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Thread: 45ACP 185gr vs 230 gr

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  1. #1

    45ACP 185gr vs 230 gr

    Wal-Mart sells 185 grain 45ACP. What are the pros and cons of practicing with that vs 230?

    What about (ugh) if you had it loaded and NEEDED to use the gun?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    4th September 2004
    Location
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    10,693
    185gr is generally considered target ammunition. The 185gr rounds I have shot were not loaded as hot as the 230gr FMJ and serve nice as target rounds.
    As far as using them for defense, I feel sure they would do fine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Philadelphia & Shohola PA.
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    I recommend target ammo in the same weight as your defense ammo. The point of impact differs between a 185 gr and a 230 gr. As well as the recoil and rhythm of the subsequent shot sequence.

    I buy Speer lawman 230 gr FMJ for the range, as they appear to mimic the Speer Gold Dots that I use for self defense. Although, I have been known to use WW White box 230 gr from Wal Mart. The WW being a bit slower in FPS than the Lawman.

    Best of Luck!
    Rich
    Certified NRA Instructor Pistol & Shotgun
    ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
    "There Is No Greater High Than Defeating Armed Felons" Rich-D

  4. #4
    Just off hand, what 38 type round would these 185's be equivalent?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    None really! The .38 special, even in +P is anemic when compared to any self defense .45 rd.

    Rich
    Certified NRA Instructor Pistol & Shotgun
    ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
    "There Is No Greater High Than Defeating Armed Felons" Rich-D
    Last edited by Rich-D; 26th January 2009 at 18:25.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    27th December 2008
    Location
    New York
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    How are the Golden Saber hp in 185gr to use? Would it be about the same recoil as the 230gr fmj?

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverwolff
    How are the Golden Saber hp in 185gr to use? Would it be about the same recoil as the 230gr fmj?
    While it's possible to calculate actual recoil energy, what you're really interested in is felt recoil; and that's very subjective. However, a light, higher velocity bullet will generally have a shorter, sharper felt recoil pulse than a heavy, slow bullet. Which is more effective? The truth is that no one actually knows.

    DVC
    adapt, improvise, overcome
    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.", Carl Sagan
    "One should shoot as quickly as one can -- but no quicker.", Jeff Cooper

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    If I recall correctly, the felt recoil formula is Bullet Weight x FPS, Divided by 1000.

    Personally, from attending hundreds of autopsies and being a big game hunter, I much prefer a heavier bullet. eg: When I shoot a Deer in the vitals with a 30-06 165 gr light magnum, it will run 20 to 50 yards before dropping. When I shoot a deer with a 325 gr conical, out of a muzzle loader with 90 grs of Black Powder. Although at a much slower FPS, they keel over on the spot.

    Best of Luck!
    Rich
    Certified NRA Instructor Pistol & Shotgun
    ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
    "There Is No Greater High Than Defeating Armed Felons" Rich-D

  9. #9
    Join Date
    4th November 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-D
    If I recall correctly, the felt recoil formula is Bullet Weight x FPS, Divided by 1000.....
    Actually Rich, that's Power Factor, which is important for scoring in IPSC or IDPA competition. Felt recoil is subjective, and two rounds with the same power factor could feel different. A heavier bullet will have a longer, shallower recoil pulse than a lighter one at the same power factor (lower compared with higher velocity).

    Now if you really want to calculate true recoil energy (not necessarily felt recoil), you can use this formula:

    WG = Weight of gun in pounds
    WB = Weight of bullet in grains
    WP = Weight of powder charge in grains
    VB = Muzzle velocity of bullet in f/s
    I = Interim number (Recoil Impulse in lb/sec)
    VG = Recoil velocity of gun (f/s)
    EG = Recoil energy of gun (ft lb)

    I = [(WB * VB) + (WP * 4000)] / 225218

    VG = 32.2 * (I / WG)

    EG = (WG * VG * VG) / 64.4


    This formula is quite similar to a formula for free recoil set out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_recoil, although I think that the formula from Wikipedia may be a little more precise based on what I've read in Hatcher's Notebook. The formula I've reproduced above, is from the Q&As at http://www.frfrogspad.com/miscella.htm (specifically the question about why some guns of the same caliber kick harder than others). John Schaefer (FrFrog) notes that, "..."4000" is the nominal velocity of the powder gases at the muzzle for commercial smokeless powder and the observed range is between 3700 and 4300 f/s. It is sometimes stated as 4700 in some sources but this is based on observations of artillery, not small arms...." The Wikipedia formula would use the actual powder gas velocity, which may not be readily available.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-D
    Personally, ...I much prefer a heavier bullet....
    Personally, I agree, although it's a question that has been debated for years. And in any case, shot placement remains king.

    DVC
    adapt, improvise, overcome
    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.", Carl Sagan
    "One should shoot as quickly as one can -- but no quicker.", Jeff Cooper

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    I do the same thing Rich-D does - Speer Lawman 230 grain full metal jacket (FMJ) for practice and Speer Gold Dot 230 grain hollow point (HP) for defense. I think it makes a lot of sense to use the same weight for training as for defense because the felt recoil will be very similar.

    I respectfully disagree with Hunter though. I've found most (non +P) 185 grain defense rounds to have a muzzle velocity of around 1000 feet per second (fps) and a little over 400 foot pounds (ft/lbs) of energy at the muzzle while the typical (non +P) 230 grain defense rounds have a muzzle velocity around 850 fps and 360 ft/lbs of energy.

    Since the 185 gr. bullets had more muzzle energy and, to me at least, had less perceived recoil, that is what I used. Then I became a fan of momentum and bullet penetration and switched to the 230 gr. bullets. I figured if I'm going to shoot .45 I might as well shoot 230 gr. bullets. If I wanted to shoot the 185 gr., or even 165 gr. bullets, I could just switch to .40 S&W.

    Go to the major ammunition manufacturer websites or even the ammo sales sites (Midway, etc) and check the ballistics of the load you are considering. You should be able to find a practice load that is similar to the defense round you want to use.

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