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August 16, 2016 - 11:40 pm
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       I have an eighteen year old replica (Japan) 1885 chambered in .45 (Long) Colt.

       Idle curiosity got me to wondering if there is any information (guesses) about how many original Single Shot rifles were chambered for that cartridge ?

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August 17, 2016 - 6:38 am
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If you are referring to the original Model 1885 rifles manufactured between September 1885 and June of 1920, there were exactly zero made in the 45 Long Colt cartridge. Considering the fact that there was a total of (91) different cartridges that were factory chambered in the Model 1885, it is somewhat surprising that none were made in the 45 LC cartridge. Winchester made many thousands of Single Shot riles in 44-40 and 38-40.

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August 17, 2016 - 12:39 pm
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None, zero, zilch? That is pretty amazing. You would think that at least one guy would want a rifle to match up to his .45 SAA pistol. Especially, as you mentioned, the number of 44-40 and 38-40 1885’s that were made. Also, they were already making .45 caliber barrels for the larger rifle cartridges.

Winchester never chambered the .45 LC in the model 1873 or 1892 either. Any known reason for that?

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August 17, 2016 - 2:38 pm
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Marketing

They did not want to promote the Colt Cartridge.

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August 17, 2016 - 2:53 pm
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It’s my understanding that Colt had patented the 45LC for use in the M1873 SAA. Marketing, rivalry, economics all prevented rifles in this caliber. Colt made M1873s in other calibers (I.e. 44-40) to satisfy the desire to shoot the same round in your rifle and revolver. (The stag-handled Colt in my avatar is a 1st generation 44-40.)

At least that’s the story as I heard it. 

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August 17, 2016 - 7:59 pm
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45 LC somehow was totally off the radar as a cartridge to be used in a rifle till what 1970’s ?

 

Wasnt the main issue that the the thicker brass wouldnt always open enough to seal powder gasses that would come back in shooters eye  ?

 

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August 17, 2016 - 9:27 pm
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The 45 Colt handgun round was a proprietary round developed and patented by Colt for the Army. And Colt never gave permission to other companies to chamber any guns for it. That included S&W, Winchester, and later Marlin….so the 44-40 became the revolver/rifle classic.

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August 18, 2016 - 1:14 am
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One reason that has gotten some traction is that the thinner case rim of the 45 Colt at the time was not suitable for the extractors of single shot and lever action rifles. The case sealing argument makes some sense but 45 Colt cases didn’t seal very well in Colt revolvers and that didn’t seem to hurt things in the sales department. I feel that the main reason Winchester leverguns were not chambered in 45 Colt was because 44WCF was a better round.

I’ve never understood the term 45 “Long” Colt. I’ve yet to see a “short” or even “medium” Colt. There’s the 45 Schofield but it wasn’t a Colt round. 38 and 41 calibers had a “long” and “short” Colt cartridge but the 45 Colt did not. Wink

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August 18, 2016 - 1:21 am
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Way to go Mike!!

Finally, someone hit the proverbial nail on the head… the 44 WCF (44-40) was and is the better cartridge!!

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August 18, 2016 - 2:15 am
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Thanks, Bert, lol. To be quite honest I don’t own a 44WCF but the 38WCF is making a strong showing around here lately. I’m quite fond of the big Colt cartridge; more than a few of the Colt 1873’s and even a few 1911’s chambered the other 45 Colt cartridge call my spot on the prairie “home”. I even own a Trapper in 45 Colt…mainly just because it’s so darned cute! LaughI also hunt with a Ruger in 45 Colt but that’s a whole ‘nuther cartridge the way I load it.

Even today the rifles chambered for 45 (not long) Colt often come up a little short. WinkMany have sloppy chambers and the popular twist rate doesn’t seem right for the bullets that make sense. Standardizing on one cartridge makes sense for today’s cowboy shooting games but I’m not sure it was a popular concept 130-140 years ago.

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August 18, 2016 - 2:33 am
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44 WCF was my first Winchester infatuation and a great historic cartridge ,  now my favs of the 73 & 92 lineup are 38 WCF and 32-20, but in general could never warm up to any of the later added  non-original Winchester cartridges for replicas It doesn’t feel right to me.   Im just an Antique gun guy and shooter, not a hunter or CAS where 45 LC or any of the newer additions may have a convenience advantage

 

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August 18, 2016 - 1:49 pm
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    Gee whiz,   you folks in WACA are great.     You have certainly satisfied my idle curiosity.     Hard to believe there were no .45 Colt 1885’s.

    I have read about the narrow rim and it being a proprietary product of Colt as reasons for no other manufacturers having rifles.

    Now I have to wonder if any original 1885’s were later rebored/chambered independently for .45 Colt ?      Anyone ever seen or heard of one ?

 

    Thanks so much for all the responses to my question !

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August 18, 2016 - 2:11 pm
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In the past 40 years, I have seen and handled several thousand Model 1885 Single Shot rifles… nary a one in 45 LC.

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August 18, 2016 - 9:14 pm
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Bert H. said
If you are referring to the original Model 1885 rifles manufactured between September 1885 and June of 1920, there were exactly zero made in the 45 Long Colt cartridge. Considering the fact that there was a total of (91) different cartridges that were factory chambered in the Model 1885, it is somewhat surprising that none were made in the 45 LC cartridge. Winchester made many thousands of Single Shot riles in 44-40 and 38-40.
Bert  

Bert H. said
In the past 40 years, I have seen and handled several thousand Model 1885 Single Shot rifles… nary a one in 45 LC.
Bert  

What about the over 6,400 missing serial number records for the Model 1885? You don’t think its possible that one of those 6,400 serials might have been chambered in 45 Colt?

Sincerely,

Maverick

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August 18, 2016 - 9:42 pm
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Wincacher said
The 45 Colt handgun round was a proprietary round developed and patented by Colt for the Army. And Colt never gave permission to other companies to chamber any guns for it. That included S&W, Winchester, and later Marlin….so the 44-40 became the revolver/rifle classic.
  

Not to sound smart or anything, BUT Where is the proof in the pudding in this statement? What is the patent number for said patent? Why wouldn’t Colt give permission to use there round? The same could be said of the 44W.C.F., if I’m just coming up with such a statement. Winchester designed there own cartridge, the 44wcf round just like Colt, and I believe before them for that matter. So what makes you so certain Winchester Wouldn’t or Couldn’t chamber a Rifle for 45 Colt?

Sincerely,

Maverick

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August 18, 2016 - 11:35 pm
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Maverick said

Bert H. said
In the past 40 years, I have seen and handled several thousand Model 1885 Single Shot rifles… nary a one in 45 LC.
Bert  

What about the over 6,400 missing serial number records for the Model 1885? You don’t think its possible that one of those 6,400 serials might have been chambered in 45 Colt?

Sincerely,

Maverick  

Where did you come up with 6,400 missing serial number records?  What serial number range are you referring to?

To answer this question again, No, I do not believe that there were any original Model 1885 rifles made in 45 LC.

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August 19, 2016 - 12:36 am
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Here’s more fuel for the fire:  copper cases on the early .45 Colt we too weak and the rims too small to be handled by rifle extractors.  Also, the primers were internal so the cartridge was not reloadable.

http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/24/the-45-colt-history-and-surprising-facts-about-this-iconic-cartridge/

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August 19, 2016 - 11:48 am
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Wincacher said
Here’s more fuel for the fire:  copper cases on the early .45 Colt we too weak and the rims too small to be handled by rifle extractors.  Also, the primers were internal so the cartridge was not reloadable.

http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/24/the-45-colt-history-and-surprising-facts-about-this-iconic-cartridge/  

Thanks for posting the .45 Colt link – a fascinating article…..

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August 19, 2016 - 4:58 pm
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Where did you come up with 6,400 missing serial number records?  What serial number range are you referring to?

To answer this question again, No, I do not believe that there were any original Model 1885 rifles made in 45 LC.

Bert  

I got it from the Association’s own Website. If this information is incorrect, I suggest we get it changed!

WACA1885Info.jpgImage Enlarger

Under the Model 1885 tab at the bottom of the page description. If you do the math that comes to over 6,400 missing records per that information. That would include the serials at the end of production, as I believe all that is mentioned on Polishing Room Records is the Date the Serial number was applied and not what caliber the firearm is.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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August 19, 2016 - 5:44 pm
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Maverick said

I got it from the Association’s own Website. If this information is incorrect, I suggest we get it changed!

WACA1885Info.jpgImage Enlarger

Under the Model 1885 tab at the bottom of the page description. If you do the math that comes to over 6,400 missing records per that information. That would include the serials at the end of production, as I believe all that is mentioned on Polishing Room Records is the Date the Serial number was applied and not what caliber the firearm is.

Sincerely,

Maverick  

There is a typo on the referenced page;  the original factory warehouse ledger records are available for serial numbers 1 – 109999.  There is a small gap in the records were none were recorded as noted in the 74459 – 75556 range (though I have actually surveyed nine of those serial numbers). The PR records are complete through 115308, leaving a 5,309 serial number difference between the two sets of records.  Unfortunately, there are NO original records existing for any serial numbers in the 115309 – 140000 range.  The actual number of missing ledger records is 30,000 serial numbers.

Now, with that stated, I have been actively surveying the Model 1885 for 35-years now (shortly after I began collecting them in earnest).  Over the many years that I have been surveying them, the vast majority of the Model 1885 Single Shots in the 110000 – 140000 serial range are .22 caliber rim fire Winder Muskets  (approximately 85%).  Additionally in that same serial range, Winchester made approximately 850 high-wall 20-ga shotguns.  Relatively few standard Sporting Rifles were made, with a substantial number of them made in the smokeless powder cartridges (e.g. 30/40, 25-35, 30 WCF, 32 WS, 33 WCF, 35 WCF, and 405 WCF).

Bert

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