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How did we get these "Calibers"?

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--- Quote from: Griff on May 14, 2024, 08:57:02 PM ---Regarding the misnomer 45 "Long" Colt.  There is evidence that the government developed a shorter cartridge differing from the Schoffield by having the same rim diameter as the 45 Colt.  Elmer Keith wrote "...Some newcomers to the game claim there is no such animal, but if they had shot the short variety that Remington turned out in such profusion before, during and after World War I they would see there was some basis in referring to the .45 Colt as the .45 Long..." (]Sixguns, page 285).  but, it still doesn't change the name of the 45 Colt.

The case is 1.1" long. The powder charge was black powder, approximately 28 grains. The bullet weighed right at 230 gr. and was lubed with a white chalky-looking substance. I fired one from my Ruger 7 1/2" barreled .45 and it went through the chronograph at near 750 fps.  I understand production was ceased sometime in the 1930s.

--- End quote ---

It is not "evidence" it is absolutely true.  The Frankford Arsenal stopped production of .45 Colt (250 gr bullet / 30gr BP) August 20, 1874. In early 1875 it rolled out the new compromise Berdan primed cartridge (230 gr bullet / 28 gr BP).  In 1882 it was changed to Boxer primed. The final version of the cartridge was the M1887.

Hackley, Woodin and Scranton, “History of Modern U. S. Military Small Arms Ammunition” Volume 1
McChristian, "THe U.S. Army in the West, 1870-1880 Uniforms, Weapons, and Equipment"
Photos from “The Cartridge Collector” website

There are some very true statements about the alternative cartridge the Army adopted to use in both of their service pistols in the 1880s.

The ".45 Colt Government", ".45 Government", ".45 Army", M1887 or various other names given to the cartridge that would fit both the Colt and the S&W was definitely a cartridge.  But they were all definitely not the .45 Colt. 

The .45 Colt was,  the .45 Colt; and as others have also pointed out the .45 Colt has always been and always will have a 1.6" long case.

It's interesting to look back at how people may have begun to identify the .45 Colt as the "Long Colt" to differentiate it from the shorter original .45 S&W cartridge (.45 Schofield) or the later M1887 cartridge and I believe today most people call it that out of habit and at some point in the 40s, 50s or 60s called it that because of the .45 ACP.  I have had a lot of people argue with me that it is the Long Colt and that ammunition boxes are marked that way.  They are either surprised or continue to argue when they can't find a manufacturer that calls it "Long Colt".

I tend to not even correct people anymore when they call things like magazines, clips (it really doesn't matter), but when it comes to ammunition, correct nomenclature is important, such was the case in the 1880s and it is today as well.   Rims matter, on this and other cartridges.



--- Quote from: Mako on May 21, 2024, 07:02:09 PM ---...45 Colt has always been and always will have a 1.6" long case. ...

... They are either surprised or continue to argue when they can't find a manufacturer that calls it "Long Colt"....

--- End quote ---

Well, 1.6" OAL, not case.  But yeah.

Armscor and Fiocchi call it "45 Long Colt".  But heck, they ain't even American, so probly got lost in translation.  :)


Hey Guys,

I know a lot of people get their undies in a bundle when someone refers
to the .45 Colt as the .45 Long Colt, but these are changing times.
When I started playing with the .44 Colt I discovered that it also changed.
Now I try to refer to mine as the .44 Colt Original, not the new stuff with a .429" projectile.


It looks like Fiochi and Armscor have blown my statement away.  I stand corrected...sheesh ferninors' 

And, yes the AOL length of 1.6 (I think that is actually max.  Case is just under 1.3" or close to it.  I had 1.6" on my mind because of cylinder length discussions a while back.

So call it whatever you want.


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