Deer hunting with a .45ACP.......Which Ammo?


June 8, 2007, 08:24 AM
Let me start off by saying I'm not asking for an ethical debate on the use of a .45ACP as a deer cartridge. Also, yes this is legal in NC. What I am asking is IF you were going to handgun hunt with a .45ACP, which commercially available ammo would you select? (I don't reload)

Right now I'm looking at the 200-230gr. +P loads from companies like Hornady and Doubletap. Are there others I need to evaluate? Should I be looking at some of the 185 +P's? Standard pressures (non +P)?

My shots will be 30 yds or less. (Bow range basically). Yes I can keep a full magazine inside the killzone at that range. My weapon will be my Ruger P90.

Think of this thread like a shopping list. With summer coming on I'll be putting in some range time with my hunting weapons (bow, shotgun, muzzleloader, rifle, handgun.) I'm putting together a list of ammo that I need to aquire to evaluate in the .45ACP. I've got my pet loads already in all the others, this one is new to me in this role. My carry ammo is Hornady TAP, so that's one I'll be testing. Looking for other suggestions.


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June 8, 2007, 10:50 AM
I would check out a couple loads from Buffalo Bore. The 185 and 200gr loads are pretty interesting. Good luck.

June 8, 2007, 05:27 PM
Think about .45 super loads from Buffalo Bore*. 230 gr. JHP @1100 fps (618 ft. lbs.) is just a recoil spring change away in a hoss of a gun like the Ruger P90. I would make sure that the JHP they are loading will stand up to the speed and penetrate enough, so you should find out what it is from them. Just call them.

Barring that, I would look towards the Hornady XTP +P 230 gr. JHP @ 900 fps (413 ft. lbs.).

You want penetration, so stay with 230 grain, slow expanding bullets. Perhaps ideal would be a good hardcast 230-255 grain flat point with a metplat of 0.310+, but I don't know anyone that loads that commercially. Do you handload?

*I would have said Texas Ammo too, but they seem to be out of business.

June 8, 2007, 05:32 PM
Shooting .45 Super would be only a recoil spring change? Wouldn't a new barrel be required?? I would think the OAL of .45 Super cartridges would be too long to chamber in my .45ACP barrel. Am I wrong there?

June 8, 2007, 05:34 PM
Let me throw another curveball. Anyone know where I can get a .400 Corbon conversion for a Ruger P90??

June 8, 2007, 05:36 PM
No, they have the same outside dimensions. The difference is that super brass is thicker at the base of the cartridge thus giving it a slightly smaller case volume, but allowing it to run a little higher pressure.

June 8, 2007, 05:38 PM
Instead of .400 corbon, just buy a 10mm and use double tap's 200 grain hardcast 1300 fps (750 ft. lbs.).

June 8, 2007, 06:15 PM
The older speer manual has 250 grn SP loads for .45 ACP. IIRC at about 750 to 800 fps. The manual stated that the bullets would not expand at those velocities but would penetrate like no tomorrow. My take on this is with a 45 who needs expansion:eek: if a .45 caliber hole clean through the vitals won't kill a deer then nothing will. By the same token any hard cast 230grn load should be up to the challenge.

Contrary to a lot of the above advice STAY AWAY from and personal defense style loadings you will not get the necessary penetration required for hunting.

June 8, 2007, 06:44 PM
In factory loads, I'd look at the Winchester Ranger SXT 230 JHP +P . . . claimed velocity is 990 ft/sec, which is pretty good for a 230.

June 9, 2007, 11:52 PM
I used handloaded 185 xtps at around 950fps,got full penetration breaking bone and all.Dont worry about using +p ammo,you dont need it,just keep shots around 100 or less and you will be fine.

June 10, 2007, 12:02 AM
i kno they have it for 1911s. g luck

June 10, 2007, 07:13 AM
Ditto Country Rebels advice. The 185gr JHP's have worked very well for me. Also, the 200gr SWC loaded up to about 1,000fps did well.

Shot placement is the most critical element. On broadside shots, all the above loads gave complete penetration. DRT if shot hits spine, but will not completely penetrate, but, then whats the point if deer is DRT ???

The .40s&w works equally well with 155-180gr JHP bullets. So does the 10mm.

June 10, 2007, 10:23 PM
I shot a 400 pound hog and a 200 pounder another time with the old Speer 200 grain 'flying ashtray' and it worked pretty darn good at 7 yards or so.That was 25 years ago years ago :scrutiny:

June 11, 2007, 12:02 AM
I have a cousin who hunts only with .45 ACP in a custom Llama 1911. He handloads only, and uses lead, hard-cast rounds...230 grains. He sights in for, and limits his shots to 100 yards. He bags at least one deerevery single year.

He was a competetive shooter in the Air Force years back in the early 1980s. I actually witnessed him fire 5 rounds into a sub-MOA cluster, off the bench, with iron-sights. May God strike me down now if that is a lie. I could not believe it. I would never never believe such a story if I hadn't seen it. With a scope? Okay. But, with a 5" 1911? With iron sights!!!

June 11, 2007, 06:51 AM
I just did a little penetration test useing wet newsprint compressed, my 1911 with 6.8 grains of winchester 231 pushing a 200 grain Hornady combat target FME penetrated 14" with zero deformation of the bullet, it looked like it could have been loaded again. A .44 magnum pushing a 240 grain XTP only made it 25" in the same test. Both loads were shot at 25 yards.

FWIW, I've found the remigton golden sabre to be a very tough bullet but did not include it in my little home boy test.:D

June 14, 2007, 10:03 AM
+1 for 230 grain hard cast lead.

Bottom Gun
June 14, 2007, 04:12 PM
I agree with Krochus. Non-expanding bullets are best for hunting. Expansion will limit penetration.

I have taken a couple of deer using 200 gr SWC and it penetrates well and works good. My loads chronograph at just under 1100 fps. I had one bullet go all the way through a small whitetail once.

June 14, 2007, 05:33 PM
let us know how long you have to track the animal.

June 15, 2007, 10:12 AM
I can verify that a Speer 230gr +P Gold Dot will penetrate a doe broadside behind the shoulder @ 30 yards. An exit wound the size of a half dollar and an excellent blood trail as a result.

June 15, 2007, 10:33 AM
let us know how long you have to track the animal.

I was wondering how long it would be before that came up.

As I said in the OP the thread's not about the ethical questions. I've resolved those for myself. I'm looking for the best commercial loads for the job. Thanks to all who've replied with suggestions. Keep 'em coming. I'm keeping a list.

June 15, 2007, 10:46 AM
In 45ACP would be the Remington 185+p's. They are excellent performers. That said, I have never tried any of the Buf Bore stuff.

A note on the 45 Super: If you wish to go this route you can push a 200 grain slug to about 1200-1300 fps, which will give you muzzle energy in the 640-750 range, or a 185 at 1300-1350 will give you about 700ish, which is up there with some heavy 357 loads. The 357’s will have a higher sectional density, resulting in greater penetration, but with in 25-30 yards, as long as you do your part that deer will be DTR.

June 15, 2007, 10:57 AM
Look Here:

June 15, 2007, 06:17 PM
Ya I figured someone had to speak up,For your info kelly the 185xtp at 950fps dropped him where he stood.NUFF SAID

June 16, 2007, 11:27 AM

June 18, 2007, 12:59 PM
im not sure what is best, but im intersted too. i'd like to pack a 45 with me this season as a back up.

June 18, 2007, 03:02 PM
corbon 185 grain hollowpoints

June 25, 2007, 01:53 AM
where you located?
if you wait for the rite shot placement 45acp is fine,but as you said after the restriction change its legal to hunt bear with 25acp,didnt say i was ,just legal.
i shot a doe with my 625 &200gr xtp went clean thru busting 2 ribs,roasted up fine!!!


June 25, 2007, 04:11 AM

I've found this stuff to be quite a gas to plink. Should put a deer down without issue. Note I selected a FMJ round, not a JHP. If I selected a JHP, I'd probably pick the Hornady XTP, those things seem to expand really easy relative to other JHPs I shot into dirt/gravel backstops.

June 25, 2007, 08:58 AM
GP100man. I'm in Alamance County, South of Burlington/Graham. I do most of my hunting in Orange and Caswell Counties though.

Desert Dog
June 25, 2007, 10:28 AM
In a Ruger P90, yes all that is needed to shoot .45 Super is a Wolff 16 lb. recoil spring. Full house loads are quite "vigorous" though, and if you want to play in this realm, it is best to handload.

My choice for what you are after is using a hardcast 250gr. RNFP normally loaded in .45 Colt, seated to 1.16" so the ogive will allow the case mouth to seat in the barrel properly, over a healthy dose of AA#9. It is a compressed load.

Very low sigma in the 1100 FPS range.

Good luck...


June 25, 2007, 02:33 PM
When I started this thread I said I don't handload, and that is still true for the moment. I am planning to start soon though. I've been poring through the net for info and have PM'd a few questions to some folks here and at TFL asking for info and have received great responses. I've also got a buddy at work who reloads. I'm probably going to order the Lee Classic Turret Kit this week before the sale on Midway ends. I noticed in one of the books I picked up that Speer (I believe) offers a .451" 240gr JSP bullet that may be a good choice in this role. Anyone used that particular bullet before or know anyone who has?

June 25, 2007, 03:09 PM
Handloading sounds like a good idea for you and the 240 JSP should work for your purposes, though I have no direct experience with that bullet.

June 25, 2007, 11:02 PM
I've shot two deer with my Kimber CDP Custom using 230gr Gold Dots loaded to +P. 45 ACP has been a great caliber based on those experiences. No tracking, deer fell within 10 yards of where shot. It really is a fun experience and to me combines the best of bow-hunting (limited range) with the effectiveness of a firearm. ( I should preface that statement with the fact that I cannot hit poop with my bow - I practice and practice, getting consistent fist sized groups out to 30 yards, but when I've dropped the hammer on deer or hogs, I always find my arrow with no blood on it sticking in the ground, having choked yet again!) Full energy dump in chest cavity, did not penetrate far side. Neither were very big deer.

June 25, 2007, 11:59 PM
I'd go with a 230 gr. SWC if you can find them. I know Magtech makes 230 gr. FMJ SWCs, don't know if they sell it as loaded ammo or not.

If you know somebody who will handload it for you, you could use 255-grain SWCs and come pretty darn close to .45 Colt killing power.

June 26, 2007, 06:52 AM
My experience on S. Texas deer with Double Tap 230gr. Gold Dots moving at 1010 fps from a Sig P220 was very positive.

June 26, 2007, 08:27 PM
I'd go with a heavy cast bullet. I've seen guys shot 255 gr cast bullets in 45acp for bowling pin matches - may be a good option.

July 9, 2007, 09:59 PM
I'll put it this way. I wouldn't want to use anything to try to stop a 250 lb. BG that wouldn't stop a 250 lb animal. I know my .45 ACP will stop a hog, but haven't tried it on a deer. I suspect if it is hit in the vitals it would also stop it.

July 9, 2007, 10:02 PM
I know my .45 ACP will stop a hog

really? I sure as hell wouldn't try that.

July 9, 2007, 11:59 PM
.45 on a hog ? I'd never try that. I'd rather throw the gun at it LOL. It won't get as pissed.

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