Rossi RH .45 Colt versus .45 Long Colt

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Re: Rossi RH .45 Colt versus .45 Long Colt

Postby Model 52 » 28 Apr 2016 21

As noted above there was the .45 Colt chambered in the Colt Single Aciton Army, and the shorter .45 Colt Schofield chambered in the S&W Model 3.

The .45 Colt was designed for the rod ejector SAA and was also designed to pack a maximum amount of powder in the untapered case and a small rim was used to keep the cylinder diameter small. The use of a rod ejector allowed the round to be reliably extracted, but that wasn't the case with the S&W Model 3, which was a break open design using star extractor.

The .45 S&W Schofield round was shorter at 1.100" compared to 1.285" for the .45 Colt and used a slightly more robust rim. It would still chamber in the SAA, but would eject reliably from the S&W Model 3.

The end result was a US Army switch to the shorter .45 Schofield cartridge which could be used in both revolvers, although it wasn't much of a switch given the stocks of .45 Colt ammo already on hand. The Army stayed with the Colt SAA for the most part to continue using the .45 Colt rounds that were already in the system.

Gun writers seem to get the blame for the term ".45 Long Colt" , but in fact it was a common distinction at the time, given the use of both the shorter .45 S&W Schofield and the longer .45 Colt round. Calling the .45 Colt the ".45 Long Colt" actually made sense in that context.
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