185gr or 230gr .45?

185gr or 230gr .45?

This is a discussion on 185gr or 230gr .45? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have to ask this, and please forgive my present semi ignorance on .45 as I just am now getting into the caliber...I see that ...

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Thread: 185gr or 230gr .45?

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    Ex Member Array MJB_17's Avatar
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    185gr or 230gr .45?

    I have to ask this, and please forgive my present semi ignorance on .45 as I just am now getting into the caliber...I see that most .45 FMJ range ammo is 230gr (bought 2 boxes today), that seems to be pretty standard, but what is the benefit/drawback to that versus 185gr (or other weights)?

    I'm certainly not new to handguns at all, but my experience has always been in calibers (9mm, .40, 357Sig) where there are smaller differences between bullet weights, I have never had such as wide weight variance in options. In short, what is the 'easiest' shooting? The deepest penetrating (I'm assuming 230gr?), most reliable on expansion? Preferred choice for SD use?

    On the note of SD, for now this is going to be in home use, I live in a condo building with fairly thin walls so over penetration is a concern (my neighbor has a young daughter for example).


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    I wrestled with this myself when I got my 3" Colt Defender. However after seeing some ballistic gel test it appears that the 230 gr. Gold Dot penetrated better so that is what I went with. Results out of a longer barrel may be different.
    The worst thing about growing old is that other men no longer see you as dangerous.

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    There's a reason the army insisted on the heavier 230 grains rather than the 200 grains Browning originally proposed. I go with heavy for caliber.
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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Yes that's true, but bullet design & terminal performance have improved a bit since...1910. To the OP, what type of .45 handgun?
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I pretty much use 230 or 200gr. Are all the different weights reliable in your gun?
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    Ex Member Array MJB_17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    Yes that's true, but bullet design & terminal performance have improved a bit since...1910. To the OP, what type of .45 handgun?
    I forgot to mention, 3.5" barrel length. Will that make +P a no go?

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    Member Array ZOMBIEvs42's Avatar
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    I use Winchester Ranger T +P 230g for carry

    I drove myself crazy with this same issue until i realized that each caliber/weight has its each individual uses and trying to put one in a be all/end all catagory is not feasible. Just remember that alot of the defensive encounters occur within 7 yards, and for that reason i carry a heavier bullet.

    as for felt recoil between the two? i didnt notice any differance, but thats just me.
    Easiest shooting? whatever you shoot the most
    Penatration? Mostly depends on velocity vs. type of hollow point (some are smaller, some are larger, some have plastic inserts)
    Expansion? manufacturer, design of the hollow point etc.

    as for home defense in an apartment, that, i wouldnt touch with a 10 foot stick, because the subject is utterly and entirely situational and throughly...(insert colorful word)
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    Member Array ZOMBIEvs42's Avatar
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    check out BBTI - Ballistics by the Inch :: Home could provide you some insight.
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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    The smaller/lighter the gun, the heavier the recoil. That means slower follow-up shots (split times). The lighter the bullet, the lighter the recoil. That means faster follow-ups. IMHO, since the question can be debated (inconclusively) from several angles, I would follow Stevew's lead & base my decision completely on the weight (and brand) that provided the best reliability.
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    Member Array ZOMBIEvs42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJB_17 View Post
    I forgot to mention, 3.5" barrel length. Will that make +P a no go?
    +P can be used in any gun as long as its approved by the manufacturer of the gun
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    Distinguished Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    In my (2) .45's (Glock 36 & Colt 1991) the 185gr loads seem to have more recoil than the 230 gr loads. JMHO.
    Retired Police Lieutenant, Retired USAF Reserve, Glock Armorer, NC CWP, HR-218 Qualified
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    Back when I had kids at home, I loaded the .45s with Winchester Silvertip inside the house for reduced penetration (my house was one of those old-timers made with hardwood floors and heavy plaster walls). Outside the home, it was 230s or the occasional Speer "flying ashtray" at 200 gr. Nowadays it's all 230 gr stuff for defense. Never felt a need for +P in .45.
    old grunt, dV8r and OD* like this.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Use the heaviest possible. Follow up shooting factors are marginal, and much overrated. The 230 weight was the best in 1910, and has only benefited from modern technology.

    Actually, technology in bullet design was to make smaller bullets behave like big ones in the first place, so you are already ahead of the game.
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    Senior Member Array Inspector71's Avatar
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    230 grain hardball for me. I try to keep things simple. Of course I live in a very rural setting. I don't see the need for +p ammo in a .45 but that's not to say you shouldn't use it.
    old grunt likes this.
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    Distinguished Member Array CDW4ME's Avatar
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    The 185 gr. Hornady XTP does produce less recoil than the standard 230 gr. HP loads I've tried.
    If you are shooting a lightweight pistol like the Glock 30 / 36 then the lower recoil may be helpful.
    Another reason to go with 185 gr. instead of 230 gr. would be to make POI and POA closer.
    I typically go with a standard pressure 230 HP in my 45 acp's, but not always.
    No internal lock or magazine disconnect on my pistols!

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