.44 special vs .45 colt

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That is a $64,000 question. Practically they are identical. The .44 is higher pressure than the .45, but not substantially. I chose the .44 Spcl Charter Arms Bulldog as my woods bumming gun due to its light weight. When I went to Alaska I upgraded to an Ruger Redhawk 4.2 Inch barrel in .44 magnum. Now that there are light weight guns in .45 colt, I would probably go that route. I had no firearms in .45 caliber to simplify inventory/reloading. Good luck in your quest.
gramps
 

longuner

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I have both calibers on mid sized ruger frames. given the limitations of the platform i would take the 45 colt. most of my everyday working loads for both are in the 900-1000fps, really a tossup on which is better.
 

hittman

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Some contend 41 Mag is the better option. :lol:

Otherwise, doesn’t seem to be a nickels worth of difference between the two you asked about.
 

Hondo44

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Fox Mike said:
What does the .44 special offer that the .45 Colt can't do?

The name: ".44 Special" (and Skeeter Skelton)! We oldsters read Skeeter's championing of the 44S in Shooting Times 30-40 years ago until he passed. It's truly a good cartridge and my favorite, but let's be objective, there's a lot more substantive answer than that and you asked the right question: What does it offer over the .45?
Another good question is: What does the .45 offer over the .44?

.44 Spl:
It was designed for smokeless powder with a compatible case size for good volumetric efficiency. It can be loaded up or down and has inherent accuracy in most all loadings from low power to heavy loads.
It's relatively a fairly flat shooter and accurate at all different ranges.
It has good knockdown power.
Works well in medium frame sizes for packing around.

.45 Colt:
Who doesn't like saying they shoot a .45 Colt?
The Colt was a black powder cartridge which gives it a larger case than needed for smokeless powder.
It can be loaded for excellent accurately as well. But at lower loadings the accuracy drops off as well as it's consistency from shot to shot because of its overly large case volume.
Trajectory is like throwing a softball and point of impact varies more over different ranges.
However, also due to its large case capacity, it can be loaded to true magnum power levels, performance, and flatter trajectory. But to realize that performance (so called 'Ruger Only' loads) you have to use it in a bigger gun.
It's sectional density is greater than the .44 with great knockdown power.


I won't say the .44S is better than .45 Colt, or vice versa, they both have their virtues. So it all comes down to what you want to do with a cartridge and like most things in life, personal preference.

Solution: get both!

Hope that helps,
 

jgt

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I can only think of one. You can shoot 44 American,44 Colt, 44Russian, and 44 Special without changing cylinders, or using moon clips. You do have to scrub the chambers when going from shorter to longer case lengths, but that is it. Any other argument I can think of at the moment would be more my preference than fact.
 

Hondo44

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The .44 American is a stretch; even if you could find ammo, it has a heeled bullet with diameter of .434 in. and a smaller diameter case that would split wide open.

The .45 Colt can also shoot .45 Schofield and .45 Cowboy Spl. w/o changing cyls.

So that's a draw.
 

jgt

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Ok, I'll concede the 44 American. If you concede the the .45 Schofield. You have to modify the ratchet to use it in guns other than Schofield models, because of the rim.
 

seasterl

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If you own a 44Mag you can use it for both 44Mag and 44Spl. If you own a large-frame Ruger single-action, you can fire the soft (<14,000psi) 45 Colt loads up to “Ruger-only” loads which is the limit for most shooters. When loaded down (soft), both are a pleasure to shoot and both can be reasonable accurate if you find what load the gun likes the best (due to bullet type, weight, velocity, twist rate, charge density, etc). When loaded up, both are great for hunting (although I’d give a slight edge to the 45 Colt). In my personal experience, I find that the 44Spl is mostly accurate with lightweight bullets and not heavy bullets, whereas my 45 Colt is a little more accurate using a greater variety of bullet weights. The example using black powder loads above may have merit if you’re into black powder, but smokeless powders like Trail Boss is a game changer and no more charge density-related inaccuracy for soft loads.
 

Johnnu2

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I've been waiting for someone to mention the game changer: Trail Boss. It's the magic elixir for me:
gentle and very accurate with all weight bullets in my 44s and 45s.

p.s. my preference goes to 45 just because I like it.... oh, I like 44s too :))))

J
 

Rclark

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Well, I don't see it as a vs. I like them both. They can both do a number on target. However, the .45 Colt was introduced is 1873, and the 'Johnny come lately' .44 Special in 1908. The .45 Colt will always be the big brother of the smaller .44 (.429) Special. Everyone knows which I prefer for most of my revolver shooting. The .44 Magnum could have not been born ... And I would be perfectly happy with these 2 cartridges.
 

Hondo44

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jgt said:
Ok, I'll concede the 44 American. If you concede the the .45 Schofield. You have to modify the ratchet to use it in guns other than Schofield models, because of the rim.

Not so. .45 Schofield is loaded in modern dimension cases for cowboy shooting and readily available from several ammo makers. I shoot and reload it all the time.
 

jgt

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Then I bow to your knowledge. I have seen enough over the years to know you know what you are talking about.
 

Rclark

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From Starline Brass on the .45 Schofield "You may need to tune extractor on some lever action rifles, or decrease diameter of the ratchet on the cylinder by .010 to accommodate the larger head diameter in Ruger Vaquero and Colts. " .
 

jgt

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Most people are unaware of the things some of us do to get guns to shoot the groups they shoot. I always loved 44 specials and 44 magnums for my handgun rounds. But, before I was able to find the guns I shoot, I learn to reload and cast bullets. Or, at least learned the process, might be more precise.
The Smith & Wesson guns from the Triple lock through the forth models had .429 to .430 barrels for the most part but .433 cylinder throats. The saving grace was they were .433 in each and every chamber on my guns. So once I learned to measure such things, I was able to size my bullets to fit and got much better groups. When I started shooting single actions I found Colt SAA revolvers that I came across had .427 to .428 barrels in both 44-40 and 44 special guns. My cylinders were mostly .429 to .430 so that was not a huge problem unless there was thread crush. In Ruger single actions I found thread crush going as far back as the Flattop models. Cylinder throats were all over the place depending on how much wear was on the factory reamer at the time it was made. So if you are comparing a 44 special to a 45 colt you may want to do that with guns that have taken a trip to a good gunsmith or else you may be comparing a correct dimensioned 44 to a 45 that is handicapped or vise versa. If you truly know and understand what you are comparing then you can decide which one you prefer. Otherwise you are just taking a poll similar to what is taken in presidential races.
I do not care what caliber someone else chooses to shoot. I chose the one I shoot many decades ago and have been happy and well served. I am sure the same can be said for many other calibers we haven't even mentioned in this discussion.
 

Hondo44

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Rclark said:
From Starline Brass on the .45 Schofield "You may need to tune extractor on some lever action rifles, or decrease diameter of the ratchet on the cylinder by .010 to accommodate the larger head diameter in Ruger Vaquero and Colts. " .


I don't know who wrote that for them but it leaves a lot to be desired: If they were right you'd need to decrease the RIM diameter or INCREASE the ratchet diameter 'if' there was a fitment issue. And then it is true but for S&W Hand Ejector revolvers and perhaps other brand double action revolvers.


"May need..." are the operative words here which Starline uses to protect themselves regarding all 45 chambered handguns. It's true that Starline brass has a couple of thousandths larger diameter rim than some others like Black Hills Ammo. But hands on experience with many Ruger Vaqueros and Colts including 1st gens does in fact prove they have ample space (close to +/- .010") for the Starline rims and do not come close to need tuning.

The lever action rifles are irrelevant to this discussion, but mine including slide action rifles are not a problem either.
 

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