Opinion, bullet weight, .45 ACP

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Pistolenschutze, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. OK, this question should perhaps go in Ammo & Reloading, but I decided to put it here since the majority of handguns chambered for the .45 ACP are 1911 pattern pistols . . .

    As everyone knows, Saint John M. Browning originally designed the 5-inch barrel, 1911 pistol to be fired with a 230 grain bullet. That is, of course, the most common bullet weight seen and used today in these pistols, and rightfully so. However, what is your opinion of using lighter weight hollow-point bullets--say in the 165 to 200 grain range--if the barrel of the weapon is less, perhaps considerably less, than 5 inches? It is obvious that greater bullet velocity is attained with lighter slugs out of a shorter barrel, and thus it would appear the bullet would be more likely to expand reliably. For example, I own a Taurus Mod 455 (revolver, uses moon clips) with only a two inch barrel. I normally carry 185 grain Speer Gold Dots in this weapon instead of the 230 grain Federal Hydra Shoks I use in my 1911 pattern Colts. What's your view? Would I be better off to stick with the 230 grainers even with the shorter barrel? I also have a Taurus Millennium Pro 745 with a three inch barrel, and a Glock 30 with a 3.5 inch barrel, and I used the 185 grainers in both of those as well. I would be very interested in your input.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2007
  2. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    In every .45 I carry for self-defense, I carry 200 Grain Hornady TAP I have got about 150 rounds of the 230grain TAP but it kicks harder and is not as hard hitting as the 200 grain, If you have ever shot in a house at night, You'll see why I am carrying TAP's
  3. That ammo is made by Hornady, isn't it Southern? I read about them but never shot any. And I agree, the 230 grainers in a light pistol like my 745 do kick a lot harder.
  4. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Define the desired results.
    Lee Jurras, many years ago, opened shop as "Super Vel", and touted the 'High velocity, low mass" route, which worked quite well on thin skinned, bipedal, targets; against ferral hogs, in Union City, Tn, it came up a bit short, as I recall. It took a .45-70 Marlin to get him out of the tree!
    My personal pick would be the "Gold Dot', 230 gr loads, from Remington, if factory stuff is the 'soup de jour', simply out of consistancy, and agreement with the fixed sights on many of my pistols; hand loaded, a 200 gr SWC, over 4 Gr of Bull, or WW231.
    The Rem ammo actually does quite well, and expands to circa .625 diameter, in tissue, while the cast bullet load, simply penetrates, and dumps.
    Both shoot to essentialy the same point of aim, in my guns.
    Don't know what you are going to do, with the pistol, in the query, so am hard pressed to offer loads or ammo out of the 'general purpose' window.
    If you do your part, either of the above suggestions will immediately stop all hostility!
  5. Mostly, Stash, I'm simply looking for the best possible .45 ACP bullet performance for self-defense against a human target out of a short-barreled weapon. :cool:
  6. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    IMHO, in my several Detonics CM's, and the everyday pistol, a Colt Oficer's Model, Enhanced, the 180(?) 185 gr Gold Dot, from Remington, is the One!
    Expansion is more than adequate, penetration adequate, shoots essentially to point of aim with Colt fixed sights.
    P.S. Got my Swenson in, today:soon as I can figure out how to move the pics, you and the list will see it! Cost me too much, of course, but F'n goegeous!!!
    Relative to both subjects, this is a 'soft ball' gun, 16# spring, etc, which will limit the diet to 200 gr hard cast bullets, over 4.0 of Bull, or Federal 185 Gr Match ammo, with no apologies to targeted individuals, for the ammo!
  7. 45Smashemflat

    45Smashemflat New Member

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    I use 230gr Hydras in all of my carry 45's. A 5" guvmint model, a 3" Kimber Ultra, and a 2" S&W similar to your Taurus, but much lighter. My theory is mass and energy dump, over velocity. If the 230's don't expand, they are still plenty big and they leave purt near all of their energy in the target. Plus, it eases my ammo inventory issue....
  8. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    There's that old rule of thumb...I guess still applies...."longer the barrel; heavier the bullet...shorter the barrel; lighter the bullet"...but then modern premium ammo is kinda more forgiving...

    Anyway.... 230gr .45 from 5" barrel is the standard by which all combat sidearm loads are measured by. Trying to perfect perfection is kinda like ice skating up hill.
  9. 358 winchester

    358 winchester *TFF Admin Staff*

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    I like the 185 Remington golden sabers in the auto and the hydro shok in my 45 acp revolver
    But folks say I am not normal any way :D
  10. deadmarsh

    deadmarsh New Member

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    I sort of like this breakdown as a norm:

    Government -- 200-230gr...
    Commander -- 185-200gr...
    Officers -- 160-185gr...

    To each his own, but this has worked for me over the years for defensive rounds. As for range work, whatever you like, but my choice is a 200gr SWC behind Titegroup or Unique in all barrel lengths...


    Dead
  11. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Has anyone tried the new 115 grain 45acp ammo I bet that hollowpoint is flying out of the barrel
  12. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member

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    I have shot the 155 gr .45acp round but never a 115 gr. The 155 gr is not my favorite. :)
  13. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

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    For simplicity of inventory and good performance overall for my needs, I use the 230 gr. Hydras in all of my full sized 1911's.

    I don't have any juvenile 1911's, all of mine are fully grown.
  14. pistolchamp

    pistolchamp New Member

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    165 grain Cor-Bon DPX

    That's the one for me. Super expansion and very good penetration, just ask the feral hogs around here. I've not shot any men, but, I'd bet the hogs are a good indication of performance.

    I carry a Gov't model when I can cover it up and an AMT 45 back-up when its warn and I can't wear enough clothes... the Cor-Bon ammo works great in both.

    I used to carry 230 Hydroshocks and they were pretty hard on the pigs too.

    The Aguila 115-117-120 grain (depending on the current version) Zamac 5 (zinc alloy) hollowpoints were very interesting, close to 1,400 fps and quite loud, but, I felt they lacked overall performance and the recoil was pretty bad. I was their US distributor when this ammo was developed (again and again) and just never quite cuddled up to it.
  15. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

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    Re: 165 grain Cor-Bon DPX

    I have a Briley 400 CorBon barrel for my SA 1911 and I really like the round. It is shouldered down from 45 brass to 40 cal.

    It is fast & accurate but the JHP rds are much lighter. I just ordered a mess from Dakota-Corbon at 160 gr. bullets.

    Can't wait for it to get here. Something different to have around.
  16. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    I have thought about one of them 400 Corbon barrels Berto, After seeing what you just posted I think I might have to order it
  17. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Years ago there was a .38-45 round going round the pistol circuit, used for a low recoil, "Centerfire Pistol", that could be, in some cases, a conversion, on the spot, from the shooter's "Military Pistol".
    It was not the accuracy that caused it to fall from favor, but the S&W 52.
    I probably have a couple of barrels, around here somewhere, and a box full of 14# springs, for the combination.
    The bottle necked case was a very similar one to the .400 Cor Bon, for a different purpose.
    I've run the numbers on the Cor Bon round, and with a buffer, and a 22-24# recoil spring, and 180 grainers, it could do anything the 10mm is capable of, without breaking frames, in a 5" pistol!
    A 'longslide' (6" Barrel ) would make it far superior! At half the chamber pressure, allowing 100% reloadable brass, in a standard (unsupported, vs the Prar Ordinance style, barrel), it is a virtual .41 Mag!
    To the original question, St JMB built the 1911 around the 230 Gr Ball round, FOR THE MILITARY, who cannot, by the then new, IIRC, use 'expanding bullets', because they are 'inhumane', (as if war is not), and did not exist, then, for 800-1000 fps second cartridges, anyhow!
    Today, I can sit down, call up a CAD program, and cycle his design thru every millisecond of it's operation, with any bullet shape, ramp shape, velocity, recoil spring... ad nauseum, at a cost of only a bit of electricity, withour firing a shot, or cutting a single chip!
    Saint John did his 'R&D' with a lead pencil, and some crude machine tools, and a file, a hundred years ago, and produced an absolutely 'timeless' design, one still copied, (and modified, for specific purpose) today.
    The bullets, and loads, for this design are probably more numerous, if one considers it is now built, or has been, for .22LR, 7.62 Luger, 9mm Luger, .38 Colt, .38 Colt Super, some (can't just now remember the name) rebated case head .401 cal, that runs in a 9mm slide, based on the .40 S&W, 10 mm, .45 acp, and the .45 Super! Oh ****! and the .451 Detonics mag!
    Not to mention, the 'one ofs' that were the rage in the '60's and 70's, in .38 S&W Spl Wadcutter!
    For personal defense, I prefer the .45 ACP above all others; I shoot bullets, from 180-200 Grains, in all my pistols, and choose, for a particular gun, totally based on reliability. If a certain load has reliability problems, with an especially accurate load (when it functions reliably) I may modify the pistol, to suit the load: change the recoil spring, ramp or throat (Or both), the barrel, try different mags, etc, but when it comes to the cutting, I must have a 100% reliable pistol; at defensive ranges, accuracy, in target terms, is irrelevant! If I can put 21 rds into six inches, at seven yards, in 15 seconds, this is a 'keeper' for me!
    My favorites, of course are those that do the above, and can relliably bounce a beercan, at 50 yds; does the load really matter?
    If I could hit you in the 'braincase', some larger than a beer can, in MOST cases, at 50 yds, with a 800 fps glass marble, you automatically become a statistic, IMHO.
    Use the ammo that functions reliably; terminal ballistics are a 'sorta discussion', like "was he hit by a truck, or a bus?"
    With a reliable pistol, and ammo for it, the 'threat goes away'.
    But, Berto, I am a HUGE fan of the .400 Cor Bon, and may well build a 'compact', soon!
  18. berto64

    berto64 Active Member

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    I love mine. it's just so danged hard to find ammo in the stores around here. That's why I had to order from Corbon and that is expensive. 60 rds @ $67.27+$10.00 S&H.

    I would like to be able to buy it in bulk but they don't offer that for private buyers. I'll give'm a call next week to see if they'll let me.
  19. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Berto, it can be 'scratch loaded', or reloaded, like any other caliber; if working from .45 ACP Brass, you will need a forming die, or will lose a few cases, using a FL sizer, to form the cases. At your present cost for ammo, over $1.10/ rd, the cost of some solid reloading gear would amortise, quickly, if used just a bit, on this caliber, alone!
    Being a natural cheapskate, I load for everything I shoot, and the .375 H&H shoots for a third the cost of the ammo you're runnng, when built at home.
    Bro, do yourself a huge favor, buy a couple of reloading manuals, and read them; then, hit e-bay, or a gunshow, and buy some gear!
    My ammo is as reliable as any comercial ammo, just, costs MUCH less, so I can afford to shoot much more!
  20. troutwest66

    troutwest66 New Member

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    I'll give my vote for 230 grain HPs. I could be persuaded to try 200 grains in the Hornady TAP. Right now my new Taurus PT-1911 is stoked with 230 gr Remington Golden Sabers. I've always been a fan of the bigger bullet. No need for +P with the 230s.
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