.45 short barrel ammo thinking???

This is a discussion on .45 short barrel ammo thinking??? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Have done numerous thread searches, but just want to ensure that my mode of thinking is good: I understand shot placement is most important, but ...

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Thread: .45 short barrel ammo thinking???

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    Member Array KoB's Avatar
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    .45 short barrel ammo thinking???

    Have done numerous thread searches, but just want to ensure that my mode of thinking is good:

    I understand shot placement is most important, but using a pistol with a 4 inch barrel (just under 4 inches…3.9 I think), I'm searching for an effective bullet. Currently using Winchester PDX1, but did a few searches and saw that the bullet didn't expand properly (saw a YouTube video where guy shot PDX1 out of a small .45 Glock into water jugs & denim and bullet didn't expand) Definetly aware of the Internet hype (positive & negative feedback) and my pistol feeds the PDX1 good, but should I switch to a heavy 230 gr +P bullet (Corbon or Buffalo Bore or Double Tap) and not worry about the lose of velocity due to the +P compensating for the lost velocity???

    Please advise. Thank you!

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    Member Array MountainPacker's Avatar
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    I carry Federal HST 230 (not +P) in my 4" 1911. tests show good expansion through denim. It can be a two year wait to get some, though.

    Your expansion issue was more likely due to clogging due to the denim than velocity loss. Loads like Hornady Critical Defense and Corbon Power Ball avoid clogging issues as they fill the cavity with plastic to avoid clogging and initiate expansion. In a traditional JHP, the Speer Gold Dot does a good job resisting clogging as well.

    Expansion is a crap shoot in the real world, as you won't be shooting jello or water jugs. Damaging the tip on a bone can deform the bullet and you just have a hunk of lead doing nothing particularly amazing. Relax. You're throwing a pretty big hunk of lead to begin with. If it expands, that's nice. If it doesn't, it will work anyway. Keep shooting until the threat is gone.

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    If you refer to "Ballistics by the Inch," you'll see that going from a 5-inch barrel to a 4-inch, you give up about 4% in muzzle velocity with a .45 ACP. That translates to an 8% reduction in energy - which is hardly worth worrying about.

    One of the undeniable advantages of the big-bore calibers is simply that they make a bigger hole, even when the bullet doesn't expand. The extra velocity of the +P flavor will help ensure expansion in the target, but that comes with the cost of greater recoil, muzzle flip and consequently, more time to reacquire a sight picture between shots. For my defensive purposes, a non-+P JHP in .45 ACP is plenty good medicine in either a 5" or a 4" gun.
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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    I wouldn't switch to a heavier bullet. A lighter bullet will gain velocity faster especially in a shorter barrel. The heavier bullet will clear the muzzle before it has a chance to pick up speed in your short barrel. I would stick with what you're using.
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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Shorter barrel, heavier bullets. They retain more velocity than lighter bullets do.

    I wouldn't go to a +P, though; I've found that most+P in short barrels gain little more velocity but do gain considerably more muzzle flash, report, and recoil. Not worth it, imho.

    Go with a proven, 230gr JHP and don't worry about the youtube "ammo experts".
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    I imagine that there's a video of any and every HP failing under some circumstance. None are 100% reliable 100% of the time under 100% of the conditions one might encounter. Any top-of-the-line SD ammo that functions reliably in your gun should be fine. I have 230 grn SB Gold Dots for my G30, as well as Win 230 grn PDX1s. I don't think a BG is going to laugh off either one.

    Concentrate on putting them where it counts and less on minute numbers on a ballistic table (or someone's attempt to garner YouTube time). .45 FMJs work too, and they don't expand either.
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    Thanks for the info!

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    Quote Originally Posted by automatic slim View Post
    I wouldn't switch to a heavier bullet. A lighter bullet will gain velocity faster especially in a shorter barrel. The heavier bullet will clear the muzzle before it has a chance to pick up speed in your short barrel. I would stick with what you're using.
    I would concur with this. I use 185 CorBon HP's in my 4'' 1911's. The 230 grain round was designed for a 5" barrel. However, placement is more important than any of our opinions. Pick a round round and practice, practice, practice. Just my thoughts. Good luck.
    I practice the 2nd Amendment....alot

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