.44 special vs .45 colt

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"Cor-Bon .45 Colt+P 300gr is at 1300fps" . . . listed as "Not to SAAMI specs"

"Buffalo Bore has some 340 gr .44 mag that clocked over 1400 fps" . . . listed as +P+ for which there is no SAAMI spec.

"Underwood has some 340 gr .44 Mag they rate at 1425 fps" . . . listed as +P+ for which there is no SAAMI spec.

All variety of high-performance ammo is available, and with none of it do you know what kind of pressure you are subjecting your gun to. I do not condemn any of this ammo out of hand, but one should be aware of the facts.

Maximum SAAMI spec for .45 Colt is 14,000 PSI . . . maximum for .44 Special is 15,500 PSI. This would perhaps give the handloader an advantage when reloading the .44 Special, if he has a way to determine the pressure his loads develop.

Maximum .44 Mag pressure is 36,000 PSI so I guess one might load .44 Special cases up to that pressure level for use in a Magnum gun if the cases themselves would take it . . . just be sure you keep them separate from your "real" .44 Special ammo.

All JMHO. :)
 

mrmag00

Bearcat
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I have several pistols in 45lc most will shoot 45acp as well, and recently got some 45 cowboy special brass for light loads.
 

LAH

Buckeye
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While their uses overlap they are different cartridges. One is bigger but both are great.
 

JackAsinus

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Fox Mike said:
I have neither so here is my question. What does the .44 special offer that the .45 Colt can't do?

If you buy factory ammo then the overlap is huge.

If you roll your own then there are some Ruger only loads for the 45 Colt that compete and possibly out perform 44 Mag ammunition.
 

john guedry

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I don't own a .44 special but do own a .44 magnum. Also own a .45 Colt. Both are Ruger single actions and shoot much better than I can. luv 'em both.
 

dallmondparker

Bearcat
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May 23, 2016
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Both are great. And if you handload, you can do most anything you'd expect your Ruger revolver to do. I'm a lifelong fan of the Ruger single actions so I've several examples of both in my safe. My preference is the 45 Colt. I bought my first one in 1976. A Blackhawk with 4 5/8" barrel. I'd read an article in one of my gun magazines that compared the 45 in a Blackhawk to the 44 Magnum. It listed a 45 Colt handload that safely gave 1300 FPS with a 300 gr HP which more than matched the 44 Mag load they used. It also made the point that with the 44 caliber you were actually getting a 42.9 caliber and the 45 gave you a true 45 caliber.(Actually a 45.2 or 45.4 depending on the bullet.)
I'm a handgun hunter and I usually use one of my 45s for deer, although the 44 is also quite capable of taking a deer. If you're looking for a lighter weight in the same model revolver, once again the 45 gets the nod as there is a larger bore in both the barrel and cylinder so less metal weight.
Both can be handloaded to plink or hunt or for defense. You can't go wrong with either. Read up a bit on both and you get to decide. Or better yet, save up and get one of each!
 

mistermills357

Blackhawk
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Nov 9, 2012
Messages
810
The difference between the .44 Special and the .45 Colt, might be pretty slim. I’m just glad that I have a .45 Auto myself, it’s been a trooper in my book.
 

Polizei45

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Mar 19, 2022
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Hamburg, NY
Greetings Gentlemen,
New member, long-time shooter. I just bought a used Ruger Blackhawk 44 Special 4 3/4 inch barrel. While waiting for it to be shipped to my FFL, I started looking at different grips and holsters for it. The different grip and holster makers talk about frame size. What frame size is it? The same frame size as a new Vaquero? I haven't reloaded ammo in over 30 years. I'm also looking forward to reloading. Thanks
 

BearBiologist

Single-Sixer
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Dec 4, 2021
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465
Some experience with both (as well as .41 Magnum, .41 Long Colt, 454 Casull, and .44 magnum=all of which are OUTSIDE of the conversation). If limited to factory loads, the difference is in the platform, not the cartridge.
 

Hondo44

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Greetings Gentlemen,
New member, long-time shooter. I just bought a used Ruger Blackhawk 44 Special 4 3/4 inch barrel. While waiting for it to be shipped to my FFL, I started looking at different grips and holsters for it. The different grip and holster makers talk about frame size. What frame size is it? The same frame size as a new Vaquero? I haven't reloaded ammo in over 30 years. I'm also looking forward to reloading. Thanks
The 44 Spl is the same mid frame size of the new vaquero as well as the grip frame size which is the old model XR3 size. That’s what you need to know to get the right grips for any of the new model flat top Blackhawk models. Standard Blackhawks use the XR3-RED grip size. It’s longer behind trigger guard.
 

ironhead7544

Bearcat
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Jan 29, 2018
Messages
18
If you have one, no need to run out and buy the other.

One difference is that 45 Colt ammo is a bit difficult to find and very expensive today. If you handload, this is not as big a problem.
 

Polizei45

Bearcat
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Location
Hamburg, NY
The 44 Spl is the same mid frame size of the new vaquero as well as the grip frame size which is the old model XR3 size. That’s what you need to know to get the right grips for any of the new model flat top Blackhawk models. Standard Blackhawks use the XR3-RED grip size. It’s longer behind trigger guard.
Thanks
 

Rclark

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If you have one, no need to run out and buy the other
Wanna bet on that? :D . That's like cutting a candy bar in half and saying 'no need to eat the other half'.... In my mind anyway :) . I have both and enjoy both. The .429 will always be the little brother to the .451.
 

JimA

Bearcat
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Feb 17, 2008
Messages
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Location
SE Michigan
If you have one, no need to run out and buy the other.

One difference is that 45 Colt ammo is a bit difficult to find and very expensive today. If you handload, this is not as big a problem.
.44 Special is also difficult to find and expensive.
 

Biggfoot44

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
815
.45 Colt is more common , in wider variety of factory loads than .44 Spl . Neither is cheap compared to the biggest selling 4 or 5 handgun cals .

Of course that's all moot if you reload .
 

outlaw_dogboy

Single-Sixer
Joined
Aug 2, 2005
Messages
122
Location
Maryland, USA
Sorry, I kinda skipped to the end. Of the two in question, I prefer the 44S. What I have found with the .45 Colt is that unless you're loading it hot, Ruger-only loads, with 2400 or H110, the case is really quite empty. It seems a tremendous waste, and I've also heard rumors of something called "detonation" if the powder is spread thin over the entire case. So, i HAVE a .45 Colt Vaquero, that will take some blistering hot loads, but I don't shoot it.
 

Rclark

Hunter
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t seems a tremendous waste, and I've also heard rumors of something called "detonation" if the powder is spread thin over the entire case. So, i HAVE a .45 Colt Vaquero, that will take some blistering hot loads, but I don't shoot it.
Oh my .... The rumor mill at work. All the large case means is you have a lot of choices in your loading. No different that the .44 Magnum or .44 Special, or .454 or whatever cartridge you load. They all have 'large' case volume. The .45 Colt is a fine cartridge and has worked well since 1873, so don't stop shooting it just because you 'heard' something!!!!!
 

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