45acp Revolver

45acp Revolver

This is a discussion on 45acp Revolver within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Does shooting a 45acp out of a revolver lower the velocity of the round?...

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Thread: 45acp Revolver

  1. #1
    New Member Array dmg1's Avatar
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    45acp Revolver

    Does shooting a 45acp out of a revolver lower the velocity of the round?


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Arko's Avatar
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    I can't think of any reason it would...
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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    There might be some slight loss due to cylinder gap.

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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    IMO it would increase the it. There isn't a slide to recoil back. I would put money equal length barrels the revolver would out do the semi by 50fps or more.
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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    That would be an interesting test.

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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    I have a friend who has a 44 mag in Revolver and Pistol. I think they have similar length barrels I will see it he will bring them over to my place so I can test.
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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    The barrel length is measured differently. The semi auto includes the length of the chamber in the overall barrel length. The revolver does not. My 5" barrel 1911 has a shorter "useable" barrel length (by the length of the chamber) over my 5" 1917. How much is lost in a cylinder gap is the question. And what about comparing the gap in the 1917 that's probably worn, to my 1955 N frame that's match grade tight. Too close to call.

    I don't think operating the slide of the semi auto will influence velocity at all. The purpose of the action is to keep the slide locked until the bullet leaves the muzzle and pressures drop to a safe level. The bullet has left the muzzle as fast as the powder can accelerate it before the slide moves to the rear and unlocks to cycle.
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    New Member Array Hillbillyjef's Avatar
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    You would have variences from gun to gun... but most of the cronographed velocities I've seen will show about the same velocity when we compared revolvers to semi-autos in 45 ACP.

    About the only serious way to find out in your situation is obtain some cartridges.......... and fire that ammo from your handguns over a chrony. I'd expect to see both guns producing about the same velocity.

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    New Member Array dmg1's Avatar
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    I think im going to try and get one then. I wanted a 357revolver but I just love the 45acp round to much.

  10. #10
    JT
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    I never thought I would buy a revolver in an auto caliber, when there are such great revolver calibers like 38/357 and 44sp/44mag. But lately, I've started getting tempted by a S&W 625 JM.

    Product: Model 625 JM
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    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    Too many variables to predict accurately. The 'gap' loss is highly overstated, and operating the slide of a semi-automatic is nil.

    However, barrels vary in diameter and smoothness, gaps vary in size, and ammo itself isn't perfectly uniform.

    I have a test set up for such an experiment - two tests, in fact.
    One uses .38 Special ammo in different pistols, revolvers and a Marlin carbine. The second portion of the experiment is for .45 ACP in several different pistols, including one S&W pistol and several Colts and two S&W revolvers. Several different loads are slated for both calibers, ranging from wadcutters to full loads.

    Sadly, I am in the process of moving and it will be a bit before I can do the testing and publish the results.
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    "Too many variables to predict accurately."


    Precisely. It can't be done.

    I've tested the same .45 ACP handloads simultaneously in both a 5-inch Colt 1911 and a 5-1/2-inch Smith & Wesson Model 1917 revolver. Here's only two selections from my handloading records. The velocities are derived from a 10-shot average.

    230 grain FMJ/Unique

    Model 1911: 871 fps
    Model 1917: 830 fps

    185 grain lead SWC/Unique

    Model 1911: 995 fps
    Model 1917: 1020 fps

    It isn't uncommon for the revolver to beat the semi-auto with some loads. Does the extra 1/2-inch of barrel length more than make up for the barrel/cylinder gap? Apparently not because some loads exit the 1911 faster than they do the Model 1917.

    Another handload and a factory load.

    Hensley & Gibbs 200 grain lead SWC/Bullseye

    Model 1911: 835 fps
    Model 1917: 797 fps

    Winchester military contract ammunition: "WCC '71" 230 grain FMJ

    Model 1911: 790 fps
    Model 1917: 832 fps
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    While too large for really convenient concealed carry, the World War I era Colt and Smith & Wesson Model 1917 .45 ACP revolvers are gratifying for range or field use and still offer fine accuracy with good loads, even if they are over 90 years old. I have toted the Colt 1917 (top) beneath a business suit jacket a few times and could live with it all day ... but just barely. Revolvers are shown with both .45 ACP factory cartridges and some .45 Auto Rim handloads along with the original half moon clips and a full moon clip. The clips can make for a quick reload, even for me.

    A Smith & Wesson .45 ACP revolver with a round butt frame and a shorter barrel would be more to the point. I'd love to have one.

    I'd also like one of the Smith & Wesson Model 25 target .45 ACP revolvers even more than a short barreled version.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society "Get heeled! No really"

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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    Member Array mauser1959's Avatar
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    bmcgilvray; that is one set of beautiful revolvers, I am envious. I have a friend who has a Smith like yours, but like most cool guns it is a safe queen.

    If I recall the S&W revolver was supposed to be 50 fps slower than the automatic when using standard ball ammo of the period.
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    Member Array Doc Therblig's Avatar
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    If you take the data for the 45ACP for the 2.5" Revolver (Open system) and the 3 3.00"-3.65" Pistol/Derringer (Closed system) with the net barrel length closest to the revolver, the average across the range of ammo tested, the Closed system averages approx 2-3% greater velocity.

    The 3.65" is the closest to the 2.5" Revolver as far as rifled section of barrel (3.65 - 1.26 = 2.39"). A 4" auto would be more appropriate, but the data is not available (5” is next higher in the sequence of firearms tested).



    Ballistics by the inch

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