.45 Colt

posted on May 25, 2012
lessons_ah2015_fs.jpg (10)

I sat down to my reloading bench this morning to put together some .45 Colt ammo for my new Ruger Flattop. It got me to thinking: The .45 Colt just might be the best—or at least the most versatile—handgun cartridge of all time. Of course, that only holds true if you consider the role of a handgun in its traditional sense—a reactive tool for stopping threatening or edible creatures at close range.

The .45 Colt was the result of a joint venture between Colt Patent Firearms and the Union Metallic Cartridge Company in 1872. This 140-year-old cartridge has a well-deserved reputation as a man-stopper, even with its traditional round-nose bullet with a small, flat meplat. It sends a chunk of lead the size of your thumb downrange with enough authority to mess up anything it runs into. Switch to a semi-wadcutter, and the stopping power increases. In all but the skimpiest of guns the .45 Colt is easy to shoot by a seasoned shot.

There is no doubt that the striker-fired semi-auto pistol with high-capacity magazines rules the self-defense market today. Most folks want to be prepared for a Miami- or West Hollywood-style shoot-out where dozens of rounds may be fired. Ninjas and law enforcement aside, the reality is that most armed encounters are settled with two or three shots.

A few years ago there was a trend to “magnumize” the .45 Colt—load to .44 Magnum velocities in heavy Ruger Blackhawks or T/C Contenders. You can do it, but case life suffers. If I need that kind of performance, I shoot a .44 Magnum. I find that a 265-grain semi-wadcutter at about 850 to 900 fps can accomplish anything I would reasonably ask a handgun to do.

I’m still pretty much wedded to my .44 Specials for day-to-day work, and when I am forced into more “civilized” environments—sometimes referred to as cities—there will usually be a 1911 nestled up next to me. But in all honesty a .45 Colt would do just as well.


Keefe Shooting 712 G3
Keefe Shooting 712 G3

#SundayGunday: CZ-USA 712 G3

Get a closer look at the CZ-USA Field Sports 712 G3, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Recipe: Shane’s Goose Bake

This recipe uses all components of the goose, including legs and thighs, breast meat, and the gizzard, heart and liver. The different textures and flavors often surprise people who actively seek “special parts” from the roaster.

Hardware: Savage 93 Minimalist

The Savage 93 Minimalist combines a classic laminate stock design with modern aesthetics to achieve a lightweight platform with improved ergonomics.

First Look: Alps OutdoorZ Deadquiet Ember Handwarmer

Alps OutdoorZ has debuted its Deadquiet Ember Handwarmer. This handwarmer works in conjunction with the company's Deadquiet Shield Bino Harness, or as a standalone product to help keep hands warm and ready when the temperature take a dive.

New for 2023: Fiocchi Speed sTEAL

Fiocchi has expanded its Flyway offerings with Speed sTEAL shotshells. Boasting dense patterns for terminal performance Speed sTEAL is developed specifically for early-season teal hunting.

First Look: Bond Arms Rawhide .22 LR

Made after its namesake, the Bond Arms Rawhide .22 LR is as tough as leather and ideal for plinking or varmint control.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.