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Thread: 45 Long Colt Question

  1. #1

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    Looking for suggestions/comments from folks with hands-on experience. Based on manageable recoil, I'm seriously consider the 45 long colt with hard cast for a woods revolver when going about chores when I need my hands free. Appears the Ruger Redhawk and Ruger Super Redhawk are for all practical purposes the same weight (I've played with both). In the Ruger, it seems the choice of revolver would either be the 4.2 inch Redhawk in 45 long colt or the 5 inch Super Redhawk in 454. What I don't know is whether there is any significant advantage in getting a revolver specifically designed for the 45 long colt as opposed to shooting 45 long colt out of the 454? I'm also wondering whether there is any significant difference in performance between loading "up" the 45 long colt and loading "down" the .454 to get that manageable recoil sweet spot to be determined?

  2. #2
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon77 View Post
    What I don't know is whether there is any significant advantage in getting a revolver specifically designed for the 45 long colt as opposed to shooting 45 long colt out of the 454? I'm also wondering whether there is any significant difference in performance between loading "up" the 45 long colt and loading "down" the .454 to get that manageable recoil sweet spot to be determined?
    There's no real advantage in shooting the .45 from a .45 cylinder vs. shooting it from the longer .454 cylinder. As far as loading up / loading down / recoil; the .45 is equally capable of killing whatever you point it at, just as dead as the .454. It's really going to come down to which cartridge and gun you personally prefer. I like the .45 and have no need for the .454; I like Blackhawks and Redhawks, and I think the Super Redhawk is ugly as sin.... To each his own; pick what you like and run with it.
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    I've got both 5 1/2" Redhawk 45 Colt and a 5" Super Redhawk 454.............

    Pick the one that fits your hand the best..... for me that's the Super Redhawk, I agree ugly...

    I like the Super Redhawk 454 because if I load the 45 Colt on the warm side, I've got plenty of safety margin.

    I like my cases full of powder, so if I load 454 down, I use 45 Colt brass..
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    I have a 4" redhawk in .45 and occasionally find myself wishing I had it in .454; however, I doubt I would shoot (more than once anyway) .454 heavy loads. I don't like shooting heavies in my .45. When I bought the pistol I bought a box of 20 rnds buffalo bore (that I swear were 360gr at 1450 or 1550 fps) and nobody would shoot them except me - and I did not like them after the first 6.

    I "download" it now with a custom Brooks .330 gr and try to kick them out about 1200fps - anywhere between 1150 and 1250 keeps me happy and not too sore that I can't shoot a box of 50. Some 250's at 950-1000 fps are fun shooters.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Just about all my shooting with my 454 has been with heavy 45colt loads. Its to easy to under load the 454 which can make bad things happen.
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    Many thanks folks.

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    I own a 4" Redhawk in .45 Colt. I fired a few, I think three, of the 330 (350gr?) bullet iofthetaiga uses of VV N-110. It was manageable. My personal hottest load is 270gr SWC over 23.x grains of H110, also manageable.

    If i am not down by salt water fishing for salmon I carry a 270SWC loaded to about 1000fps for the interior. EDC is 250gr SWC at ~1000fps.

    All if these are fine (IMO) defensive loads.

    I with 2 speedloaders on my belt "to go", the Redhawk with 18 rounds weighs right at three pounds, plenty heavy.

    If the grip on the Super feels better to you, that would be the only reason I would do it unless you were wanting to hunt big game with your sidearm. So I guess two reasons to seriously consider the heavier gun.

    If I were to buy a 454, I would make a point to do all my loading for it in 454 brass so I wouldn't have the dreaded ring of carbon and ash and gunk just outside the 45Colt case mouth interfering with loading 454 brass.

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  8. #8

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    Thanks for the info. I'm not seeing the difference in weight between the Redhawk and Super Redhawk in the same barrel length.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Equal barrels weigh the same between the RH/SRH
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Equal barrels weigh the same between the RH/SRH
    Amazing how many folks just assume the SRH is way heavier. Visually, the SRH looks beefier/heavier and the visual impression is so strong that I've had folks say the SRH is heavier even after hefting both revolvers side by side. The scales don't lie and surprise even some old timers. I usually get an ounce or so more than the published weights using a digital scale - but the comparison is consistent. It does appear to me that the SRH has less metal in the grip area which may be a factor and there seems to me to be a difference in balance point that may be a factor. I'm not expert - just making observations.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    The BH also share the RH/SRH weight and 44's always weight more than the 45's due to less metal taken from barrel and cylinder.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I have had bushel basket full of .44 mags. in almost all persuasions in the last 40 years, Smiths, Rugers, big and little and years ago I settled on a S&W .44 Mag. Mountain Gun. If I was starting over and knowing what I think I know now I would get a S&W .45 Colt Mountain Gun, in blue or stainless. It will do any thing a .44 mag. will do. Is it the equal of the other bigger rounds on paper, nope, but it is big enough. Most really don't enjoy shooting a .454, .460, 50 S&W, etc. so they are often down loaded. A hard cast 300 to 320 grain .45 slug at 1,100 fps mv or more will kill any thing in America and you will carry and shoot it more. If it was a dedicated hunting hand gun then I would look at the .454 and a 5" barrel and wouldn't be packing a rifle.

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    Go with the 454, if you only ever shoot 45 Colt ammo, nothing lost, if you want or need to shoot 454 ammo, well, you can. I will say, the 45 Colt Redhawk, much like it's brother in 44, is capable of more than you will ever need, they are built like tanks. I am a fan of both the 45 Colt (own 4) and the 454 (own one). I did some very non scientific testing when I was stationed at Eielson AFB more than a decade ago, and I will say the 44, 45, and 454 were all very close in penetration, wound cavity went hands down to the 454, and of course the 420gr 45/70 from my 1895GS exited 48" of wet newsprint and dry magazines.

  14. #14

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    From my experience the 5" Ruger Super Redhawk (Toklat) is very accurate shooting a variety of flavors of .45 Colt ammunition. I believe nothing is lost in this handgun by running lesser powered ammo than it is designed to handle. With some .45 loadings it is actually like shooting something along the lines of .22-.25 caliber as far as recoil goes....which helps with training to use the revolver correctly. I do notice a real difference when using the same weight/construction bullets in .45+P vs. .454...which there should be considering the speed/pressure difference. I like to think of the .454 cartridge as a longer range round and are both very lethal at DLP ranges. Would be comfortable with either loading for close range action...move it out a bit and I would give the .454 the nod.


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  15. #15

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    I just can't get all whooped up over high vel 45 Colt loads. If I want something hotter for more power or a flatter trajectory, I'll go to a 44 mag or 454.

    I'm basing that on shooting something north of 30 deer over 30 years with 45 Colt loads from a 4 5/8" RBH at roughly "factory" velocities- 250 grain SWC at 750-800fps. Meanwhile I also took about as many with essentially the same loads in a 4" 44 Special.

    All shots were 50 yards or less and mostly broadside. All those deer died with a single shot, too. Good enuff for me, as I reserve my longer shots and bigger game for bigger cartridges.

    Each of us owns our own guns and shoots them our own way. But the question of how much you "need" to do it is pretty theoretical. My theory is that I'll do just fine with those wimpy loads in a DLP simply because I'll be hitting what I'm aiming at. A bum hit with a 454 or a hot 45C is still a bum hit. They're good rounds for guys that can shoot them, but the extra power is worse than worthless if a guy doesn't learn how to shoot them fast and accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I just can't get all whooped up over high vel 45 Colt loads. If I want something hotter for more power or a flatter trajectory, I'll go to a 44 mag or 454.

    I'm basing that on shooting something north of 30 deer over 30 years with 45 Colt loads from a 4 5/8" RBH at roughly "factory" velocities- 250 grain SWC at 750-800fps. Meanwhile I also took about as many with essentially the same loads in a 4" 44 Special.

    All shots were 50 yards or less and mostly broadside. All those deer died with a single shot, too. Good enuff for me, as I reserve my longer shots and bigger game for bigger cartridges.

    Each of us owns our own guns and shoots them our own way. But the question of how much you "need" to do it is pretty theoretical. My theory is that I'll do just fine with those wimpy loads in a DLP simply because I'll be hitting what I'm aiming at. A bum hit with a 454 or a hot 45C is still a bum hit. They're good rounds for guys that can shoot them, but the extra power is worse than worthless if a guy doesn't learn how to shoot them fast and accurate.

    But a Ruger Only 45 Colt load in a Redhawk or Blackhawk is like shooting a 44mag out of the same guns. Not really a "high velocity" or "hot" load compared to the 44, just a little fatter. 300-350gr at 11-1300. My 355er in my 7.5 SBH is just at 1200. 1100 in the 4" Redhawk. Not really anything to get whooped up about, nuthin special. But definitely a step up from a standard 255gr 45 Colt load. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know.

    I was looking at some of my loading notes the other day and came across chrony data from factory Federal 300gr hardcast 44mag loads. They were 1400fps. I'd say that's "hot".
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  17. #17

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    Yup. My point is that I'm happiest with the original 45C loading, and if I want a hotter load I just reach for something else.

    The bigger point is that I suspect most users will have better luck hitting with the original loading than with a snorted up version, and would probably be lots better off down at 250 @ 750fps simply because they can hit with it.

    If folks can honestly do well with something hotter, whether in the 45C case or something else, more power to them. But there's nothing like a charge to test their honesty.

    My personal DLP bear load is a 44mag/300/1000fps from a 4" 629, simply because I can shoot it fast and well in DA. Got the 454 and got lots stiffer loads for 44, but I can't live up to my speed and accuracy expectations with them. So be it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Yup. My point is that I'm happiest with the original 45C loading, and if I want a hotter load I just reach for something else.

    The bigger point is that I suspect most users will have better luck hitting with the original loading than with a snorted up version, and would probably be lots better off down at 250 @ 750fps simply because they can hit with it.

    If folks can honestly do well with something hotter, whether in the 45C case or something else, more power to them. But there's nothing like a charge to test their honesty.

    My personal DLP bear load is a 44mag/300/1000fps from a 4" 629, simply because I can shoot it fast and well in DA. Got the 454 and got lots stiffer loads for 44, but I can't live up to my speed and accuracy expectations with them. So be it.
    Ya, makes perfect sense. I know that Joe Nava here in Fairbanks has years of experience dispatching game of various sizes and shapes. The man has been around and his caliber of choice is 357 mag with a copper jacketed softnose or 180gr cast. Says he's put it through many bear skull, buffalo, moose, etc. If a guys asks him what gun to get for bear protection he'll say Ruger GP100 with 180gr hardcast. Like you, he's a man of experience.

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snyd View Post
    ...Joe Nava....he's a man of experience.
    I'll never put myself in the same class with Joe. He's been there and done that more often than most of us can dream about.

    I will add one more insight and shuddup. I've been charged five times, but never had to pop a cap. There's one theme that runs through all of them:

    What you have in your hand when it starts is all you're going to have. If you have nothing in your hands at all, get used to it. The charges come so fast and they're decided so fast, you simply don't have time to fiddle around with holsters and backup plans. Get it done right now or pray for a second chance later in the brawl. Real bears are lots faster than keyboard bears and ballistic table bears.

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    Joe Nava was the fellow who taught the AK Hunter Safety Instructor's Course I took in 1985 and he had a whole bunch of experience then.

    My thought...if a 180 gr .357 is good, a 10mm 200gr or a 300 gr .429 hard cast Keith at 1000fps is just a little better.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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