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Posted: 8/11/2003 2:26:28 AM EDT
I have had a S&W Model 25 4" barrel .45 Colt revolver now for a number of years. It was a gun given to me by my father when I became of legal age to own a handgun and was essentially my first handgun. Because of it's size I had never really considered it as a carry gun, but I have recently modified it somewhat with Hogue grips and picked up a great holster for it. A couple of HKS speedloaders I have offer rapid reloads. And I have been hitting 2 liter pop bottles with it consistently in single action mode @ 100 yds with 250 gr lead RN Remington. While this may not be a big feat for lots of shooters, this is the only handgun I have ever owned that I could reliably hit anything with at that distance. I certainly could not do that with any of my Glocks. Needless to say I am impressed by it's performance and have considered carrying it when hiking (mountain gun) and at other times when I don't care to carry in the open. Normally when I think of a SD handgun I think of a semi-auto, but this revolver has made me reconsider.

The issue that I am having difficulty with is finding a good performing, modern cartridge that will give me an adequate SD weapon as well as a trail gun. It seems this caliber, like several others (.44 Special, .41 Magnum, etc) have more or less been left behind in the ammo development department. And I have seen no test data pertaining to penetration/expansion. Therefore I really have no base to assist me in comparing the various rounds available. I have asked this question over at tactical forums several days ago and so far have received no response. I guess few people (if any) know anything about this caliber.

So, does anyone know of any good loads I could trust to perform well? I have been searching to see if there is a Speer Gold Dot offering and so far I have turned up zilch. So I would guess there isn't. I have been able to locate 3 hollow point loads, but I don't know how good any of them are. Federal offers a 225 gr lead SWC HP in it's classic line. If this bullet performs similarly to the .38 special swc lead hp's, then it should be a decent choice. Then there are some 225 gr Winchester Silvertips (which I have a couple of boxes of) that have a listed muzzle velocity of 920 fps. But based on the performance of .45 ACP Silvertip, I am not overly enthused at this point. And the last JHP load I saw was the 200 gr Cor-Bon moving along at 1100 fps. This load seems to have the most potential on paper, but I tend to disagree with Cor-Bon's philosphy in general, which relies mostly on energy transfer with rapid expanding, shallow penetrating performance. Whether this Cor-Bon offering exhibits the same performance or not, I have no idea. Other than these 3 loads it seems there are only 250 gr LRN, 225 gr lead SWC's and cowboy loads.

So, which .45 Colt load would you choose based on the intended uses I have mentioned? Or would you just leave this highly accurate revolver lying in the top shelf of the safe where it has spent so much time? I realize a .45 caliber projectile starts out pretty big anyway, but I would prefer something that offered decent expansion with good penetration and accuracy. I look forward to your comments.

-Charging Handle

Link Posted: 8/11/2003 8:07:49 AM EDT
I think you should use the same criteria for the 45LC as for other bullets: the heaviest bullet, reagardless of speed. Even if the 225gr Winchester Silvertips don't expand realiably, they would still punch a near 1/2" hole and that's worth a lot. Otherwise, you'd have to roll your own.... I have a Ruger Redhawk .41mag (7.5" stainless), and I know what you mean - I haven't tried looking for ammo, but I know it's hard to find (I reload). Time to sell it to get another AR....
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 8:36:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2003 8:40:40 AM EDT by Charging_Handle]
If Speer loaded their excellent 230 gr Gold Dot bullet in this caliber, we would have it made. Or if there was a Ranger offering available using their 230 gr bullet, it would be great. But it will never happen since no LEO's carry .45 Colt. Too bad there isn't more to choose from. Georgia Arms makes a SD load for this caliber, but they chose to use the 200 gr Speer Gold Dot bullet. It doesn't perform well in the ACP loads so I could not recommend it for this load either. Too bad they didn't go with the 230 gr version...then they would have had a real winner. The reason I have doubts about the Silvertip is that in many loads it often doesn't meet penetration requirements. This is true of the 115 gr 9mm and 185 gr .45 ACP loads. Whether this negative trait continues with the .45 Colt load, I have no idea. But one thing is for certain, it appears there is no real data out there to go on anyway. So any choice is just a guess. Unless someone has more information I will probably either go with the Federal 225 gr LSWCHP or Remington 225 gr SWC. I would rather have a round that I know would give me adequate penetration than have to guess if one of the others would penetrate deep enough. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 9:16:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2003 10:04:38 AM EDT by SGB]
Hornady offers a 250gr Long Colt HP-XTP and Corbon offers - COR-BON Hunting Ammunition 45 Colt Mag +P 265gr, BC HP, 1350 fps/ 1073 ft/lbs, 20/box as well as a 300gr soft point if magnum + P Natchez Shooters Supply carries the above. [url=www.natchezss.com]Natchez[/url] FROM [url=http://www.speer-bullets.com/?s1=3&s2=5]SPEER[/url] 45 Colt 250 grain GDHP Test barrel velocity 900 ft/sec. Part Number 23984 You asked for this Gold Dot loading and we built it. We developed a brand-new bullet just for 45 Colt velocities and loaded it to standard pressures, so you can safely* use this load in any modern 45 Colt firearm designed for smokeless powder.
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 10:23:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/11/2003 10:24:52 AM EDT by Charging_Handle]
45 Colt 250 grain GDHP Test barrel velocity 900 ft/sec. Part Number 23984 You asked for this Gold Dot loading and we built it. We developed a brand-new bullet just for 45 Colt velocities and loaded it to standard pressures, so you can safely* use this load in any modern 45 Colt firearm designed for smokeless powder.
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Sweet! A 250 gr .45 caliber Gold Dot bullet travelling at 900 fps sounds like just the ticket. If it performs similarly to the .45 ACP 230 gr Gold Dot, it's a winner. Now I will have to attempt to track down some of this! Thanks! -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 11:08:27 AM EDT
[url=http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ctd/mfgresults.asp?mscssid=FJCK7GNFHLTA8L5BB6SG27CPDR1T52CE]Cheaperthand­irt[/url] Item # Mfg. Model Description Price 62148 CCI\Speer 23984 Gold Dot .45 Colt, 250-Grain Gold Dot Hollow Point, 20 Rounds Per Box, 25 Boxes Per Case $13.79 [:D]
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 11:37:31 AM EDT
Thanks SGB, I'll pick up a bunch of this. It's not much more expensive than the Silvertip and I am sure it is probably better ammo. Being it is 250 gr it should also shoot close to the same POI as the LRN 250 gr ammo I already have. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 11:42:05 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Charging_Handle: The reason I have doubts about the Silvertip is that in many loads it often doesn't meet penetration requirements. This is true of the 115 gr 9mm and 185 gr .45 ACP loads. Whether this negative trait continues with the .45 Colt load, I have no idea. -Charging Handle
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Not that I have data to counter that, I would point out that those two bullet loadings are on the light side. A 225gr .45 caliber bullet going 1000fps sounds pretty good, but it is just speculation.
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 1:31:55 PM EDT
CH, Have you asked the Doc over at the other forum? He has posted results from several 'sporting' calibers and may have some insight into the .45 Colt as well. -Forest
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 2:47:32 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Forest: CH, Have you asked the Doc over at the other forum? He has posted results from several 'sporting' calibers and may have some insight into the .45 Colt as well. -Forest
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Yeah Forest, I posted the same question over there two or three days ago and he hasn't responded as of yet, though he has been actively posting since that time. My guess is that he hasn't tested any of these loads and being the professional he is, doesn't want to recommend anything he doesn't have data to support. I fully respect that position. I guess the .45 Colt has in large been relegated to history, with most people moving on to more modern calibers and ammunition. Being few people use it I doubt anyone is seriously testing it these days. It's too bad the old .45 Colt is seeing so little action these days. I think with modern ammunition that this caliber could be an excellent self defense choice, surpassing every popular revolver caliber in terminal performance besides the .44 Magnum (the 454 Casull and .480 Ruger are more likely to be used in hunting applications)...but with far less recoil. And the N frame S&W revolvers tend to be very accurate and durable weapons. Just because a cartridge is old doesn't mean it is no longer effective. In fact, looking around, some of the best calibers on the market are old rounds....45-70, 30-30, 30-06, etc. All of those are still very, very effective today. It's sad more people don't feel the same as me about these old cartridges. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 2:48:40 PM EDT
WHOAH, WHOAH, I SAY WHOAH THERE. You better do some studying up afore you reach fer some of them there hot 45LC (I know, no such thing) loads. Some of them are designed for the Rugers and ThompsonContenders. That said, yer right a 4" oughta be a real nice camp gun. Some of the loads loaded up to compete with the .44 Magnums will really pick'em up and put'em down in the Rugers but will flat tuen other pistols inside out. If your Mod 25 is essentially a Mod 29 frame with with a Mod 29 cylinder opened up to 45 and a 45 barrel, then it should (should not necessarily WILL) take the stiff loads, if it isn't a 29 frame and cylinder where are the action notches. Are they between the chambers or on top. If on top ??? I seen a lot of hot loads for 45lc and they all say for Rugers and T/C only, they don't list the S&W as ok. Not saying you can't crank out some load hotter than normal, which are made for the older Single Actions, but the top end ones are liable to be dangerous. Cor-Bon and maybe others make a 300 grain load that looks really nasty to be on the wrong end of. But I think they say Ruger only. I load 45s for Cowboy Shooting and I got Rugers so I looked into this before possibly heading into bear country this summer. Would hate to see you make a mistake and blow sumthin up. But you oughta be able to do better than the weak loads.
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 2:54:50 PM EDT
I'be been carrying the GA 265 gr SJHP in my 45 LC this summer. Nice, accurate load that is not difficult to handle and clocks 850 fps from my 3" 625
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 6:12:26 PM EDT
Seems as if I've read about heavy loads for the 45 Colt but can't put a name on them. Garrett, Bear bullets??? Will see if I can find the article.
Link Posted: 8/11/2003 8:19:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
45 Colt 250 grain GDHP Test barrel velocity 900 ft/sec. Part Number 23984 You asked for this Gold Dot loading and we built it. We developed a brand-new bullet just for 45 Colt velocities and loaded it to standard pressures, so you can safely* use this load in any modern 45 Colt firearm designed for smokeless powder.
View Quote
Sweet! A 250 gr .45 caliber Gold Dot bullet travelling at 900 fps sounds like just the ticket. If it performs similarly to the .45 ACP 230 gr Gold Dot, it's a winner. Now I will have to attempt to track down some of this! Thanks! -Charging Handle
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That does sound like a winner! Be a good load for a 45colt lever action too...
Link Posted: 8/12/2003 12:22:33 AM EDT
I looked up the Cor-Bon site and they said that they are OK in the Mod 25 (from the Cor-Bon site Q: Can I use the 45 COLT Magnum loads in my S&W model 25 Mountain Gun? A: Yes, the 45 COLT Magnum loads can be used in the S&W model 25 and the other modern S&W guns. You need to be sure that your gun is in good condition and hasn't had too many years of hard use. The 335 gr. Hard Cast load is probably a good choice. It operates at a little less pressure, but still packs a real whoop. New guns come out every year and the 45 COLT is a popular cartridge. If the model gun is not offered in 44 Magnum, it doesn't have the metal to handle the 45 COLT Magnum. The new titanium and scandium guns are nice to pack, but these are intended for self defense -- not hunting. The 45 COLT Magnum loads are not suitable for these guns. [url] http://www.corbon.com/qanda.html [/url] Get some of those 335 grainers and let me know how they work if you can use your hand afterwards.
Link Posted: 8/12/2003 2:09:58 AM EDT
Wow, when I started this thread I had no idea it would generate this much interest. I must not be the only one here with something chambered in this ancient caliber! Hehe. I think I will stick with normal pressure loads for now. While my gun may be able to handle some of the stout stuff, I think the 250 gr Gold Dot at 900 fps is about perfect for what I want. It may not be ideal for grizzlies but I don't have any of them where I am at. Only a few scattered black bears that I don't consider much of a threat anyway, a few mountain lions here and there and some coyotes. I figure the above load will work well against all of those and still be good for two leg critters also. But thanks for all of the discussion, I have learned a lot about this gun and cartridge through it. -Charging Handle
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