View Full Version : .45 acp bullet weights

September 8, 2005, 04:45 AM
Which bullet weight would you go with for self defence, the 200 grain or the 230 grain bullets? Is the penatration better with the 230grain bullets? Any pros or cons to each?

September 8, 2005, 09:50 AM
I would go with the 230gr - yes, penetration is better.

September 8, 2005, 09:59 AM
What is your barrel length? My experience has been that short barrels, say 3" respond better with light bullets while a 5" will do better with 230 gr. It's a matter of muzzle velocity...IMHO

September 8, 2005, 10:05 AM
Originally there were two bullets for the 45acp, 200 civilian and 230 military.If you are looking just for penetration the 230 would be better, in fact Winchester used to make a metal piercing load with the 230 at 100 fps faster. But if you are using JHPs most are designed to meet the FBI criteria for expansion and penetration so weight is not such a big consideration.If you want to penetrate cars then 230fmj ia the thing to use.

September 8, 2005, 10:29 AM
I am still interested in accuracy. I have one .45 that is most accurate with 185 gr. bullets. That is what I buy. The other gun is for concealed carry, and it shoots the ammo well. I just cannot accept the fact that the small amount of weight we are talking about in a .45 is going to have that much more effect.

Dave R
September 8, 2005, 10:34 AM
I use a short-barreled .45--a Taurus PT-145. When I chrono-ed the 230gr. loads, I was only getting 700-750fps. I thought that was a little low, so I dropped back to a 185gr. Gold Dot. I get about 900fps with that.

September 8, 2005, 11:28 AM
If you look at this from the terminal ballistics standpoint, the 185 gr bullet will deliver the most energy to the target. I would recommend something like the Hornady XTP 185 gr JHP. This would expand and not likely pass through the target. Thus all the energy is expended on the target.

September 8, 2005, 12:24 PM
Depends on the weight and barrel - If carrying a heavier/fullsize piece I would go with 230 for the extra penetration. In my Colt ltwt. XSE I use Hornady 200gr TAPs. It offers a little more velocity, and a bit gentler shooting. very accurate and reliable.

September 8, 2005, 04:39 PM
200gr. generally offers sufficient penetration in most HP designs. It actually is a pretty good load. It penetrates and expands well just like the 230gr. I would go with the 230gr, for the penetration and the fact that it is a common .45 weight. 200gr. can be harder to find at different stores.

September 8, 2005, 10:05 PM
I am a Ranger SXT 230gr guy however the store I normally get ran out of stock for forever. :mad:
So I got CorBon 165, 185, 230 they are all +P loads and I will go shooting tomorrow and tell you all about it when I get back on Sunday night or Monday. :D

September 9, 2005, 02:05 AM
IMHO, azspyder nailed the real issue. I own six .45 ACPs: three full size 1911A1 types, an H&K USP Tactical, a Sig P220, and a Glock 36. For the five full-size autoloaders, I use standard pressure 230 grain loads, but in the G36 -- with a shorter barrel and to retain velocity/expansion -- I use 200 grain +Ps.

September 10, 2005, 10:31 AM
i have a reloading manual that says 185. gr can go up to 1171 fps safely :eek: .that gives 563 ft/lbs.
personally i wouldnt go beyond 1100 fps for 497 ft/lbs.
thats a lot of energy, and the lighter weight will mean reasonable penetration, dumping lots of it into the target, if it doenst exit.
that would be my carry load if i knew my 1911 could handle it properly, i dont know how far into +p territory thats is.

September 10, 2005, 12:15 PM
I'd take the 230grn loads: big, heavy, slow, and stable. If I want light, fast bullets I'll get a .40 or a 9mm.

September 10, 2005, 12:34 PM
Double Tap 230gr, with FMJ's or Gold Dots, moves out at 1010fps, for 521ft/lbs.
This cartridge is rated as just shy of +P territory.

September 10, 2005, 12:41 PM
Are those ok to use in aluminium framed handguns like SIGs?

September 10, 2005, 12:50 PM
Yes, I imagine even the frail Sig frames could handle this non- +P cartridge. ;)

michael t
September 10, 2005, 01:04 PM
In a short barrel 45 you need a lighter bullet. I have posted about shooting some barn wood with my 3" and 230 ball.Bullets were sticking out of wood. I pull them out with my fingers. Out of 5" right on thru. I have switched to the new CorBon 160 gr DPX non +P for compacts. Depenable and in jell has 12" and .75" expansion. It also blows thru my barn wood like a 5". I know it not a proper test but at least I have a way to compair the 2 rounds in same material. Also in compact almost no recoil compaired to 230.

September 11, 2005, 10:39 PM
I have shot CorBon +P loads; 165gr, 185gr, and 230gr.
The recoil differs barely (at least to me).
I felt abit stronger snap (like the tip of the gun raise) toward heavier bullets but that is about it. For the difference, my choice is 230gr. :)

September 12, 2005, 01:19 AM
230 grain, penetration is always better