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Old July 24, 2011, 01:10 PM   #4
Webleymkv
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Join Date: July 20, 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 9,894
While I think 185gr .45 ACP loadings are generally OK, I much prefer a 200gr or better yet a 230gr loading. The <200gr .45 ACP loadings are mainly a product of early JHP ammo. Many first and second generation JHP bullets simply could not reliably expand at velocities much under 1000fps, so the ammo makers were forced to use lighter bullets in order to reach a velocity that would ensure reliable expansion. The drawback is that a light-for-caliber bullet generally penetrates less than a comparable loading with a heavier slug. Modern JHP's, however, do not suffer so much from unreliable expansion at comparatively low velocities (the threshold for reliable expansion today seems to be about 800fps) and as such, a 200-230gr .45 ACP loading will offer both excellent expansion and better penetration.

Another consideration is that, because 230gr is the standard weight in .45 ACP, most handguns have their sights regulated for bullets of that weight. Generally, 200gr bullets won't have a significantly lower POI than 200gr bullets at typical handgun range (25 yards or less) but bullets much lighter than that often shoot quite low. This isn't as huge an issue if your gun has adjustable sights, but most combat/self-defense oriented .45's have fixed sights. Also, most of the inexpensive "range ammo" in this caliber uses 230gr FMJ bullets. By choosing a 230gr JHP, you are more likely to be able to find both an economical practice load and a carry load that shoot to the same POI without requiring adjustment of your sights.
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