The .45-75 Winchester Cartridge
The .45-75 Winchester centerfire cartridge was first introduced in 1876. It was developed for the Winchester Centennial Model 1876 lever-action repeating rifle, which was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the United States. The cartridge and the rifle were both geared primarily towards civilian use, particularly for hunting and sport shooting.
Here are some key details about the .45-75 Winchester:
- Design: The .45-75 Winchester uses a rimmed, bottlenecked case. The case length is about 1.89 inches (48mm). The bullet diameter is approximately .458 inches (11.63mm), which is the same as that of the .45-70 Government, a more well-known and widely used .45 caliber cartridge.
- Ballistics: Originally, with black powder loads, the .45-75 Winchester could fire a 350-grain bullet at approximately 1,375 feet per second, providing sufficient power for most big game animals in North America. The muzzle energy would have been about 1,600 foot-pounds. However, the performance could vary depending on the specific load and the condition of the rifle.
- Popularity and Use: The .45-75 Winchester was quite popular in the late 19th century, especially in the American West. It was well-regarded for its effectiveness against large game and for its relatively flat trajectory compared to other black powder cartridges of the time. However, the .45-75 fell out of favor as more modern cartridges and smokeless powders became available.
- Availability: Currently the .45-75 Winchester is considered obsolete. Few, if any, modern firearms are chambered for it, and ammunition is relatively hard to find. Some specialty ammunition manufacturers may produce limited runs of .45-75 ammo, and handloaders can also create their own using properly sized and trimmed brass cases.
- Safety: Because the .45-75 was designed for use with black powder, it's important for anyone shooting or handloading this cartridge to understand that modern smokeless powders can generate much higher pressures. Using smokeless powder loads in a firearm designed for black powder can be dangerous. If you have a firearm chambered in .45-75, it's crucial to use appropriate ammunition and to have the firearm inspected by a qualified gunsmith to ensure it's safe to shoot.
Despite its obscurity today, the .45-75 Winchester holds a place in firearms history as one of the early centerfire cartridges developed for repeating rifles. It was part of the evolution of firearms technology that led to the powerful and versatile cartridges we have today.
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