Feeding Your .45 Sixguns

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Hands down, the .45 Colt is my favorite handgun cartridge. You know this! Sure, I love other cartridges too, fickle as I am, but .45 caliber cartridges just grab my attention, mainly because of the way they grab the attention of anything shot with them. The “grand” father of .45 caliber metallic cartridges, the .45 Colt, started many love affairs with sixgunners, including me. We’re going to discuss how to make your .45 shooters more versatile, by shooting .45 ACP and/or .45 Auto Rim. Pretty nifty in a .45 caliber kind of way, eh?

Here’s Tank’s Ruger Redhawk. You can see the slight machining on his cylinder,
allowing the use of moon clipped .45 ACPs from TC Custom. Other feeding utensils
include a speed strip and speed loader with .45 Colt ammo.

Ruger’s Redhawk

I love my Ruger Redhawks almost as much as my Ruger single actions (SA) but love them I do. Double-Action (DA) advantages? They allow the use of speed loaders during hot tactical reloads, and of course double-action shooting, which is simply pressing the trigger as smooth and fast as possible. For precision work, you can cock your hammer and shoot SA, if it works for you. Pretty handy, I’d say.

I have a 4″ Redhawk originally chambered in .45 Colt. Wanting to make it more versatile, I had TC Customs alter the cylinder so I can shoot moon clipped .45 ACPs in my gun. I love the added ability of shooting more efficient .45 ACPs, while still being able to shoot heavy .45 Colt handloads. TC Custom simply mills the breech side of your cylinder a few thousandths to allow your moon clipped .45 ACPs to chamber in your cylinder.

Better yet, you only need to send your cylinder for the alteration, not your whole gun. TC even has videos on their website showing how easy removing your cylinder is. You can alter your S&W .45 Colt too, making it more versatile with moon clip .45 ACPs.

The S&W Model 25 shoots both moon clipped .45 ACPs and .45 AR splendidly!

S&W Model 25

You have two options for feeding your .45ACP wheelgun. Obviously, .45 ACP is the first, utilizing moon clips, or you can skip the “moonies” and use .45 Auto Rim (AR) brass, which is simply .45 ACP brass with a rim, so cases will extract when you pound your ejector rod. Moon clipped .45 ACPs will drop right in your cylinder, and you can use either a speed strip, or speed loader, with the .45 AR.

Comparison of moon clip and speed loader for size. Both work wonderfully.

Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt/ACP Dual

Single actions chambered in .45 Colt sometimes come with auxiliary cylinders in .45 ACP, allowing you to swap cylinders, depending on what caliber you feel like shooting that particular day. But you need to swap cylinders to do it. You’d think our friend, the .45 AR, would be perfect for the .45 Colt cylinder, but you’d be WRONG. The .45AR will not fit in a .45 Colt single action cylinder! The rim is too thick! It’s too thick for the .45 ACP cylinder also.

If you wanted, you could have your .45 ACP cylinder milled, allowing the .45 AR, and it would also be able to shoot .45 ACP, since it headspaces on the rim. I just might do this alteration to allow full versatility with my .45 Colt/ACP dual’s one day.

When using your .45 ACP cylinder, a convenient way of carrying and loading your SA is to borrow your 1911’s magazine and feed your gun straight from the magazine. You and your gun will love it!

Hard to beat a dual cylindered sixgun for versatility. Chambered for both .45 Colt
and .45 ACP, you can handle many of your shooting needs confidently.

Loadin’ Moon Clips

TC Custom makes the slickest nutcracker type tool for loading your moon clips. You can load while watching TV or enjoying a beautiful day on your deck. Some hate those clips, but being a tinkering kind of guy, I like ’em! I even like removing spent brass from those thumb-cuttin’ SOBs, as long as I have the right tool. Yup, TC Custom makes those too and they’re a joy to use. I give them two “cut-free” thumbs up!

Keeping The .45 Alive

To keep anything alive, it needs to be fed. I hope I showed you a few different ways of feeding your .45 wheelguns, whichever one you have. After all, everyone enjoys a varied diet, and guns are no different.

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