Unless you reload I would stick with a 357. Otherwise you're going to pay a lot more for ammo and/or shoot it a lot less.
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I have the Ruger Black Hawk 45 Colt and like it as a big bore. Mine is a lighter famed one and is easier to carry than a 44 Magnum. Had one of those also. Ammo for the 45 Colt is around $35 for the less expensive stuff but it does have a good selection of serious stuff. There are some loads that I think are more appropriated for a rifle. I load for mine but keep them at most around 900 fps as mine is a light weight. I had a Colt copy that had a small trigger guard and just plain hurt when I shot it as the guard would smack into my finger. The 45 Colt is a satisfying revolver and has the power I want. I will point out that the 44 mag permits the use of 44 Specials and lighter ammo than the full power stuff. Still the 45 is kind of satisfying.
I just went to three different online ammunition retailers. The .357 lead bullet Cowboy loads and the .45 Colt lead bullet cowboy loads are within $2-$3 of each other for 50 round boxes. Who keeps perpetuating the rumor that .45 Colt is expensive to shoot? BTW, these were not reloads, I'm talking new, factory ammo. Do a little research.
My advice for the OP, buy a single action chambered to .45 Colt, and get the full experience. There is nothing on Earth like it. They balance well, and are easy to shoot.
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If anyone is going to shoot a lot they would be shooting target and would have no reason to shot anything but lead bullets in revolvers. Also in most situations would have no need for full power loads. The non magnum 44sp and 45Colt are easy to shoot and easy on your body. Besides that a 200gr to 250gr chunk of lead tooling along at 800-900fps will be sufficient for most jobs here in USA.
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If I was in the market for a .45LC and had the cash available I would look for a Cold New Frontier. Beautiful single action and adjustable sights. I believe they may me hard to find. My wife's first handgun was a New Frontier in 22 and 22mag. The case hardening is beautiful.
I’ve got several BlackHawks and quickly sold off the SBH as it’s a finger buster and wasn’t fun to shoot. My latest is the flat-top 44 Special and it is quickly becoming my favorite. Don’t need the magnum. If I do, I’ll go with my 41 BH or the 45 BH. It’s your choice... find a friend that’s got one and shoot it. You’ll know for sure when you do find the one you like.
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Well, been said over and over here. Blackhawk in 44mag is great, especially when firing special rounds thru it. Something about that just rocks it. But I'm a 45LC guy, Vaquero with a 7 5/8" barrel. Rounds can be pricey, I don't have the convertible cyl with my rig. Need to look into that.
45LC is a perfect single action, from my experience. balances right, fits me perfectly, and is "classic".
I've read in this thread about the Italian offshoots, they're good too. A friend of mine has a pair that he uses in cowboy action and has them tuned to an unbelievable level. They are very nice.
Bottom line, you have choices. That's the beauty of it all. Are there ranges in your area that rent guns? That'd be the first place I'd stop at, see what fits YOU. That's what this is all about. When I first held my Vaquero, I knew it was mine. 10 days later (thanks, Clinton), I brought it home.
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