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Old 11-23-2004, 10:12 PM
The Big D The Big D is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 773
Terminal Balistics - 10mm vs. .45ACP

Specifically, I'm looking at getting a semi-custom 1911 gvt. in one of these two calibers. One of the roles of this gun will be home defense and possibly carry when clothing permits. For that reason, I want the best possible terminal balistics. For now ignore the difference in recoil and any over-penetration issues.

I know the FBI comissioned studies that supposedly showed the 10mm was in some sense the "perfect" autopistol round for stopping fights. At the same time, certain .45 rounds like the 230gr. Hydrashok seem to have a huge amount of anecdotal evidence behind their effectiveness and I'm not aware of similar history for the 10mm.

If it was your life on the line and had one bullet left in the gun, would you rather be shooting the .45 230gr. Hydrashok or 180gr. gold dot doubletap, or what?

Last edited by The Big D; 11-23-2004 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 11-23-2004, 10:51 PM
Anthony Lombardo Anthony Lombardo is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,342
The 10mm is certainly the more potent caliber and in some ways is an ideal all-around auto pistol cartridge for an experienced handgunner.

In my opinion, the 10mm only shows its true advantages when loaded to the original, hot "Norma" spec ala Doubletap or Texas ammo. My favorite, the 180 Gold Dot from Doubletap is a devastating load and works well in my 1911's. The Texas ammo offerings are also good in their 10mm express line. For practice ammo, consider Georgia Arms as it is reasonably priced, but weaker than the other offerings.

There are some downsides to the 10mm/1911 that you may want to consider.

1)Magazines-10mm 1911's need good mags-in my experience, full house loads demand Tripp CobraMags or Metalform round follower with a 10% Wolff spring to work 100% of the time. Weaker, 10mm lite practice loads can work well with McCormick mags. Stay away from Metalform with the plastic follower and Wilson mags in this caliber.

2)Ammo availability-Finding good 10mm ammo is much tougher than a .45. You are not going to be able to buy 10mm ammo at Walmart at 7AM or find any in a podunk general store either. Good ammo is usually a special order (expensive) proposition.

3)Wear and tear-shooting the hot stuff will accelerate wear and tear on your blaster. Count on changing recoil springs more frequently and potentially other small parts like extractor, ejector and slide stop. Think tool steel for small parts and you should be OK.

4)Feed reliability-The 10mm is usually seen sporting an integral feed ramp barrel due to the pressure it creates. This in turn will generally reduce feed reliability. The long profile of the 10mm case also reduces feed reliability..make sure your rounds do not exceed 1.260". Some gunsmiths will use a standard style barrel, but if you reload or shoot the HOT stuff frequently, most will suggest the integral ramp for safety.

Deal with a gunsmith who understands the cartridge. An AFTEC extractor is not essential, but a good tool steel extractor is. Not a lot of .40 extractors out there--most folks modify a .45 or .9mm to work. The heav(ier) recoil springs predispose this cartridge to nosedive, also exacerbated by the ramp. Do not go above a #20 recoil spring to ensure feed reliability.

A tapered bull barrel and EGW firing pin stop are nice in this caliber and help slow down the slide velocity. 23-25 lb mainsprings are also mandatory.
Slide velocity is the bane of feed reliability. recoil springs must be changed when they compress by 1" to assure that the slide velocity is kept under control. I suggest ISMI as they wear less fast in my experience than other brands.

I love this cartrdige and have a few guns set up properly for it. I am working with a few 10mm loads that have the same ballistics at 200 yards as a .45 does at the muzzle.
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Old 11-23-2004, 11:02 PM
The Big D The Big D is offline
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Thanks for the very usefull info. I'm not too woried about mags and ammo - troublesome, but where better to spend money than on mags and ammo for a nice gun? Your comments about feed reliability have me worried though - have you had unexplained FTFs with your guns despite proper setups? What does your spring change schedule look like?
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Old 11-23-2004, 11:07 PM
Anthony Lombardo Anthony Lombardo is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,342
I change 10mm springs when they lose 1" of length compared to a new spring.
With heavy loads this may be as little as 500-1000 rds. With practice ammo, probably 2000 rds at least.

I guess my point is that you cannot use just any magazine or just any old ammo. The 1911 has certain design parameters that the 10mm isn't well suited for.

When you get slide velocities moving too fast, the 1911 doesnt work.
When you use very heavy recoil springs to control slide velocity( 22# and up), the 1911 tends not to work also, especially when mag springs are weak.
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Old 11-25-2004, 07:34 PM
The Big D The Big D is offline
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I'm interested if anyone has any thoughts more related to the stopping power angle of all this.
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Old 11-25-2004, 08:09 PM
falable762 falable762 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Grissom AFB
Posts: 652
The 10mm full power loads are in another class ,power wise, than .45acp.
The 10mm really shines when shooting through a windshield ,car door ,etc.
.45+P does pretty well in this regard,but the 10 still has the lead in power.
In short, all other things aside,the 10mm would be my choice. Tailor the bullet selection to your needs. The 10mm has the power to get more work done.
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Old 11-26-2004, 02:13 PM
Peter M. Eick Peter M. Eick is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 1,573
The 10mm will "daylight" some steel targets like thinner poppers. A 45acp, even with +P ammo will not do the same thing. That is the fundemental difference in stopping power. You can expect that the 10mm will create some "daylight" through your target, while a 45acp will not.

I have perforated a few steel targets with hot 10mm fmj reloads. The same targets on the same day would cause my 45acp 230 grn FMj's to bounce off.
10mm and 357 Sig; the best things since the 38 Super!
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