45 Long Colt - AGAIN!


This is for Ron. No comment from me.

coltsmfg.com/products-c1-q43 … lvers.aspx



Ray–Yes, I agree I’m fighting a lost battle. When even the company that invented the round starts using the [color=#FF0040]INCORRECT[/color] name for their own cartridge, I guess I might as well toss in the towel. But, darn it, I KNOW I"M RIGHT!!! Their is NO .45 SHORT Colt, so there is no need to call it .45 LONG Colt.


Interesting. I have just re-entered the .45 Colt into Jane’s Ammunition Handbook (which is only concerned with ammo used in military/police/self-defence weapons) due to its chambering in the Taurus Judge. When I first wrote the title I put “.45 Long Colt” then thought, “hang on a minute, is that right?” and after some checking changed it to .45 Colt.

However, if even the originator is calling it the Long Colt I’d better put that in under the “also known as” heading.

Incidentally, I was also told that I should correct the existing “.45 ACP” designation to “.45 Auto”…


Tony–Yea!! another convert to my side. I have been correcting people for 40 years on this point. I collect .45 Colt (have about 300+) and the boxes. Until the modern Cowboy Shooting era there, as far as I have ever seen, was never any manufacture that used the name .45 Long Colt. I think it most likely comes from the .45 S&W Schofield being thought of as a “Short Colt”. In fact, beginning 1920, Remingtion among others began to headstamp the Schofield round with the same .45 Colt bunter, so for about 10 years both the .45 Schofield length cases and the standard .45 Colt were sold with the exact same headstamp. You could always fire the Schofield in any .45 Colt, but not the other way around, so perhaps people started using the .45 LONG Colt term, even though it was never referred to in any of the catalogs or on the boxes in that way. For what it is worth the official name list by SAAMI still uses .45 Colt as, I believe, does CIP.

As for the change from “ACP” to “AUTO” on not only .45 Auto, but all U.S. made “ACP” such as .25 Auto, .38 Auto, etc., I believe that was a recommendation by SAAMI about 10 years ago. John Moss can answer this question better than I can, especially for the date of the change. It probability has something to do with the feeling of gun companies other than Colt thinking Colt was getting unnecessary publicity, especially considering that Browning, not Colt invented many of these cartridges.


Tony - regarding the question of .45 “Long” Colt, while I agree with Ron that it is an unnecessary appellation, the fact is, for my entire shooting lifetime, shooters have commonly called the cartridge the “.45 Long Colt,” right or wrong. I had my first .45 Colt caliber SAA shortly after they reintroduced the revolver in the early 1960s, I think, and people were calling them “Long Colt” then. The factories did not, however, and again, I agree in principle with Ron, especially when we speak with each other as students of ammunition. In a book for the entire market, though, it might be good to add that name with a note that while commonly used, it is not truly a correct designation. “Common parlance” has put a lot of words and phrases into the English language, for better or for worse.

Regarding the use of “AUTO” over “ACP” we must remember that in the United States, the original .25, .32, .38, .380 and .45 autos were only available to most of the public in a Colt-made firearm. Colt’s were the original chambering, on the American market, for all of them. (Yes, I know that FN made some first, and of course, an American traveler could have bought one on a trip to Europe, or some enterprising gun shop could have imported a few, but in truth,
only a tiny, tiny percentage of Americans with an interest in buying one of the “new” automatics would have known about them. If you look at the numbers produced of, say, the 1905 Colt .45 Pistol, you will see that the Revolver-loving American Public took little note of most of the autos early one. It was probably not until after WWI that they became of big interest in America. Today, scads of factories make pistols in these former “Colt-only” calibers (again, speaking of the american market only), and you had some rebellion to the “ACP” designation on cartridges. Savage had .32 and .380 cartridges headstamp “ASP” for “Austomatic Savage Pistol,” for example.

I cannot put a date to the change-over from “AUTO” to “ACP” because it is a change that is still going on. If I had to guess when it started, I would say in the mid to late 1960s, but I could be off on that. I should have noted in my records the first time I saw a cartridge that said “>32 Auto” or “.45 Auto” but unfortunately, I was not as interested in that kind of detail in those days, since my cartridge collection was in essence simply a side-line to my auto pistol collection. Needless to say, Ron’s guess that some companies objected to having, basically, the Colt name espressing the caliber stamped on their pistols, and ammunition for those pistols. is probably right on.

Hope this clears it up a little, though.

John Moss



Each time that we think that we beat this subject to death it rises like the Phoenix. It’s probably going to take another generation or two before it’s finally dead and buried.

The moniker “Long Colt” was indeed birthed by shooters. Anyone having a 45 Colt revolver occasionally used the shorter 45 S&W cartridge for any number of reasons. Much the same as shooters used both 38 Special and 357 Magnum, and 44 Special and 44 Russian to name but two. It was natural that they came to call the two 45 cartridges the Long and the Short, although the term Short Colt was not nearly as common. I’m old enough to have been a handgun shooter during that era.

Like most of our vocabulary, common use of a word or term, even though incorrect, eventually finds it to be commonly accepted and even incorporated into the language. I would guess that Colt received enough consumer input to finally accept the fact that shooters were using the term Long Colt and decided it was good marketing policy to accept it.

Not to start another debate, but aren’t you being a little inconsistent when using the term 45 Schofield? Isn’t the cartridge actually the 45 S&W? Are there cartridges headstamped 45 Schofield?



Just for fun, to see what scholarly people were calling the .45 cartridge for the SAA Revolver a long time ago, I checked my oldest gun book by an American author of authority that I felt pertained to this subject. “Pistols and Revolvers” by then-Major Julian S. Hatcher of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, a man who would use correct definitions for the most part, in the 1927 edition of the book, refers only to the “.45 Colt.” More evidence that Ron is technically correct in this definition that goes beyond factory catalogs and out into the world of the shooters and gun writers themselves.

John Moss


To be fair John, Hatcher makes no mention whatsoever of the 45 S&W cartridge or the S&W 2nd Model Schofield revolver, both of which were US military issue. Not even in the chapter on military revolvers and automatics.

Why, I have no idea. Frankford Arsenal manufactured far more of the 45 S&W than they did the 45 Colt.



Ray - if you are talking about the publication that I referenced, the 1927 edition of “Pistols and Revolvers,” by Hatcher, I am sorry, but you are wrong. See Pages 300 to 301, for a full discussion of the .45 Smith and Wesson cartridge.

The chapter on Military Revolvers and automatics seems to cover only the revolvers that came after the Schofield and the SAA Colt, until late in the discussion when for reasons I don’t understand, he launches into a general discussion of the Colt Single Action Army, not at all limited to the military version, as he mentions all barrel lengths and many different civilian calibers. The Schofield Revolver gets mention, albeit scant, in the pages on the cartridge that I cited above.

I can’t speak for any other publication. I was referring only from the above-mentioned reference.

John Moss


A bit off topic and sorry for that but I do feel the question is relevent to the spirit of the forum.
Are the revolvers actually made by Colt?. My friend has a cased 1860 Army Colt limited edition sold by Colt but actually made by one of the Italian manufacturers. To a purist there is a lot of difference. Threads, springs etc

The Italian copies are made from investment castings and don’t have the same feel as the originals. While the finish is very good it is actually too good.



Indeed, we are looking at different volumes. You have Pistols and Revolvers and Their Use, while I have Textbook Of Pistols and Revolvers. Interesting that he mentioned the 45 S&W in one, and not the other. Especially since he was supposedly discussing Military Revolvers and Automatics.

General Hatcher is one of my favorite authors. I’ve probably read all of his books and his articles that used to appear regularly in American Rifleman, back when the NRA was more oriented toward shooting and less toward politics. But, he is not infallible. He does make mistakes, the same as we all do. Authors from those glory days of the NRA were amazing considering the amount of research needed for an article, without the benefit of today’s Internet.




The first US 45 caliber military revolvers were made by Colt and Smith & Wesson. Most of the later revolvers and pistols were likewise made under contract. Searching and Googleing would probably yield the exact numbers.



Ray, I was referring to the modern day versions found on offer today under the colt name. Likewise the modern day Winchester 94s . If I am right they are just trading on their good name. Why pay double (treble?) the price for a rebadged Uberti?



I suppose it depends on what your definition of Colt is. Or Smith & Wesson. Or Winchester. Or Remington. They have changed hands so many times but the logo and name are usually purchased along with all other assets. A way to try to keep a part of what was once a loyal customer base.

Many of the “Brand B” products have become so good that they really are a bargain. There will always be a certain resistance to them but that only comes from buyers who don’t bother to compare. I personally have two Taurus revolvers and they are as high quality as any others that I have, and come darn close to equaling the Smith & Wessons of old - and that’s saying a lot.



Ray - I totally agree that Hatcher was not infallible. He was a huge cut above the popular gun press writers of today, or most of them. but he made errors. I, too, have read everything I could get my hands on from him. Harcher’s Notebook, back when I was more active in all aspects of firearms and ammunition as my profession, was a mainstay. It is incredible the amount of information in that book. I actuall have two editions of the book I quoted on this thread, but took the earliest one. For when it was written, it is a very, very good general sutdy of Pistols and Revolvers.

Now, to the sxecond book, published in 1935, which is really only a second and expanded edition of the first, despite the slight difference in titles and that he references, on the cover page, the first book like a separate work, you will find the .45 S&W cartridge, with a little about the Schofield, on pages 369 to 371 of that book, the “Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers.” The information is pretty much identical to that of the 1927 book.

Not trying to be contrary, by the way. It is just that i have read the Hatcher books so much, I know pretty well what is in them and what isn’t. His format doesn’t always lead one to subject matter where you would normally think of finding it, and I readily admit that.

John Moss


Something that should be borne in mind in assessing the arms writing of General Hatcher, Phil Sharpe, and other American writers of the second quarter of the twentieth century is that their emphasis was on then-current arms and ammunition. Probably Elmer Keith, a self-taught cowboy gunwriter, and J.R. Mattern, another self-made student of guns and related topics, had a better handle (from the user standpoint) on the historical aspect than did Hatcher and Sharpe. I’d likely put Colonel Whelen in the Keith-Mattern axis in terms of breadth of interest and experience. Hatcher, however, differed from the others in his academic grounding, hence a better grasp of the science of ballistics and mechanical engineering. Curiously enough, there is almost certainly a better general understanding of pre-1900 American arms among a significant portion of the “interested population” now than eighty years ago. Jack


Ray–Concerning rounds using “Schofield” in their headtamp, I actually have 7. They are all modern, most likely all made by Starline. I have “BHA 45 SCHOFIELD”, “HORNADY 45 SCHOFIELD” and 5 variations of " * 45 * SCHOFIELD".

You are correct about the use of the name “.45 Schofield” and “.45 S&W” on the older rounds. A number of the U.M.C. catalogs use “.45 S&W Schofield Length” as do many boxes, especially for the shorter cartridge with the .45 COLT headstamp.



You are right about the 45 S&W references in Hatcher. I now remember having looked at that before, along with all the other drawings. This time I quickly referred to the Index and didn’t see the name Schofield. Odd.


I have seen other references where the two cartridges are referred to as Colt Length and S&W Length.



I was considering this the other day.

Picture this. Montana, June 25, 1876. A group of soldiers sitting round a campfire cleaning their weapons and drinking coffe from enamel mugs.
“Say, friend pass me some of them there boolits, wuddya?”
“Sure thing” (Passes over the new .45 S&W Schofield Length)
“Naw, not them liddle baby boolits, I want them .45 Long’s, the Colt’s”

Maybe it was gained the name “Long Colt” as in “Long/Colt”

Just my two cents



I could be crazy, but I think I recently saw a case with some form of “.45 Long Colt” on the headstamp - perhaps made by one of the smaller custom case makers. I recall I didn’t know the maker on the headstamp. I don’t know if I found it in my stuff, or if it was at the Reno show.

If someone knows this round (I don’t collect Revolver stuff) maybe they could post a picture of the headstamp, or at least tell us the headstamp. I will if I can find it in my stuff tomorrow.

Of course, putting it on a headstamp doesn’t make it a proper use of the caliber’s name, and am not implying that.

John Moss