.45 ammo- FMJ vs JHP

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

  1. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

    Jun 24, 2008
  2. rocklinskier

    rocklinskier New Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    Excellent articles. Thanks!!

  3. Keystone

    Keystone New Member

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

    oscarmayer New Member

    Jun 24, 2008

    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)


    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.


    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.


    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.



    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
  5. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    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
  6. rocklinskier

    rocklinskier New Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    Yup, ammo prices around here pretty much straight up suck!

    Yesterday, I found some Rem GS 230 JHP at a big box sporting goods for $30! They have never had them in there before. They only had 5 boxes. I bought one box. Everywhere else, they have been $37 - $40. No joke. Would have bought more, but things are tight right now. Been outta work and cash is king.

    The Mag techs, when you can find them (difficult), are $35/ 20 for the 185g

    I've looked on line, but don't see where they are any cheaper, especially after shipping.

    Best price on FMJ here: WallyWorld, Win WB, $35/100, but dang near impossible to find. Gotta just about be standing there when the truck rolls in, and it seems to only roll in about once a month.

    Next best. Local GS, Blazer AL case, $19/50 Blazer Lawman(brass) $21/50

    That's why I have a reload kit on my Christmas list!!
  7. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    Masood Ayoob addresses this issue and has some surprising statistics that back up using a JHP, especially in a .45. In essence, your are looking for a bullet that remains in the body and spent its energy there. FMJ, will many time penetrate and unless hitting bone or major organ, pass through and damage something or somebody else.

    I'm JHP for defense and FMJ or lead SWC for the range.
  8. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

    Dec 26, 2003
    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    Ayoob wrote years ago about the number of cops hit by "suspect shot-through bullets" with .357 Mag, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP every year.

    The number was pretty high.

    The reason cops are more susceptible is that cops are often converging on a suspect simultaneously if it goes from a standoff with a belligerent suspect with no weapon to shooting when the suspect introduces a concealed weapon. (Bystanders tend to be going away, not toward, the trouble, thus relatively less likely to be hit by shoot through.)

    Shoot-through does happen regardless of caliber. Bystanders do get hit. If it can happen it will. An account I read about....a photo studio owner was robbed as he opened his store one morning. After getting the money, the robber shot the owner in the temple of the head and left him to die. The owner recovered from the impact after a few moments, struggled to his feet, retrieved a .40 S&W from his briefcase, and went outside. The robber was in the process of carjacking a car. He had shoved the female driver into the passenger seat when the first .40 S&W bullets hit him. One bullet passed through his torso and hit the female. The female sued the owner very soon after. The owner settled the lawsuit during trail with a settlement.

    Handguns stop threats by sufficiently penetrating blood-rich organs and crushing a hole that cause blood lose. The faster the blood loss, the faster the drop in blood pressure. An expanded JHP crushes a bigger hole, thus enables more blood loss.

    A handgun bullet wounding mechanism has more in common with a spearhead or arrowhead than it does with a rifle bullet.

    Handgun kinetic energy does not wound. A 16 oz weight (1 pound) dropped from 11.4 feet (27.1 fps) has the same kinetic energy as a .45 ACP. A ten pound weight equals dropped from 1.4 inches (2.71 fps) the impact of a .45 ACP.

    Handgun stretch cavity in gel is a wounding false indicator. Living tissue bounces back unharmed.

    We need over 1,000 ft-lbs of energy before wounding from stretch begins and 2,000 ft-lbs before it is significant enough to be relevant. Unless looking at rifle ft-lbs, it is not relevant. Ammo manufacturers simply sell ft-lbs the way car manufacturers advertise horsepower...it is deceiving and works to get buyers, but neither one alone is really relevant to overall performance (Where you max torque in the rpm power band determines acceleration speed).

    Analyzing shooting statistics is nice, but amounts to mental masturbation.

    One shot stop statistics are inherently flawed in that scientific statistical analysis is dependent on the null hypothesis in order to either reject or not reject a set of data. Since compiling street data has no control variable, it can never be propped up against significance testing.

    Nobody every took 100 death row convicts and shot them with something to compare to later.

    We also disregard any shooting that used more than one wound therefore disregards all types of further relevant data.

    Subjects may vary from 140 pound black starved crackhead awake fore 3 days in December in Chicago to 300 pound white calculated psycho stalker in July in Florida to 190 pound drunk enraged Hispanic in California, and on and on...all shot by 9mm Silvertip etc...without accounting for more of what type of personality, mental state, physical state/fitness, chemicals, etc are factors in most or none of the shootings.

    Lets say most of the one shot .40 S&W STX shootings happen to be on 140 pound crackheads...well odds are that STX round will reflect many stops. But if on the other hand most of the data is on very large or very fit or on people taking methamphetamines, opiates, or barbiturates instead of crack, the STX will reflect poorly.

    Statistics available are very unscientific, therefore they are about as reliable as the statistics casinos put next to the roulette tables. Just because earlier tonight Red-Odd had a higher percentage of hits it has ZERO bearing on what will happen next. Why? There is no control variable established. There's nothing to test the significance with. We can only look at what has happened, not probability. No null hypothesis means nothing from a 2x2 table table and a Chi-square test will be valid...no matter how much the degree of freedom or significance level is tweeked.

    One shot stop analysis is too inconsistent to reliably promote any ammunition or caliber over another.

    The only variable that is consistent in every stop is shot placement.

    Everything else is physics. A bullet that expands while penetrating sufficiently destroys more tissue which causes faster bleeding which incapacitates quicker.

    Mass is needed for penetration. The heavier bullet for a given barrel is always preferred.

    Going to a shorter barrel means a lighter bullet if you want expansion, but penetration will suffer. It's a compromise. No free lunch.

    JHP...Most 9mm SD ammo can reliably expand to about .70 and still sufficiently penetrate. Most .45 ACP will expand from .70 to .90 and still penetrate enough. Either way this is perfectly adequate. Why accept a .355 or .45 wound when you can get a .70 or .90 wound? JHP will wound twice as much as a FMJ. (Caveat being some small calibers are so lightweight they cannot surrender any penetration at all, so a JHP would be a reduction in wounding ability.)

    So we are back again...to the only constant in this formula: Shot placement.

    Trying to find the perfect handgun ammunition is an attempt to solve a tactical problem with technology. We are screwed from the get-go here because a handgun is a weak weapon...fighting with one is like batting a world series game with a yardstick...like digging a ditch with a garden spade. All the more reason to use the type of ammo that wounds the most, but that is only the very beginning.

    Putting good gas in a car doesn't win the race.

    The answer to tactical problems is a tactical answer. My advice is to apply more effort towards learning to perform the extraordinarily difficult task of exact shot placement when your heart rate is 190 BPM, auditory and vision exclusion is in effect, fine/complex motor movement has been lost, and critical thinking/cognitive ability has been replaced by reflexive executive responses.

    Bullets do not win fights. Violently executed drills....tactics, techniques, and procedures...wins fights, regardless of what the weapons are or what they're loaded with.
  9. NonPCnraRN

    NonPCnraRN New Member

    Dec 24, 2009
    For carry I bought Buffalo Bore +P 230 gr Truncated Cone FMJ at 950 fps. It penetrates like ball (good). But because of a flat meplat it also creates a large wound channel that ball ammo cannot. If Bubba weighs 250 lbs and is wearing winter clothing I feel more confident that the bullet will reach vital organs. A shot into the sternum and lodged or passing through the spine is what I want. In a SD situation it is always a crapshoot. A bad guy may absorb 7 rounds of 45 ACP and still be coming. The same guy may be hit with a 32 that clips a major artery and the guy bleeds out quickly. I go with the biggest bullet that will penetrate the deepest and hope for the best. Plus if a bad guy is using a sheetrock wall for cover I will put rounds through the wall into him, provided a 2x4 stud doesn't get in the way. Of 7 rounds, some will make contact. If the gun is for CCW you may have to penetrate auto glass or sheet metal. You may not neutralize him, but you will get his attention and he will probably decide he should go find another victim.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  10. 45nut

    45nut Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    What Delta said. Tactics and shot placement are more important than the ammo used.

    FWIW, my Officer's ACP is loaded with Black Talons :eek:, 1 more mag filled with same and two with FMJ.

    I also bought a box of Federal HST's. On the turkey I shot this season, it penetrated the breast and broke the thigh bone, but I had to finish the turkey off with my knife by removing its head. :D