Well, having worked on this article & almost finishing it, THEN having the father of all computer crashes wipe it out, tends to put a cramp in one's style. Now, we're recovering from the main server crashing!!!!
My fascination with the .45 caliber started long before I was able to buy guns on my own. Dad would do the paperwork with the Sheriff, but the guns were mine. Over the years I've developed two distinct likings, the 1911 series & DA revolvers in .45LC. This isn't to say that I don't like single actions but, the focus here is primarily the DA revolver.
In early '80s I was in the market for a .45 revolver to use as a service gun. I had a reserve deputy commission at the time & the Sheriff generally looked the other way on what most of the reserves used, as long as it was a .38 spl or larger. The regulars on patrol & their reserves HAD to carry .357 magnums but, the rule wasn't especially enforced for any other division and I was a dispatcher. The only thing out there available at the time was the Colt New Service & the occasional S&W triplelock. Colts were not abundant & I NEVER saw a Smith for sale until recently. All I ever ran across for quite a while were the ones you put up in a vault & let appreciate in value until another collectors wanted it worse than you did.
In '83 I ran across a post WW1 Colt at one of the hardware stores in town.
The Colt New ServiceI had an on-again, off-again trading relationship with the guys there & had been given behind the counter privileges just so they could have the time to serve other customers instead of tending to me, bugging them to pull guns back & forth. One Saturday after looking at all the new stuff, I asked if they had run across any .45LC double actions. The boss said that they did have one that was kept it in a back desk drawer & never put it out in the shelf 'cause it was "sorta rusty". I said I wanted to see it & when it came out I understood why they thought it would never sell. It looked like someone had eaten potato chips just before handling it. The cylinder & side plate had pit marks that some wise-cracker deputy later said were good enough to lift prints that would hold up in a court of law. The bright side was that it locked up as tight as I had ever seen. Well this started things rolling & the gun left with me for a VERY reasonable price.
I had originally wanted to have a .45 new enough to run seriously warm loads in but, I knew that it wouldn't be the case with this oldtimer. Taking it to the range proved that it would hold a good enough group but it didn't strike point of aim with Winchester Super-X the way I looked through the sights. I took my time & finally got it regulated at 25 yards with a series of file cuts to the front sight. I eventually used it to qualify with one time just as an experiment so I could say "I told you so!" This sated my appetite for a while but when Smith came out with their Model 25s in .45LC I knew I could do better (so I thought). Smith had run a series of 4" matte finish guns "The Model of 1989" . Dad went & ordered one as a birthday present for me & the thing sure was nice looking. One minor problem though, the blasted thing wouldn't shoot ANYTHING. Groups were lousy & dad & I were never able to get any handload to even begin to tighten up. Cie la guerre, the gun went on the block less than a year later & left me kind of leery of trying another S&W product for awhile.
This left things on the back burner but, I really got excited when Colt announced that they would start producing their Anaconda in .45!
The Colt Anaconda
I had speculated for several years that Colt would get the market filled with the .44 mag version & then tool up for a run in .45. Dad really likes this one & as he has started to get more recoil sensitive, still likes to shoot it as it doesn't seem to bother him as much as other guns. We keep the loads on it well below what a Ruger would take but, it's possible to run 250 to 270 gr. cast bullets up to 1050 fps. Colt decided to use the looks of the Python but, the lockwork & internal parts more resemble the trooper Mk111 design. This means that you must be VERY careful trying to do an action job on one as several of the parts are sintered metal, not forged or investment cast.
In the early nineties Smith released what turned out to be one of the last blue steel N frame .45s models.
The S&W M25
This is a model 25-9 and has some of the upgraded lockwork parts that Smith developed for the model 29 but is one of the last of the hammer firingpin (original) design revolvers made. Currently Smith uses a minor modification of the internal lockwork but, the BIG difference is a frame mounted, spring loaded firing pin. This is my ultimate idea of a service .45 revolver. I run one load only through this. Winchester 200gr Silvertip.
The Ruger .45 Redhawk
The last .45 I've got is one of the new Ruger Redhawks. This had been an idea that dad & I had mulled around for several years & thought of sending a .44 mag to Hamilton Bowen or Jim Stroh to get bored out. I guess Mr. Ruger got enough nastygrams over a decade or so from fellow .45 enthusiasts & finally chambered the round. There's not much I can add to what everybody else has written concerning what loads it can take & how it shoots. Needless to say, you can load it up as hot as any other Ruger product & it will eat it up & ask for more.
Can you say, I like .45s? I thought you could.