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Question for all the .45 cal. experts

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Old Navy, Aug 8, 2009.

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  1. Old Navy

    Old Navy Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    Central Tx
    I know that it is very important to use a defensive round such as Cor Bon, or DPX when using a .380, 9MM or even a .40 S&W as a primary carry weapon. I would never choose a round nosed FMJ round that's desined for target practice to defend my life.

    Is the same premise true for the .45 ACP round? Isn't it big enough and doesn't it have enough knock down power that it will stop just about anybody with a decently placed shot, even with round nosed ball ammo?
    Just curious. There's a BIG difference between $20 target ammo and $30- $50 defensive ammo.
  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Deep in the Ozarks
    I've carried a .45 for many a year, and always carry premium defensive ammo.

    At one time, not enough work had been done on defensive ammo for the M1911 -- everyone was carrying 9mms, so .45 ammo lagged in both effectiveness and feeding reliability, but that's all past now.

    The best policy seems to me to develop a handload that shoots to the same point of aim as your carry round, with the same bullet weight and muzzle velocity, and practive with that. I make friends with the local tire dealer and get wheel weights for free. I cast bullets by the thousands -- Lee makes low cost, effective moulds -- and use them for practice. And for carry, I use the premium stuff.

    After all, isn't your life worth a few bucks extra?
  3. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine member

    May 29, 2003
    Big is good but bigger is better.
    So, if available, for a reasonable price, why not go bigger.

    45 ACP hard ball has been getting the job done since the early 1900's and it will continue to do so but there's nothing wrong with using a bullet that will expand to a greater diameter and will have numerous jagged cutting edges.

    Speer Gold Dot. (the 22 on top is a .223 55gr Remington JSP shot from a Kel Tec PLR pistol).

    In the mid 1960's one of my Army helicopter students was awarded the Silver Star for killing a bunch of Vietnam VC. He shot them from (a measured) 7 yards to 97 yards with his 1911A1 and GI hard ball.

    But I still load my Kimbers with +P JHP.:)

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  4. ROBBY.1911

    ROBBY.1911 Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    let JHP be your mantra--not the fancy stuff just good old hollowpoint
  5. Publius1688

    Publius1688 Member

    Jul 2, 2009
    Knoxville TN
    I think that with other handgun rounds: especially 9mm, the difference between FMJ & "defense" ammo is much greater than with the .45 ACP. We should really carry what we can shoot, and shoot well. You are correct that a torso hit with a .45 ACP is effective. Actually, it's devastatingly effective.
    There is a principle of diminishing returns at work here. For defense, the difference between ball .45 and expensive, premium ammo may not be worth the cost. If your CCW is a 9mm, it probably is.
  6. SDDL-UP

    SDDL-UP Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Your life is worth a few extra bucks! Get a good JHP round and don't worry about it.
  7. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter Member

    May 13, 2009
    The Shadow Knows...
    I used to carry FMJ until i discovered how much they over-penetrate- JHP is the way to go- i use 230gr gold dots now
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    Total 100% reliability is far more importent then bullet type, weight, or velocity.

    If your gun is 100% reliable with 230 grain hardball, and 98.7% reliable with JHP?

    Then 230 grain FMJ hardball it is!

  9. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    United Socialist States of Obama
    I also believe that reliability is of utmost importance. I prefer hardball for that reason.
  10. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

    Mar 20, 2003
    At The Range
    Several big time firearm instructors (Chuck Taylor, Clint Smith, the late great Jeff Cooper) carried/carry 230 FMJ in their .45s. Are JHPs better for "stopping power"? Statistically yes, but 230 FMJ is still the best choice for reliability, especially in 1911s (Yes, I said it, flame suit on).

    Just my .02,
  11. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Jun 5, 2006
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    I believe that the real world effectiveness of pistol rounds differs little. I think that only when measuring from one extreme end of the spectrum (say, 9mm FMJ vs 230 gr .45 JHP), are you going to see any noticeable difference at all, and then it's still not as big as internet scientists claim it is. All pistol PD rounds are a compromise, too weak, and not good enough. (Yes, I said ALL.) For this reason, I feel it is necessary to give yourself every possible advantage when using one. Meaning, the fattest, nastiest round you can shoot well. For me, I use the 230 gr HST.

    Having said that, if for some reason I was carrying hardball and had to use it defensively, it's not like I would do a panic while I tried to do some new math to decide if I should shoot more times or in a different place. No change to pattern or plan. I'm believing that three good hits of JHP and three good hits of hardball will have VERY similar results.

    When you say Corbon, I think of +p ammo, bigger, faster, more. I think that it is best to use the gun and ammo as it was designed. The regular setup is proven to work. Messing with it is to mess with something you know works. I see no reason to do it. Standard pressure rounds through a full-length barrel. I'll call that yet another reason I only carry full-size autos.

    And like Leon mentioned, there is a historical precedent for FMJ feeding more reliably than jhp rounds. I think you should shoot plenty of whatever you carry to make sure, but some people choose to reduce the odds of a stoppage.
  12. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

    May 31, 2007
    I completely agree that handguns stink for self-defense. Better than nothing if you can't run fast, though. Statistics are meaningless. Too many variables. If you deliver a central nervous system hit, your assailant is out of the fight regardless of caliber. If you make a crummy shot, caliber doesn't matter. I figure a bigger bullet can't hurt my cause, though, so I use them when possible. I carry my handloads with 200gr swc's, and have no doubt that they'll do as well as anything else, if I do my part.
  13. Archie

    Archie Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Hastings, Nebraska - the Heartland!
    Forty years experience and second guessing...

    I prefer JHP bullets of full weight and standard velocity for self defense. Second place comes 200-230 grain cast lead SWCs at 800-1000 fps. But, if all I had were FMJ in the standard GI loading, I'd be okay.
  14. kanewpadle

    kanewpadle Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    While I respect your opinion, YOU are not Chuck Taylor, Clint Smith, or Jeff Cooper.

    There is no logical or ethical reason and no excuse why we should carry FMJ ammo when proven self defense ammo such as Corbon Powrball and Federal EFMJ is available.

    As they saying goes "every bullet has an attorney attached to it". FMJ will overpenetrate. Are you prepared for the consequenses?
  15. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Johnson City, TN
    If you shoot hardball, it makes a .45-caliber hole. If a hollowpoint expands it makes an even bigger hole. If it fails to expand it will still make a a .45-caliber hole, so you've lost nothing by trying. I want all the advantages I can get. ;) And don't forget to repeat as necessary.
  16. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

    Jun 12, 2005
    Phoenix Az
    You should use the JHP for several reasons. One is that it makes it more effective. Even if it doesnt expand, the sharp edges will make a bigger wound than the round profile of the FMJ. Flesh being somewhat stretchy will move around the outer rounded surface of the bullet. Ball type ammo does not make a full caliber hole in its targets.

    Another reason is over penetration. Ive seen expanded .45s exit a bad guy, so I believe a FMJ wouldnt have a hard time doing so either. Also, I have heard that JHPs ricochet less than FMJ.

    Truth is that with proper shot placement it probably doesnt really matter what kind of round you use. Either way you are putting a good size hole through vital organs. But a properly expanded JHP makes bigger holes and is more likely to hit stuff that the FMJ might have just missed.
  17. REAPER4206969

    REAPER4206969 Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    There is nothing magical about a .45 ACP.
  18. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    Note on the above photos that they're all JHP, FWIW...

    anyway, a deer is about the size of a human (160# +/-). I suspect .45 JHP would be adequate, though perhaps marginal, for deer. I'd NEVER try to use hardball for deer. There's a reason that solids are illegal for hunting (at least in Indiana)

    Nothing always works. Nothing never works.
  19. SupraBo

    SupraBo Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    Old Navy,

    I was shooting in a competition once and had 45 match ammo issued to me at the truck. Well the next day the ammo boxes we had issued were different. The new box gave me a 6in drop at the long line(50 yards).
    I know the Army marksmanship unit has there own ammo made for each gun
    Something to consider when using fancy ammo. You have to sight that blammo in also.. Much more expensive.

    But I would say 45 ball worked great in WW2
  20. jwr747

    jwr747 Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    north alabama
    I've kicked this around since about 1958.hard ball or what ever "wonder round" is in fashion.was moving some military issue 45 ACP hard ball the other day,just me,by myself and the hard ball,took a round out and contemplated the hard ball bullet.decided on that day Aug,5th,2009 at 4:00 PM that it may not be the best,but it will do the job,45 ACP hard ball works for me for self defense....jwr
  21. hddeluxe

    hddeluxe Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    Yuma, AZ
    Speaking from real world experience, I prefer the FMJ Hardball. Excellent feeding reliability and I want all the penetration I can get. Take a look at a heavy wool jacket and wool shirt together after they have been shot with a HP and Ball ammo.
    I also am a believer that if it goes through the bad guy then I have two holes for him to bleed out instead of one.
    It worked for me for more than 26 years in the USMC. And yes, I know there are those who say we only like hardball because HP is against the Geneva Convention.
  22. broncobob

    broncobob Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    GardenCity Mich
    I say use whatever you're comfortable with.But remember this,if ever you're in A gun fight, and when the smoke clears if you're standing,you'll know what you used worked,if he's standind you'll know it did'nt.
  23. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    I'm not going to call myself an "expert" but I have done my homework...

    There is no such thing as "knock-down power" out of a handgun. If you learn nothing else, learn this, learn it well and never forget it.

    This is Physics 101 (remember the equal and opposite reaction thing?)
    If it doesn't knock you down when you pull the trigger, it will not knock down the recipient of the bullet.

    Simple concept, but it is so frequently misunderstood and mis-quoted thaat it has become legend (yeah, when I was a kid my dad told me that hitting the Japs with his .45 would blow them outta their boots. Imagine my surprise when I later found out that he told a bunch of other whoppers too :rolleyes:).

    To answer your question directly, the only reason to use hardball ammo is if it is all you have. The military uses it because they are bound by the Hague Accord (has nothing to do with the Geneva Convention, just another myth). Show me one Police force that uses ball ammo. I'll be waiting right here...but I won't be holding my breath.
  24. bri

    bri Member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Mound, MN
    I used to have the fancy Corbon as my carry load, then switched to plain old ball ammo after I had a couple feed issues with the Corbon in my glock 21.

    Whatever you go with, just make sure you actually shoot the carry ammo once in awhile.
  25. Dave T

    Dave T Member

    Jan 19, 2003
    Mesa, AZ
    Given the choice I would pick one of the better JHP loads for the 45ACP but if push came to shove I would not feel un-armed with Ball. The 45 ACP made its reputation with ball ammo and people haven't changed that much since the first half of the 20th Century. And, the over penetration stuff is largely fiction. My LEO experience was that ball would generally go through the chest cavity and stop just under the skin on the far side.

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