Paul Harrell: 45 ACP vs Cougars & Bears

   10.12.18

Paul Harrell: 45 ACP vs Cougars & Bears

So you think the 45 ACP is a good choice for defense against large animals? Well, that’s exactly what Paul Harrell takes a look at in this video. Specifically, is the 45 ACP actually up to the task — and if so, what sort of ammo will work best?

We begin by comparing three run-of-the-mill 45 hardball loads over the chronograph… then we move along to a high-falutin’ Remington HTP (High Terminal Performance) load, which is a jacketed hollowpoint — and, naturally, costs a good bit more.

Back to the chrony, we find that the super-duper ammo produces velocities that are… disappointing. Essentially, this costly defense ammo moves more slowly than two out of the three hardball (FMJ) loads that he tested earlier.

Kinda sad, ain’t it?

Whether you agree it’s sad or not, you probably agree that testing expansion is a good idea… and that’s what he does next.

And I think we can all agree that expansion was perfectly satisfactory. And when he repeats the test at longer range, we find the same result: Great hollowpoint expansion, which would likely result in effective game-stopping.

When tested on Harrell’s “patented meat target,” expansion was markedly worse. Hmmm. Doesn’t seem like you should hang your hat on the 45 ACP to properly penetrate and stop big heavy wild critters.

But wait! What about semi-wadcutters? Well, they produce better penetration than the HPs.

Then again, so do the FMJs… and in the end, they kinda look like the HPs fired from 15 yards!

As for the answers to the original questions, let’s just say the 45 is a lot better than nothing… although it is definitely not the best choice for protection from big game.

In his words, Hardball is hard to beat.

Enjoy the video.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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