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Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by Mark Koch, Jan 4, 2020.
I've read dozens of articles by trauma surgeons and forensic pathologists that reach the same conclusion.
Of course, no amount of science will ever convince Cooper's disciples that the .45 cal 230 hard ball isn't magic.
Non expanding bullets are 100+ year old technology! The 'myth' of the 45 from the performance of hand guns in the Boer Wars' is just common sence. A FMJ 45 cal 230 to 250 gr bullet with a MV of 850+ fps will cause more 'trauma' than a a non expanding 38 cal 150 gr bullet with a MV of 700 fps, but compared to modern bullets/ballistics neither come close.
Just stay away from the mouse guns, according to this data.
The handgun caliber debate is and pretty much always will be a personal choice. Trying to base it on statistical evidence will probably never be really practical. Statistically speaking there are just too many variables involved to ever be accurate. I have yet to see an analysis that addressed all the variables. That said I base my own conclusions on the lessons learned from hunting. There is a LOT more data available. It is a personal choice but one I’m comfortable with.
In hunting rarely if ever would you see calibers such as the 9mm, 45 acp or 40 S&W (and certainly nothing smaller) being chosen, the common entry level calibers would be 357 and 10mm. 44 mag, 460 Roland, 454 and maybe even 357 sig. For me, being a semi-auto type guy that leaves 10mm and 357 sig. With little personal experience with the 357 sig I opt for 10mm. I have both 4” and 5” 10mm guns and honestly I feel much better armed with a 5" gun although due to concealability concerns I do often carry a 4” (I would feel even better armed with a 6").
For me I’ve long since come to the conclusion that velocity is king. From a lethality standpoint 2200 fps seems to be the magic number. The closer you can come to that number the better off you seem to be. Velocity also seems to extend effective range but that is another discussion (but something to keep in mind). Aside from some of the ultra high velocity caliber that are gathering a following these days, (22 TCM and 5.7 come to mind), in a handgun I look for 1500 fps as a practical benchmark. Not perfect (if there is such a thing) but part of the compromise of choosing a handgun rather than a rifle.
Although these conclusions would seem to be inline with the FBI’s original study after the Miami Massacre that is not the basis on which I’ve come to them. I do however believe that the FBI’s most resent study that claims no real world difference in 9mm and 10mm effectiveness is not based on caliber and has more to do with training and gun choice. The guns they chose were too large for many of their agents and lack of training made the 10mm challenging to qualify with. In short it came down to cost and politics. 10mm cost to much in time and money to properly train their agents with. And requiring a DA/SA style of gun meant the guns ended up being too big for smaller handed agents. Moral to the story; if training time and cost are a factor then the 9mm is probably a better choice than 10mm. The higher velocity variants of the 45 can be a comparable option to the 10mm and should not be discounted BUT they have the same characteristics of the 10mm and therefore the same requirements.
Like most of you, I could go on and on; on this subject but this seems to be a good place to pause.
EDIT: For those on the hyper-velocity band wagon (22 TCM, 5.7 etc) one thing to keep in mind. These calibers are LOUD. Almost certain to cause hearing damage when fired without hearing protection and therefore in my mind not a practical carry choice. This issue needs to be thought about in any caliber when you start to get much above 1500 fps.
You bring up good points. The FBI studies following the Miami shootout were pretty exhaustive. What some fail to consider is the timeframe, firearms and ammo available at the time. (1986-87 for the initial studies.). For those of us old enough to remember, what defensive loads were around back then? I was still in high school and didn’t pay that much attention to handgun loads back then. But around 1991 I remember HydraShok and Silvertips, Nyclad and Starfire rounds. Only the HydraShok rounds seem to be readily available nowadays, and they had sketchy reports for reliable expansion.
Then the FBI began to create standards for ammo performance to gain a contract. This is when the ammo manufacturers began to ramp up R&D for loads to meet those criteria. We’ve seen loads come and go, and some cling to life by a thread. But the good thing is, development didn’t seem to completely stagnate. The FBI criteria also have gone through changes as more data came back from shootings in the field.
A 10mm load in 1986-1990 may have been the best available option on the market that could meet those criteria. Today, Rangers, HST, Gold Dots, and Critical Duty rounds have all had decent runs as law enforcement adopted rounds.
In those days, Super-vel and Corbon were probably king. There were plenty of good rounds out there they just weren't mainstream. The real development had started back in the mid 50's with Elmer Keith leading the way. But yes, it was a slow process reaching the mainstream. Part of it was that the people that were pushing the envelope were mostly revolver guys, like Keith and Casull. But if you think about it they were almost all chasing velocity. Lee Jurras at super-vel did some interesting things back in the day but many of them have since been outlawed (such as 45 acp hollow point bullets with primers in the hollow points so they exploded on impact; they would fragment and penetrate. Survival was doubtful). So when we talk about modern ballistic development it is limited to a very narrow set of criteria that is considered politically correct. In may way we had more options back in the day. When viewed in those terms I'm not especially impressed with ballistic development. It has artificial limits put on it to keep really effective bullets out of our hands. Case in point; steel or tungsten core rounds. As a reloader you can still build these rounds but would certainly go to jail for using them.
EDIT: To this day I still load a 45 acp round that uses the old 200 gr Speer hollow point "flying ashtray" bullet. I can load it to over 1100 fps.
^^^^I liked that "flying ashtray" also, and Super-Vel is back up and running under new ownership. Same product though.
I've taken a few deer with my .45 Colt New Frontier with Mr. Keith's favorite semi-wadcutter 255 grain cast bullet which was cast from 14% linotype metal. The one buck that did run off a ways left a blood trail like he was dragging a hose. Not hard to find him. So, at least for some of us, "BIG & SLOW, is the way to go"
I carried 45 acp with that same Keith 255 gr bullet for probably close to 20 years (it was a great penetrater). The switch to 10mm came later (when I could afford it). Can't say I ever felt under gunned at the time. That said I DO feel a bit better about the 10mm.
He goes by a few other names too most of which will get me time off if I repeat them.
Funny I don’t know of ONE Cooper disciple that thinks a .45 FMJ is magic. Now a 200gr .45 Gold Dot launched at +P speeds does carry a certain amount of ju-ju. And every “Cooper Disciple” I associate with agrees with that assessment.
But if you need to get complete penetration on a large target (deer, bear, hog) good old 230gr hard ball is hard to beat.
If I didn't have a 10mm I would go back to my 9mm.
I have the "rose" between two thorns, my Glock 23 in .40 Short & Weak. Muzzle flip is pretty snappy using 165 & 170 grain bullets, so what I'm thinkin' 'bout is sending the barrel and slide off to Mag-Na-Port next week and get slots cut into the muzzle end.
This method will keep over-all length the same and from my previous experience with this process, will reduce muzzle flip around 40%, so we'll see just how much that will help in real life:
I shot a Smith & Wesson .500 caliber with that short barrel, and even with muffs, that sucker was loud, but I account that to the compensator built into the muzzle. Recoil was still there, and I can't even imagine shooting that stubby barrel without the compensator attached. Forget about double action fast firing. The gun probably would've wound up on my roof.
Major George C. Nonte Jr. was another .45 ACP/1911 fan back when I could only afford reading rather than shooting. I remember he did an article somewhere that I read where he went after wild pigs down south somewhere using his 1911 and hardball ammunition. It only took him one magazine full to get that hog to collapse.
I like me some 10MM too
he must have been using his hand loads I have shot 2 hogs with a 45ACP using hard ball
Nope. Buddy filmed himself putting a hog down from about 7 yards away with a .40 S&W 165gr HP. Single shot to the boiler room, took about 7 seconds for the boar to die, but all he did before that was crawl around the dirt. The only other hog I know someone personally put down to one shot with a 180gr HP +P. That one rolled over DRT.
Both folks are accomplished hunters, hit their intended target exactly where they wanted to, and both have combat training and have been there done that , so neither gets rattled under stress. Contrary to popular belief, hogs are not bulletproof. Have another buddy that has hunted them successfully for years with a .22 Mag.
I’ve seen slow and solid and have seen fast with expansion at work stopping life. Based on personal experience and that of others I trust, I’ll take fast with expansion ALL DAY LONG.
That’s about right. FMJ in handguns is great target ammo. Can you kill stuff with it?
Is it the best choice available today?
Oh HELL NO!!!