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.45 / .40 / .357 mag : Golden Sabre vs Speer Gold Dot? SD

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by kashton, Jan 12, 2009.

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  1. kashton

    kashton Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Just from your experience, would you choose to shoot a Golden Sabre or Speer Gold Dot HP for your self-defense pistol (possibly one other than the two listen)?

    Sig Sauer P239 .40

    Ed Brown 'Kobra Carry' 1911 .45

    Colt Python 2.5" Stainless .357 Magnum
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    The Golden Saber (and Win. Silvertip) ammo were the best around and used by many Police organizations. The stuff put out by Speer is of newer design and supposed to expand more reliable but who says it's better than Golden Saber bullets? If it were me I would shoot both in my guns and see which is more accurate and totally reliable, that's what I would carry.
  3. Oro

    Oro Member

    Sep 22, 2007
    WA state
    Ditto. This question is trying to slice and dice shades of gray. To whit: 99% of your defensive ammo choice is choosing a reliable bullet type for your anticipated (and therefore unknown) scenario. Once you've made a type choice, and then you go to decide who's brand to use among the reputable designers/makers, the rest is the 1% question of angels dancing on a pin.

    If by asking about auto vs. revolver or longer barrels vs. 2.5" Barrels, it's just gun specific, and again within that 1% of the issue.

    Golden Sabre has their hyped "driving band" promotion, but then all JHP ammo is basically shaped like that, so it's kinda unimportant. In most all regards, you will not find a significant difference in the performance of either round that better trigger control and shot placement isn't responsible for.

    Personally, I love Speer. They have been around so long, doing so much for shooters, whether it was pioneering bullets or providing great reloading data. I love them. They are the Colt or S&W of the bullet world - been there for us forever and deserve our support. And I love the old "Lawman" (a.k.a. the classic "flying ashcan" round) and current "Gold Dot" designs. But I've also got a few 1911 magazines loaded with Golden Sabres - and I don't feel guilty about it. Both do the job quite well.

    PS, if you are looking at rounds like these, also consider Hornady's XTP rounds. I have tested some of these in .44mag (300gr bullets) and they are great.
  4. Bill_G

    Bill_G Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Central Pennsylvania
    they're both excellent. i use golden saber....but i would be comfortable with gold dot also.
  5. FoMoGo

    FoMoGo Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Andreas Pa, 18211
    I carry gold dots in my .44, but would not hesitate to load it with golden sabres.

  6. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    Texas - Born and Raised
    Back when the Golden Sabers came out I was anxious to give them a run after reading several write ups about them. I purchased several hundred in various calibers to give a good overall accounting of how well they would server my uses. Bear in mind the following is from my own personal test and the results I gathered are only my own personal opinions of the listed bullets.

    Based upon the calibers you listed, the only one I didn't try them out in was the 40 but instead I used my 10mm.

    For general loads I had been using the standard Remington 125gr JHP in my .357, the Gold Dot in the 45, and a standard Winchester 180gr JHP in my 10mm.

    Without going into a lot of details, I found that the GS, while they shot extremely well did not work as well in both penetration nor expansion as the GD's. I tested them at the same velocities from all handguns and the GD's overall worked time and time again. The test medium might have been different for each test but I did try to duplicate them as closely as possible under actual hunting conditions. Granted this was not a self defense response but they were tested on live targets which were then followed up by visual inspection upon field dressing.

    I have the luxury, (or misfortune depending on your outlook,) so to speak of having feral hogs to hunt year round. They also make for great load and bullet test medium. They are tenacious and with out exact spine or brain shots, for the most part they simply do not drop at the shot with most medium caliber handguns.

    Still in all I found that the particular GD loads worked great, (but for my hunting purposes, not nearly as well as the standard bullets I had been using.) This does not deter me from using the GD as carry ammo as I do in most occasions when traveling. They performed admirably on the hogs, and based upon what I found during field dressing of many taken with them, they would with out a doubt drop a bad guy. Nearly all recovered were the classic mushroom shape, and had penetrated well into vitals and through tough hide and in some cases bone. The ones not so pretty shaped were the lighter ones and were deformed going through tough shoulder bone. Not the plates but the actual shoulder blades. Still in all the 125gr .357's for the most part were the least recovered and resulted in more pass through than the rest. We determined this was due to the higher velocity and smaller diameter after expansion.

    The wound tracks were great in all of them even with the GS, however they seemed to over expand and not penetrate as much. Also the GS had a great initial wound track but it simply seemed to drop off rather quick as well. Where the GD hit expanded and continued to create a larger channel for a broader area through out its course.

    Again these are my personal findings and should not influence your decision. I suggest you test them out for your self and see if they meet up to your standards. I at least hope you might find some of it useful.
  7. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    Actually, in my own tests, the band is functional in two ways. One, average velocity was slightly higher (reduced friction bearing surface). The second and far more important benefit was that the reduced diameter forward of the band and before the ogive allows more taper of the case mouth, which enhanced feeding reliability in a couple of my guns that had been finicky.

    From my own tests in clay, I found both the GD and GS to perform well, with the GS usually penetrating a little deeper and it's jacket remaining in-tact more often than the GD. Because of these differences, and because of the benefit in feeding reliability, I chose the Golden Sabre for my defensive handgun loads in .380, 9mm, .40, 10mm, .45 and .38/.357. As an added bonus, the GS is a little less expensive than GD.


    I can't find the image of my Gold Dot test, but this was the Golden Sabre in .380 (102 gr.), handloaded to 1067 FPS (from my Beretta 84 FS). The clay was shot using my P3AT, so I imagine the velocity was maybe 40 or 50 FPS lower (never chronographed them from the P3). One layer of denim was placed over the block. The bullet fully penetrated the 12" block, but bounced off of the phone book behind it.


    The bullet was in-tact when recovered, but the core and jacket separated while I was washing the clay off


    This .380 load actually made a larger cavity and out-penetrated a 115 gr. JHP 9mm Remington factory load fired from my PF9. With no exit hole, it was difficult to cross-section the block cleanly, but you can see the bullet at ~ 10" of penetration.


    Both of these test loads were fired from a distance of 15 feet.
  8. dlistello

    dlistello Member

    Apr 20, 2006
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Shoot both to determine best accuracy and reliability in your gun(s). From what I've read, Gold Dot seems to be the most common round carried by LE nation wide. Mas Ayoob stresses to check and see what your local Law Enforcement carries, a potential brownie point if you have to defend yourself in in court on a self defense shooting. Dave
  9. deacon8

    deacon8 Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    I personally like Gold Dot. It has controlled expansion-it penetrates deep and ends up large and intact. Golden Sabre might be fine, but I am partial to Gold Dot. Bullet technology sure has changed things...
  10. mavracer

    mavracer Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    either depending on function, accuracy and price
  11. M&PVolk

    M&PVolk Member

    Jun 10, 2008
    I carry 165 grain Golden Sabers in my M&P compact. I use the lighter bullet to keep the velocity up in the shorter barrel.
  12. Rampant_Colt

    Rampant_Colt Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    +1 for 230gr Golden Saber. Here's why:

    Chicago P.D. may opt to use any major premium 230gr JHP as one's own expense. A friend of mine [who's a CPD] carries 230gr Golden Saber in his G21. According to him and his collegues who also carry the 230GS, they've had excellent results in PD-involved shootings using this cartridge.

    In addition to having a low velocity threshold of expansion and excellent terminal ballistics, Golden Saber uses cutting as an additional wound mechanism like Ranger T or Black Talon.

    I can get better deals on 230gr Golden Saber bullets as a reloading component as well, closing the deal on my choice of ammo for my .45s.
    Yes, i use handloads for self-defense...:rolleyes:

    There are a few PD agencies that have had the 165gr Golden Saber as standard issue since some time in the '90s--most with good results

    .357 Mag GS is a most excellent choice for a med-velocity carry load. I favor IT over the Gold Dot offerings
  13. MostlyHarmless

    MostlyHarmless Member

    Dec 13, 2008
    I believe that the difference among the various manufacturers of defense-grade ammunition is small enough to be disregarded.

    Let availability, cost, and personal preference be your guide.
  14. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Stalingrad, USA
    I'm pretty sure that both rounds are considered "premium" defense rounds and both will do just fine. I use Golden Sabers because they are more accurate out of my Glocks.
  15. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Guys, I just removed far more posts that I would have liked. Some good information was the victim of collateral damage. Let's try to focus on the topic at hand and refrain from personal attacks.
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