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A Good "Middle-of-Road" .45 ACP Load...

2837 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Stephen A. Camp
Hello. Another thread in this section got me to thinking about commercial ammo in the middle price range that has worked well for me over the years.

In .45 ACP such a load has been Federal's 230-gr. "Classic" JHP.

Available in 50-rnd boxes, this ammo has proven accurate and reliable for me in a number of 5" bbl 1911 pattern pistols as well as two Commanders and a SIG-Sauer P220.

I have killed only one living thing with this load, a coyote. The animal was shot using a 5" Colt Series 70 at about 12 to 15 yards. It was quartering toward me and standing still when I shot it at an angle through the front of the left shoulder. The bullet passed into the body cavity and probably struck the lungs and stomach area. I didn't open it up as this was years before digital cameras, but the bullet did not exit. At the shot, the coyote fell, got back up, fell, kicked, and then lay still.

Fired from a 5" gun into super-saturated newsprint, this 230-gr. JHP has worked pretty consistently. Those recovered from water also expanded nicely, but did show a bit more jacket fragmentation, something not uncommon when using water as an expansion media.

It seems like I read of one person advising against the use of this ammunition in 1911 pattern pistols; the complaint was that it was too long to feed reliably. I have not found that to be the case in any of several forty-five caliber handguns, mostly of the 1911 style.

I tried to find a "regular" Federal 230-gr. HydraShok to compare the Classic to, but could only come up with Federal's newer law enforcement version, the HST +P.

The Classic measures 1.216" LOA, while the HST measures 1.212" so the Classic is 0.004" longer. The HST has a wider hollow point than the regular HS, and I'll bet that the latter is the same LOA as the Classic or at least closer. In any event I have had no problems with them feeding reliably in several pistols.

Based on 10 shots fired 10' from the chronograph screens, here are some average velocities in ft/sec.

Kimber Classic 5": 865

STI Trojan 5": 867

Caspian w/6" Kart bbl: 954

Springfield LW 5": 889

Colt Commander: 809

SIG-Sauer P220: 839

The load's velocity range seems to pretty well match those of other maker's JHP's in this bullet weight.

The "downsides" to this load are:

1. Does not use flash-retardant powder

2. Does not have nickled cases

3. Uses "old technology" in its bullet design

4. Does not use a powder designed to work in shorter barrels

Of these, I think the ones having the most merit are #1 and how important that one is will depend on the user's perceived needs and #4. I don't shoot any .45's having barrels less than 4.25" so it's a non-issue with me, but folks using the 3 and 3 1/2" barrels might want to choose another cartridge. I have not seen nickled cases make the difference between a reliable pistol and one that is not. It is true that this older JHP might not expand after passing through the dreaded 4-layers of denim test, but at the same time it will not decrease in diameter.

Primers are sealed and these rounds almost always have a very small standard deviation when fired from most guns.

It has been years since I bought any of this ammunition,but found it on sale and bought a couple of cases and I've not priced it lately, but I suspect a 50 round box will cost about as much as a 20 round box of the premium ammo.

I am not saying that this is the "best" load and it is not my first choice for a self-protection round in .45 ACP. I think it is a "good" load and one that can be shot and if satisfactory to the user, bought in pretty significant quantities should a "rainy day" come along. For folks using the 230-gr. HydraShok as their "serious" load, this one would probably provide a less expensive way of function testing a pistol intended for protection with the HydraShok. The Classic and regular HydraShok have profiles as similar as peas in a pod. Probably these could serve for the bulk of such testing, making our shooter expend fewer of his HS rounds.

If you happen to be stocking up on "high performance" .45 ACP and find prices for the flagship ammo to just be incompatible with obtaining as much as you want, this load might be worth taking a look at.

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Hello. Thanks very much. I just take the pictures and then clean them up using PhotoShop.

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