.45 ACP ammo questions from new owner.


Hungry Seagull
February 24, 2009, 08:33 PM
Hello, I recently completed my first 10 rounds through a S&W .45ACP M&P

I used the Speer's Lawman 230 grain ammunition which appears to be rather light on the recoil. The box is an older dark blue with a sort of S through it and marked on end:

45 Auto 230 Gr TMJ (Full metal jacket?)

Lot number 53967

I have several questions.

1: The ammunition comes out of the gun pretty dirty. I have a uploaded video that shows just how dirty they got. Is this normal? Or am I using inferior ammo and should consider a better quality firing ammo?

2: The recoil wasnt what I expected. Is this a simple training round to get new pistol owners or LEO's used to the weapon?

3: I cannot find a direct replacement anywhere on the net, there appears to be a newer designed Speer Lawman ammunition box for sale indicating perhaps a updated.

4: Seeking a replacement for the future after this Speer box runs out, should I step up to the Gold Dot series? What sort of energy in recoil and hitting power should I expect? About the same or increased recoil?

5- There is not alot of ammunition in the 230 grain catagory, most is out of stock, back ordered etc. Should I settle for maybe a 185 grain silver tip from winchester or the Remington's Saber 165 grains?

6- Another question, should I care about the fancy words indicating a bond? Why should I worry about a bond?

7- Hollow points are nice, but I fear they will hang up or jam. If anyone has fired several hundred of a particular brand of .45 acp through this gun can you recommend a top reliable ammuntion I can try?

Many questions. I can resolve shotgun stuff, but am new to handgunning all over again. I liked the gun, the features on it and price. But dont want to be shoving crap through the gun or otherwise wasting my money firing ammo that is so so or "Lacking hitting power" in HD or CCW situations.

What do you think?

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The Lone Haranguer
February 24, 2009, 10:00 PM
45 Auto 230 Gr TMJ (Full metal jacket?)

Total Metal Jacket, a Speer process that is essentially a very thick plating over the entire bullet. FMJs have a jacket rolled over the edges of the base, leaving exposed lead.

1: The ammunition comes out of the gun pretty dirty.
I have not shot this ammo for several years, but I don't recall it being "dirtier" than any other ammo. There will always be some residue (carbon buildup). Matter cannot be created or destroyed. I would not want my gun littered with unburned powder granules, however.

2: The recoil wasnt what I expected. Is this a simple training round to get new pistol owners or LEO's used to the weapon?
I suppose you could put it that way. It is marketed as target/range/practice ammo. To the best of my knowledge it is loaded to original specs for the cartridge. .45 Auto recoil is really pretty gentle, especially in a large gun. I like it better than the snappish .40. It is not at all the beast that some "chairborne rangers" would have you believe.

... should I step up to the Gold Dot series?
This is a good defensive load, but other than function/accuracy testing is unnecessarily expensive for training/practice.

Should I settle for maybe a 185 grain silver tip from winchester or the Remington's Saber 165 grains?

I like the Silvertip myself. It is smooth feeding and light kicking while being effective enough on the business end. No experience with the Remington.

6- Another question, should I care about the fancy words indicating a bond?
The jacket bonded to the core? Not really necessary in a pistol bullet.

7- Hollow points are nice, but I fear they will hang up or jam.
I doubt if a S&W M&P would be "ammo sensitive." The most reliable bullet shape would be a round-nose profile (not the straight-sided "truncated cone" shape). Really, this is something you would need to test for yourself.

Hungry Seagull
February 24, 2009, 11:30 PM
Thank you for your responses, much helpful to me.

Looks like I will probably try a few boxes of this and that until I find something. I keep leaning towards the Speer Gold Dot. I'll go ahead and shoot a box and see what I get.

I dont mind cleaning guns, I dont mind using good ammuntion, but I will mind ammo that is poorly made, jams during feed, fails to fire or pack enough KE at the target BG when the chips are down.

I hope that I dont ask for much LOL.

My shoot budget is really pathetic at the moment. Call it 25 dollars a box for 50 rounds and anything I can get for less than 25 for 50 makes me happy for pistols. It's the shotties that are hungry children gulping down 5 rounds at 6 bucks or whatever off the internet, twice that retail.

February 25, 2009, 01:31 AM
gotta say, on the lightweight stuff: I have heard more than a bit about 185 and 165-gr .45ACP hollowpoints tumbling instead of expanding. I'll be sticking with 230-gr, personally (also makes it easier to keep my range ammo similar to my social ammo, 230-gr Gold Dot)

Hungry Seagull
February 25, 2009, 11:17 AM
Here is the ammo and the gun that I recently uploaded.


I think Im just going to go straight to the Speer's Gold Dot Ammunition in the 230 grain and get used to it.

I hope and probably bet my life and that of my spouse if the BG ever comes in and I deploy that Gold Dot Ammo, it better do the job.

And hope that at the same time we never have to do it.

February 25, 2009, 01:02 PM
I generally stick to 230 gr. ammo in most of my .45's simply because of convenience. The fixed sights on all of them are regulated for it, and there hasn't been much in the way of deviation worth noting in POI vs POA between ball and JHPs in them, given standard pressure loadings, especially under 25 yds.

IIWY, I'd let your pistol choose the brand and load. Modern designs such as your M&P seldom have any relibility issues with JHPs in general, but every rule has its exceptions.

Try several types and pick what shoots best in your weapon. I use Gold Dots, Hydra-shoks, XTPs with equal confidence. Which one gets the nod on any given occasion depends on what the price is locally and what's available at the time.

February 25, 2009, 01:25 PM
Remember there are two kinds of ammo.
Range ammo amd self-defence ammo.
Range ammo should be cheap, reliable and accrurate. Think WWB or MagTech.
SD it's your pick. But it's expensive so you don't shoot it a lot.


Kind of Blued
February 25, 2009, 01:42 PM
It's important to test whatever load you are going to carry for self-defense as thoroughly as possible. Once you find a load that is reasonably accurate for you and shoots to point-of-aim, shoot some more of it to make sure it will feed reliably. I'd imagine that your gun is setup to shoot the 230gr. loads to point-of-aim as it's a full-sized gun and that is the most popular bullet weight for the cartridge.

I like to run at LEAST 100 rounds of a load I'm considering carrying, some people need more to feel comfortable, some people are fine with 20-25. Generally finances play a key role. :)

My first choice in self-defense ammo is Federal's HST hollowpoints, especially the .45 ACP 230gr. +P load. This is also available in standard pressure, but I don't mind (or even notice) the extra recoil. Luckily, my .45 feeds this stuff just fine, so that's what I carry in my 1911. It is also within your budget mentioned. I get it for ~$22/50 from ammunitiontogo.com (good people).

Your M&P should feed it just fine, but it's just a suggestion. A .45 caliber hollowpoint of any kind will ruin a bad guy's day.

Here's a photograph of an expanded HST atop a quarter dollar:

February 25, 2009, 02:19 PM
I go with the Gold Dot because it's the only hollowpoint I've seen that apparently expands equally well throughout the FBI test. you look at the same 230-gr Gold dots recovered from various media and barriers, and they all expand cleanly. I will admit the HST's appear to do this as well. (the old Hydra-Shoks, Golden Saber, and SXT did not.) the Barnes solid-copper bullets appear to perform well, also, but they are not available in 230-gr.

February 25, 2009, 02:38 PM
I'm not sure how the WWB hollow points do compared to Federal (probably not as well). The WWB 230 gr FMJ is what I use for target shooting and I get 100 for $30 at my nearby WallyWorld. (I get JHP for the same price in the WWB as well.) I've only put 100 rounds through my Ruger P345 but it loaded fine in the mags and had no FTE or FTF rounds. This ammo too put out some carbon but wiping down the gun was all it needed to remove it.
I'm a large framed individual and recoil isn't an issue with 230 gr in the compact P345. WallyWorld carries the 185 gr but it is more expensive so I go for the slower but cheaper 230 gr. (Slower being relative - I'm not going to be dodging it!!)

.357 magnum
February 25, 2009, 03:21 PM
For Defensive Ammo I use all LE Ammo. I by it on line, the prices are Good and Quality for LE Ammo is the Best. For my .45's I prefer the Winchester 230gr Bonded, The Federal 230gr Tactical HST and the Speer 230gr Gold Dot Duty Ammo. The Winchester load is an Extremely Accurate one. The Winchester Bonded has gotten Very pricey however since Obama took office. [Doubled in Price] The Federal HST and Speer Gold-Dot are at a better price right now. The Speer Gold-Dot is more available currently.

The Best You and Yours!


Hungry Seagull
February 25, 2009, 06:50 PM
Well, LE Ammo has drawn my interest but feel I need to check with my locals first to see if the stuff is ok in my area. The Federal Civilian brand seems very close only different in color for shotguns. Ballistics are just about the same.

Maybe they make LE ammo blue so they can sort out which casing fired from all the others on the ground after a fight. that would be my guess.

I found two more boxes of this Speer 230 today and will be plinking away... think is about .50 a shot. Not too bad.

Moving on up to the Golds when this stuff runs out.

Once again, thank you every one for the input, It has made me feel better about where I am heading with this handgunning stuff.

February 25, 2009, 07:18 PM
most areas have no laws against using LE pistol ammo, and I have in fact seen it recommended as a legal defense issue:
"I wasn't using hollowpoints because I want to kill somebody, I was using them for the same reason the police do - they are reliable, accurate, and safer for anyone else around." (effectively)

that's part of why I like Gold Dot - that is what several of my local LE organizations use.

Hungry Seagull
February 26, 2009, 01:34 AM
To my delight I have discovered that this ammo cleans from the rifled bore without difficulty. A few minutes with some bore brite, gun oil and a pile of swabs from cotton, presto a nice clean gun ready to shoot again.

Not like the shotties that take some work. Maybe Im doing something right.

But this ammo fires dirty, but cleans easy. No complaints anymore.

As they say.. keep the dirty side down and the clean side up !

February 27, 2009, 12:10 AM
How come nobody mentioned Corbon HP? ANyone hae any opinions of using Corbon in S&W M&P 45? Also, I was considering going for the CCI Aluminum for plinking, because it seems the other brands are bit more expensive. I thought the S&W M&P 45 would not be overly sensitive with this ammo, but not sure. Should I just go ahead and fork out the extra money on S&B or Fiocchi instead? As far as I can tell WWB is just not economical looking at its price.

Hungry Seagull
February 27, 2009, 01:49 PM
Ive had Corbin boxes waved into my face at just about every shop I go into. They are rather pricey and hae such gigantic hollowpoints, worthy of all things.

That is where my doubts come in. Huge hollowpoint maybe hang up while feeding into the chamber from magazine.

I think what will happen is someone at the range will toss me two of the Corbins at some point in the future and we will see. But until then I prefer to make a decision and stay the course. (I tend to be stubborn sometimes, is that a bad thing?)

In really difficult times of need, I will grab whatever is .45 acp and feed it LOL.

Hk Dan
February 27, 2009, 03:50 PM
Do you mean that the cases come out dirty?

That can be "blow by"--NOT a problem, it just means that the round wasn't powerful enough to completely seal the chamber. That would tend to support what you said about recoil.

Again--not a problem, so long as she cycles.

Hungry Seagull
February 27, 2009, 03:58 PM
HK Dan, She cycles very convincing and that brass flies to the wall or curtain behind me. Not a problem. In fact, Ive bought two more boxes of the stuff, one of which for the upcoming class for CHL.

Now the cleaning revealed a little smuge around the slide insides at the rear of the bore and that cleaned up nicely.

None of the brass I gathered up to put into the brass can to the rear of the firing range showed any excessive deforming out of circle so I will think that the bullet left the chamber and the gun bore properly without forcing the cartridge to deform or do anything iffy.

My one round that did not go I think is operator error because I am new at this kind of handgunning. The trigger has to travel all the way back before it will fire.

My shotguns however fire when sufficent pull is applied far enough on the triggers. They are factory set and not changed at all.

February 27, 2009, 06:21 PM
Fiocchi 230 gr (red box) is rated at 390 ft lbs, not bad for the cheap stuff. Even though it's FMJ, it's still a big hole maker.

February 28, 2009, 12:15 PM
Just a random aside, but IMO there would be at least one practical rationale for choosing the same brand and type of ammo that your local LEA employs: increased defensibility before a Grand Jury or in the nearly inevitable civil suit should you ever be forced into a shooting.

One less potential point for an agenda-driven DA or plaintiff's lawyer to frame his case with, at any rate.

March 3, 2009, 01:34 PM
yeah, that's what I was trying to say...

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