Ballistics by the inch

.45 Super data now published.

At long last, we’ve now put up the page with the results of our .45 Super/.450 SMC tests earlier this year! We’ve also published the additional .45 ACP rounds tested at the same time, which doubles the amount of data for that cartridge available on our site.

As noted on the new .45 Super page:

.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.

Take a look at the Muzzle Energy graph for .45 Super:

One thing I notice right away is that in general, the energy curve for this cartridge is much more pronounced and consistent than the energy curve for .45 ACP loads (whether standard pressure or +P). In other words, this is a round which continues to see impressive gains in energy over a longer barrel length, rather than flattening out starting at 8 – 10″. That’s more like the behavior you see from a magnum revolver round. Even the .460 Rowland tends to not see much gain after about 10″ — with the result that while the .460 Rowland is clearly a superior round for shorter barrels over the .45 Super, most loadings of the .45 Super meet or exceed the energy of the .460 Rowland by the time you get to carbine-length barrels. And you don’t need to rechamber your gun to shoot it.

Seeing this performance out of the Cx4 Storm actually prompted me to act on something I had just been thinking about: to go out and buy one of the remaining new Cx4 Storms out there (Beretta decided to discontinue the gun in that caliber earlier this year). In a future blog post I’ll talk about the alterations I am making to that gun, and that I have made to a Glock G30S, to handle the additional power of the .45 Super cartridge.

For now, enjoy playing with the data. And please be sure to share it with others! Because while I have long been an advocate for the .460 Rowland — a cartridge I still like very much — I now think that the .45 Super is a better choice for most people. Further discussion of that next time.


Jim Downey

October 30, 2015 - Posted by | .45 ACP, .45 Super, .450 SMC, .460 Rowland, Data, Discussion., General Procedures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. […] handling .45 Super power out of your .45 ACP gun. Chances are, very occasional use of these much more powerful loads won’t cause any problem in a quality, modern-made firearm. But if you’re smart, […]

    Pingback by Dealing with power. « Ballistics by the inch | November 1, 2015 | Reply

  2. Darnit! Now I need a hi-cap 45 Carbine 😀
    Do you believe the Hi Point would handle the 45 Super for long?
    It is +P rated anyway, and the 45 Super is a much lower pressure
    round than 9mm or 40 S&W. With 45 “S” on tap, the 10 round mags
    don’t seem as restrictive after all 😀
    I have so many carbines now, 2 each in 40 S&W and 9mm. Just the
    one HP 4595… maybe it needs a stable mate too? I can see a G21
    conversion, as opposed to a CX4 but I do want to check your mods.

    LMK your impressions on the 4595 running 45 “S”, please, Jim!

    Comment by underground12x8 | November 5, 2015 | Reply

    • I’ve never owned a Hi Point, though I have shot the 9mm carbine.

      I think that you’re right, in that it should hold up to the pressure. But I would still investigate what steps you could take to help buffer the power impulse from the .45 Super. Anything would help.

      In general, I really like pistol-caliber-carbines. I think they make a *lot* of sense for most non-military applications. I do wish I could get a larger cap mag for the Cx4 for less than about $175 though …

      Comment by James Downey | November 5, 2015 | Reply

      • I believe the 9mm and 40 Beretta carbines can use the B 92 and 96 mags?
        Might be a good starting point. Beretta seems to use the common-Spec
        “Euro Mags” as I call them, very very similar to the CZ and Browning Hi-Power
        style mags. I found a generic unbranded 9mm mag, and it ended up fitting
        my gunsmith friend’s CZ 75 perfectly. I believe it would have fit the BHP as well.

        Just a few thoughts for a cheaper CX4 mag, maybe the CZ 45 ACP mags would work?
        That is going to be a relatively rare mag as well, but might work for your needs, maybe…

        Comment by underground12x8 | November 8, 2015

      • It’s a thought. I’ve also seen some other ‘hacks’ using a Sig mag. As we head into the winter months, I might start to spend some time investigating these options more thoroughly.

        Comment by James Downey | November 8, 2015

      • PS: I really appreciate the added commentary that the 45 Super is better in a carbine, because I am so well stocked in the PCCs and running a better suited round at lower pressure will really enhance carbine life! Win-Win all the way around! I had considered
        a 460 Rowland conversion in a 45 ACP carbine. Super just makes so much more sense
        economically as well! 😀

        Comment by underground12x8 | November 8, 2015

  3. […] time. The last test sequence we did was the .45 Super /.450 SMC tests, with the data published in October 2015. So without new test results last year, we didn’t have the usual big spike in site visits. […]

    Pingback by 2016 in the rear-view mirror. « Ballistics by the inch | January 1, 2017 | Reply

  4. […] over to using the .45 Super cartridge rather than the .460 Rowland because the .45 Super offers most of the benefits of the .460 Rowland without some of the disadvantages. But I have kept the conversion kit in place […]

    Pingback by Reflections upon a reflex sight. « Ballistics by the inch | September 27, 2017 | Reply

  5. […] over to using the .45 Super cartridge rather than the .460 Rowland because the .45 Super offers most of the benefits of the .460 Rowland without some of the disadvantages. But I have kept the conversion kit in place […]

    Pingback by Reprise: Converting a Glock 21 to .460 Rowland « Ballistics by the inch | November 5, 2017 | Reply

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