Ammo vs accuracy

This is a discussion on Ammo vs accuracy within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey Everyone, I have a question. Do different bullets make that much difference in accuracy? I have been shooting 230gr FMJ in .45cal acp through ...

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Thread: Ammo vs accuracy

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    Senior Member Array tclance's Avatar
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    Ammo vs accuracy

    Hey Everyone,
    I have a question. Do different bullets make that much difference in accuracy? I have been shooting 230gr FMJ in .45cal acp through a Springfield 1911 A1. I have been using either PMC or Federal as the cheap ammo from Winchester or Remington that I have tried is very dirty. I have been shooting low and to the left at 10 yrds and have tried several different suggestions from people in this forum
    that have helped in doing better with my aim. For the heck of it I tried shooting some of the Hornady Critical Deffence Ammo that I keep loaded when I carry. They are 185gr. The difference was amazing! Still a little to the left but in the 8-9 range and had a couple in the 10 ! They are expencive to practice with and was wondering if anyone could maybe explain the difference in results. Also any suggestions on different types of ammo would be great. Again thanks in advance for your help.

    Regards,
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by tclance View Post
    Hey Everyone,
    I have a question. Do different bullets make that much difference in accuracy? I have been shooting 230gr FMJ in .45cal acp through a Springfield 1911 A1. I have been using either PMC or Federal as the cheap ammo from Winchester or Remington that I have tried is very dirty. I have been shooting low and to the left at 10 yrds and have tried several different suggestions from people in this forum
    that have helped in doing better with my aim. For the heck of it I tried shooting some of the Hornady Critical Deffence Ammo that I keep loaded when I carry. They are 185gr. The difference was amazing! Still a little to the left but in the 8-9 range and had a couple in the 10 ! They are expencive to practice with and was wondering if anyone could maybe explain the difference in results. Also any suggestions on different types of ammo would be great. Again thanks in advance for your help.

    Regards,
    Tom
    Well in the Lyman's reloading manual they may have 8 to 10 different recipes for a given caliber/bullet and the mark the one that was most accurate and note at what powder charge it was most accurate. I would say there is a difference, but I cannot quantify it.
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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    price often relates to quality
    with bullets that are made by the billions....a million here and a million there....quality control can vary---and so can the tolerances of the diameter of the bullet.
    enough to change accuracy with in the same box....questionable; from brand to brand--for sure.

    change bullet weight and you will change POI. generally faster ( lighter) bullets will hit lower--but what weight bullet from your gun shoots to POA?
    than compare different brands of the same weight--apples to apples.

    as to low & left--that goes to grip; as the gun is going 'boom' your finger tips are reflexively squeezing tighter--stop that....well, ua asked.
    consciously, what you can do is start with a bit of a tighter overall grip (including your fingertips). and pay attention to letting your trigger finger ride the trigger forward during re-set.
    this helps to maintain the same location and than if all your shots are to the left, you can move your trigger finger a taste to the right on the face of the trigger.
    ...and call me in the morning.
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    With .45 ACP, the difference between loads is significant. The basic ball load is 230 gr bullet at about 830 ft/sec, and the Critical Defense loads a 185 gr bullet at 1000 ft/sec. If you looked at just external ballistics (trajectory), you'd be more puzzled because the faster/lighter round shoots flatter, but the actual "scientific" data only shows a 2 inch difference in trajectory out at 50 yards. At 10 yards the difference will be much less.

    Also, common wisdom suggests that a lighter bullet hits lower (with the same gun). So what's different? Recoil, how your anatomy handles it, and the how far the bullet travels while you're reacting to recoil all enter into it. Without watching you shoot it's nearly impossible to analyze, but those are the main elements that influence the difference in where your shots hit.

    Since you're not adverse to trying expensive ammo, see if you can locate some Federal 185 grain "match" ammo, and see how that reacts. Same bullet weight as the Critical Defense, but at a lower velocity and thus even less recoil. Your gun may not feed them well, but this is about experimenting and not using them for defense. If it turns out that your effective accuracy goes up with 185s, then stick with that. Winchester makes a 185 grain white box load that's the same price point as their 230.

    Having just started reloading recently (.45) , I am pleasantly surprised that my reloads (200 gr lead, makes IPSC/USPSA 'major') group more tightly than the commercial practice loads (Win white box, PMC & Fed AE). More accurate at half the cost is a really nice benefit!

    Also, in the "YMMV" category, the PMC ammo I tried recently was far dirtier then the Win white box, in contrast to your experience. I think at the low-price end of the ammo market there must be more variability in the powder used from lot to lot.
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    Ex Member Array JOHNSMITH's Avatar
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    I can vouch for the dirtiness of PMC in 45. Also stinks, something most of the other ammo I've tried doesn't do. But the stuff did go bang on every round.

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    A lighter, faster bullet spends less time in the barrel during recoil, and consequently the point of impact of the group generally hits lower. At a typical defensive distance, say 10-15 feet, the different POIs aren't a big deal. Group size and center placement is. Before you spend a lot on ammo, practice a consistent, firm, two hand grip, and dry fire until you can snap the thing without the slightest jiggle in the sights. Next, use decent 230gr hardball to shrink group size. If the POI of the group is not where you want it, the problem is either your grip/trigger work or the sights. Although no two shooters will produce identical POIs, have a pro shoot your gun, just to see what happens. If it's the gun, maybe a fixed rear sight can be drifted for windage, but you'll still have to know where to put the front sight for elevation at every distance. Finally, shoot your defensive ammo. The groups ought to be centered on the paper, but notice any change in the vertical, and learn how to compensate with raising or lowering the front sight in the rear notch. You'll note the dispersion may become great at long distance between the 230gr groups vs the 185gr groups, but the faster 185gr loads will require less compensation due to their slightly flatter trajectory.
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    The Remington and Winchester target rounds are like the Yugos of the ammo world. They function well enough , they go from gun to target, and they are just accurate enough to be enjoyable. Their just not the low drag high speed model like the Ferrari's that are true self defense ammunition. It's not uncommon to see several inches in variation on group sizes at 20+ feet with the shorter (4" and under) barrels normally seen on concealed carry handguns.

    When you get to the true "Self Defense" ammunition such as the Hornady, Gold Dot, and SXT you will usually see a substantial improvement in group sizes due to the better materials such as better powders with more consistency in charge weights and tighter tolerances on projectile weights and shapes.

    That being said, I would NEVER carry a self defense round with out running a fair quantity through the carry gun itself first. The Critical Defense from Hornady being the one I would be more certain with since recent discussions have raised enough doubt about the center filler piece causing feeding issues with some guns.

    I recommend to all of my students to run at least 100 rounds through their carry gun AND using the magazines they plan to carry. It's not cheap but I'd rather spend the investment on verifying that your specific handgun is reliable with a certain ammo than find out that your second shot in a self defense situation is a click and not a bang.

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    Shoot the gun from a good rest. That's the only way to check your sights. Usually low left hits by a right handed shooter is a result of jerking the trigger. I can't see where 10 yds can be much of a test of ammo accuracy. In my experience there should be little difference in group size, even with the cheapest ammo available at that range. The POI of impact may shift a bit between ammo types and bullet weights, but groups should be about the same. Better sights would be helpful as well. The 1911 A1 sights leave a lot to be desired. It's been a while since I've shot factory ammo, but last year I ran 100rds of 40s vintage .45acp through one of my 1911s. They would hold 5" groups at 25yds. My 200gr LSWC hand loads hold about 3" at the same range out of that particular gun. Didn't do any accuracy testing at 10yds, but would expect <2" out of either one.
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