13 January 2018

Ammunition History

Without a gigantic stack of hoary old gun magazines, how would one track the first appearance of, say, .45 ACP hollow-points in 185gr sizes?

Then, once you'd found that, is there an accompanying, "here's what I was thinking," from the person or persons who developed it?

One reason I ask is that I remember that light for the caliber bullets going fast for the cartridge came about after the '86 Miami shootout and were, in essence, gaming the FBI's 500 point testing criteria.

The problem with this is, "I remember," and I have enough doubt about that timeline to want to have something more substantial to rely on.

I also noticed, hunting the internets for performance numbers on 185gr .45 ACP that there's a lot of bare gel testing many if not most citing the FBI's 12-18" penetration numbers as ideal.

The FBI testing was a lot more shooting than bare gel.

There's several regimen with various things shielding the gel, like cloth, sheet metal, glass, and drywall in addition to bare gel.

Lucky Gunner has compiled some heavy cloth and gel numbers, which are interesting reading anyway.


  1. The idea that you're expending this much effort to incorrectly argue against a point I didn't even make is droll. Do please keep going! :)

    1. This song isn't about you.

      I want to learn something and put into perspective for myself.

      Want to help or be a jackass?

  2. FWIW: The panel of experts consulted at FBI's 1987 Wound Ballistics Seminar concluded that any commercial .45 JHP load would be superior to the available lightweight 9x19mm JHP and roughly equal to Winchester's 9mm 147gr OSM. The Remington 185gr JHP was recommended in .45 as it penetrated more than any of the other .45 JHP then on the market. If I'm not mistaken, the Remington 185gr JHP served briefly as the FBI's approved round for agents carrying personally-owned S&W 645 and SIG-Sauer P220, until it was replaced by the 230gr Federal Hydra-Shok.

    Going back further, Norma had offered a 230gr JHP .45 as early as 1967 or 1968. However, this was not known for its expansion, reportedly due to its mild steel jacket. Super-Vel introduced their 190gr JHP load around 1970. In 1974, Remington was the first to introduce a 185gr JHP load. Federal would be next with their 185gr JHP in 1977. Winchester waited until 1979 to introduce their 185gr Silvertip. CCI/Speer introduced their iconic 200gr JHP load in 1981 after several years of offering the projectile as an individual component. Around mid/late-1988, Federal released its 230gr Hydra-Shok. Still hanging onto the "speed kills" meta, Remington brought out its 185gr JHP +P load in 1989. Hornady started offering a 200gr XTP load around 1991. 1992 saw the introduction of the Winchester 230gr Black Talon and the PMC 185gr Starfire. 1993 followed with the introduction of the Remington 230gr Golden Saber and Speer's 185gr and 230gr Gold Dot. Remington introduced its 185gr Golden Saber in 1994.

    1. Thanks! Did you dig that from a pile of old gun magazines or just have a really good memory?

    2. I used my DVD collection of Gun Digest issues. They used to sell complete sets going back to the First Edition in 1944. You could buy the full DVD set for less than you would pay for the original dead-tree editions from the 1940s.

      hen I pulled up the ABC (American Bulleted Cartridges) column for each year starting in the late-1960s.

  3. In addition, the primary source for trying to decipher the projectile designer's intent would be the individual patents. I have a big list of these patents over on my FB page.

    Realistically, the ammo companies are just trying to find something that will sell. Until someone gives them a standard to meet or exceed with the reward of a big sweet contract, they'll keep making the same old stuff, develop the occasional gimmick, and/or simply mimic the product lines of their competitors.


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