.45 ACP vs. .45 LC in Lever Guns
Question: Wondering what the difference is between .45acp and .45colt? Do u know of any lever guns clambered for .45acp? And where could I find one?
Answer: A 45ACP and a .45 LC are very different, mostly, the difference is in the length of the cartridge case design and length.
A .45ACP is a “rimless” cartridge which uses a recessed area for extraction and indexing, whereas the longer .45 LC is utilizing a rimmed case, which provides a protruding rimmed edge for indexing (seating and placement) of the cartridge. A rimmed cartridge casing lends itself well to a revolver cylinder and a tubular magazine because the case is supported in the chamber and the magazine/cylinder by the virtue of the rim. Lever guns are typically utilizing tubular magazines and rimmed cartridges, because they need the case design to avoid accidental discharge and facilitate accurate loading and chambering.
The .45ACP doesn’t have as much powder or room in the cartridge to create the types of pressure behind the projectile, as does the .45 Long Colt (when used in a custom handload); factory ammunition has these two cartridges only nominally different as far as ballistics are concerned.
The .45ACP is made specifically for semi-automatic guns which utilize a different loading and extraction method than lever guns. The rimless case is easier to extract in guns with higher rates of firing volume.
The tubular magazine found on Lever guns has a mechanism built to use the rimmed cartridge as a stop and a rimless cartridge would not be adequate to keep the ammunition in the tube.
Currently there are no .45 ACP chambered lever guns commercially produced in quantity. I have heard of custom one off builds being done in the caliber, but almost all of them utilize a different magazine. I can’t comment on the sources, reliability or usefulness of such a build as I have not personally shot one.
Marlin has a carbine called a camp 45 that comes to mind if you prefer the round, but they are semiauto carbines, not tube fed lever guns. The Camp 45 uses standard 1911 magazines to load the gun with the .45ACP.
As a side note, there is a cartridge that was built called a .45 Cowboy Special, designed to do exactly what you are wanting to have done, but the guns would have to have certain parts replaced and others modified to make the cartridge work. The specialty cartridge was designed for action shooting competitions and uses an incredibly slow and lightweight powder load paired with a normal projectile weight, but a modified profile design to shoot easier with less recoil, more smoke and faster followup shots. These cartridges are not commercially available, only through reloading.
The question as to why you would want lever guns in .45 ACP is probably apparent to many of the readers of my blog, as you get the ultimate in reliability with the lever design, with good repeatability and the ultimate versatility and ballistic benefit of such a great cartridge in the .45 ACP, while saving a bit of money over its longer, larger more expensive cousin (the .45 LC). I too, would be interested in shooting and perhaps owning .45 ACP lever guns if they could be made as reliably and within the same price range as the already proven rimmed cartridge designs.