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Old August 28, 2001, 01:15 PM   #1
Master Blaster
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Hollow point Bullets a Waste of Money

I've been doing a good bit of research and thinking about the usefulness of hollow point bullets, and the premium defense loads we all pay so much money for.

I've come to the conclusion that hollowpoints offer only one real advantage:

50% of the time they make a slightly bigger hole than fmj.

Over penetration once you hit the bad guy is not a real concern.

Missing is a greater danger to innocent bystanders than over penetration.

Hollow points have several disadvantages:

UNDER penetration especially on a moving badguy (you hit his arm or side and the expanding bullet slows enough so no vitals are touched.

Lesser feed reliability on semi autos than FMJ.

High cost of practicing with the defense ammo you shoot, leads you to practice with other ammo.

The tendency to carry the same rounds in you gun for a long period of time, leading to rechambering and possible setback.

Yep a logical comparison of FMJ and hollowpoints leads me to conclude that FMJ is better.

Shot placement is the real key, and sufficient penetration on a moving target to impact vital organs

Please remember we are talking about handgun rounds here.
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Old August 28, 2001, 02:13 PM   #2
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It really depends on the caliber...

I took my new Colt Defender .45ACP to the range Saturday and ran 300 rounds of Wolf ammo (about 6 or 7 FTFs or jams - some really nasty) and I ran 100 rounds of UMC ammo (flawless 100%)

My Hi-Power has never had a problem with any ammo so it was quite enlightening.

I think that I will always use high quality FMJ in my 45 - from what I have read, it is so big that expanding ammo does nto help that much more - and there is 90 years of anecdotes and evidence that shows the .45 is a proven manstopper.

As for a 9mm and lower, I think expanding ammo should really be considered. The main concern being reliability even over accuracy - most encounters happen at under 7 yards and I really do not think accuracy is an issue - but if my .45 had jammed the way it did at the rang - holy crap, I could die...
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Old August 28, 2001, 03:01 PM   #3
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I believe that hollow point bullets are great. They do have their advantages as well as disadvantages as you stated. The good thing about hollow points is that they tend allow smaller calibers to be as effective as the the larger .45 acp.

If for some reason the Federal Govt decided to ban HP bullets entirely, you would see a sudden surge in the popularity of .40 and .45 Auto pistols as well as the larger revolver calibers. You would also see more "FMJ" type bullet technology such as Federals EFMJ.

Why?...Most folks don't care about bullet velocity, trajectory, Ft/lbs of energy or OSS percentages. Nor do they care. What they do know is that a bigger hole is better than a smaller one. That's why I like my .45's...a big hole regardless. No need to rely on fancy bullets to do the work.

What strikes me as interesting is that the popularity of HP's is mostly with the medium caliber shooters such as .380, 9mm, .38's and others. The Larger .45's could go either ball or JHP and be comfortable, while the smaller calibers such as .32auto tend to lean back towards FMJ's.

Good Shooting
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Old August 28, 2001, 04:21 PM   #4
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Wasn't it shown recently that 9mm fmj do more damage than .45 fmj because the 9mm will tumble when it hits flesh, unlike the .45 that just goes straight thru? The same way a .223 caused more damage than a 7.62x39. It's hard to beat the efficiency of the 9mm in any form.
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Old August 28, 2001, 04:28 PM   #5
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"I've been doing a good bit of research and thinking about the usefulness of hollow point bullets"

Can you share where your source of research has been gleaned from? The biggest problem that we have is that there has been NO accurate research because every single shooting incident has too many variables to accurately quantify.

Aside from that, shoot whatever makes you comfortable -it is your own life/family you are protecting, and I fully agree with you that placement is more important than load.

The logical addition to this "placement v. caliber" discussion is "Why Not Both"? If I can accurately hit COM, why not do so with larger bullets? Why not hit with a .45 bullet that MAY expand to .62-.74 inches in diameter? I'll always take an increase in odds.

On the recieving end, yes, I would rather have a .357 inch clean hole drilled into me than a .45-.74 inch jagged hole tearing me up inside.
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Old August 28, 2001, 04:30 PM   #6
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Hollowpoints?

I thought hollowpoints, by expanding to a larger diameter, dumped more of the bullets kinetic energy into the body, and did more tissue damage.
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Old August 28, 2001, 04:33 PM   #7
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When given the choice between making a 18" deep hole .45" wide or 0.71" wide, I'm going to be choosing the .71" wide hole.

It's really hard to beat a well-designed 230gr .45ACP hollowpoint (Rem G.S. for example) hitting at over 800 fps. It's going to make a big hole and smash through lots of stuff.

This coming from a .40 and 9mm shooter.

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Old August 28, 2001, 04:46 PM   #8
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I will continue to carry HP's. Two reasons:

1) I believe that the HP load I've chosen will expand more often than 50%. And it has proven reliable in my pistol. May be blind faith on my part but...

2) I'll take a 50% chance of a bigger hole and more tissue damage. If I'm wrong, then the results are the same as FMJ. I can live with that downside.
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Old August 28, 2001, 05:12 PM   #9
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Hollow point mythology

Noted Texas pathologist Vincent DiMaio MD in his seminal work "GUNSHOT WOUNDS" points out some of the mythology surrounding hollowpoint bullets. Dr. DiMaio has performed tens of thousands of autopsies and learned forensics at his father's side. His father was the chief pathologist for NYC for many years. I daresay Dr. DiMaio has more experience doing autopsies than Marshall and Sanow.

"Hollowpoint bullets, in comparison to traditional solid lead bullets, THEORETICALLY have a greater ability to kill by virtue of greater physiologic injury to an organ, such differences are probably only THEORETICAL.

"Hollowpoint bullets do not mutilate organs or destroy them any more than their solid-nose, all-lead counterparts. The wounds in the skin as well as those in the internal organs are the same in appearance for both types of ammunition. One cannot examine the wounds in a body and say that the individual was shot with a hollowpoint rather than a solid lead bullet. No organs are reduced to 'chop-meat' by a pistol bullet.

"Hollowpoint bullets, though generally lighter than solid lead bullets, are loaded to considerably higher velocities. Hollowpoint bullets are more effective because of their higher velocities. Non-expanding hollowpoint bullets are effective due to their increased velocity.

"People inexperienced with hollowpoint ammunition do not let this inexperience stand in the way of their offering 'expert' testimony on the topic."

See GUNSHOT WOUNDS, pp. 310-311.

That said, I load my 1911's with FMJ ammo.
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Old August 28, 2001, 05:19 PM   #10
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Fraser, Interesting info, but the flaw is that it measures lethality, and the results are from autopsies.

For lethality, bullet placement is more important, and the differences between ball and hollowpoints isn't that much.

For stopping power (ie suspects stops trying to kill you) having the badguy lose conciousness, collapse in pain or fright all counts as a win for you.

So there is more to effectiveness than just lethality.
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Old August 28, 2001, 05:31 PM   #11
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Fraser, what does he say about HP vs. FMJ in the same bullet weight? These will have the same velocity.

-z
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Old August 28, 2001, 05:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Hollowpoint bullets are more effective because of their higher velocities. Non-expanding hollowpoint bullets are effective due to their increased velocity.
That has to be a typo.

Now, according to Barnes and Noble, that book was published in April of 1991.

Which means that the information was gathered during the 1980's. When hollowpoints were simply FMJ's with holes drilled in the noses.

Modern hollowpoint technology was developed in the 1990's.

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Old August 28, 2001, 06:46 PM   #13
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You go boy! I have seen two shootings in which both bullet types were involved. The FMJ will overpenetrate more often than not. Hollow point bullets usually stop within the body. There are always exceptions, but I will still go with the house because the odds always favor the house.

Hopefully you will never have to find your answer.
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Old August 28, 2001, 07:52 PM   #14
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I remember reading somewhere about how hollowpoint performances varied . For example, a 40 caliber hollowpoint penetrated somewhere around 17 inches of bare geletin. (I dont remember the exact depth, its been a while since I read that). The test also showed that the hollowpoint penetrated over 21 inches on a geletin test that was "clothed" so to speak. The test said that the hollowpoint didnt expand as much cause the cloth had pretty much turned the hollowpoint into a FMJ. By this I mean the cloth filled in the hollowpoint. Its also known that if you shoot a hollowpoint thru drywall it will penetrate farther and expand less cause of the same reason as before. The cavity is filled with drywall material. If anyone has read that material and knows the link please post it so I can read it again. Correct me if Im wrong.
I currently carry Gold Dot 155 gr hollowpoints in my 40 now but have toyed with the idea of going to FMJ.
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Old August 28, 2001, 07:55 PM   #15
Zak Smith
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Lennyjoe, see this thread: http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...threadid=77470

and this page: http://web.demigod.org/~zak/firearms/fbi-pistol.php

for some penetration performance data of various HPs in clothed and naked gelatin.
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Old August 28, 2001, 09:44 PM   #16
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Seems to me that "Lennyjoe" hit the nail on the head when he mentioned the clothing issue. Hollowpoints might work and they might not; if not, they're no different than a fmj. If they do, and stop in the critter, they're not letting in air to collapse the lungs (assuming a torso hit). To "stop" a critter, right now, positively, the brain or spinal cord must be hit... any other hit is mighty "iffy".

This would lead me to believe that penetration alone isn't gonna get it. The penetrating object has to be able to break some fairly heavy bones once it gets to them. Which suggests that "getting there fustest with the mostest" is the only way to go when things get serious.

On the other hand, you gotta be able to carry what you're gonna shoot, and you gotta be able to hit with it, so use what you like, it's your life.
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Old August 28, 2001, 10:06 PM   #17
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Hollow Points from Short Barrels

The sources I have read have suggested that there is little chance that a hollow point will expand unless it is going at least the speed of sound (1080 fps?). Nine MM, 38 special, and 357 mag will not achieve that speed from 2 inch barrels, so there is no point in using HP's with such guns. Even 38 special plus P won't hit the required speeds from 2 inch barrels. 45 ACP is so fat that it causes considerable damage despite its slowness and inability to expand with any regularity. I am sure others have different opinions.

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Old August 28, 2001, 10:56 PM   #18
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I think we can all agree that a larger hole has a better chance of causing damage. If so, a hollowpoint has the potential to do so. If you do not agree, you had better not be carrying anything larger than 22LR LRN ammo for defense or you are a hypocrit.
Quote:
Hollowpoint bullets are more effective because of their higher velocities. Non-expanding hollowpoint bullets are effective due to their increased velocity.
According to this, a non-expanding hollowpoint has a greater velocity and is therefore more effective than a FMJ from the same launch platform.

So...what's the problem? Wether it expands or not, it seems that a hollowpoint won't do any worse than a FMJ. Not to mention that the quality control in a good defense cartridge tends to be much higher than in the cheaper FMJ versions. This means that my hollowpoint that will either perform equally or better has a better chance of going "boom" when I squeeze my trigger. This is a no brainer...
 
Old August 28, 2001, 11:40 PM   #19
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PreserveFreedom made a couple of good points about hollowpoints.

Over penetration is the main reason why I don't use FMJ on my Glock 19 (9mm).
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Old August 28, 2001, 11:59 PM   #20
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I havent heard of too many naked law breakers getting shot. I think I'll stick with the 155 gr. Gold Dot in my 40. Hopefully I wont have to see firsthand how they perform on a perp. But if I do, I know I will be well served with hollowpoints. Besides me and my Taurus .40 are dialed in. Got her grouping like a pro.

smithz, thanks for the links. I knew I read that somewhere before.
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Old August 29, 2001, 01:02 AM   #21
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Let's throw in a couple of other considerations - - -

Round nose bullets, jacketed or lead, tend to push into and separate tissues as they traverse them. Bullets with very blunt or flat noses do a certain amount of cutting on their way. The full wadcutter is best for this, at close range, and semi-wadcutter is quite good, especially at intermediate and long ranges. Why is this important? The round nose bullet, if barely touching bone or a large blood vessel (which is very elastic) may just shove it aside or be iself redirected. Bullet with sharp shoulder or flat meplat digs in and either cuts the vessel or chips the bone, possibly tumbling as it goes, repending of thickness of bone and remaining velocity of the bullet.

If a hollow point bullet's cavity clogs up with clothing or fur, it is STILL a flat point bullet, compared to the RN.

Another consideration is what happens to the bullet which misses- - - The HP has a better chance of digging into pavement or foliage or a building and either stopping or losing its shape, and so be greatly limited in the distance it travels. A round nose bullet, especially an FMJ, can bounce like a billiard ball from hard surfaces.

Drakejake - - Actually, there are some loads which WILL expand from a snub nose revolver. Both the Remington and Winchester .38 Spl +P 158 gr. Lead Semiwadcutter Hollow Point will deform and make a good start at expanding from a 2" revolver. The Federal NyClad 125 gr. LSWC will do likewise.

At least two of the 125 gr. .357 JHP loads, Federal and Speer Gold Dot, will expand from the 2-1/8 and 2-1/2 inch revolvers. I can't speak to the 9 mm 115 JHP from the J-frame snubs, but I'd be surprised if they didn't expand.

I'm a big fan of the .45 myself, but there ARE other loads which work.


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Old August 29, 2001, 06:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
50% of the time they make a slightly bigger hole than fmj.
You need to buy better hollowpoints. Even if they do expand only 50% of the time, that's a lot better expansion track record than FMJ.

Quote:
Over penetration once you hit the bad guy is not a real concern.
Easy to say, until it happens. The idea that I am reponsible for the final resting place of every round I shoot is somewhat important to me.

Quote:
Missing is a greater danger to innocent bystanders than over penetration.
I train to avoid that, too; see above.

Quote:
Hollow points have several disadvantages:

UNDER penetration especially on a moving badguy (you hit his arm or side and the expanding bullet slows enough so no vitals are touched.
There are many quality hollowpoints on the market right now that penetrate 9-12 inches or more, reliably, and expand even after defeating heavy clothing. Barrier protocols have really changed the nature of the beast

Quote:
Lesser feed reliability on semi autos than FMJ.
Not in most quality modern autos. Even my 1911 is very tolerant of JHP's. Just test the round you plan on using in the pistol you plan on carrying.

Quote:
High cost of practicing with the defense ammo you shoot, leads you to practice with other ammo.
As long as it's the same weight and muzzle velocity, so what?

Quote:
The tendency to carry the same rounds in you gun for a long period of time, leading to rechambering and possible setback.
Keep track of the round you chamber. Avoid rechambering it. If you do, measure it first for OAL/setback. Shoot off at least one magazine of your carry load every few range visits and replace it with fresh rounds. Then again, some folks couldn't tell you how much air was in their car tires to the nearest 20psi...

Quote:
Yep a logical comparison of FMJ and hollowpoints leads me to conclude that FMJ is better.
It led me someplace different.

Quote:
Shot placement is the real key, and sufficient penetration on a moving target to impact vital organs
That is quite true.
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Old August 29, 2001, 07:33 AM   #23
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Anyone who thinks overpenetration isn't a concern needs to take a few minutes and examine the experience of the NYPD. They went to hollowpoints to reduce overpenetration after they had several people injured and/or killed due to overpenetration of suspects.
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Old August 29, 2001, 07:39 AM   #24
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$.02 of INFORMED OPINION

I will continue to recommend, carry, and have my wife carry HP defense loads.

For more than one reason I suggest that correct HP rounds deliver the highest POSSIBLE level of that nebulous thing we label "Stopping Power".

In my experience handgun power is enhanced with correct ammo; your results may vary.

This is not the 'lemming' approach, but a carefully researched and reasoned study of terminal ballistics regarding handgun stopping power.
It's my job.
No one is required to agree with me, or to consider my opinion as more valid than theirs. But if one thinks that HP bullets aren't worth the extra expense perhaps that person needs to conduct more experiments, with better ammo.

As for cost, frankly, who cares? And constant rechambering? Stop, please. Feed reliability? What quality gun (that I would carry) won't feed good ammo?

True, shot placement is still critical, but DVC is what defensive shooting is about.
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Old August 29, 2001, 08:27 AM   #25
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I'm gonna stick with HP's. Why? As has been said, it may plug, and effectively become a FMJ, but even then it's as good as the FMJ, and has the potential to be better. The only thing I might switch to is the new EFMJ, but I haven't decided yet.....
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