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Bullet Weight Choices for Compact .45's

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by bluetopper, Aug 26, 2007.

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  1. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    Was wondering if any of you have done some experimentations with different grained bullets out of the micro compact (3") .45acp's that seem to be a hot item on the market right now. I think my 2'' .45acp snubbie revolver will fit in the same category.

    Is the consensus to use lighter bullets; 185gr HP and lighter? For more velocity to enhance expansion?
    Or since the velocity is diminished due to shorter barrel length, to use heavier FMJ bullets to maximize penetration?

    Looking forward to the responses.......
     
  2. Hunter0924

    Hunter0924 Member

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    For my smaller pistols such as the Colt Compact and New Agent I have been using 200gr Hornady TAP and 185gr Federal JHPs.
    I believe the lighter bullet is beneficial in a short barrel so it will accelerate fast enough to expand in the shorter bore.
     
  3. dispatch

    dispatch Member

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    230 grain hard ball. That's almost 1/2" anyway. Functions reliably. Goes through things and shatters bones. Not at all pleasant on the receiving end.
     
  4. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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  5. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    I carry Federal 230-gr Tactical Bonded in my Taurus PT-145 Millennium Pro.

    They are supposedly formulated for short-barreled weapons, and give good expansion and penetration for me.
     
  6. camslam

    camslam Member

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    230 grain all the way. I know people love to talk about velocity, but keep in mind that momentum is what matters. That is velocity X weight.

    Sure a lighter bullet goes faster, but it also slows down faster. Not what you want happening when you need to penetrate clothes, skin, organs, and quite likely bone.

    Go for the big stuff, it will do the job.
     
  7. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    In my shorter guns 185-200 grain +P stuff.
     
  8. wally

    wally Member

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    Heaviest bullet in the caliber, any caliber, any barrel length. Three most important factors in bullet performance are: Placement, Placement, and Penetration. Without good bullet placement on the target don't much matter what you are shooting, but poor penetration can negate good placement.

    Heavy bullets penetrate best.

    --wally.
     
  9. tinygnat219

    tinygnat219 Member

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    The combination of the 1911A1 and the .45ACP cartridge combination is heavily dependent on that 5.5 inch barrel resident in those pistols. The slow .45 ACP round tends to lose velocity in a shorter barrel, like say those like the Taurus PT 145, and since it's pokey to begin with, that velocity loss will lead to a bullet not doing what it was designed to do.

    I use the 185 Grain JHP Winchester Silvertip in my Taurus. It gains back some of that lost velocity with the reduced bullet weight, but still remains a decent cartridge.

    Another load to consider is the Speer Gold Dot load for shorter barrels, this is designed to mimic the velocity coming out of a 5.5 inch barrel since it uses a quicker burning powder.

    One other thing, check to see if your guns can handle a +P round. My Taurus Millenium Pro PT 145 cannot. I put some 185 +P rounds in it and the Combination Guide spring rod and recoil spring was getting compacted in a hurry. It got so bad that when I chambered a round, the gun wouldn't go into battery. It took me 4 months to get a $4.85 part replaced.

    Hope this helps!
     
  10. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Member

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  11. camslam

    camslam Member

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    I'm curious for my own information, are you just speculating it is 650 fps or is there any ballistics data to confirm this? I've heard that it drops into the 750 to 800 fps but I have never heard as low as 650 fps.

    Any info appreciated.
     
  12. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    A friend has a MicroCompact which he bought for CCW a few years ago.

    I've shot 230gr. ball, 117gr. Aguila IQ, and maybe a few 200gr. LSWC handloads out of it. I don't recall a single malfunction with any of these.

    The Aguilas are something. If the bullet doesn't kill your assailant, you can set his clothes on fire with the muzzle flash! They also seem quite accurate.

    The thing I noticed about the MicroCompact is that felt recoil seems LESS than with my full size Norinco 1911. It might have something to do with there being less rotational movement around the grip.
     
  13. Richard.Howe

    Richard.Howe Member

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    Out of a 2.5" bbl, I've gotten 650fps from Magtech FMJ.

    My point was just that, at some point, the age-old velocity vs. mass debate loses steam.

    Giving up a little mass to get a bunch more velocity is not necessarily a bad thing.
     
  14. camslam

    camslam Member

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    Thanks for the info, that is why I keep up to date on this site, you never know when you will pick up additional knowledge. I'm still going to stick with my 230 grain out of a barrel that is 3.78" long. Hopefully they will still have some umph left in them when they hit, but I hear what you are saying when you reach the point of diminishing returns.
     
  15. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    You'll get more of the potential of the cartridge out of the 230 grain bullets.

    Think of it this way. The heavier bullets leave less room in the case for powder. The lighter bullets have more powder. A short barrel will launch a heavier bullet closer to its maximum potential than it will launch a lighter bullet. The smaller powder charge will be more completely burned than the larger powder charge will be. IE you don't lose as much going from a 5" to a 3" barrel with the 230 grain bullets, but the 185 grain bullets will have a quite significant velocity loss between the 5" and 3" barrels.
     
  16. LotI

    LotI Member

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    Actually it's a 5" bbl and as 1911tuner has taught us, we don't lose much velocity by going shorter.

    It's not designed to mimic the velocity, it's designed to mimic the expansion and penetration.

    Agreed.
     
  17. mpmarty

    mpmarty Member

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    Taurus in Brazil was early in adoption of compact 45acp defense pistols and they were concerned enough about loss of velocity and reliability that they went out and designed their own ammunitions specifically for the PT145 and sold it under their own name. It was a 185gr Barnes solid copper bullet in PMC brass with Hodgdon powder loaded in Brazil by Taurus. I bought twenty boxes of twenty a year or so ago. These rounds are HOT but have very little muzzle flash. Accuracy is very good and they function flawlessly.
     
  18. makakule

    makakule Member

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    light and fast

    we always use light-for-caliber bullets with a max charge of fast-burning powder for all of our short-barrelled handguns. The .45 is no exception. Federal personal defense, or cor-bon, both make fine examples.
     
  19. TIMC

    TIMC Member

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    I have been using 185 grain Golden Saber's in my little 3" Para and 5.8 grains of universal powder. As long as I keep my OAL between 1.190 and 1.195 the gun functions 100% reliable and I get good accuracy. I haven't checked muzzle velocity but I'm sure it will do the job if needed.
     
  20. jeepmor

    jeepmor Member

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    After seeing my PT145 blast through all 3.5" of a 2x4 on edge, with 230 grain hollowpoint, I'm not that worried that I'm underpowered. IIRC, these were loaded with Unique powder, about in the middle between Bullseye and BlueDot. Anyone have any real velocity data to share. Unfortunately, I don't have a chrony or I would share.

    On that note, does anyone have any handloads with fast powders like bullseye that have chrony numbers. The fast powder for propulsion out of a short barrel seems obvious, but the chrony numbers would eliminate all this speculation and we could discuss real data instead. Then we could work to an optimized load for short barrel CCW applications.

    Light and fast is great, but you're not going to use a .223 with a blazing fast bullet against a moose. Energy is fine and dandy, but a 45-70 with the same energy and much more mass is going to better stop said moose than a small bullet doing mach 3+. Just an example to relate to, I'm not interested in digging up the math at the moment. You guys get the idea though, right?

    I don't disagree with light and fast, but diminishing returns will play in quickly when penetration is really what is needed. Anyhow, a 185 grain handgun bullet in a defensive format is not exactly considered "light." When you compare to the other standard offerings like the 9mm and 40S&W, 180 grain is considered the heavy hitter in those guns. Or non-existent in the case of the 9mm.

    I asked this question in the handloading forum and the feedback I recieved was to use fast powder. I'll see if I can find that thread and link it here if there are any real chrony numbers to discuss.

    Found it.
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=284247
     
  21. markk

    markk Member

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    185 +p
     
  22. MPanova

    MPanova Member

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  23. BlindJustice

    BlindJustice Member

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    Ah, the Bbl. Len.
    Semi-AUtos are measured with the length of the
    cartridge, a .45 ACP is .895-.898 OAL brass and a
    1911 5 inch Bbl. only has 4.1 inches of rifling. The
    S & W 625 with the 5 inch Bbl. measures 127 mm aka 5
    inches from the exit of the cylinder to the muzzle.

    As a sidenote, the Semi-AUtos have 1 turn in 16 inches
    barrel twist, Revolvers are 1 in 15 inches so, a 1911 5 inch gives
    a bullet a quarter turn, the revolver gives it a 1/3 of a turn.

    Loads I have for a 625

    200 gr. Leadhead SWC @ 1,025 FPS
    225 gr. Barnes XPB 225 gr. HP @ ??? FPS

    I plan on getting some Hornady 200 gr. XTP
    and some Leadhead 225 gr. TC-BB to the same aiming
    point as the Barnes

    See how it feeds out of a 1911 I am on the fence about
    but it will go well with the .45 ACP Wheelgun with full moon clip
    reloads. I also have some FMJ-RC 200 gr. to reload into once fired
    cases for plinking.

    I have a source for .45 AR with Rem. 185 gr. GS JHP @ 1,100 FPS
    and it's $7 a box of 50 cheaper than . 45 Colt.
     
  24. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

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  25. Socrates

    Socrates Member

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    /\ +1
    By jove, someone has it...Plus, the heavier bullets provide more resistance to movement, increasing pressure before they move.

    S esq.
     
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