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View Full Version : .45 ACP Defense round - 3.78" barrel, can't decide


awpk03s
September 19, 2005, 10:10 PM
Help me pick a defensive round top stoke my USP compact in .45 ACP.

I want something that will the best mix of high shock value and low recoil.

I am thinking:
Federal 165 gr. either Hyrdashok or EFMJ,
Speer Gold Dot 185 gr
Speer Gold Dot 200 gr +P
Speer Gold Dot 230 gr
Hornady 185 gr TAP
Hornady 200 gr TAP
Hornady 230 gr TAP

How does bullet weight affect recoil in a short barrelled gun like mine? I know a lighter bullet will travel faster and have a better velocity than a 230 gr persay, but would would be the best choice to have a quick recovery for follow up shots?

Obviously shooting hot +P rounds slow fire at the range is fine, but that may not be what I want for what could turn into a multiple shot defense situation.

I know there's been a lot of similar threads on stuff like this - but all comments and advise are appreciated.

Thanks

KurtC
September 19, 2005, 10:43 PM
I carry two compact DAO .45's regularly, an S&W 4553 or a Beretta 8045D mini. The only ammo I use is the Federal EFMJ, and it has performed flawlessly during qualification.

Forseti
September 19, 2005, 10:53 PM
What will you be practicing with on a regular basis?

(Carry that)

Unless you can afford to shoot several hundred rounds of the "hot stuff" (whatever you decide) on a regular basis...

Masherbrum
September 19, 2005, 11:17 PM
I have my USP 45 loaded with 13 - 230gr. CorBon.

Masher

Webleymkv
September 20, 2005, 10:17 AM
If you're gonna carry a .45 then use 230 grn flying ashtrays. They have better penetration in soft tissue and are less likely to ricochet than lighter loads. The .45 gets its power from bullet weight. If you want light fast bullets I suggest a 9mm or .40.

azspyder
September 20, 2005, 10:21 AM
I carry Hornady 185 TAP in my Kimber 3". Virtually no flash and very accurate. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel a light bullet in a short barrel helps make up for the muzzle velocity you lose in a short barrel. Am I wrong?

shield20
September 20, 2005, 11:00 AM
The lighter bullets will generaly have less recoil. I set up a chart in Excel - one of the things in it is recoil energy. While it doesn't figure out exact values (can't get powder weight and such), it is a good comparison.

*The EFMJ shoot fine, but are expensive. Would like to see more testing.
*Speer [email protected] are next up in recoil. Not a bad round.
*The 200gr [email protected] is a great round, nice shooting, acurate and reliable, but I think the xtp bullet is a bit suspect these days compared to newer/reworked designs. They actually have more recoil then the slower Speer 230s. Their [email protected] has more recoil yet. I would choose other rounds (see below).
*The Speer [email protected] has more recoil then the standard 230gr. I think the [email protected] are a good choice.
*The new Federal HST are 230gr [email protected] Nice shooting, a little bit more recoil then the others, but not bad, and you'll get some fps back. For $17 for 50, they are a steal.

Right now I am carrying the TAP 200s, but I have 3 more boxes of the HSTs, and 1 of the Speer 230s on the way - figuring the HST will be my choice in my Commander.

fastbolt
September 20, 2005, 12:40 PM
Unless you're a physicist enjoying some theoretical pondering, you could do worse than just picking a quality standard pressure 230gr JHP/BHP from one of the major makers, that provides for optimal functioning in your pistol, and then spending a reasonable portion of your free time properly practicing.

It's just a handgun ... and it's just a .45 ACP handgun, at that ...

FWIW, whether I'm carrying/training with one of my several .45 ACP pistols, which have barrels ranging in length from 3.25". 3.5", 3.75", 4.25", 4.5" or 5", I use the same training & defensive ammunition. For general training it's whatever flavor of 230gr JHP/FMJ loads we have in stock (W-W Personal Protection JHP at the moment) and either RA45T T-Series or Speer 230gr GD's for defensive use. I have RA45TP +P available, and I use it from time to time, but I prefer the operating & functioning characteristics of the standard pressure loads in my various pistols.

You've still got to actually hit your target ... both accurately (where the hits will cause the desired effect) and in sufficient numbers (for the same reason).

It's just a handgun ...

A little wool-gathering can be a relaxing mental diversion, though ...

BTW, one time we used my 3.25" barreled CS45 for some informal gel & denim testing, and a couple of standard & +P T-Series rounds turned in virtually identical performance, with their averaged expansion being measured at 0.01" difference, with the standard pressure round penetrating approx 1" deeper. The velocity difference that day between them was less than 40fps, too.

The T-Series & Golden Sabre bullets require cuts in the jacket material, which if made outside the proper range, and/or with dulling equipment, seem to adversely affect potential expansion if not somehow caught by their QC equipment inspection process. The Gold Dot 'jacketing' doesn't have this potential issue, but it's thinner and lighter jacketing can permit some deformation of the cavity mouth during feeding & chambering.

Bottom line? I'll use 230gr T-Series, GD's or GS's (non-bonded), all standard pressure, without being 'overly concerned', although I do prefer the T-Series for its folded petal design. I've even carried the older, 'standard' 230gr JHP designs, although I realize that their expansion/deformation potential seem to be consistently less than the newer designs.

If one of the major makers would pick up the all-copper design and offer a version of it, then I'd try that, too.

Did I mention that these are only handguns? ;)

Just my thoughts ...

Mark54g
September 20, 2005, 01:10 PM
I believe Cor-Bon has some loads using copper bullets for short barrel .45ACPs. You may want to look at those among others

res1b3uq
September 20, 2005, 08:31 PM
I like that. You might add, though, that they are .45 handguns. I buy the cheapest hp bullets I can find, and I use them for practice and for carry. If they don't fail in practice, they shouldn't fail in trouble. Just practice enough that the bullet goes where you intend. If I carried a smaller gun, I would use PowrBall.(Which I presently have in my .380)

Gary L. Griffiths
September 20, 2005, 11:37 PM
I believe Cor-Bon has some loads using copper bullets for short barrel .45ACPs. You may want to look at those among others
Taurus also makes a 185-gr pure copper bullet by Barnes. Shoot good in my PT-145, and the recoil is noticably lighter than with my carry loads -- Federal 230-gr Hydra-Shoks. I don't believe the additional recoil is significant (YMMV) and, as has previously been observed, the heavier .45 bullets penetrate best, even when fired from shorter barrels.

Wildcard
September 21, 2005, 12:14 AM
Win 185 silvertip or 200+p speer.

Wildalaska
September 21, 2005, 12:39 AM
I carry standard hard ball in my custom colt defender...

Dont think youll get a lot of expanion out of that mini barrel

WildballboyAlaska

Webleymkv
September 21, 2005, 11:30 AM
Dont think youll get a lot of expanion out of that mini barrel

Exactly, that's why I'd go with the heavier bullets: if it don't expand at least you've still got weight on your side.

It's just a handgun ... and it's just a .45 ACP handgun, at that ...

That's a good point. A handgun is just a means to fight our way to a rifle.

CobrayCommando
September 21, 2005, 11:54 AM
WTH?! Some people would rather die than think, I can't remember who said that but its so true...

Your logic concerning bullets is garbage, do some research, buy 700 premium hollowpoints, break in your gun with them and practice with equivalent weight FMJ ammunition....

What if your supercheap hollowpoints expand too quickly and fail to reach the vitals? Honestly if your going to be that cheap just get FMJ.

A handgun will most likely be the only gun you can get to, so start thinking of it as a primary weapon when your not home near a long gun, think of ending the fight not picking up another gun...

Rifles don't grow on trees, and you can't carry them in your pocket!

shield20
September 21, 2005, 12:06 PM
+1 CC

Supposedly one will loose around 70-80fps out of a 3" .45 - no reason not to shoot a higher velocity round and get the fps back up where expansion should be...more likely. A 200+P @1050 would do just fine, no? Or say a Double Tap 230 @1010?

And unfortunately, in most cases where I expect to have to use my handgun - it will always be ALL I have - no rifle waiting somewhere near by - I want it to be as lethal as possible. Ball isn't the best choice.

Wildalaska
September 21, 2005, 01:12 PM
Ball isn't the best choice.

Out of mini 45s it is :)

1. Its gonna feed, no matter what, unlike hps of any type
2. Hollow points are the same as ball out of a short barrel, and may even be less effective

With respect to point 1, my mini 45 Defender feeds anyhting you can toss at it (unless its filthy and dry and limped)...mine is tuned though

WildsometimesballisthebestAlaska

buzz_knox
September 21, 2005, 02:23 PM
If you're gonna carry a .45 then use 230 grn flying ashtrays.

The flying ashtray was a 200 gr CCI load. I don't believe it's made anymore. The Speer 230s are Gold Dots.

Hollow points are the same as ball out of a short barrel, and may even be less effective

If a hollowpoint reaches its expansion velocity threshold, then the length of the originating barrel is irrelevant. Most modern hollowpoints will expand even when fired from a short barrel, as the velocity window for expansion is fairly wide. Ranger, EFMJ, and Gold Dot all have expansion windows wide enough for use in standard length barrels or compact ones.

And even if there is a lower likelihood of the round expanding, I'd rather take the 40% chance (purely random number) of the round expanding than the 100% guaranteed non-expansion of ball.

If the weapon feeds hollowpoints, there's really no excuse to use ball other than expense.

Out of mini 45s it is

1. Its gonna feed, no matter what, unlike hps of any type
2. Hollow points are the same as ball out of a short barrel, and may even be less effective

With respect to point 1, my mini 45 Defender feeds anyhting you can toss at it (unless its filthy and dry and limped)...mine is tuned though

Plenty of caveats for "it's gonna feed, no matter what." It'll feed as long as it's lubricated, clean, shot propely, and tuned. Seems like you could get it feeding at least one or two hollowpoints equally well with all that work.

CobrayCommando
September 21, 2005, 04:42 PM
My recomendation for those that reload (or can hire someone to reload), is to go to firearms tactical and find a great cartridge, then buy like 1000 of the bullets themselves separately, then handload until they reach the same velocity out of your shorter barrel, then reliability test them.

Wildalaska
September 21, 2005, 04:57 PM
Plenty of caveats for "it's gonna feed, no matter what." It'll feed as long as it's lubricated, clean, shot propely, and tuned. Seems like you could get it feeding at least one or two hollowpoints equally well with all that work.

Oh its fed every hp I have thrown out of it...I just dont feel the chance of expansion vis a vis the chance of a misfeed is worth the effort...

PS show me I subcompact 45 that will run reliably when its not shot properly :)

michael t
September 21, 2005, 04:58 PM
Corbon 160gr DPX compact 45 load. NOT +P 1050fps and 390 ftlbs from a 3" barrel. I have these in my P-10 feed perfect and almost no recoil.
Stephen A Camp tested in a Defender. Was getting in 12" and .70's on expansion.. Remember this is Barmes copper round designed to get penertration along with expansion.Your barrel should be a little faster. You can also get a 185 DPX in +P if you want

I tested 230 Win. ball in 3" It wouldn't even go thru a 1/4 in. peice of plastic. Read on another test in a 3" 230 was in low 700fps.

maximuss
September 21, 2005, 09:34 PM
Winchester Ranger SXT 230 gr.
If you cannot get them, then Corbon 165gr +P

maximuss
September 21, 2005, 09:42 PM
I want something that will the best mix of high shock value and low recoil.

I use both Fullsize and compact. Many of us tend to have fear of recoil. I was same way in the beginning. But if you shoot and practice often enough, you can break your self into the .45 recoil. Then you don't need to limit yourself of choosing ammo. :)

Wildalaska
September 21, 2005, 09:55 PM
It wouldn't even go thru a 1/4 in. peice of plastic.

Bulletproof plexiglass? :)

Ive shot 230 grain ball out of a 3 inch thru a car door

WildhyperboleruinspostsAlaska

Dave R
September 21, 2005, 11:32 PM
You do lose significant velocity in those short barrels. I shoot a PT-145 and chronoed 3 different commercial 230 gr. loads and they were all around 700fps. I can see where that would affect expansion on JHPs. So I dropped down to a lighter bullet and use Speer's 185gr. Gold Dot, handloaded to 900fps. That should be a good velocity for expansion with that bullet.

I share WA's concern about reliability, and I've only shot about 70 of 'em so far, but the PT-145 hasn't misfed on anything yet in about 400 rounds, so that gives me a little confidence. I'll finish this box of Gold Dots, start another one, and see if I can get it misfeed.

Gary L. Griffiths
September 22, 2005, 12:53 AM
Dont think youll get a lot of expanion out of that mini barrel
I've seen this expressed a number of times as rationale for carrying hardball. IMHO, this argument just doesn't hold water. If, as many contend, a 230-gr HP won't expand from a short-barreled gun, it's still a 230-gr bullet, going the same speed as the 230-gr FMJ. At worst it will be just as effective as the FMJ bullet, if not a little more so because of it's blunter tip. If it does expand, it'll cause more damage and stop the fight quicker.

To put it another way, the 230-gr JHP may expand, but even if it doesn't, it's at least as good as the 230-gr FMJ! The only situation I would carry hardball in was if I was afraid that a JHP round would expand too quickly and not penetrate deeply enough to be effective.

The point about FMJ feeding more reliably than JHP is valid, in some guns. If yours feeds JHPs reliably, there is no reason I can see not to carry them.

Just my $.02 worth.

CobrayCommando
September 22, 2005, 09:50 AM
Actually no, because it might expand a bit, then not have enough velocity to penetrate far enough. So if you can't find a way to get adequate penetration and expansion with HPs out of a shorter barrel (although there are many options and not a lot of excuses why you shouldn't) then randomly picking a hollowpoint isn't the greatest idea.

litework
September 22, 2005, 10:06 AM
You do lose significant velocity in those short barrels.

The USP Compact has a polygonal bore which is supposed to increase velocity over a similarly sized traditional barrel. I don't own one and don't know actual velocities achieved through the HK Compact. This information would be paramount to me making a decision on bullet weight.

hkg3
September 22, 2005, 10:04 PM
I would say Federal, and for god sake, don’t load your own. If you ever need to actually fire your weapon, they’ll use it against you in court. Generally best to use what the police use for legal reasons as well.

Wildalaska
September 22, 2005, 11:21 PM
If you ever need to actually fire your weapon, they’ll use it against you in court

I think thats an urban myth

Wilditsa2edgedswordbesidesAlaska