Author Topic: Using .45ACP bullets in a .45 Colt  (Read 298 times)

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Offline FALer

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Using .45ACP bullets in a .45 Colt
« on: September 19, 2019, 12:24:01 AM »
So I've got some 45ACP FMJ 230 gr round nose bullets, these don't have a cannelure or any crimp groove at all. Can they be loaded into a .45Colt (Long Colt) case?

I've got RCBS 45ACP dies, which I mention just on the off chance I may be able to use that crimp die to put a taper crimp on that bullet.

I've got actual bullets for the .45 Colt inbound and I'll probably wait for those but maybe not depending on what you folks tell me.

These are for a Pietta Frontier 1873 SAA clone, .45 colt.   

Offline M1A4ME

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Re: Using .45ACP bullets in a .45 Colt
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 07:17:25 AM »
Ruger Blackhawks in .45 Colt used to come with a .45 acp cylinder, so the owners could shoot either.

That would make me think you could use .45 acp bullets (couple thousands of inch smaller in diameter - usually - than .45 Colt bullets) in a .45 Colt.

Loading .45 Colt loads/velocities?  I'd use the standard .45 Colt seating/crimp die.  It shouldn't take a lot of crimp for a low recoiling load - but - since the bullets are slightly smaller there should be some reduction in case neck tension that usually helps (along with a crimp) hold the bullet in the case during chambering (in semi auto pistols) and recoil as the rounds ahead of it are fired a slightly heavier crimp may be required.

I wouldn't load a lot of them without working up some loads and experimenting with both the powder charge and the crimp.

On the other side, I had a buddy many years ago that loaded the .45 Colt 255 grain LSWC for his 1911 and he swore by them.  Never bought/loaded anything else.  Shot nice groups with them, too.  Don't remember any of the load details other than that big flat nosed bullet and how it fed perfectly in that NM 1911 he shot.
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Offline Wobbly

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Re: Using .45ACP bullets in a .45 Colt
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 08:47:37 AM »
If you'll look in your load manual.... (You do have a manual, right ? ) You'll see that the 45ACP bullet is smaller than the 45Colt. So your first answer is "Yes, they will fit and fire, but you may not get the accuracy you desire." It's going to be a lot like shooting 9mm bullets in a 38. The bullet is not a snug fit and so they may not grab the rifling correctly. If your 45ACP bullet is all lead, then that extra looseness may lead to some barrel leading, but no incurable harm will come of it.

Then, as you correctly observe, there is no cannelure on the 45ACP bullet, so you'll need to Taper Crimp the cartridge. You can effectively do that with your 45ACP crimp die.
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Offline ReloaderFred

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Re: Using .45ACP bullets in a .45 Colt
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 11:23:31 AM »
Since right after World War II, .45 Colt barrels have been manufactured with .452" diameter barrels, the same as .45 acp.  The bullets will work fine down the barrel, since both calibers use the same diameter bullets.  The only real problem, which may, or may not, really be a problem, is the lack of a crimp groove. 

In revolver calibers, the purpose of the crimp groove is to keep the bullets from walking out of the case under recoil, just the opposite of semi-auto handguns, where bullet setback is the issue from hitting the feedramp when feeding from the magazine.  You can usually tell if the bullets are walking out by loading six rounds, shooting five and then measuring the sixth one to see if the OAL is longer than originally set.

I've got five 1911's in .45 acp, and six .45 Colt revolvers, plus a .45 acp revolver.  They all shoot the same bullet, which I cast by the thousands, but in my case I use a 200 gr. RNFP bullet.  Four of my .45 Colt revolvers are Combination Ruger Blackhawks in .45 Colt/.45 acp.  All twelve of my .45 Colt and .45 acp handguns have bores that are nominally .452" in diameter, and my three Marlin 1894 CB .45 Colt rifles also have .452" diameter barrels and shoot that same bullet.

The bottom line is, yes, you can shoot those 230 gr. ".45 acp" bullets through your .45 Colt revolver.  Once again, make sure you've got good neck tension on the bullets so the last couple of rounds in the cylinder don't walk out of the case and lock up the cylinder.

Hope this helps.

Fred
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Offline FALer

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Re: Using .45ACP bullets in a .45 Colt
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2019, 11:32:00 PM »
Thanks folks. I knew the 45 acp FMJ bullet itself would fit down the bore no problem, and I was fairly certain the 45acp taper crimp die would work on the combo of the 45 Colt case and the FMJ bullet. Mostly I wanted to throw it out there and get a few opinions in case I was missing anything.