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Thread: Was there ever any proof regarding .38 Colt Long vs. .45 acp?

  1. #1
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    Was there ever any proof regarding .38 Colt Long vs. .45 acp?

    During or after the war in the Philippines?

    We know the story: ".38 Colt Long wasnt putting the enemy down so .45 Colt and .45 acp were put / put back into service."

    But then what? Were there examples of better results?

    Is it all conjecture or are there verified stories / facts of better performance saving American lives?

    Maybe a larger issue was one of firepower? .45 acp revolvers with half-moon clips and pouches for them and of course the 1911 with its magazine and higher capacity?

    Or was the real issue that guys were using .38's engaging enemy 50 yards or more away and the real solution was getting more rifles into troops' hands?
    Last edited by Ron3; 08-28-23 at 11:01.

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    It was my understanding that during the fighting there were a lot of close contact engagements in the jungle, but that information comes from old magazine articles, etc.

    If you can dig up verifiable information, I would like to know more about what drugs enemy personnel were taking.
    Train 2 Win

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    I went down this rabbit hole a little.

    It seems Spain claimed PI, but wasn't in full control of it. They ceded it to the US after the Spanish-American war.

    American decided to fully control PI and part of that was destroying all local powers / resistance and telling them how to live. As in a codified restructuring of their way of life.

    The locals, especially the Muslim "Moros", had a problem with that and fought to death resisting the American invasion.

    You have to wonder...what did the Average American soldier think during this? Sent to the PI islands, trying to enforce American laws on locals of low education & technology, and when they resist with suicidal attacks using guns, spears, and knives you have no choice but to shoot them with bolt-action rifles and machine guns.

    I think some of the American soldiers must have felt like they were the bad guys.

    I really derailed my own thread, I know.

    Was the impetus of .45 acp to better put down simple tribes resisting an American invasion of their islands?

    That's not a good story.
    Last edited by Ron3; 08-28-23 at 12:35.

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    Iíve long suspected two things:

    1) dudes were shooting off of horses. If youíve never done that, its a whole Ďnother skill, and they probably just missed.

    2) poor marksmanship combined with youthful egos. In many conflicts, dudes make claims of inadequate weaponry that are better explained by missing the target, or only hitting extremities. In fact, in studies of where on the body people get wounded, extremities account for the majority. Some of these other urban legends are that the .30 carbine canít penetrate winter clothing, or that Somalis are unkillable due to khat.

    And a third thing that I know, rather than suspect: pistols suck at dropping dudes, even with reasonable shot placement.

    Iíd be interested in reading something that could pass as evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T2C View Post

    If you can dig up verifiable information, I would like to know more about what drugs enemy personnel were taking.
    What drugs are you thinking? Most of the fancy ones didnít exist yet, and the ones that did werenít exactly performance-enhancing.

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    Let common sense prevail, 38 Long Colt a lead 125 gr or 150 gr .38 cal bullet at a mv of around 780 fps vs .45 Long Colt lead 200 gr at 1,000 fps or 250 gr at 900 fps. Obvious which will be the better man stopper IMO. To this day the .45 Colt in a mid frame revolver fills a sweet spot, a good balance of portability, controlability and stopping power a 250 gr hardcast bullet at 900 fps makes a real nice woods gun.
    Last edited by mack7.62; 08-28-23 at 13:19.
    ďThe Trump Doctrine is ĎWeíre America, Bitch.í Thatís the Trump Doctrine.Ē

    "He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see."

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1168 View Post
    What drugs are you thinking? Most of the fancy ones didn’t exist yet, and the ones that did weren’t exactly performance-enhancing.
    I was wondering that, too. Performance-enhancing drugs in 1902-1914?

    There were pain killers, opiates. But that's gonna kill your religious fervor and homicidal rage that you need to kill the enemy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack7.62 View Post
    Let common sense prevail, 38 Long Colt a lead 125 gr or 150 gr .38 cal bullet at a mv of around 780 fps vs .45 Long Colt lead 200 gr at 1,000 fps or 250 gr at 900 fps. Obvious which will be the better man stopper IMO.
    Iím sure youíre right, especially if capacity is equal. However, its almost always a marksmanship problem, even if we were talking about rifles, and revolver sights were terrible back then.

    Iím not certain about this, but I think most of the dudes carrying revolvers would have been REMFs/POGs, Officers, Field Artillery, and Cavalry. And the Officers would maybe have been on horseback, even if not Cav. Hardly the dudes Iíd expect to have a high hit percentage. They would also likely have been poorly trained by modern standards.
    Last edited by 1168; 08-28-23 at 13:25.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack7.62 View Post
    Let common sense prevail, 38 Long Colt a lead 125 gr or 150 gr .38 cal bullet at a mv of around 780 fps vs .45 Long Colt lead 200 gr at 1,000 fps or 250 gr at 900 fps. Obvious which will be the better man stopper IMO. To this day the .45 Colt in a mid frame revolver fills a sweet spot, a good balance of portability, controlability and stopping power a 250 gr hardcast bullet at 900 fps makes a real nice woods gun.
    Yes, it can only work at least a little better. Can and does.

    But I was wondering if there was documentation from the period / 1st hand accounts.

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    I have read the same anecdotes but I don’t know if much ballistic science was done, though the fact that the .45 ACP was developed immediately after probably suggests that there was at least an Army requirement based on lessons learned. That said, I recall seeing a fair amount of anecdotes about the Vietnam era M41 .38 Special being a really ineffective round, and ballistically it’s basically a twin of the .38 Long Colt, with the only difference being FMJ vs a cast bullet.
    OEF / OIR / OFS

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