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Old May 26, 2007, 10:17 PM   #1
Join Date: May 22, 2007
Location: The buckle of the bible belt: Birmingham, AL.
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45 acp defense round

Greetings all,

What do you guys recommend as far as powder and bullet goes for a good 45 acp personal defense round. I would prefer the 185 grain for a more controllable recoil, but I am certainly willing to entertain 230 grain bullets as well. Right now I'm using 7.0 grains of unique and a 185 grain Sierra JHP. While this is quite accurate out of my 4" XD, I am questioning how much pop it has. I have read that Unique is great for target loads, but is a bit too fast burning for maximum power. I have also read that the Sierra bullet is, dare I say, flimsy, (fragmenting when fired into water, etc). Let me know what you guys think.

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Old May 26, 2007, 10:48 PM   #2
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I suggest you search the forum on the topic. It has been rehashed many times. Hollow points generally are of less benefit in handgun rounds than a flat meplat bullet like the truncated cone design, except in the big magnums. I forget who said "a hollow point may or may not expand, but a .45 won't shrink?" Expansion can be unreliable in handguns and the size of the temporary cavity in all but the heavy magnums will not reliably reach the elastic limits of the tissue they penetrate. Forensic pathologists frequently comment that, unlike the much higher energy high power rifle rounds, at autopsy they cannot distinguish a handgun wound made by a hollow point from one made by a solid. There is, however, general agreement that flat meplats do more damage than round noses and stop game better.

Sierra has truncated cone shape target bullets in both 185 and 200 grains. Hornady's 230 grain Flat Point Enclosed bullet is almost a truncated cone. Cast TC designs are widely available. The lighter bullets offer some decrease in penetration which is a safety concern in apartments and some other environments, but is generally not beneficial to stopping power, hard as that is to define.

Powder speed is does not have quite as simple a relationship to the bullet performance as you may think. Unique will get you past military hardball ballistics. The even faster Bullseye, at 5.0 grains under a round nose 230 grain ball mimics military ballistics exactly. In a short tube, you usually must go to an extra heavy bullet to offer enough acceleration resistance to develop pressure soon enough for a slow powder to burn effectively, unless you go well into +P or even +P+ pressure territory as the shooters with integral ramp or other supported barrel designs sometimes do. Your Unique will actually achieve higher velocities with the lighter bullets than slower powders usually can.
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Old May 26, 2007, 11:44 PM   #3
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If 7.0 gr of Unique/ 185 JHP don't have enough pop for you then go to a heavier bullet.

6.0 gr Unique with a 230 FMJ will get you there.
6.5 gr Unique with a 225 gr Lead bullet will too.
Or 5.5 gr of WW-231 with lead or jacketed 230's.

These loads all meet or exceed milspec in my gun. (1911)
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Old May 27, 2007, 12:16 AM   #4
Mr Beta
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6.0 gr Unique with a 230 FMJ will get you there.
I actually use golddot. I push a 230 gold dot with I think 6.5 grains of unique. Again don't quote me on that but I believe it's just above the minimum load.

Also, don't be suprised if you get a bunch of people in here saying not to use handload for defense rounds because of legality issues.
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Old May 27, 2007, 11:14 AM   #5
Desert Dog
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10.3 grains of AA#7 under a 230 gr. Sierra Power Jacket.

It is near max load for the powder.
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Old May 28, 2007, 11:17 AM   #6
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Utter reliability.
Trusted accuracy.
Complete controllability.
Sufficient power.
Minimum flash/smoke/noise.

Sized W-W or R-P nickel case, CCI300, R-P 230g Golden Saber (I prefer and use the non-bonded version for this application), 5.0--5.5g W231 (yes, W231), OAL 1.225", mouth crimped to .471" with a LEE Carbide Factory Crimp die, George & Roy's Primer Sealant.

Careful process will yield reliable ammunition capable of sub-2" 25 yd groups with sufficient 'stopping power'.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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