Speer .45 Auto 230 gr Gold Dot gel test and review

Take a look at our test of Speer’s .45 Auto 230 Gold Dot. The Gold Dot is not technically a bonded bullet, but rather a plated one. Nevertheless, it tends to perform like bonded bullets and the plated construction is essentially the same as a bonded bullet in that core and “jacket” are chemically bonded to each other, resulting in high weight retention. This bullet lives up to its reputation as one of the very best defense loads by expanding well and penetrating perfectly in both bare gel and when fired through heavy clothing. The moderate velocity of approximately 830 fps proved adequate to initiate expansion and the bullet was able to perform properly even when fired through four layers of denim. The IWBA standard of four layers of denim is a more difficult protocol to pass than the more realistic FBI heavy clothing standard. The IWBA heavy clothing test is not intended to simulate real world clothing, but rather to present a worst case scenario of many, closely packed, dense fibers which can clog the cavity of some hollow point ammunition, preventing expansion. Having performed well even in this worst case scenario, the Gold Dot proves to be an outstanding choice for personal defense and the more rounded nose tends to feed better in unmodified 1911A1 pistols than some other hollow point designs. Not only was the bullet able to expand adequately in adverse conditions, it was also able to penetrate to an appropriate depth. The variation in penetration depth was also extremely consistent, with only a small difference between bare gel and heavy clothing. Retained weight was also 100% for every bullet and expansion measurements varied little from bullet to bullet. This highly consistent performance indicates excellent quality and speaks to superior performance across a range of other conditions not evaluated in this test.
Avg velocity: 834 fps
Avg penetration: 14.6″
Avg retained weight: 229.6 gr
Avg max expansion: 0.695″
Avg min expansion: 0.601″

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Transcript ….


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  • AMMOnoumous

    Not trying to steal your thunder, but a way more comprehensive set of ammo tests can be found at lucky gunner:


    • Leonard Kimble

      Pretty messed up. Do you work for luckygunner

  • Pete Sheppard

    A worthy successor to the classic 200gr ‘Flying Ashtray’.

  • Big Daddy

    This is the best along with Federal HST both made by ATK.

  • ExMachina1

    Thought we all agreed to melt down our Springfield Armory guns?

    • Ranger Rick

      No, but I am the official turn in point supervisor. We can fit you in next Thursday. 😁

  • Gary Kirk

    Speer gold dots, then federal hydra shocks.. In that order, are how my mags are ordered..

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    As usual, Andrew satisfies:-)
    I get pulled 230 HSTs from AmRe and then reload them myself, but these Gold Dots are pretty good too.

  • Gary Kirk

    And also, pretty sure this is an Andrew article.. Not a Pat R..

  • Raptor Fred

    I push the 230gr Gold Dot to around 1200fps in my 45 Super. That may be over the design threshold. But seeing tests like this one, certainly don’t make me doubt it’s ability. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OecVBzPYnfc

  • FedJohn

    I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to do these. Your test bullets have performed just like the ones I’ve seen dug out anti-socials. I prefer the tried and true Gold Dot bullet, over others that I want to like, but simply don’t have the street/Mil cred yet. These are the 230gr. weight and will print POA, with your practice ammunition. They actually perform better then the 200gr. “flying ashtray” of yesteryear. Thank you again!

  • valorius

    Avg expansion of .695 is thoroughly mediocre for a .45 acp. For instance, the 115gr 9mm+P+ gold dot LE load expands to .82 caliber in bare gel.