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Subject Topic: Does 230 gr 45 ACP Hard Ball Tumble? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Mike_Goldstein
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Posted: August 16 2010 at 6:40pm | IP Logged Quote Mike_Goldstein

In his "The Case for the 45 ACP," Jim Higginbotham writes, "230 gr. FMJ-RN often tumbles on game in the 200 pound range giving about 14-18 inches of penetration."

I've often read testimonials of how unimpressive 230 gr 45 ACP ball ammo performs on even the smallest game. Then the writer will go on to extrapolate how 45 hard ball must surely be an inadequate self defense cartridge.

On the other hand I read of SGT York dispatching 8 men, each with one shot from his 1911, firing GI 45 cal hard ball. And then one after another war veterans will give first hand accounts as to how the 230 gr RN-FMJ is an effective stopper.

The detractors will then invariably chime in that they would never use the stuff, and the 45 JHP is the only way to go.    

Could it be that Mr. Higginbotham is on to something, and that when 230 gr hard ball encounters the average man weighing 180-200 lbs, the bullet tumbles and creates a much more grievous wound than one would imagine?

Just a theory, and I'm wondering if anyone has the facts on the matter. Also I,m wondering that if the round will tumble at 830 fps, will it also tumble at 900 fps?

Mike G.


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adirondakjack
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Posted: August 16 2010 at 7:08pm | IP Logged Quote adirondakjack

The answer is SOMETIMES. A hard, relatively short, fat bullet hitting a solid such as a pelvis at an oblique angle will be instantly out of balance and turn somewhat. It WILL almost certainly continue to penetrate, but will be deflected from it's initial path, "tumbling" as it proceeds. I've shot bazillions of different bullet shapes into varying media at a wide range of speeds and seen that MOST will tumble under at least some conditions. The bottom line is, SO WHAT! In the end, it scarecely matters what path a bullet takes before clipping off a major blood vessel or smashing a heart or brain. It only matters that it does so. Big, heavy, long, malleable enough to not upset the trajectory all HELP, but guarantee nothing. Hard, short, slow may cause less predictable paths, but they ain't doing the target media any favors along the way..... Dirty deeds, done real deep (and several in quick successsion) seems to be statistically very effective.

Edited by adirondakjack on August 16 2010 at 7:10pm
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Mike_Goldstein
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Posted: August 16 2010 at 7:31pm | IP Logged Quote Mike_Goldstein

adirondakjack wrote:
The answer is SOMETIMES. A hard, relatively short, fat bullet hitting a solid such as a pelvis at an oblique angle will be instantly out of balance and turn somewhat. It WILL almost certainly continue to penetrate, but will be deflected from it's initial path, "tumbling" as it proceeds. I've shot bazillions of different bullet shapes into varying media at a wide range of speeds and seen that MOST will tumble under at least some conditions. The bottom line is, SO WHAT! In the end, it scarecely matters what path a bullet takes before clipping off a major blood vessel or smashing a heart or brain. It only matters that it does so. Big, heavy, long, malleable enough to not upset the trajectory all HELP, but guarantee nothing. Hard, short, slow may cause less predictable paths, but they ain't doing the target media any favors along the way..... Dirty deeds, done real deep (and several in quick successsion) seems to be statistically very effective.


You ask so what....

And I ask if the tumbling is the wounding mechanism that allowed SGT York to stop 8 men with 8 shots, and I'm wondering that maybe were selling the 45 RN-FMJ short, and I'm wondering why did men like Jeff Cooper, Clint Smith, and Chuck Taylor all advocate carrying the 230 gr 45 FMJ over any JHP?

Mike G.


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adirondakjack
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Posted: August 16 2010 at 8:22pm | IP Logged Quote adirondakjack

because the pistol is designed to feed ball, and a shot that works beats a jam every time.
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Paul5388
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Posted: August 16 2010 at 8:27pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Here's a coyote I shot with a 200 gr H&G #68 clone at 30 yards. The 9mm was a golden Saber behind the head at about 15 yards. This is the exits for all of them, but the 9mm is what did the trick, just because of shot placement.



I was using a 3" Detonics Combat Master and had 5.0 gr of Bullseye under the 200 gr bullet.

People keep talking about big and slow being a good stopper, but it wasn't too good on this critter.

Edited by Paul5388 on August 16 2010 at 8:27pm


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Mike_Goldstein
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 5:29am | IP Logged Quote Mike_Goldstein

Paul5388 wrote:
Here's a coyote I shot with a 200 gr H&G #68 clone at 30 yards. The 9mm was a golden Saber behind the head at about 15 yards. This is the exits for all of them, but the 9mm is what did the trick, just because of shot placement.



I was using a 3" Detonics Combat Master and had 5.0 gr of Bullseye under the 200 gr bullet.

People keep talking about big and slow being a good stopper, but it wasn't too good on this critter.


Paul,

Your making my point. 45 Ball ammo performance seems anemic on light critters like your coyote, yet you hear about good performance on man sized targets. Could it be that the heavier targets offer resistance to the 230 gr 45 ball, induces a tumble, and results in a severe wound?

Mike G.

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Paul5388
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 6:34am | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

I think the propensity for tumbling is very slight and it probably would take quite a bit to induce tumbling. Tumbling normally comes from a lack of rotational stability, like when a bullet strips on the rifling and shows quite readily on shooting a target. Like this example of sideways bullets at 25 yards.



In cases like this, accuracy is bad, which is a rare case with the .45 ACP in general (or the .223 that had a tumbling reputation).



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Mike_Goldstein
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 6:41am | IP Logged Quote Mike_Goldstein

Paul5388 wrote:
I think the propensity for tumbling is very slight and it probably would take quite a bit to induce tumbling. Tumbling normally comes from a lack of rotational stability, like when a bullet strips on the rifling and shows quite readily on shooting a target. Like this example of sideways bullets at 25 yards.



In cases like this, accuracy is bad, which is a rare case with the .45 ACP in general (or the .223 that had a tumbling reputation).



I wonder then what is the basis for Jim Higginbotham's statement that 45 ball often tumbles in game ~ 200 lbs, I referenced in the OP?

Mike G.


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Paul5388
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 9:10am | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Mike,

I really don't know. It's usually longer bullets that tend to tumble and the .45 ACP isn't very long at all. But there is a difference between tumbling and deflecting from its original path. Any bullet that doesn't penetrate bone mass is subject to deflecting and the low speed ACP bullets are less apt to penetrate than one moving at higher speeds.

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adirondakjack
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 9:18am | IP Logged Quote adirondakjack

ANY short bullet is gonna wanna yaw sideways when it encounters a heavy bone at an angle, whereas a longer bullet will be more likely to plow ahead with little deflection. Even back in the frontstuffer days, when naval battles would have ships coming alongside each other, shots made by those sailors shooting from up high, taken by men on deck would enter high in the chest and shoulders and bounce around on their way down through the body, "funnelling" as it were, a very very deadly hit, even with an anemic round ball.
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J Miller
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 12:19pm | IP Logged Quote J Miller

Shot placement is the key. Paul's photo of the riddled coyote shows that the .45 200gr SWCs hit nothing immediately vital. The 9mm would have done the same thing.
Hardball is a jacketed smooth bullet and it will penetrate reasonably straight unless it hits an obstruction.   So will most round nose lead bullets for that matter. As A-Jack said, once an obstruction is hit they'll deviate from their original course.   The obstruction can be a bone or strong muscle or a belly full of food.

The thing is, humans like those German soldiers have this thing about being shot ... our brains know it and shut us down far more often than the bullets damage does.
Animals don't understand that the sudden pain has just killed them until their bodies stop.

I honestly don't know if 230gr FMC bullets tend to tumble on big game. I doubt it has any more tendency to tumble on them than it does on 200 pound humans.

Oh and those who hate FMC bullets and tout the JHP ones, usually have a vested interest in selling them.   Or, they're just overly opinionated.   
Not like me of course, I prefer Keith SWCs, and would use those in lieu of both the others if I could find what I wanted.

Did I just say anything worthwhile? If not just ignore my post.

Joe





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50DEP
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 12:32pm | IP Logged Quote 50DEP

Wow My Wife's Grandfather was in WW2 and SWEARS by the 45acp for whacking germans! MY Gpa was fighting on Guadalcanal he says the same thing about th 45acp! several other veterans have testified the 45 is and always will be better than the 9mm for whacking bad guys.

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Paul5388
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 12:34pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Joe,

The first hit on the coyote was right above the shoulder and under the spine. I usually hit better on the first shot than on the rest, probably because my concentration is better. Anyway, the critter was incapacitated and I was just trying to finish it off. It took a bit before I thought about getting closer, so I used the 124 gr Golden Saber thinking I would get some decent expansion.

Obviously, the 9mm didn't do any better than the 200 gr LSWC I was using in the .45 ACP. In my opinion, they were both dismal failures compared to a 125 gr JHC in .357 Mag.

I've shot quite a few smaller critters lately and used LSWC on most of them, but they usually needed more than one shot, even with head shots with a .44 Special, to finish them off. The next encounter will entail using a 125 gr Golden Saber in .38 Special at about 1200 fps and I'll probably get better results, without tumbling.

I may be dreaming about how effective the .38 Special will be, since a 124 gr JHP out of a 9mm rifle did little damage to a tree top coon. Of course, if it doesn't work well at 1200 fps, I'll just push it up to 1500+ fps and try again (using .357 brass).

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Posted: August 17 2010 at 1:21pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

I thought that highest shot just behind the shoulder would be the one to do the job, albeit apparently a bit slow requiring the extra shots.
That H&G clone, mine's by SAECO is my favorite bullet for fun and games in the 1911's but not for serious social intercourse. Right now my 1911's have 230 gr. Federal Hyda-shoks in their magazines as they have a good reputationn in the .45. However, if all I have was just hardball, I would not feel handicapped.
I dunno who that Higginbothom dude is but I'm thinking maybe he don't know it all. Never heard of him.I do have a friend though that served on the swift boats in Viet nam and he swears by the 1911 and GI hardball as the only way to go, based on personal "been there and done" that experience. That's what he keeps in his .45 for home and personal defense. I can't argue with experience. Dunno if they tumbled on him. I don't think he did any autopsies.
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Paul5388
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 2:47pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Paul,

Jim Higginbotham is one of our members that has worked in law enforcement and I think he has been involved in a game preserve. Somewhere that did periodic herd thinnings, so he has had an opportunity to use some guns that were sort of a test of their abilities.

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Posted: August 17 2010 at 6:31pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

My only though is a .452 bullet always makes a hole that big.

Does a .355 or a .357 bullet do that?
Maybe & maybe not......

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Paul5388
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Posted: August 17 2010 at 8:34pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Obviously, they don't always expand. That's my complaint with the 9mm I used.

There's no doubt the big slow bullet has been used effectively for many decades. What I haven't experienced has been a quick end to things when I use a big slow bullet. Maybe I need to be shooting elephants to realize the highly touted effect of those big bullets, but I don't have many opportunities to shoot elephants.

I may need to go back to using .357" Sierra 125 gr JHCs, like I have used in the past?

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Posted: August 17 2010 at 8:56pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

Like I told you Paul, a .357 magnum at around 1400FPS is dramatic under 50 yds on small critters...

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Posted: August 18 2010 at 3:28am | IP Logged Quote TexIndian

I've always assumed the fabled superiority of the .45 over the 9mm or .38 was simply a matter of larger bullet diameter and greater mass - bullet designs being equal. A bigger hole with deeper penetration. Not that I want to be shot with any of them.

And hey, Mike. We're practically neighbors - Navarro County here.

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Posted: August 18 2010 at 8:34am | IP Logged Quote adirondakjack

Half myth, half legend, half truth, the big ole fohty five (in either LONG COLT or ACP trim) makes a helluva hole, and compared to the other handguns of the day, most shooting bullets no faster, often leaving holes looking like those left by field arrows, (fatal, eventually, but so is too much ice cream) none shooting lead as big, it WAS a monster gun. Compared to GI BALL in .38 spl, ACP GI BALL was a howitzer.

BUT, those legends and facts mostly predate .44 Manglem, and the later "Ruger Only" .45 Colt loads that make GI Ball out of an ACP seem positively tame.

To steal a line from the auto racing crowd, there is no replacement for displacement (bullet diameter and weight), but making the most out of the big bores means VELOCITY enough to adequately mangle both bullet and target media.

While I have not yet done so, I strongly suspect my little 125 gr HB .45 bullet, loaded upside down and fired at 1200 fps would anchor most any critter in the coyote or less range RIGHT NOW. But it comes back as big around as a quarter when shot into water jugs, something ya generally can't get out of ACP or 9MM

Edited by adirondakjack on August 18 2010 at 8:40am
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