45 Colt/45ACP pressures in 1873 Cattleman
I am new to this forum. Maybe somebody can answer the following question for me. After having collected all kinds of guns over the years I got me a Uberti 1873 Cattleman in .45 Colt last Christmas. And believe it or not, this gun is so much fun to shoot that I even started reloading the 45 Colt this last summer. That in itself is a lot of fun too and justifies even more shooting. Last month I was able to get me another original Uberti cylinder for that same gun, but this time in 45 ACP. The gun works perfectly fine with both cylinders. Timing is perfect and both cylinders give me the same point of aim. Now, here is my question and I hope somebody out there can give me his or her thoughts on this.
Like most fellow shooters shooting 45 cal SAA clones I am aware of the discussions about saami pressures and hot loads for the 45 Colt. Knowing that the max. pressure in the Colt clones should not exceed 14000 cup. Using the other cylinder which is chambered for the 45 ACP cartridge brings the pressures easily up to 20000 cup or even a little higher (I guess). I assume that the Uberti drop-in cylinder (allowing the use of 45 ACP cartridges with higher standard pressures than the 45 Colt) still is save in this gun. Or am I wrong? At least so far there are no pressure signs. But can I also assume that the original 45 Colt cylinder (being made from the same steel) has a safety margin even up to the 20000 cup like the 45 ACP in the drop-in cylinder in the very same gun? And how about the use of 45 ACP+P ammo in the conversion cylinder? Or would that be over the top?
I want to enjoy my hobby for a few more years and I also want to stay on the save side. It would be nice if someone could comment on this or could talk about his experience. Thanks.
Glad you're enjoying your SAA.
As for pressures, I always believe in the following:
1) These guns have been proofed and should be fine with standard factory loadings or below -- nothing above.
2) I never recommend Plus-P ammo for any of them.
3) Despite using modern steels, these are still 19th century designs.
4) Higher pressure loadings should be reserved for more modern designs such as the Ruger Vaquero (at the expense of authenticity).
5) There are plenty of "high pressure" guns out there if one wants one, but the traditional Colt and its clones are not among them. Shoot them with what they are intended to fire and they should last you a long time and provide many years of fun for you. Why over-stress them?
Hope this helps.
Hi Irish Dave,
Thanks for the response. You are right; I'll stick with the loads the gun is intended for. Actually, for me there is no need to have more bang than the 45 Colt or 45 ACP already provide with standard loads. I was just wondering whether the higher pressures of the 45 ACP might harm the gun. I guess not, since the replacement cylinder is made by Uberti for this gun and should be ok.
I too asked this same question on a few forums. If the Uberti 45 Colt frame can take the 22,000 pressures from the 45 ACP then the 44-40 should be able to use the High Velocity loads made available back in 1903. They topped 22,000 cup from a Winchester 94. The cylinder walls on the 44-40 are also thicker than the 45 ACP and 45 Colt. No rep is gonna tell ya to exceed SAMMI specs but common sense says follow the paper trail!
Fact - The Cattleman Frame will withstand 22,000, thus the ACP cylinder
Fact - The 45 ACP Cylinder is made from the same blanks as the other cylinders
Fact - The ACP cylinder has no improvements over other cal. cylinders.
Fact - Cor-Bon 45 Colt brass withstands high pressures. (forget who makes the brass)
Fact - 1903 Winchester 44-40 Brass withstands (withstood) 22,000
I have no desire to plink with high pressure ammo chambered in 44-40 or 45, although the 45 ACP is fine on recoil. However, I'd love to get some defense loads that will produce over 400ft/lbs of energy and maintain some accuracy up to 25 yards. I don't want a Ruger nor do I want a 44 Magnum. If it ain't an "old west" gun, it ain't kosher! ;-)
Last edited by 44WCF; 05-16-2010 at 12:00 AM.