.45 ACP Golden Saber Field Report
Hunting has been difficult in north central Texas this year. Abnormally low temperatures throughout the summer combined with a mild winter (so far) and higher than average rainfall has resulted in much food for the deer and they've paid less attention to corn feeders than normal. I've been taking part in a state sanctioned game management plan and have been hunting animals having certain characteristics such as mature older does, spikes of any age, as well as bucks with small racks for age/size and so forth.
At 5:28PM on Thursday, Dec. 16th, I finally saw several deer throughout the afternoon at my frequent handgun stand situated in what is called "The Hole." It's a small opening with a feeder surrounded by thick brush and bounded by a gentle valley on one side.
I was preparing to shoot a pretty large doe when a spike buck wandered out and I opted to take him as the property owner (a friend) had been wanted spikes removed.
That day I was using my Caspian 6" Long Slide chambered in .45 ACP. It was filled with handloaded Remington 230-gr. Golden Sabers that average 930 ft/sec from that pistol.
This is the 1911 used to shoot the spike. The slide and frame are from Caspian and are hand-lapped to fit each other and the gun is fitted with a Kart NM barrel.
The deer was facing me and when it lowered its head to pick up corn, I shot it between the front shoulders and clipped the spine. It instantly dropped. While I knew that the animal had been hit hard, I did not know that it was truly immobile beyond the point of impact and when it began trying to raise itself on its front legs, I shot it center chest between the front legs. As with the first shot, it dropped. Again, it started to raise the front of its body and this time I shot it behind the right shoulder about a third of the way up from the bottom of the abdomen. It dropped and stayed down. I climbed down and approached the animal. Though immobile, it was still alive and a humane finishing shot was applied at the base of the skull from behind.
The shot was made at approximately 20 yards and from an upward angle as I was in a tripod stand.
The animal weighed 105-lbs and will be eaten. I will not shoot deer that are not to wind up on someone's table even if taking part in a thinning project.
The Golden Sabers hitting the deer broadside penetrated completely and were not recovered. The shot to the base of the skull penetrated completely and was not recovered. The hit to the front center chest penetrated an estimated 14 to 16" and was recovered beneath the hide on back of the deer behind the shoulders. (Remember, the rear of the deer is low and it's raising up and I'm shooting downward.) It was the only bullet recovered.
The Golden Saber did suffer bullet/jacket separation, but this occurred during the last 2 to 3" of bullet travel as the jacket was imbedded in tissue approximately that distance from where the bullet core was recovered.
This is inside the torso of the deer and showing the approx. 1" wound created when the 230-gr. Golden Saber impacted between the animal's shoulders. Spine fragments are visible. This shot anchored the animal, but I was not sure that such a hit had been made. The subsequent shots were not necessary it turns out, but having had a dose of the briars in that immediate area provided the incentive to make sure the spike did not leave the spot at which he was shot.
Here is one view of the Golden Saber lead bullet core that hit the animal center chest and was recovered under the hide on its back.
The bullet was pretty chewed up from impacts with bone. Still, it expanded nicely and penetration was sufficient.
Here's another view of the recovered bullet and jacket. The latter weighed 43.1 grains and expanded to approximately 0.63 x 0.71". The combined weight of the core and the jacket is 225.6 grains, which indicates minimal weight loss from its original 230 grains.
In most instances the Golden Saber jacket is reported not to separate from the lead bullet although I have occasionally seen this when firing into water for informal expansion tests. It did occur this time, but again, it happened at the last few inches of bullet travel. As was the case with the 147-gr. Golden Saber at approx. 1180 ft/sec (.38 Super) used to shoot a deer last season, results were satisfactory. That deer was hit broadside and no bullet was recovered as penetration was complete.
A friend of mine gave me the cadence of the shots and I'd estimate it at about 1 shot per second with several seconds before the final shot was fired when I arrived at the downed deer. Not unexpectedly, to me it seemed like about 10 seconds between shots.
In the past, I've seen various JHP bullets removed from animals and most were not chewed up quite like this one, but neither was bone hit in the same way. Each bullet wound is different. Similar shots might or might not result in behavior exactly like that which occurred in this case. The jacket might or might not separate, but even if it does the lead bullet is not rendered helpless by it. I'm not concerned with it either way.
The deer was not "calibrated" nor is it the same as a human in size, weight, etc, but I think one might expect similar performance with human beings if involved in a deadly force scenario and thought this might be of interest to some shooters. From a 5" gun, the handload used almost exactly matches the factory 230-gr. Golden Sabers from Remington.