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Old 09-13-2020, 06:00 PM
Cellar Hound Cellar Hound is offline
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Default .45 ACP - Assistance Please

A while back, I began the journey into the .45 ACP experience.

It went well....

As a result, two more .45ís have joined the collection (both full size).

Although ammo is a little tight right now, I wanted to ask for recommendations on effective self-defense rounds. I was able to secure some Hornady Critical Defense 185gr FTX and Hornady American Gunner 185gr XTP but want to be more prescriptive on my next purchase. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:06 PM
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Here are some self-defense ballistic test results for .45ACP...

https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/sel...c-tests/#45ACP
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:21 PM
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Whatever will run 100 rounds without any problems is the best ammo.

Not every ammo offering will work in every gun.

Hardball is most likely to work in any given gun.

Lots of folks are enamored of more expensive ammo marketed for sd, but precious few are willing to buy enough of it to actually run 100 rounds to establish reliability.

The most important quality for sd ammo is that it reliably run in YOUR gun, not my gun.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by URIT View Post
Here are some self-defense ballistic test results for .45ACP...

https://www.luckygunner.com/labs/sel...c-tests/#45ACP
Thanks for the info. If any others have some feedback, please feel free to share. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rpg View Post
Whatever will run 100 rounds without any problems is the best ammo.

Not every ammo offering will work in every gun.

Hardball is most likely to work in any given gun.

Lots of folks are enamored of more expensive ammo marketed for sd, but precious few are willing to buy enough of it to actually run 100 rounds to establish reliability.

The most important quality for sd ammo is that it reliably run in YOUR gun, not my gun.
Great info Rpg. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:30 PM
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I’ve always carried 230 grain Speer Gold Dot.
It works well in my full sized and compact pistols.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:38 PM
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I keep mine stoked with the Winchester T 230 grain. I liked that 1 inch average expansion.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:42 PM
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While this may not apply since I only shoot 45ACP from a governor my results are as follows. 230 grain round nose was good at 5 yds, I would start key holing at 7 yds and be at 50% by 10 yds, at 25 yds every thing was tumbling and I have about 12 inch drop (using 4.8 grains of tightgroup). With 230 grain XTP so far no key holing even out to 25 yds, and the drop is about 10 inches but I upped the powder to an even 5 grains of tightgroup. That I would think makes it a lower end +p round.

Your results will probably vary.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:48 PM
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I don't know much about Hornady ammo, but I believe the Critical Defense should be ok. They seem to have a good reputation in 9mm. Critical Duty might be a better choice if you can find it. XTP generally has a reputation for being a deep penetrator with little expansion, which makes it a fine choice in .380ACP but no so much in other calibers, at least for defense against 2-legged predators, where I'd be concerned with overpenetration.

Personally, I'd try to stick with 230gr loads. HST, Gold Dot, and Winchester Ranger are all good options, if you can find them. While I don't use my 1911s for self defense, I do have some 230gr HST that I plan to try when I'm able to take them to the range to see if they'll feed reliably because, well, you never know...

For reliability, I've read that the Remington 185gr JHP works well since it's profile is the same as hardball. I think their Golden Saber version has the same shape. If possible, try to find something that's more rounded and similar in profile to hardball, especially if you're running 1911s, as that may be more reliable than ammo with more of a truncated cone profile. Of course, some pistols will be reliable regardless of bullet profile.

Winchester 185gr Silvertips seem to get mixed reviews, though I've often seen it recommended for situations where one really wants to minimize the risk of overpenetration.

Federal 230gr Hydrashock could be an option. I do know that one of my 1911s didn't feed them reliably.

You can also Google "Dr. Roberts ammo list' and see what he recommends. I'd have no problem carrying anything on that list.

Unfortunately, with ammo availability being what it is, you may just have to do the best you can with what you have or can get. A good quality JHP with a solid reputation for effectiveness that's reliable in your gun(s) and that you can shoot well is going to be the best option, but even the best bullets are not a substitute for shot placement.

Just my opinion.
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:49 PM
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Most all of the modern "super bullets" expand well. What is reliable in your gun is what counts. Accuracy second.

Me? I like the Winchester Ranger T 230 JHP, and the Federal HST 230 JHP as well. Both are reliable, accurate, and expand well in my 1911's.

Larry
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Old 09-13-2020, 06:56 PM
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Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I've always preferred 230gr bullets in the .45acp. Truth is that almost any good HP load will get the job done. As pointed out, reliability is the main issue. Second, go with what the gun is most accurate with.
My current carry load is the Winchester PDX. In my gun, its both accurate and reliable. YMMV.
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:20 PM
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My agency has been using 230gr HST as our .45 service ammo for many years. It works well in the M&P .45ís and my Colt Governments. Iíve also shot a bunch of 230gr Golden Saber thru my Colts with no problems. Generally any hollow point with a profile similiar to ball ammo should function reliably in my experience.
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:33 PM
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Okay, I'd hate to sound like one of "those guys" but I'm going to go ahead and state the cliched but ultimately historically accurate opinion that in practically every configuration, the .45 ACP cartridge is effective.
Yes, "They all fall to .45 ball" is partially an Urban Legend referencing it's highly exaggerated and practically hyperbolic "Knockdown Power" but factually speaking, .45 ACP FMJ is indeed effective because it's a big chunk of lead with or without (in this case the latter) any expansion, and it has a tendency to expend most of it's energy inside of the target either way, reducing its potential for collateral damage compared to smaller, faster cartridges like .40 S&W and 9mm Luger.

That being said, obviously JHP is better, but considering the current ammo shortage, I think it's particularly worth mentioning that even with standard FMJ, .45 ACP has a reputation as a reliable man-stopper dating all the way back to 1911.

As far as what the "best" loads are for .45 ACP, it seems like anything over 185gr will perform reliably 100% of the time. Yes, there are some 185gr loads that perform reliably, but based on what I've seen, 185gr JHPs have a tendency to underpenetrate slightly, falling short of the FBI/IWBA's specifications by only penetrating to about 10"-11" in Ballistics Gel rather than the 12"-18" their specifications deem capable of reliable incapacitation. Besides, 185gr loads in .45 ACP seem pointless because although they feature higher velocity and energy than 200gr-230gr loads, they just don't penetrate as deeply or hit as hard, leaving you with what is essentially a poor-man's .40 S&W with a larger bullet and poorer ballistic coefficient.
So yeah, in my opinion, (which is worth what you paid for it or your money back) 200gr-230gr loads are the best.

In terms of brands/bullets, just about any name-brand .45 ACP JHPs will give you the performance you're looking for. In my opinion, Federal HSTs are the best, boasting both deep penetration and impressive expansion.
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:36 PM
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If you are new to 45ACP a well placed FMJ will trump a super expando high tech whatever that flies by your intended target.
What cycles and what can you keep in 6" at 15 yards is what I recommend.
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Old 09-13-2020, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
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If you are new to 45ACP a well placed FMJ will trump a super expando high tech whatever that flies by your intended target.
I don't understand this reasoning. Why would using JHP instead of FMJ all of a sudden make you miss? I haven't seen anybody here recommending some weird exotic load. If you can hit your target with FMJ, you can hit your target with JHP.

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Old 09-13-2020, 09:23 PM
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Paul Harrell (on youtube) did some videos on the 45 acp and JHP ammunition . The results were very interesting , and surprising , what worked and what did not . Regards, Paul
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:42 PM
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At this point in time buy any available ammo. A tough time to stock up. Where ever you buy ammo ask them when the deliveries come in and get there an hour later.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:53 PM
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I guess that I will be the odd man out. Back when Winchester made the 185gr FMJ SWC Target Round, I fell for it. A controllable target load that punches nice, clean holes that could bleed profusely! I realize that flesh won't always react the same as paper, but it is a great concept!

Unfortunately, that round is now discontinued, and I have not been able to lay-in a sufficient supply of plated SWCs in order to try a self-defense loas. I don't think a 185/200gr SWC at 700-825 fps would pose a major risk of over penetration.
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Old 09-13-2020, 10:09 PM
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Ive heard so many different stories about 45acp HP's not expanding due to the lower velocity combined by certain clothing etc, I've started loading the widest flat point I can find that will feed consistently. Punch a big hole and break bones it you hit them is my reasoning. Of course in a revolver you don't have to worry about feeding. My favorite load these days is a 215gr coated bullet I think made by Missouri but I can't find it listed. It has a wide flat point and wont feed in every 1911, but stroked along about 950fps it should make a potent SD load if needed.
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Old 09-14-2020, 07:08 AM
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Hollow point bullets in the low velocity 45 ACP were not know for reliable expansion, but that was in the 20th century. Modern JHP bullets like the Federal HST, Speer Gold Dot, and Winchester Ranger T are much better and will expand at the relatively low velocity of even standard pressure 230 grain loads. I do recommend firing a minimum of 100 rounds of your desired self-defense ammo in your pistol before relying upon it in your pistol.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:23 AM
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A number of years ago I bought a case (500 rounds) of 230 gr Speer Gold Dot on sale, about the same price or a little less as hardball. It functions well in my 1911. I still have 1/2 of it left.

It is effective vs paper, no 1st hand experience vs people.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:14 AM
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I've "heard tell" that 200g bullets cycle more reliably in more guns than 185g. No personal experience, except to note that back in the day it was not uncommon to put a JHP in the pipe and FMJ in the mag to be sure they would feed.

Like said above, any 45 round works pretty well for SD. It's one of the attractive things about the caliber. And it's nice to reload.
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Old 09-14-2020, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ContinentalOp View Post
You can also Google "Dr. Roberts ammo list' and see what he recommends. I'd have no problem carrying anything on that list.
Here is a link to Dr. Roberts' ("DocGKR") list of ammo that meets acceptable penetration and expansion standards:

Service Caliber Handgun Duty and Self-Defense Ammo
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Old 09-14-2020, 12:06 PM
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Default another magazine spring question

I don't think long term storage of loaded pistol magazines is a problem - but I'm curious about standard capacity rifle magazines? I have a few 30 rd AR magazines, I'm thinking of just loading 20 in them, but not sure if it is a problem worth worrying about.
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Old 09-14-2020, 08:47 PM
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Paul Harrell (on youtube) did some videos on the 45 acp and JHP ammunition . The results were very interesting , and surprising , what worked and what did not . Regards, Paul

Thanks Paul! Great info.
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Old 09-15-2020, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johngalt View Post
I don't think long term storage of loaded pistol magazines is a problem - but I'm curious about standard capacity rifle magazines? I have a few 30 rd AR magazines, I'm thinking of just loading 20 in them, but not sure if it is a problem worth worrying about.
Load them to full capacity, they are made for 30 rounds, so put 30 in them.

Keeping mags loaded for years, even decades, doesn't hurt or weaken the springs. What weakens springs are full cycles, loading and unloading, loading and unloading, over and over.
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Old 09-15-2020, 08:56 AM
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I'm old so my choice is probably "old school", but I have always
believed the 230-Gr. Hydra-Shok from Federal, is the gold standard
for self-defense with a .45 ACP.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:13 AM
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Hydra-Shoks are 30+ year old technology. They are as far from "the gold standard" as you can get.
Look at the Lucky Gunner tests, 230 grain Hydra-Shoks didn't expand one bit. The 185 Hydra-Shoks are better, but some fail to expand.
230 grain Hydra-Shoks are basically just FMJ with a higher price tag.

Federal HSTs, Speer Gold Dots and Winchester Ranger T's expand from .70" to 1 inch, while still penetrating 14 inches or so.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:18 AM
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In a "nutshell" it really doesn't MATTER!
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:34 AM
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It's your life, or the life of your loved ones, so it should matter.
All of these SD rounds cost about the same, so why not use one that actually expands and puts all of it's energy in the target ?
Better that, than FMJ, or a HP that acts like FMJ, penetrates 22 inches, goes through the target and hits something you don't want it to hit.

In .45 and 9mm, I only carry HST, Gold Dots and Ranger T, because it does matter.
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Old 09-17-2020, 03:58 PM
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I've always carried Federal HST in my 9mm carry guns, and .45 home defense handguns, just because it's so widely regarded as one of the best and it cycles reliably and repeatedly.

For what it's worth, I just ran a test on 5 self defense loads (pictures added) for my 9mm Glock. I was testing for consistent velocity and accuracy.

I was somewhat surprised by the result. #1 by a good margin wasn't the round I'm carrying. It was the Speer Gold Dot. I'd have to dig to find the finish order. I need more data to see if this is consistently the story, and I also want to do the same testing for 45 ACP loads, just because I'm curious.

In the meantime, I agree with those who say to shoot a round that expands reliably and that you can shoot accurately.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:51 PM
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This is all great information! Thanks to all that have responded to my thread. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:08 PM
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My Sonís PD before switching to 9mm carried Glock 21ís with Speer Gold Dot 230gr.

Be SAFE and Shoot Often!

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Old 09-19-2020, 10:59 AM
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I happen to have a couple of mags loaded with Golden Saber. They work through both 45s I usually carry...but that being said.. I carried 45 Ball for many years and it does work very well. Still larger than expanded 9mm
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:08 AM
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With how much, or how little ammo, on shelves and able to locate online, you get what you can. I love that the H&K USP here has worked with everything put through it. It is also great at how bullet design has improved to the point of the my load is best. If needed just pull the trigger as needed instead of worrying that one particular brand and load will drop a fraction of a second quicker than another one.
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