A New Cartridge?

by
posted on December 18, 2013
wiley-clapp.jpg (1)

I have been advised that the brass manufacturer Star-Line is making a new style of brass for Speedbump Stockworks, which special ordered it after purchasing the rights to the proprietary case from Bruce Young. Intended for the Cowboy Action Game, the brass is a new rimmed .45 case, head-stamped “Cowboy” and “.45 Special.” It is best described as a .45 Colt, shortened to .45 ACP length. The necessity for such a thing seems kind of elusive until you look into the situation more deeply.

The .45 Colt cartridge has been with us since the 1870s, when it was introduced with the new Peacemaker Colt Army revolver. That was the heyday of blackpowder and the new round had room for plenty of it. As a modern round with modern powders, the .45 Colt’s case capacity is excessive. Cowboy Action Shooting demands low velocities and lead bullets, which is no challenge for a competent handloader. Still, it would be make for more efficient reloading if the case was shorter. Understand that the old Long Colt is probably the most popular round in the game, both in replica and Colt SAAs, as well as many lever guns. So what can you find for shorter brass?

The .45 Auto Rim might seem like a good idea. It is a short, rimmed cartridge designed for revolver cylinders chambered for the .45 ACP-like the 300,000 Colt and S&W 1917s of World War I  On this one, the rim is extra-thick to equal the ACP rim thickness, plus the additional thickness of the moon clip for which the guns were designed. The Auto Rim works to perfection in DA/SA revolvers chambered for ACP, but won’t work in SAA revolvers chambered for either the ACP or Long Colt.

How about the short round with a .45 Colt rim? That’s the .45 S&W, which is sometimes called the .45 Schofield or-infrequently-the .45 Short Colt. Built to equal the original performance of the .45 Colt in the shorter-cylindered Schofield revolvers, this cartridge was dormant for decades. The SASS people brought it back to life for their modern shooting sport. I would have bet that this would be the solution, but I was wrong. It turns out the .45 Schofield is a perfect fit in length for what we are seeking, but the rim is shaped to be incompatible with some of the guns guys are using in the Cowboy shoots.

For these reasons, we are about to get a .45 ACP-length, rimmed brass that will run through just about anything chambered for the .45 Colt. For shooters using S&W revolvers chambered for the Colt, this round makes an efficient option for custom loading. It might also be a functional option for use in some of those troublesome .45 Colt lever guns. It’s going to be fun to see how it all shakes out.

Latest

Qamain
Qamain

Rifleman Q&A: Bullet & Primer Sealant

From the archives of American Rifleman, one NRA member questions the importance of the colorful or black-colored paint-like coating around the cartridge necks and primer pockets of surplus ammunition.

Preview: Zero Tolerance Knives 0357BW

The U.S.-made Zero Tolerance 0357 Black Wash liner lock features a 3.25" blade of hard, wear-resistant CPM 20CV steel treated with a scratch-hiding blackwash finish best suited for everyday carry.

The French FR F2 Sniper Rifle

Conceived during the Cold War and after thirty years of service, the French are beginning to phase out the FR F2 bolt-action sniper rifle, with the surplus rifles available for sale from Navy Arms.

SIG Sauer P210: The Long-Lived Swiss Service Pistol

First designed in 1947, and formerly the official sidearm of the Swiss Army, the SIG Sauer P210 is still in production today, with a few modern upgrades.

The Winchester Model 94: History & Disassembly

Compact, reliable and powerful, Winchester's Model 1894 lever-actions may not have the popularity it once had with Western settlers, prospectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and ranchers, but its legacy remains today and is a fan favorite in Winchester's current product line.

NRA Gun of the Week: Fabarm USA Autumn

On this week’s “Gun of the Week” video preview, American Rifleman examines a first from Fabarm, a side-by-side break-action shotgun called the Autumn.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.