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

  1. #11
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    Here you go, ballistic science of the time consisted of shooting live cattle (en-route to packing houses) as well as donated human cadavers and deceased horses. Keep in mind there were no high performance bullets, JHP's etc just lead and fmj so a bullet with more mass will be more effective and .38 Long Colt was pathetic delivering the same energy as a 380 90 grain.

    https://www.ssusa.org/content/the-19...pistol-trials/

    At the same time the Army was considering these questions, Capt. John T. Thompson, the man responsible for seeing to it Gatling Guns were used in Cuba during the 1898 war and the father of the subsequent Thompson sub-machine gun, began to conduct a series of tests with the assistance of Maj. Louis LaGarde of the Army's Medical Department, as to the ballistic properties needed to effectively stop an enemy dead in his tracks. After numerous field reports from the Philippines indicating that the .38 Long Colt cartridge failed to effectively stop Moro tribesmen, Thompson and LaGarde began experiments on live cattle (en-route to packing houses) as well as donated human cadavers and deceased horses. Their conclusion, delivered in March 1904, was that a .45 caliber cartridge was the most effective in dropping an opponent and therefore, should the Army consider a new service revolver or a reliable auto pistol, it would be preferable for it to adopt the new gun chambered in the powerful .45 cartridge.

    And this.

    https://www.americanrifleman.org/con...y-performance/

    In 1899, a group of Moro tribesmen in the Philippines took umbrage toward a United States occupation force in the southern islands, thereby initiating what became known as the Moro Rebellion. The Moros were fierce fighters, with a reputation of resistance toward any outside rule. Officers in the U.S. force were armed with Colt Model 1892 revolvers chambered in .38 Long Colt, a cartridge that originated the blackpowder era. The load at the time featured a 150-grain lead round-nose bullet launched at 750 f.p.s. using smokeless powder. Muzzle energy was 201 ft.-lbs., about the same energy as a .380 ACP with a 90-grain bullet.

    The Moros were reputed to tie themselves up with strips of vegetation from the jungles to prevent excessive bleeding and ingested locally made drugs to block the pain from wounds. Engagements involving the Colt double-action Model 1892 often resulted in the officer being killed or severely wounded by these motivated Moro juramentados. This prompted the War Department to launch the Thompson-LaGarde Tests of 1904. As expected, the rather grisly tests showed the .38 Long Colt significantly lacking in the power needed to stop a determined assailant. The tests determined that what was needed were the ballistics of the .45 Colt in a more compact round. Semi- and full-automatic arms were being developed, and the old .45 Colt would not function in the new pistols.
    Last edited by mack7.62; 08-28-23 at 14:42.
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBAR_94 View Post
    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.
    I think the later .38 spec was a 130 gr fmj RN. A little lighter, a little more velocity. 850 fps tops.

  3. #13
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    Still, the problem is discussed, with real stories. A solution was applied. Where is the AAR / follow-up?

  4. #14
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    I think it's a bit of a combination of several things. Fairly low powered round, determined attackers. attackers taking opiates, attackers pre applying basically tourniquets, low capacity revolvers, and the general rule that handguns can sometimes require multiple hits.

    In the heat of battle your average soldier is probably not going to score goof high center mass chest shots. Between misses and marginal hits, it is likely you will need multiple rounds to stop an attacker. Add in the fact that the Moros attacked en mass, and you probably dont have enough ammo and or time to reload against multiple foes.
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    No dude is going to get shot in the chest at 300 yards and look down and say "What is that, a 3 MOA group?"

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron3 View Post
    Still, the problem is discussed, with real stories. A solution was applied. Where is the AAR / follow-up?
    From what Ive read, the 45 Colt also had issues. It's definitely more powerful than a 38 Colt. But it's still a pistol.
    C co 1/30th Infantry Regiment
    3rd Brigade 3rd Infantry Division
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    OIF 1 and 3

    IraqGunz:
    No dude is going to get shot in the chest at 300 yards and look down and say "What is that, a 3 MOA group?"

  6. #16
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    Neither 1911s or S&W and Colt 1917 45 ACP revolvers were available during the Philippine American War. Soldiers were choosing to carry single action 45 revolvers loaded with 5 rounds over double action revolvers which were much faster to load/unload/reload. That's a clue.

    The first Colt automatic pistols were in 38 ACP, but the US wanted a larger caliber, due in part to the 38 Colt's reputation.

    Andy
    Last edited by AndyLate; 08-29-23 at 07:43.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyLate View Post
    Soldiers were choosing to carry single action 45 revolvers loaded with 5 rounds over double action revolvers which were much faster to load/unload/reload. That's a clue.
    Perhaps. But Soldiers are often a superstitious and gossipy group. Shit, about a year ago, I asked a Col why his unit was training for and shooting their qual with iron sights, and he conveyed to me that he didn’t trust optics….irons are more reliable. While I agreed with the idea that everyone should be able to shoot irons, the unreliable optics he referred to are ACOGs and Comp M4s, and he was missing an opportunity to zero and train with them.

    I’ve also got a friend that has a 24v Cummins in a Dodge that thought a mechanic was trying to scam him because the tech said it had 6 cylinders. He was absolutely convinced that it was a V8, because no way could a 6 cylinder pull so well, and I was like, dude, pop the hood and count your injector lines.

    And if I had a dollar for everytime someone professed a misconception about an AK or something something 6.8…..

    Point is, when things like this come up, I’ve reason to be skeptical. Of course, I could be wrong, too.

  8. #18
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    Superstitious and gossipy It's accurate, also very resistant to change.

    But they generally liked the Krag.

    Andy

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack7.62 View Post

    https://www.americanrifleman.org/con...y-performance/

    In 1899, a group of Moro tribesmen in the Philippines took umbrage toward a United States occupation force in the southern islands, thereby initiating what became known as the Moro Rebellion. The Moros were fierce fighters, with a reputation of resistance toward any outside rule. Officers in the U.S. force were armed with Colt Model 1892 revolvers chambered in .38 Long Colt, a cartridge that originated the blackpowder era. The load at the time featured a 150-grain lead round-nose bullet launched at 750 f.p.s. using smokeless powder. Muzzle energy was 201 ft.-lbs., about the same energy as a .380 ACP with a 90-grain bullet.

    The Moros were reputed to tie themselves up with strips of vegetation from the jungles to prevent excessive bleeding and ingested locally made drugs to block the pain from wounds. Engagements involving the Colt double-action Model 1892 often resulted in the officer being killed or severely wounded by these motivated Moro juramentados. This prompted the War Department to launch the Thompson-LaGarde Tests of 1904. As expected, the rather grisly tests showed the .38 Long Colt significantly lacking in the power needed to stop a determined assailant. The tests determined that what was needed were the ballistics of the .45 Colt in a more compact round. Semi- and full-automatic arms were being developed, and the old .45 Colt would not function in the new pistols.
    This is one of the articles I may have read in the past. The Moros used locally made drugs to block pain. I was curious how they were made.

    I have a wood war club from the Pacific Islands that was brought back by my grandfather in the 1940's. It is short in length and not very heavy. Determined people indigenous to the area used the club effectively.
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  10. #20
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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'd suspect an opioid-based substance. Maybe khat-like? I've also read where they tied off extremities so unless it was a CoM hit they could continue on.

    Not to derail the thread, but the Philippine Insurrection (a real insurrection BTW) was brutal. I have a couple books about it. It wasn't just Moros either. The U.S. Army developed it's first COIN strategies during that conflict. The things they did would be verboten nowadays to the point of a stint in Leavenworth. There was a water torture where a funnel was used to forcefully "overindulge" the one being questioned, among other sordid things like revenge attacks against "civilians" (I use that term loosely in a guerrilla war) if Americans had been killed. In fact, reports made their way back stateside and a Congressional investigation was launched. The Congress critters were appalled by what they heard.

    To be fair, the Philippine Insurrection is widely considered America's most successful COIN operation. Brutal but it worked. Go figure.
    Last edited by ABNAK; 08-29-23 at 16:48.
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