Colt Forum banner

Chronograph Testing Some Long Colts, .41 AND .32

8382 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Johnny Cash
This velocities test report is "hot off the range!" Just returned. Does anyone want to take a big sniff of my armpits? I thought not.

It was 97F in the shade of the awning over the 100 yard benches when I arrived at the Club range here today and 103F when I left. We're having a cold front just now as I post this and it's a chilly 99F.

Had an interesting afternoon anyway, despite the temperatures which really weren't unbearable as humidity is low and a nice breeze blew steadily.

The stars of the show this afternoon were Colt guns and Colt cartridges with fine performances turned in by each, of course. The chronograph trip today was primarily concerned with testing .41 Long Colt and both .32 Long Colt and .32 Short Colt, all in factory guise.



A special thanks to Forum member Muddyboot (newly crowned "King of the .41 revolvers) who made me the "deal of the century" on a full box of Remington 195 grain lead round nose .41 Long Colt so I could test them. He sent them to me along about the last week of June. Between a little contract work accepted and 3 trips I'm just now able to play "guns" a bit.

The .41 Colt factory loads sent me by the .41 King is a box of vintage Remington Kleen-Bore 195 grain lead round nose ammunition. The ammunition was in good condition and eminently suitable for testing in my circa 1901 4 1/2-inch Colt New Navy. The ammunition proved to be sure-fire, was clean burning with a noticeably small amount of smoke, and left the revolver's bore fundamentally lead-free. I felt that it was a bit cleaner than the Winchester-Western ammunition I've shot and also tested previously. Performance data as follows:

Remington .41 Long Colt 195 grain lead round nose

692 fps muzzle velocity
207 ft./lbs. muzzle energy
48 fps extreme spread
18 standard deviation

The Remington .41 Long Colt ammunition tested proved to be inconsequentially slower than the Winchester Western ammunition tested a couple of months ago. (see complete post here:http://www.coltforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28778) For convenience, we'll cut-'n-paste the Winchester Western data.

" Ten rounds of Winchester Western "white box" ammunition performed as follows:

709 fps muzzle velocity
223 ft./lbs. muzzle energy
107 fps extreme spread
46 fps standard deviation

Ten rounds of Western ammunition in the yellow box performed as follows:

720 fps muzzle velocity:
230 ft./lbs.muzzle energy
16 fps extreme spread
6 fps standard deviation "

For some curious reason the "previous page" feature doesn't show up at the bottom of the "Reloading & Range Reports" section as it does for the "Revolver" section. I know there are more pages of threads full of good information than just one on top. Perhaps it is my computer or maybe it's a program glitch.

Anyway, I again came away enthused with the old .41 Long Colt cartridge and frankly more impressed with the rickety old New Navy than I ought to be. The revolver is really nice to shoot in single action mode. The grip frame feels just right to me when grasped and it's recoil gives a gratifying shove. I was utilizing a band of white rock in the ground, just barely visible above the ground's surface and located just in front of the 100 yard berm, as a target in order to align the bullet's path with the chronograph's screens. This rock band was scarcely wider than a man's shoulders. Often as not, the 195 grain bullets would ricochet off of this rock band with a satisfyingly large puff of white dust and strike high on the berm, which is really a cut in the side of a much higher hill. The reputation of the .41 is said to be inaccurate, especially at any distance at all, but so far I'm finding out that it gives practical accuracy that is quite good. To make good hits that mostly stayed within the width of a man's shoulders at 85 yards, with the revolver being rested, is acceptable accuracy, especially with me behind the revolver.

These Remington loads would be just as effective as the competition's ammunition for any reasonable use that one could conceive of for his .41 revolver. Back in the day, a handgun aficionado with a .41 Long Colt revolver was well armed for personal protection or for shooting entertainment.


The .41 wasn't the only Long Colt cartridge in attendance at the range today. I included a little 4-inch Colt New Pocket (transition) revolver that I have and a box of both .32 Long Colt and .32 Short Colt ammunition. This revolver dates from 1905 and is in reasonable shooting condition with a fair bore and a nice, tight action. It went head's up in competition with a couple more elderly revolvers, both chambered for the .32 S&W Long. I think it beat out it's Smith & Wesson competition for load performance.



Ammunition used was late vintage Remington .32 Long Colt and late vintage Winchester .32 Short Colt.

Remington .32 Long Colt 82 grain lead round nose

783 fps MV
112 ft./lbs. ME
72 ES
24 SD

Winchester .32 Short Colt 80 grain lead round nose

763 fps MV
103 ft./lbs. ME
54 ES
19 SD

I fired the Winchester .32 Short Colt load first. The Remington .32 Long Colt load fooled me into thinking that I could perceive a significant increase in power when I was firing it. It was longer and had a heavier bullet. The chronograph revealed how wrong perceptions may be.

The Remington .32 Long Colt load billowed great clouds of white smoke, both from the muzzle and from the barrel/cylinder gap. It didn't hang in the air like black powder smoke but dissipated in a wink. I thought this a bit unusual and excessive. I'm guessing it has something to do with the bullet lube used. The revolver was very sooty at the end of its session. I've not examined the bore closely yet but a cursory look in bright sunlight, without my reading glasses, revealed that rifling could still be seen.

As may be seen there is very little difference in velocity performance between the .32 Long Colt and .32 Short Colt. Couple this fact with the whopping 2 grain difference in bullet weight and we effectively have identical cartridge performance. I pressed this Colt New Pocket into service in the back yard recently to rid the area of a feral cat. One close range shot to the head with one of the .32 Shot Colt rounds from the box I also used today and it settled his hash. Didn't make a lot of racket or sling a bullet with high remaining energy into parts unknown.

(continued)
See less See more
2
  • Like
Reactions: 3
1 - 1 of 15 Posts
bmcgilvray- Have you ever chronographed the 32 rimless to compare against the 32 short & long? I would be curious how they compare.
Thanks for the great report. Very informative.
1 - 1 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top