185gr v. 230gr JHP in .45ACP? Preference & why? Which .45ACP is best for CQC / SD?

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    1. #1
      Junior Member HGF Gold Member MikeyMike's Avatar
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      185gr v. 230gr JHP in .45ACP? Preference & why? Which .45ACP is best for CQC / SD?

      I have usually fired whatever my wallet could afford as far as ammo goes, but now as my shooting for fun tones down a little and I have all my weapons set up and dialed in for accuracy, I have decided to make my S&W M&P .45 my EDC and home SD weapon, and want the best round for the job. I prefer to stagger load, with a JHP in the pipe and the an FMJ/JHP/FMJ, etc... in the magazine. I am thinking about using a 185gr JHP for the hollow points, and 230gr for the FMJs ... your thoughts? Is there enough of a difference in a 185gr jhp performance wise to warrant the extra cost of the ammo? i am school and feel that 'f**k it', straight 230gr FMJ's are sufficient for any purpose in a .45acp, but I'm trying to get a little educated in the ballistics, etc... thoughts / opinions?

    2. #2
      Junior Member 870ShellShucker's Avatar
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      The only things I'll add are that the 1911 was originally designed for 230 Grain ammunition, and that I'd recommend staying with the same brand and weight of JHP and FMJ for the most consistent POA / POI shot after shot. But by all means, prove it to yourself on paper first.

    3. #3
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      One of the pleasures of firing the 1911 is its "slow push" recoil. It makes sure, effective hits easier to accomplish.
      This "slow push" is the result of firing a heavy bullet at a very low velocity.

      A given caliber's cartridges all tend to be loaded to the same general at-the-muzzle ballistics.
      Therefore, a .45 firing a lighter bullet than standard will send the slug out at a higher velocity than standard, so its muzzle energy will equal (or maybe exceed) the slower-bullet standard.
      But that higher velocity will change the .45's "slow push" recoil into a less pleasant "jab."
      That may slow your recovery for your second shot. It may also promote a flinch for your first.

      There are .45 ACP, 230-grain, non-+P, hollow-point loadings out there.
      I suggest trying them out.

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
      One of the pleasures of firing the 1911 is its "slow push" recoil. It makes sure, effective hits easier to accomplish.
      This "slow push" is the result of firing a heavy bullet at a very low velocity.

      A given caliber's cartridges all tend to be loaded to the same general at-the-muzzle ballistics.
      Therefore, a .45 firing a lighter bullet than standard will send the slug out at a higher velocity than standard, so its muzzle energy will equal (or maybe exceed) the slower-bullet standard.
      But that higher velocity will change the .45's "slow push" recoil into a less pleasant "jab."
      That may slow your recovery for your second shot. It may also promote a flinch for your first.

      There are .45 ACP, 230-grain, non-+P, hollow-point loadings out there.
      I suggest trying them out.
      Agreed 100%

    5. #5
      rex
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      There are variables in your requirement that needs a compromise,and I use one for both also.For HD you want good hollowpoints for penetration issues into other rooms,but carry is a different picture since you live is a severe climate change.When it's warm the HPs are fine and are proven until you get to serious barricade issues.When you guys start layering up the clothing things change.I was raised up there and moved here to FL 30 years ago and we do it on about a 1/2+ scale unless you're a biker.Heavy clothing,layers,leather,can plug up HPs in various degrees,so the staggered load has merrits for that.I did years ago.

      I instictively doubletap at close range,so I thought the second ball round could be collateral damage if inside and everyone loses the heavy stuff like in a restaraunt,wherever.In the cold I just leave the HPs in and carry a mag of ball (FMJ)spare.Most places good HPs will cover you,but if you feel the ball would be better just swap mags out of sight quick.First round is a HP but one's coming right behind it.Winters here have been mild for a few years so I haven't needed ball,I carry the HPs.

      I run 230s,it's the most versitile to me.The 185s work,but without compromising bullet performance for SD you're going to printing a bit lower than ball powered rounds while having less mass for penetration with full expansion.They'll all work when 2 COM hits don't,but I want the best chance for the first 2 to count so we don't have to hit target B.

      Food for thought to prepare for the environment you'll be in at the time.

    6. #6
      Senior Member berettatoter's Avatar
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      Well, I personally run 230 grain JHP's (Federals) in my .45. I will just shoot 230 grain ball at the range, but like the heavy bullet myself. Remember one thing though, my .45 has a barrel just under 5", so I am getting enough velocity to make that 230 grainer expand upon impact. If your weapon has a short barrel, you may find the 230 grain JHP is coming out too slow to do what it was designed to do. You might want to check out the ballistics to make sure your JHP of choice is performing as you would want it too.

    7. #7
      rex
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      BT brings up a good point I missed,barrel length.Some 230 HPs are marginal performers in the 3"ers,so the 185 may be a better choice.I love Commander length for carry and it's the shortest I'll go,I'm not old enough to need a shorter and lighter gun yet.There are good 230s out there that do well in the shorties but I can't tell you which ones.HydraShoks are hard to find so I stick to Win's upper level slugs.Hornady's got some really good bullets but you want to load them,their components are great but for some reason their pistol ammo always seems to have QC problems.

    8. #8
      Junior Member warbird1's Avatar
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      I use Hornady "Critical Defense" in my S&W M&P.45 as it's a great round in a weapon that is not ammo sensitive.

      I use 230 grains in my Remington 1911 as it was designed around that weight.

    9. #9
      Junior Member 870ShellShucker's Avatar
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      I use 230 grains in my Remington 1911 as it was designed around that weight.
      Ditto.

    10. #10
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by warbird1 View Post
      ...I use 230 grains in my Remington 1911 as it was designed around that weight.
      Um, not exactly.
      It was "designed around" a certain internal-ballistics pressure curve.
      At the time, our Army wanted a slow, heavy bullet that would approximate the performance of the .45 revolver cartridge it was then using.
      But other bullet weights, loaded to different velocities but adhering to the original pressure curve, will work just as well—from the pistol's point of view.
      However, what each of the various bullets does outside of the gun (that is, the exterior ballistics of each) is quite a different story.

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