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Thread: .45 ACP Hardball VS Hollowpoint

  1. #1
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    .45 ACP Hardball VS Hollowpoint

    For the Highroad crowd:

    I would like to get an opinion as to what each person thinks is a good carry option for a .45 ACP. I'm asking as to what is a "better" option. I know that "better" is always based on who you ask, but I want to ask everyone and get an opinion.

    I know what I think is a good option, but I want to know what you people think and why. Let me know!

    I want to know what you carry (gun), what load, and why.
    -The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those that will work and give to those that would not.
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    1911. Hornady 230gr +P TAP.

    They were the only HP's I could find at the time, and I like the 75gr loading for the .223, so I figured I would give them a try. No noticable flash (I worked at the range and fired with the lights off).
    When the going gets tough the tough get cyclic!
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  3. #3
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    I have a box of the same thing sitting on the shelf, I had another box but used them up during testing. I think they are a great round and functioned 100%. Never tested for flash though, thanks for the info. Recoil was very manageable in a Sig P245, which I still had that gun.
    -The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those that will work and give to those that would not.
    -Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

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    In my 45, a 4" N frame S&W, I carry the HydraShok 230 load. I like the round but rely more on bullet placemment than on expansion so I could be happy with Hard Ball.

    My preference would be for a full wadcutter but that is not loaded by the factories.
    I prefer not to shoot cartridges younger than I am!

  5. #5
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    Find a commercial HP round that feeds and stock up.
    If your gun will feed JHP you would be a fool to reduce your SD effectiveness.

    That being said, armed beats unarmed by a vast margin, if you absolutely can't find a reliable JHP round ball is better than nothing, but remember that a ball round won't bore a. 45" hole, it leaves stabby holes rather than semi-permanent cavities. Seek a gun that feeds HP ammo.
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  6. #6
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    FMJ vs HP: HP all the way. Only good reason to use FMJ these days, IMHO, is if your gun won't function with HPs, so you'd have to use FMJ (until you can get your gun fixed or replaced).

    HPs give you a larger than .45 wound track, and less risk of pass-through. We are awash with well engineered and well produced .45 HPs that do the recommended 10-14" of gel penetration (or a little more or less, depending on your preferences). FMJ might do 26 inches, and it's hard to know in what circumstance that's preferable.

    Which .45 HP? I don't much care, other than it should function in your gun. This is not like .38 or 9, where which loading you choose makes a huge difference in effectiveness. Effective .45 HPs are dime-a-dozen (okay--more like $20 for 20).
    I want to know what you carry (gun), what load, and why.
    Glock 20, 135 gr HPs, and .

  7. #7
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    forgot to share my loadout

    Citadel officer size 1911, Wilson mags, Hordady JHP in plain HP and the Critical Defense loads, Gold Dots or Winchester premium HP (PDX?) in the black box.
    That's what has tested well and I stock them as I find them.
    Gold Dot short barrel and Win whitebox HP tested poorly, I haven't tested anything else thoroughly so far.
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    I have a "pet" Commander that works best with 185 gr Federal Classic. The rest of them are not ammo picky. I have gotten to like the Federal 185 grain stuff as a result and stock up as I can find it.

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    DW CBOB loaded with Federal Hydra-Shock 185 Gr +P. Basically 10MM velocity with 45ACP goodness. Make sure whatever you choose runs reliably in your gun.

    RMD
    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
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    .45acp and .44spl are about the only exceptions to my H.P. vs. FMJ rule.

    in "police" calibers a H.P. is prefered but with these two mentioned here they are slow enough that if all i had at the time was a SWC or FMJ id be ok with them but would still prefer a descent H.P.


    BTW, when i carry my G29 or G20 they are loaded with DT 135gr. Nosler H.P.s, even though DT has since fallen from grace regarding making top speed ammo and have been religated to Cor-Bon status as a mid powered 10mm loader now.

    rduckwor, is that federal 185gr +p going approx. 1300 f.p.s.? im asking because youve claimed it to have like 10mm velocity.

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    I appreciate the input, but what do you guys that carry HPs think about clothing clogging the pockets and the fact that many .45s dont produce enough velocity to reliably expand (especially from something like a Glock 30/36)? I'm going to do a ballistic gelatin test in the next few weeks or so and that way I can get some results against "simulated" tissue. I don't like water tests because of the density... but thats not what this is about.

    So like I said, what do you guys think about HP clogging and expansion speeds?

    Then again... I guess even if it doesn't expand, its still a .45...
    -The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those that will work and give to those that would not.
    -Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

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    *Lifetime NRA Member*

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    I appreciate the input, but what do you guys that carry HPs think about clothing clogging the pockets and the fact that many .45s dont produce enough velocity to reliably expand (especially from something like a Glock 30/36)? I'm going to do a ballistic gelatin test in the next few weeks or so and that way I can get some results against "simulated" tissue. I don't like water tests because of the density... but thats not what this is about.

    So like I said, what do you guys think about HP clogging and expansion speeds?

    Then again... I guess even if it doesn't expand, its still a .45...

    The worst that could happen with a GOOD HP is that it would expand too much....but unless they are wearing ammo, its still gonna make big holes and they are gonna loose pressure at a substantial rate. IF it doesnt expand...then its just gonna do the same dammage as ball ammo.

    I reccomend a good brand like Speer GD because they have bonded jackets and a VERY good expansion rate. And they WILL pennetrate VERY well, even with a .45
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  14. #14
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    what do you guys that carry HPs think about clothing clogging the pockets
    I still think that HPs are more likely to expand than FMJs.

    Lots of approaches to the dependable expansion "problem," most of them expensive. Hornady's "Critical Defense" ( marketing!) pre-clogs the HP cavity so that clothing can't get in. Perhaps Federal EFMJs do the same, so to speak.

    I personally like the large cavity/skived approach, as exempified by Corbon/Barnes DPX. But, if the old Speer Lawman flying ashcans were still available, I bet they'd do just about as good.

    Good news is that lots of ammo manufacturers do a "ballistic gel covered by four layers of denim" test, so if you feel that's important to your reailty, look up the test results. Start here: http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De...dex.htm#.45ACP

    Then there's specialty ammo: Pow'rBall, Glaser, Magsafe. As far as I'm concerned, there's NO reason to get that fancy with .45--a good .45 HP is about as good a bullet for defense against human attackers as any hangun can deliver.

  15. #15
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    I carry a stainless Taurus PT-145 Millennium Pro loaded with Federal 230-gr. Tactical Bonded. Gives reliable expansion through clothing, and from the short (3.3") barrel. 100% reliable in my gun, and 11 rds. of these should get me out of anything I didn't see coming.

    what do you guys that carry HPs think about clothing clogging the pockets and the fact that many .45s dont produce enough velocity to reliably expand (especially from something like a Glock 30/36)?
    1. Federal Tactical Bonded and HSTs, and Cor-Bon DPX, to name three rounds, expand reliably through thick layers of clothing.

    2. The WORST your JHP will do is the BEST that a FMJ will do!
    Violence is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and valorous feeling which believes that nothing is worth violence is much worse. Those who have nothing for which they are willing to fight; nothing they care about more than their own personal safety; are miserable creatures who have no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of those better than themselves. Gary L. Griffiths, Chief Instructor, Advanced Force Tactics, Inc. (Paraphrasing John Stuart Mill)

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    I've relied on Gold Dot 230 gr. ammo for years but recently people have talked about lower weight HP's expanding better because of higher speed. IMO the 165 gr. hp's will essentially get you down to 9mm levels which is not such a great thing IMO. A big bullet will carry more energy into the target despite slower speeds and the energy will remain in the target rather than exiting out the back of the target.

    In the past couple of years I've bought up a bunch of different brands of HP ammo to see which seems to work better. I haven't seen any evidence that one brand is particularly better than others. All .45 hp's that I've tried seem to expand reliably. I'm not talking about low quality ammo. I'm talking Hornady, Federal, Remington, Speer, etc. and even Winchester HP's have all expanded well in my test target which is (actually was) a rotting stump that isn't as hard as most wood and probably is close to the same resistance we might see in flesh. I have no way of testing that but I would think that of all the slugs I've dug out of that stump it would show up if there was a big difference in any single brand of hp's.

    I don't think there's any doubt anymore that HP's are your best bet for PD. From the test results I've seen large caliber HP's might pick up material from outside the body but at worst they act like ball ammo and at best they still expand reliably. What we know for sure is that hard cast bullets are not going to expand going into flesh. Soft points might but HP's almost certainly will.

    HP's may not be perfect but they are clearly the best choice IMO. And if your gun won't shoot them you should get a better gun. As for SWD's aren't they a big problem for autoloaders? If you're talking revolver they should work ok but most people think auto when they think .45 ACP although there are quite a few revolvers that shoot that caliber around. I have cartridges for my .44 magnum revolver that are not to be used in autoloaders at all. They are close to being a wadcutter.

    And just for the record I hope none of us ever has to use a gun in anger. But's it's better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

  17. #17
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    The WORST your JHP will do is the BEST that a FMJ will do!
    I think that just about sums it up!
    -The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those that will work and give to those that would not.
    -Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

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    Bullet makers make bullets...

    the only thing they haven't done yet is make red ones, blues ones, green ones and yellow ones not to mention pink ones for all the pink guns out there. i don't know about you guys but as for me let me hear the explosion and see the muzzle flash coming my way and i'm not going to drop my mag to see if the bullet cavity fits the occasion.

  19. #19
    As Jerry stated, .45 & .44 are more than adequate as FMJ's.

  20. #20
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    I have nine rounds of FMJ in my 1911.

    That is a lot of big nasty holes already.

  21. #21
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    FMJ isn't a drill, you're set up to make stab-style wounds. If your gun won't feed HP then by all means go with hardball until you can effect repairs or upgrade, but advocating it as a long-term plan to someone else is just silly.

    I will never understand the determination of some people to believe that their range ammo is just as good for making holes in meat as paper.
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  22. #22
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    .45 & .44 are more than adequate as FMJ's.
    I might opt for a few steps above adequate. I might even opt for the best I think I can afford (as long as it functions in my gun).
    I have nine rounds of FMJ in my 1911.

    That is a lot of big nasty holes already.
    Bigger holes would still be better: more likely to nick the blood vessel or spinal cord that ends your fight. No increased recoil, and great penetration, too.

    Marshall and Sanow found no .45 FMJ with better effectiveness than 62%; the worst HP was 81%. Yeah, I know: "stopping power" is not dependable--but it seems to happen at times. Why not set yourself up to take advantage of that possibility?

    And 26" of penetration with FMJ? Any energy remaining in the exiting bullet does not contribute to stopping your attacker. (Of course, if you're planning on tracking him and want the exit wound for a better blood-trail...)

  23. #23
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    I don't carry a .45acp anymore. The G21 is loaded with JHP in first couple mags/some fmj in rest.

  24. #24
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    "stopping power" is not dependable--but it seems to happen at times. Why not set yourself up to take advantage of that possibility?
    Exactly!

    Simple water-jug testing will show that HP rounds transfer energy more dramatically. Commercial HP manufacturers are all aiming for ~12 inches of penetration in ballistics gel (or meat), not neat pass-through wounds, not ice-pick stabbies, and not to simply push aside the meat as they whistle on through the target.

    It doesn't matter that the .mil is limited to ball, it doesn't matter what someone's grandpa remembers about the Moro uprising, the simple fact is that range ammo and defensive ammo are different things designed for different goals. Armed beats unarmed, we all know that. Exact ammunition choice is a small part of defensive needs, but there are damn few reasons* to limit yourself by choosing ball ammo.

    Remember, for defensive purposes, what matters most is:
    1 - Placement
    2 - Depth
    3 - Width
    (in that order)

    Now, if you hit the range and train beyond slow-fire on stationary targets from a bench you can handle #1. If you choose your ammo correctly, #2 & #3 are covered, leaving you to only handle COM hits or a CNS shot as a last resort. On the other hand, if you pick ball ammo, you get everything placed on #1, so ... can you punch a half-inch hole in the heart? Aorta? Brain stem? Upper spine? And if you can do shots onto 3x3 inch targets at the range, can you do it while getting off the "X" or avoiding a knife-wielding maniac?
    I don't know about you commandos loading ball for defense, but I'm capable of getting COM hits while on the move out to 10-15 yards with my CC handguns** and it is a challenge to do it fast. At "get off me" distances I don't get to choose where I put my shots as well either, I'll take all the help I can get in reliability and potential expansion.


    *some examples:
    -mousegun calibers may only get good penetration with ball
    -some older guns won't feed anything but ball, and sometimes only one profile/ogive will work
    -some areas restrict ammo for stupid political reasons
    -in times of extreme budget shortfalls, armed beats unarmed


    ** (OK, less for the p32, luckily I don't often need such a hideout gun)
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  25. #25
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    I load my Springfield 1911 A1 with Buffalo Bore 255 gr,bullets ( added buffer & stronger spring )
    I worry about 4 legged critters more then 2 legged ones but for SD they will leave an quite a exit HOLE ...

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