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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
.45 ACP Penetration

I've owned and fired .45 auto pistols for about 35 years - predominately M1911's. My interest in cartridges (some reloading) has nomally centered around the arenas of reliability, accuracy and yes, stopping power for carry purposes. In the latter arena of stopping power, I pretty much concur with the use of hollowpoint ammunition provided it functions reliably.

For carry purposes, hollowpoint bullets are often favored over FMJ bullets due to increased shock effect and decreased penetration.

But aren't there times when maximum penetration is desired? Wouldn't deep penetration be beneficial as protection against dangerous animals when hiking, camping, etc? Wouldn't full penetration even be desirable in certain carry situations where assailants take cover behind car doors and other barriers? I would appreciate the insights of others about the specialized needs for deep penetration.

Thanks
 

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Good catch, 5pins ...welcome Anson.

anson48 said:
I've owned and fired .45 auto pistols for about 35 years - predominately M1911's. Wouldn't deep penetration be beneficial as protection against dangerous animals when hiking, camping, etc?
There are bears in certain areas. In these areas, as much as I love my 1911 (been shooting it as long as you there, anson...) I carry my .454 Casull with my own full - house loads. I may not hit mr. bear precisely where I want with that first shot if I'm taken by suprise, but he will likely notice a hit enough for me to buy the last shot. (With that gun, it will be the last). .44 mags are quite good, as are .462 and .500 full - up loads. I have some experience with bear. Bear are not nearly as easily impressed as I am. They are equal in difficulty to a wild or domestic pig to kill. Believe me, that's saying something. Virtually any other North American animal is easier to kill with the notable exception of the Elk, Mule Deer and Moose.
 

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Quick! Additional correct info before I get nailed!

Forgot!! I forgot to mention that even though my well - aimed shot may be the last mr. bear will ever have to endure, this does not mean that mr. bear could not still nail me as a parting gesture. This is critical to understand. Dead bear have killed people. Who was just saying this the other day? You cannot stop when you know he's dead. You must continue to shoot 'till he thinks he's dead. Important point!
 

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IMHO, any animal (includes humans) that you would choose to use a .45ACP to defend yourself against, you would use a hollow point. Anything that needs more than a .45ACP HP can provide, you seek out a different cartridge and weapons system.

For example: If there are dangerous animals to be encountered while hiking, I'd find another exercise.... Barring that, a shotgun with slugs and a good sling is what I'd take along. If forced to take a pistol only, a .44 mag would be the least powerful I'd consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
These have been good comments - all.
Thankfully, there are no grizzlies where I hike. I have encountered a wild pig and a seemingly mad dog that didn't give ground - I simply took a dogleg around the situation. I must also add that a 250 pound reticulated Python was killed near where I hike in NC. Can you imagine when his former owner got tired of him? Talk about a creepy nightmare?
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anson48 said:
I must also add that a 250 pound reticulated Python was killed near where I hike in NC. Can you imagine when his former owner got tired of him? Talk about a creepy nightmare?
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Or the snake got tired of it's owner and had him for dinner. :eek: Where do you hike in NC?
 

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I think for general backwoods use I would still take a HP. Your biggest threat will be 2 legged. If it makes you feel better I have put down well over a dozen moose when needed on the job with 230g Ranger T. I did have a slight advantage when they are on the ground and cant get up ;) One was a bull that pushed 900lbs. It has always worked quickly and effectively, however, shot placement is obviously key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
From Anson48
I hike around the Pee Dee and Rocky River in NC - my childhood home, when I can get back there. I do more just walking and observing than hiking. You just don't know what will show up in a large track of woods anymore. When I was young there were never any reports of alligators, coyotes and that Python I described earlier in the area. Thanks to the assistance of humans we now have the critters just mentioned (hopefully, no more Pythons!).
Exercising caution just seems prudent. That background generated this thread.
 

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I worked for a TSgt when i was in the Air Force who fancied the 1911A1 platform...

He was stationed at Carswell AFB, Texas one time. He was travelling someplace and got pulled over in his 74 Lemans with the 455 H.O. engine for doing considerably over the speed limit...

the officer from the DPS, asked if he was carrying any firearms. he said he had a pistol in the trunk. the officer asked if he was going far and my boss told him he was headed to San Antonio. the officer said "if youre going to be travelling across county lines he could carry and SHOULD carry his pistol by his side."..

so the conversation went on and the DPS officer told him he should carry his mags half and half hollow points and FMJ "just in case you need to shoot thru a car door"...

just a short story for today...

david
 

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Ooh boy, hope that doesn't spark another stacked magazine debate. Anyways, I have a question. Bear and wildcats aren't HIGHLY common in my parts, but they are occasional, and over the last few years increasing in occurance. Don't get me wrong, I know correct shot placement with dangerous animals is NOT a head shot, but just out of curiosity, would a head shot be at all effective against a cougar or bear? If I dump a mag of .45 hp's into a bear's COM, I have no idea how he's going to take it (I've never hunted and I slept through biology, I have no idea where a bear's vitals are). So the question is, if I dump a mag into said bears face, approximately how many should I expect to deflect off his skull? Are the odds good that at least half of them would make it through and immediatly shut down his CNS? Like I said, I'm not a hunter, for all I know a bear's heart could be in his abdomen, and unless they're back on their hind legs you don't get much of a torso shot anyway. I have noticed on the discovery channel that when they get agitated they spend a lot of time with their mouth's wide open. Would a .45 round fired into their yap bounce around in their cranium for a while?
 

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If I hade to shoot a bear or cougar I would aim (more like point) for the nose. After all I would have no business shooting it unless its nose was pointing at me. Bears are vary thick skinned. I have seen some with five inches of fat under the skin. This is five inches of fat that needs to be penetrated before the bullet hits anything important. This is why penetration is important. Most of the time I will carry a S&W mountain gun in .44 mag when I’m in the woods.

Cougars on the other hand are not so tough. I’m not trying to down play the dangers of cougars but there a relatively thinner-skinned. A cougar relies on speed, quickness, and surprise.
 

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The .45 ACP wouldn't be my first choice for bear protection, however, if forced to use one I'd be looking strongly toward the Buffalo Bore +P loading of a 230 grain full metal jacketed FLAT POINT. The flat point should provide some "shocking" power and penetrate in a straight line as opposed to a roundnose FMJ that tends to "yaw".
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
GLC. Thanks for the input. Like you, I agree the .45 wouldn't be my first choice either for some of the critters mentioned thus far in this thread. I further don't believe over penetration is normally a problem in these most of these nonhuman encounters. On the contrary, in this thread believe deep penetration may actually be a plus. Many years ago, I read the report of an African hunter who was treed by a Water Buffalo. Unfortunately, the hunter's rifle was left on the ground - all of this happened pretty fast as you might envison. Fortunately, the hunter did have a M1911 on his person and a magazine of FMJ ammunition. He shot the critter 2-3 times. The exact ending of the narrative evades me, but the hunter was able to neutralize this potent animal and safely climb down from the tree to retrieve his rifle. Point is that all of us sometimes have to use what's handy. The M1911 or Glock 21 for that matter, is pretty handy and the FMJ ammunition can often be used to good effect.
 

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My 1911 would not be my first choice for such big animals. That being said It is my largest handgun. Therefore It is what I carry if I'm in the woods. I certainly don't feel naked when I'm out there with it. I know its not a death ray and If a bear attacks may not get the job done, however I'm much better off than with just my hands.

The reality of the situation is:
If a bear is attacking me he is likely charging, this means I'm probably going to aim for the face.
My first shot might startle him and cause him to hesitate...maybe not
In my panic I could miss my shots.
If I don't miss my shots might bouce off his skull, this might cause him to rethink the attack...maybe not
My shots might hit him in the snout, doing damage and maybe causing him to cease the attack...maybe not
And finally I might get lucky and hit the brain ending the attack.

Essentially: my .45 may save my life If I'm attacked by a bear, then again maybe not. Not very comforting when you look at it in that way. However, since I don't live in bear country, and only visit there on occasion, I'm not rushing out to buy a .44 mag.
 

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...and the bear would outrun you with little effort. It's a good idea to not look like fleeing prey.
 

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****** FMJ roound is likely going to bounce off his scull at short range, I have seen a skinned out black bear laying on the ground, looked exactly like a human and I mean exactly - vitals are in the same place as yours are.

fatalerror113 You want something you can shoot fast and accurately and your .45acp will do nicely. Remember you aren't hunting bears, you are trying to avoid them so any encounter of the dangerous kind is going to be at VERY short range and time is not going to be on your side. Your descriptions of the attack are bang on. Shooting for the nose, face area is your best option in a frontal attack. Shoot low and you might get him in the throat area out to his spine. Miss and you got six more to get lucky with.

Tac Four You have that right. Standing still and looking at him straight on and making yourself about as big as possible can work especially if there is some distance between you and the bear. At real short distances and the black bear is hungry running is only going to warm his meal!

I know my 1911 in .45acp is light BUT I can shoot it rapidly and reasonably accurate at the ranges envisioned. Also, because of it's size and weight it is most likely to be on my person and not at home or worse yet in the car or packed away. I load mine up with FMJ loaded to max and hope I never need to test my skills. I do live in bear country and from my experience 99% of the time black bears will leave you alone, it is the 1% factor that is the problem. Blacks are the most unpredicable. For you Yanks that come up to Banff, "Don't Feed the Bear" signs ar there for two reasons 1) By encouraging the bears to hang aroung the highway you increase the likeliehood of them getting killed by cars, and 2) If the do get involved in a human encounter they will be put down. 3) A stay in the hospital in Banff is not likely in your itinerary.

Grizzlies on the other hand will hunt you down if they decide to and attack often from the rear. If you aren't hunting them then I would change my travel plans if I saw one or consider climbing a large tree. If no time for that then I have six for the bear and one for me. Running is not an option if the bear attacks.

We had four fatal encounters last year in Canada that I know about. One trail biker and three hikers. None were armed of course (Can't legally up here, how dumb is that?) and none had bear spray with them either which is even dumber. Chances are slim you will be attacked but I have no intention of being one of the stats.
 
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