Clapp on Handguns: New .45 Auto Rim Loads

by
posted on January 10, 2017
45_auto_rim.jpg

It is one of my all-time favorite cartridges, a round with an interesting history. The .45 Auto Rim was developed by Peters Cartridge Company in the period right after World War I ended. More than 300,000 Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers came out of Gun Valley during that war, all chambered for the then-standard .45 ACP pistol cartridge. That's a rimless cartridge that needed the ingenious half-moon clip to hold the cartridges in place in the cylinder. The system worked quite well and the revolvers filled in for the standard .45 Auto pistol when there weren't enough of them to be had. When the war ended, the 1917 Colt and S&W revolvers were declared surplus—many were sold through DCM. The half-moon clips that made the system work were widely available, but some shooters grumbled about loading and unloading the pesky three-shot crescents of sharp spring steel.

Enter the .45 Auto Rim. Introduced in the mid 1920s, the Auto Rim was nothing more than a .45 ACP case manufactured with a wide, extra-thick rim. It is useful—with no need for clips—in either Colt or S&W .45 ACP revolvers with swing-out cylinders. By the time the American ammo industry went on three shifts to feed the nation's armed forces in World War II, several makers—Remington, Peters, Western, Winchester and US Cartridge—were producing .45 AR ammunition. The cartridge was popular enough as to be returned to full production after the war. But in the intervening years, the cartridge lost popularity for many reasons, not the least of which was the introduction of the full-moon clip by Ranch Products.

The .45 Auto Rim still has a cult following, but none of the major makers produce the cartridge. For a time, it looked like Black Hills was going to do well with .45 AR in a new loading. Jeff Hoffman liked the big-bore revolvers and tried a 255-gr. LSWC load that pretty well equaled .45 Colt ballistics. The load did not sell well enough to justify continued production; it was quietly discontinued. Cor-Bon listed several .45 AR loads for a few years, but they are now missing from the company listing. It was looking like this old round was going to be a handloader-only proposition.

But then I discovered that Double Tap Ammunition offered the caliber. They not only make it, they do so in no less than four different types. For the speed freaks, the company offers a 160-gr. Barnes copper bullet. Original Auto Rim ammo came with 230-gr. bullets and so does a pair of Double Tap loads, an FMJ and and a JHP. But the best of the breed—in my humble opinion—is a 255-gr. Keith LSWC, which comes out of a six-inch revolver barrel at a quoted 900 fps. I have handloaded exactly this combo for personal defense purposes—a sure fight-stopper. Some people are uncomfortable with handloads for personal defense. If they go in harm's way with a .45 ACP revolver, they can load it with their choice of these factory loads from Double Tap.

Latest

Uberti 1873 Cattleman 9Mm Revolver F
Uberti 1873 Cattleman 9Mm Revolver F

New For 2022: Uberti 1873 Cattleman In 9mm Luger

Uberti's 1873 Cattleman single-action revolver is now available as one of three Single Action Army clones available in the popular 9mm Luger cartridge.

Preview: Clamtainer Ammo Buddy Rifleman Value Bundle

Clamtainer has simple organizational products that help make life more efficient. Whether you have a gun room that requires an update or are looking to eradicate mice from the ammunition closet, Clamtainer has a solution, and its Rifleman Value Bundle is one such answer.

Handloads: 16 Gauge Spreader Load

Not that long ago, sporting goods store shelves contained an adequate selection of 16-ga. shells. The last few years, however, barely a box of any 16-ga. shells can be found anywhere. But that’s of little concern to those with a shotshell-reloading press, such as the MEC 600 Jr., close at hand.

RIA Highlights Record Year In 2021

After 21 auctions in the 12 months, Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC), reports record-breaking sales of more than $121 million for the first time in company history.

ARTV Preview: Hornady CMX Bullet, Smith & Wesson M&P12 and Cane Air Guns

This week on American Rifleman Television, we tour the factory of Hornady Ammunition, test the Smith & Wesson M&P12 bullpup shotgun and examine the history of cane air guns.

Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings Of The American Revolution

Noted artist and American Rifleman contributor Don Troiani will display some of his original artwork at his first-ever major exhibition, which is being hosted by the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pa. The exhibition opened Oct. 16 and runs until Sept. 5, 2022, in the museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.