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Birdshead Vaquero 45 auto

This is a discussion on Birdshead Vaquero 45 auto within the Range Reports forums, part of the Gunner Forum category; I've read that the 44-40 was actually the more common handgun than the 45, because there were no 45 rifles? Also something to do with ...


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Old 01-28-2017, 07:17 AM   #21
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I've read that the 44-40 was actually the more common handgun than the 45, because there were no 45 rifles? Also something to do with US Army and Russian handgun orders eating up production? The 32-20 was somewhere like 3rd or 4th down the list, IIRC.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:28 AM   #22
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That is true. The 45 Colt was historically a handgun cartridge, though there may have been a few rifles chambered for it in the black powder days, but, if so, I haven't heard of one. As a handgun cartridge, though, it was very popular; in fact, it was the most popular cartridge of its day. It was the magnum handgun cartridge of the black powder world. Still is, today, depending on the gun and how it is loaded.

The 44-40, on the other hand, started life as a rifle cartridge in the Winchester 1873, then was chambered in revolvers by Colt, shortly afterwards. That dual chambering ability is, of course, a great part of western history. Great rifle cartridge, for sure and probably best remembered as such. The 44-40 is right there with the later 30-30 as far as how many deer and other big game have fallen to it.

Interesting how the 45 Colt is still going strong and is well loved and used by so many, including this gal, whereas the 44-40 much less so. I think much of that is that very revolver versus rifle perspective of the two cartridges. The modern 45 Colt can very easily compete with other handgun cartridges and has been the basis for other magnums, such as the 454 Casull. Also, the 45 Colt has been kept alive with guns chambered for it down through the years, such as the still in production Colt SAA. Patton even carried his 45 Colt SAA during WWII.

On the other hand, the 44-40 has never found a solid home in the smokeless power world. I think the 30-30 put a real dent in its popularity and now we have the 44 mag for fans who want a 44 in both their revolver and rifle. Outside of some interest in the cowboy action community, the 44-40 it rarely seen, anymore. Shame, really.

Last edited by north country gal; 01-28-2017 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:05 AM   #23
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I think the main reason for no 45 LC wasn't in rifles because the rim in the early cartridge had super small rim and the SA revolvers didn't need a rim to extract them . Even the modern 45LC has a problem in some rifles if they get stuck in chamber or light extractor pressure with the small rim .

Peters and Winchester both made 44-40 HV hunting ammo for the 92 rifle WINC ONLY .


Last edited by tx gun runner; 01-28-2017 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-28-2017, 11:37 AM   #24
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I guess when everything you own has to fit in saddlebags, or in your bedroll, it's nice to only need one box of ammo for both guns. Yet I understand most actual "cowboys" couldn't afford a rifle and a handgun, so they chose the rifle as more useful.
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