.45ACP FMJ for defense?


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DRMMR02
November 9, 2006, 10:32 PM
Are FMJ rounds in .45ACP good enough for personal defense, specifically in an apartment setting? Would JHP be a better choice? And in either case, what brand/type do you prefer in .45ACP for personal defense?

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Sistema1927
November 9, 2006, 10:47 PM
First, there have previously been several discussions on this subject. What I am going to say will be countered in several different ways by other posters.

It is often said that "a 9mm might expand, but a .45 will never shrink". If your particular .45 isn't 100% with hollow-point ammo, then you might be better off using FMJ Ball. However, there are plenty of quality .45 ACP hollow-point offerings, and if your pistol will digest one or more of them you will be better served using that.

I wouldn't feel handicapped with .45 ACP Ball ammo, but I prefer a good hollow-point.

Oh, since you asked, I like the Remington Golden Saber, the Winchester Ranger, and the Federal Hydra-Shok, all in 230 grain, in those weapons that are 100% with them. The one 1911 that isn't has magazines loaded with Winchester White Box ball ammo.

Mooseman
November 9, 2006, 10:49 PM
Certainly good enough but hollow points are even better. Bigger wound channel and they don't penetrate walls as much. If cost is a big concern check out some winchester white box at your local walmart.

benelli12
November 9, 2006, 10:53 PM
I've found that Winchester white box 45 FMJ is underpowered compaired to other cheap makers of ball, such as UMC, Magtech, american eagle etc.

DRMMR02
November 9, 2006, 10:57 PM
Right now I'm using Remington 230gr FMJ out of a Ruger P345. It's cheap and good for practice. But I think it would go through a lot of walls if I ever shot it in my apartment.

benelli12
November 9, 2006, 11:02 PM
I also use FMJ in my 45 because of consistantpenetration, and it already starts out at .45, thats already big. If I were to go hollow point, I would use Double Tap Ammunition 230 grain Gold dots, at 1010 fps(5" barrel). These loads are not even +P, because of the perfect blend of powders. But if you can't afford them, I think FMJ would be just fine

Sunray
November 9, 2006, 11:12 PM
Nope. FMJ's don't expand and are unreliable as fight stoppers. The JHP would be much better.
"...apartment setting..." While most modern apartments are basically big, hollow, reinforced, concrete bricks, the internal walls are just drywall. Any bullet will zip through them like they not even there. Apartment doors are thin too.

The Real Hawkeye
November 9, 2006, 11:17 PM
FMJ is fine for defense, but a good hollow point is better. I carry Remington's Golden Sabre 230 grains.

slicknickns
November 10, 2006, 12:04 AM
U.S. troops carried FMJ in the .45 for a long time, It killed Japanese soldiers, German soldiers, Chinese troops, NVA, Viet Cong, Terrorists from the Mark 3, plus the other little small engagements we've done.

Hell it worked for our troops then, and they had to carry it with the safety on!

DBR
November 10, 2006, 12:50 AM
Actually they had to carry it with the chamber empty unless they were in an active combat zone.

The Sellier and Belloit 45 ACP 230gr fmj ammo in my experience has been excellent. Velocity is milspec, bullet and primer is sealed and the price is reasonable. I have shot about 3000 rds with no problems. Natchez is a good source. Also, the brass is good - about the same as Winchester.

GRIZ22
November 10, 2006, 01:03 AM
FMJs are fine, hollowpoints better. WW white box is as good as any other. I don't know how the previous poster came to the conclusion about it being underpowered. I tested 230 FMJ from several makers and Wolf came out lowest velocity (810FPS) and all the others ran 830-850 fps thru the chrongraph and WW white box has the lowest extreme spread (14 fps).

Steve C
November 10, 2006, 01:26 AM
Any bullet, be it JHP or FMJ is going to penetrate several walls of gyp board construction. The JHP's get the hollow filled with gypsum and essentially become a solid nosed bullet. For some interesting anecdotal penetration testing go the The Box of Truth (http://www.theboxotruth.com)

There's really no argument that JHP's are more effective than solid nosed bullets most of the time when used against thin skinned game and humans. If the JHP fails to open it is no less effective than any solid bullet would be while the solid bullet will never be more effective than a failed to open JHP. Why wouldn't you want every advantage possible including the most potentially effective ammo if you ever find yourself needing it for self defense. If under certain circumstance all you have is FMJ ball ammo then use it but to make it a choice when reliable JHP's or other expanding type ammo is available doesn't make good sense.

Waywatcher
November 10, 2006, 02:39 AM
It's a good performer, but there are better.

That being said I cant afford to buy enough .45 JHP's to do reliability testing.

So my 1911 is stoked with FMJ and Im pretty sure it will still hurt to be on the receiving end.

makarovnik
November 10, 2006, 02:52 AM
I use S&B FMJ in my .45. It seems pretty hot, it feeds reliably and will penetrate nicely. Hollowpoints are probably safer in an apartment building.

Soybomb
November 10, 2006, 03:36 AM
a good jhp is potentially going to expand to twice-ish the diameter of the fmj round. I see no reason to handicap yourself with a less than optimal round any more than I would see a reason to load a magazine to half a capacity. handguns are poor weapons, take every advantage you can.

P0832177
November 10, 2006, 04:57 AM
Federal makes two EFMJ = Expanding Full Metal Jacket Rounds
PD45CSP2H in their personal defense line up
P45CSP1 in their LE line up

Might be worth a try if the hand gun is intended for self defense?

Chuck R.
November 10, 2006, 08:16 AM
While there’s no doubt that “ball” will work, quality HPs are just better.

I use REM “bonded” Golden Sabers. They’re right at $1.00 per, so once a year I blow $60.00 shooting up and replacing my SD ammo. I reload the cheaper non-bonded versions to the same MV for reliability testing/practice.

The only way I’d consider using hardball is if the pistol won’t cycle HPs, and if that’s the case I’d more likely have the pistol worked on before relying on it.

Chuck

DawgFvr
November 10, 2006, 10:37 AM
Check out the Corbon DPX all-copper bullet. Penetrates further...expands consistently, will not break apart...and leaves a cleaner, lead free barrel for easier cleaning. Couple that with less recoil/muzzle flip and you have a winner in my opinion.

JShirley
November 10, 2006, 10:53 AM
Anything can kill, so just because it's killed in the past is no reason to believe it was optimal then or now- especially when one isn't faced with the handicap of non-expanding ammo, and has liability considerations!

Now, the typical .45 FMJ has 26-27" of penetration in gel. Chuck Taylor believes this isn't excessive, but it's double the penetration of many good HPs.

John

Nickodemus
November 10, 2006, 11:55 AM
The .45ACP has an advantage in that normal ball ammo will have excellent stopping power. People have confidently relied on .45 FMJ with their life for a very long time. Standard .45 ball ammo has the impact trauma of a smaller cartridge’s HP, and the reliability of feeding a FMJ.
However defense loads are best, low flash, low recoil, and expanding projectile, match quality… but they have to feed in the gun every time. I would rather have a flawlessly functioning .45 with FMJ then a 9mm HP that becomes caught on the feed ramp from time to time.
As with all defense ammo, buy enough to run at least a couple boxes through and make sure it will function well with your particular gun.

Edit: If you are really worried about overpenetration then use glazer saftey slugs. Even an HP will still go right through.

Soybomb
November 10, 2006, 01:00 PM
The .45ACP has an advantage in that normal ball ammo will have excellent stopping power. People have confidently relied on .45 FMJ with their life for a very long time. Standard .45 ball ammo has the impact trauma of a smaller cartridge’s HP, and the reliability of feeding a FMJ.
I won't touch the concept of stopping power and I'm sure you like .45 but lets not go crazy here. A fmj .45 is going to leave a permanent cavity most likely smaller then .45" diameter, even a 9mm jhp is going to leave one closer to .66", a fairly significant difference. Assuming a 10" deep wound path you'll be making a wound with the volume of 3.4" cubic inches with a 9mm jhp and probably less than 1.52" cubic inches with your .45 fmj round.

Lone_Gunman
November 10, 2006, 01:30 PM
even a 9mm jhp is going to leave one closer to .66"

Or, it might only leave one 0.355", if the hollowpoint gets clogged up on clothing or fails to expand.

I think it is unfair to assume that the 45 will leave a hole less than .45" and the 9mm will leave a hole 0.66"

M2 Carbine
November 10, 2006, 01:42 PM
I had a (helicopter) student that used 45 FMJ to kill many VC, for which he received the Silver Star.
I don't recall him saying anything about the FMJ bullet not being up to the job.:)


But since there is better ammo in the form of JHP available I use it.

Soybomb
November 10, 2006, 01:57 PM
Or, it might only leave one 0.355", if the hollowpoint gets clogged up on clothing or fails to expand.

I think it is unfair to assume that the 45 will leave a hole less than .45" and the 9mm will leave a hole 0.66"
Well .45 may leave less than .45 just because the round nose fmj has a tendency to stretch tissue around it rather than crush. I just used .44 in the volume calculation for my own easy mental math but thats not really being penalized for it. Just a FYI, the best result can be this much, but I wouldn't bank on the permanent cavity potentially being less.

The jhp may fail to expand but I don't think thats nearly as big of a problem for today's jhps. Looking at real world data like a 1991 paper by Eugene Wolberg from Wound Ballistics Review where shows the worst expansion about .53" and up from there on the old winchester 147gr bullet in 27 shooting victims. Today's bullets do even better.

Maybe it'd be your unlucky day and one wouldn't expand but I say don't plan on making just one shot. Even half expanded rounds will be larger than .45 and .45 will never get bigger than .45" Ymmv but I think its unrealisitc and a justification mechanism if you think today's jhp's aren't likely to expand.

Rotorflyr
November 10, 2006, 02:35 PM
PO8 touched on what I was going to say,
Federal makes an expanding FMJ if HP's won't feed in your 1911.

Having said that, if your worried about over penetration in an apartment (or other dwelling) you could try "safety" slugs (glaser isn't the only brand) but I've read they don't cycle very well in (some) autos. I can't say as I've tried em in my 1911's but I do have some glasers in a speed loader for my .357 and they are quite expensive to test for relability so personaly I think they are better suited to revolvers.
Anyway, a better choice might be to not use a .45 or other "big caliber" pistol, use a shotgun instead and keep the .45 for carry (if you can legaly do so where you live) or the range.

hkusp
November 10, 2006, 04:38 PM
I feel comfortable using my own rolled 200gr LSWC. Might as well use what I practice with. And that flat top should crush alot of tissue.

benelli12
November 10, 2006, 04:53 PM
Grizz22,
did you buy the 100 round value pack in winchester white box, that is what I got, and it penetrated alot less in phone books, and pine than the other brands of ammo i have used. Maybe my gun just dosen't like them, I dont know.

1KPerDay
November 10, 2006, 04:56 PM
When I lived in an apartment I kept my .45 loaded with Glaser Blue frangible ammo. Very pricey. :eek: I only fired a mazazine through quickly to ensure it would cycle properly.

Barring that I'd definitely go hollowpoints over FMJ if your gun likes them.

.357 magnum
November 10, 2006, 06:04 PM
If your barrel is 5 inches [no less then that] Then your best SD load is the 230gr Federal Hydra-shok or the 230 gr Winchester SXT and you cannot leave out the Remington 185gr Golden Saber. If you have a 4 inch barrel personally I still go with the 230gr Federal Hydrashok or The Winchester 230gr SXT but in all honesty the 185gr Golden Saber is awesome for anything under 5 inches. [do not use 230gr loads for barrels under 4 inches, they may not expand] Then its 185 gr Remington Golden saber all the way!]

Have a good one!

Chuck R.
November 10, 2006, 06:21 PM
Guys,

I wouldn’t worry too much on the velocity difference between a 5” and 4.25” barreled .45ACP. I’ve chronographed my guns/loads and the difference is at best negligible.

Some other sources are:

The Remington Catalog 2003 included a "Centerfire Rifle Velocity Vs. Barrel Length" table that showed the following velocity changes for barrels shorter or longer than the test barrel length:

MV 2000-2500 fps, the approximate change in MV per 1" change in barrel length is 10 fps.
MV 2500-3000 fps, the approximate change in MV per 1" change in barrel length is 20 fps.
MV 3000-3500 fps, the approximate change in MV per 1" change in barrel length is 30 fps.
MV 3500-4000 fps, the approximate change in MV per 1" change in barrel length is 40 fps.

Those are way faster than .45ACP MV ranges, and the difference is greater.

Also, the 45th Edition of the Lyman Reloading Handbook also has a table showing Center Fire Rifle Velocity Vs. Barrel Length. Their figures apply to barrels between 20 and 26 inches in length and agree with the Remington figures. The Lyman table shows the following approximate velocity changes:

For rifles with muzzle velocities in the 1000-2000 fps range, the change in velocity for each 1" change in barrel length is 5 fps.
For rifles with muzzle velocities in the 2001-2500 fps range, the change in velocity for each 1" change in barrel length is 10 fps.
For rifles with muzzle velocities in the 2501-3000 fps range, the change in velocity for each 1" change in barrel length is 20 fps.
For rifles with muzzle velocities in the 3001-3500 fps range, the change in velocity for each 1" change in barrel length is 30 fps.
For rifles with muzzle velocities in the 3501-4000 fps range, the change in velocity for each 1" change in barrel length is 40 fps.

So as you can see, at .45ACP velocities, there’s not a lot of difference. In addition, each barrel is an individual and it’s possible for a 4.25” barrel to shot “faster” than a 5”.

Chuck

brownie0486
November 10, 2006, 06:32 PM
FMJ's don't expand and are unreliable as fight stoppers

Don't believe everything you read and hear. :rolleyes:

There might be better loads, but 230 ball works just fine most of the time to stop aggressors post haste

Brownie

givo08
November 10, 2006, 07:25 PM
FMJ in both .45 and 9mm are in the ~60-70% one shot stop range while the top JHP's are in the 93-95% range. I wouldn't shoot FMJ unless it was the only thing the gun cycled (and even then there are still better options with EFMJ and corbon's pow'rball).

Chupacabra
November 10, 2006, 09:15 PM
Penetration through interior walls is going to be an issue no matter what kind of ammunition you use. HPs, FMJ, it doesn't matter. All of it is going through a couple walls, at least.

If I absolutely had to use FMJ for some reason, I would use DoubleTap 230grain FMJ Match. I'm sure they would perform okay, but I would rather use a quality hollowpoint.

Iceman711
November 11, 2006, 01:33 AM
Our current military issue is the Beretta M9 pistol in 9mm, and all use FMJ ammo. JHP's are not allowed.

Hollow points are better, but you absolutely should not feel underpowered with .45acp fmj.

TheHardcase
November 11, 2006, 03:41 AM
Sunray quote:

FMJ's don't expand and are unreliable as fight stoppers. The JHP would be much better.

I'm curious. Did the WWII Soldiers and Marines carry JHP in their .45s or FMJ ball ammo? I don't recall any reports of major failures as fight stoppers back then.

Coronach
November 11, 2006, 05:43 AM
FMJ will work. A HP is better, but ball ammo will work. Of all the handgun rounds out there, the .45 ACP is one of the better ones for use with ball ammo. Its penetration is less excessive and it already is nice and fat.

Still, if you can at all swing it, you're better off with a well-made hollow point.

Mike

Mad Magyar
November 11, 2006, 07:35 AM
Personally, not being in law enforcement, I'm not a keen fan of any ammo other than FMJ in a .45. Skeeter Skelton brought this up on many occasions with his .45's. I say this only because of the reliability issue. On lesser calibers, I can see a need and use hollow points for my carry.
Clint Smith, the Thunder Ranch guru, uses only 230-gr ball ammo in his personal defense guns. "When you're shooting big .45 slugs, you don't really need them to expand. And I prefer the reliable feeding you get with ball ammunition."

VHinch
November 11, 2006, 11:25 AM
I carry Winchester SXT's in my carry 1911's. That being said, my spare mag is loaded with FMJ. While in all reality the spare mag would only be used in the event of a failure, I would not feel undergunned with that mag in my gun.

V

.357 magnum
November 11, 2006, 11:26 AM
No modern .45 auto should have a feed issue. If it does, I would get a new gun. If you really have a feed issue, go with the 165gr pow-r-ball by corbon. Very powerful round though, you will need to practice a lot. This is a +P round, again that would be very hard on older guns if you shot a lot of practice rounds. I can tell you this, it would most likely be a stopper close to some of the better quality HP. As for you gentlemen that are stuck on ball ammo, this is not 1945 it's almost 2007 and we have extremely high quality ammo available now. Military requires ball. I am 50 years old and ex-LE. I never heard of anyone using ball ammo even back when I was in LE for self defense. If some drugged up home invader comes visiting with his freinds, then you will want the best available. This thread is about FMJ and should they be used for self-defense. The real answer is NO. We have so much better available to use now because of technological advances. This is a great bunch of people on THR, but if a person needs to defend themselves from harm-- do not advise them to use FMJ--their life could depend on it! There is so much better available. The .45 and .40 are my favorite caliber's for a couple of good reasons. One of them is the fact they are great self-defense rounds. You can see my earlier post on this thread for what are some proven self-defense rounds in a .45

The Best to all on THR!

velojym
November 12, 2006, 11:32 AM
I've tested my XD45 with a fairly wide variety of JHP ammo, and have had zero
failures, so now I just need to work out what it likes best. I keep it loaded with 230gr JHPs (though I'm ashamed to say I don't know which batch right at the moment).
My CCW is a Springfield Micro Compact 1911, which is stoked with ball until I can get more ammo/range time together. Since I travel for a living, apartment life isn't an issue, but it's always important to know what's downrange of your target.
I'll have to look into the expanding FMJ, but I still plan to wring out the Micro with a few different loads, and hopefully will be able to settle on something both pistols like.

.38 Special
November 12, 2006, 11:46 AM
I know there are a lot of folks who take issue with Evan Marshall's "one shot stop" research, but I have yet to see anything more reliable.

According to actual street usage, .45 ball is reliable about 60% of the time. That, to me, is much more meaningful than second-hand anecdotes about dead Japanese soldiers.

If I was worried about overpenetration and was satisfied with 60% effectiveness, I would use a .32 ACP with Silvertips.

45Seventy
November 12, 2006, 12:26 PM
If you are worried about overpenetration and need the reliability of a roundnose bullet, why not Glaser Safety Slugs? They are somewhat expensive - so practicing with them is out - but they break apart on contact which reduces the risk of overpenetration. Stopping power is supposed to be increased over conventional HP rounds. I keep a speed loader full of .357 mag GSS rounds near my GP-100 for home protection.

velojym
November 12, 2006, 12:30 PM
I'm buying a GP100 for my wife, as she doesn't much care for the P95, and I'll probably buy a couple packs of Glasers for her. We don't live in an apartment, but I'd still rather not shoot through any walls, as we'd be pretty upset if one of the dogs got hurt. I did think about loading a couple Glasers up front, then four JHPs, in case Mr Bad Guy takes cover after the first couple shots. I still have to think about it though.

ShelbyV8
November 12, 2006, 04:50 PM
As far as combat is concerned pistol rounds probably accounted for mabe 1 in a 1000 kills (didn't win any wars). Any weapon that won't feed HP reliablely will fail on JHP sooner or later. Anything I own that won't shoot Gold Dots stays in the safe.

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