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Old 04-17-2012, 15:35   #1
pokersamurai
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45 ACP ballistics question

I'm looking at possibly getting a new Springfield XDS 45 as a pocket pistol for summer carry when they come out, but lately I've been on different forums researching them and quite a few people have said that a 45 will not perform well out of a 3.3" barrel and that a short barrel 9mm would be better.

I've researched the velocity loss on ballisticsbytheinch.com and they show that both the 185gr +p and 230gr both lose about 8-9% velocity going from a 5" barrel to a 3" barrel.

The 9mm 124gr +p and 147gr lose about 9% velocity going from a 5" barrel to a 3" barrel also.

So I'm confused why do people keep stating that a 45 acp out of a short barrel is a poor performer? According to ballisticsbytheinch.com a Federal 230gr 45 ACP out of a 3" barrel chronographs at 811 fps. Compare that to a Federal 225gr 45 Colt round chronographs at 791 fps out of a 5.5" barrel. So wouldn't a XDS with 5+1 45 ACP have the same firepower as a full-size 45 Colt 6 shot revolver (which I don't think anyone would call underpowered), or is there some other factor I'm missing? Please let me know your opinions on this topic.

Thanks
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Old 04-17-2012, 16:09   #2
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I'm looking at possibly getting a new Springfield XDS 45 as a pocket pistol for summer carry when they come out, but lately I've been on different forums researching them and quite a few people have said that a 45 will not perform well out of a 3.3" barrel and that a short barrel 9mm would be better.

I've researched the velocity loss on ballisticsbytheinch.com and they show that both the 185gr +p and 230gr both lose about 8-9% velocity going from a 5" barrel to a 3" barrel.

The 9mm 124gr +p and 147gr lose about 9% velocity going from a 5" barrel to a 3" barrel also.

So I'm confused why do people keep stating that a 45 acp out of a short barrel is a poor performer? According to ballisticsbytheinch.com a Federal 230gr 45 ACP out of a 3" barrel chronographs at 811 fps. Compare that to a Federal 225gr 45 Colt round chronographs at 791 fps out of a 5.5" barrel. So wouldn't a XDS with 5+1 45 ACP have the same firepower as a full-size 45 Colt 6 shot revolver (which I don't think anyone would call underpowered), or is there some other factor I'm missing? Please let me know your opinions on this topic.

Thanks
.45 acp has had a reputation, in the past, for unreliable expansion from a 3" barrel.
New high tech bullets are designed to open at lower velocities. That combined with new low flash fast burn gun powder has changed the rules.

Conciser loading 230 gr;
Speer GDHP, Winchester Ranger T-Series or Federal HST and you will be just fine.
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Old 04-17-2012, 16:38   #3
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I am not sure the loss by the inch is correct for all 45 rounds. There was a recent article about the XDS and the 230gr rounds were around 750 as I recall. I have a P45Kahr with a 3" barrel and went to Corbon or Buffalo Bore 185gr +p Barnes copper bullet. In water, I could not get anything to reliably expands outside of the copper bullets when going through 4 layers of denim. The 230gr +p HST expanded some. I have not chronographed any, but I would say that anything less than 750 FPS will have difficulty through clothing. The Corbon 185gr +p copper bullets are working great for me.
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Old 04-17-2012, 20:39   #4
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I am not sure the loss by the inch is correct for all 45 rounds. There was a recent article about the XDS and the 230gr rounds were around 750 as I recall. I have a P45Kahr with a 3" barrel and went to Corbon or Buffalo Bore 185gr +p Barnes copper bullet. In water, I could not get anything to reliably expands outside of the copper bullets when going through 4 layers of denim. The 230gr +p HST expanded some. I have not chronographed any, but I would say that anything less than 750 FPS will have difficulty through clothing. The Corbon 185gr +p copper bullets are working great for me.
Did you try Speer's 23975 230gr Short Barrel Gold Dot load?

Ballisticsbytheinch used a custom contender barrel for most of their testing so the numbers are off compared to a semi auto or revolver.

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Old 04-17-2012, 21:37   #5
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Did you try Speer's 23975 230gr Short Barrel Gold Dot load?
The short barrel GD did expand a little to about 0.63 and would be a good option. It feels like a lighter load than the regular 230gr GD. Does anyone know how the velocities compare?

I just found that the copper bullets work best in my Kahr 3" 45.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:31   #6
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I am not sure the loss by the inch is correct for all 45 rounds. There was a recent article about the XDS and the 230gr rounds were around 750 as I recall. I have a P45Kahr with a 3" barrel and went to Corbon or Buffalo Bore 185gr +p Barnes copper bullet. In water, I could not get anything to reliably expands outside of the copper bullets when going through 4 layers of denim. The 230gr +p HST expanded some. I have not chronographed any, but I would say that anything less than 750 FPS will have difficulty through clothing. The Corbon 185gr +p copper bullets are working great for me.
Actually, according to Kahr's website the P45 has a 3.54" barrel. It is the PM45 that has a 3.24" barrel. That might make a difference, albeit only about 1/4 inch, but still.

I have a CW45 and it has a 3.64" barrel (why it's 0.1" longer than the P45 I have no idea). I fired a standard pressure 230gr HST through 4 layers of denim into water and it expanded to ~ .80", so that was encouraging. While I haven't chrono'd the standard pressure HST I'd wager it was still well into the 800+fps range, which should be more than enough juice for the HST to work.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:29   #7
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Actually, according to Kahr's website the P45 has a 3.54" barrel. It is the PM45 that has a 3.24" barrel. That might make a difference, albeit only about 1/4 inch, but still.
You are correct the P45 has a 3.5" barrel and it was a typo on my part. I am not saying the 45 is not effective at shorter barrel lengths, but it has been my experience that you may have expansion diffculties below 4". I Chronographed the BB and Corbon 185 +p copper bullets and DT 160gr +p copper bulllet out of my 3.5" Kahr. BB was 1,036fps, Corbon was 954fps and the DT was 1,042fps. All expanded and seem to penetrate well. These are the bullets I would use with a barrel below 4".

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Old 04-17-2012, 19:07   #8
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I'm looking at possibly getting a new Springfield XDS 45 as a pocket pistol for summer carry when they come out, but lately I've been on different forums researching them and quite a few people have said that a 45 will not perform well out of a 3.3" barrel and that a short barrel 9mm would be better.

I've researched the velocity loss on ballisticsbytheinch.com and they show that both the 185gr +p and 230gr both lose about 8-9% velocity going from a 5" barrel to a 3" barrel.

The 9mm 124gr +p and 147gr lose about 9% velocity going from a 5" barrel to a 3" barrel also.

So I'm confused why do people keep stating that a 45 acp out of a short barrel is a poor performer? According to ballisticsbytheinch.com a Federal 230gr 45 ACP out of a 3" barrel chronographs at 811 fps. Compare that to a Federal 225gr 45 Colt round chronographs at 791 fps out of a 5.5" barrel. So wouldn't a XDS with 5+1 45 ACP have the same firepower as a full-size 45 Colt 6 shot revolver (which I don't think anyone would call underpowered), or is there some other factor I'm missing? Please let me know your opinions on this topic.

Thanks
I believe that what you might be neglecting to consider is that those figures were obtained using their barrel and one particular lot of ammo.

Ammunition is loaded to pressure standards set forth by SAAMI and velocity is dependent not only upon barrel length, but also upon barrel tolerances. A barrel with tighter/smaller dimensions will tend to produce greater velocities than one that has looser dimensions (or greater wear) and sometimes even greater than a barrel of greater length. I had a Glock 19 that would consistently spit out my prefered defense load about 35 fps faster than an equally used Glock 17.

Powder burn rates and pressure curves can also yield seemingly contrary results from differing barrel lengths.

In order to know how fast your gun will shoot a particular load, you must run those loads over a chronograph using your gun. No two guns will ever turn in identical velocities even when using ammo from the same lot and/or box.
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Old 04-21-2012, 17:15   #9
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I believe that what you might be neglecting to consider is that those figures were obtained using their barrel and one particular lot of ammo.

Ammunition is loaded to pressure standards set forth by SAAMI and velocity is dependent not only upon barrel length, but also upon barrel tolerances. A barrel with tighter/smaller dimensions will tend to produce greater velocities than one that has looser dimensions (or greater wear) and sometimes even greater than a barrel of greater length. I had a Glock 19 that would consistently spit out my prefered defense load about 35 fps faster than an equally used Glock 17.

Powder burn rates and pressure curves can also yield seemingly contrary results from differing barrel lengths.

In order to know how fast your gun will shoot a particular load, you must run those loads over a chronograph using your gun. No two guns will ever turn in identical velocities even when using ammo from the same lot and/or box.

I agree here....

I EDC "IN town", an M1911. BUT, At times I carry "in town" the G36, with my reloads 230gr XTP's at 907fps. Yes I carry hand loads.... The boogy man won't get me for it either... ( not directing this statement to you 481) .



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Powder burn rates and pressure curves can also yield seemingly contrary results from differing barrel lengths.

In order to know how fast your gun will shoot a particular load, you must run those loads over a chronograph using your gun. No two guns will ever turn in identical velocities even when using ammo from the same lot and/or box

This is the only way to know for sure...


Just because you have a short tube in a 45acp, does not mean you have to start using 180gr'ers to get more horse power to do the job. Good greif this gun /caliber was desinged around a 230gr bullet. Use it. Get the momentum and penetration you need to have out of your 45's. I have never seen so many folks buy a 45acp and then drop down to the 185gr bullet. Why not stick with the 230gr and get the hard hit and the needed penetration. The short barrels will still do fine with the 230gr I assure you.



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Old 04-22-2012, 05:13   #10
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Good greif this gun /caliber was desinged around a 230gr bullet. Use it. Get the momentum and penetration you need to have out of your 45's. I have never seen so many folks buy a 45acp and then drop down to the 185gr bullet. Why not stick with the 230gr and get the hard hit and the needed penetration. The short barrels will still do fine with the 230gr I assure you.
This is some of the most sound advice I have ever heard. I agree totally.
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Old 04-22-2012, 16:28   #11
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this is some of the most sound advice i have ever heard. I agree totally.
really good advice!
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:27   #12
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I
Just because you have a short tube in a 45acp, does not mean you have to start using 180gr'ers to get more horse power to do the job. Good greif this gun /caliber was desinged around a 230gr bullet. Use it. Get the momentum and penetration you need to have out of your 45's. I have never seen so many folks buy a 45acp and then drop down to the 185gr bullet. Why not stick with the 230gr and get the hard hit and the needed penetration. The short barrels will still do fine with the 230gr I assure you.

CM
The original 45acp design was a 200gr bullet @ 900fps+, a really good load IMO. It's a shame more manuf don't build a good load around theses specs, easier to get good JHP performance, enough mass for penetration & less recoil, all works for me. Full size guns get 230gr std vel JHP, my small/lt.wt. 45s get 200gr std. vel XTP loads, mostly for recoil control. The better 230gr JHP will expand fine down to 750fps, but I am not sure they offer enough momentum for really good penetration or hard barriers.
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Old 04-22-2012, 14:19   #13
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The original 45acp design was a 200gr bullet @ 900fps+, a really good load IMO. It's a shame more manuf don't build a good load around theses specs, easier to get good JHP performance, enough mass for penetration & less recoil, all works for me. Full size guns get 230gr std vel JHP, my small/lt.wt. 45s get 200gr std. vel XTP loads, mostly for recoil control. The better 230gr JHP will expand fine down to 750fps, but I am not sure they offer enough momentum for really good penetration or hard barriers.

Well amigo, that is why for the G36 (and similar short barreled 45's) I hand load 230gr XTP's at 907fps. In all the testing and media I can dream up and stay as realistic as I know how... These work just fine. I see no need in dropping to a lighter bullet in the 45acp. I may as well go to a 40S&W or a 9mm.

Most of these JHP's do not open much in humans any way so i prefer all the penetration I can get and that is going to be with the 230gr bullet.

I do not see the logic fred of going with a 200gr bullet at 750fps, when I can get 907fps out of the 230gr bullet. BTW... it is very controllable for "me" and I have no problems running combat drills with them and staying on target.

I will close by saying that if a man cannot control his weapon with such loads in a short barrel or long barrel, then I suggest more and more practice time, or else go to some other caliber.. I do not even have issues with the M629 S&W 44mag. I have been raised doing this for almost 50 years out on a ranch since i was a little kid, perhaps that makes a difference..

But I use heavy for caliber no matter the hand gun. In my 44mags/45LC's and other big hog legs, and in my 9mm's or 45acp's.

I will never understand dropping the weight in the 45acp to think I am gaining an advantage of some sort. I rather be hit with little dirt clods, than big heavy ones ! Remember those days. haha.

Not arguing with ya. Just do not agree..



Bless ya









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Old 04-22-2012, 17:23   #14
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I do not see the logic fred of going with a 200gr bullet at 750fps, when I can get 907fps out of the 230gr bullet. BTW... it is very controllable for "me" and I have no problems running combat drills with them and staying on target.



CM
No Gary, you miss read me. In short bbl guns, the 200grXTP factory load will still do 850fps+; a vel level that insures some exp & enough mass to penetrate well. I have gotten good exp w/ most 230gr JHP down to 750fps, but I am sketchy about limited penetration @ that low vel. Can I run 230gr @ 900fps in a short/lt 45acp, sure, but recoil goes up, accuracy goes down & my split times are a tiny bit slower. Enough to matter, maybe not.
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Old 01-26-2013, 20:36   #15
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Just because you have a short tube in a 45acp, does not mean you have to start using 180gr'ers to get more horse power to do the job. Good greif this gun /caliber was desinged around a 230gr bullet. Use it. Get the momentum and penetration you need to have out of your 45's. I have never seen so many folks buy a 45acp and then drop down to the 185gr bullet. Why not stick with the 230gr and get the hard hit and the needed penetration. The short barrels will still do fine with the 230gr I assure you.



CM
QFT

I have an XDs and it will get a diet of 230 HPs, because it doesn't need the velocity to do what it's good at. I figure the HP has a profile that is more likely to cut than slip through and if it were to have enough velocity to "Over penetrate" it would probably have the velocity to expand and not over penetrate.
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Old 01-27-2013, 17:55   #16
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230 grains is why I love the .45 to begin with. All the smaller cartridges rely on velocity and pushing the limits to do what the .45 does without breaking a sweat.

Even when you push it up a notch with .45 +P, it's still not breaking a sweat and it's performance has no equal with anything but the most powerful handgun cartridges.

Needless to say, I'm very happy with the .45 and the 230 grain bullet.
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Old 01-27-2013, 18:28   #17
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QFT
I have an XDs and it will get a diet of 230 HPs, because it doesn't need the velocity to do what it's good at. I figure the HP has a profile that is more likely to cut than slip through and if it were to have enough velocity to "Over penetrate" it would probably have the velocity to expand and not over penetrate.
I reckon I am not PC savvy enough to know what "QFT" means yet ... haha !

If your saying that 45's don't have to run at rocket speed to dispatch the target or threat (two legged) your correct. And the 230gr have the momentum to get where they need to go.

Thats why "in town," I carry one. Usually the M1911, sometimes the single stack G36. I admit I do hand load my own for the G36, because I have never found factory stuff that get's out of the 600's-700's fps range in that 3.78" tube, so I load a 230gr XTP at 907fps. Does it it need to be that warm? nope. Does it hurt to be? Nope! It is what my favorite load and powder worked out to be in that short barrel, so I gladly accept it ! I'm happy with that. 850 + is fine with me in a 230gr 45acp. I just can't justify lighter bullets in this caliber to get there.

Like you, it seems, are saying pard, the 230gr does what it needs to do without going to lighter bullets, or pushing it to outragous vels.





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Old 04-18-2012, 01:09   #18
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Yep, smaller bores lose vel faster. WIth todays modern JHP designs, I don't think it's taht big a deal. I ccw a 1911OM, 3.5" bbl, it does quite well w/ std vel 185gr RGS or 230gr RGS. The 185gr WSTHP is actually a better performer in the shorter bbls IMO, they expand less & penetrate deeper. My fav short bbl load is the std vel 200gr XTP. Still makes 850fps in the OM & expands to 65cal in denim covered wetpack. It's much easier to shoot wel lthan 230gr+P loads in the smaller guns & gives about the same vel.
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:23   #19
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a short bbl .45acp benefits greatly from the lighter weight loads which retain a higher velocity.

a 230gr. round going 850fps from a 5" might only get 750fps from a 3.5" bbl which may or may not be enough for proper and consistant expansion.

while a 185gr. round going 1000 fps from a 5" bbl may still get 900 fps from a 3.5" bbl.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:48   #20
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a 230gr. round going 850fps from a 5" might only get 750fps from a 3.5" bbl which may or may not be enough for proper and consistant expansion.
That may be true but it still puts a big hole in you and several big holes usually translates into a bad day for the bad guy.
I am more concerned with penetration than expansion.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:45   #21
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That may be true but it still puts a big hole in you and several big holes usually translates into a bad day for the bad guy.
I am more concerned with penetration than expansion.
You are correct in that a lot of people died in the 19th and 20th centuries with just .45 holes in them. However, I would worry about overpenetration if it does not expand even at the lower velocities. With a 3.5" barrel you can have both world if you select the right ammo, such a Corbon 185gr +p Barnes copper.

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Old 01-26-2013, 20:08   #22
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a short bbl .45acp benefits greatly from the lighter weight loads which retain a higher velocity.

a 230gr. round going 850fps from a 5" might only get 750fps from a 3.5" bbl which may or may not be enough for proper and consistant expansion.

while a 185gr. round going 1000 fps from a 5" bbl may still get 900 fps from a 3.5" bbl.
That may be true, but the 230 does not rely on velocity as much to work. What really matters is which one expands to the largest diameter when penetrating 12-18 inches. Assuming that is the 185 is pure speculation and there is no reason to assume it is the answer.

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Old 04-21-2012, 17:22   #23
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The Gold Dot Short barrel, which I am a huge fan of in snub .38's, in .45 is tested from a 4in barrel.

Is my P220 really considered a "short barrel" .45? That is my only problem with the short barrel .45 loads. They should designs a .45 to perform out of a 3" barrel.

I dont know what load I would carry out of a XDs.
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:15   #24
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My results with a 230 grain XTP, 6.6 grains of WSF, 1.210" overall length, CCI large pistol primers and winchester brass:

5" 1911 (TRP): 856 fps average
Sig P220: 824 fps
Glock 30: 827 fps
Glock 21: 876 fps

All said and done with different rifling and different barrel lengths, we're talking about an extreme spread of 52 feet per second. Could be more or less if you use different guns, different powders... but just not that big of a deal IMHO.
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Old 04-22-2012, 17:44   #25
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My 3.5" barreled Detonics Mark IV used to keyhole 230 grain FMJ bullets all of the time.
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