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Old October 6, 2010, 07:36 AM   #1
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.45 ACP ammo selection - 25 and 50 yard target shooting

This question is a bit speculative, and lacking for concrete data, but I thought I might get some insight from some experienced target shooters.

I'm planning to use both my Ruger P345 pistol (4.2" barrel) and my 4" Model 22-4 revolver for 25 and 50 yard NRA format pistol match shooting (slow, timed and rapid fire), and have ammo choices of my heavy (230 gr. RN) and light (185 grain SWC) reloads. I don't have specific velocity data for these loads (wish I did) but believe they are both low to mid-power target loads. Each is sufficient to cycle the action on my Ruger P345.

If my objective is to have as close to the same aiming point on the targets as possible (at both 25 and 50 yards), would I use the same ammo for both, or use lighter bullets for one and heavier for the other? I know the lighter bullet is going to shoot lower due to less recoil, all other things being equal, but given the likelihood that the heavier bullet will be going a bit slower (say 700 fps) vs 800 fps for the lighter bullet, it is going to fall a bit more over a distance of 50 yards. Mathematically, the difference is about 2" for bullets traveling at 700 fps vs. 800 fps. At 25 yards, the difference is only about half an inch.

Given this information, which ammo would you choose for this? Would it be a different choice for the semi-auto vs. the revolver?
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Old October 6, 2010, 07:48 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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I understand your goal is to select ammo to put you on target at both ranges with fixed sighted guns. But I don't know the answer.

Can you not take both guns and a box of each ammo to the range and SHOOT THE GUNS to find out what they actually do? I would.
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Old October 6, 2010, 07:57 AM   #3
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Yes, of course, that's what I will ultimately do, but we kick a lot of things around here that can best be answered at the range.
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Old October 6, 2010, 08:13 AM   #4
Don P
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Lighter bullet more powder, heavier bullet less powder. I would try a heavier bullet and start with a minimum charge and work up to max increasing 1/10 of a grain at a time say 5 rounds of each for each gun and see what is working best for each with regards to accuracy
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Old October 6, 2010, 08:55 AM   #5
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I use 230 gr cast bullets at both 25 & 50 yards (Bullseye Matches).

Fact is thats all I shoot out of my semi auto 45s. The only exception is EIC matches which requires 230 FMJ bullets.

I have never seen the need to load hot, mine are quite mild, yet I've never noticed it failing to knock over steel targets.
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Old October 6, 2010, 10:43 AM   #6
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Here are target load comparisons for 230gr FMJ at 50 vs 25yds. These should give you about the same POI using the same bullet. I trim these a bit for lead bullets.

Long Line (i.e. 50yds)
4.2 grs VVN310
4.2 grs Clays
4.6 grs BE
4.8 grs of HTG
4.7 grs S1000
5.4 grs W231
4.8 grs WST

Short Line
4.2 grs HTG
3.8 grs Clays
4.0 grs BE
4.6 grs W231
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Old October 6, 2010, 11:06 AM   #7
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Here are target load comparisons for 230gr FMJ at 50 vs 25yds
Very cool... thanks! It looks as if a reduction of 10-15% should put me on target at the shorter range.
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Old October 6, 2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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If your match rules don't mandate 230 gr hardball ammo then shoot whichever one you shoot best. Won't be more than a click or two of difference between 25 and 50 yards and most of us don't bother making the change because it doesn't change our score. The only time I ever opted for the 230 gr hardball ammo was shooting at 50 yards with a 35 mph wind blowing from right to left with gusts. I don't know if it made much difference but it felt right psychologically. I went light if I could get away with it because it was a tad more accurate and less tiring at the end of 2 days.
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