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Old 01-09-2015, 17:46   #1
COSteve
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So I'm Handloading 45 Super Now Too - How It Compares To My Hot 10mm

As I've said here before, I shoot a ton of hot 165grn 10mm through my 6" custom Glock G20L. My G20L has a 4ľoz heavier slide/barrel combination than a stock G20. I run a 22# recoil spring in it even with my hottest loads and after some 9,000rds, it shows no signs of any wear. As I mentioned, I recently got bit with the 45 Super bug when I acquired some new Starline 45 Super brass and loaded it up for my custom G21L. My first 45 Super attempt were some 200grn bullets which produced 1,307fps, a significant increase over even 45acp+P level loads. The load is at the bottom of the 'full power' level and not considered a hot load out of a 6" barrel for this round as many handloaders and hunters have tried their 230, 240, 250, and even 265grn 45 Super hunting loads at and above this velocity.

Those heavier bullets / higher velocities produce significantly increased recoil levels over my hottest 10mm loads and my understanding is that even with a heavier slide/barrel, those loads need a compensator as well as a 24# spring to keep from tearing up the weapon. Why do they push the 45 Super that hard? Ballistically, because muzzle energy goes up linearly with the weight of the bullet but at the square of the velocity of the bullet, pushing a bullet faster gains more muzzle energy faster than raising the bullet weights at the same velocities.

A quick comparison of performance between the two calibers shows some interesting results from a hunting/predator protection weapon point of view as both produce significantly higher energies that required for purely a defensive caliber. As hunting rounds, I'm focusing on mid to heavy weight bullets for the caliber as light weight ones are as suitable. The comparisons below are a combination of my chrono data from my G20/21L with 200grn 45 Super as well as reported 45 Super data using bullet weights above 200grn (the only loads I've chrono'd to date).

10mm - (Chrono data from my G20L):
165grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,589fps produced 925fl/lbs muzzle energy
180grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,479fps produced 874fl/lbs muzzle energy

45 Super - (Chrono data from my G21L [just full power, not hot load]):
200grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,307fps produced 758fl/lbs muzzle energy

45 Super - (Reported loads from our 45 Super thread)
230grn Hornady XTPs @ 1,355fps produced 938fl/lbs muzzle energy
240grn Hornady XTPs @ 1,410fps produced 1,059fl/lbs muzzle energy
250grn Barnes XPDs @ 1,450fps produced 1,167fl/lbs muzzle energy
265grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,300fps produced 994fl/lbs muzzle energy

Note: While these heavier bullets produced higher muzzle energies than my 165grn 10mm load, they all required shooting out of a compensated barrel in addition to using a 24# recoil spring to minimize any damage to the platform from the significantly higher recoil. How much difference in recoil is there between the 10mm and 45 Super loads? I input the above data into Handloads.com's Recoil Calculator and it produced the following.

Handguns.com Recoil Calculator Results:

10mm:
165grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,589fps produced 925fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.34, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 13.08, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 8.77
180grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,479fps produced 874fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.36, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 13.26, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 9.00

45 Super:

200grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,307fps produced 758fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.34, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 13.05, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 8.72
230grn Hornady XTPs @ 1,355fps produced 938fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.57, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 15.29, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 11.98
240grn Hornady XTPs @ 1,410fps produced 1,059fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.69, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 16.45, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 13.87
250grn Barnes XPDs @ 1,450fps produced 1,167fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.79, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 17.51, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 15.71
265grn Speer Gold Dots @ 1,300fps produced 994fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.72, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 16.82, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 14.49

For reference, a Colt 1911 45acp produces the following:
230grn Speer Gold Dots @ 890fps produced 404fl/lbs muzzle energy with Recoil Impulse: 1.02, Velocity of Recoiling Pistol (FPS): 10.99, Free Recoil Energy (ft/lbs): 5.62

I find it interesting that the 200grn 45 Super compares almost identically in recoil effects to my hot 165grn 10mm loads out of the same weapon, however, the 45 Super only produces 82% of the muzzle energy as the 165grn 10mm.

Reviewing the data reveals that the heavier bullet weight of the 45 Super didn't produce the equivalent or higher muzzle energy of my 165grn 10mm load until the bullet weights and velocities were elevated to a level that produced significantly higher recoil impulse and recoil energies (137-179% more) that necessitated the use of both a 24# recoil spring and a compensator on the muzzle of the pistol to control the blast and slow down the recoil effects to avoid long term damage to the weapon and allow for the shooter the control the weapon effectively in followup shooting.

That's not to say that the 45 Super doesn't have a place, it certainly does. At the heavy weight bullet end of the 45 range, the 45 Super, pushed to velocities above 1,100-1,200fps is a potent large game hunting round as well as a caliber that could provide significant defense against dangerous animals. However, that comes at the expense of a longer barreled (added compensator), heavy recoiling platform that would still produce a significant recoil which would be a handful for many shooters.
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Old 01-11-2015, 10:45   #2
SDGlock23
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Thanks for sharing. It is true that recoil does go up when you start factoring in heavier bullets and then start driving them faster and faster, and I've said it many times that when I loaded for the 10mm that I never felt the need for a comp.

But once you get into the .45 Super/Rowland level of performance you do need one, it's just part of it. I'll be honest too that I don't consider muzzle energy an entirely accurate way of measuring how good or not so good a particular load is. Higher muzzle energy really favors the faster bullet, so it's a figure that is, to me, too focused on velocity.

I have nothing against the 10mm (although I don't exactly see eye to eye with the 10mm loyalists) and it certain is capable, but a 165gr .400" with ~900 ft-lbs of "energy" doesn't excite me as much as a 250gr .452" with the same amount, or even several hundred ft-lbs less. Plus it's my opinion that no 165gr .40 cal bullet out there is designed to withstand 900+ ft-lbs, it's just not designed for it. But with the .45 cal bullets, in the case of the 250gr XTP, it's designed to handle over 1400 ft-lbs (1600 fps per Hornady) so there's a big plus for the use of such bullets in the Super.

But to each his own you know. A comp does add length to the gun sure, but it also helps with recoil, which means recoil numbers would be somewhat less when factoring in the use of a compensator.

I love the .40 cal (although in form of warm .40 S&W) and despite it being capable, there's no doubt in my mind that the .45 cal is a better choice all around when you start diving into the advantages that the .45 Super gives, I think it's just better suited as bullet selection is more proper for a wider variety of jobs.
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Old 01-11-2015, 19:13   #3
es 350
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I agree with SD on this one!
And if you compare apples to apples your 180 gr. @1479/874 ft. Lb. load compared to 185 gr. @1598/1049 ft.lb ( not max. Load) from 5.2 in. barrel or same load from 6.6 in. barrel @ 1700/1187 ft lb . And also the variety of bullets as SD has mentioned . Heaviest I have shot is 335gr. @1000/744 ft lb !
Also as SD mentioned recoil with a good compensator makes even a hot load feel like 357 mag or less with light bullets. But each to his own.
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:38   #4
COSteve
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As the owner of both a G20L and G21L who shoots hot 10mm and now recently 45 Super too, I understand SD's point of view, however, a lot depends upon what you want out of your platform. I'm not a handgun hunter but rather use my toys for range and as a SD weapon when in the Rockies. (At home my CCW preference is a G23 loaded with 180grn Speer Gold Dots.)

In the Rockies, my G20L has the magwell removed and sits tight at my side in a Yaqui Slide holster where it's secure and accessible. With my +2 mag extension, it's loaded with 17+1 rds of 180grn hardcast bullets with a hot load of Power Pistol powder as protection again both 2 and 4 legged threats. (Of note, in that configuration my G20L is lighter and more compact than a 6" S&W 686 in 357mag. Further is shoots heavier, larger diameter bullets faster [if I'm carrying my 165grn loads] than the 158grn 357mag all while loaded with 3 times the ammo!)

As a G21L with 45 Super, I'd be only able to carry 14+1 rds with the mag extension; 3 rds less. Further, as I'm not going to comp my G21L, I'm limiting my loads to those 200grn levels shown above which produce much less muzzle energy needed for penetrating thick skinned threats so as a non-comp'd pistol, it really isn't on a par with the 10mm as a hunting platform. That's not to say that when comp'd, the 45 Super can be pushed really far and that would make it a prime hunting platform.

At the range my pistol is housed in a Don Hume H720 OT paddle holster that keeps it comfortable and accessible while providing a bit of space away from my body for the magwell to not gouge me. As either a G20L or G21L with magwell, it is there for fun. I especially like shooting at 200+ yd steel plates using a standing two handed grip with my iron sighted pistol.

The 21 Club

(It drives some shooter nuts, after they have shot their scoped AKs at the plate and hitting most of the time, to see me walk up with a pistol, stand there in a 2 handed Weaver stance and with just target iron sights, shoot at, and hit that 200 yds steel target. It always draws some stares and questions of, "What the heck is that?")

How can I do it? The trajectory of the 1,550fps, 165grn 10mm drops some 35" at 200 yds. That means that all I have to do is to hold steady at the top of the plate to ensure a hit. It's actually much simpler than it sounds as long as one uses good trigger discipline. However, the trajectory of the 1,300fps, 200grn 45 Super drops some 48" at 200 yds and that would require that I aim at a point in space at least 13" above the plate. Aiming at a point in air repeatedly is much harder to do.

While I haven't shot my 45 Super that far yet (weather hasn't cooperated since my first tryout with it) ballistically, it just doesn't have the trajectory to shoot long range which is what I really like to do with it. It will be great at 100yd shooting and I do a fair amount of that too but I'm into shooting everything at long range for bullet weight and/or caliber just because it's hard to do.

For example, my AR A4 is set up to shoot out to 600yds and my favorite sport with it is to shoot medium (3-3.5") apples at 450-500 yds out in a long range shooting spot we use in Pawnee National Grasslands in the extreme NE corner of Colorado. Great fun when you hit one and happily, you don't have to police up the range when you're done as the apples are good food for the animals.
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Old 01-17-2015, 15:14   #5
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CoSteve,

I think you will be surprised by what hot loaded super will do at distance. I have several loads that pretty well stomp your 165gr 200yard load (and these are from a shorter barrel). I'll give one example Barnes 185 XPD@ 1475. I zero this load at 100 yards (pretty much dead on at short ranges up to 25 then 2" high at 50; 7.96" low at 150 and 22.8" low at 200. Your 165gr load (assume Speer Gold Dot for Ballistic Coefficient) zero'd at the same 100 is 7.77" low at 150 and low 22.56 @ 200. Pretty equivalent right?
Well let's look at retained velocity and energy:
Initial: 185XPD 1475 and 894 ftlbs.
165 SPGD @ 1550 and 880 ftlbs

150yds: XPD 1125fps and 525 ftlbs
SGDHP 1112fps and 453 ftlbs

200 yds: XPD 1054fps and 456 ftlbs
SGDHP 1032fps and 390 ftlbs

The Barnes has a higher BC and more mass thus slows down slower and drop is similar even though fired at slower initial velocity. If you could fire a 180 XTP@ 1465 you would have pretty similar energy figures but it still wouldn't hold up to the velocity as well; they start to come apart at mid 1200's

So the 185 Barnes smacks harder than the 165gr at every distance and is .051" bigger in diameter to boot. 250gr XTP's retain even more energy at distance (942fps 493ftlbs@200yds) and both the 185 XPD and 250 XTP will penetrate 22+" in Clear Ballistic Gel which the 165 driven that fast WILL NOT DO. At 1550fps it will turn itself inside out and penetrate less.

.45 loaded to similar pressures as 10mm will always result in more energy, more penetration, and a bigger hole. Yes, more recoil too
10mm is a great cartridge but it does not beat every auto pistol round ever. And given the G20/21 package with similar barrels and recoil springs the .45 super/Rowland is more powerful.
Also in .451/.452 bullets there are far more projectiles that can actually handle the added velocity. The only .40 bullet that shows promise for the velocities you're citing is the new Federal bonded FP and it is not yet (ever?) available for hand loaders.
ALL of the traditional 155, 165, 180, and 200gr JHP's will start to come apart when loaded to max attainable velocity. AFAIC numbers on paper are irrelevant. What does it do when you shoot a hog, cougar, black bear, elk, etc with it?
180 XTP's start to fail at velocities I can attain in a stock Glock 22 so why would I want to carry a bigger, heavier, Wider gun with the same capacity?
Give me a 10MM with small primer pocket and a whole bunch of bullets designed to handle 1200+ fps and I'll probably buy a 10mm. With the current state of affairs I'll stick to 9mm and .45 (oh, ok, I do have a few .40's too
10mm is Not the Top Dog
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Old 01-17-2015, 22:26   #6
es 350
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That's some good shooting Steve.
Long range shooting is fun and separates the men from the boys!
Similar to Cycle's method I set my sights to poa @ 125 yds ,185 xtp @ 1600 rises 3.4 in. @ 75 yds. , -4.2 @ 150 and -18.3 @ 200 so hits ( as long as I do my part) are very possible to 150 for sure on all but the smallest of targets.
A coyote that I called in to 138 yds ( ranged with Leica 1200 rangefinder) found this out Monday night.
Nothing wrong with 10 mm at all just my opinion 45 super/Rowland can do all it can and then some.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:50   #7
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I think Steve stumbled on what has been known in the long range rifle divisions for a while. Its easier to shoot a smaller caliber at distance. It's like 7mm vs 300 mag. It takes less powder and therefore less recoil to get a 7mm bullet to a speed than a 30 cal of the same section density.

I've shot out to 1000 yards with various 6.5's, 7mm's, 30's, and 33's, and for each jump there was a big jump in recoil. The 6.5's and 7mm's were seemingly effortless to shoot compared to the 30-378's and the big 33s. But the big rounds had their advantage in that they hit much harder.

The difference between 40 and 45 cal handguns is noticeable on game. Heck I can tell a difference between a .429 and .452 on animals so i know .400-.452 will be noticeable. A 10mm 165 bullet has the same sectional density as a 210 grain 45 cal so to get identical trajectory "with the same bullet profile and BC" wed have to push it to 1589fps resulting in 1177 lbs of energy. That's a solid 44 mag load and the end result will no doubt be heavy recoil. But with an extra 1.5mm diameter and 45 more grains in mass the impact would be much more profound than what the 250lb energy difference would indicate.

I agree that a 10mm would probable easier to shoot targets at distance from a recoil vs trajectory standpoint but when it comes to the effect on that target the 45 class rounds will always win. Simple physics, the 45 a bigger hammer.
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Old Yesterday, 15:37   #8
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I agree with what you're saying in principle, however, lets make sure we are comparing apples to apples. A 185grn 45 cal bullet is a 'light for caliber' bullet weight while a 165grn 10mm bullet is a 'medium for caliber' bullet weight. If one were to compare like for like, then a 135grn class 10mm bullet would be more comparable to a 185grn 45 cal.

I've shot a few rounds of a friend's handloaded, hot 135grn 10mm out of my G20L and while the recoil was much milder, we estimate that the velocities were in the 2,000fps range as it screamed out to the 200yd steel plate. Further, we could aim pretty much COM and still hit steel so the trajectory of that light, ultra fast bullet was impressive.

In reloading, if you're talking about a hunting round, then bullet performance, muzzle energy, etc. are important and should be considered in your choice between a 10mm vs 45 Super. However, if you're deciding on what's most suited for target work and maybe a bit of varmint shooting, then the lighter and cheaper 10mm bullet selection that produces higher velocities, lower recoil, a flatter trajectory, and a lower bullet component cost could very well dominate the decision as bullet performance and muzzle energy on paper or steel isn't a factor.
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Old Yesterday, 16:36   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COSteve View Post
I agree with what you're saying in principle, however, lets make sure we are comparing apples to apples. A 185grn 45 cal bullet is a 'light for caliber' bullet weight while a 165grn 10mm bullet is a 'medium for caliber' bullet weight. If one were to compare like for like, then a 135grn class 10mm bullet would be more comparable to a 185grn 45 cal.

I've shot a few rounds of a friend's handloaded, hot 135grn 10mm out of my G20L and while the recoil was much milder, we estimate that the velocities were in the 2,000fps range as it screamed out to the 200yd steel plate. Further, we could aim pretty much COM and still hit steel so the trajectory of that light, ultra fast bullet was impressive.

In reloading, if you're talking about a hunting round, then bullet performance, muzzle energy, etc. are important and should be considered in your choice between a 10mm vs 45 Super. However, if you're deciding on what's most suited for target work and maybe a bit of varmint shooting, then the lighter and cheaper 10mm bullet selection that produces higher velocities, lower recoil, a flatter trajectory, and a lower bullet component cost could very well dominate the decision as bullet performance and muzzle energy on paper or steel isn't a factor.
I give up! 10mm is the best cartridge in the world! It's better at hunting target practice, defeating zombies, you name it! 10mm will always be the best at everything!
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Old Today, 10:05   #10
COSteve
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Originally Posted by Cycletroll View Post
I give up! 10mm is the best cartridge in the world! It's better at hunting target practice, defeating zombies, you name it! 10mm will always be the best at everything!
No, that's not what I said. Talk about single minded. Take a breath here and remember, I shoot both calibers myself too. I think the 45 Super is just that, super. It's going to be a blast at the range too. I'm really going to have to give it some thought for my time in the Rockies too as a SD round. However, I don't hunt so it's prowess in hunting is not a factor for me.

It's just that, like every other caliber in existence including the 10mm, the 45 Super has it's strengths and other calibers have theirs. 45 Super is clearly a better hunting round than the 10mm when loaded with heavy bullets at high velocities and fitted with a compensator but one can't argue that the compensator and threaded barrel adds cost to the platform over the cost of a 10mm platform.

Further, the reloading costs of the 10mm are less per round. 1st, the 10mm brass is cheaper (Starline lists 500 pieces of 10mm at $94.50 and 500 pieces of 45 Super at $119.50) and 2nd, the 10mm's bullet range (135grn to 200grn) are cheaper than the 45 Super's bullet range (185grn to 265grn) in part because they are lighter weight.

I started this thread to compare the recoil energy of the two calibers in the same platform to get a real comparison. My custom G20/21L is set up to shoot both and I have chrono data that I used to compare them. What I found is data, not opinion on which is best as you are trying to turn this thread to.

Those who are interested in data may find it interesting while those who are looking for validation of their choice will likely leave wanting. I don't say either one is better, I say that they are different. They have different strengths, weaknesses, and now I've added that they also have different costs to employ.
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Old Today, 12:46   #11
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Agreed that they are two completely different beasts. I'm just glad I have one gun that can shoot both, so I don't have to pick just one.
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