While loving the simplicity of the strong and reliable single-action thumb-cocker, I’m savvy enough to also appreciate its swinging sidekick, the double-action revolver. Both revolver styles keep cartridge brass confined in the cylinder after firing, making it unnecessary to chase, a big plus for those with an aversion to bending over. More importantly, shelling out freshly fired brass into your hand is soothing and convenient, especially when you guard your fired brass like gold coins.
The swing-out cylinder has the added benefits of allowing you to dump empties, as well as loading them, all at once. I’m going to show you how to enjoy your .45 Colt double-action even more, by making it a bi-caliber contender, providing you with twice the fun.
As you know, the .45 Colt is my favorite cartridge — but I still enjoy many others, especially when I can shoot them in the same gun such as the popular and abundant .45 ACP. Besides shooting .45 ACPs, I’ll show you different techniques for loading your .45 Colt cartridges, and it doesn’t matter if it’s of Ruger, or S&W lineage, either. If you enjoy tinkering with gun “stuff” while watching TV, you’ll love what I’m about to share with you.
TK Custom Cool
Tom Kilhoffer, owner of TK Custom, is the moon-clip guru of the revolver world. He skillfully machines the face of your .45 Colt cylinder, allowing it to accept moon-clipped .45 ACP cartridges. Besides allowing you to shoot cheaper and more abundant .45 ACPs, you now have a faster reload with the moon-clipped bound cartridges. All it takes is the skillful milling of the face of your cylinder the thickness of a moon-clip.
All you need to do is send your cylinder to TK Custom. Heck, they even have videos on their website showing you how to do it, saving you the hassle of shipping your firearm. Turn around was less than a week and it’s a whole lot cheaper than buying another revolver to shoot .45 ACP. TK Custom is a full custom shop and offers many options for slicking up your sixgun. Check them out.
The best part of the conversion allows you to continue shooting .45 Colt cartridges, making your revolver a double-duty gun now! Call me crazy, but loading moon-clips with factory — or handloaded — cartridges is fun, and a very fast way of reloading your sixgun.
TK Custom makes a dandy nutcracker-style tool, which saves fingers from cuts and sore thumb syndrome by pushing in the last cartridge. They also make a handy tool for removing your empties, which is actually tougher on dainty digits.
.45 Colt Three-Way Load
With double-action revolvers, there’s three ways of feeding those cylinders. The standard way involves plunking each cartridge by hand, one at a time. There’s nothing wrong with this method, it’s even kind of satisfying as you “throw” your target a steely eyed glare. You can even load two cartridges at a time, as you develop more dexterity.
You can also use speed strips, which are handy for several reasons. They keep cartridges bound in a neat package, prevent them from “jangling” in your pocket and allow you to load two cartridges simultaneously without the risk of dropping any.
Then there are speed-Loaders. Ask any old copper and he’ll tell you the speed-loader was the greatest invention since reclining bucket-seats on the midnight shift. Far faster and easier than old “dump pouches” this handy contraption made timed qualifications a whole lot easier, not to mention the need for hot reloads during a gunfight. Speed loaders provided confidence and reduced the fear of dropping loose cartridges under stress.
You’ll be howling in delight after your full moon-clip conversion is installed, allowing you to utilize .45 ACP ammo. The full moon-clip wasn’t released until the mid-’80s for competitive shooters while prior to this, half-moon-clips were devised to take advantage of the abundance of .45 ACP ammo available during WWI. An S&W employee came up with the brilliant idea of using half-moon-clips for the model 1917 revolvers made by S&W and Colt.
So, if you’re in the market for making your double-action revolver a double-duty shooter in .45 Colt/.45 ACP, go ahead and get the TK Custom conversion done. You’ll never regret it, as you’ll now be able to shoot it twice as much with two different calibers.
The .45 ACP is generally cheaper to reload, or buy, than .45 Colt ammo. Why not shoot for cheap when all you’re doing is punching paper at the range, or simply plinking at rocks? Save your heavy loads for the field. Either way, the choice is yours with this option.