Why do we call it the .45 “Long” Colt?

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by gary.matcek, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. gary.matcek

    gary.matcek Member

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    According to a recent article written by Mr Rick Hackler published, “Surplus Firearms” one of the explanations for how the term “long” Colt came into being was in an effort to help soldiers/civilians/cowboys distinguish between the 1870c black powder era .45 Colt, and a shorter .45 designed for the S&W No. 3.

    Back story:
    During the 1870s, somewhere around 1872, the Army was testing the most recent development of the tried and true single action Army (SAA) Colt. At his time there was a worldwide acceptance of and rush to incorporate the new metallic cartridge in military weaponry. The SAA being tested was officially called the Colt New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol.

    The Army, with little notice, mandated a .45 caliber for use in this gun. Some politics may have been involved with the Army’s decision not to go with the .44 S&W Russian, but out of this R&D the .45 Colt metallic cartridge was born, and the rest as they say is history.

    However, do to the favored support of one MAJ George W. Schofield, 10th Cavalry, the S&W No. 3 was made part of the series of acceptance tests, which included the SAA, conducted by the Army in 1872. The army still insisting that .45 would be the cal of choice forced S&W to scramble and develop something in that caliber to fit the shorter cylinder their Model No. 3.

    As a result a shorter less powerful version of the .45 Colt was developed called the .45 S&W, also to be known later as the .45 Schofield. To avoid confusion the SAA cartridge became the .45 Long Colt, a term we still use today primarily to distinguish the old SAA round from the ACP round developed for use in the 1911, but not its original intent or use.

    For those who say that there never was an a cartridge officially designated "Long" Colt, the Colt Single Action Army was never "officially" designated the Peacemaker, but many call it that out of deference to its history and popular belief.

    Gm
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  2. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    Yep but tell people there really is no such caliber as a .45 Long Colt and they will argue you til they're blue in the face.:D
  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    That's a great story. It's wrong. The reason they say 45 Long Colt, is because there used to be a 45 Short Colt. No one seems to want to believe it, most likely because it was discontinued before anybody around these days was born.

    http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/45_short_colt.htm
  4. gary.matcek

    gary.matcek Member

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    Yes, and your's also a great story.

    Gm
  5. gun-nut

    gun-nut Member

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    :yeahthat: I have to pull the books out to prove it but people still look at ya and say the books are all wrong but yet all the books say the same, there's no 45 long colt! Its a misconseption with the 32 colt and the 32 long colt. Its one of them things that over time is has just ended that way. I have even went as far as pulling a case out and say seee it says 45 colt! but they still dont want to here it.
  6. twobit

    twobit Member

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    I use the term "long colt' to differentiate it from the .45ACP. I agree that its' proper name is 45 Colt.

    Seems that if you say "45 Colt" or heaven forbid "Colt 45" (a bad tasting malt liquor) to most people they think 1911 .45ACP.

    I have a 1873 style 45 Colt revolver. I don't have a 1911 style .45ACP. I've found that if you say "45 long colt" then gun folks associate that with the revolver.
  7. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    Don't know who is right and wrong, read both versions about it getting called long colt because of the Schofield and/or because of the ACP. All I know is when I was a puppy a long time ago there was the 45 colt and that meant revolver and 45 auto and that meant pistol with 45ACP ammo. Dinosaurs are hard headed and slow to change and to me the revolver may shoot a 45ACP round if the cylinder has been modified or you have clips for it but 45 colt still means revolver and I say 45ACP when I mean pistol ammo. Now if some honyock comes out with a pistol that shoots 45 colt ammo I will smack right between the eyes with a bag full of petrified doggy doo.

    45 Schofield has always been 45 Schofield so I don't understand the confusion. I don't know anybody who just calls it a 45. Of course I know very few people who even know what it is let alone have one unless he is a C&R guy.
  8. Petergunn

    Petergunn Member

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    LONG implies size matters in cartridges, it does but only in Dia ;) it's .45 colt and .45acp .45 long colt seems amateurish to me.
  9. 76Highboy

    76Highboy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    +1. 45 long colt is the improper name for this cartridge. Every reloading maunal that I have read denotes it "45 Colt." It's one of my favorite rounds.
  10. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    Along with 44 spcl it is my most accurate round.
  11. gary.matcek

    gary.matcek Member

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    For those who say that there never was an a cartridge officially designated "Long" Colt, the Colt Single Action Army was never "officially" designated the Peacemaker, but many call it that out of deference to its history and popular belief.
  12. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    No it was the New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol.:D
  13. Sharps45/70

    Sharps45/70 New Member

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    Here's how I always figure it, if the person you are talking to says "Long Colt" or corrects you "Long Colt" then your talking to a hardhead, just go with it, if you are talking to your "Bud" and he knows better then call it "Colt", however if you are talking to a new shooter make damn sure they understand the difference..
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