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Thread: 45 Short Colt

  1. #21
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36g View Post
    Take a look at the .45 Colt Government cartridge - similar to the .45 Schofield with the rim of the .45 Long Colt.
    45 Government is the official name of that cartridge. It's specifications are in the manuals of the day. As mentioned it was made by government arsenals so the same cartridge could be used in both the Schofield and Colt service revolvers. Colt then began making the Colt SAA's with smaller diameter ratchets on the cylinders so regular 45 Scofield cartridges could be used. Many of the original issued SAAs were recalled and modified. The 45 Government cartridge had a short life.

    45 Short Colt is a colloquial name.
    Larry Gibson

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  2. #22
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Larry -

    Good information. Forger about the "45 Cowboy brass.load" that's been mixed in with the conversation - the three cartridges utilized by the Army (and eventually civilian use - if I have the facts straight) were the 45 Colt, 45 Schofield and the 45 Government, which is being referred to as the "45 Colt Short".

    Does any of your references/info state what the powder charge and bullet used were? Did it utilize the same RNFP slug as the $% Colt and Schofield? (My guess would be yes??)

    I'm assuming that the 45 Government cartridge passed government testing since the Arsenals started producing them, but, as you note, the cartridge was short lived. Do you have any references/info as to how the cartridge was received by those who actually had to use it and how it performed in the field? I fully understand the "why's" that the cartridge was developed, but am curious as to how it was accepted (or cursed) by those that had it issued to them - if any of that has survived through the years. One thing to pass the government testing, but quite another thing if an individual were to get caught in a life threatening situation where the cartridges in his revolver didn't have the power of the 45 Colt cartridges he was accustomed to using.

    Thanks for anything you can share.

    Jim

  3. #23
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    IIRC, there were also two 45 Colt loads, one was the original 40 grs BP and 250 gr slug, and 28 grs BP with 230 gr bullet, or something in that vicinity. I believe I read somewhere the Army concluded the original Colt load yielded too much recoil so the lighter loading was developed for the long case.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Savvy Jack's Avatar
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    Winchester's 45 Colt Government cartridge is a late comer, but nothing new (per Frankford Arsenal). Still an all black powder load, was offered as late as 1925.

    28gr Black Powder
    230gr lead bullet

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    Manufactured by several ammunition companies, it was still only a 45 Colt Government cartridge, not a "short" colt.
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    Last edited by Savvy Jack; 08-15-2022 at 08:59 AM.

  5. #25
    Hey Guys,

    I think we're missing the point from the original post.

    KCSO has in his possession a 45 Short Colt, with a case length of 0.735".

    The 45 Cowboy had a case length of 0.989", the same length as the 45 ACP & 45 AR.

    The 45 Government has a case length of 1.109", same length as the 45 Schofield.

    Personally I'd like to see the head stamp, but so far I'm believing there was such a creature.

    AntiqueSledMan.

  6. #26
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    The point is if the box said "45 Short Colt" it was just colloquial name given to what was still the 45 Government cartridge. Same as "Stingers" are still just a 22LR cartridge.

    The Army manual of the day states the 45 Government cartridge was loaded in an inside primed case with a 230 gr bullet loaded over 28 gr of BP.

    I believe the 45 Government was well received by the troops. When the specifications for the 45 ACP were drawn up it appears it was to emulate the ballistics of the 45 Government cartridge with a 200 gr bullet. Browning bettered that by using the same 230 gr bullet.
    Larry Gibson

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    ― Nikola Tesla

  7. #27
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    AntiqueSledMan - O.K. I'm old and a bit confused here - so the 45 Government cartridge is the same basic dimensions as the 45 Schofield - which of course is shorter - so it could be used in issued revolvers chambered in the Schofield AS WELL as issued revolvers chambered in 45 Colt . . . am I correct so far?

    So here is my confusion . . . . is "45 Government" just the "name" assigned yto the cartridge rather than calling it the "trade name" (I'm assuming) . . . OR . . . is the "45 Government" the same case length/same charge/boolit as the 45 Schofield cartridge, BUT, with a rim the same dimensions as the 45 Colt RATHER THAN the rim dimensions of the Schofield, made necessary by the ratchet dimensions of the Colt SAA before Colt changed the dimension and the early SAAs were sent in to retrofit?

    Given the case length of the "45 Colt Short" that KCSO has that I assume is a Commercially made product, not a "military" issued designed one or a clone . . . we're discussing Apples and Oranges. If the so called "45 Colt Short" has a case length pf 0.735" + or - . . . . then my question is "why" or "for what"? As a Gallery or short range target load? Not unlike the purpose of the present dat "45 Cowboy" brass that has gotten mixed in with the conversation?

    Thanks for straightening out my confusion . . . it will save my wife from having to "send me to the home"!

    Jim

  8. #28
    Boolit Master Savvy Jack's Avatar
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    Until we see photos of the headstamp, or no headstamp, it's just a guessing game.

    The 45 Webely was .770

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    The point is if the box said "45 Short Colt" it was just colloquial name given to what was still the 45 Government cartridge. Same as "Stingers" are still just a 22LR cartridge.

    The Army manual of the day states the 45 Government cartridge was loaded in an inside primed case with a 230 gr bullet loaded over 28 gr of BP.

    I believe the 45 Government was well received by the troops. When the specifications for the 45 ACP were drawn up it appears it was to emulate the ballistics of the 45 Government cartridge with a 200 gr bullet. Browning bettered that by using the same 230 gr bullet.
    The brits for their military revolvers in .45 Webley used a short case of 0.886 originally loaded with black power before switching to cordite and I do not believe that there were any complaints relative to killing men in close combat of which the british did a lot of in those days.

    Ballistic performance
    Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
    265[2] FMJ 700 ft/s (210 m/s) 289 ft⋅lbf (392 J) blackpower load
    265 gr (17 g) 600 ft/s (180 m/s) 212 ft⋅lbf (287 J)
    265 gr (17 g) 757 ft/s (231 m/s) 337 ft⋅lbf (457 J)
    265 gr (17 g) 600 ft/s (180 m/s)[3] 220 ft⋅lbf (300 J)
    200 gr (13 g) 900 ft/s (270 m/s) 360 ft⋅lbf (490 J)

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    The brits for their military revolvers in .45 Webley used a short case of 0.886 originally loaded with black power before switching to cordite and I do not believe that there were any complaints relative to killing men in close combat of which the british did a lot of in those days.

    Ballistic performance
    Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
    265[2] FMJ 700 ft/s (210 m/s) 289 ft⋅lbf (392 J) blackpower load
    265 gr (17 g) 600 ft/s (180 m/s) 212 ft⋅lbf (287 J)
    265 gr (17 g) 757 ft/s (231 m/s) 337 ft⋅lbf (457 J)
    265 gr (17 g) 600 ft/s (180 m/s)[3] 220 ft⋅lbf (300 J)
    200 gr (13 g) 900 ft/s (270 m/s) 360 ft⋅lbf (490 J)
    It's predecessor did.

    https://cartridgecollectors.org/?pag...455-cartridges

    Many of these were the Adams revolver in 54 bore and the decision was made to convert these Adams "Cap and Ball" revolvers to fire a metallic self-contained cartridge. As a 54-bore pistol is essentially .450 caliber, the cartridge designed to be used in converted revolvers was the .450 Boxer which became the .450 Adams Mk 1. This cartridge had the dubious distinction of being recognized as underpowered and ineffective before it was approved in late 1868. It used a drawn brass case riveted to a separate disk of iron (Mark I) or brass (Mark II), and a 225-grain lead bullet. There was a Mark III Adams cartridge that used a 1-piece, drawn brass case, and a 225-grain round-nose lead bullet held by a deep cannelure, that was approved in 1909. However, in terms of the evolution of the .455 it is only the first two marks of .450 Adams that really have any bearing.

    The British Colonial conflicts such as the Afghan and Zulu Wars confirmed the Adams gun/cartridge’s lack of effectiveness where it served more to annoy the natives than to dispatch them. So in the late 1870s, the British Government developed a replacement revolver at the Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF), Enfield. This appeared in 1879 in .455 caliber. Though there were some experimental .455 cartridges at the time, the tests were ongoing. So, in fact, the .455 Enfield Revolver was accepted before suitable ammunition was available. In the interim, the official response was to use the .450 Adams ammunition in the .455 Enfield Revolver.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
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    "The Highest form of ignorance is when your reject something you don't know anything about".
    - Wayne Dyer

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    After many years of looking and wondering I had a fellow bring me a box of ammo marked 45 SHORT Colt. I have yet to dissect one but they have the same rim as the OLD 45 Colt and are 1,142 OAL with a ,735 case length and a ,454 diameter bullet. Shorter case than a 45 and W. I will be weighing the powder and firing for velocity soon.
    .455 Colt is close but case is still to long.
    https://collectibleammunition.com/pr...nion-455-colt/
    https://collectibleammunition.com/pr...5-colt-canada/

    https://gunsmagazine.com/our-experts...ny%20of%20them.

    The .455 Webley was originally a black powder cartridge with a case length of 0.85 to 0.87″ (the MKI). With the arrival of smokeless powders, the case length was reduced in 1897 to 0.74-0.76″ (MKII). However, all subsequent .455 Webleys were chambered for the longer original cartridge so either case length would work in any of them. The original .455 Webley round is the .455 MKI and Colt made this same round (with a different shaped bullet) as the .455 Colt.

    https://shop.ammo-one1.com/product.sc?productId=339
    The .455 Colt and .455 Enfield were only produced in the longer Mark I length: case length was .850" to .886." The over-all cartridge length is 1.157" to 1.448" and only loaded with black powder,

    As stated above this is just a guessing game without headstamp and or box pics.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 08-15-2022 at 09:50 PM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."
    – Amber Veal

    "The Highest form of ignorance is when your reject something you don't know anything about".
    - Wayne Dyer

  12. #32
    Hello bedbugbilly,

    I can't answer your question of "Why" or "For What", but I don't think your ready for the "Home" just yet.

    Guess I have to agree with Savvy Jack, photo's would definitely help on this one.

    I'm not disagreeing with Larry Gibson, I always believed the .45 Government was refereed to as the .45 Short Colt.

    However, the cartridge which KCSO has described is a complete different cartridge from anything else,
    and apparently the box is labeled .45 Short Colt.

    I must add, Cartridge names apparently do change, the 30 WCF has been changed to 30-30 Win,
    and my favorite the .44 Colt has been changed to .44 Colt Original because of the rebirth of the Modern .44 Colt with its .430 diameter projectile.

    AntiqueSledMan.

  13. #33
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    As a certified "picker of nits" I feel I should point out that until Star-Line started calling it the "45 Schofield" the proper, original name for the cartridge was the 45 S&W. Without digging into my library, memory says S&W never chambered any other handguns for that cartridge. I've never understood why Ordnance felt it necessary to re-name it as they always referred to the original chambering for the SAA as the 45 Colt but the 45 S&W became the discussed 45 Government.

    As for the government loadings, the original 45 Colt was 40g of black powder behind a 255g RNFP. Soon after (about 1874) they discovered the full powered 45 Colt was too much for the troops and reduced the charge to 30g of powder behind a 250g bullet. Then the Schofield debacle hit with supply not being able to get the right ammunition to the right units and Ordnance again gutted the performance of the SAA to the S&W's load of 28g of powder behind a 230g bullet.

    Dave

  14. #34
    Boolit Master Savvy Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueSledMan View Post
    Hello bedbugbilly,


    I must add, Cartridge names apparently do change, the 30 WCF has been changed to 30-30 Win,
    and my favorite the .44 Colt has been changed to .44 Colt Original because of the rebirth of the Modern .44 Colt with its .430 diameter projectile.

    AntiqueSledMan.
    The 30WCF was changed due to Marlin and all are official manufacture designated names. It all started with the 44-40. Marlin worked closely with UMC and UMC eventually called it the 44-40 for Marlin.....but it didn't stop there. The 44 WCF had nearly 6 different names by FIREARM manufactures due to not wanting other's names on their goods. Very competitive back then with names and especially patents.

    Primers to be specific, each manufacture wanted their own primer design of which Winchester, UMC and USCCo did have.

    Winchester - Oliver Winchester's 1874 primer patent (Winchester 73")
    Winchester - J Gardner's Oct 1st, 1878 patent
    Winchester - AJ Hobb's (son of AC Hobbs) 1882 patent

    UMC - Hobb's/Orcutt's March 10th, 1874 patent
    UMC - Hobb's Oct 1st 1876 patent

    USCCo - Farrington's Dec 17th, 1872 patent, updated to Three Types

    Self Identifying is not accepted!

  15. #35
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    Interesting to stumble upon this thread, I've been thinking about the idea of shortening .45 Long Colt cartridges to gain magazine capacity in rifles with tubular magazines. Perhaps easier than messing with trimming cases would be to use the Starline cowboy brass. Hopefully there wouldn't be any feed issues. Is there actual published load data around for these shortened cases or is it more about loading down but taking the case volume into account?

  16. #36
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brick85 View Post
    Interesting to stumble upon this thread, I've been thinking about the idea of shortening .45 Long Colt cartridges to gain magazine capacity in rifles with tubular magazines. Perhaps easier than messing with trimming cases would be to use the Starline cowboy brass. Hopefully there wouldn't be any feed issues. Is there actual published load data around for these shortened cases or is it more about loading down but taking the case volume into account?
    Before you do that make up a couple of dummies and see if they will run - typically with the short case the rifle tries to load two and gets about one and a half in the lifter! Not good for running - length of cartridge is quite specific for most designs.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  17. #37
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I too would like to see a picture of the box and the cartridge headstamp. With cases of that length the cartridges are not 45 Government cartridges. Need to see them to ID them.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  18. #38
    Boolit Master Savvy Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brick85 View Post
    Interesting to stumble upon this thread, I've been thinking about the idea of shortening .45 Long Colt cartridges to gain magazine capacity in rifles with tubular magazines. Perhaps easier than messing with trimming cases would be to use the Starline cowboy brass. Hopefully there wouldn't be any feed issues. Is there actual published load data around for these shortened cases or is it more about loading down but taking the case volume into account?
    That is why the 45 "Cowboy" brass was designed, do yourself a favor and just buy the cowboy brass. It has already proven itself.

    Elmer Kieth hyping up the long colt bs has been a huge disservice to the 45 Colt cartridges.

  19. #39
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    Elmer was using holy black in the 40 grain charge to giver over 900 fps with a 250 grain bullet in the 7 1/2 barrel. This was very potent in the 1920's and is still a good field load today. He never shot a 45 colt in a lever gun and would have had little use for one of this little power. When he went to smokless he dumped the 45 in favor of the 44 for stronger cylinder walls.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    Elmer was using holy black in the 40 grain charge to giver over 900 fps with a 250 grain bullet in the 7 1/2 barrel. This was very potent in the 1920's and is still a good field load today. He never shot a 45 colt in a lever gun and would have had little use for one of this little power. When he went to smokless he dumped the 45 in favor of the 44 for stronger cylinder walls.
    DITTO to what KCSO said. Personally I've never understood the enthusiasm or desire to shoot the 45 Colt (developed and introduced as a revolver cartridge) in lever action rifles that were never chambered for the round. Guess it's a case of "just because I can". I'm too historically oriented to go that route. Besides, the 44 WCF is a fine rifle cartridge as proven by decades of original use.

    YMMV,
    Dave

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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