Low wieght, High velocity for defense

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by XShot, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. XShot

    XShot G&G Newbie

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    I have noticed that a lot of personal defense rounds are lower weight and higher velocity. For instance, Federal makes a 165gr round for 45 ACP.

    My question is, will this lighter ammo function as well in a semi-auto as the heavier stuff, or will it cause more failures? Also, will the impact point be similar to the 230gr stuff I practice with?

    I have an Ultra Carry 2 and am trying to decide on a defense load.

    Thanks
  2. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    In general, in the cases where it is documented, more failures occur from lighter bullets than with heavier bullets (especially with recoil-operated actions). It is a very minor difference, though, and a gun has to be on the verge of malfunction with every shot anyways to fail with a lighter bullet while not doing so with a heavier one.

    For SD, I would test to make sure the cartridge itself doesn't cause malfunctions in your gun (HP design, case dimensions, etc), but if you take even decent care of it, the weight shouldn't make a difference.


    I also don't necessarily agree that lighter bullets are better for SD.
  3. DaTeacha

    DaTeacha Things are not what they seem. Forum Contributor

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    Right. The recoil impulse is a function of both bullet weight (mass) and acceleration (velocity when it leaves the barrel). Ammo manufacturers are well aware of the amount of recoil energy needed to make guns chambered for any particular round function properly and build the cartridges accordingly. The problems arise from either improperly maintained guns or light handloads. In cold weather, something seemingly harmless like oil where it shouldn't be can cause a failure. Keep your gun properly maintained and use good quality factory ammo for when the chips are down and you should be fine.

    As an aside, the political climate is such that using handloads in a home or self defense situation might lead to more problems than you want anyways. The bad guy, or his survivors, could claim that you loaded those rounds specifically to cause pain, suffering, and death rather than to protect your family, body, or property.
  4. TGF

    TGF G&G Newbie

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    I do high weight low velocity, they bleed off their energy much faster.
  5. KW Gary M

    KW Gary M Suspended

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    I go middle of the road for added speed and still heavy bullet.

    .45 I like 200 Grain
    .40 I like 165 Grain
    .357 or .38 I like 125 Grain
    9MM I like 115 Grain
    .380 I use 90 Grain but there really aren't too many .380 Grains to choose from.
  6. DaTeacha

    DaTeacha Things are not what they seem. Forum Contributor

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    Is this leading to a momentum vs. kinetic energy discussion?
  7. Rangersniper175

    Rangersniper175 G&G Newbie

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    The lowest I go for the 45 is 185gr and haven't had any trouble with it but like to stay in the 230 range. Actually I am interested in trying some 240 plus rounds to see how they work for knock down power. Only trying will tell. Will be shooting them out of a SAXD 45. Any comments on this
  8. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

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    Lighter weight loads are cheaper to make

    thus more profitable to the seller.

    The .45 ACP has always done well with the 230 grain bullet.
    The Texas Highway Patrol has a long and successful history with the
    158 grain jacketed hollowpoint in .357 mag.

    Personally, I keep historically validated loads in my guns.
  9. Constantine1911

    Constantine1911 G&G Newbie

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    +1
  10. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Heavier bullets also produce more felt recoil (because essentially the gun moves further backward). One more thing to think about.
  11. TGF

    TGF G&G Newbie

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    Newtons second law Force = mass times acceleration. F=ma

    Both mass and acceleration have a coefficient of 1 so the blanket statement heavier bullets = more recoil is a misnomer since heavier bullets are almost always accelerated slower.

    An example of a lighter bullet having more recoil than a heavier can be seen by comparing these two federal charts for 9mm.

    124 grain
    Federal Premium - Handgun Details
    1120 FPS
    345 ft/lbs

    147 grain
    Federal Premium - Handgun Details
    1000 FPS
    326 ft/lbs

    Simply put the 124 grain is loaded with more powder and accelerates faster than the 147 grain the added acceleration makes up for the deficiency in mass and should generate more kick - Newtons third law.

    The recoil difference between the 165 and the 230 is 2 ft/lbs more on the 230.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  12. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    230 @ 860fps
  13. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

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    ^ +1 for the 230 grain. This is the best proven load. I like JHPs as long as they function properly--if I get any expansion it's a bonus if not no worse off than hardball. Just make sure whatever you decide you ops test it in your gun to make sure it reliably functions.
  14. XShot

    XShot G&G Newbie

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    That's kind of how I feel about it too.

    I was just thinking of using some of the more frangible ammo like Magsafe because I have kids in the house and like the idea of it breaking up in drywall. But it is so light that I am worried the gun may not function properly. And, unfortunately, it is too expensive to do much testing with.

    Anyone have experience with Magsafe in a compact 1911?
  15. KW Gary M

    KW Gary M Suspended

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    What brands come in 240 plus? I have seen Winchester in 240 but that is highest I have seen. I'd like to try a heavy round just to see how it shoots.
  16. Palladin8

    Palladin8 G&G Enthusiast

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    Xshot when I test a new carry round I usually buy 4 boxes of the ammo and shoot a minimum of 3 boxes(60rds) to ensure reliable feeding and functioning. It's not cheap but the way I see it is cheap compared to my life or a loved ones if I have a malfunction in a self defense situation. My Utlra carry has digested everything I have fed it. I have settled on the 185gr +p golden sabre for both of my .45acp pistols.
  17. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Those figures listed are muzzle energies, not recoil energies. They are very different, since energy is a function of mass and the square of velocity. Thus, with the same momentum, a lighter bullet will have more velocity and thus more muzzle energy.

    It isn't about the impulse force. It is also about how far the gun moves during that impulse. As you say, the bullet is accelerated slower, which is exatly why the firearm itself has more time to accelerate backward before the bullet leaves the barrel. The greater distance the firearm covers in this longer span of time is what makes the gun "jump" more, and often actually increases the felt recoil of the shot because of the fact that it is moving further backward during firing.
  18. TGF

    TGF G&G Newbie

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    Newtons and Ft-lbs are both units of force. Force at the muzzle will be very close to force exerted on the user. This is why knockdown power is a myth along with several other shooting related legends. Anyhow I doubt this will be productive, we can both just disagree and be happy.
  19. BaserRonin

    BaserRonin G&G Newbie

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    I have heard this as well. The defense loads for my pistol are about the only pistol loads that I actually buy. I can not attest to the validity of these claims, but I do keep store bought for this reason.
  20. Rangersniper175

    Rangersniper175 G&G Newbie

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    KW The slugs I saw in a 240 and higher weight were not factory loads they were just boxes of slugs from Hornady in the JHP-XTP. So I will have to load them. It will make for some enjoyable time, but I just want to see how they work. Still perfer the 230 loads over everything. But I do enjoy my 185's. Have found out 230's will penetrate car doors better than 185's and take out the target on the inside. Hell car doors, house doors, walls, etc ain't much challenge for the 230 just have to make sure what is on the other side good guy or bad guy.
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