Just got back from the range. To begin, I took 10 Speer Gold Dot 185gr JHPs, then bought a 50-round box of CCI Blazer Brass 230gr FMJs, and a 20-round box of Hornady TAP 230gr +P JHPs. I wanted to test the Corbon DPX 230gr JHPs, but they were $35 for a box of 20...a bit steep, although I'll eventually test them.
I was expecting the gun to recoil much harder than it did. With a firm weaver grip, realigning the sights came even faster than with my XD-9 sub. The recoil was much harder than the XD, but there was barely any muzzle flip. The low bore axis made an immense difference in the recoil characteristics of the gun.
I had two FTFs, which were done purposely to test the parameters of the gun. I purposely limp wristed the first shot on the 3rd mag using the Blazer Brass, and the second cartridge didn't quite make it up the feed ramp. On the next magazine, I racked the slide, then lowered it down instead of letting it drop. Another FTF, although this will happen with nearly any handgun. Again, the cartridge didn't quite make it up the feed ramp. On both occasions, pushing the slide forward with force finished the feed successfully. When I let the slide drop, no FTFs, and when I kept a fairly firm grip, no FTFs.
Then I switched to the 185gr Gold Dots and was very surprised to find the 185gr bullets kicked noticeably more than the 230gr bullets. It may be that the Gold Dots were loaded hotter than the Blazer Brass, but it was an extremely noticeable difference, similar to switching from 9mm to .40S&W. The Gold Dots cycled the action flawlessly.
My final magazine was done with the Hornady TAPs. Due to the conical shape of the bullets, even slowly lowering the slide would still feed them. They cycled with no problems whatsoever. The recoil of the 230gr +P was about the same as the Gold Dots. It felt like a tad bit more, but my hand was fatigued from loading the double-stack mags.
When I got home, I cycled a full magazine of the Gold Dots through, and then the Hornady TAPs. The Gold Dots would not feed unless the slide was dropped with full force, similar to the Blazer Brass. The TAPs would feed every time, even if I slowly lowered the slide, let it catch (jam the slide), and let go. Just the recoil spring would take the TAPs from the common jamming position and slide them into the chamber with no hiccups. The Gold Dots are very rounded like ball ammo, but the TAPs are shaped a bit differently:
I think the shape of the TAP made it feed more reliably. If you look closely, the widest part of the Gold Dot is right at the edge of the casing. The TAPs have a slight exposed area of the bullet that is the widest point before it reaches the casing edge. I may be blowing steam by saying this, but I think that was the cause of the more reliable feeding. To put it in simple terms, by manually cycling the action, I was able to get the Gold Dots to jam. I wasn't able to get the TAPs to jam. They would catch at the same point (when the slide was about 3/4 of the way forward), but once I released the slide from the standstill position, it was slide all the way forward and chamber the TAPs.
All in all, I am VERY pleased with the Nite Hawg. I found the tritium sights more difficult to line up than standard 3-dot white sights. However, once the light begins to dim, they glow very brightly and I believe any carry gun that is carried in low light conditions should have night sights. The recoil was very manageable, but on the flip side, I would not recommend it to a first-time shooter. A firm grip is necessary to keep the action cycling flawlessly, and it takes a good bit of muscle to pull the slide back. Field stripping the gun is a complete and utter PITA as you have to hold the slide back halfway with a single hand to remove the slide catch lever. Reassembly is even more difficult. I've read about feeding problems on the last round, due to the weak factory magazine springs. I experienced no such problems with them. Wolff makes a spring for the P12 mag that can be used in the P10s, however because it's a thick, heavy spring, the magazine capacity is dropped from 10 to 9.
For those of you that are considering this gun, I highly recommend it for a subcompact .45ACP. Overall size is smaller than an XD 3" sub, it's extremely light even when loaded, and the stiff recoil spring and low bore axis really tame the kick. On Monday I will have some more money from work and I will be testing a 230gr Corbon DPX, 230gr Winchester SXT, and 230gr Federal Hydra-shok. I am not concerned with the ballistics of these premium defense rounds. I want to find out which ones cycle reliably and which do not, and find the recoil characteristics of each.
So far these are my findings:
1. Speer Gold Dot 185gr - More recoil than 230gr ball ammo, and cycles well under firing conditions. However, has the potential for FTFs.
2. Hornady TAP 230gr +P - Similar recoil to 185gr Gold Dot, and cycles well under firing conditions. I was not able to produce a jam from slow slide letdown.
Over the next few weeks I will test out the DPX, SXT, and Hydra-shok. I looked at the DPX and the depth of the cavity is twice that of any other JHP I've seen. The cavity appears to go clear to the bottom of the bullet, which I would imagine produces excellent mushrooming.
From reading ballistics charts from the five defense cartidges I will eventually test, my concern is not which penetrates and expands better than the other. It's a .45ACP...it's gonna make one hell of a wound. However, due to common feeding/cycling problems with 3" 1911s in .45ACP, I'd like to see which rounds are reliable for carry, and which are not. So far, both Speer Gold Dots and Hornady TAPs pass the test, although the TAP surpasses the Gold Dot in its non-jamming characteristics. More to come Monday evening.
edit: I forgot to comment on the trigger. Unbelievably light, smooth, and breaks very crisply.
Two questions for you 5HF:
1. How were your groupings, and at what distances, especially compared with the XD SC?
2. Did you sell your XD and all the gear yet?
Yes, I sold all the gear. Took less than a day.
Hmmmm....You got me second guessing myself. I was at the point of not wanting a pistol with less than a 4.25" barrel. Now I don't know. Have you carried it concealed any around the house? The grip of the gun looks on the chubby side and it's short. Did you shoot it with the mag that doesn't have the pinky extention and how did that work out? I'm almost wishing they made a 12 round 4" model. I know there are 6 round 4" models available. I'm pretty interested in the Para LTC Alloy PCX745R http://www.para-usa.com/new/product_pistol.php?id=4 The sucker is an ounce lighter than my Poly Ruger.
Haven't really carried it, but I've jammed it down in my waist band. It didn't show through a shirt anymore than my XD-9 sub, and the grip is shorter so it doesn't stick out my side. Also, the overall length of the gun is shorter, so when I bent over and sat down, the muzzle didn't jam into my groin. I did not shoot with the mag without the grip extension. I've already ordered a grip extension to replace the flat bottom plate on the second mag.
gmaske, did this just for you...fairly tight shirt and nothing that noticeable.
Yer a lefty I see. So's my wife. That does work fairly nice just like that. Oh Hell I just want one of each size.....Maybe one for each day of the week....or better yet month!
gmaske... It's in a mirror buddy... Unless a friend is snapping a picture of him snapping a picture wearing a t-shirt with backwards "Tapout" writing on it... I'd say he's a righty...
Well what do you expect! I was still on my first cup of joe Didn't even notice the Tee or the camera......DOA!
I'M SOOOO EMBARRASSED!
OH THE SHAME OF IT ALL!!!!
Just call me bass ackward George
Interesting report so far, FHF. Keep us in the loop as you continue to break it in.
Last edited by RightTurnClyde; 04-19-2008 at 04:20 PM. Reason: Sorry... I had left this page open and came back so I didn't see all the other corrections. Sorry to bust your b@lls gmaske.
Go ahead! Rub it in......
I CAN TAKE IT!
Just got back from the range. These are what I tested:
- 90x CCI Blazer Brass 230gr FMJ
- 10x Speer Gold Dot 185gr JHP
- 10x Speer Gold Dot 230gr JHP
- 10x Hornady TAP 230gr +P JHP
- 10x Corbon DPX 185gr +P JHP
This was an expensive trip to the range, but it paid off. I had one FTF with the Blazer Brass that was solved by ramming the back of the slide with my hand. The Blazer Brass has an immense muzzle flash that's probably 8-10" wide...pretty cool!
The Hornady TAPs failed this time around. Upon racking the slide, the first round immediately jammed and had to be cleared. I went on with the magazine and had another FTF on the last round. For some reason, the slide locked back with the last round still in the mag. I dropped the slide on it and it jammed on the feed ramp. So the Hornady TAPs are out for carry.
All the Gold Dots cycled with no problems. The 185gr recoils noticeably harder than its 230gr counterpart.
The DPX 185gr +P kicked like a mule. The guy working at the desk told me after I came out that the DPX is designed for fast feeding of submachine guns, and is loaded extremely hot. It lived it up to its reputation as the 10 rounds cycled smoothly, and seemed to give me the best groupings out of all five loads. The recoil was definitively the harshest with the DPX, however was still controllable.
It seems that 185gr loads tend to produce heavier recoil than 230gr. This is counterintuitive, but as submoa pointed out in a thread regarding 9mm loads, just because a bullet is heavier doesn't necessaily mean it will produce more energy and momentum upon exiting the muzzle. This was not a conclusion affected by fatique. I used the 185gr Gold Dots first, then 10 rounds of 230gr Gold Dots, then 10 rounds of Hornady TAPs, then 10 rounds of DPX +Ps. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the heaviest recoil of the chosen loads and 1 being the lightest):
230gr FMJ = 1
185gr +P DPX = 10
230gr Gold Dot = 3
185gr Gold Dot = 5
230gr +P TAP = 7
These numbers are very rough estimates, but that's about how they felt today. I still plan on testing out Hydra-shoks if I can find some locally. But based on my very minimal testing, the 230gr rounds in both FMJ and JHP were the only ones to jam. The 185gr loads have fiercer recoil than the 230gr loads, but so far have fed with 100% reliability.
I did some more research on the Para 3" 1911...from what I could gather, the 3" 1911s tend to jam almost explicitly with 230gr ammo. 165gr, 185gr, 200gr, and 210gr all seem to work pretty well in the same guns that jam with 230gr loads. Being that others have experienced the same problems with the heavy loads, I do not plan to carry them. So I've narrowed my choices down to 165-210gr loads. Both the 185gr Gold Dots and 185gr +P Corbons are good choices. The DPX is 100% copper (no lead), and is designed with deep penetration, reliable expansion, and extremely fast semi-auto cycling in mind. It's also a solid design, so core/jacket separation are minimized to the fullest. I'm not sure if Speer makes a 185gr +P load, but if they do, I would imagine the recoil would be right up there with the DPX.
As far as choosing a load, with a 3" barrel, you've got great concealability, but there are drawbacks. The short barrel means very low velocity, and the small size means less control of recoil. Although the .45ACP is a slow bullet compared to 9mm, .40S&W, etc., it still needs some speed to do its job. I think the lighter loads recoil harder due to the fact that the velocity gained over the heavier loads outweighs the difference in mass.
So for my conclusion of part II, there are a few new findings:
1. 230gr loads cause jams in the 3" design, so don't carry them.
2. 185gr loads recoil harder, so I'd like to try 200gr loads to compare.
3. The faster the bullet can get going, the better, so use a +P.
4. If the DPX is designed for fast-cycling SMGs, then it should cycle reliably in the 3" 1911.
5. DPX showed greater accuracy than Gold Dots at 5 yards.
Finals are coming up next week, so I'll be studying my arse off for the next two weeks. I'll be able to do part III shortly thereafter.
I feel ya on the finals. Taking my third tomorrow with two more next week. But as you can tell im being distracted by the forum.
I just got done doing some feeding testing with the Nite Hawg. Something I noticed was unless I did rack the slide vigorously and dropped it, the 1st round would jam on the feed ramp. The 2nd round didn't require as fast of a rack, and 3rd through 10th would feed even if I casually lowered the slide down. From the reading I've done on the Warthog line, the factory springs are the weak link which is almost always the cause of FTFs. Something I did not try at the range was chamber a round, then drop the mag and top it off to make it the full 10+1. I also recall that the 2nd round was the only one to jam, other than the Hornady TAP issue. My thinking is the factory spring, when fully compressed to allow 9 or 10 rounds, isn't strong enough to push the cartridges up. Most others have had issues on the last round, but mine was occuring with the 1st round (actually the 2nd round since the mag wasn't topped off) when the spring was fully compressed. I ordered some Wolff P12 springs that are reported to fix FTF problems, but due to their added length the magazine capacity is dropped to 9, which is fine with me if it solves feeding problems. I'm hoping that with the Wolff springs, I can chamber a round, then top the magazine off so it's at a 9+1, full cap. With the factory springs, the most I could keep in the magazine without a FTF was 8, with one in the chamber. So we'll see how the Wolff springs do.
The physics of loading cartridges indicates that a heavier bullet will build pressures faster than a lighter bullet owing to its mass. The greater mass of the heavier bullet resists change (acceleration) more than a lighter mass so the powder charges for the heavier bullet will nearly always be lower than those for the lighter bullet of the same construction.
Powder = explosive. More powder, more bang. Bigger bang = bigger recoil. Actually intuitive if you figure recoil and powder go together instead of bullet mass.
Yea well I have to take 3 exams PER week for the next 3 weeks, plus write a total of 16 essays....beat that
I don't know about you guys, but this seems like way to much trouble for a carry gun. I would much prefer an XD or a Glock as a carry gun that I have never had a problem with and probably never would than deal with trying to "fix" problems with some little 1911. It it were me, I would have my XD or Glock or something similar to carry and have a bigger 1911 as a fun/range gun. I would already be beyond the point of trusting this gun. Although this may be me as I am a picky guy, I just wouldn't want ANY problems what-so-ever if I were to ever trust my life with it. Just my .02.....
Pick your ammo based on preference.
Pick your gun based on RELIABILITY with ANY ammo.
If the SHTF... Or more realisticly... the ammo supply/variety is diminished due to government taxation/restriction of ammo... You may not be able to choose.
Just a thought for your morning coffee...
Because Para-Ordnance pistols are hand-assembled to exacting tolerances, there is a requisite break-in period before placing it into service. The company’s advice is to alternate through the two provided magazines until 250 rounds have been shot. Then the gun should be field stripped, cleaned and re-lubricated. The cycle should be repeated until 500rounds have been fired.
Always use hardball (FMJ) for break in of any gun.
Whether a gun can 'take' or truly prefers any particular ammo is meaningless if it hasn't been broken in properly.
Hence why you strongly recommended a mag loader.
edit: the manual included with the gun recommends the following for proper break-in:
1. Run 50 rounds through the gun, alternating magazines.
2. Repeat the 50-round cycle.
3. After 100 rounds, field strip, clean, and relubricate the entire gun, including magazines (recommends cleaning magazines with every cleaning).
4. Repeat the 100-round cycle until 300 rounds have been fired.
So essentially there needs to be 3-6 range days to fully break in the gun. I've put 150 rounds through it so far on two range days, and the gun has been cleaned twice. So I need to get 150 more rounds through it to finish the break in.
I called Para Ordnance a few minutes ago and spoke with technical support about jams. From what the guy said, submoa was exactly right. For lack of a better analogy, brand new Para handguns are virtually virgins in that they're built to exact tolerances and dimensions, and basically need to be loosened up using 230gr ball ammo. So I need to finish up the break-in cycle with 230gr hardball, and then retest some premium defense rounds. I mentioned a few FTFs with CCI Blazer Brass, and he said because the BB isn't the highest quality, jams would be expected during the break-in period.
I like the lower recoil of the 230gr ammo as it's more controllable. Once I'm finished breaking the gun in, I'll test the following:
- Federal Hydra-shok 230gr
- Speer Gold Dot 230gr
- Corbon DPX 230gr +P
- Hornady XTP (TAP) 230gr +P
The tech rep advised against +P ammunition not because it would damage the gun, but because the tolerances are based on standard pressure 230gr loads, and a change in chamber pressure could cause cycling malfunctions. He also advised against cartridges under 230gr as the pressures for them will be different as well.
My thinking is the higher pressure is better since it adds velocity, which a bullet lacks coming out of a 3" barrel. That's on the grounds that it cycles with 100% reliability.
And of course, I'll go with Mike Barham's opinion of SD rounds...software is key, assuming hardware works. If all of the loads cycle reliably, I should be okay to carry any of them, mostly based on availability.
While the heavier bullets may not have the velocity of the lighter bullets and may not expand as reliably, they still offer lower recoil characteristics for faster follow-up shots, and even if a .45ACP doesn't expand, it will never shrink. Expansion is preferred, but even hardball ammo from a .45 auto will pack one hell of a punch compared to 9mm. So that being said, I need to finish up the break-in, and test feeding reliability. Ballistics aren't as much of an issue.
submoa, I appreciate your input on this one. Also, your explanation of recoil relative to powder charges makes complete sense. The heavier bullet, because of its mass, will essentially accelerate slower. Since it accelerates slower, the exanding gases from the powder charge will build up pressure more rapidly behind it than a lighter bullet that accelerates quicker. So yeah, lighter bullets should recoil harder. Thanks!
Where are you getting your velocity numbers from? Are you Chrono-ing them yourself or is this something you heard?
The reason that I ask is because you only get about 20-30 fps per inch of additional barrel. I would guess that you are going to get only 30-60fps less out of a 3" barrel than you are out of a 5". You'll still be up in the mid to high 800's, possibly 900's with standard .45 230's. I've never had a noticeable difference in round velocity between my 5" target model and my 3" Raptor.
If this is just something you heard, I'd recommend Chrono-ing your rounds if possible, you won't notice any appreciable difference out of 2" or 3" difference in barrel length.