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Why 5" for 45ACP Ammo

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by PghJim, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    It seems like with all other caliber the published data is for a 4" barrel, but for 45 ACP it is for a 5" barrel. I personnally do not know anyone that carries a full size 1911. Both of my 45 ACP guns are 4", a Kimber Compact and an XD45 compact. I always wonder if the bullet will be going fast enough out of a 4" barrel to expand, so I end up carrying +p ammo in them. I can handle the +p, but it would be easier with standard pressure loads. I saw some data that 3" barrels do not do well with standard 45 ACP ammo. but I have never seen anything on a 4" barrel. I assume since they give the velocity in a 5" barrel they are saying that is the barrel length the bullet was designed to be fired from.

    I just go a few boxes of Winchester PDX1's and it has a 5" barrel velocity of 920 fps. It does not come in +p, so I wonder how they will perform out of my 4" barrels.
  2. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry

    Nov 28, 2001
    You can carry a 5" 1911 as easily as anything shorter. It is the butt that is hard to conceal, and that too is easily solved.

  3. Berto

    Berto woo woo

    Sep 15, 2003
    Historically, the only .45auto pistol common was a 1911 with a 5" bbl, so the barrel length of choice was 5".

    Today, the general rule is to run 200gr in the 4" and 185gr in the 3.5" for assured expansion....but keep in mind, it's already a .45.:supergrin:
  4. Brass Nazi

    Brass Nazi NO BRASS FOR U!

    Jul 4, 2005
    Yep, The only advantage that a shorter slide gives you is a quicker draw. But, you would probably have to be a competent competitor gaming in order to see the difference.

    Also due to the lower operating pressure of the ACP and the faster powders that are used the difference in barrel length will not make as big of a difference as it would with other cartridges.
  5. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo Lifetime Newb

    You do now. I carry a 5" 1911 everyday rather easily. They are very slim guns and I thick the thickness is what makes a gun tough to conceal, not necessarily the length. Another key is learning to dress around the gun, and not settle for something you don't shoot that well just because it is convenient.

    Just my $0.02 and YMMV. :wavey:
  6. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    Being a 1911 45acp guy for, well, 40 years at least. I can tell you that 3" 4" 5" all work well with a 230gr bullet. I am a minority on GT, (even with some of my good friends here ;) ). But, I use FMJ 230gr in all sizes of my 45's.

    There is nothing to carrying a 5" GOV size 1911. I am 6'0" and 210#'s and no fat. (well maybe a pinch), and can conceal my weapon fine. I can carry a G20 fine as well. It is all in just getting it right for you. I have one of my brothers that is like 5'7", and carrries a full size 1911 45.

    That being said, and back to ammo. Yes most all ammo for a 45acp is based on the 5" barrel, that was the common standard for this round (230gr) in the begining and still is. That does NOT mean you cannot use it in the commander and compact size. I have carried in the past a Colt Defender 3" like the G30 in size and barrel length. It did just as well as my 5". It is the wonder and the glory of the 45acp. 830/900fps it does not matter. You obviously pick up a tad vel in a 5" over a 3" barrel. This is true for all calibers and guns pretty much you loose a tad vel with the barrel getting shorter. But again, the beauty and mystery of the 45acp is that it just flat does not seem to make a difference on the business end. It performs.

    A lot of people run out and buy all the designer 185gr +p's to get that puppy smokin for them. Ridiculous. That 45 will work just fine with the 230gr. It is not a speed demon, and does not need to be. Out of a 3" barrel, the 230gr FMJ will go through a arm and still get in the trunk of the body and to the vitals (of course anything can go wrong), let the reader understand. But it works just as well as the the 5". Why get a goV size then ? Good question at this point. Simple. You gain about 90fps with the 5" with most factory ammo, and this turns people on!

    Yes I like the 5", but YES I carry a 3" at times with NO reservations at all but prefer the original 5" Gov..... Why do I carry the 5" ? I like the better sight plane... That is it. It is not to gain the extra few FPS.. This caliber works well at 3-4-5" with 230gr. Why sacrifice and drop down to a 185 or less gr bullet? makes no sense. Do not fall for the "Short Barrel ammo crap." This is a marketing ploy. Good lands what is'nt a marketing ploy anymore? LOL

    I carry a Kimber Pro carry II quite often, in commander size. All with 230gr FMJ.

    Do NOT look for nor expect the magic mushroom bullet to show up either. There is not such a bullet in this caliber or any other. Gel test and water jug test do not mean squat as to real world in a human being performance of a bullet. They give a small guide line, and I am reluctant to even give these test that much credit. I am a major critic of jello block and water bottle test that provide a picture perfect mushroom, and tell me nothing.

    If someone wants to shoot through milk jugs filled with shredded news paper and water, fine... Put some soaked bones (not dry), and some pork meat or beef and some solid and hollow organs from the gut barrel down at the slaughter house in between those bottles, and a t-shirt flannel shirt, and leather jacket over the front..... Then shoot.

    Now we will no longer see the picture perfect mushroom, but a clogged JHP that did not get to much penetration. I admit that in 9mm I am not afraid to use FMJ, but I would suggest JHP's in the 9mm 40cal and 10mm and 357sig, for the mere fact they are very fast light and zippy, although again, I have no fear of their use in FMJ. Not a contridiction of myself, just my philosophy through my "experience." Not through what I read or heard or think, but from what I have done with these calibers and loads in various applications. Some I do not want to talk about, and some out here on the ranch, were through test through hind quarters of beef covered in organs, and real clothes. Not 4 layers of denim. That is BS. (the 4 layers of denim).

    Any way. 230gr Gold Dot. 230gr. XTP, and 230gr ball ammo are the ONLY three choices IMO and for "me", in the 45acp. I will say this as well, sounds like a contridiction... In the shorter barrels 4" and especially 3" it is 230gr FMJ or I won't carry the gun. In fact amigo I carry 230gr FMJ in them all. Just saying that if this scares folks, I always suggest the 230gr XTP next, then the 230GR GD. In this order.

    Let me say this asell. I do prefer a Round nose flat point in the FMJ to get that little Meplat. That really helps a great deal. More than most think. It is very hard to find in a factory offering, but a load all my carry ammo, and hunting ammo so I do not worry about it.

    Over penetration is not a concern with me at all. Missing is.

    Don't know that I helped ya in any way. All I got are MY own exeriences and what I have done and for how long and to what who.

    God bless ya.
    Stay safe

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  7. BMcDonald7


    Aug 10, 2009
    230gr will be fine in a 4" Barrel. I have shot about 12 HST bullets out of my HK45c (like 3.9in) into water jugs, wet pack etc and not had 1 fail to fully expand. Even into 4-layers of denim they performed the same. My dad has the full sized HK45 with a 5" barrel and we shot an HST into water jugs and it expanded to over 1" with 1 petal even breaking off in the last jug. The same goes for 230gr Ranger-T. I would say stay away from the +P as it just gives you more recoil and maybe another inch of penetration, but the standard pressure already penetrates over 12 inches so....
  8. SIGShooter

    SIGShooter Hucklebucks

    Jan 25, 2005
    They make different sized barrels for 1911s other than 5"???

    Where the hell is the memo???

    I didn't get one!!!
  9. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    I hear ya hoss. I am just trying to throw out to this OP some variables...
    I do prefer the 5". The others are fun to shoot. But you really nailed it.. Wow they really are making them shorter.. The hem line has went up every time you turn around huh ? ;)

    Stay safe Bud.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  10. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Well owning, training with & carrying 3", 4" & 5" 1911, there def. is a diff. when it comes to comfortable CCW. The longer slide just likes to dig in when you sit, especially in a car. The lt.wt. Comm is great for carry & pleasent to shoot. My OM is also nice for carry & about the same as the lt.wt. COmm for shooting.
    AS to ammo, I have no issue using any std 230grJHP load, even in the OM, but like the Speer 230grGDSB there. For the OM, I do prefer the 185gr WWSTHP or the 200grXTP. Both will still hit 900fps in the short bbl, expand well & easy to get good followup shots. I'll leave the +P ammo for the hairy chested all steel gun shooters. I like to hit what I aim at in a hurry, everytime. There are few bad choices in 45acp, even ball works to some extent, but a bit slippery for me. A 230grLTC would be nice though.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  11. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    LOL. Agreed.


  12. RMTactical

    RMTactical CLM

    Oct 7, 2000
    Behind an AR-15
    The stuff I have tested in my 4.25" commander have worked well so far. More tests pending though.
  13. coal


    Dec 20, 2009
    Agreed. The 230gr is all I use, or will given the choice.

    Agreed. I can't reasonably CCW a 5" all day, but can with my 4" Compact.
  14. PghJim


    Apr 21, 2005
    Thanks for your opinions, I own many 5" 1911's but due to shoulder issues and hiding the butt, I prefer 4" with a compact frame for CC. From what I am hearing, I should not wory about it.
  15. BuckyP

    BuckyP Lifetime Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Speer does make ammo specifically designed for shorter barrels, appropriately labeled:

    "Gold Dot Short Barrel Personal Protection"
  16. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    Exactly right......... ;)

    Good shooting.

  17. Iceman cHucK

    Iceman cHucK

    Jun 23, 2008
    WA state
    Word for word I agree with everything CandyMan, oh , I meant CanyonMan has said. In addition I like the 230fmjFlatPoint. Hornady makes the bullet, and Dt has a hot load for it.

    I like 5" 1911s and have three of them, all steel. I grew up on the full size from my military service, like the balance, sight plane ,velocity, and recoil. I would not hesitate to carry a commander length but prefer the 5".
    Tried a couple of shorties (3") years ago and found them to be nothing but trouble and got rid of them. Not reliable!

    Now, I'm not hairy chested but my SA 1911 is "springed up" for 45Super. What a hoot. 230GDhp at 1100fps (approx 635fpe)! This is getting max potential from a 45acp and is getting it into the range of a warm 45Colt load. Recoil is stout, but similar to a hot big bore revolver. And the best part is that it still functions 100% with standard 230ball and /or 230+P.
  18. Cineski


    Jun 18, 2009
    This country's thought process seems to be stuck in 1911 formula with the 45 platform. Even the newer polymers with thumb safeties mostly come in the 45 acp or at least started with this caliber. It's just the dogma of the 45 that no other caliber suffers from.
  19. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002

    LOL... IC, I'm going to use you for test media if you ain't careful now... LOL

    Just kidding Amigo.

    Stay safe my friend ! ;)

    AKA CandyMan
  20. BuckyP

    BuckyP Lifetime Member

    Feb 1, 2005