Remington Golden Saber .45 ACP: 230 gr. vs 185 gr?


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Arrogant Bastard
September 8, 2008, 05:17 PM
I noticed just now on Cheaper than Dirt that this ammo comes in two weights -- previously, I'd only noticed the 185-gr variety.

How effective is one vs the other, assuming same shot placement? How is recoil for one vs the other?

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possum
September 8, 2008, 05:53 PM
the best thing that i would tell you is to try each out in the gun, and see what feeds, shoots the most accurate and is easiest for you to control in your gun. what is best for one might not be the best for another. i can tell you that you can't go wrong with either one.

In my book i don't have info on the golden sabers exactly but i do have there 2
rem 185gr jhp 1100fps
411ft-lbs

rem 230gr jhp 835fps
356ft.lbs
so from going form this info i would choose the little lighter and faster 185gr. as long as it was reliable in my gun. it is getting more ft. lbs of energy on target.

also with the 185gr getting 1100fps, theoritically it should expand better, as compared to the 230gr that is only going 835fps. even thought the 185gr is lighter, i believe that it would have the best terminal ballistics.

Rustynuts
September 8, 2008, 06:00 PM
I don't know. I like the higher energy, but most people say stick with 230 in 45, period.

NG VI
September 8, 2008, 06:01 PM
I think the 230 is probably the more effective load, though the 185 (especially the +P version) is no slouch either. Golden Saber is a very good bullet. I think most modern duty bullets are getting better and better at opening up and performing with excellence at the slower short barrel and 230 grain .45 Auto velocities. HST is a prime example of that, in HST, bullet weight is no longer an indicator of less expansion, it actually expands better than the lighter weight versions of the same bullets.

Ghost Walker
September 8, 2008, 06:22 PM
:) It might help to remember that JHP's don't always perform up to their design criteria. With barricades, car windows and bodies, and heavy winter clothing a heavier bullet is always better than a lighter one.

(Especially when fired from a handgun!)

Winchester Ranger SXT (either flavor) and Remington Golden Saber are the only two pistol JHP's that actually use the bullet's jacket as a cutting mechanism in order to inflict target damage.

If your pistol will reliably feed 230 grain JHP's I'd suggest that you use them. Me? I prefer 230 grain FMJ/RN; but, that's another story. ;)

Redlg155
September 8, 2008, 06:25 PM
I've shot and carried both loads. In my full size 1911 I carry the Golden Saber 230gr JHP. It's hard to argue with the effectiveness of the 230 grain loads. They are a good proven and effective performer.

However, I have used the lighter load in my previously owned HK USP C .45 auto. Since the .45 auto in the 230 grain loading is by no means a high velocity round, it suffers even more in short and ultra short barrel autos. I'm just not comfortable with the velocity of the heavier bullets in short barrels. This is where the 185gr loads really shine.

The real benefit to both loads is that they both start out at .45 cal and don't have to rely on extreme bullets designs or high velocities to reach a respectable diameter. That can't be said with a 9mm.

Match the load to the individual handgun. You won't go wrong.

Babalouie
September 8, 2008, 08:46 PM
Either one is really going to hurt...a lot.

rbernie
September 8, 2008, 09:43 PM
Not the newest data, but likely still relevant:

http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/45acp.htm

I prefer the 230gr for their lower muzzle flash and better penetration capabilities. However, I would be happy with either (and am, since I have a store of both).

Jason_G
September 8, 2008, 10:04 PM
Generally speaking I think you can toss those energy figures out the window. They really don't mean much IMHO.
The main difference between 185 vs. 230 (assuming a standard length barrel) is the amount of recoil vs. penetration. 185's tend to be lighter recoiling (not much so, but I can tell the difference), but generally penetrate less.
If you have a shorter barrel or can get back on target faster with the 185's, then those are good reasons for shooting it. The energy figures are not a good guiding source of info. Many 185's will show "better" energy figures than the 230's, but don't usually penetrate gel as well from what I've seen.

Jason

Rampant_Colt
September 8, 2008, 10:12 PM
Remington Golden Sabers are an excellent bullet design. They feature an excellent feed profile and terminal ballistics to match.
Felt recoil between the two is equal.

in calibrated ballistic gel:

230gr 14.3" penetration - .75 recovered diameter

185gr 13" penetration - .70 recovered dia

185gr +P 12.6" penetration - .70 dia

I personally prefer 230gr for my .45s


flip a coin...

Disaster
September 8, 2008, 10:33 PM
Since the .45 auto in the 230 grain loading is by no means a high velocity round, it suffers even more in short and ultra short barrel autos. I'm just not comfortable with the velocity of the heavier bullets in short barrels. This is where the 185gr loads really shine.

This is where times have changed. You don't need high velocity to expand modern JHP's. They now reliably expand at 700 fps...and even below.

The fact is, you actually do yourself more of a disservice when you go with light, high velocity loads in short barrels. They lose more velocity than do heavier bullet loads do. This comes down to the physics of pushing a light bullet behind a pile of powder. It accelerates faster than a heavier bullet and much of the powder is lost to the atmosphere in a big old flash.

So, if light bullets penetrate less than heavier ones from a long barrel, and they lose more velocity than heavier ones do in a short barrel, one can put two and two together and realize that light bullets will penetrate even less in short barrels.

To recap:

1. Modern bullet's expand at much lower velocities than they did 15 years ago. +1000 fps speeds are no longer necessary to insure expansion.

2. Lighter bullets lose more velocity (and power) in shorter barrels than do heavier bullets.

3. Heavier bullets, loaded to similar pressures, penetrate further than do lighter bullets.

NG VI
September 9, 2008, 09:10 AM
Winchester Ranger SXT (either flavor) and Remington Golden Saber are the only two pistol JHP's that actually use the bullet's jacket as a cutting mechanism in order to inflict target damage.



The HST doesn't exactly use its jacket as a cutting mechanism, but what the jacket does do that is unique as far as I can tell is prop up the petals of lead from the front core, making the expansion petals themselves a cutting mechanism.

fastbolt
September 9, 2008, 12:46 PM
I moved away from +P in .45 ACP some years ago.

Some folks claim to like the increased muzzle blast and felt recoil when shooting .45 +P loads on the range, but I don't. I like a defensive load that's more controllable and allows me better recoil recovery and management.

Reliable functioning is also a concern of mine. I've experienced some feeding 'timing' issues with the occasional smaller size .45 pistol when using +P loads. Increased slide velocities, especially in a pistol with a shorter slide travel, may sometimes result in the slide 'out-running' the magazine spring being able to properly lift the top round up for optimal feeding.

Then there's the potential for increased wear and tear on the gun itself.

I just finally decided that for my usage there were more potential disadvantages than advantages when it came to +P .45 ammunition ... but that's just me.

I was reading of the experiences of a respected gentleman on another forum one time. He apparently experienced receiving a small lot of one majorbrand premium .45 ACP LE load where the equipment used to cut the jackets on the bullets had apparently become duller than was normally considered within specification. The result was some bullets that failed to expand as intended because of what seemed to be incomplete jacket cuts. This fellow said that if the same bullets had been used in the slightly faster +P load that the extra velocity might have been enough to allow the bullet to expand as intended, even with the duller cutting surfaces on the equipment used for that lot of ammunition. Maybe so.

Unless it needed 25 fps more than even the +P would provide.

But what if one of the cases had been trimmed too long, and the all-important cartridge needed wouldn't completely chamber? Over the years I've come across a pair of .40 S&W rounds from one maker's LE ammunition which had that problem, and learned of a round of one of the other major maker's 'premium' line which had that problem in one of our guns one time (on the range).

You can 'what if?' yourself into any corner of your choosing. :)

The extra pressure and increased velocity might be considered useful or desirable by somebody, somewhere, sometime. It'll sell to somebody, somewhere.

It's up to each person using a .45 to make sure their particular make/model of pistol is rated for +P usage by the pistol's manufacturer ... and then determine if the extra pressure offers them something they desire, or feel is needed, in their particular situation. Determine where their best 'balanced compromise' exists. An informed decision, so to speak.

I still have a supply of it in my ammunition supply, but I seldom use it. If I did I'd be more prone to use it in one of my full-size .45 pistols.

Just my thoughts.

Redlg155
September 9, 2008, 04:26 PM
The fact is, you actually do yourself more of a disservice when you go with light, high velocity loads in short barrels. They lose more velocity than do heavier bullet loads do.


True to a certain extent, but given the fact that the lighter bullet travels at a higher intial velocity, by the time you factor in velocity loss due to the shorter barrel you still have 900+fps or so to work with.

No matter what the bullet construction, I'd still be leery of sub 700 fps velocities in a heavy 230gr bullet. I'd much rather rely upon the extra 200fps of a lighter bullet.

Hence my choice with the my HK P200sk .40. I've found that the Georgia Arms 155gr +P gives me excellent controllability combined with accuracy. Muzzle blast is also minimal with this load. I'd choose that before one of the heavier 180gr loads in the .40 in a compact carry gun.

Again, it all boils down to personal preference.

CWL
September 10, 2008, 12:12 AM
I shoot the GS 230gr JHP in my 4"-5" pistols. 230gr bullet is good enough even if it doesn't expand.

I shoot the GS 185gr JHP in my 3" Officer size M1911. The lighter bullet feels better on the wrist, is easier to control in a smaller pistol and the higher velocity compensates for the 3" barrel.

Steve C
September 10, 2008, 04:47 AM
With older design bullets it was generally accepted that you needed 1,000 fps minimum muzzle velocity to get reliable bullet expansion so in the .45 acp it took a 185gr bullet to do that and stay at standard pressure.

Bullet design has since moved on and current designs will give positive expansion at muzzle velocities well under 1K fps so pick the bullet weight you like to shoot. It makes little difference in bullet effectiveness.

KBintheSLC
September 10, 2008, 05:17 PM
The 230 will dig deeper, and expand slower. The 185 will hit "harder" so to speak due to higher energy. So, I guess it depends on your priorities. I assume both will dispatch a human target just fine.

running iron
January 13, 2010, 07:55 PM
I carry the 230 golden saber that I reload. You have to remember point of impact. The lighter, faster bullet is going to hit lower on the target than the 230 at normal speeds. Shot placement still matters more that anything else IMO.

REAPER4206969
January 13, 2010, 07:59 PM
230gr.

MachIVshooter
January 14, 2010, 01:16 AM
I'd opt for the 230. In my testing with ballistic clay, 185's, while able to produce awesome energies, are less reliable where penetration is concerned. One of my HD pistols is a S&W 4516, and I went a step further with the "heavier is better" ideaology and loaded 240 gr. Sierra JHC's. Of course, they're also clocking 1,080 FPS.......

REAPER4206969
January 14, 2010, 01:59 AM
Damn! This is a zombie thread! 2008

Manco
January 14, 2010, 02:41 AM
I noticed just now on Cheaper than Dirt that this ammo comes in two weights -- previously, I'd only noticed the 185-gr variety.

How effective is one vs the other, assuming same shot placement?

Ultimately it depends on the individual load, including the bullet technology that is used. The best thing to do would be to find penetration and expansion data from calibrated ballistic tests.

In general (may not apply to all cases), for any given caliber heavier bullets do tend to behave differently from lighter bullets when fired. The former sort of concentrate their momentum and energy in their weight and longer length, naturally, and give them up less readily and quickly to any media that is encountered, which usually results in greater penetration. The latter depend more on higher velocity to give them about equal momentum and greater energy (which varies according to the square of velocity), but because of the higher velocity they tend to more quickly transfer momentum and energy to any media encountered, pushing it more quickly out of the way, thereby stretching it out a bit more (temporary cavitation), while slowing down at a higher rate, usually resulting in less penetration.

Which is more effective depends on a lot of other factors, including bullet design, the size and power of the caliber relative to the target, and what parameters one considers to be the most effective. For example, with .45 ACP (and most other "service" calibers), I personally favor loads with heavy-for-caliber bullets because penetration (which I consider most important) with bullet expansion is already marginal as it is. Given that overpenetration should not be a concern with self-defense JHP bullets, and the amount of energy involved is likely insufficient to wound substantially on its own, heavier bullets are also generally more resilient, by which I mean less affected by barriers such as furniture, doors, and bones. So in most cases, all else being equal, heavier bullets tend to be more effective.

How is recoil for one vs the other?

For a given caliber, heavier bullets will usually recoil slightly harder, but I can barely tell the difference in most cases (it depends largely on how close the momentum is between different loads).

In my book i don't have info on the golden sabers exactly but i do have there 2
rem 185gr jhp 1100fps
411ft-lbs

rem 230gr jhp 835fps
356ft.lbs
so from going form this info i would choose the little lighter and faster 185gr. as long as it was reliable in my gun. it is getting more ft. lbs of energy on target.

But what do those additional ft-lbs do? They're only there to give the lighter bullet enough momentum to do its job, and are made possible because lighter bullets are shorter, leaving more room in the cartridge case for more powder and the generation of more gas at the same maximum pressure and holding that pressure for longer. What you'll get is more energy imparted to tissues, stretching them out a bit further but not necessarily doing any more real damage, as well as quite possibly less penetration, especially through barriers or tough materials. Some believe in the value of so-called "hydrostatic shock" even at the modest energy levels of .45 ACP, but keep in mind that living tissue is far more elastic and resilient than ballistic gelatin and wet phonebooks, both of which much more readily and permanently deform when hit by faster, more energetic bullets. This is where I think real-world performance often deviates most significantly from lab test results.

also with the 185gr getting 1100fps, theoritically it should expand better, as compared to the 230gr that is only going 835fps. even thought the 185gr is lighter, i believe that it would have the best terminal ballistics.

It depends on the design of the bullet, too. In most scenarios, using modern premium JHPs designed for law enforcement and self-defense, I wouldn't bet on the 185 grain bullet outperforming the 230 grain bullet--not unless tests show that a particular bullet design works better with lighter bullets, in which case I would look for a different bullet design. :) That said, ultimately the optimum choice depends on finding the best combination of penetration and expansion (by absolute diameter, not a multiplicative factor), whatever the weight of the bullet may be.

I don't know. I like the higher energy, but most people say stick with 230 in 45, period.

Aside from terminal performance, another reason for doing so is that semiautomatic weapons are usually designed to function most reliably with a specific bullet weight, which for .45 ACP would be 230 grains. A 185 grain bullet shot at a higher velocity is almost the same as far as the guns are concerned, but not exactly, and some people like to play it really safe with regard to reliability.

Golden Saber is a very good bullet. I think most modern duty bullets are getting better and better at opening up and performing with excellence at the slower short barrel and 230 grain .45 Auto velocities.

What you say is true, although I have to think that there must be a limit to how slow you can go, and heavier bullets, for all of their advantages, leave less of a margin for JHPs to work with, particularly with the combination of the .45 ACP caliber and barrels shorter than 5". I'm not really concerned myself because I err on the side of penetration anyway, and less expansion means more penetration.

HST is a prime example of that, in HST, bullet weight is no longer an indicator of less expansion, it actually expands better than the lighter weight versions of the same bullets.

This can be true with some designs because heavier bullets are generally longer bullets, which allow for more material to expand outward. The reason HST works so well at lower velocities is neither genius nor magic--the bullet is fully pre-cut for expansion at the factory (the genius is in developing how to manufacture the bullet consistently and cheaply).

While HST and some other modern JHPs are undoubtedly impressive in how they expand, remember that maximum expansion in itself is not the end goal. Some people give the impression that it is, to them, when selecting their primary self-defense load, and are often willing, in my opinion, to accept marginal penetration as a trade-off, but that's not necessarily the best choice. There are also bullet designs that carefully and deliberately limit the expansion process, and these may be worth looking into as well if they give a good combination of penetration and expansion in the lab.

:) It might help to remember that JHP's don't always perform up to their design criteria. With barricades, car windows and bodies, and heavy winter clothing a heavier bullet is always better than a lighter one.

Are people really concerned about penetrating heavy winter clothing? If anything, it could cause JHPs to fail to expand sometimes and massively overpenetrate, but I wouldn't worry about getting enough penetration--bullets should zip right through clothing almost like it wasn't there, unless you're wearing Kevlar. I think that all of the crazy rumors from the Korean War about .30 Carbine being unable to penetrate winter clothing still haunt us to this day. All of this could have been avoided with better aim. :)

Winchester Ranger SXT (either flavor) and Remington Golden Saber are the only two pistol JHP's that actually use the bullet's jacket as a cutting mechanism in order to inflict target damage.

Yes, but the Golden Saber also has issues with jacket separation, from what I've seen. I'm not sure about the older Ranger SXTs, but the newer Ranger-Ts seem to hold together pretty well, as long as they don't encounter hard barriers along the way, that is. For the latter, nothing beats bonded and all-copper bullets.

If your pistol will reliably feed 230 grain JHP's I'd suggest that you use them. Me? I prefer 230 grain FMJ/RN; but, that's another story. ;)

In that case, 230 grain FMJ-FN or FMJ-TC may be more effective.

So, if light bullets penetrate less than heavier ones from a long barrel, and they lose more velocity than heavier ones do in a short barrel, one can put two and two together and realize that light bullets will penetrate even less in short barrels.

That's a great way to put it, and this goes for lighter powder loads as well, such as .38 Special as opposed to .357 Magnum. Indeed, most recommend heavier bullets for the former to squeeze out all the penetration you can get, and lighter bullets for the latter to help avoid overpenetration in human targets (heavier bullets are used for hunting larger animals).

crashbuell
January 14, 2010, 04:26 PM
I like the 185gr. To me, it has just a touch less recoil.

Mr.510
January 15, 2010, 07:25 AM
230 grain (+P HST if I have a choice). The chest cavity is surrounded by ribs and gristle.

Yo Mama
January 15, 2010, 10:03 AM
Don't buy from Cheaper than Dirt.

FuzzyBunny
January 15, 2010, 07:57 PM
No one shoots the flying ashtray anymore?

Thats all I carry because I have so many. Am I missing something?

REAPER4206969
January 15, 2010, 08:06 PM
No one shoots the flying ashtray anymore?
Outdated bullet technology.

Paints
January 15, 2010, 09:38 PM
Remington Golden Sabers are an excellent bullet design. They feature an excellent feed profile and terminal ballistics to match.
Felt recoil between the two is equal.

in calibrated ballistic gel:

230gr 14.3" penetration - .75 recovered diameter

185gr 13" penetration - .70 recovered dia

185gr +P 12.6" penetration - .70 dia

I personally prefer 230gr for my .45s


flip a coin...

Hmmm, strange, the 185 gr +P has less penetration than the same bullet at regular pressure?

The only explanation I can think is that the +P expanded earlier and had more drag.

Anyone else?

Ken

Jason_G
January 17, 2010, 12:36 PM
Hmmm, strange, the 185 gr +P has less penetration than the same bullet at regular pressure?

The only explanation I can think is that the +P expanded earlier and had more drag.

Anyone else?

Higher velocities (at least from what I've seen) usually do cause the bullet to open more quickly, so I wouldn't argue with your logic. My guess would also be that the flip-side to having less penetration, in this case, would be that the hole created would be closer to max diameter all the way through, and not as narrow at the entry end of the cavity. Whether that is of benefit or detriment, I can't tell you. I think it would depend on the situation.


Jason

Manco
January 17, 2010, 01:29 PM
Hmmm, strange, the 185 gr +P has less penetration than the same bullet at regular pressure?

The only explanation I can think is that the +P expanded earlier and had more drag.

That's a reasonable guess, and may well be the case here. It's also possible that faster bullets, even when they don't expand, under certain combinations and ranges of conditions, could transfer energy faster in some media, resulting in a wider temporary cavity but less penetration. The complexities of terminal ballistics are such that the only truly reliable way of knowing is to shoot bullets into various types of media and hope that they correlate to whatever you really intend to shoot.

This, by the way, is why it's kind of silly to be overly biased toward or against certain calibers or specific bullet designs (e.g. ones that expand the most)--in the end, it's the individual load as a whole that will determine the terminal effects (shot placement aside).

.357 magnum
January 18, 2010, 10:35 AM
First-- There is NO reason to shoot 185gr in a .45acp UNLESS the Barrel is LESS then 4 inches long. Otherwise you Reduce Penetration and Risk Expansion. Which is Important for Stopping a BG and say getting through that Coat they may Wear in a Northern Climate Such as my own City.


The Golden Sabre by Remington is a Good Bullet BUT-there are Better on the market now days. I use All LE Ammo for Protection/Defense. NO reason NOT too-- It is available all over the internet. In my .45's I use Winchester 230gr Bonded LE Ammo. Excellent Penetration, Excellent Expansion, Accuracy and It Feeds Great-Never a Malfunction of any Type-Period. I also Recommend Winchester LE 230gr SXT's --Not as Much Penetration, so Personally I do not use them a lot. Another GREAT load is the Federal Tactical 230gr HST. [ Although I Prefer Federal 230gr Tactical Bonded] I Love the HST, but I do have a Knock against it. Some of my Springfield .45 XD's would Choke on it once in a While-They NEVER Choked on Winchester 230gr Bonded. I no Longer own any .45 XD's By the way I have several XD-M's in 9mm and .40-They have Never Failed! Awesome Guns! I do Recommend Both the Winchester LE-Bonded 180gr for .40 cal and Winchester LE 147gr +P for 9mm. I use a lot of Federal Tactical HST's both the 180gr for .40cal and 147gr +P for 9mm. I have never had Issues with the HST design in the .40cal or 9mm. I know both Winchester and Federal the 147gr +P's are Pretty hard to get now days, but I use the regular non +P 147gr 9mm Bonded from Winchester. And the 147gr non +P Federal HST.

I have no knock against the Springfield XD .45, it just was not for me. I think a lot of people would Crap a Brick when I told them My most reliable .45's EVER with NO malfunctions are my Taurus 24/7 and my Taurus Model 845 which is a Newer Taurus design that I got last year. I also have a Taurus 1911 in Stainless that shoots Anything you feed it too. I want the New Taurus 1911 with the 12rd mag in Stainless but I may have trouble Sneaking that one past the Wife. [My wife Loves to shoot and She is a Martyr being married to me! I am such a Pain in the Ass always buying guns and my Dream RED 2005 GTO] She is a Great Woman-Just like Most of your Wives are!

The Best to All!

Frank

Paints
January 18, 2010, 11:05 AM
I want the New Taurus 1911 with the 12rd mag in Stainless but I may have trouble Sneaking that one past the Wife. [My wife Loves to shoot and She is a Martyr being married to me!

Valentine's Day is coming up! Buy it for HER and beg her to let you break it in ;-)

Ken

Manco
January 18, 2010, 01:28 PM
First-- There is NO reason to shoot 185gr in a .45acp UNLESS the Barrel is LESS then 4 inches long.

With smaller, higher velocity calibers I'd say that heavy bullets generally work better with short barrels because less power and gas generation is needed to attain sufficient momentum, while light bullets need more gas and therefore benefit more from longer barrels. That said, with .45 ACP I'm not 100% sure because the absolute velocity can get pretty low with heavy bullets, and reliable expansion would depend on the design of the bullet. As long as the barrel isn't too short, I'd stick with heavy bullets, but past a certain point maybe light bullets would work better overall, although they'd suffer even more in terms of penetration. I'm not sure where to draw the line--we'd have to look at velocity, expansion, and penetration data from lab tests in various barrel lengths to determine which load is best for any particular barrel length. That's pretty simple as long as you can find reliable and relevant data.

Otherwise you Reduce Penetration and Risk Expansion.

But remember that if the bullet doesn't expand much, then its penetration will go way up.

Which is Important for Stopping a BG and say getting through that Coat they may Wear in a Northern Climate Such as my own City.

Seriously? :scrutiny: I don't think a winter coat is going to present much of a barrier to bullet penetration. At worst it may clog a hollow-point and make it fail to expand, but then penetration will be much deeper.

In my .45's I use Winchester 230gr Bonded LE Ammo. Excellent Penetration, Excellent Expansion, Accuracy and It Feeds Great-Never a Malfunction of any Type-Period.

Ranger Bonded is a good series (that's precisely what I use in 180gr .40 S&W), and is basically the same as the more expensive PDX1 in the civilian market--both use the same bullet, although Ranger Bonded is loaded slightly hotter. This bullet design is also used in the FBI's current standard issue ammunition, although they ordered the less expensive plain brass cases instead of nickel-plated (I'm not sure how the velocity compares, but it's probably in the same ballpark as the others, which is somewhat on the hot side for major-brand factory loads).

Another GREAT load is the Federal Tactical 230gr HST. [ Although I Prefer Federal 230gr Tactical Bonded] I Love the HST, but I do have a Knock against it. Some of my Springfield .45 XD's would Choke on it once in a While-They NEVER Choked on Winchester 230gr Bonded.

That's possibly the result of the HSTs exceptionally wide hollow-point cavity, which is usually a good thing. This is exactly why so many people tell others to run a couple hundred rounds of their chosen self-defense ammo through their self-defense handguns, no matter how much the cost hurts. Unfortunately it's probably also why, I imagine, so many tend to stick with the same ammo for such a long time even if it becomes a bit outdated.

SharpsDressedMan
January 18, 2010, 03:32 PM
If you've got fixed sights, use the one that hits closer to point of aim.:)

Ben86
January 18, 2010, 08:21 PM
The lighter weights are best for short barrels.

Manco
January 18, 2010, 08:58 PM
The lighter weights are best for short barrels.

How so? I'm willing to be convinced if there is a good argument for it.

REAPER4206969
January 18, 2010, 09:06 PM
A lighter bullet in a short barrel can achieve high enough velocity to insure reliable expansion of JHP bullets. However, with modern JHP design this is less of a concern.

Manco
January 19, 2010, 02:29 PM
A lighter bullet in a short barrel can achieve high enough velocity to insure reliable expansion of JHP bullets. However, with modern JHP design this is less of a concern.

Keeping that last part in mind, those who are more concerned about penetration in the case of a JHP bullet that does expand may favor heavy bullets in short barrels anyway (even more than they do for long barrels). So while there is no singular correct answer as to which is best, I think we've covered enough to let people decide for themselves what they'd rather use in short barrels--heavy bullets that maintain penetration better or light bullets that are more likely to expand.

mljdeckard
January 19, 2010, 04:08 PM
I like the gun/ammo setup exactly as it was designed. 230 gr from a 5" barrel. Lighter bullets are an effort to get back some of the velocity you lose when shooting it in shorter barrels. That's why I shoot full-size. The version with the most mass is usually going to be the one that penetrates deepest, and also have more matter to open up with, giving the hp 'flower' bigger petals.

All handguns are a compromise to begin with. Dropping to shorter barrels and lighter bullets is like saying; "I know that I started with a gun too small to do the job in the first place, but I think it's ok to compromise a little more so it won't hurt when I sit down."

Ben86
January 20, 2010, 11:18 AM
I think people that carry the heaviest bullets in short (~3" barrels) have a little too much faith in the design of the bullet itself.

Most premium bullets are designed open up at specific velocities. Using a lighter bullet in my sub compacts allows me to use a load closer to its intended velocity.

Manco
January 20, 2010, 02:36 PM
I think people that carry the heaviest bullets in short (~3" barrels) have a little too much faith in the design of the bullet itself.

Not me--I'm just not willing to risk marginal penetration. If a JHP bullet doesn't open up much, that's fine just as long as it will penetrate enough (or more) every time. So for me, heavy-for-caliber bullets are preferred for normal-length barrels and almost mandatory for short barrels. That said, ultimately what matters is how specific loads perform in specific barrel lengths, for whatever combination of reasons, as measured in lab tests (if such data are available) as opposed to making assumptions based on generalizations.

Bullet design is only one factor in terminal ballistics, and I'm far more interested in the latter as a whole. Expansion in and of itself is not the goal, and greater expansion is not necessarily preferred in every case, at least by me.

Most premium bullets are designed open up at specific velocities. Using a lighter bullet in my sub compacts allows me to use a load closer to its intended velocity.

But if it expands too much then penetration will suffer, especially if the latter was marginal to begin with, as it is with many JHP self-defense loads, in my opinion. If deep penetration is not quite as important to you as it is to me, then that's fine, but supreme faith in bullet design is definitely not why I, for one, prefer heavy bullets.

Ben86
January 20, 2010, 03:11 PM
I don't know why anyone would be worried about over expansion in a sub compact. The velocity is just not going to be there, unless the bullet design is especially poor.

I would worry about over penetration with heavy for caliber bullets in sub compact barrels. Less velocity equals less expansion, less expansion means more penetration. Right?

Paints
January 20, 2010, 03:45 PM
I don't know why anyone would be worried about over expansion in a sub compact. The velocity is just not going to be there, unless the bullet design is especially poor.

I would worry about over penetration with heavy for caliber bullets in sub compact barrels. Less velocity equals less expansion, less expansion means more penetration. Right?
I suspect you are right that less expansion means more penetration. Some of the stats I've seen show more penetration depth when first going through denim.

I agree that the examples we see of massive expansion may co exist with shallow penetration and I certainly believe that penetration is the critical factor, not expansion (re: the FBI report on wounding ballistics)

I disagree with your worry about over penetration. The most effective shots need to penetrate into the spinal column (see the FBI report). People worry about a round exiting at very low velocity, when the statistics show that most rounds miss the intended target and go zipping by at full velocity. Police statistics show an abysmally low percentage of rounds hit the intended target (I think NYPD is 1 in 15). Oh, I know that we are all hopeful that we are much, much better than police averages, but I suspect that is dreaming when it comes to reality.

Worrying about one round penetrating and exiting at maybe 50 fps while most other rounds go on by at 1000+ fps? I think we worry about the wrong things.

Ken

Manco
January 20, 2010, 04:45 PM
I don't know why anyone would be worried about over expansion in a sub compact. The velocity is just not going to be there, unless the bullet design is especially poor.

Even if a bullet expands exactly like it does out of a longer barrel, out of a short barrel penetration will be reduced, and I think its marginal enough with most loads as it is. On the other hand, if according to tests of a specific load the bullet expands less when shot out of a short barrel such that it penetrates about the same, then I'd be fine with that load, however without such data I'd put more faith in a slower, heavier bullet to behave in this manner than a faster, lighter one when using a short barrel, generally speaking. I'm not worried about overexpansion per se, just underpenetration, and this is why I generally prefer heavy bullets for longer barrels in service calibers, too--the reasoning is the same, only it's more so for short barrels (or longer-distance shooting, for that matter).

I'm pretty sure this is why heavier bullets (e.g. 158 grains) are generally preferred for .38 Special loads, while lighter bullets (e.g. 125 grains) are acceptable for .357 Magnum loads (or actually preferred because of this caliber's excess of energy for human targets). Few would argue against this arrangement, which is based on the collective experience of countless shootings over decades of law enforcement use, but even though using a shorter barrel in .45 ACP has an effect analogous to going from .357 Magnum to .38 Special, I think people miss the similarity because they're so focused on bullet design and maximizing expansion.

Another way to approach this issue is from the perspective of momentum, energy, and how they're used. As I explained in a lengthy previous post, in order to get similar penetration to that of a heavy bullet, a light bullet of the same caliber must have at least the same amount of momentum (and probably even more for reasons that I also touched upon earlier), and therefore it must have significantly greater kinetic energy (by the laws of physics, namely P = mv for momentum and E = ½mv² for kinetic energy). More energy requires more powder burning to create more gas, and more of this extra gas will be wasted in a shorter barrel than a longer one, which implies that heavy bullets that require less gas are more efficient and preserve more of their terminal performance in shorter barrels than light bullets do. We already knew this from experience with regard to .357 Magnum versus .38 Special, and the same principle is true with different barrel lengths. The main difference is that with a less energetic caliber such as .45 ACP, in comparison to .357 Magnum, I prefer heavy bullets even with 5" barrels because penetration would be rather too marginal otherwise.

I would worry about over penetration with heavy for caliber bullets in sub compact barrels. Less velocity equals less expansion, less expansion means more penetration. Right?

With less velocity and therefore momentum, penetration could theoretically be the same given less expansion--this would be a best-case scenario for any bullet weight, but I don't know if I could rely on it. In any case, I worry less about overpenetration than underpenetration because while the former may be wasteful, the latter, in my view, is simply unacceptable. If a light-for-caliber bullet of a specific load really will expand less and penetrate the same in a shorter barrel--consistently--then I suppose it would be fine, but without hard test data I wouldn't put so much faith in bullet design (I probably wouldn't trust it to be consistent enough anyway). Heavy bullets would also theoretically do the same, and as described above they suffer less overall performance loss from short barrels than light bullets, particularly in penetration.

On the flip side, I suppose it's possible that heavy .45 ACP bullets out of short barrels may be so slow in an absolute sense that they may fail to expand at all, thereby grossly overpenetrating human targets. Well, I don't know this for a fact one way or the other, but I will say that at least they won't underpenetrate, and that this is one of the reasons I went with .40 S&W instead (just in case I need to shoot over long distances or want to share the same ammo with a subcompact in the future). :D I've already covered most of this stuff in previous posts, by the way--even what I just said and what I'm about to say. Although I doubt this, it's possible that 185gr bullets may be more optimal than 230gr bullets out of short barrels in .45 ACP specifically, due to bullet design issues, but in smaller, faster calibers such as .40 S&W and 9mm, heavy bullets almost certainly perform better out of short barrels.

Manco
January 20, 2010, 05:20 PM
I suspect you are right that less expansion means more penetration. Some of the stats I've seen show more penetration depth when first going through denim.

Ah, but that's with less expansion and practically the same momentum. With short barrels, you'll get both less expansion and less momentum--not the same thing. The latter shot is simply weaker, as if it were fired from a good distance or using a light charge of powder, and the bullet will penetrate less deeply (or roughly the same, possibly, with less expansion--testing is required to find out, especially regarding light bullets).

I agree that the examples we see of massive expansion may co exist with shallow penetration and I certainly believe that penetration is the critical factor, not expansion (re: the FBI report on wounding ballistics)

In my opinion, penetration is definitely more critical than expansion, as the FBI report points out. And while you'd want something more than an unexpanded round-nose bullet, which acts more or less like an icepick, even a flat-nose FMJ will do as long as you have sufficient penetration. Some bad guys are quite big (or fat) and one might have to shoot through bones, too.

I disagree with your worry about over penetration. The most effective shots need to penetrate into the spinal column (see the FBI report).

That's exactly the key for center-of-mass hits below the heart--without sufficient penetration you won't likely get a quick stop or kill from a frontal shot if the bad guy is big.

People worry about a round exiting at very low velocity, when the statistics show that most rounds miss the intended target and go zipping by at full velocity. Police statistics show an abysmally low percentage of rounds hit the intended target (I think NYPD is 1 in 15). Oh, I know that we are all hopeful that we are much, much better than police averages, but I suspect that is dreaming when it comes to reality.

That's right, and even if this weren't the case, we have to assume overpenetration and take possible misses into consideration anyway. Never rely solely on things like mechanical safeties or bullet technology--always know what's around and behind your target before firing.

Water-Man
January 20, 2010, 05:32 PM
230gr. is more effective.

PAPACHUCK
January 21, 2010, 06:03 AM
I tend to like the heaviest weight bullet in any given caliber for SD, ie. 230gr for 45Auto, 180gr. for 40S&W, and 147gr for 9mm. In any barrel length.

Shot placement, to me, is far greater a task than penetration or expansion. I look for the cartridge with the most consistant POI, that comes closest to POA for that particular handgun.

Even WWB HP's with limited expansion or FMJ's, placed correctly, will stop a threat quicker than the worlds latest and greatest JHP that hits meaningless tissue.

That said, I like the CCI/Speer Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger series, and Remington Golden Saber a lot and use them most often.

PzKfW
January 23, 2010, 05:37 AM
"Aside from terminal performance, another reason for doing so is that semiautomatic weapons are usually designed to function most reliably with a specific bullet weight, which for .45 ACP would be 230 grains. A 185 grain bullet shot at a higher velocity is almost the same as far as the guns are concerned, but not exactly, and some people like to play it really safe with regard to reliability."

------------------------------------------

This is true. But I believe that reliable feeding has more to do with overall length of the cartridge and the shape of the bullet - and that the 230gr JHP actually does a poorer job of mimicking the 230gr FMJ round than the 185gr JHP does.

Think about this for a moment: Where is all that lead, which is present in the nose of the 230gr. FMJ, and absent in the nose of the 230gr. JHP, gone to? It's a matter of simple volume. The weight is there, and the density of the bullet is the same between 230 FMJ and JHP - thus both the 230 FMJ and the 230 JHP will have the same volume. There is a HP cavity at the front of the JHP bullet (where there is missing volume). So, since that missing volume in the JHP has to be *somewhere* in order for the bullet to be 230gr, where has the volume gone to? There are only two possibilites for bullet manufacturers, both of which may affect feeding or cartridge performance. Either the bullet shape must be squared to increase volume at the front, or the bullet must be lengthened to add volume at the rear. Perhaps a combination of both. We all know what changing the bullet shape can do to feeding reliability and bearing surface, etc...

I believe the 185gr JHP is simply derived from a parent bullet of a 230gr FMJ with the nose cut off and hollowed-out, and thus is a more true representation of the original shape and bearing surface of the 230FMJ. So as far as reliability is concerned, I believe its a win for the 185gr bullet, or at least a moot point.

Furthermore, I believe a 185gr bullet reduces recoil to a moderate degree vs a 230gr bullet. Physics shows this to be true, as shown below. Subjective recoil is of course, subjective - but numbers don't lie (figuratively speaking, of course). In any case, as .45acp is not precisely a low-recoil round, lower recoil would be advantageous to the self-defense goal of putting several rounds on a target in a snap-moment shooting. I think we can all agree that this is the major factor in winning a gunfight.

As to bullet drop, or where the bullet hits vs point of aim - this is not a rifle we are talking about here. In any case I would argue that all else being equal, 185gr .45acp loads will hit to within an inch of where 230gr loads will at 10 yards, which is the distance at which the majority of gunfights take place, or less. Let me know if you shoot a rapid 1" five shot group at 10 yards next time you go out to the range with your favorite self-defense .45acp pistol - heck, 90% of the people I've observed shooting pistols over the years cannot do this, even from a rest and with slow fire.

As to the negatives of 185gr vs 230gr, the only really quantifiable one is of course, penetration. I think that you need enough penetration to get to the vital areas, but past that it seems a relatively moot concern. The FBI minimum is 12" penetration in bare geletin. Lookling at the data, it appears that 230gr. has about an inch or two of advantage on average, but that both pass the FBI minimum. In clothed gelatin, the penetration for 185gr is usually well over 14". Let's keep in mind guys, this is not a 90gr .380 bullet we're talking about here (even .380s still kill people plenty dead).

In any case, several post-mortem studies have shown that effective stops from handgun calibers depend primarily upon tissue destruction by the path of the bullet, and that this is caused by bullet diameter. Both 185 and 230gr bullets are .45" in diameter - and this is the real reason why .45acp wins over other calibers. I guarantee you that if you hit someone in the chest with a 185gr., .45" diameter slug, barring it having to go through the arms first, or the bullet superficially shattering on impact - you will definitely cause major, life-threatening or life-ending trauma with even 12" of penetration. Everything else is shot placement.

For my money, in a light polymer self-defense handgun, I'll take 185gr please and will attempt to put all my rounds COM.

...............................................................................
ON 185gr RECOIL vs 230gr
FROM: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulletin/786923-post15.html


--------------------------------------


"In terms of recoil, "momentum" is what is important.

Momentum (p) equals mass (m) times velocity (v).

p=mv.

After the gun is fired, the gun will recoil backward with an equal but opposite momentum of that of the bullet. The recoil velocity of the gun will be equal to the bullet momentum divided by the mass of the gun. (Or if you like, take the muzzle velocity of the bullet and multiply it by the ratio of the bullet mass divided by the gun mass).

Since the gun has so much more mass than the bullet, its recoil speed is much much less than bullet.

With 185 grain bullet, the muzzle velocity is higher than that of a 230 grain bullet. However, its mass is quite a bit less than 230. Even though its velocity has increased, its momentum actually decreases due to the much larger decrease in bullet mass.

As an example consider Hornady .45 ACP ammo;

185 g
970 ft/s

total momentum = (185g) times (970 ft/s) = 179,450 g ft/s

230 g
850 ft/s

total momentum = (230g) times (850 ft/s) = 195,500 g ft/s

Thus, the 185 grain bullet has "less momentum" than a 230 grain bullet. This is why it is referred to as a "lower recoil" load.

However, for a +P 200g bullet the muzzle velocity is 1055 ft/s. This results in a momentum of 211,000 g ft/s.
This round will have a larger recoil than a regular .45 230 grain "non +P" round."

BigDeesul
July 3, 2010, 12:45 PM
Well, I'm the proud new owner of an XDM .45, and the only hollow points at the gun shop were some cor bon's and dpx, but I ended up getting the Remington Golden Saber 230gr. Looking at it, it seems like the bullet is made for a LH twist barrel. It looks like the bullet has been cut and twisted, but I think it would expand and cut better if in a LH twist barrel, unless it's for aerodynamics. Anyone?

Newton
July 4, 2010, 03:34 AM
Hmmm, strange, the 185 gr +P has less penetration than the same bullet at regular pressure?

The only explanation I can think is that the +P expanded earlier and had more drag.

Anyone else?

Ken

That's where these expansion/penetration results can really mislead, you can use them to show that an expanding rifle bullet is less effective than a pistol bullet, they make no consideration for the damage caused by all that extra energy.

Personally I carry the 185gr +P rounds exclusively, yes they are a handful, but they hit like a sledgehammer and I can shoot them very well.

There are several photos of 185gr +P Golden Sabres in Evan Marshalls book, recovered post autopsy, they all killed with a single COM hit, your choice.

NoAlibi
July 4, 2010, 04:33 AM
This September 8, 2008 Zombie thread was resurrected in January 13, 2010 and again July 3, 2010. :what:

Does anyone know the record for the number of times a thread has come back to life? :confused:

Giterboosted
December 29, 2010, 01:35 AM
Don't know but I'll go for a fourth resurection since I looked this up lol, any reason to not buy from cheaper than dirt??

Dogguy
December 29, 2010, 10:22 AM
Giterboosted--I'll guess it's because CTD's prices are sometimes higher than other sources.

As to the original multiply-resurrected post, I use the 230 gr GS because they print pretty close to the same point as the 230 gr FMJ range ammo I can buy cheap.

savage1911
December 29, 2010, 11:47 AM
Based on what I have been able to read, the 185 grain was designed to produce 230 grain ballistics out of a commander and officers barrel, as opposed to a five inch.

BushyGuy
January 25, 2011, 05:14 PM
i have my RIA FS 1911 loaded with 230 gr Golden saber, also my 2 extra mags loaded with them too. Golden Saber 230 gr produce effective wound channels and deeper penetration then most +p bullets.

i have a couple boxes of +p 200 gr bullets they are ok but not as effective as the Golden Saber.

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