185 vs. 230 gr.

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by Benning Boy, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Benning Boy

    Benning Boy New Member

    My SHTF zombie apocalypse gun is an XD. And I generally buy whatever .45 ACP is on sale.

    I've never really paid too much attention to bullet grains, as I don't spend much time shooting for distance, since there aren't many 1000 meter ranges around me.

    I've run 185 and 230 grain rounds through the XD, and notice no difference in accuracy, recoil, etc.

    I know what the .45 is capable of, and more importantly, not capable of. But I know I'm missing something here.

    What's the difference?
  2. Bob Wright

    Bob Wright Member

    O.K., 185 gr vs 230 gr. what? Semi wadcutter vs. Round nose, or Flat point, or jacketed hollow points?

    Generally, the lighter 185gr. Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) is driven to higher muzzle velocity and expands quickly. The heavier bullet is usually at a lower velocity, may not open up a hollow point. But, the heavier bullet will penetrate more deeply.

    That said, light hollow points may expand too fast, failing to reach vital organs. Close up, often good stopping power. The heavy bullet, unexpanded will get to bone and vital organs and through heavy clothing, while a light bullet may not.

    For pure target work, the lighter bullet delivers less recoil for faster second shots.

    For me, I always lean toward the heavier large caliber bullet. Like the old .45 Colt, it gets the job done.

    Bob Wright

  3. chopkick

    chopkick New Member

    My experince tells me along with some very reputable firearms experts that for self defense purposes your bullet weight should depend on your barrel length.

    230gr. for 5 in. barrels
    200gr. for 4-41/2 in. barrels
    185gr. for anything under 4 in.
  4. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    I run 230gr +P Lawman hollow points in my 1911's - of all barrel lengths.

    910fps is moving fast enough, and 230grains are hitting hard enough, to put a serious attitude change into anyone. :D

  5. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    I like 185gr Speer Gold dots for carry. They are a bit faster than the 230gr offerings. I like speed so I went with them. For plinking I like Rainer 200gr TC or RN bullets.
  6. oldandslow

    oldandslow New Member

    BB, 4/5/09

    As others have mentioned you may get a significant velocity drop in short barreled .45's with 230 grain ammo, limiting both expansion and penetration ( the velocity is what gives the bullet the ability to do work, as in penetrate and expand). I chronographed some standard velocity factory 230 grain FMJ's and while they ran in the 800-850 feet/second range with full length 5 inch barrels, the velocity dropped to 709 feet/second with a 3.5 inch barrel (Springfield Ultracompact). Thus if you want to keep up the ability to both penetrate and expand in short barreled pistols you need either a faster velocity (ie- +p loads) or a lighter bullet (ie-185 grains). I prefer the 185 grain Golden Sabers in my short barreled pistols. They work well. Good luck.

    best wishes- oldandslow
  7. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    I carry my .45s loaded with Winchester Ranger SXT 230 gr +P. Another outstanding load would be Gold Dot +P.
  8. Benning Boy

    Benning Boy New Member

    I know there's no hard fast answer on this, but how much +P can I run through a new, in good condition pistol before it presents a possible hazard?
  9. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

    Commercial loads are your best bet for compatibility. Check the pistol's manufacturer's recommendations and if you reload, stay within the guidelines for the powder you are using to be within the manufacturing standard for your firearm.

    230 grain Speer JHP, custom hand loaded to +P in my Colt Government, always!
  10. Mark F

    Mark F New Member Supporter

    No argument there! I carry 230 grain +P also. I don't reach out and "touch" someone, I knock them on their ***. Even my little pocket pistol carries heavy grain +P .380's until I can grab my 45ACP.
  11. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

    I messed with 185gr Taurus Copper Bullets which is the Barnes DPX bullet. I liked them, had good energy, good weight retention and it good expansion. Since they don't make it anymore I started looking around and after trying some Federal HST's in my XD9 I tracked down some 230gr +ps for my XD45. I looked at the differences and decided the 230s were more of what I wanted and the HST gets HUGE!