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 Which lever action: 44 magnum or 45 LC? UPDATE: I picked up a .44 Mag Rossi Model 92
panzersergeant  [Life Member]
3/8/2011 9:50:35 AM
I am shopping for a model 94 Winchester. I am either getting a .44 Remington Magnum or .45 Long Colt.

Which caliber would be more practical/advantageous and why? What are the price differences?

The gun would be used primarily for target shooting and home defence.

TIA!
KILLERB6  [Team Member]
3/8/2011 10:33:16 AM
I am pondering a similar purchase (Model 92) and would opt for the .44 Mag especially if I were pairing the rifle with a (.44 obviously) handgun (which I am).

I think the .44 offers better ballistics, bullet selection (factory or for reloads), availability, etc.

Unless you just want to go old school on purpose, then .45 LC.
machinisttx  [Team Member]
3/8/2011 11:53:41 AM
For your intended purpose, the .44 Spl/Mag version is a better choice. There is a much wider selection of ammo on the shelf.


Factory loads for .45 Colt(from the big manufacturers) are typically lightly loaded since SAAMI spec pressure is 14k psi. The smaller companies like buffalo bore/corbon/etc. make decent ammo for .45 Colt. You really have to handload to get the full potential from .45 Colt.
COSteve  [Team Member]
3/8/2011 12:35:14 PM

Originally Posted By KILLERB6:
I am pondering a similar purchase (Model 92) and would opt for the .44 Mag especially if I were pairing the rifle with a (.44 obviously) handgun (which I am).

I think the .44 offers better ballistics, bullet selection (factory or for reloads), availability, etc.

Unless you just want to go old school on purpose, then .45 LC.

Actually, no gun manufacturer ever produced a levergun in 45LC until very recently (last 20 years) so for authenticity sake, you're much better off getting the 44 mag because it's very close to the caliber they were chambered in, namely 44-40.

The differences dimensionally between the 44-40 and 44 mag are small as can be seen below.

44-40:
Specifications
Parent case .44 Henry
Case type rimmed, bottle necked
Bullet diameter .427" *
Neck diameter .443"
Shoulder diameter .457"
Base diameter .471"
Rim diameter .525"
Case length 1.310"
Overall length 1.60"
Primer type Large pistol

.44 MAG:
Specifications
Parent case .44 Special
Bullet diameter .429" *
Neck diameter .457"
Base diameter .457"
Rim diameter .514"
Rim thickness .060"
Case length 1.285"
Overall length 1.61"
Rifling twist 1-38
Primer type Large pistol

* Modern 44-40 barrels and brass are made so that the round will use the same bullet (.429") as the 44 magnum.

However, as the 44-40 was originally a black powder cartridge developed for the 1873 Winchester, it's a thin case designed for low pressure (14,000psi) ammo while the 44 mag was designed for high pressure (36,000psi).
panzersergeant  [Life Member]
3/8/2011 1:04:01 PM
Wow, thank you for the replies and all the good information.

I was leaning toward the .44 magnum but wanted to get some opinions first.

WyrTwister  [Member]
3/8/2011 4:28:13 PM
Originally Posted By panzersergeant:
I am shopping for a model 94 Winchester. I am either getting a .44 Remington Magnum or .45 Long Colt.

Which caliber would be more practical/advantageous and why? What are the price differences?

The gun would be used primarily for target shooting and home defence.

TIA!


Either would be fine for those purposed . I can not say which would be cheaper to shoot ( factory bullets ) , as I reload my own home cast bullets .

The .45 LC is low recoil & pleasant to shoot ( if kept at SAMI pressures ) .

The .44 Mag is more powerful and heavier recoil with factory ammo .

Do you reload ? If so , you can also load the .44 Mag down to .44 Special levels and it should be comparable to the .45 LC .

Or you could try .44 Specials in the .44 Mag , but lever guns can be finicky about OAL of the ammo .

My .44 Mag is a Marlin . My .45 LC is a Rossi M92 .

If you want a scope , consider the Marlin or a Winny M94 AE ( more expensive ) .

If you do not need a scope , I recommend the Rossie M92 .

I have Rossies in .45 LC & .357 Mag . Love both of them .

As I saif , some lever guns are particulea about ammo . If it will feed anything , it will feed Round Nose .

God bless
Wyr

kabob  [Team Member]
3/8/2011 10:10:42 PM
45 colt can be loaded damn hot, and will actually equal or exceed 44 mag, just look at all the non fluted CUSTOM cylinder handguns in 45 colt and almost all are built on Ruger frames for a reason (superior strength). Then take that same load and stuff it in a Marlin 1894 and your GTG. Spend some time looking at some hot loading data for 45 Colt and you will see the light.

This is why A .45 1894 Marlin and a Ruger in the same caliber is on my short list.
COSteve  [Team Member]
3/8/2011 11:10:43 PM
Actually, the Rossi '92 has a much stronger action than the Marlin does. If you plan on shooting a 45LC you really want a Rossi rather than a Marlin, especially if you're looking for a new levergun. Marlin's QC has taken a huge hit since they announced Remington was buying them and moving the production. Google 'Marlin levergun problems' and you'll see pages of complains about the newest versions.

Check out Leverguns.com and Shootersforum.com and read about all the complaints. Older Marlins appear to be generally fine, however, my old 39A I got back in the 60's was a piece of junk and I dumped it as fast as I could. It's the newer ones produced by less than thrilled employees seeing their livelihoods destroyed that are suspect.
Dogg2  [Member]
3/9/2011 7:51:57 AM
just my $ .02, I have 2 .44s and 6 45lcs. If you don't reload and you want options in ammo get the .44. If you reload and you want a good bit more power than the .44 go wioth the 45lc. Be aware the model 92 action is considerably stronger than a marlins and the marlins are somewhat picky about bullet diameter. 45lc can be handloaded up to the low end of 45/70 specs. I use 335gr hard lead which can be loaded to hotter than commercial 44 ( heavier bullet, fatter bullet, moving faster) which will take most anything in this hemispher within its 100 yard range.
I also pack one of the 45s in the car for 'whatever' may comeup, and a lot easier to explain to uninformed uniforms than say an ar15. Who takes a 18th century lever action all that seriously, right! However with the plug pulled out of my stainless 24" Hartford Rossi that is a minimum of 12 very hard hitting rounds that can be worked through that lever action a lot quicker than most people would realize.
good luck with thatever you decide on, they are fun guns and still have a lot of usefull potential
Oh ya now if you want a bit more..... take a look at the 1895 marlins in 45/70, I have 4 of those, really need to get rid of one of the 18" ones, way to many of the big guns, and they can be loaded to the low end of 458 win mag power. 485 gr hard cast bullets at up to 1800 fps, ouch on both ends.
Dogg2
WyrTwister  [Member]
3/9/2011 9:13:21 AM
Originally Posted By kabob:
45 colt can be loaded damn hot, and will actually equal or exceed 44 mag, just look at all the non fluted CUSTOM cylinder handguns in 45 colt and almost all are built on Ruger frames for a reason (superior strength). Then take that same load and stuff it in a Marlin 1894 and your GTG. Spend some time looking at some hot loading data for 45 Colt and you will see the light.

This is why A .45 1894 Marlin and a Ruger in the same caliber is on my short list.


I am guessing here , but I suspect the .45 LC had / has plenty of power to dispatch 2 legged varmints , for over 100 years .

If you want hot , get the .44 Mag . If not , the .45 LC should do nicely . I have both .

If you want more power than that , in a big bore lever gun , the .45-70 Marlin will do just fine for anything that walks , in North America .

For a house gun , get a 12 gauge .

God bless
Wyr

joedapro  [Member]
3/9/2011 11:10:38 AM
Originally Posted By panzersergeant:
I am shopping for a model 94 Winchester. I am either getting a .44 Remington Magnum or .45 Long Colt.

Which caliber would be more practical/advantageous and why? What are the price differences?

The gun would be used primarily for target shooting and home defence.

TIA!


45 colt you can get loads from mild to wild. the wider case keeps pressures down with less bite, all with better results than the 44 mag.
dbd870  [Team Member]
3/9/2011 12:06:44 PM
If you don't reload the 44Mag, if you do, there's nothing in it.
COSteve  [Team Member]
3/9/2011 2:38:02 PM
I agree with Dogg2, if you're looking for a 45 cal levergun why not step up to a 45-70. They make light loads, medium, and heavy loads commercially and if you reload you can go wuss to wild.
Still_learning  [Member]
3/9/2011 9:51:33 PM
Originally Posted By COSteve:
I agree with Dogg2, if you're looking for a 45 cal levergun why not step up to a 45-70. They make light loads, medium, and heavy loads commercially and if you reload you can go wuss to wild.


IMO, the answer is to share ammo with a matching revolver. A nice 44 magnum revolver and a lever action rifle paired up would be cool to have. 45-70 in a revolver is just wierd!
WyrTwister  [Member]
3/10/2011 1:24:59 AM
Originally Posted By joedapro:
Originally Posted By panzersergeant:
I am shopping for a model 94 Winchester. I am either getting a .44 Remington Magnum or .45 Long Colt.

Which caliber would be more practical/advantageous and why? What are the price differences?

The gun would be used primarily for target shooting and home defence.

TIA!


45 colt you can get loads from mild to wild. the wider case keeps pressures down with less bite, all with better results than the 44 mag.


What can you kill with a hot .45 LC that you can not kill with 100% load in a .44 Mag ?

I have both . Each for a different niche . As my .30-06's have a different niche .

God bless
Wyr

WyrTwister  [Member]
3/10/2011 1:25:59 AM
Originally Posted By COSteve:
I agree with Dogg2, if you're looking for a 45 cal levergun why not step up to a 45-70. They make light loads, medium, and heavy loads commercially and if you reload you can go wuss to wild.


In a heavier gun which helps tame the recoil , some .

God bless
Wyr
Hanzerik  [Team Member]
3/10/2011 5:43:33 PM
I'm biased towards the .44 Mag since I have three of them; 2 lever guns, one pistol. Ammo is easy to find, and if you reload there are tons of different bullet/powder combinations out there.
KILLERB6  [Team Member]
3/12/2011 9:41:07 PM
Originally Posted By COSteve:

Originally Posted By KILLERB6:
I am pondering a similar purchase (Model 92) and would opt for the .44 Mag especially if I were pairing the rifle with a (.44 obviously) handgun (which I am).

I think the .44 offers better ballistics, bullet selection (factory or for reloads), availability, etc.

Unless you just want to go old school on purpose, then .45 LC.

Actually, no gun manufacturer ever produced a levergun in 45LC until very recently (last 20 years) so for authenticity sake, you're much better off getting the 44 mag because it's very close to the caliber they were chambered in, namely 44-40.

<snip>


Of course, you are correct...I was referring to the "old-schoolness" of the cartridge itself.

TUMOR  [Team Member]
3/13/2011 10:02:43 AM
If you handload........get the .45 Colt !!

I've shot tens of thousands of rounds of .45 Colt thru my Marlins and Uberti 1873's over the last 11 years and LOVE THEM!!

Just get one of the modern reproductions in .45 Colt, handload the cartridge, and you will be VERY happy!

The .45 Colt can be loaded mild or WILD in a modern rifle!!

A 160 gr bullet can be loaded very light for almost no recoil.........or driven fast for light varmints.

A 260gr slug at SAAMI maximums is a very potent round for anything that might harm you.

In a modern Marlin or 1892 reproduction the .45 Colt can be loaded up to VERY STRONG levels usually saved for large frame Rugers and such.

Needless to say I LOVE the .45 Colt..........it's fun to reload and to shoot.
streetstar  [Member]
3/14/2011 2:00:14 AM
I love the .45 colt too ––- .45 chambered rifles outnumber .44 chambered rifles in my safe 4 to 1. But –––––– just like everyone else said –– ya gotta handload. On the flipside, its an easy cartridge to handload for , and in todays times of political uncertainty –– i think everybody who likes shooting should have a reloading press around. –– In fact, reloading for both is a good idea ––- either has decent case capacity –– load 'em to the brim with Trailboss powder with a light cast bullet and you have a nice target load


But, (and i'm repeating a lot of other people now) –– the .44 Mag has a much better off the shelf selection of ammo . But if you handload? the same bullets that are available in .429 are usually available in .451
panzersergeant  [Life Member]
3/16/2011 9:36:00 PM
I stopped off at Palmetto State Armory yesterday to see what they had and found this puppy on the shelf. I plan on picking up one in .45 LC come next pay day.

I posed it next to one of my ARs for scale. I guess it was the assault rifle of it's day.





WyrTwister  [Member]
3/18/2011 10:17:36 AM
Originally Posted By panzersergeant:
I stopped off at Palmetto State Armory yesterday to see what they had and found this puppy on the shelf. I plan on picking up one in .45 LC come next pay day.

I posed it next to one of my ARs for scale. I guess it was the assault rifle of it's day.









How well does it feed .44 Specials ?

If it is like my Marlin .44 Mag , it has a surprising amount of recoil ? They are light .

I do not think I have ever bought any factory .44 Mag ammo ? I reload , with home cast bullets .

God bless
Wyr


Panta_Rei  [Member]
4/2/2011 11:17:26 AM
Good discussions on versatility and ballistics. Which would you prefer to also suppress (not in a revolver)? Most people probably would just use a 45 can. How does a 44spcl and a 45colt cowboy load compare when suppressed?