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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Back in 1971, the policeman character of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry said that his Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum was "the most-powerful handgun" in the world.


In the later half of the 1970's, both my father and grandfather had mutually agreed that the ".45 Automatic" (in their very own words) was the "most powerful" handgun in the world and both had served in the military.


But is the ".45 Automatic" handgun really "automatic"?
No, I don't think so. I have owned three Govt. Model 45's made by Colt
and one Glock Model 21 in .45 ACP.

.45 ACP stands for "Automatic Colt Pistol" but did John M. Browning not know the difference between full-automatic and semi-automatic back in 1904?
 

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Automatic chambering, not full auto firing. That being said, the Thompson Submachine Gun (Tommy Gun) was full auto .45 ACP developed a few years later.

.45 ACP is not as powerful as a .44 magnum’s potential. Not all .44 magnum rounds are created equal but can achieve upwards of 3x the power of .45 ACP. It’s likely your 1911 is only creating 350ft lbs of energy.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
My father and grandfather were probably thinking firepower, rate of fire, capacity and speed of reloading vs a slow revolver. The .44 Mag. revolver probably has it in the stopping power and knockdown power categories as well as the accuracy and reliability categories as well. It certainly fits Dirty Harry better than a 45. It seems like Dirty Harry had a .357 also in one of the sequels. A .357 is no dog for a serious service handgun..38 Special is also respectable too for something small, light, easy on the kick and easy to conceal but is respectable as a defensive handgun caliber.

I wouldn't touch any Nine with a ten foot pole.

The M1911 .45 was the ultimate war pistol. General Patton also liked to sport his ivory-handle revolver, .38, I think. He had an issue 45 too.
The .44, is the ultimate police handgun with Dirty Harry always in mind.
 

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I’d have to refresh my memory but I believe the .357 beat out the .45 ACP before the .44 did. I think it held the title at one point. .357 Isn’t something I’m brushed up on. I own 6x 45s.
 

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Yeah, according to ballistics by the inch, the 6” classic.357 with a 158 grain bullet can generate 752 ft lbs of energy vs the 1911 at 350 ft lbs with the full size 5” barrel.

As a side note, in their tests, the Henry Big Boy I have on layaway generated 1387 ft lbs of energy out of the 240 grain Federal Hydra-shok .44 magnum. Amazing what that revolver round does in a rifle.
 

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i wouldn’t go 9mm on the battlefield but I’ve come to appreciate it. I wouldn’t brush it off. It’s an excellent carry round in the right gun. I am a .45 man myself but my favorite gun carry piece would be my Springfield XDE 9mm. Super accurate and wicked fast follow up shots.
 

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What Phil said, "Automatic chambering, not full auto firing." When the 45acp was invented semi auto pistols were a new thing. Most of the previous designs were prototypes or short lived cumbersome, unreliable and under powered pistols at best. Look up guns like Bergman or Borchardt. There were only a handful of designs that made it through and past the development of the 1911 and became widely used pistols and some of them were designed by colt as well. Some others are the Luger and C-96(which still falls into the cumbersome and under powered guns) So they used the term automatic because everything prior to that was a revolver or even more antiquated design. Even today the term automatic is still used for semi auto and some of the calibers One of the newest ones i can think of is the 45GAP which stands for glock automatic pistol. I still find it amazing that even after 100 years Colts designs are still widely used and probably the most copied guns of all time. Just think of how many different companies make a 1911! Just off the top of my head i could probably name a dozen or so but it's probably closer to 30-40 when you count up all the smaller companies that make high end 1911's. Some of his other designs have been widely copied as well, the browning pocket pistol is another that has been copied to no end.
Yes we do argue with non gun people when they call guns like AR-15 automatics and we counter with they are semi automatics but the reason is they don't seem to know the difference between semi auto and full auto and when they hear or see the word automatic they think machinegun but they are both considered automatics just in different degrees.
 

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I’m a 1911 guy. I have a 9mm but I really don’t like the round. I am looking at a Ruger 44 magnum carbine at my LGS and these guns are deer anchors up tp 100 yards. My .45 Trapper with the right load, would do the same I’m sure. If we could carry in NJ, I’d have a compact 1911 in .45 ACP. Some people say there’s not enough capacity but 7 rounds is more than you need for defense.
 

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Yeah, here we go.

Let's look at a little reloading math, first. The average 45ACP gunpowder charge is about 5 grains, 5.2, 5.3, let's not quibble. The 44 Mag charge is three to four times that, driving the same size bullet. That solves the "most powerful" mystery.

Rimmed rounds don't lend themselves to the logistics of war, by their bulkiness, cost, and delivery systems. Rimless rounds, in auto-loaders are far more efficient. The "45 Automatic", perhaps better known to many, here, as the 1911A1, got it's claim to fame by being the contract weapon of the US Armed Forces for over 60 years. It's redundant safeties, legendary stopping power, ease of maintenance, and nearly faultless reliability made it an iconic firearm, representing America more distinctly than Chevy or Mom's Apple Pie.

"ACP" is a caliber name, used to differentiate between certain auto -loading rounds with their rimmed counterparts. Most ACP ammo, and other rimless ammo needs "moon clips", to load into a revolver, which is designated for, and will properly chamber, and safely fire them.

9mm is a very respectable round, and given it's proven efficiency, in a war, I'd be all over it, like a fat kid on a cheesesteak.

It's a new age, guys, with it comes new players, like the very effective and respectable 10mm, and 5.7X28, both rimless rounds, with impressive performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Yeah, here we go.

Let's look at a little reloading math, first. The average 45ACP gunpowder charge is about 5 grains, 5.2, 5.3, let's not quibble. The 44 Mag charge is three to four times that, driving the same size bullet. That solves the "most powerful" mystery.

Rimmed rounds don't lend themselves to the logistics of war, by their bulkiness, cost, and delivery systems. Rimless rounds, in auto-loaders are far more efficient. The "45 Automatic", perhaps better known to many, here, as the 1911A1, got it's claim to fame by being the contract weapon of the US Armed Forces for over 60 years. It's redundant safeties, legendary stopping power, ease of maintenance, and nearly faultless reliability made it an iconic firearm, representing America more distintly than Chevy or Mom's Apple Pie.

"ACP" is a caliber name, used to differentiate between certain auto -loading rounds with their rimmed counterparts. Most ACP ammo, and other rimless ammo needs "moon clips", to load into a revolver, which is designated for, and will properly chamber, and safely fire them.

9mm is a very respectable round, and given it's proven efficiency, in a war, I'd be all over it, like a fat kid on a cheesesteak.

It's a new age, guys, with it comes new players, like the very effective and respectable 10mm, and 5.7X28, both rimless rounds, with impressive performance.

Are we talking about FIRE POWER or STOPPING POWER?

I believe the .45 Automatic has it in the firepower category as long as the thing doesn't jam.

My Colt Series 70 was notorious for jamming at the range, shooting shotgun-like patterns at 25 yards
hurting my elbows badly when fired off the bench and occasionally even spilling its firing pin on the ground.

The .44 Mag. revolver has it in the STOPPING power category and is still much more reliable than any brass-chucker.
Accuracy also counts in effectiveness on targets and a revolver usually beats out a semi-automatic pistol in this department.
 

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Here is something you might enjoy.
 

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So I finally had to use the Kimber. The doe my son had shot was down but when we approached she jumped up. Had the Kimber in my had and "point shot". Hit her in the base of her neck and down she went. The Kimber is growing on me. God Bless John Browning.
 

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Are we talking about FIRE POWER or STOPPING POWER?
"Most powerful" was the term being discussed. Both "fire power" and "stopping power" are terms for relative comparison, not absolutes, with any set parameter. But auto-loaders are more attractive to the military, because their auto-feed, rate of fire, and ease of reload contributes to both

I believe the .45 Automatic has it in the firepower category as long as the thing doesn't jam.
If your 1911A1 is jamming, you're either holding it wrong, have bad mags, mag springs, or a combination of the three.


My Colt Series 70 was notorious for jamming at the range, shooting shotgun-like patterns at 25 yards
hurting my elbows badly when fired off the bench and occasionally even spilling its firing pin on the ground.
Sounds like the pistol is in bad need of an decent armorer, for one. Never heard of any 1911 "spilling it's firing
pin on the ground". Perhaps the degraded condition of the firearm is also contributing to your other issues.


The .44 Mag. revolver has it in the STOPPING power category and is still much more reliable than any brass-chucker.
Accuracy also counts in effectiveness on targets and a revolver usually beats out a semi-automatic pistol in this department.
If compared to a 45 ACP, yes the 44 Mag is superior, in this respect. Long term shooters know that the "revolver reliability" saw is very
relative to how well any given shooter handles his auto loaders. If you do your job, they will do theirs. If BEGINNERS are willing to put up with
the recoil, expense, and slow reload times of a revolver, then, for them, they are more "reliable".

As to accuracy, I wouldn't make any bets, if I were you. Accuracy is reliant solely upon the experience and skill of the shooter. There's a lot of guys who can not only outshoot you with your own gun, but will easily outshoot your revolver, with their "less accurate" auto-loader.


 

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I have a Auto Ordinance 1911. I’ve NEVER had a stove pipe, failure to feed or similar problem with that pistol. I’d trust my life on it. Keep it clean, lubed and replace springs every 4-5000 rounds and you’re good to go.
 

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Unless you are hitting body armor, there is no difference in “stopping power” between a .45 ACP and a .44 mag when hitting a human. Both will put a 40 cal hole all the way through you. The only difference there is how much damage the .44 mag will do after it it kills you. For hunting applications there is a big difference. If I had to choose between a .45 ACP and a .44 mag to stop a bear, it’d be .44 mag all day long.
 

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Thompson Sub Machine Gun or the M3A1 Grease Gun both .45 acp both fully capable of full auto need class 3 license for USA ownership, Respectively I love the .45 acp awesome however the .44 magnum is NO Slouch I would go to .45 on MY experience. which is more "POWERFUL" you will have to check ballistics testings of both and make an educated decision
 

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If compared to a 45 ACP, yes the 44 Mag is superior, in this respect. Long term shooters know that the "revolver reliability" saw is very
relative to how well any given shooter handles his auto loaders. If you do your job, they will do theirs. If BEGINNERS are willing to put up with
the recoil, expense, and slow reload times of a revolver, then, for them, they are more "reliable".

As to accuracy, I wouldn't make any bets, if I were you. Accuracy is reliant solely upon the experience and skill of the shooter. There's a lot of guys who can not only outshoot you with your own gun, but will easily outshoot your revolver, with their "less accurate" auto-loader.


I disagree with the first paragraph. Having sent 10s of thousands of rounds down range this year alone, my many revolvers have never failed to cycle, and won’t until the parts wear out. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times a semi automatic stove piped, failed to feed or failed to eject. I test all types of ammo and all sorts of brands of guns, Sig, S&W, Springfield, Remington, Taurus, SCCY, Ruger, Glock, and the one crippling flaw a semi auto has is its dependency on the ammunition to perform the cycling function, in harmony with the sum of the other components. An under powered round or over powered round can cause even the most finely tuned semi auto to fail to cycle. I’ve filmed some pretty nasty jams this year that have rendered the gun useless. Revolvers don’t have these flaws. It’s not a beginner thing, it’s just physics. If a round in a revolver fails to fire you just keep pulling the trigger. It does, however, have a capacity problem.

I have semi autos that have never failed. I am quite fond of some of them, but each time that trigger is pulled, the function of that gun is reliant on the person or machine that loaded the round. My ability to deal with a situation is irrelevant to the guns reliability. It is your preference to overcome these flaws with your skills as an operator rather than deal with capacity issues. That’s a valid point.

Second paragraph I agree. Shooter is 98%. I think John might be referencing the availability of longer barrel, which is also valid, although maybe not feasible as a carry option.
 

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Ah don't you just love a good caliber war.
I own both revolvers and semi autos.
I enjoy shooting both and trust both with my life.
I keep them well maintained and in tip top condition at all times.
That said, I can get back on target with a follow up shot if needed better with my .45 1911 than I can with my .44 mag wheel gun. So that is why my .45 is my everyday carry.
My .44 is my fun gun and the gun I carry in the back country
 
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