.45 ammo- FMJ vs JHP

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by rocklinskier, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. rocklinskier

    rocklinskier New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    295
    Not sure where to post this, but since it is primarily a 1911/.45 questions, thought I would try it here.

    A question of theory:

    So everyone knows the history of the .45 ACP being a genuine bad guy stopper. History has proven it with years of military service. Some of you out there have had hands on experience with this. My question: All of that history is based on ball ammo, military issue correct? So, did the military use jacketed 230 g or unjacketed lead? Does that change things signifigantly? If the standard is FMJ, then ANY name brand JHP in a 230 .45 should be outstanding yes?

    Now I know, there is always good, better, best. But if the .45 'hardball' does the job so well, then should one pay the ridiculous prices of the super ammo that is out there?

    Example: Rem GS +P...$38 / 20 rnds vs. Win 230 JHP...$31/50 rnds.

    Also, does the FMJ tend to overpenatrate in a HD situation?

    My primary HD bedside gun is a .40 loaded with 165 JHPs, but I'm starting to keep the 45 around as a secondary. ie, working in the garage in the evenings etc.
  2. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,064
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    The military has used FMJ ammo since before 1911. This is required by international treaties.

    .45 FMJ ammo, like all military ammo, must provide penetration first and foremost. You can't kill the enemy if your rounds can't get through his winter clothing.

    .45 FMJ does tend to overpenetrate in HD situations. The wound is often through-and-though. Not always a bad thing, IMO.

    My opinion is: if your full-sized .45 will feed the shorter HP ammo, a good JHP round is best. For the 3.5" guns, I would use FMJ.
  3. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Messages:
    4,125
    I have a GI 1911 and I bought ammo today, but I stick to 230 grain FMJ. I put my faith in FMJ. If it's good enough for the military, it's good enough for me.
  4. myg30

    myg30 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Nash,TN.
    FMJ has it place but home defence is JHP's. You can stagger them in your mag if your gun feeds them both with reliability. If a JHP dont expand than you still have a solid[fmj] projectial going into your intruder ,..yes?
    Old police 38 spl had poor one shot stops ,the old swc bone crushers, if ya didnt hit bone a pass through was almost guaranteed. Passer by's were hit.
    The service didnt want to kill men,you want to wound them so two men had to carry the wounded and less guys were shooting back!
    Shot placement is the most important no matter what ammo you choose to use!

    Mike
  5. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Messages:
    2,948
    Location:
    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    .45 ACP FMJ does not do the job all that well. It is pretty much on par with 9mm FMJ. The wounds are nearly identical. I know this is not a popular statement because of how skewed the shooting community is about "wonder-nines" and "forty-fives".

    For self-defense, in calibers over .32, you want JHP, otherwise you're accepting about half the wounding potential of the cartridge. (In calibers .32 and smaller, the tiny holes usually clog more often than not anyway.)

    At any rate, all self-defense handguns are relatively puny weapons. Doesn't matter....357 Mag, .45 ACP...so good center-mass shot placement is trump. A poorly placed .45 ACP is as bad off as a poorly placed .32 ACP.
  6. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,383
    delta is dead on. fmj isn't a good stopper. here is a tip use federal hydra-shock 230 gr jhp. it is designed with a ogive that lends it-self very well in feeding. and besides most newer 1911's feed everything you'll ever need to stop a bad guy. and if they dont it doesnt take much to make them feed a "shorter" jhp round.
  7. 40CalJoe

    40CalJoe New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    In the middle
    I carry 185 gr CorBon HP in mine. I switched to hollow points in 45 acp about 5 years ago because the would channel is bigger with hollow points vs fmj.

    Just becasue FMJ has been used, dosen't mean there isn't something that do the job better.
  8. wildgunner

    wildgunner New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    There is nothing wrong with FMJ in a carry gun.
    Believe me you get shot with a 45 ACP the last thing any one will think will have nothing to do with what rd you are hit with.
    I've seen and heard plenty of 22 Cal do the job.
    As far as the all talked about thru and thru shots, the percent of MISSED shots will out number the thru and thru ones.

    Next ask yourself and do a little research and see how many innocents have been killed or hurt by thru and thru shots. (With 45 ACP's)

    Common sense and reality ck is in order. Ammo companies are in the business to make money. I'm not saying JHP doesn't have it's place how ever I have seen a very big percent fail to expand. So it may even out for you thru and thru with FMJ or fail to expand with JHP. Buy twice as many FMJ rds practice more and don't MISS!:D
  9. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,383
    the numbers are in the research has been done experts have spoke. the one shot stops for a fmj in 45acp is 75% vs. 92 to 94% for a jhp. ever hear of the strassburg test, why arm yourself with something less effective . and your point about misses will out number the thru and thru shots is true and even more reason to use jhp ammo. you want a round that missed going thru the wall into your nieghbors house ? or a round that will flatten out and expell all it's energy when striking a solid object.
  10. wildgunner

    wildgunner New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    13
    I agree maybe with 75% 92% you mentioned above, however the idea that the 45ACP is a missile and will continue thru to the next house is very unlikely and unrealistic. And the numbers I was looking for, that no one seems to come up with is the number of innocent people hit and killed or wounded from thru and thru shots due to FMJ 45's or even JHP's in 45 ACP.
  11. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,383
    i've shoot thru more than one room before many times. just think of an innocent being on the other side of that wall. can i state you chapter and verse of the various times it's happened ... nope. but look at the construction of the modern home or apartment. inside walls 1/2 inch sheet rock 3.37 gap then another 1/2 of sheet rock if a shot was fired and the person shooting missed that wall isn't going to stop that round (fmj), unless it hits a 2x4 stud. anything on the other side is in jeapordy . and i've shot a inside wall with the bullet exiting thru the exterior of a framed house. this is of course is based on a what if factor. what if someone was standing outside when that bullet exited the home. you want facts and figures i'm sure they are out there somewhere but i'm talking practical experience. with real life situations. if you choose to use fmj that's your choice butit's not the best choice or the wisest and this has been proven by experts with years of experience and studies....
  12. carver

    carver Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    15,049
    Location:
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of East Texas, just we
    JHP are proven stoppers, and are proven better SD rounds than FMJ. JHP's don't get the penetration that FMJ's do, that's a given. Personally, I carry JHP's in the gun, an extra mag in the mag holder loaded with JHP's, and a mag full of FMJ, as back up ammo. I agree with the fact that most shots fired in a shoot out will be misses, and more cause for concern than thru-n-thrus in any caliber. If you are really concerned about over penetration in the home go to frangible bullets, Glazer Safety Slugs, for an example. I'm not worried about over penetration, but want a round that will get the job done. As stated in the post by delta13soultaker, "all self-defense handguns are relatively puny weapons".
  13. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,383
    According to Dr. Martin Fackler and the International Wound Ballistics Association (IWBA), between 12.5 and 14 inches (318 and 356 mm) of penetration in calibrated tissue simulant is optimal performance for a bullet which is meant to be used defensively, against a human adversary. They also believe that penetration is one of the most important factors when choosing a bullet (and that the number one factor is shot placement). If the bullet penetrates less than their guidelines, it is inadequate, and if it penetrates more, it is still satisfactory though not optimal. The FBI's penetration requirement is very similar at 12 to 18 inches (305 to 457 mm).

    A penetration depth of 12.5 to 14 inches (318 and 356 mm) may seem excessive, but a bullet sheds velocity — and crushes a narrower hole — as it penetrates deeper, while losing velocity, so the bullet might be crushing a very small amount of tissue (simulating an "ice pick" injury) during its last two or three inches of travel, giving only between 9.5 and 12 inches of effective wide-area penetration. Also, skin is elastic and tough enough to cause a bullet to be retained in the body, even if the bullet had a relatively high velocity when it hit the skin. About 250 ft/s (76 m/s) velocity is required for an expanded hollow point bullet to puncture skin 50% of the time.

    The IWBA's and FBI's penetration guidelines are to ensure that the bullet can reach a vital structure from most angles, while retaining enough velocity to generate a large diameter hole through tissue. An extreme example where penetration would be important is if the bullet first had to enter and then exit an outstretched arm before impacting the torso. A bullet with low penetration might embed itself in the arm whereas a higher penetrating bullet would penetrate the arm then enter the thorax where it would have a chance of hitting a vital organ.

    Overpenetration
    Overpenetration is often emphasized by those that prefer shallow-penetrating "rapid energy transfer" bullets. Tests have shown that human skin, on the entry side, can resist penetration as much as 2" (5 cm) of muscle, and skin on the exit side can be the equivalent of up to 4 in (10 cm)[citation needed]. A bullet would need to penetrate greater than approximately 15 inches (38 cm) of tissue simulant to have a chance to completely perforate a 9" (23 cm) thick torso, and would need to penetrate more than 17 inches (43 cm) to actually pose a serious threat to people downrange.

    Even if the bullet does completely penetrate a person, it will have a very reduced velocity and probably will no longer be ballistically stable. Missing the intended target altogether, hence leaving a full velocity bullet to harm whatever is in its path, is a much greater threat.

    A hit on a less dense peripheral body area, such as a limb, does present a more serious risk of overpenetration however. Penetration of walls and other cover is also a consideration for police and urban use.

    According to NYPD SOP-9 (Standard Operating Procedure #9) data, in the year 2000, only 9% of shots fired by officers engaged in gunfights actually hit perpetrators at which they were fired. In the same year, there were a total of 129 "shooting incidents" (including non-gunfights, such as officers firing at aggressive dogs, unarmed or fleeing perpetrators, etc.), 471 total shots fired by officers, 367 shots fired at perpetrators, and 58 total hits on perpetrators by police. So, when non-gunfight shooting data is added, the rate at which police hit what they aim at in real life situations is typically only 15.8%. By either measure, the vast majority of bullets were not stopped by hitting perpetrators, but ultimately encountered some other object. The propensity of these "stray" bullets to pass through windows, walls, car doors, etc. and possibly injure bystanders is a concern, and falls into the overall risk/benefit calculation when considering how much penetration is enough.

    Energy transfer
    The energy transfer hypothesis states that the more energy that is transferred to the target, the greater the destructive potential.

    In ballistics, energy is a function of mass and the square of velocity. Generally speaking, it is the intention of the shooter to deliver an adequate amount of energy to the target via the projectile/s. Projectiles such as rifle bullets, high velocity handgun bullets and shotgun slugs can over-penetrate. Projectiles such as handgun bullets and shot can under-penetrate. Projectiles that reach the target with too low a velocity or bird shot may not penetrate at all. All the above conditions affect energy transfer.

    Over-penetration is detrimental to stopping power in regards to energy. This is because a bullet that passes through the target does not transfer all of its energy to the target. Despite decreased tissue damage due to loss of transferred energy on an over-penetrating shot, the resulting exit wound would cause increased blood loss and therefore a decrease in blood pressure in the victim. This effect on both persons and game animals is likely to be incapacitating over the length of the entire shooting event.

    Under-penetration is also detrimental to stopping power. Projectile/s that do not transfer enough energy to the target may fail to create a fatal wound cavity. Also vital organs may not be reached, thereby limiting the amount of tissue damage, blood loss, and/or loss of blood pressure.

    Non-penetration of projectile/s may only deliver enough energy to create bruising, punctures and or blunt force trauma. All of which may result in internal injury solely through the force of the impact but not stop the target.

    As mentioned above, there are many factors that affect "stopping power." Within this theory energy transfer is related to destructive potential; however, the importance of energy transfer in determining the stopping power of projectiles (when compared to other factors like location of the wound and wound cavity size) is a controversial topic.



    Hydrostatic shock
    Hydrostatic shock is a theory of terminal ballistics that wounding effects are created by a shock wave in the tissues of the target. Evidence of such shock can be seen in ultra-high-speed images of supersonic bullets passing through various objects such as fruit; the fruit explodes due to the shock waves caused by the bullet passing through at high speed. Damage to the brain from hydrostatic shock from a shot to the chest occurs in humans with most rifle cartridges and some higher-velocity handgun cartridges
  14. rocklinskier

    rocklinskier New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    295
    WOW!! Got more than I bargained for on this thread!:D

    Lot's of great info. I didn't mean to start any arguments.
    So here's the bare bones of the original question(s).

    Yes, the military issue ammo has always been FMJ

    Yes, FMJ tend to exhibit over penatration in HD/PD situations thereby lending to less than maximum effeciency of transferring energy to the target.

    Therefore JHP's are signifigantly more effective for 'one shot stop' or self defense application. (not to mention the exiting of surrounding structure)

    Now, the last but unanswered, which is truly better. The lighter/faster such as 185, or slower heavier 230, or is there enough difference to make a difference.

    Doing some research on testing,(FBI test data) it does seem that the data lends itself to the bigger heavier grains, (at least in the .45 Not neccasarilly all calibers.)

    Wound channel volume, with adequate penetration = Big Ouchy

    It seems that on any of the commercially produced reliable rounds seem to exhibit effective traits. So that still leaves the one question:

    Is the high dollar ammo worth it? OR is the $30/50rnd stuff just as good? And then of course, One has to run enough rounds of chosen ammo through the chosen weapon(s) to make sure that it feeds reliably. High end ammo won't just magically work in every 1911 (so I'm told)

    Sounds like it's time to take a $100 dollar bill to the ammo counter again....sigh

    Thanks for all the input. Good stuff.
  15. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,383
    not a argument it's a good discussion. i like the question about 230 gr vs. 185 gr etc. there is a guy named s. camp a well know expert on the browning hi-power that has done tests the old 9mm vs 45 debate and he has some great facts. check it out by googleing him you can apply his findings to heavy vs light. now to your question. federal hydra-shoks 230 gr jhp have the same effect as the 185gr +p jhp corbons with a couple exceptions. the 185 +p travels a bit fast and this helps promote the the bullet from opening up upon impact a bit better. some tests have been made with the newer 165 gr jhp and they work real good. but there are the groups of 45 guys that feel the more lead the better. so for them the 230 grainer works best. the winchester silver tip has been around for ever 185 gr hp non +p data has shown then to be 91% one shot stoppers not alot of difference . it's hard to argue the fact the 357 in a 125 gr jhp is the best known one shot stopper. it's up around 97% but look at the recoil and blast vs. a 45acp with a rating of 92 to 94% the 45 seems like a more sensable choice . look at the long winded post that talks about expansion and wound depth thats the key, along with as always shot placement....
  16. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,383
  17. rocklinskier

    rocklinskier New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    295
    Excellent articles. Thanks!!
  18. Keystone

    Keystone New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    Portageville, MO.
    I thought when 1911s came out that lead round nose ammo were used? I reload .45acp with LRN bullets.
  19. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Messages:
    2,383
    AMMUNITION TO BE TESTED:

    Federal Hydra Shok-230 grain bullet
    Remington Golden Sabre-230 grain bullet
    Hornady-200 grain bullet
    Hornady-230 grain bullet
    Winchester STX-230 grain bullet
    CCI Blazer 200 grain bullet
    Speer Gold Dot-230 grain bullet
    Cor Bon-230 grain bullet
    U.S. National Match-230 grain bullet (control)
    Handload-200 grain lead SWC over 5.6 gr. 231 (control)


    PROCEDURE:

    1. Fire five rounds of each type of ammunition through a Model 1911A1 pistol. Each round will be chronographed and will impact into a series of wet telephone directories. Each bullet will be recovered before next shot is fired and directories shifted so that a fresh spot will be hit each time. Each recovered bullet will be labeled as to order fired and velocity of that shot will be logged. Recovered bullets will be segregated by manufacture and placed in a plastic bag labeled with its type. When firing tests are completed, each bullet will be weighed and measured for expansion.

    2. Using the average velocity of each five shot string, a table will be made up showing average velocity, average expansion, average momentum and an overall factor. From this information a series of calculations will be made. The first calculation will show average momentum of the rounds--velocity X mass divided by 7000 to give the answer in foot pounds. The second calculation will be momentum times the expanded average diameter of the bullet. This will give an idea of the maximum destructive potential of the bullet at the end of its flight and will be referred to as the overall factor. It may be considered as a significant component of stopping power. Depth of penetration is another significant component of stopping power. If the well expanded bullet is not capable of penetrating to a vital area, it will be less effective than a non-expanding bullet that will penetrate to the vitals.

    3. A second set of tests will be conducted following the same procedures using a Colt Officer's ACP to test the effect the of the shorter barrel length. From these two tests, the results of using this ammunition in a Commander length barrel can be extrapolated.

    AMMUNITION TEST RESULTS:

    On 16 Sept 95, actual firing tests were conducted on the above ammunitions. All ammunition was bought commercially except the 200 grain lead SWC load and should represent currently available offerings. It should be remembered, however, that ammunition companies may change bullet construction or loading data without notice to the consumer. With this in mind, I would recommend that you test any ammunition you might be considering prior to purchasing any great amount of it to ensure that it: a) performs in a similar manner to the ammunition I have tested here and b) will feed and eject properly in your pistol.

    All of the various bullet styles cycled worked properly in my pistols and no feeding/ejection problems were noted.

    All of the 230 grain loads maintained their bullet weight with no more than a few grains loss. Most of the recovered bullets weighed 230 grains and none was less than 221 grains. All bullets expanded well and held together without breaking up.

    With the 200 grain bullets the results varied significantly. The 200 grain Hornady Jacketed Hollow Point lost about 5% of its weight and showed relatively little expansion. Velocity of the Hornady 200 grain bullet was less than that of the 230 grain Hornady in both pistols. The 200 grain CCI Blazer (same bullet as the Speer/CCI Lawman ammo) was of significantly higher velocity than the Hornady, but tended to break up. In the majority of cases, the jacket separated from the core. Recovered bullets weighed from 186 grains down to 95 grains. The 95 grain bullet had not separated from the jacket. This round also has a reputation for unreliable feeding, but I have never had this problem in any of the guns I have tested it in.

    The COR-BON 230 grain load is advertised as being capable of 950 fps in a Government model. It showed just slightly higher than this in the Government model I tested--958 fps. The bullet appears to be the Speer Gold Dot bullet. This load is highly recommended (it is a more expensive "premium" load) by one Famous Gun Writer. He is also a COR-BON distributor. It is slightly superior to the Hornady 230 grain load in the Government model and slightly inferior to the Federal Hydra Shok in the Officer's ACP.

    Recommendations

    The 230 grain loads consistently out perform the 200 grain loads. I would prefer any 230 grain load to any 200 grain load. I consider the 200 grain Hornady load to be marginally acceptable. It does not expand as well as the 230 grain loads, nor does it penetrate significantly better. It probably offers about the same stopping power as the 200 grain lead SWC.

    Of the 230 grain loads, the Hornady, Federal, Remington and COR-BON were the top rated loads in the Government model. In the Officer's ACP, the Federal, Remington, Speer and COR-BON were top rated. If I had to pick only one brand of ammunition to use, it would be the 230 grain Federal Hydra-Shok. It is, however, the most expensive ammo available (except for COR-BON). Remington 230 grain Golden Sabre is the least expensive on a per cartridge basis (it is 25 per box while the rest are 20 per box). The Hornady 230 grain is significantly less expensive than the Federal and out performs it in the Government model. If I were to stock two different brands of ammo, I would use the Hornady in my Government models and the Federal in Commanders and Officer's ACPs.

    One last area of concern is penetration. All of the expanding bullets stopped within about 6" of penetration. The 200 grain Lead SWC penetrated over 9" and the 230 grain FMJ penetrated over 11". For straight on shots all of the 230 grain loads should suffice. For shots angled in from the side, especially if they have to penetrate the arm before entering the chest cavity, their penetration may be insufficient. For penetration of automobile doors and windshields, most of the momentum of the bullet may be used up in penetrating the barrier when expanding bullets are used. There is still a need for the 230 grain FMJ where maximum penetration is required. The Hornady 230 grain "Flat Point" may be the best bullet here, but the traditional round nose is also acceptable. While in Alaska, I carried a Government model with factory FMJ as a bear gun when we knew there were wounded bears in the area.

    The lack of penetration and weight retention of the 200 grain CCI bullet may make it preferable for use in a house gun. Many of the currently built homes only have sheet rock interior walls. While I do not think any of the 230 grain bullets would penetrate the chest cavity and exit with sufficient velocity to pass through two layers of sheet rock, they could if they only hit the arm, neck or the shoulder above the collar bone. In this case, the CCI load might prove preferable. I would not, however, use this load myself.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    .45 ACP AMMUNITION TEST DATA

    Government Model:
    Brand Velocity Bullet Momentum Expand Factor
    Federal 834 230 27.40 .730" 20.00
    Remington 869 230 28.55 .715" 20.41
    Hornady 857 200 24.48 .551" 13.49
    Hornady 926 230 30.43 .721" 21.94
    Winchester 828 230 27.21 .683" 18.58
    CCI Blazer 965 200 27.57 .587" 16.18
    Speer 869 230 28.55 .665" 18.99
    COR-BON 958 230 31.48 .718" 22.60
    Nat Match 820 230 26.94 .451" 12.15
    Handload 910 200 26.00 .451" 11.73



    Officer's ACP:
    Brand Velocity Bullet Momentum Expand Factor
    Federal 835 230 27.44 .743" 20.39
    Remington 822 230 27.01 .721" 19.47
    Hornady 796 200 22.74 .568" 12.92
    Hornady 846 230 27.80 .645" 17.93
    Winchester 783 230 25.73 .659" 16.96
    CCI Blazer 915 200 26.14 .650" 16.99
    Speer 810 230 26.61 .683" 18.17
    COR-BON 886 230 29.11 .655" 19.06
    Nat Match 784 230 25.76 .451" 11.62
    Handload 826 200 23.60 .451" 10.64
  20. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    10,197
    Location:
    North Florida
    Wow, I would hate to have your ammo bill. I sell Rem GS +P for 21.00 for 20 and regular Rem GS for 21.00 also. Anyone selling 20 rounds for 38 bucks is takin you to the cleaners. I also sell 50 rd magtech 230 fmj for 20.00 and some blazer for less.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009