By Norris Dyer
West Virginia –-(Ammoland.com)- I have been trying to get the ammunition makers to make a 125-grain hollow point bullet for .45 ACP.
Most are so busy filling backorders in the standard bullet weights they will not even consider it.
Sierra, who at least had the courtesy to entertain my idea, makes three bullet weights in .45 ACP;
- 230-grain hunting load at 900 feet per second (fps) with 413 foot pounds of energy (fpe),
- 200-grain hunting load at 950 fps with 400 fpe
- 185-grain hunting load at 1,000 fps with 410 fpe.
My question is why do they make three bullet weights that have maximum energies within thirteen foot-pounds of each other?
I have been told that the lighter bullet would not function, would not be accurate, and that there is no demand for them. Please bear with my idea, a standard military load, 230-grain bullet travels about 833 fps and has about 369 fpe (Sierra manual data).
A .357 magnum fires a 125-grain bullet at 1,450 fps and has 583 fpe (Sierra “hunting load”). Lee Precision’s manual states that a .357 magnum’s case capacity is 1.15 cc and a .45 ACP is 1.14 cc so there is no reason with proper powder choice that a .45 ACP cannot safely fire a 125-grain hollow point bullet at 1,450 fps with 583 fpe, improving the terminal ballistics by 583-369=214 fpe!
A .380 has 190 fpe so 214 fpe more would be more than adding a standard .45 ACP and a .380 round fired together out of the same pistol. This would drastically improve trajectory too.
Impossible you say?
Consider this, the Magsafe SWAT round fires a 68 grain .45 ACP round at 2,260 fps at 771 fpe. Don’t believe me, check them out on magsafeonline.com.
These rounds have one-third the recoil of a standard .45 ACP round (imagine that fired from your ported barrel…).
The drawback is the expense (the rounds are hand made and they will not sell bullets individually, I need an affordable bullet that I can buy or make) and lack of penetration. The Magsafe SWAT rounds are used by the military and anti-terrorist groups in planes etc. to prevent over-penetration and are reported to be very accurate. The police have always wanted an automatic pistol with the penetration and ballistics of a .357 revolver in 125 grain (some say the all-time best police load), they could have it just by reducing the weight of a .45 bullet to 125 grain.
I have been told that a 1911 frame would not take the stress, but consider the 400 Cor-Bon, it fires a 135 grain .40 caliber bullet at 1,350 fps with 547 fpe (Sierra “hunting load”) from a 1911.
Check the energies in the Sierra manual, a 125 grain .45 ACP round at 1,450 fps would surpass the energy of a 400 Cor-Bon, a 10mm, a.357 SIG, a 40 S&W, and of course equal the .357 in 125 grain. The .357 magnum does not throw a heavy bullet any better than a .45 ACP; a .357 180 grain (Sierra’s heaviest bullet for the .357 magnum in their “hunting load), only develops 1,050 fps and 441 fpe, very close to the 185 grain .45 ACP load at 1,000 fps and 413 fpe.
The gun manufacturers and ammo makers have made a mint selling newly patented plastic, iron, and brass to get what the .45ACP could have done with a 125-grain hollow point. With the Magsafe 68 grain, Glaser Safety Slug firing a 145-grain bullet at 1,350 fps with 587 fpe and Cor -Bon’s 165-grain +P at 573 fpe (data from Cor-Bon), I think the issue of lower recoil, increased energy, better ballistics, accuracy, and trajectory from a .45 ACP 125 grain bullet is pretty well proven.
I have tried to purchase 125-grain hollow point bullet molds in .45 caliber but no one makes them. I bought a bullet forming die from C&H tool and die but the ogive is 2R and a 1R is required to make the bullet short enough out of lead. The use of brass or copper would greatly facilitate a 125-grain bullet since the materials are lighter than lead and would allow a 2R ogive (The C&H die will not work with these materials). The punch in the die is also too short to make a 125-grain bullet (I am working on retrofitting the die and punch). Lee Precision’s 160-grain bullet mold has the right ogive (and a blunt point that will still feed after being hollow pointed) but they will not make that bullet style in a hollow point. I have drilled a 1/4 inch hole in the 160-grain bullet and created a 125-grain hollow point but it is very time-consuming using a Forester hollow pointing device (1/8″ hole) to pilot the 1/4 inch hole (Forester will not make a 1/4″ hollow pointer device).
When I get enough of the “homemade” 125 grain bullets made I hope to test the bullets even though the manufacturing process will be more imperfect than a factory or even molded bullet would be.
By using Lee’s load data for their 160-grain bullet which safely propels the 160-grain bullet at 1,200 fps plus the loads should safely propel the lighter 125-grain bullet around 1,450 fps (Lee says that you can safely load a lighter bullet using heavier bullet data, everything else caliber, etc. being equal).
A lighter bullet would breathe new life into the .45 ACP cartridge, for several reasons; 230-105=125 grains of lead per round less cost ($17.50 per thousand at the old lead prices), lower recoil would allow women and small-framed individuals to comfortably fire a .45. (this is my big reason, my wife has carpal tunnel syndrome), a 125-grain hollow point could be loaded at low velocity for plinking/low recoil or high velocity for hunting/self defense. The military went to the 9mm for controllability: a .45 ACP round in 125 grain would be controllable and not add much more to a soldier’s combat load than a 9mm round but would have much more stopping power.
I have sold all my .357′s, 9×19′s, 9×18′s and will sell the 9×17 (380′s) as soon as I get the .45 bullet that will allow my wife to comfortably fire a .45 ACP. The 125-grain bullet will bridge the gap between .22′s and 230 grain .45′s for me and would bring a lot of .45′s out of the gun cabinet for many others who have retired their .45′s for the new plastic junk in exotic “improved” calibers.
For me a .45 ACP is big enough for a handgun, I do not get into the magnum handgun race; when they finally make a big, heavy, expensive pistol that will fire a one and one quarter ounce bullet at 1,300 fps it will be equal to a 12 gauge in recoil and ballistics but an 870 Remington shotgun will be cheaper, more accurate and just as easy to carry.
I had looked for years for a muzzle-loading load combination for deer. Round balls, unless you hit bone, punch a hole like a field tip arrow and the deer usually gets into the brush which is thick here in West Virginia, leaving little or no blood trail and dies where only a good tracker can find it (I am a good tracker, but why take the chance?). The heavy (230 to 385 grain) slugs from a muzzleloader are less accurate, have a poor trajectory and lose so much velocity that they do not expand well at any distance while delivering horrible recoil. Their heavyweight allows them to penetrate deep or shoot through the thin body of a deer (just like a military .45 ACP 230 grain FMJ through an enemy soldier) but even a “hillbilly” knows any bullet energy that goes out the exit hole is wasted. The properly placed bullet, which does the best job, totally expands in the vital area while depositing all of its energy in the deer making an exit hole pretty much unnecessary. I have retrieved many muzzleloader slugs and 230 grain .45 ACP FMJ bullets that could have been shot again without resizing, not a good testimonial to current .45 ACP loadings. I came upon a solution for my muzzleloader, I used a .45 caliber 185 grain Golden Saber bullet in a Knight sabot fired from a side lock Thompson Center “New Englander” .50 caliber with 90 grains of FFG (the accuracy load for a fifty with a round ball).
The result was a bullet that had the energy, accuracy, and trajectory of the round ball, and expansion superior to the ball, the minnie, and the heavy saboted bullets. I shot a deer at 45 yards with the new load and a .308 Win. could not have done better, just the right penetration and expansion, big entrance, and much bigger exit hole.
The deer fell quickly from the fully expanded185 grain bullet and it would have left a BIG blood trail, I believe the 125 grain hollow point bullet will do the same for the .45 ACP.
The shooting community as a whole, is in a rut when it comes to improving or changing anything…to this I say
“If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got… you cannot improve without trying something new”.
I am trying to get support from the shooting community to make the 125 grain bullet. Remington told me that one of their big criteria for developing new products was the number of requests for them… I wonder where we would be if that would have been the criteria the Wright brothers used when they were considering building an airplane?
Please consider the idea of a 125 grain .45 ACP round and give me any input, criticism, or comment that will help it to be developed and marketed. If you know of someone that has the means to make and test the bullets please let me know.
My resources are limited, I am a retired safety director and have no formal training in ballistics but a 125 Grain Hollow Point Bullet For .45 ACP makes sense to me.