May 23rd, 2005 11:21 AM
230, 200, 185, 165....Which one...Why????
It seems that the common .45 acp ammo comes in 165gr, 185gr, 200gr, and 230gr.
Why? Is a heavier bullet better for self-defense, or a lighter one?
What should an average joe buy for self-defense? I'm not planning on shooting through car doors, or barricades.
What do the different weight bullets offer, that keep them in production?
NRA Life Member
Northwest Florida Defensive Pistol Shooters Member
May 23rd, 2005 11:45 AM
When I reload, I always "think backwards."
I imagine myself successfully standing over the elk, the deer, a varmint colony or a felon and then figuring out the best way to achieve that outcome.
An elk and a prairie dog require different rifles (or even handguns). I can sort out my rifles in a general sort of way. I then consider what bullet works best for the job--that narrows down the calibre.
Then I figure out the speed that bullet needs to be driven, and that discerns case size, and perhaps even the powder needed to work within the constraints of a cartridge that size.
It seems that could work here.
If it's hot where you live and everyone wears just a T-shirt, a ligher bullet at moderate speed might be the answer. If you live in our Northwest, perhaps your calibre and cartridge is wrong for heavily dressed agressors and larger bear.
We have all of those seasonal aspects in Wisconsin. And now to make things really dicey, smaller black bears are moving into outlying subdivisions--like where I live.
I've choosen the Golden Saber line in .40 and .45, both the mid-sized and heavier bullets for my changing seasonal needs. I might have parkas to shoot through, but I also live in a community.
This is how I picked my choice. It might help.
May 23rd, 2005 12:45 PM
Due to the weird weather we exp here i prefer to carry the 45 in 230 with golden sabers or winchester sxt both shoot very well out of my carry guns
May 23rd, 2005 01:09 PM
Well it depends. If you have a shorter then 5" barrel you may want a 200 or 185 grain bullet to try and maintain muzzle velocity. In my Para Warthog I carry Speer Gold Dot 200 grain +P since I have just a 3" barrel. Though I have also heard of good results from Hydra Shocks and Gold Dot 185 +P as well.
May 23rd, 2005 07:11 PM
As you are gathering, bullets of different weight and design move at different speeds and have different performance characteristics. What you need for self-defense depends on your situation, what you anticipate defending against, and your weapon. How important is barrier penetration? How important is expansion after penetrating several layers of clothing? Some people lean towards the light/fast end of things, while others lean toward the heavy/slow end. My advice would be to look for a bullet that meets your performance requirements in a cartridge you shoot well. If your response to that is "well, duh..." then check out ammolab or some of the other sites on the web that offer objective discussion and comparison of ammunition performance. For general self-defense, you probably want to stick with JHP, if allowed in your state. You will find good performers in 185gr, 200gr and 230gr. Federal, Winchester, Remington, CCI/Speer, Hornady, Barnes and others all make good bullets. Try shooting them in different weights and loads, and see which you shoot best.
May 23rd, 2005 09:25 PM
Ok, I'm gonna stick my neck out here and probably get it lobbed off!
I am gonna assume we're talking self defense loads, right? And in this case, self defense agains 2 legged critters. So, I'm again gonna assume that there's a 90+% chance we aint ever gonna get into a shoot out. In the event of the remaining 10% coming to fruition, I'm gonna say the exchange will occur within bad breath distances. That being the case, I'd say our attacker wont know the difference between any of the bullet wieghts out of any of the guns. If he notices at all.
Select a round that functions reliabley in your gun, and prints groups at 25' or less at point of aim. Learn where that load prints a few increments of 10' behind that and carry a spare mag loaded with the same. Leaving the muzzle is easy for the bullet, the rest is up to you.
Last edited by jdsumner; May 23rd, 2005 at 10:04 PM.
May 23rd, 2005 10:02 PM
I appreciate all the replies. I think this one puts it in perspective for me, though.
Originally Posted by jdsumner
Sometimes I tend to get "in the weeds" on things that do not require exhaustive research, and I think that's what happened here.
Last week, I was studying CORBON's website, trying to decide on a carry load for my new Kimber Tactical Pro II (4 inch barrel).
My natural inclination is towards 230gr bullets, but CORBON's literature shows that the 165gr has the highest ft/lbs of energy (and muzzle velocity), so what's a savvy consumer to do? Split the difference?
I ended up buying 1 box of 230gr +P hollowpoints and 1 box of 165rg +P hollowpoints.
As it turns out neither feeds very well in my gun, while Federal 230gr hollowpoints are digested with ease. Go figure.
But, as you pointed out in the quoted post above, it's most likely all academic.
Anyhow, my thanks to all for the replies.
NRA Life Member
Northwest Florida Defensive Pistol Shooters Member
May 29th, 2005 06:42 PM
Sarhog, Try the Hornady 230gr. XTP (#9096) They (for me) feed well and are accurate out of my 5" Colt 1911. I haven't had any feeding problems with the COR-BON 165's either. But they are VERY HOT. I can't use them in my 3" Kimber for that reason. I always polish the feed ramp,throat,and chamber of my 1911's. Also I smooth the sharp edges of the mag feed lips. My Kimber Ultra CDP II will eat absolutely anything.----
May 29th, 2005 07:48 PM
Cor Bon PB in LW Commander, DPX in full size steel SA/Colt.
May 29th, 2005 08:51 PM
Just about any of the top-shelf defensive loads in the customary defense calibers will do the job if you do yours. That being said, there have been certain loadings that have evolved over the years. The 230gr stuff for the .45ACP seems to be the most common, but as mentioned above there are many other options out there.
July 24th, 2005 01:05 AM
For my 5" 45's(Colt, SpringF & HK USP Tac) I use 185-230 main defense load is Speer GD's 200gr +p & Rem GS's 185gr +p (might try Corbon 185gr +p DPX)
For my compact 45(Para P-12), I use 185gr(would use Speer 200gr+p) due to the short barrel.
Haven't spent the money yet to do my 200 rd reliabilty test yet, that means
200rds of Speer GD's 200gr+P
200rds of Rem GS's 185gr+P
200rds of Corbon 185gr+P DPX
My main test/carry guns will be Para P-12, USP Tac, and my custom Colt and I'll have to test my project 1911 once I build it. That's alot of money each weight & brand on each gun. My Life Is Worth It, so I have to do it for all I carry!!!!!
Train how you Fight
Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast!
"Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing." Murphy's Combat Law
July 24th, 2005 03:15 AM
1952 - 2006
In both of my 1911's I carry Federal 230 grain HydraShoks.
I prefer throwing the biggest and heaviest bullet between me and the BG that I can. I have found that the 230 HydraShok design feeds reliably in both my Kimber and my custom Rock River. Expansion tests I have done show it to expand to somewhere between .72 and .78 cal. no matter what media it penetrates through including glass.
They work for me so that's what I rely on.
My .02 worth
Heroes are people who do what has to be done, when it has to be done, regardless of the consequences
"I like when the enemy shoots at me; then I know where the ******** are and can kill them."
DE OPPRESSO LIBER
July 24th, 2005 12:58 PM
Not much to add - already some great input. I would tho place top of my choice list - function-in-platform. That will always concern me more than just terminal ballistics.
If the ammo is dead reliable in a particular gun and permits accurate shooting, with good recoil controllability, then we might say (facetious example!) - a well placed 90 grain .380 could out perform a badly placed 230 .45acp.... meaning as ever - ''what works best'' - thru the gun.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
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