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185 grain versus 230 grain .45acp

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by BIGDADDYLONGSTROKE, Feb 18, 2007.

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  1. BIGDADDYLONGSTROKE

    BIGDADDYLONGSTROKE Member

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    I just wanted to ask what you guys think of the 185 grain .45 acp ammo, I usually carry the 230 grain hollow points and was noticing the 185 grain hollow points are cheaper and have a higher muzzle velocity and more ft LBs. of energy than the 230 grain and this not +p 185 grain ammo. So with that in mind could I trust the standard 185 grain hollow point ammo to do as good as job as 230 hollow point ammo niether being +p ammo.
     
  2. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    I think the 230 grn will penetrate deeper. From what I have read, the 185 grn wont reliably penetrate to the 12 inch ballistics gel standard. I prefer heavier bullets in just about every caliber.
     
  3. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

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    I like the 185's

    When I used to go a-wandering in the woods before I had a 357 I would stock my USP with Remi 185+P's.

    My WWII vintage loves the Remi 185's (non +P), and is very accurate with them.
     
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    In the 70's and 80's the 185gr was the ony JHP's available as reliable expansion with the bullets of that time required a minimum 1,000 fps at the muzzle. With the current crop of JHP bullets that expand at conventional 800 to 900 fps velocities 230gr JHP's became a viable option. I don't think it really makes a lot of difference any more which one you choose for SD ammo as they both work. The 185's are a bit less expensive as the use less lead than the heavier bullets. I load my .45's with either as both shoot well from my pistols.
     
  5. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    I use 230s ,but mostly because the sights on both of my fixed sight .45's are regulated for them.

    With both my SIG 220ST and my Baer Stinger, the 185's print about 2-3" low, whereas the 230's are spot on. I also figure that if somehow the round fails to expand I've got what amounts to good old reliable 230 hard ball.

    Chuck
     
  6. BIGDADDYLONGSTROKE

    BIGDADDYLONGSTROKE Member

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    Chuck R.

    I realize and understand what your saying, but 230 grains and 185 grains wouldnt the diameter still be .45 in whatever the round hit and wouldnt it still cause hemorrhaging?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2007
  7. moxie

    moxie Member

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    Big Daddy Longstroke, in my opinion the value of the

    185 vs 230 grain bullets depends on the size and weight of the gun you are using. If you're using a full size 1911 or other auto, or a S&W 625 the 230 is perfect. In a lighter gun such as an Officers model or equivalent, something under 30 ozs. or so, the recoil is less with a 185. With the 3" barrels, the 230 grain bullets often don't develop enough velocity to expand hollowpoints as reliably as the 185 and 185+P grain bullets, that are going several hundred feet per second faster. So a rule of thumb that many use is 230 for full size and/or 4"-5" barrel, 185/185+P for small guns and/or barrels =<3". Yes, of course, they are all the same diameter. They both make the same size initial hole, but the mass and velocity of the different bullets, compounded by expansion, result in different penetration, wound channels, shock, hemorrhaging, and other factors associated with "stopping power." Having said all this, the main thing is to consistently hit what you aim at with your gun.
     
  8. nemoaz

    nemoaz member

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    185s typically expand more, sometimes about .10 more, than a 230. http://www.brassfetcher.com/45ACP.html

    There's nothing magical about 12 inches of penetration. It is just some crap someone made up to justify their own preference (a .45 hardball type). Since most of the thorax is air, 12 inches of ballistic gelatin will enter and exit two people's chests. That's overpenetration in my book. Many other agencies and researchers find far less penetration and more expansion to be optimum.
     
  9. shadowalker

    shadowalker Member

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    12+ inches wasn't just made up by someone, it was picked because it allows for less than ideal shots such as having to shoot through someone's arm, a side shot, barriers such as glass, and through clothing. The recommendation from the FBI in 1989 was 12 to 18 inches of penetration.

    "It is essential to bear in mind that the single most critical factor remains penetration. While penetration up to 18 inches is preferable, a handgun bullet MUST reliably penetrate 12 inches of soft body tissue at a minimum, regardless of whether it expands or not. If the bullet does not reliably penetrate to these depths, it is not an effective bullet for law enforcement use." (Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness)

    That was in 1989, America has got a lot bigger since then.

    The primary wounding mechanism of handguns is the permanent wound cavity, which means the tissue it directly destroys. As a bullet penetrates it slows and begins pushing tissue aside rather than destroying it so even though a bullet may penetrate enough to reach vitals it may have expended the majority of it's momentum and energy in the process and fail to destroy them.

    While lighter bullets travel faster and have more kinetic energy they lose velocity faster and lack the momentum of heavier bullets which is why in general a heavier bullet though moving more slowly penetrates better. Also the heavier a bullet is the less likely it is to be destroyed or deflected by bones or over-expand.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2007
  10. mbartel

    mbartel Member

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    Since most of the thorax is air, 12 inches of ballistic gelatin will enter and exit two people's chests. 
    Dude....I hope that your statement was a joke or something. Do you really think that the blood, arteries, veins, bones, organs, connective tissue, and muscles, make up less than half of the human thorax? On the other hand, homogenous ballistic gelatin has absolutely nothing to do with the extremely variable density, viscosity, and resistance of the human torso. It is merely a way to compare the performance of bullets in a calibrated standard medium. The use of live humans for such comparisons is frowned upon in this country. In no way does it indicate how a bullet will perform in a live person. The chests of a super weight power lifter and a ballerina are vastly different. The clothing people wear can be vastly different. How could a simple substance like gelatin, represent such complex structures and materials? A lot of the general shooting public has made the false assumption that the better a bullet performs in gelatin, the better it performs in live tissue. Such is not the case. Post mortem analysis might correlate a gelatin result with a live tissue result, but the results in gelatin vs. a potential living target can not be reliable or conclusive, only suggestive at best.
     
  11. wuluf

    wuluf Member

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    Yup, i had feeding problems with the 185 gr JHP in a 3" Kimber Ultra Carry, so i started using Hornady 200 gr. problem solved!
     
  12. nemoaz

    nemoaz member

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    No, I'm saying that approximately half of the human thorax is air entrapped in the alveolar and bronchioles. Try looking at an chest xray sometime. http://www.studentbmj.com/back_issues/0900/education/316.html. This of course depends on the lung capacity of the person involved and other things of course, such as muscular development and the amount of adipose tissue. Basically, my experience is that if a pistol round enters the thorax and doesn't hit a bone or the heart, the exit wound is approximately the same size as the entry wound indicating little to no expansion. There just isn't much solid tissue in the lungs to expand the round. Why? Mostly air.
     
  13. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    Whichever feeds better in the weapon is the way to go in my book.
     
  14. Plink

    Plink Member

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    Also consider that 12 inches of gelatin is NOT the same as 12 inches of flesh. Even 230 grain hardball isn't a notorious overpenetrator, and when it does exit, it's pretty much spent.

    As for velocity, take a look at Double Tap Ammo's offerings. They make a 230 grainer using the proven Speer Gold Dot bullet that zips along out of a short tube faster than most +p's get from a 5 incher. Best of all, they do it without +P pressures and at a fair price. I use them exclusively in my little Bersa Mini-Firestorm and they're quite accurate.
     
  15. Ken Rainey

    Ken Rainey Member

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    Pick the one that is 1.) Reliable, 2.) Accurate, 3.) Has adequate penetration (185, 200, or 230 should work), and 4.) Hardball, hollowpoint, or SWC won't matter if the first three are met! You have to look at hollowpoint expansion as just a perk, if it happens great - as long as it penetrates enough. It's where the bullet goes that determines it's effectiveness. A hollowpoint bullet is good (as is a flat point) even if it doesn't expand, due to it's mouth being able to catch and dig in so to speak when it hits the smooth surface of a bone.

    With that said, the heavier the bullet the better. In example; I read a post on here by "Lucky" that was a military/law enforcement bullet study done back in 1995 - 1996 that said bullet weights of 200 grains and greater had the best ability to maintain their flight path thru a body crushing bone instead of deflecting which would cause the most consistent incapacitation with the fewest shots fired and without overpenetration.

    Most people think that 230 hardball is overpenetrative but it really isn't...most of it's energy is shed quickly. Of course, any bullet can overpenetrate on an extremety or if it's just a grazing wound....like I said, it's where the bullet goes that determines it's effectiveness.
     
  16. TYY

    TYY Member

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    Yes, the lungs fill a lot of the thorax, but by that argument over half the surface area of the thorax (you know, what the bullet HAS TO go through) is covered by bone, i.e. the ribs.

    Another issue when talking about "12" of penetration is more than enough", is that SKIN is not taken into account. Skin is much denser than ballistic gelatin. I have heard that something like the first 5 inches of gelatin pentration should considered as equivalent to penetrating skin (keep in mind that skin thickness varies widely over the surface of the body). So that only leaves 7' of "penetrating power" left over. If the next thing hit is a rib, the bullet will be slowed, and likely be deflected. This is why heavier bullets and/or bullets with greater sectional density penetrate and perform better.
     
  17. glocktoberfest

    glocktoberfest member

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    really wouldn't want to get shot by either .
     
  18. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    BIGDADDYLONGSTROKE :
    Yup, what I was trying to get at in my poorly worded reply was IF the 230 HP didn't expand, you'd have in effect a 230 grain hardball, which has a pretty reliable reputation in it's own right. The heavier 230 grain penetrates deeper.

    Chuck
     
  19. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I split the difference with a Speer 200 grain JHP. 800 fps is just a tad slow for my tastes. More velocity improves your chances of bullet expansion. The Speer Gold Dot 200 grain +P is a good load, though it is +P. BTW, ball ammo only has a stellar reputation in the writings of people like Cooper and it's oft compared to .38 Colt ball. OF COURSE it'll do more damage on drug crazed Moros, but I'll take expansion, thanks. :rolleyes: The stories of how great ball is justifies the many 1911s that won't feed anything else. .38 +P 158 grain SWCHP is more effective in the real world, but Geneva conventions weren't written with effectiveness in mind. I ain't in the military and can choose my ammo independently of stupid conventions, though. I've done enough hunting in my life to know the difference in a bullet that expands and one that doesn't.
     
  20. CWL

    CWL Member

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    I like the 185gr. GS on my aluminum framed Kimber Ultra CDP (3") because 230 gr. ammo just beat my hands up too much. The added velocity of teh 185gr. helps compensate for such a short barrel. For this gun, I only use HP ammo for practice even though it is very expensive.

    For my Govt. and Commander-sized .45s, I always go with 230gr, whether FMJ or HPs. But this is as much for cost savings as anything else since I shoot a lot of .45acp ammo.
     
  21. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Member

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    Want some fun?
    Try the Agulia 114 gr rounds. Fast as hell and everyone at the range is going to go "What was that"

    AFS
     
  22. Clipper

    Clipper Member

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    185gr silvertips shoot best point-of-aim groups in my PT-145, and I've never had a failure.
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    This is what I have in my 3" CDP. I just can't comfortably drop down to 185 Grs. It's a mind thing.

    The Golden Sabers are great bullets and feed very well. I would carry (and have carried) the 230 gr. Golden Saber though.:)
     
  24. steelhead

    steelhead Member

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    Barrels less than 4 inches get 185gr Golden Sabers or 160gr DPX's. The 4 and 5 inch tubes get 230's.
     
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