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Remington Golden Saber .45 ACP: 230 gr. vs 185 gr?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Arrogant Bastard, Sep 8, 2008.

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  1. Arrogant Bastard

    Arrogant Bastard Member

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    I noticed just now on Cheaper than Dirt that this ammo comes in two weights -- previously, I'd only noticed the 185-gr variety.

    How effective is one vs the other, assuming same shot placement? How is recoil for one vs the other?
     
  2. possum

    possum Member

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    the best thing that i would tell you is to try each out in the gun, and see what feeds, shoots the most accurate and is easiest for you to control in your gun. what is best for one might not be the best for another. i can tell you that you can't go wrong with either one.

    In my book i don't have info on the golden sabers exactly but i do have there 2
    rem 185gr jhp 1100fps
    411ft-lbs

    rem 230gr jhp 835fps
    356ft.lbs
    so from going form this info i would choose the little lighter and faster 185gr. as long as it was reliable in my gun. it is getting more ft. lbs of energy on target.

    also with the 185gr getting 1100fps, theoritically it should expand better, as compared to the 230gr that is only going 835fps. even thought the 185gr is lighter, i believe that it would have the best terminal ballistics.
     
  3. Rustynuts

    Rustynuts Member

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    I don't know. I like the higher energy, but most people say stick with 230 in 45, period.
     
  4. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    I think the 230 is probably the more effective load, though the 185 (especially the +P version) is no slouch either. Golden Saber is a very good bullet. I think most modern duty bullets are getting better and better at opening up and performing with excellence at the slower short barrel and 230 grain .45 Auto velocities. HST is a prime example of that, in HST, bullet weight is no longer an indicator of less expansion, it actually expands better than the lighter weight versions of the same bullets.
     
  5. Ghost Walker

    Ghost Walker Member

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    :) It might help to remember that JHP's don't always perform up to their design criteria. With barricades, car windows and bodies, and heavy winter clothing a heavier bullet is always better than a lighter one.

    (Especially when fired from a handgun!)

    Winchester Ranger SXT (either flavor) and Remington Golden Saber are the only two pistol JHP's that actually use the bullet's jacket as a cutting mechanism in order to inflict target damage.

    If your pistol will reliably feed 230 grain JHP's I'd suggest that you use them. Me? I prefer 230 grain FMJ/RN; but, that's another story. ;)
     
  6. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    I've shot and carried both loads. In my full size 1911 I carry the Golden Saber 230gr JHP. It's hard to argue with the effectiveness of the 230 grain loads. They are a good proven and effective performer.

    However, I have used the lighter load in my previously owned HK USP C .45 auto. Since the .45 auto in the 230 grain loading is by no means a high velocity round, it suffers even more in short and ultra short barrel autos. I'm just not comfortable with the velocity of the heavier bullets in short barrels. This is where the 185gr loads really shine.

    The real benefit to both loads is that they both start out at .45 cal and don't have to rely on extreme bullets designs or high velocities to reach a respectable diameter. That can't be said with a 9mm.

    Match the load to the individual handgun. You won't go wrong.
     
  7. Babalouie

    Babalouie Member

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    Either one is really going to hurt...a lot.
     
  8. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    Not the newest data, but likely still relevant:

    http://www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/45acp.htm

    I prefer the 230gr for their lower muzzle flash and better penetration capabilities. However, I would be happy with either (and am, since I have a store of both).
     
  9. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    Generally speaking I think you can toss those energy figures out the window. They really don't mean much IMHO.
    The main difference between 185 vs. 230 (assuming a standard length barrel) is the amount of recoil vs. penetration. 185's tend to be lighter recoiling (not much so, but I can tell the difference), but generally penetrate less.
    If you have a shorter barrel or can get back on target faster with the 185's, then those are good reasons for shooting it. The energy figures are not a good guiding source of info. Many 185's will show "better" energy figures than the 230's, but don't usually penetrate gel as well from what I've seen.

    Jason
     
  10. Rampant_Colt

    Rampant_Colt Member

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    Remington Golden Sabers are an excellent bullet design. They feature an excellent feed profile and terminal ballistics to match.
    Felt recoil between the two is equal.

    in calibrated ballistic gel:

    230gr 14.3" penetration - .75 recovered diameter

    185gr 13" penetration - .70 recovered dia

    185gr +P 12.6" penetration - .70 dia

    I personally prefer 230gr for my .45s


    flip a coin...
     
  11. Disaster

    Disaster Member

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    This is where times have changed. You don't need high velocity to expand modern JHP's. They now reliably expand at 700 fps...and even below.

    The fact is, you actually do yourself more of a disservice when you go with light, high velocity loads in short barrels. They lose more velocity than do heavier bullet loads do. This comes down to the physics of pushing a light bullet behind a pile of powder. It accelerates faster than a heavier bullet and much of the powder is lost to the atmosphere in a big old flash.

    So, if light bullets penetrate less than heavier ones from a long barrel, and they lose more velocity than heavier ones do in a short barrel, one can put two and two together and realize that light bullets will penetrate even less in short barrels.

    To recap:

    1. Modern bullet's expand at much lower velocities than they did 15 years ago. +1000 fps speeds are no longer necessary to insure expansion.

    2. Lighter bullets lose more velocity (and power) in shorter barrels than do heavier bullets.

    3. Heavier bullets, loaded to similar pressures, penetrate further than do lighter bullets.
     
  12. NG VI

    NG VI Member

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    The HST doesn't exactly use its jacket as a cutting mechanism, but what the jacket does do that is unique as far as I can tell is prop up the petals of lead from the front core, making the expansion petals themselves a cutting mechanism.
     
  13. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    I moved away from +P in .45 ACP some years ago.

    Some folks claim to like the increased muzzle blast and felt recoil when shooting .45 +P loads on the range, but I don't. I like a defensive load that's more controllable and allows me better recoil recovery and management.

    Reliable functioning is also a concern of mine. I've experienced some feeding 'timing' issues with the occasional smaller size .45 pistol when using +P loads. Increased slide velocities, especially in a pistol with a shorter slide travel, may sometimes result in the slide 'out-running' the magazine spring being able to properly lift the top round up for optimal feeding.

    Then there's the potential for increased wear and tear on the gun itself.

    I just finally decided that for my usage there were more potential disadvantages than advantages when it came to +P .45 ammunition ... but that's just me.

    I was reading of the experiences of a respected gentleman on another forum one time. He apparently experienced receiving a small lot of one majorbrand premium .45 ACP LE load where the equipment used to cut the jackets on the bullets had apparently become duller than was normally considered within specification. The result was some bullets that failed to expand as intended because of what seemed to be incomplete jacket cuts. This fellow said that if the same bullets had been used in the slightly faster +P load that the extra velocity might have been enough to allow the bullet to expand as intended, even with the duller cutting surfaces on the equipment used for that lot of ammunition. Maybe so.

    Unless it needed 25 fps more than even the +P would provide.

    But what if one of the cases had been trimmed too long, and the all-important cartridge needed wouldn't completely chamber? Over the years I've come across a pair of .40 S&W rounds from one maker's LE ammunition which had that problem, and learned of a round of one of the other major maker's 'premium' line which had that problem in one of our guns one time (on the range).

    You can 'what if?' yourself into any corner of your choosing. :)

    The extra pressure and increased velocity might be considered useful or desirable by somebody, somewhere, sometime. It'll sell to somebody, somewhere.

    It's up to each person using a .45 to make sure their particular make/model of pistol is rated for +P usage by the pistol's manufacturer ... and then determine if the extra pressure offers them something they desire, or feel is needed, in their particular situation. Determine where their best 'balanced compromise' exists. An informed decision, so to speak.

    I still have a supply of it in my ammunition supply, but I seldom use it. If I did I'd be more prone to use it in one of my full-size .45 pistols.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  14. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Member

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    True to a certain extent, but given the fact that the lighter bullet travels at a higher intial velocity, by the time you factor in velocity loss due to the shorter barrel you still have 900+fps or so to work with.

    No matter what the bullet construction, I'd still be leery of sub 700 fps velocities in a heavy 230gr bullet. I'd much rather rely upon the extra 200fps of a lighter bullet.

    Hence my choice with the my HK P200sk .40. I've found that the Georgia Arms 155gr +P gives me excellent controllability combined with accuracy. Muzzle blast is also minimal with this load. I'd choose that before one of the heavier 180gr loads in the .40 in a compact carry gun.

    Again, it all boils down to personal preference.
     
  15. CWL

    CWL Member

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    I shoot the GS 230gr JHP in my 4"-5" pistols. 230gr bullet is good enough even if it doesn't expand.

    I shoot the GS 185gr JHP in my 3" Officer size M1911. The lighter bullet feels better on the wrist, is easier to control in a smaller pistol and the higher velocity compensates for the 3" barrel.
     
  16. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    With older design bullets it was generally accepted that you needed 1,000 fps minimum muzzle velocity to get reliable bullet expansion so in the .45 acp it took a 185gr bullet to do that and stay at standard pressure.

    Bullet design has since moved on and current designs will give positive expansion at muzzle velocities well under 1K fps so pick the bullet weight you like to shoot. It makes little difference in bullet effectiveness.
     
  17. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Member

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    The 230 will dig deeper, and expand slower. The 185 will hit "harder" so to speak due to higher energy. So, I guess it depends on your priorities. I assume both will dispatch a human target just fine.
     
  18. running iron

    running iron Member

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    I carry the 230 golden saber that I reload. You have to remember point of impact. The lighter, faster bullet is going to hit lower on the target than the 230 at normal speeds. Shot placement still matters more that anything else IMO.
     
  19. REAPER4206969

    REAPER4206969 Member

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  20. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    I'd opt for the 230. In my testing with ballistic clay, 185's, while able to produce awesome energies, are less reliable where penetration is concerned. One of my HD pistols is a S&W 4516, and I went a step further with the "heavier is better" ideaology and loaded 240 gr. Sierra JHC's. Of course, they're also clocking 1,080 FPS.......
     
  21. REAPER4206969

    REAPER4206969 Member

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    Damn! This is a zombie thread! 2008
     
  22. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Ultimately it depends on the individual load, including the bullet technology that is used. The best thing to do would be to find penetration and expansion data from calibrated ballistic tests.

    In general (may not apply to all cases), for any given caliber heavier bullets do tend to behave differently from lighter bullets when fired. The former sort of concentrate their momentum and energy in their weight and longer length, naturally, and give them up less readily and quickly to any media that is encountered, which usually results in greater penetration. The latter depend more on higher velocity to give them about equal momentum and greater energy (which varies according to the square of velocity), but because of the higher velocity they tend to more quickly transfer momentum and energy to any media encountered, pushing it more quickly out of the way, thereby stretching it out a bit more (temporary cavitation), while slowing down at a higher rate, usually resulting in less penetration.

    Which is more effective depends on a lot of other factors, including bullet design, the size and power of the caliber relative to the target, and what parameters one considers to be the most effective. For example, with .45 ACP (and most other "service" calibers), I personally favor loads with heavy-for-caliber bullets because penetration (which I consider most important) with bullet expansion is already marginal as it is. Given that overpenetration should not be a concern with self-defense JHP bullets, and the amount of energy involved is likely insufficient to wound substantially on its own, heavier bullets are also generally more resilient, by which I mean less affected by barriers such as furniture, doors, and bones. So in most cases, all else being equal, heavier bullets tend to be more effective.

    For a given caliber, heavier bullets will usually recoil slightly harder, but I can barely tell the difference in most cases (it depends largely on how close the momentum is between different loads).

    But what do those additional ft-lbs do? They're only there to give the lighter bullet enough momentum to do its job, and are made possible because lighter bullets are shorter, leaving more room in the cartridge case for more powder and the generation of more gas at the same maximum pressure and holding that pressure for longer. What you'll get is more energy imparted to tissues, stretching them out a bit further but not necessarily doing any more real damage, as well as quite possibly less penetration, especially through barriers or tough materials. Some believe in the value of so-called "hydrostatic shock" even at the modest energy levels of .45 ACP, but keep in mind that living tissue is far more elastic and resilient than ballistic gelatin and wet phonebooks, both of which much more readily and permanently deform when hit by faster, more energetic bullets. This is where I think real-world performance often deviates most significantly from lab test results.

    It depends on the design of the bullet, too. In most scenarios, using modern premium JHPs designed for law enforcement and self-defense, I wouldn't bet on the 185 grain bullet outperforming the 230 grain bullet--not unless tests show that a particular bullet design works better with lighter bullets, in which case I would look for a different bullet design. :) That said, ultimately the optimum choice depends on finding the best combination of penetration and expansion (by absolute diameter, not a multiplicative factor), whatever the weight of the bullet may be.

    Aside from terminal performance, another reason for doing so is that semiautomatic weapons are usually designed to function most reliably with a specific bullet weight, which for .45 ACP would be 230 grains. A 185 grain bullet shot at a higher velocity is almost the same as far as the guns are concerned, but not exactly, and some people like to play it really safe with regard to reliability.

    What you say is true, although I have to think that there must be a limit to how slow you can go, and heavier bullets, for all of their advantages, leave less of a margin for JHPs to work with, particularly with the combination of the .45 ACP caliber and barrels shorter than 5". I'm not really concerned myself because I err on the side of penetration anyway, and less expansion means more penetration.

    This can be true with some designs because heavier bullets are generally longer bullets, which allow for more material to expand outward. The reason HST works so well at lower velocities is neither genius nor magic--the bullet is fully pre-cut for expansion at the factory (the genius is in developing how to manufacture the bullet consistently and cheaply).

    While HST and some other modern JHPs are undoubtedly impressive in how they expand, remember that maximum expansion in itself is not the end goal. Some people give the impression that it is, to them, when selecting their primary self-defense load, and are often willing, in my opinion, to accept marginal penetration as a trade-off, but that's not necessarily the best choice. There are also bullet designs that carefully and deliberately limit the expansion process, and these may be worth looking into as well if they give a good combination of penetration and expansion in the lab.

    Are people really concerned about penetrating heavy winter clothing? If anything, it could cause JHPs to fail to expand sometimes and massively overpenetrate, but I wouldn't worry about getting enough penetration--bullets should zip right through clothing almost like it wasn't there, unless you're wearing Kevlar. I think that all of the crazy rumors from the Korean War about .30 Carbine being unable to penetrate winter clothing still haunt us to this day. All of this could have been avoided with better aim. :)

    Yes, but the Golden Saber also has issues with jacket separation, from what I've seen. I'm not sure about the older Ranger SXTs, but the newer Ranger-Ts seem to hold together pretty well, as long as they don't encounter hard barriers along the way, that is. For the latter, nothing beats bonded and all-copper bullets.

    In that case, 230 grain FMJ-FN or FMJ-TC may be more effective.

    That's a great way to put it, and this goes for lighter powder loads as well, such as .38 Special as opposed to .357 Magnum. Indeed, most recommend heavier bullets for the former to squeeze out all the penetration you can get, and lighter bullets for the latter to help avoid overpenetration in human targets (heavier bullets are used for hunting larger animals).
     
  23. crashbuell

    crashbuell Member

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    I like the 185gr. To me, it has just a touch less recoil.
     
  24. Mr.510

    Mr.510 Member

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    230 grain (+P HST if I have a choice). The chest cavity is surrounded by ribs and gristle.
     
  25. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    Don't buy from Cheaper than Dirt.
     
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