.45 Super Results in fps

.45 Super and .450 SMC (Short Magnum Cartridge) are two relatively recent variations on the classic .45 ACP cartridge.  They were designed to gain more power from the cartridge than it was originally designed to produce, using modern smokeless powder and more robust case specifications.  And these rounds achieve this goal, producing about 100% greater muzzle energy for a given bullet weight over standard pressure .45 ACP rounds, and about a 50% increase over .45 ACP +P (over-pressure) rounds.

This increase in velocity/energy comes with higher chamber pressure, however.  The increased pressure means more stress on the firearm, resulting in increased wear and potential failure of the gun.  While the .45 Super/.450 SMC cartridge will fit into any standard .45 ACP firearm, you should exercise discretion in using those cartridges, either limiting how much you use them and/or upgrading your firearm to handle the increased pressure.  Be safe.

Of the 12 types of ammunition listed below, only the Double Tap ammo was the .450 SMC configuration (which is identical to the .45 Super cartridge, except that it has a small primer).  All the others are .45 Super.

Click here for a Muzzle Energy graph for the tests in this caliber.

barrel length Buffalo Bore
185 gr. JHP
Buffalo Bore
200 gr. JHP
Buffalo Bore
230 gr. FMJ
Buffalo Bore
230 gr. JHP
Buffalo Bore
255 gr. Hard Cast
Double Tap
185 gr. JHP
Double Tap
185 gr JHP Bond. Def.
Double Tap
230 gr. JHP Bond. Def.
LeHigh
Defense
170 gr.
JHP
Under-
wood
170 gr. CF
Under-
wood
185 gr XTP JHP
Under-
wood
230 gr. GD JHP
18" 1585 1459 1323 1320 1281 1657 1631 1325 1375 1496 1628 1301
16" 1608 1486 1310 1339 1279 1622 1590 1341 1371 1478 1603 1295
14" 1558 1436 1290 1313 1240 1599 1549 1334 1349 1466 1603 1295
12" 1534 1409 1265 1301 1232 1580 1531 1297 1331 1445 1565 1261
10" 1498 1397 1237 1267 1206 1559 1558 1280 1310 1409 1534 1249
9" 1467 1373 1220 1261 1189 1525 1522 1246 1290 1406 1516 1234
8" 1450 1339 1198 1249 1175 1506 1464 1233 1289 1382 1498 1204
7" 1434 1327 1170 1209 1148 1473 1422 1220 1253 1360 1467 1191
6" 1408 1288 1142 1179 1136 1442 1442 1235 1244 1333 1428 1164
5" 1348 1245 1124 1158 1100 1353 1371 1149 1213 1295 1394 1129
4" 1269 1179 1075 1107 1060 1328 1229 1105 1180 1242 1304 1090
3" 1173 1105 1005 1035 1000 1199 1117 1061 1189 1162 1210 1023

 

real
world
weapons
Buffalo Bore
185 gr. JHP
Buffalo Bore
200 gr. JHP
Buffalo Bore
230 gr. FMJ
Buffalo Bore
230 gr. JHP
Buffalo Bore
255 gr. Hard Cast
Double Tap
185 gr. JHP
Double Tap
185 gr JHP Bond. Def.
Double Tap
230 gr. JHP Bond. Def.
LeHigh
Defense
170 gr.
JHP
Under-
wood
170 gr. CF
Under-
wood
185 gr XTP JHP
Under-
wood
230 gr. GD JHP
Beretta
Cx4
carbine
16.6" barrel
1555 1428 1267 1289 1248 1618 1556 1298 1289 1421 1578 1264
Wilson
Combat
Hunter
1911
.460
5.5" barrel
1312 1216 1105 1109 1074 1350 1294 1108 1157 1259 1339 1099
Glock 21
(.460)
5.2" barrel
1299 1203 1085 1116 1061 1351 1314 1132 n/a 1253 1348 1081
Glock 21
(.45 acp)
4.6" barrel
1279 1178 1069 1094 1063 1328 1301 1097 1146 1239 1329 1075
Beretta
Px4
Storm SD
4.5" barrel
1281 1171 1067 1093 1048 1339 1270 1094 n/a 1227 1311 1082
Ed
Brown
Kobra
Carry
1911
4.25" barrel
1257 1175 1067 1084 1061 1310 1254 1136 1165 1249 1285 1071
Glock 36
3.77" barrel
1188 1113 1043 1053 1023 1264 1238 1065 1100 1188 1230 1040

Other Resources

BBTI is not the end-all of ballistics testing, just one more component available for the common good.  In addition to extensive discussion about ballistics to be found at many gun forums, here are some other great resources pertaining to ballistics testing you should check out.  (And if you would like to recommend a site to list here, please send an email.)
  • BrassFetcher:  excellent resource, with an emphasis on bullet performance in ballistic gelatin
  • The Box O' Truth:  testing ammo penetration through various barriers
  • Terminal Ballistics Research:  Specializes in the research of cartridge & projectile performance, using hard data gathered from 20 years of hunting game.

Acknowledgements

We'd like to personally and specifically thank Pat Childs at Fin & Feather in Iowa City, as he not only helped get most of our ammunition and other supplies, he was the brilliant gunsmith who worked with us to make this insane project much more practical.  Without his help all of this would have been much more difficult and perhaps impossible.  Anyone who uses our data owes him a debt of gratitude.

And thanks to our spouses, who were not just tolerant but enthusiastically supportive of this rather nutty project.

Disclaimer

This project, and all of its results, is only our fault.  We (well, Jim K, mostly) paid for everything ourselves, and we did not receive any kind of sponsorship or remuneration from anyone.  We did all the work.  We used products we were either familiar with, or because they were what was available, and mentioning them by name does not constitute an endorsement of any kind.  Furthermore, the data is provided purely for entertainment purposes - to better facilitate arguments over what ammo or caliber or gun is "best."  How you use the data is entirely up to you.  And if you think you could do better, feel free to spend the money and do the work and publish your own results.  Or not.  Your choice.