55 .44-40 Vs .45 Colt

.45 Colt vs .44 Magnum Which is Better?
.45 Colt vs .44 Magnum Which is Better? from adventurefootstep.com

.44-40 vs .45 Colt


When it comes to choosing a caliber for your firearm, there are a multitude of options available. Two popular choices, particularly in the realm of revolvers, are the .44-40 and .45 Colt. Both of these calibers have a rich history and a loyal following, but what sets them apart? In this article, we will delve into the details of these two calibers, exploring their origins, ballistics, and practical applications.

The Origins of the .44-40 and .45 Colt

Understanding the origins of these calibers is crucial to comprehending their design and purpose. The .44-40, also known as the .44 WCF (Winchester Center Fire), was introduced by Winchester in 1873 for their lever-action rifles. It quickly gained popularity as a versatile and potent round, suitable for both hunting and self-defense.

On the other hand, the .45 Colt, also referred to as the .45 Long Colt, was developed by Colt's Manufacturing Company in 1872 for their Single Action Army revolver. This caliber was specifically designed for the military, and it served as the primary cartridge for the U.S. Army for nearly two decades.

Ballistics: Power and Performance

When comparing two calibers, it is essential to examine their ballistics to determine their power and performance. The .44-40 fires a .429 caliber bullet at velocities ranging from 800 to 1,200 feet per second (fps), depending on the specific load. It is known for its flat trajectory and moderate recoil, making it suitable for both short-range and medium-range shooting.

On the other hand, the .45 Colt launches a .452 caliber bullet at velocities ranging from 750 to 1,000 fps. It is renowned for its stopping power, with a larger bullet diameter and heavier weight compared to the .44-40. This caliber is often favored by enthusiasts for its ability to take down larger game and provide maximum energy transfer.

Practical Applications: Hunting and Self-Defense

When it comes to choosing a caliber for hunting, both the .44-40 and .45 Colt have their merits. The .44-40, with its flatter trajectory and versatile bullet options, is well-suited for medium-sized game such as white-tailed deer and feral hogs. Its moderate recoil also allows for quicker follow-up shots, which can be crucial in hunting scenarios.

On the other hand, the .45 Colt's larger bullet diameter and heavier weight make it a formidable choice for hunting larger game, such as elk and black bear. Its stopping power and energy transfer are highly valued by hunters who prioritize taking down their prey with a single shot.

In terms of self-defense, both calibers can be effective choices. The .44-40's flat trajectory and moderate recoil make it easier to handle for shooters of varying skill levels, while still delivering sufficient stopping power. The .45 Colt's larger bullet diameter and weight provide excellent penetration and terminal performance, making it a reliable option for self-defense situations.

Ammunition Availability and Cost

One practical consideration when choosing a caliber is the availability and cost of ammunition. The .44-40, being an older caliber, may have slightly more limited availability compared to the .45 Colt. However, it is still widely produced and can be found at most gun stores and online retailers. The cost of .44-40 ammunition is generally moderate, making it an affordable option for most shooters.

On the other hand, the .45 Colt has a larger following and is readily available in various bullet weights and types. Its popularity ensures a wide range of ammunition options and competitive pricing. While it may be slightly more expensive than .44-40 ammunition, the difference is often negligible.

Historical Significance and Collector Appeal

Both the .44-40 and .45 Colt have a rich historical significance, which adds to their collector appeal. The .44-40 was a popular caliber during the heyday of the Old West, often associated with iconic firearms like the Winchester Model 1873. Collectors and enthusiasts are drawn to the nostalgia and historical value of firearms chambered in this caliber.

Similarly, the .45 Colt holds a special place in firearms history, being the cartridge used in the legendary Colt Single Action Army revolver, also known as the "Peacemaker." This revolver and caliber combination has become an icon of the American West, attracting collectors and aficionados from around the world.

The Verdict: Choosing Between .44-40 and .45 Colt

Ultimately, the choice between the .44-40 and .45 Colt depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you value versatility, moderate recoil, and a flatter trajectory, the .44-40 may be the caliber for you. It offers excellent performance for medium-sized game and self-defense scenarios, while also appealing to collectors and history enthusiasts.

On the other hand, if you prioritize stopping power, energy transfer, and the ability to take down larger game, the .45 Colt is a formidable choice. Its larger bullet diameter and weight make it a reliable caliber for hunting and self-defense, while still offering a wide range of ammunition options.

Ultimately, both the .44-40 and .45 Colt have their strengths and are beloved by shooters and collectors alike. Whichever caliber you choose, both will provide you with a piece of firearms history and a reliable tool for your shooting endeavors.


When it comes to comparing calibers, the .44-40 and .45 Colt are two formidable contenders. Both have stood the test of time and continue to be popular choices among shooters and collectors. Whether you prefer the versatility and moderate recoil of the .44-40 or the stopping power and energy transfer of the .45 Colt, both calibers offer their own unique advantages. Ultimately, the choice between the two boils down to personal preferences, intended use, and the desire to own a piece of firearms history.