shoefield or Frankfurt shorter version of the .45 Colt...something new, some Cowboy Action round...

.45 Colt Case diameter but shorter than those two, and, a lot shorter than .45 Colt proper.

Maybe I dreamt it?? Lol...just seems like I remember hearing about it and I payed no attention at the time other than noting it.

Last edited by Oyeboteb; 02-28-2012 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:00 PM
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".45 Cowboy Special"

http://www.cowboy45special.com/siteb...on-205x171.jpg


http://www.cowboy45special.com/


.895 Inches in length.


Sounds like it might fit fine and get along well in some of our erstwhile .455s...or, depending on one's Head Space as per Cylinder to Frame condition, anyway.

But, this is mostly academic, ( or maybe suitable to odd-ball ones like mine where the Cylinder was shaved a little, but, nothing else was changed ) since honest to goodness .455 Webley/Eley Brass is available from Graf & Sons, as per Roadranger's above mention.

Last edited by Oyeboteb; 02-28-2012 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:18 PM
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Oyeboteb, that Cowboy Action Shooting round your thinking of is the 45 Cowboy Special made by a cowboy by the name of Adirondack Jack. The dimensions are those of a .45Colt shortened to 45acp length. It has the case capacity of a 45acp and uses the same loading data. It was intended to solve ignition problems that happen when you put a little bit of powder in that huge 45Colt case; which it does superbly. I think Jack has Starline make the brass and it stands up well to reloading. How do its dimensions compare to the .455 cartridge ?
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paladinpainter View Post
Oyeboteb, that Cowboy Action Shooting round your thinking of is the 45 Cowboy Special made by a cowboy by the name of Adirondack Jack. The dimensions are those of a .45Colt shortened to 45acp length. It has the case capacity of a 45acp and uses the same loading data. It was intended to solve ignition problems that happen when you put a little bit of powder in that huge 45Colt case; which it does superbly. I think Jack has Starline make the brass and it stands up well to reloading. How do its dimensions compare to the .455 cartridge ?
I have not found the technical dimensions yet for the .45 Cowboy Special Cartridge, other than it's length, but, I assume it would be the same as .45 Colt for diameter.

However, it does appear to pressume the use of a .452 Bullet, which is about .003 to small thereabouts...so...if all else were a 'go', one could easily form-fire it and or widen the upper half of it a little bit on a Re-Loading Press with the right die, and, then load a proper .455 Bullet.


Anyway, here's some fun and interesting info on the .455 Cartridge(s) -


I used to have a link to technical images showing all the dimensions of the various .455 Webley and .476 Enfield Pistol Cartridges, but I do not know where it is now.

introto455

Last edited by Oyeboteb; 02-28-2012 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:13 PM
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Back in the early '70s, I only owned two cartridge handguns: a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt and a Webley MK IV in .455. Don't know how I did it, but I was able to deepseat SWC bullets in .45 Colt brass and fire these in the Webley, using reduced powder loads, of course. I guess the headspace was a little slack at the caseheads.

Later, I found loaded CIL .455 ammo and used .45 ACP dies to reload the round.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Back in the early '70s, I only owned two cartridge handguns: a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt and a Webley MK IV in .455. Don't know how I did it, but I was able to deepseat SWC bullets in .45 Colt brass and fire these in the Webley, using reduced powder loads, of course. I guess the headspace was a little slack at the caseheads.

Later, I found loaded CIL .455 ammo and used .45 ACP dies to reload the round.

Hi Muley Gil,


Someone may have bored the 'step' out of the Cylinder Chambers/Bores, Bored them straight through to the same diameter as their Chamber portion then...since, the .455 Cylinder should have had a 'step' occuring roughly where the end or mouth of the Cartridge Case would be or a little past that anyway, thus incidentally preventing any longer Cartridge Cases from being chambered.


But, thinking on all these things now also leads me to want to review the respective rated or 'SAAMI' Pressures for the .455 Webley Cartridge, and, the .45 ACP.

If memory serve, 'SAAMI' Pressure allowance for .45 ACP is around 21,000 PSI.


Does anyone have data for the WWI era and there-after .455 Cartridge?


I am thinking it is likely around 16-18,000, but, this is just-a-guess...and it may not be as high as that.

Be nice to know, especially as regard or in respect for the British Revolvers.

Last edited by Oyeboteb; 02-28-2012 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:31 PM
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13,000psi, I think.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ddixie884 View Post
13,000psi, I think.


If so, then, indeed, .45 ACP would be truely unkind...and or would be well over 'Proof Load' even.
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