Liberty Ammunition Range Report

By Bob Campbell published on in Ammunition, Guest Posts, Range Reports

When it comes to personal defense ammunition, the first criterion to meet is reliability. This criterion is closely followed by accuracy, clean burning and a good primer seal. That is the bottom line. No ballistic advantage is worth pursuing if the ammunition is not completely reliable.

Liberty Civil Defense .45ACP +P Cartridges

The velocity claimed by the Liberty Ammunition loading is right on the money in typical concealed-carry length handguns.

Before deploying a personal defense round, I make certain the loading will feed reliably. This isn’t accomplished with a single magazine of ammunition; I make certain the sight picture, sight alignment and point of impact coincide. You need to proof feed reliability and cycle reliability.

  • Feed reliability means that the bullet nose travels over the feed ramp and into the chamber.
  • Cycle reliability means that the loading’s pressure curve is well suited to the handgun, with a good weight and velocity balance.

As a long-time hand-loader, I can state—with some education behind my words—that it is difficult to convince non-standard, ultra-light bullets to function correctly. For that reason, Liberty Ammunition’s products and performance are impressive. The bullets are lightweight and high velocity, and the momentum balance is there. Liberty has done its homework on powder, bullet pull and proper loading.

Liberty Ammunition Hollowpoint

Now that is a hollowpoint!

The premise behind the Liberty loadings is the bullets are lightweight and highly frangible. They strike the target, fragment and transfer energy quickly. The difference between Liberty ammunition and others, they claim, is the ammunition has adequate penetration, which makes Liberty loads a good choice for home defense. Most of us do not need the deep penetration demanded by law enforcement loadings.

A loading with 16 to 18 inches of penetration is not necessarily desirable for home defense. The Liberty loading typically penetrates about 12 inches of gelatin. In my testing, using gallon water jugs, penetration is about 10 inches. The bullet fragments and water jugs explode impressively. I have fired the .45 ACP loading extensively in both the SIG P220 and SIG Scorpion .45 ACP. The loading proved reliable, never failing to feed, chamber, fire or eject.

Blue-toned box of Liberty 45 Acp + P ammunition with cartridges toward the front of the picture on a plank of wood.

Liberty Ammunition’s Civil Defense load is among the most interesting to come along in some time.

Accuracy proved excellent, which was a surprise. Loads of this weight class seldom show good accuracy. However, the bullet is long and has good bearing surface to contact the rifling. The 78-grain projectile rates at 1900 fps, and clocked pretty close in these mid-length .45s. A 5-inch Government Model would probably clock more than 1,900 fps.

Liberty .45 ACP 78-Grain Range Results

Model Velocity 15-Yard
Group
25-Yard
Group
SIG P220 1854 fps 1.0 inches 2.0 inches
SIG Scorpion 1890 fps 1.5 inches N/A
Springfield Range Officer N/A 2.75 inches

In firing 100 rounds of ammunition in three .45 ACP pistols, there were no malfunctions of any type. For personal defense, home defense and pest and predator destruction, the Liberty Civil Defense load gets a clean bill of health.

Have you used Liberty ammunition yet? Share your experiences in the comment section.

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

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Comments (3)

  • Bill from Boomhower, Texas

    |

    That IS impressive, Bob. Penetration looks good, and velocity seems incredible. What’s recoil like, whether one shot, or shooting a box in a session?

    Reply

    • Sian

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      Dunno if you’re still looking here, but recoil is rather light. Muzzle blast on the other hand is understandably epic.

      Reply

  • Leon

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    Bob,
    How can you measure penetration by using gallon water jugs? Do you line up 1 behind the other, and say the load penetrates however many inches the first jug is wide, if the second jug is untouched behind it ? What about the PapaJohnsUK pizza monster in the garbage, how would that rate for a test medium LOL ?!

    Reply

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