By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- When I was in high school, a WWII Army veteran allowed me to borrow the 1911 45acp handgun he brought back from Germany.
This started my personal love affair (dare I say obsession) with John Browning’s stubby pistol cartridge. The second handgun I ever bought was a Colt Commander in 45acp and since that time I have always had one of Mr. Browning’s pistols.
There have been other makes of pistols chambered in 45acp and I have owned a number of revolvers chambered in that cartridge. What I have never owned is a rifle chambered in 45acp.
During WWII, the British military took their Lee-Enfield MKlll standard infantry rifle and rebarreled it in 45acp. They designed it to use Colt 1911 handgun magazines and then added a suppressor. They had a rifle that, because 45acp is sub-sonic, could be used to take out enemy soldiers at up to 200 yards in almost total quiet. Working the bolt action on the rifle made more noise than firing the 45acp cartridge.
The US had its Thompson submachine gun chambered in 45acp and there were other shoulder fired weapons manufactured in that cartridge. Currently there are at least five rifles manufactured to shoot 45acp. So a cartridge designed in 1904 continues to be in demand 110 years later for not only handguns but also rifles—however these long guns are expensive.
I picked up a used H&R single shot 12ga shotgun with rifle sights factory installed, for $60. From Short Lane Chamber Adapters (gunadapters.com) I got a 12ga shotgun-to-45acp insert. This is a device that loads into the shotgun chamber like a shotgun shell would but is chambered in 45acp. Once inserted into the shotgun I could now shoot the same 45acp ammo used in my handgun, in that shotgun. This is my homemade 45acp rifle.
First thing you notice when you shoot a pistol cartridge out of a rifle is there is very little recoil. The insert is only eight inches long and the shotgun barrel was twenty four inches, which meant you had sixteen open inches of barrel to mitigate the flash and some of the sound. Low recoil, low flash and lesser sound all add up as a positive.
Now in the user’s manual from Short Lane it specifically states “do not use +P ammo.” At first I felt that was rather disappointing then I realized I had never shot a single round of 45acp +P ammo in my life, so no real loss here for me.
I started my first shooting experience with the Short Lane 45acp insert using some Buffalo Bore (buffalobore.com) 160 gr lead free ammunition (45160LF-LR/20). For a 45acp round a 160gr bullet is pretty light. It was designed as a low recoil round for a pistol so coming out of a shotgun/rifle there is hardly anything to flinch about. I would suggest that a coyote out at 50-60 yards will not notice the lighter weight. Shooting some Buffalo Bore 230gr ammo (45230FMJ-RN/20) provides a slight increase in felt recoil but compared to shooting a 12ga slug out of the some shotgun there is no comparison.
This was low flash ammo and after the bullet passed through sixteen inches of 12 bore tub there was very little flash to give your location away to a “walker” who may be trying to track you for lunch.
Speaking of “walkers” it is a lot easier to carry a hundred rounds of 45acp in you bug-out pack than it is to carry the same amount of ammo in 12ga.
The 45acp round was, and still is, being use by the US military in every war from WWI to Afghanistan. It gets the job done with one shot but you can always switch back to 12ga with the next round you slip into your shotgun. This is not a rapid fire shooting device. It took a few rounds to get the hang of it but once you figure out the sighting there is no doubt of the potential for this 45acp insert and some low flash ammo.
To be quite honest it was fun shooting 45acp in the insert. If you had a side-by-side 12ga you could put the insert in one barrel for rifle shooting and the second barrel loaded with buck shot for close in social purposes. Put two 45acp inserts into your side-by-side and you have a poor man’s double rifle. For a person who may only own one break open shotgun this 45acp insert is a force multiplier in a crisis situation. Three shot groups inside an inch at twenty five yards.
Like Buffalo Bore ammo protecting your family in desperate times is “strictly business” and the Short Lane insert enhances your ability to take care of that business.
Major Van Harl UASF 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]