Hunting With A .45 ACP

In this 100th year anniversary of the 1911 and the .45 ACP cartridge, its history is filled with thousands of factual and also highly exaggerated tales of the effectiveness of both the weapon and cartridge. When one hears “45” the 1911 Colt is foremost in the mind for most of us. First and foremost, the .45 is recognized as a combat tool, and also as a competition and defensive tool. Way down the list is its recognition as a handgun-hunting tool. Back in the dark ages, any NRA member could buy a new surplus 1911A1 from the Director of Civilian Marksmanship for $7.50. Then it could be sent to the Advanced Marksmanship Unit at Ft. Benning where for the sum of $65 those gunsmiths would turn it into a good softball or hardball bull’s-eye gun as ever made.

That’s sort of a shame too as an accurized 1911 in .45 ACP — with the right ammunition and user — is quite effective as a small- to medium-game gun. Rabbits and squirrels are usually taken at short ranges, and that’s fine for the 1911. Those 230-grain FMJ bullets do not cause excessive damage unless a shoulder shot occurs. Target “wadcutter” low-velocity loads seem to hit small game harder, but I can’t see any difference in damage done by them and the 230 FMJ, and even some of the hollowpoints. Running jackrabbits and the .45 seem meant for each other. Good, adjustable sights combined with a fine trigger, low-recoil impulse and semi-auto action are very effective for the guy who knows how to use them.

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10 thoughts on “Hunting With A .45 ACP

  1. John B. Humphries

    Hello. I read your article on Hunting with a 45 ACP in the January/February 2012 edition. I saw that the Colt Combat commander had some very nice grips. It looks like the Mexican eagle w/ the Mayan calender in pewter. Could you tell me where to get a set of these? It would be greatly appriciated. Thanks.

  2. joe farrens

    i would like to find reloading data for the 255 grn lswc bullet for the .45 acp.
    i once read an article of a remington rand 45 acp being used in africa on hyenas with the 255 grn bullet but don’t recall the loading data
    i have used the 225 grn tfp on deer,caribou,black bear and moose. the load i use mostly is 6.8 of unique with the lead bullet.
    it gives about 950 fps velocity
    any loading data for the 255 grn would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks, joe farrens

  3. Larry S.

    I hunt whitetail deer with a Glock G21 chambered in .45 ACP, I up graded to a stiffer recoil spring, and also installed a Lone wolf 6 inch barrel. I use 185 gr.+P ammo from Double Tap. This ammo list at 1225 fps.and has 616 ft. lbs. of energy from a 5 inch barrel. The longer 6 inch barrel length adds to its ballistics giving me around 725 ft. lbs. of energy. I have taken several nice deer with this combination and think that the 45. ACP should deserve better respect when it comes to hunting deer at close range.

  4. John Poland

    Yes 185 grain DoubleTap ammo is the best for 45acp ammo..But there is the 460 Rowland Option where you get 185 grain bullets at 1550Ft.sec and almost 1000 ft.Lbs of Energy. Almost on Par with a 44 mag. Even in the heavier bullet loads especially from Buffalo Bore !!

  5. Johnny Nightrider

    Hunting with a .45 auto.I have worn my S&W M&P .45 acp with 4.5 inch barrel and Hornandy Critical Defense 45 auto 185 grain FTX ammo in my 10 round mag with 2 more mags on my hip.I felt very secure at night walking on the beach against any 2 legged Humans and any coyote or wild dog or other kind of beastie in the coyote,big dog catergory.I wouldn’t shoot any deers or Bambi and Smokey the Bear would get mad at me for not using a more powerful humane load.And if I encounter a Bear I’m just going to walk away and if comes after me maybe some loud into the ground shots.I would not shoot the Bear because he might just get mad and crazy and a injured Bear isn’t good.If he tried to grab a loved one.I would empty the mag into his big head and hope that would stop him.I’m not into shooting Bears and Deer.If there cool I’m cool.

  6. marc

    several days ago i was on my in the woods sitting on my polaris 4 wheeler when i had three feral hogs walk in on me i had my 1911 on my side i rarely go into the woods without it i keep it loaded with remington golden saber +p hollow points, i waited quietly while the hogs worked their way towards me there was a small creek between the hogs and me and i figured they were going to pop up at the creeks edge, a big sow finally emerged from the brush into the clearing about 35 yards away i rested the pistol on the atv headlight and squeezed off a shot it hit dead center of the front shoulder a little high but the big sow dropped in its tracks this makes the third hog ive killed with this pistol and bullet combination i dont think people give this old round enough credit when im in the woods here in southeast georgia anything within 45 yards is freezer fill

    1. Joan

      I too feel like the 45 acp deserves more credit than it gets. I found it to shoot through 1/4 aluminum signs at 50 yards using standard 230 gr FMJ. It would easily pass through a human or deer .

      That being said with modern day loads exceeding 1000 fps one can only imagine the possibilities with a .45 ACP

  7. Jaguar Golf

    I remember one of the local fathers telling us about killing a tiger with a .45 in Burma during WWII.

  8. Ed

    The 45acp WILL KILL DEER effectively! Its NOT a squirrel GUN. KENETIC ENERGY is key here people. Most of the .45’s “Magic” happens when all of the bullets energy is retained IN the target! I’ve killed more Whitetails within 30-35 yards with one than a lot of people have killed in a lifetime of deer hunting! I just shot a full sized Doe 2 days ago DRT! 230 gr. JHP 8.0 gr. SR 4756 is my load of choice. Go get em with the .45!

  9. Chris Singletary

    I can’t believe the author said it is a squirrel gun. A .22 pellet gun is a good squirrel gun, not a.45 acp. It is a great deer and hog gun at under 100 yds. I use 200 grn hornady xtp bullets and 7.8 grain power pistol which puts out over 1000 fps in my just right carbine. I love shooting hogs with the .45 acp with that combo; they drop like rocks.

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