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230 grn or 200 grn bullet?


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When discussing another issue with a well known gunsmith, he asked me why I was using a 230 grn (RNFP) in my 1911 when a 200grn wouldn't "beat you up as much".  My loads chrony around 160+ for PF (using Tite Group).  I thought the 1911 was originally designed to run a 230grn bullet?  After reading some info on the different forums regarding felt recoil there seems to be differing opinions on the 230 vs 200 grn bullets.  Some say the heavier, slower 230 grn gives less felt recoil as it leaves the barrel slower and gives more of a push than a snap.   Others say the lighter, faster 200grn gives less felt recoil because it's less mass.  What are your thoughts and what do you use?

Thx

Roper

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Personal preference, mainly.  

Since we run to a given minimum Power Factor (150), and power factor is a momentum measurement (Mass times Velocity), and most felt recoil is from momentum, there's little difference.  And, if you research the original JMB design for the 1911, he had the gun running 200 grain slugs.  It was cavalry officers on the ordnance board who insisted he change the design to handle the 230 grain slug.   They still were concerned about dropping horses in their tracks, I guess.

From a simplified logistics point of view, I run the same 200 grain TC bullet in both the .45 Colt rifle and the 1911.  Some great WB shooters run 230 grain RN or TC in the 1911.   Try 'em out and see what performs well when YOU'RE shooting.   I believe it won't make real differences to your placement until you start shooting 6 stages with only a single miss or two total.

good luck, GJ

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is a math problem.  For the same power factor—let’s use 150.   The 230 grn bullet must have a velocity of 167FPS.  The 200 grn bullet needs 750FPS.  When you plug those numbers into the formula for Kinetic energy KE=mass x velocity(squared), you find that the Kinetic energy, ie recoil is less for the heavier bullet.  Again that is for the same power factor, not the same velocity.   
The other way to prove it is it takes less powder for the heavier bullet .

My observation, hope it helps.   

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I could never get the classic old target load of a 200 grain H&G 68 and 4.5 grains of Bullseye to work reliably in any of my 1911's. Up a little, down a little, nothing worked 100%. I switched to a 230 grain bullet and 4.0 grains WST, and problems are very few & far between now. Felt recoil is less than with the Bullseye/200 grainer too.

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On 12/10/2022 at 8:59 PM, Three Foot Johnson said:

I could never get the classic old target load of a 200 grain H&G 68 and 4.5 grains of Bullseye to work reliably in any of my 1911's. Up a little, down a little, nothing worked 100%. I switched to a 230 grain bullet and 4.0 grains WST, and problems are very few & far between now. Felt recoil is less than with the Bullseye/200 grainer too.

When you say "work reliably", I'm going to assume you mean functionality.   Not all H&G 68 bullets are created equally.  Neither are all 1911s.  I will say, it is probably the very rare 1911 that isn't improved with some ramp work.  

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Quite common for the SWC bullet designs to be seated just a little too far forward in .45 auto reloads, putting the sharp shoulder of the slug into the very short throat (conical leade) that a 1911 barrel usually has.  The round nose jacketed slugs that the 1911 was designed to use don't have a sharp shoulder, and will be easy to load to slightly various lengths without failure to go into battery.  The usual fix is making sure the SWC shoulder sits right at, and not projecting forward, of the case mouth, and the case mouth is returned to about 0.471-0.472" diameter by the TAPER crimp die.  Of course, some smiths take a throating reamer and ream out a little "free space" by lengthening the taper of or recessing the throat deeper into the rifling.  (Sort of like working on the most expensive part instead of the cheapest part (a loading die adjustment).) 

And fitting the barrel precisely to the frame often helps with ammo feed problems in the 1911.

A great tuning job is worth it's weight in reliability.

But, since the mention is made above of "H&G 68 would not work in ANY of my 1911s" I would say that if none of several guns feed the ammo, then it's probably the ammo being the problem, not the several guns!

good luck, GJ

 

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Almost all of my feeding problems went away when I started using a chamber checker for my 45 acp rounds.  Most of my 45 acp brass is range pickup.  Sort of like dumpster diving for brass.  It's not uncommon to find swollen bases or mangled rims.  Those Glocks do a number on the brass.  The chamber checker finds all the problem rounds and they get put into a separate pile for practice.  Now, I rarely have a failure to feed or extract.

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12 hours ago, Badlands Bob said:

Almost all of my feeding problems went away when I started using a chamber checker for my 45 acp rounds.  Most of my 45 acp brass is range pickup.  Sort of like dumpster diving for brass.  It's not uncommon to find swollen bases or mangled rims.  Those Glocks do a number on the brass.  The chamber checker finds all the problem rounds and they get put into a separate pile for practice.  Now, I rarely have a failure to feed or extract.

I run all my loaded 45acp rounds thru a Lee Bulge Buster. Pretty much guarantees they will all case gauge okay. 

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Yep, I gauge all loaded .45 auto rounds.  Failures get corrected with the Bulge Buster, which shrinks the base of the brass just above the extraction groove and removes burrs from the rim.   (Standard sizing dies can't reach either of those areas.  The bulged base often comes from high pressure loads and unsupported chambers)  Faulty loads get rechecked after bulge busting, and any failures at this step are disassembled, with powder, primer, case reused (if no detectable problem are found), and the slug gets recast.

good luck, GJ

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On 12/9/2022 at 4:43 PM, Elwood James said:

It is a math problem.  For the same power factor—let’s use 150.   The 230 grn bullet must have a velocity of 667FPS.  The 200 grn bullet needs 750FPS.  When you plug those numbers into the formula for Kinetic energy KE=mass x velocity(squared), you find that the Kinetic energy, ie recoil is less for the heavier bullet.  Again that is for the same power factor, not the same velocity.   
The other way to prove it is it takes less powder for the heavier bullet .

My observation, hope it helps.   

Corrected the velocity required for the 230grn bullet to get 150 power factor. It requires 667FPS.   My apologies.   

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