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You would want a lighter load such as the 200 like you mentioned or maybe even a 185 gr. in a 3" barrel.
 

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I didn't know Federal had a 200 gr. personal defence load. I tried the 165 gr. round though. Accurate & mild recoil but it has a very bright muzzle flash so I'll stick to the 230 gr. load.

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ElrodCod
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I agree with ElrodCod that the Federal Personal Defense 165 grn .45 has a ridiculously bright muzzle flash. You're paying premium prices for this ammo and one of the attributes of most premium ammo is flash retardents added to the powder. I'd steer clear of it.
 

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I don't want to start a brawl here - but I don't understand why people recommend lighter bullet weights for shooting in short barrels.

Generally, lighter bullet loads lose far more velocity than heavier bullet loads in short barrels. This goes for all cartridges, whether it be a .45 or a .38 special etc etc.

Now I will agree that some ammo makers have used some better powders reducing flash etc; but by and large, likewise, the faster lighter bullet loads will produce more flash from a shorter barrel because of unburned powder.

I will also agree that even with the velocity loss in say a 3" barrel some light bullets may still expand alittle - but that has to be tested to be assumed as fact; in some medium at least - be it water, wet paper or game. Otherwise I wouldn't count on any expansion at all - and would just shoot any reliable 230-grain hardball.

But if expansion is what the goal is, I would definately recommend testing several 200 and 230-grain loads in a combined test of elimination; reliability, expansion (in water or wet paper at least), accuracy, and flash. Throw in some lighter bullet loads too - but I doubt they'll open up much - at least I'd be surprized.
 
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