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Let's do it again-Ammo selection for short barrel .45's?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by riddleofsteel, Jan 8, 2003.

  1. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel Well-Known Member

    I have been doing some reading over at the Ammo Lab web site. The topic I am interested in is .45 defensive ammo for the G36.
    One tidbit I picked up on was that most of the testing staff says the G36 compares closer to the Commander size .45's than the popular crop of 3" models out there.

    "The G36 usually logs a fairly high muzzle velocity that closely approximates the Commander length speeds so I would not worry too much about the 3" test results. Your G36 velocities will be about 30-50fps less then 5" velocities in general."

    end quote

    It seems that most of the ammo out there is giving some sub standard performance out of these 3" .45's.


    "We have just wrapped on the 3" short barreled 45acp tests and although I do not have the time to put it all together yet I wanted to share this as an FYI:

    In testing with 4 layers of 14oz denim and calibrated 10% gelatin the only loads to expand and not over penetrate the 18.5" gelatin blocks when fired from the 3" Springfield 45acp test pistol were the following:

    Winchester RA45TA 230gr +P
    Federal 230gr Tactical +P
    Corbon 165gr PowRBall
    Corbon 185gr jhp +P
    Triton 165gr Quick Shok
    Triton 165gr +P Hi Vel jhp

    Out of these loads only the RA45TA and the Federal Tactical 230gr +P penetrated to sufficient depth to penetrate to 14â€

    The following loads all failed to expand and over penetrated the 18.5" test blocks:

    Winchester 185gr Silvertip
    Speer 185gr, 200gr +p, 230gr GDJHP
    Federal 165gr PD
    Federal 230gr Hydra Shok
    Remington 185gr, 185gr+P, 230gr Golden Saber
    Federal 200gr EFMJ+P
    PMC Starfire 230gr jhp
    Federal 230gr classic jhp
    Triton 185gr, 230gr HI-Vel jhp
    Triton 230gr QSHP +P
    Corbon 200gr, 230gr jhp +P
    Hornady CQ 185, 230gr jhp
    Hornady XTP 185, 200, 200+p, 230gr +P
    Winchester 230gr SXT jhp
    Winchester 230gr USA jhp
    Glaser 145gr +P blue and silver
    Black Hills 230gr +P XTP
    Black Hills 230gr GD"

    end quote

    So I am really thinking here about bullet performance and ammo for short barreled .45's. I have run threads here before about what ammo to use ect. and got a real mixed bag of results.
    What do you think of the Ammo lab results and opinions? From where I sit it looks as though the 165 grain Powerball +P is the best performer on targets that are not behind much of a barrier in barrel lengths from 3" to 5". My own testing of 200 grain +P Federal EFMJ from my 3.78" G36 leads me to believe that it would do the job even throught a car door, sheet rock or plywood.
    I guess that I may be trying to get the best of both worlds. I like the idea of an anti-personel round that can be relied on to expand and transfer as much energy as possible. I also know that barrier penetration may not be as much of an issue for private citizens as for an LEO.

  2. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Well-Known Member

    You can beat the numbers anyway you like, bottom line for me is it just don't make no difference.
  3. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel Well-Known Member

    A fine statement but I am not sure I understand your point.

  4. DeltaElite

    DeltaElite Well-Known Member

    I use the 200gr +p loads in all my 45's, regardless of bbl length.:)
  5. CWL

    CWL Well-Known Member

    Interesting, now I will have to rethink my choice of 185gr Golden Sabers...

    BTW, why are you leaning towards the 165gr Pwrball, when you said that only the 230gr Winchester and Federal rounds penetrated sufficiently while still expanding?
  6. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Well-Known Member


    my point is the difference in effectiveness is mostly theoretical, and may or may not translate into anything useful in the real world.

    You may as well pick 45 acp ammo out based on how attractive you find the packaging. Its all gonna work.
  7. Frohickey

    Frohickey Well-Known Member

    Go for the cheapest there is and PRACTICE.
  8. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    Even if it doesn't expand...

    It's still a .45 caliber hole. They'll leak better through that than a 9mm hole. ;)
  9. tbeb

    tbeb Well-Known Member

    It's my understanding that the Federal 230 gr. Hydra-Shok JHP expands in people no matter what barrel length it's fired from. I use Hydra-Shoks in my 5" Springfield Armory, and I'd use it in a 3" barrel too.

    If you're not sure about that then go with the fastest 185 gr. JHP
    that you and your pistol can handle.
  10. tetchaje1

    tetchaje1 Well-Known Member

    Federal 230gr Hydrashoks expands well in bare flesh, but have a nasty habit of clogging and over-penetrating through clothing barriers. The Hydrashok is an old design and just isn't up to the standards of the Federal Tactical/Winchester Ranger/CorBon Pow'R'Ball bullet designs. The next generation Hydrashok (the HS2) failed so miserably in Ammolab's tests, that they figured the ammo was defective and sent it back... :rolleyes:

    ...personally, I think it is one of the big shams in ballistic lore...the Federal Hydrashok bullet. :uhoh:
  11. Forseti

    Forseti Well-Known Member

    Did they post anything against "ordinary" full metal jacket 230grain rounds?

    It would be very interesting if the differences were small...or large...
  12. glockten

    glockten Well-Known Member

    I use Remington 185gr Golden Sabers (standard pressure) in my P12-45, P97DC, and P220. This load is accurate and reliable in all three pistols.
  13. Jeff OTMG

    Jeff OTMG Well-Known Member

    I just bought box of 100 gr RBCD CQB. Over 2000 fps, but can only be used in ramp barrelled guns.
  14. fastbolt

    fastbolt Well-Known Member

    Well ...

    Gelatin tests aren't as consistent as most of us would wish, and the 4-layer denim test scenario is really an "acid test" for bullet performance. Fold over a 4-layer thickness of new, heavy denim sometime, and see for yourself how much material is available to enter the hollow cavity of a bullet and interfere with "normal" expansion & deformation ...

    Since it was my personal CS45 (3.25" barrel) that was used for some similar testing this year, I know for sure how the Winchester T Series 230gr loads, standard and +P, will "potentially" perform when fired out of my pistol. Both loads performed adequately. I chose the standard pressure load because it averaged an inch more penetration in the 4-layer denim test than the +P bullet did, but expanded to virtually the same diameter ... And, recovery is slightly better with the standard pressure load ... for me.

    802fps/13"/.76/234.3gr rec wgt for the standard load; and 839fps/12"/.77/235.2gr rec wgt for the +P load.

    If I didn't have access to this load, I'd simply go back to carrying the 230gr Gold Dot, Golden Sabre, SXT (regular, non-L/E version), Hydra-Shok ... or whatever standard weight 230gr JHP I could find. I'd use the lighter 185gr/200gr loads if the 230gr JHP's weren't available, but I've always preferred the heavier loads.
  15. triggertime

    triggertime Well-Known Member

    "...personally, I think it is one of the big shams in ballistic lore...the Federal Hydrashok bullet."

    I agree. Alot of people need to understand that the Hydra Shok bullet is an archaic design that is over 20 years old. There is no question that it has been over-hyped and over-rated by those in the gunrag industry. All too often you'll find that clueless gunwriters have a tendency to cite the erroneous stopping power data produced by two infamous individuals who simply market their data for one purpose only, to sell ammunition to those who really don't know any better. Why? Because gunwriters themselves usually don't know any better. ;)
  16. Keith

    Keith Well-Known Member

    It's apples and oranges.

    Different hollowpoints are designed to do different things. Hydra Shoks are designed to expand against human flesh and it was completely secondary as to whether it would reliably punch through car doors or windshields, or expand after going through lesser materials such as plywood or winter clothing.

    Other designs are made specifically to meet the FBI criteria for police - penetrating car doors and windshields. Expansion is secondary to penetration in these types of rounds.

    So, trying to measure them all against the same criteria is a waste of time.

    CCW holders are likely much better off looking for the best expanders. After all, if the BG is hiding behind a car door you should be moving away!

    Police are better served with bullets that will generate good penetration. They are going after people who are trying evade THEM, rather than t'other way around.

    There is no "best" bullet. Only bullets that are designed to different things.

  17. WESHOOT2

    WESHOOT2 Well-Known Member


    1) 230g.

    2) Reliable through YOUR gun.

    3) Reliable through YOUR gun.

    4) JHP.

    5) Some other stuff.
  18. New_comer

    New_comer Well-Known Member

    I'm impressed by the performance of the Winchester Talon round as revealed in Ammolab's tests. That would first for me...

    Sad thing is it costs more than $2 a pop here, negating whatever chance to practice with it sufficiently. :(
  19. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel Well-Known Member

    I feel the same way. I can get the top rated round but I would hate to explain to a judge why I shot the BG with LEO only ammo. I am not sure the civilian versions are rated as highly.
    Over at Ammo Lab most of the guys are beating the drum for the Powerball. I think the .45 ACP 165 grain +P Powerball from Corbon looks good for the same reasons the 135 grain .40 S&W Corbon load does and I know that round performs. For summer CCW use, out of short barrel handguns they may be a good choices but around a buck a shot for Powerball I will NOT be shooting them much. I will, however, buy a couple of boxes of 165 grain Powerball and test them myself.
    Results to follow.
    In the meantime I agree with most of you that almost any decent JHP in .45 ACP and probably most FMJ would do the job. And I am confident most any of them. Right now I have Federal 200 grain +P EFMJ in my G36 and despite the opinions of many I feel it to is a decent choice. Accurate and dependable, if it expands you have it all, if it does not a 200 grain FMJ at 500 Ft/Lbs is none to shabby a choice.
    The quest continues...Fun huh?

  20. IRock

    IRock Guest

    Something to remember is it just is a comparison test of bullet performance in gelatin and 4 layers of denim. Humans are not gelatin and 4 layers of denim.

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