Unexpected terminal ballistics

A year and a half ago, I reviewed Rossi revolving 45LC carbine (also capable of chambering 410 shotshells). I wan’t all that impressed with the accuracy, the handling or the terminal ballistics.

Yesterday, one of my models brought her Circuit Judge to the range and we shot a few rounds through it. Shooting 45LC lead bullets with a red/green dot sight, I was able to overlap all five shots at ten yards. That is substantially better than my results with the previous gun using the same ammunition.

We also tried Winchester PDX 225gr JHP load in Clear Ballistics gel. From 18.5″ barrel, velocity was just over 1000fps, and this was the terminal result. Much better!

About 13″ straight line penetration with 11/16″ expansion from the original .45″. Minimal felt recoil and dull report. Empties extracted easily, though the one closest to the receiver sometimes butted up against the wood of the stock.

We also tried two 44Mag handloads for Henry Big Boy first mentioned a couple of years ago. One load used 240gr Hornady XTP, the other Sierra 240gr JHC, both provided by Brownells. 24.5 grains of H110 move either at just under 1750fps. The impacts on gel were pretty spectacular with both loads: explosive fragmentation upon impact with about 15 degree spread. I am generally not a fan of fragmenting bullets for defense, but these loads had one important difference — deep penetration ranging from 16″ to 24″! Apparently, the relatively large size of each fragment combined with efficient cutting shape and high initial velocity of impact made all the difference. When I cut the block for re-melting, the “wound track” parts of it were not re-usable. For close-in defense against soft-skinned foes, this appears nearly ideal.

Hornady lists recommended velocity for 240gr XTP as 1350fps from a 7.5″ revolver. So, fired from a carbine, this load would have conventional expansion at 100 yards. Given the impressive accuracy of this lever action (under 1.5MOA), it can be used to good effect out to at least 150 yards. With 100 yard sight-in, the trajectory doesn’t rise above 2 inches nor drops below 6.

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4 Responses to Unexpected terminal ballistics

  1. Lyle says:

    “Empties extracted easily, though the one closest to the receiver sometimes butted up against the wood of the stock.”

    I have the same issue with a Tarus mod 85, 38 Spec. snubbie. It’s not a big deal though, and it could be easily solved by carving the wood a little.

  2. Kevin Baker says:

    “About 13″ straight line penetration with 11/16″ expansion from the original .429″. ”

    Ah, no. .45LC has a diameter of .454″ The .44 Magnum/Special is .429″.

    Still, nice expansion!

    • Oleg Volk says:

      You are right…and yet, I had ammo makers tell me that they offer 45LC before 44Mag because they could use the same bullets as for 45ACP. Doesn’t make sense in retrospect.

  3. Ray says:

    I load a .45LC with XTP’s @ 1000fps from a five inch barreled SAA. I kill feral hogs with that; often with the first shot. As a “stopper” the “big boys”(.44-.45) have been king for 130 years with good reason.—- Oleg : My .45 LC loads a 255 grain .452 projectile. My brothers 629 .44 Mag. loads (if memory serves) a .429 projectile. My 1911 loads a 230 grain .451 projectile.So I don’t “get it” ether. Now you understand why I advocate the .45 LC so often. If you get the chance to try the old 255 LRN @ 1000FPS . This is the original “cowboy”/military load for the Single action Army. It hasn’t the “oomph” of the XTP , but when you use a bullet fitted and sized for your pistols bore it is stunningly accurate , and packs a mighty wallop.

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