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Discussion Starter #1
So I have an old Colt 45 Gvt Mark IV Model / Series 70 that I have not used in a long time.
Decided to spend some time with her lately, still a good shooting gun even tho she's pushing 40 ;)

In the past, I always ran 230gr ball ammo thru this gun as I only used it for the range. I'd like to put it in my HD rotation but am struggling with what ammo I should be considering.

Seems JHP is the way to go, but I'm not clear on what weight I should select. It used to be 230 & 45 ACP went hand in hand, but with the JHP rounds, there are many different weights to select from. Take Sig for example, they offer it in 230, 200 & 185.

My question is what are the reasons one would take into consideration for selecting one of these lighter (faster) rounds over the tradition 230, especially with a JHP vs. FMJ round?
 

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I use federal HST & in a 5” gun I use 200 or 230 grain. The reason to pick a lighter bullet is recoil management.


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1911s of the era of yours are tough, strong guns, no doubt about it. But as you say she is 40. While the bullets are lighter in some of the defense loads, many of the new JHP loads do run at higher pressures than your standard FMJ range ammo. A steady diet of it might not be the best thing for your classic 1911 ... just something to think about.

Maybe she should be kept for range days and you might add a newer, fresher model for EDC. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Since the caliber wars have seemingly decided that caliber is unimportant and bullet placement is everything, why do we care if the bullet expands or not? All we should care about is penetration, whether it is enough, too little or too much.

The .45 is a proven man stopper with 230 grain ball, so use those.
 

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The only good reason I can see for the lighter bullet is increased velocity. Hollow points need to go so fast in order to expand. If it's below it's expansion threshold then you spent a lot of money on SD ammo that behaves like ball.
In 1911's .... And I do love me some 1911. I would be more concerned about bullet profile. I have had a 1911 or two that hated wide open hollow points. The platform was designed around ball and while most modern versions work fine with hollow points ... 1911's can be finicky about them.

Hornady bullets seem reliable feeders if not great expanders. You may want to try cartridges using their bullets
 

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Being as I used up one or two of those series 70 Government models when they were available as new most anywhere, the only real issue with a 1911 45 as EDC is feeding reliability. A 230 FMJ is pretty much 100% reliable in an out of the box Colt, the 230 JHP are about the same. Shorter rounds without the arc near the nose may not be what you will want to carry unless you run enough to prove their reliability in your specific pistol.
 

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I'm a heavy bullet fan but you need to shoot what works best in your 1911. If 230 gr JHP's function reliably and are accurate why bother to look more.
 

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.45 ACP can be picky about bullet shape, as several posters above noted. Military ball generally is foolproof (depending on the fool); other shapes will have variable responses. I have a lead “black bullet” that flat WON’T load in my 320 and jams my USP regularly, sticking the lead onto the lands. Shortening the OAL has much improved that, but still occasionally one jams. I have new bullets to try that are closer to government ball ogive so should work.

I use .45 for defense, especially at home. I choose that so there isn’t as much penetration of walls and such. I prefer a slower BIG bullet; if I wanted something lighter I would choose .357 Sig or 9 mm. Those have a place, but so does .45 ACP - and that’s with a heavy bullet. Whole point of shooting a half inch hole gun, you ask me.
 

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BTW, you should know the .45 ACP is a low pressure gun, so won’t cycle as fast as 9’s or the “tweener” rounds. (Between small and big enough.) You flat CAN’T get the speed dumps with it.
 

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The reason to pick a lighter bullet is recoil management.
Actually that is not true. Competitive shooters use the heavier bullets for that reason. Less felt recoil. For that reason the 147 grain 9mm is king in that world.
When I carried the 1911 I routinely used a 185 grain Federal or Winchester. Both functioned fine in all of my 1911's.

Guessing your series 70 is a 70's era. I'd want to do some testing for functioning before using it in a carry mode. My Series 70 Colt from 74 was a bit finnicky.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
1911s of the era of yours are tough, strong guns, no doubt about it. But as you say she is 40. While the bullets are lighter in some of the defense loads, many of the new JHP loads do run at higher pressures than your standard FMJ range ammo. A steady diet of it might not be the best thing for your classic 1911 ... just something to think about.

Maybe she should be kept for range days and you might add a newer, fresher model for EDC. Just my 2 cents.
To be more clear, I was not planning on using it as an EDC, was thinking more at home SD (sort of a back-up if you will). I'm sure she wouldn't take kindly to any +P or high pressure loads, just was never made for that sort of ammo. I did have a GS go thru her completely & he said everything looks great & she should be fully functional. Even treated her to a new Cerakote as the old SS finish had some tarnish spots that were permanent. I had an older box of 230 FMJ and that ran fine. Do have some concerns about JHP causing feed issues, have read several articles indicating some of these old guns just don't like anything but ball.

It's sounding like my best option is to stick with the tried & true, old school 230 ball that the gun was designed to fire.
 

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The 70 series colt will handle high pressure loads just fine. 38 super (Bar-sto Match Barrel) loaded to 's USPSA major (30,000 CUP +) was not an issue and I was shooting 60K each year. I ran that pistol for the last three seasons I competed and it was tight when I sold it.
 

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It's sounding like my best option is to stick with the tried & true, old school 230 ball that the gun was designed to fire.
When these ammo discussions come up .... fast vs slow ... big vs small .... FMJ vs JHP. It always comes to me that the 1911 is considered one of the best fighting / combat hand guns ever made. Over a hundred years old and is still very popular among gun people of all levels ..... And how did the 1911 get this high level of respect, praise and use? .... shooting 230grn, .45 ACP, FMJ, Hardball. I would never feel under gunned with a nice 1911 full of 230 grn FMJ riding on my hip.
 

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So I have an old Colt 45 Gvt Mark IV Model / Series 70 that I have not used in a long time.
Decided to spend some time with her lately, still a good shooting gun even tho she's pushing 40 ;)

In the past, I always ran 230gr ball ammo thru this gun as I only used it for the range. I'd like to put it in my HD rotation but am struggling with what ammo I should be considering.

Seems JHP is the way to go, but I'm not clear on what weight I should select. It used to be 230 & 45 ACP went hand in hand, but with the JHP rounds, there are many different weights to select from. Take Sig for example, they offer it in 230, 200 & 185.

My question is what are the reasons one would take into consideration for selecting one of these lighter (faster) rounds over the tradition 230, especially with a JHP vs. FMJ round?
I use Federal HST or Hydroshok 230 in Mine.
 

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Now retired LE, but a Colt Combat Elite 1911 was my daily duty gun for many years. We were issued 230gr +P Federal Hydra Shok and HST ammo. Trained often with +P hollow points, never had an issue. It’s now my home defense pistol. It’s a bit large for CC, so a P365 goes with me on short errands these days
 

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Actually that is not true. Competitive shooters use the heavier bullets for that reason. Less felt recoil. For that reason the 147 grain 9mm is king in that world.
When I carried the 1911 I routinely used a 185 grain Federal or Winchester. Both functioned fine in all of my 1911's.

Guessing your series 70 is a 70's era. I'd want to do some testing for functioning before using it in a carry mode. My Series 70 Colt from 74 was a bit finnicky.
Not sure about that but maybe it’s an individual thing. I use 185’s in my CCO as they are softer shooting and easier follow up shots - least ways for me.

In my 5” guns I’ve gone to almost all 200 grain loads for training, as they are softer shooting & 200 SWC seem to be more accurate for me, seem to be what are generally used on test targets by custom shops too. I have both 200 & 230 Defensive rounds but when the 230 runs out I’ll likely just continue with 200’s personally.

If you do your job and hit where you’re aiming they will stop the threat.


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45 ACP factory ammunition regardless of manufacturer, bullet weight, and bullet style, does not operate at a high enough pressure threshold to do any damage to any modern day 1911 steel framed 1911 to cause any damage to any of it's metal parts. I would use any modern ammunition that is 100% reliable in your firearm. Personally a 200 gr LSWC over a healthy dose of 231 or Unique makes an excellent SD load if you want to go that route. I'm also very found of Speer Gold dot rounds in factory ammo.
 

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Not sure about that but maybe it’s an individual thing.
It's a common practice with competitive shooters. The vast majority use the 147 grain loads. Used back to back they seem much softer with less felt recoil. While no one did a scientific test that I've aware of a while back we took 115, 124 and 147 grain loads and gave them to some of the students in a class at the Academy. All felt the 147 felt softer. One reason might be that the heavier bullets generate less pressure.

In the real world it's usually the opposite. I always carried 185 HP Silvertips in the C3. Liked the higher speeds.

As for being deadly, all of the homicides I was involved with were from 22's and standard 38's. Althing can stop someone, as you said doing your job and getting hits.
 
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