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Thread: Anyone use 45 Colt against large game?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Anyone use 45 Colt against large game?

    Has anyone here ever taken elk, moose, or bear with 45 colt? Did you use the standard loading or the Ruger only loads?

    You mostly hear about 44 mag or larger for these larger game animals but I'm curious as to the 45 colts usage.

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have not taken any big game with a .45 Colt, but if you're interested in the topic, I highly recommend this book.
    It's written by Max Prasac, who is a huge fan of the .45 Colt and loads it to levels that the old Colts of the past wouldn't even recognize.
    He has taken some really big game with it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Gun-Digest-Bo...gateway&sr=8-1
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    My daughter took a nice 4x4 muley with my cast load of a Lee 300 gr GC WFN in a Win 94 . Shot was about 110 yard ! One shot done!

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  5. #5
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    I seem to remember an article by John Barsness from Handloader Magazine. It was a few years back and the only details I remember was a Ruger Bisley 7 1/2" and it was Southeast Montana. I think he took a big Muley Buck.
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  6. #6
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    Wife took couple of deer with her 7 1/2" BH using Ruger only loads. Not a whole lot of difference between those loads and 44 Magnum ones. Seventeen grains of 2400 in 45LC (250 SWC) would be pretty comparable to seventeen grains of 2400 with a 240 SWC in 44 Magnum. IMO

    Winelover

  7. #7
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    Bazoo, considering the 45 Colt was originally contracted by the Cavalry to shoot through a horse and kill the enemy on the other side, this being it's black powder loading, I would say that even in the most anemic factory loading that it would take any thin skinned game up to the size of a horse. This would include Moose and Elk.

    From there it depends on which gun you are using as the energy levels rise with increased pressure so in a medium framed new model Ruger you would be good to 23,000psi which would launch the 255gr boolit right at 1200 fps, this would reliably take Grizzly or a large Brown bear (with proper shot placement) and in the large framed Ruger and other stoutly built revolvers you would be good to 30,000psi which would allow heavy boolits up to 340gr to be launched at 1200 fps, now you are talking ALL game on the North American continent, and some of the more dangerous critters on the African continent as well.

    We haven't even gotten to rifles or carbines chambered in 45 Colt.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Brian Pearce of Handloader Magazine wrote of taking an elk with a Smith and Wesson revolver in 45 Colt. The 250 grain cast bullet at 900 fps MV exited the far side. Range was about 50 yards, as I recall.

  9. #9
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    Never killed anything with one, but I love .45 Colt and can't imagine that a 250ish grain SWC moving close to 900 FPS wouldn't get it done on deer just fine under the conditions I hunt if my shooting were up to it. I'm not as good with a handgun as I should be, so there's that, but I'm working on it.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I believe it was John Linebaugh who wrote in an article that the .45 Colt can do whatever the .44 magnum can, but with a lot less chamber pressure. It's a real performer in my carbines and rifles. GF

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    Elmer Keith used it quite a bit.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  12. #12
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    Well there I was sitting in the deer stand when all of a sudden a fawn came busting out of the woods in a death run followed closely by a mega bobcat. Looked like he was bigger than a Yugo (at least to the fawn anyway) At 100 yds he filled my scope eyepiece. Feeling for the fawn energized me to give it a go so when the bobcat reached 85 yds I launched a 245 grain get off fawn message.. message was delivered to great effect. fawn lived another day. That's my story and I have pics to prove it

    Yes there are quite a few stories of large game being taken by 45 colts at reasonable distances. I would have no worries shooting an elk or moose that 100yds with a 45 colt and a heavy weight projectile
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    A former writer for Wolf Publishing (Rifle and Handloader magazines) from South Africa used a heavy-loaded 45 Colt to finish off Cape Buffalo, usually with brain shots. The penetration can be almost unbelievable.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Keith in Sixgun Cartridges and Loads and also in his later book Sixguns, describes his experience with the .45 Colt. Factory loads with the pointed conical bullet were great penetrators, but had less killing power than heavy, flatnosed bullets having a large meplat of 0.6 to 0.7 of bullet diameter.

    I've killed whitetails successfully with #454424 and 8 grains of Unique and never recovered a bullet. Penetration was always through and through from any angle. Also shot boar and feral razorbacks with the same load and never felt under-gunned.

    Higher velocity flattens trajectory and makes longer range hits beyond 50 yards easier, but 900 fps with a 260-grain FN bullet gives you all the penetration one could desire. The Keith-type bullet or modern LBT WFNs provide straight through penetration with excellent crush characteristics. Keith never felt that more velocity than 1000 fps was ever needed. He favored additional bullet weight over higher velocity.

    In a strong handgun like the Ruger, today's 270-300-grain bullets launched at 850-1000 fps would be stone killers.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Iíve used mine on mostly deer and hogs, but the biggest thing Iíve killed was a friends bull that had developed a bad attitude and would attack anything that got in its pasture, and kept getting out and terrorizing the neighbors. Anyway, I used my 7.5Ē Ruger BH firing a RCBS 270SAA and 20.0grs of 2400 (check your manual before you copy this load, cause Iíve backed off away from it too being older and hopefully a bit smarter now). From about 50yards, put the bullet in the forehead, and the bull just dropped. We butchered it for the meat, and found the bullet resting against the left hip. I couldnít tell you how heavy that bull was, and itís definitely not a game animal, but itís the only animal Iíve ever shot with this load that allowed me to recover the bullet. Iíve since backed away from this load, and have been using 10.0grs Unique instead. Still shooting clean through deer and hogs. I donít know how much I would have to drop this load to start recovering bullets, but this shoots so well that Iím just planning on sticking with it.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. I've not read them all yet but will soon as I have some quiet time to think on it. When I say Ruger only loads I do not mean the linebaugh loads that are at a completely different level. I don't have a Ruger in 45 colt, but I'm considering one. I like the power level of starting / lower mid 44 mag loads.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    There is an excellent article by Brian Pearce on the .45c and the rcbs 270 saa. He divides the loads into standard pressure tier 1 loads. 23,000 psi tier 2 loads, and 32,000 tier 3 loads. I have it saved on my ipad, but I can’t post links. If you would like a copy, pm me your email and I will send it to you.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Wheelguns 1961, I would like to check that out. I sent you a PM.

    Thanks.

  19. #19
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    John Linebaugh’s article
    https://www.johnlinebaughcustomsixguns.com/writings

    Brian Pearce article
    https://www.riflemagazine.com/magazi...246partial.pdf

    The 45-270-SAA is my favorite all time general-purpose 45 Colt boolits.
    Last edited by osteodoc08; 08-17-2019 at 10:34 PM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy kaiser's Avatar
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    The.45 Colt is my favorite pistol load. “Cowboy” pressure loads work well at reasonable ranges on large animals, but is seldom chosen or recommended for specialized pistol hunting of dangerous game where high velocity is theorized to make pistol bullets into giant slayers! A .45 Colt pistol has a very manageable recoil compared to the .44Mag, .480, .454, and..500S&W (which I have shot). I can guarantee that I can get off at least two shots for every one you can get off with one of the extra heavy “big boomers”. (A .45 Colt loaded “hot” in a big frame Ruger or Freedom arms will do anything a .44 Mag will do with the same level of recoil punishment.)
    A rifle in a .45 Colt will deliver .44 Magnum velocities which extends its range while delivering the same penetration and effectiveness on impact with a cast bullet at the shorter range of a lower velocity pistol load. I’ve shot two deer with a rifle in a .45 Colt with 255gr cast (Lee) bullet with complete penetration through the shoulders. I would not feel under gunned shootings an elk, moose, or bear; however, I do not hunt these animals with a pistol because of their habitat and range. Those that specialize, by hunting large game with a pistol, are looking for a caliber with increased velocity to do the job of a rifle. I choose the rifle every time. The pistol I carry is a”side arm”, either to backup my rifle or protect me until I can get to a rifle. With a .45 Colt I am sufficiently armed IMO. My.02.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check