By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- Do you remember the 1987 movie, the Assassination starring the (a real WWII combat hero) Charles Bronson as a US Secret Service agent assigned to protect the First Lady?
In one scene he hands the uncooperative First Lady a double barreled derringer chambered in 45 Long Colt/LC.
45 LC is the old cowboy cartridge that John Wayne and Matt Dillon used to tame the west. It has been around since the 1870s and was designed for handguns that were never intended to handle the high pressure ammo of today (read hot). The US military used the old 45LC as late as WWI.
Small easy to conceal one and two shot derringers have been continually manufactured in 45LC. There are currently a number of very well made double barrel 45LC derringers in production. In Mr. Bronson’s case just as the bad guys are about to best him in a gun fight he pulls his derringer from a well concealed ankle holster and puts large 45 caliber life draining holes in the evil that was sent to kill him.
These large caliber derringers are not for practical target shooting. They were designed for one thing only, to save your life in desperate times while you are in extremely close quarters with the enemy.
The problem with the old 45LC ammo is they still manufacture that ammunition to the same specifications as they did in 1873. There is serious room for modern improvement with this cartridge and Buffalo Bore Ammunition CO. of St. Ignatius, MT (buffalobore.com) has done just that. Tim Sundles at Buffalo Bore has three 45 LC types of ammunition that are standard pressure, which makes them safe and more importantly very effective in derringers.
The 3E 255gr Keith bullet was for me, the most stout of the three rounds you could fire in a derringer. If you have a desire for a hollow-nosed 45LC round then the 3J/20, 225gr soft cast, hollow-nose will meet your needs. I have this thing for flat faced wadcutters that punch .45 diameter hold in objects. So the 3I/20 225gr hard cast wadcutter was my favorite. This round is also a low flash ammo. Coming out of a very short barrel low flash does help.
Most of these 45LC derringers also will chamber and fire a 410 shotgun shell. Both Smith & Wesson and Taurus firearms make a revolver that will fire 45LC and 410 shotgun rounds. As you read the descriptions of shooting these various types of ammunitions, keep in mind the Buffalo Bore 45 LC ammo works very well in these revolvers. Also if you have an old single action Colt handgun that was not designed to use high pressure ammo the above Buffalo Bore 45LC will greatly improve the capabilities of those older, less robust firearms.
Ray Banister at Short Lane LLC (gunadapters.com) has a very handy 410 ga insert that allows you to shoot 22LR ammo out of a single shot shotgun and in this case a 45LC/410ga derringer. The insert is smooth bored so you are not going to get ½ inch groups at 21 feet but, as we say in the military, it is a force multiplier. With the 410-to-22LR insert you can carry a lot more lightweight 22LR ammo with you for firing out of the big bore derringer.
Versatility is what you have with this combination. A derringer in a real world crisis could and most likely would be a weapon of last shot usage. Having two barrels means doubling the last shot ability. The capability to shoot 22LR gives you an inexpensive way to practice that last shot skill and learn to adapt the 22LR capability into a proactive protection mode. High velocity 22LR shot in very close quarters is going to upset the day for the evil DNA on the receiving end.
John Wayne used a double barrel derringer in no less than three movies to fend off the dregs of western society. The Duke understood that sometimes in tight corners the use of a small handgun with a large bore is more advantageous to your staying alive than a black rifle with a thirty round magazine.
NEBOTOOLS.com has a great little flash light called the Blueline. I took a piece of bike inner tube, stretched in over the barrels of my derringer and inserted my Blueline flash light inside the inner tube. Emergency light and sighting device, the stopping power of Buffalo Bore ammo and Mr. Banister’s 22LR insert to develop proficiencies with this combination could save a life and it is strictly business.
18 Feb 2104 / Major Van Harl USAF Ret /[email protected]
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]