.44 Special vs .45 Colt on whitetail deer

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David LaPell

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
979
Location
Upstate NY
Ok, most of you that know me know that I love old time cartridges. So, between the two, which would be better on whitetail deer? I have always had a warm place in my heart for both the .44 Special and the .45 Colt, but to me, there is something to be said about using a modern .44 Special like a 624 or 24-3 with a 250 grain cast Lyman #429421 behind Skeeter's old load of 7.5 grains of Unique against a whitetail buck.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
Hi,

Can you say "Ford-Chevy" boys and girls?

To me, that's all the discussions about the .44 Spl vs standard .45 Colt (or .44 Mag vs "Ruger/T-C" .45 Colt) really revolve around.

Hit Bambi in the bum w/ a "hot" .45 Colt, or in the heart w/ a "light" .44 Spl, and what happens? Hit Bambi in the heart w/ any of these four possibles, and does he die any faster or slower w/ one than the next?

I don't think so, but I know many do... and that keeps these discussions lively. Personally, I don't think Ol' Elmer would poo-poo your choice too much (even though he'd probably suggest some 2400 for fuel!) ;)

Rick C
 

c.r.

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
436
Location
Texas
my opinion is that Mr. LaPell has added a little twist to the traditional .44 vs. 45 Colt question. Oddly enough, I have a similar question rolling in my head.

If I may, I'd like to add a little to David's Post.

Let's say we have a .44 special and a .45 colt. both shooting 255 grain LSWC. Both bullets moving ~950 fps. Same length barrels. these aren't super heavy loads. very reasonable. This isn't a "can the 45Colt meet/exceed 44 mag velocities" question.

I completely agree that given a heart shot, proper placement, the animal will be dead regardless which caliber is used.

But using these reasonable recipes, which would you prefer and why? If you want to look at it, "if the shot placement was less than perfect", then go aghead.

My thought is that the edge (if any) would go to the 45Colt just for the fact it is slightly larger diameter, and i'd think would cause a larger wound channel.

David, if i'm hi-jacking your thread, please say so and I'll delete this.

Thank you,
c.r.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
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21,761
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Lake Lure NC USA
I'd choose which ever one I'm the most comfortable & accurate with. The differences in their abilities aren't enough to argue about.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
Location
Star Valley, WY
Neither load is Legal to hunt with here in Wyoming.

A "Factory Load" that produces 500 ft. lbs. at 100 yards is required. The "hot" .45 Colt handloads weren't permitted until the commercial versions finally became available.

Just my 2 cents worth....

flatgate
 

pvtschultz

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Messages
553
Location
West Allis, WI, USA
You must have some pretty tough deer in Wyoming there Flatgate! We can use any centerfire cartridge that is 22 Cal and larger (except the .410) as long as the barrel is X" long. I'm not sure as to what the length requirement is, but it isn't much.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
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Location
51st state of Jefferson
Either one can do the job under the right conditions. With factory loads, I'd give the .45 Colt an edge. Even Elmer Keith said if he was forced to shoot factory loads, he'd go with the Colt round over the .44 Spl...(before the advent of the .44 mag.) He killed a lot of game with the 40 gr black powder .45 load. Caliber comes into play with any comparison and of course a .45 cal hole is bigger than a ".43". Like John Linebaugh says, caliber is the only constant, velocity and energy diminish...
 

Sonnytoo

Blackhawk
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Aug 4, 2007
Messages
631
Location
florida
A trustworthy fellow of my acquaintance came home from his Utah elk hunt with a nice young bull elk. He shot it at 40yds broadside, the .45 colt 280-gr LSWC hard-cast broke both shoulders, a few ribs, destroyed the heart and lungs, and exited the animal on the far side. The bullet was traveling along at 1050 fps.
So with proper bullet design, hardness and meplat, you can get the job done.
Sonnytoo
 

Aggie01

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
968
Location
Texas (DFW)
Bucks Owin":23tqf3i5 said:
Like John Linebaugh says, caliber is the only constant, velocity and energy diminish...

Normally I don't weigh in on these discussion, but I need to correct this misquote.
Linebaugh's philosophy is that caliber and bullet weight are constant.

Technically, both with 255 grain bullets and and 1K fps loads, energy will remain the same until target impact. The 44 by virtue of better sectional density, will theoretically penetrate better, while the .45 will leave a bigger wound channel. (Provided that bullet contruction is similar).

I don't know how massive the whitetails you guys get to hunt are, but I know a couple trustworthy folks who will guarantee that a .22 mag in the chest will down a whitetail.
A heart shot? Probably no noticeable difference. A Texas heart shot? the .44 special may have the edge.
[/b]
 

Jayhawkhuntclub

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
1,110
Location
Kansas
Deer aren't that tough an animal. Simply make a good shot and it won't make much difference. A 38 special (probably not legal) will give you a good clean kill on a deer with the right bullet and shot placement. I wouldn't try a quartering to shot with one though.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
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Mar 22, 2004
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Location
51st state of Jefferson
Aggie01":25icumzd said:
Bucks Owin":25icumzd said:
Like John Linebaugh says, caliber is the only constant, velocity and energy diminish...

Normally I don't weigh in on these discussion, but I need to correct this misquote.
Linebaugh's philosophy is that caliber and bullet weight are constant.

Technically, both with 255 grain bullets and and 1K fps loads, energy will remain the same until target impact. The 44 by virtue of better sectional density, will theoretically penetrate better, while the .45 will leave a bigger wound channel. (Provided that bullet contruction is similar).

I
[/b]
You're right, and I stand corrected as to quoting only half of Linebaugh's statement. As to factory loads in the .44 Spl and .45 Colt (not .45+P) eg a 246 gr bullet at around 750 fps and a 250/255 gr at around 850 they are both pretty anemic compared to their actual potential. However I haven't seen a .44 Spl 255 gr at 1000 fps factory load...Or a .45 Colt either for that matter... (Although the old blackpowder .45 load achieved nearly that speed according to John Taffin..) I still give a slight edge to the .45 round in the game field with FACTORY ammo. Your analysis regarding penetration/wound channel is spot on as a comparison between the .44 rem mag and a ".45 Ruger" I saw decades ago in "Shooting Times" showed.... (However I'd like to see that same test repeated with a .45 cal 325 gr boolit @ 1400 fps) :wink: I think we're on the same page though and thanks for adding the rest of the Linebaugh quote....
 

Aggie01

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Oct 16, 2008
Messages
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Texas (DFW)
Buck - glad you took it the right way.
My personal loads for my Lipsey's .44 special and my New Vaquero .45 Colt are 255's at 1K fps. Skeeter's Load of 7.5 grains Unique in the .44, and 9 grains Unique or Herco in the .45 (this is less than Alliant's published max, but I'm getting 1K+fps with the .45 and accuracy suffers if I go up more.
The .45 colt takes 1.5 more grains of powder to make the same speed as the .44 special with the 255 Keith bullets I use in each.
The .44 special is a little bit more efficient.

The factory loads are out there:
http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=88
http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=45

For those states that have energy requirements, I kinda think you don't actually have to USE the factory ammo, just as long as it available and can be chambered in your gun.
 

Dale53

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 29, 2007
Messages
925
Location
Hamilton, Ohio USA
If you use the proper platform for each, there isn't a hill of beans difference between the two WHEN USING PROPER HANDLOADS.

However, if you are using a Colt SAA size frame (this includes the New Vaquero and the .44 Lipsey Special) then the .44 Special has a definite advantage in power and strength of the revolver simply because the .44 Special allows more metal around the cartridge and it can be loaded considerably hotter with safety.

However, if you use the Ruger Blackhawk or Vaquero (the original) then the .45 Colt can be loaded on a par with the .44 Special (some say as much as the .44 Magnum).

Really, this is kind of a ridiculous argument. Enough power is enough power and either will get the job done to a hundred yards with proper loads (the .44 Special can do this with the Colt size revolver while the .45 Colt will require the larger BlackHawk or Vaquero to reach the same level).

My choice will remain the .44 Lipsey Special but that is just preference, not because it is any better. I get a kick out of those that claim the .45 Colt is superior due to it's greater diameter...Folks, that greater diameter is .022" and if you think ANY animal will notice the difference you need to get out in the field more. By the same token, the idea that the .44 Special's greater sectional density will allow greater penetration (that is going to be hard to prove on a whitetail because either load will shoot clear through a deer end for end and will NOT be recovered) is kind of bogus, also.

They are BOTH fine choices when properly loaded...

Pick the one that "spins your propeller" and be sure it is on the right platform.

Dale53
 

rusty77

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
37
Location
Wiggins, MS.
Since the only one that I have is a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt with a Ultradot on it, I will use that like I did last year.

I am using Hornady 250g JHP with 2400. So far, very accurate.
 

maxpress

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
1,280
Location
Central Washington
i have both and the sectional density and diamiter is so close that most my friends couldnt tell you which caliber they were holding if i just tossed a 250gr swc to them. the diff between .429 and .451 is nothing. i say a 250gr swc at 1000fps is going to be the same no matter what
 

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