Which’s Better Between .45 Long Colt vs .44 Magnum Ammo?
As their names may suggest, .45 Long Colt and .44 Magnum are very similar rounds.
Ever wondered what the specific differences are?
In this article, we will go over some key differences, and what situations may be better for each caliber.
What is .44 Magnum and .45 Long Colt?
For starters, the name .44 Magnum is slightly misleading.
This name would suggest that the bullet is .44 inches in diameter, when in reality, it is .429 inches in diameter.
The bullet is fired from a 1.285 inch case. This round can be used in handguns, rifles, and revolvers.
While it is newer than .45 Long Colt, it is still a relatively old round.
.45 Long Colt
Unlike the .44 Magnum, .45 Long Colt is true to its name.
The bullet is approximately .45 inches in diameter.
Similar to the .44 Magnum, .45 Long Colt is fired from a 1.285 inch case.
This specific round is used solely in revolvers, and is an extremely historic round. It was first designed over a century ago.
What's different between .44 Magnum vs .45 Long Colt?
As you can tell, the .45 Long Colt is the same height as the .44 Magnum, but slightly wider.
As a result,
- a .44 Magnum bullet is about 96% of the weight of a .45 Long Colt bullet
- A .45 Long Colt bullet weighs approximately 250 grains, while a .44 Magnum bullet weighs approximately 240 grains
Ballistic testing has shown that .44 Magnum is shot much faster than .45 Long Colt. When shot from a similar length barrel, .44 Magnum will be much faster.
For our purposes, we will use a 5 inch barrel for a comparison.
When shot from a 5 inch barrel, .45 Long Colt has a muzzle velocity of 957 feet per second, while .44 Magnum has a muzzle velocity of 1270 feet per second.
.44 Magnum shoots a bullet that is nearly the exact same size at a much higher rate of speed.
What this means to you, is that .44 Magnum is deadlier.
This improved performance is the result of nearly 100 years of ammunition and weapons technology advancements between the creation of .45 Long Colt and .44 Magnum.
Given this ballistic data, I would recommend using .44 Magnum over .45 Long Colt in a self-defense or hunting scenario.
If you are simply shooting for fun, both cartridges are extremely fun to shoot, and either will work.
Overall, both .44 Magnum and .45 Long Colt are excellent cartridges. While .44 Magnum has better ballistics, .45 Long Colt is an absolutely iconic American cartridge.
With more modern weapon technologies and more versatile weapons, .45 Long Colt has remained relevant today. Weapons such as the Taurus Judge and the Smith & Wesson Governor are capable of shooting .45 Long Colt, along with .410 bore shotgun shells, so the round still sees plenty of use.