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I am seeking advice and opinions on a good self defense cartridge for use in a compact 45acp (3" to 4" bbl). I was carrying Hydrashocks in 230gr (for a 4" Kimber and a usp-compact) and 185gr (for my 3" Kimber)until I read several articles that indicated the Hydrashocks had problems with getting clogged up with clothing and not expanding. Realistically, I figure there will be at least 1 layer, if not 2-3 layers of clothing to shoot thru if I ever have to shoot a BG.

So, the question is: if I want good, reliable expansion from a 45acp round in a compact to sub-compact gun, what should I be looking for? Gold Dot (not my first choice due to a bad experience with load variations), Gold Saber, Hornady, Winchester, or just stick with the Federals? Please indicate what bullet type and weight for a 3" and a 4" bbl. I would like to avoid +p if possible, since it will accelerate the wear/breakage in my alloy framed guns.

Thank you for your help.
 

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One brand of HP is not necessarily better than the other. If it was, the others would have gone out of business a long time ago. Reliable expansion is a crap shoot, even with the well known brands you have listed. There are simply too many variables. Clothing can clog any of the brands mentioned.

More important than expansion is RELIABILITY to function in YOUR gun. You will have to determine what brand gives the best performance with regard to accuracy and no FTF/FTE. Accuracy and reliability will always beat expansion, in my books.

I would suggest however, that you definitely go lighter than 230 gr. in your 3" Kimber. Velocity counts as much as anything in a shorter barreled gun. 185 gr. has been a good weight in my experiences with shorter barrels. The brand choice is up to you AND YOUR GUN!
 

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Expansion? Personally I feel expansion in a handgun round is overblown.

It's already .45 caliber. Penetration is the key.

What do you think?

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PISS A LIBERAL OFF

BUY A HANDGUN....
 

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Hydroshocks do work...I have seen them in action. It is true that sometimes clothing does keep them from expanding fully, but you are shooting a 45 and it does the job it IS intended to do, even if it does not expand. Expansion is more important IMO on 9mm, than with the 45.....9mm smaller round.....

I usually carry two rounds of Hydroshock backed up with some Aquilla (over 1000 feet per second in a USP45c). The best of both worlds! Providing you miss with the first two shots you better be behind cover or at least headed towards it and so is the bad guy and thus penetration......
 

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Here are some comparisons of a 5", 4" and 3" barrel shooting 230gr ammo. It is from a test done by American Handguner. The test is 5 rounds of each ammo through each gun into water. An average of each.
Speer Gold Dot 230gr. JHP
5" 864fps .63 expansion
4.25" 874fps .62 exp.
3.16" 790fps .65 exp.
Winchester SXT 230gr. JHP
5" 850fps .65 exp.
4.25" 885fps .65 exp.
3.16" 781fps .62 exp.
Federal Hydra-Shok 230gr. JHP
5" 880fps .63 exp.
4.25" 972fps .65 exp.
3.16" 784fps .64 exp.
Remington Golden Saber 230gr. BJHP
5" 833fps .56 exp.
4.25" 871fps .54 exp.
3.16" 741fps .46 exp.

Guns used: 5" Chip McCormick 1911, 4.25" Colt Lightweight Commander, 3.16" Kimber Ultra Elite.

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"Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet."
 

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Originally posted by PoodleShooter:
I am seeking advice and opinions on a good self defense cartridge for use in a compact 45acp (3" to 4" bbl). I was carrying Hydrashocks in 230gr (for a 4" Kimber and a usp-compact) and 185gr (for my 3" Kimber)until I read several articles that indicated the Hydrashocks had problems with getting clogged up with clothing and not expanding. Realistically, I figure there will be at least 1 layer, if not 2-3 layers of clothing to shoot thru if I ever have to shoot a BG.

So, the question is: if I want good, reliable expansion from a 45acp round in a compact to sub-compact gun, what should I be looking for? Gold Dot (not my first choice due to a bad experience with load variations), Gold Saber, Hornady, Winchester, or just stick with the Federals? Please indicate what bullet type and weight for a 3" and a 4" bbl. I would like to avoid +p if possible, since it will accelerate the wear/breakage in my alloy framed guns.

Thank you for your help.
Penetration is key. If your bullet isn't going at least 10" (depending on angle), into the target, you arent reaching the vitals. Heart, lungs, aorta, spinal column.
So, carry something that not only hits hard but goes deep. Expansion isn't all that important. 2nd., is accuracy. Be able to get multiple hits center of mass in a good group. Even if you only get off one shot, make sure you hit your mark. Otherwise, it won't matter what bullet you use.
Read this article. It is pretty informative. http://greent.com/40Page/ammo/45/45-advoc.htm
 

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Originally posted by Ford:
Here are some comparisons of a 5", 4" and 3" barrel shooting 230gr ammo. It is from a test done by American Handguner. The test is 5 rounds of each ammo through each gun into water. An average of each.
Speer Gold Dot 230gr. JHP
5" 864fps .63 expansion
4.25" 874fps .62 exp.
3.16" 790fps .65 exp.
Winchester SXT 230gr. JHP
5" 850fps .65 exp.
4.25" 885fps .65 exp.
3.16" 781fps .62 exp.
Federal Hydra-Shok 230gr. JHP
5" 880fps .63 exp.
4.25" 972fps .65 exp.
3.16" 784fps .64 exp.
Remington Golden Saber 230gr. BJHP
5" 833fps .56 exp.
4.25" 871fps .54 exp.
3.16" 741fps .46 exp.

Guns used: 5" Chip McCormick 1911, 4.25" Colt Lightweight Commander, 3.16" Kimber Ultra Elite.

Good info there Ford. I'd be interested to see something similar with the Rem. Golden Sabre 185gr. (std. pressure).
If I can't find 230 gr. Hydras, that's generally my second choice. Shooting a 4" SA Champion btw.

Mac
 

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Yeah, this info makes us Commander lovers a little more cocky now, doesn't it?!
 

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Maclean3,
I would hope that the 185gr. Golden Sabers would perform better than the 230gr.GS did in this test. That is some pretty sorry data on the GS.

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"Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet."
 

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I carry Fed. Hydrashock 165gr. Personal Defense in my short barreled 45's..... Higher speed and lighter recoil than Heavy Weights also.
 
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