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Old January 23, 2010, 04:40 PM   #1
45ACPShooter
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HP or FMJ .223 for SD

Well I think I've decided on getting an AR-15. I'm not really too worried about over penetration but in terms of effectiveness what should I be looking for in a SD round. I've heard different theories regarding fragmentation vs controlled expansion. I'll be purchasing an AR with a 16" inch barrel but couldn't imagine having to fire the weapon at anything further away than several meters.

I usually hear that it'd be better to use some kind of hollow point ammo for SD but isn't that going to take away from the a lot of effectiveness of the .223 round? My understanding is that the .223 does a lot of damage because it tumbles and fragments but I assume it wouldn't be doing this if it's a hollow point round. Am I mistaken in this thinking? Also, would .223 hp be able to penetrate soft body armor and vehicles? How significant of an impact would the round being hollow point vs being a full metal jacketed round have on penetration? I guess I am looking for a balanced round.

I apologize if this isn't the correct place for this thread. I'm still trying to learn my way around this forum.
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Old January 23, 2010, 04:56 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Absolutely no way would I use FMJ in a rifle for SD.

FMJ are basically MADE to over penetrate. If over penetration is your concern then FMJ is your LAST choice.

Those other things about tumbling and what not are simply false.

223 has plenty enough energy for defensive purpose with a high quality hollow point bullet. Even with a hollow point, I personally wouldn't use one. There's STILL too much penetration for me.

As for soft armor and vehicles, the answer is generally yes to both but.... this is self-defense we're talking about here. Those issues should be WAY down your list of concerns.

YMMV
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Old January 23, 2010, 05:03 PM   #3
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The DC 'sniper' of a few yours ago used soft points.

The head shots were uniformly lethal.

The chest shots also were 100%.

One gut shot lived.

Nothing over penetrated.

A 50 gr from a .223 that expands (soft point or hollow point) is not going to exit something the size of a human very well.

The wounds were describer as 'showers of lead' in the bodies.
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Old January 23, 2010, 05:06 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
A 50 gr from a .223 that expands (soft point or hollow point) is not going to exit something the size of a human very well.
Of course, those shots were made at distances that were 100 times or more than the typical SD scenario.... ok, maybe only 50 times.
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Old January 23, 2010, 05:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Of course, those shots were made at distances that were 100 times or more than the typical SD scenario.... ok, maybe only 50 times.
SD maybe, HD not so much. Maybe ten times? Most of the shots were around 100 meters. 10 meters inside a home is not unrealistic.

There was no over penetration is the big point. At that range there was still plenty of energy on the round to provide for one shot stopping.
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Old January 23, 2010, 05:47 PM   #6
45ACPShooter
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I'm not worried about over penetration so I was trying to find out what would have more stopping power. I've heard before that .223 FMJs would be more effective than HPs at close range.
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Old January 23, 2010, 05:53 PM   #7
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I would look for some soft point loads like this http://www.hinterlandoutfitters.com/...bx-p-1039.html I would want something a littler heavier than 55gr but these would probably work well.

You could try these http://www.ssarmory.com/556ammunition-2-2.aspx but I've never heard of or used anything from this company (Silver State Armory?) so I don't know their quality.

I don't think .223 HPs expand or fragment much better than .223 FMJs (someone check me on that because I'm not 100%).

And +1 on FMJs being a bad choice, don't use FMJs for anything other than punching holes in paper.
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Old January 23, 2010, 05:58 PM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45ACPShooter
I've heard before that .223 FMJs would be more effective than HPs at close range.
That is unlikely to be true. FMJs are going to more or less make a hole that is .223 inches in diameter. The HPs will expand and/or fragment and make a better wound, either way. Even if they DON'T expand they will still make a wound that is AT LEAST as good.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT TL
Maybe ten times? Most of the shots were around 100 meters. 10 meters inside a home is not unrealistic.
Even at 10 times the distance, the energy transfer and performance factors may be completely different.
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Old January 23, 2010, 06:07 PM   #9
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Non FMJ

I have used these on Coyotes. They are devastating! Federal Premium 55gr Sierra GameKing BTHP V-Shok http://www.federalpremium.com/produc...le.aspx?id=207

Another thing to remeber that the BTHP designed for accuracy MatchKings etc. are not designed for their expansion capacity. They are HPs for flight stabilization and yaw reduction. Furthermore, if you stick with 55gr projectiles at 3200fps you can practice with 55gr FMJ like M193ball. Just a thought.
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Old January 23, 2010, 06:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
are not designed for their expansion capacity.
Amen. Most of the HP .223 you come across are "match" and not designed for expansion like HP pistol bullets - they are HP for accuracy purposes.

I think by going with a rifle for SD you're already way ahead of the game. I really doubt using an HP is going to really mitigate over-penetration if you're shooting a BG in a justifiable SD situation. And you said that's not really a concern for you anyway (me neither).

I also run an AR-15 for SD and I just use whatever ammo I have confidence my weapon will reliably cycle. I don't think after being shot several times at close range by my AR-15 that the bad guy will go, "AH-HA! You should have used hollow points! Now I'm gonna get you!! Mua-hahaha!!" He's going to be more concerned about staring down the barrel of a scary-looking tactical carbine while bleeding profusely from the chest and/or face.

Now I wouldn't carry a handgun with FMJ, but it's more of a consideration with pistols because by nature of the firing platform any pistol caliber is underpowered. With my rifle I'm not so concerned, but that's just me.
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Old January 23, 2010, 07:19 PM   #11
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Troy McClure is absolutely right. Here's another idea

AR15 in 6.8SPC http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.c...ategory_id=247

6.8 SPC SLAMS. The shooting costs are greater though.

6.5 Grendel also rocks same issues as the 6.8 SPC (costs) the ammo is scarcer than than the 6.5 SPC.
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Old January 23, 2010, 07:30 PM   #12
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sorry i gotta do this

EXTREME SHOCK AIR FREEDOM ROUNDS!
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Old January 23, 2010, 07:35 PM   #13
Bartholomew Roberts
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As you can see, the main thing you give up with a soft point is usually shallower penetration; but the wound cavities can still be impressive. Also bonded softpoints have really good penetration as you can see.

Quote:
My understanding is that the .223 does a lot of damage because it tumbles and fragments but I assume it wouldn't be doing this if it's a hollow point round.
IF it tumbles and yaws, fragmentation can produce bigger cavities than softpoints. However, that isn't a guarantee. Even under ideal conditions, M193 and M855 fail to yaw about 25% of the time based on Fackler's work. 5.56 is susceptible to what is called "fleet yaw", this means that the individual barrel can have an effect on how often the round yaws and tumbles. Going with the heavier match bullets helps get better consistency and of course, softpoints that don't rely on that mechanism at all do well regardless of the barrel.

Here is another excellent article you need to read:
http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De..._FAQ/index.htm
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Old January 23, 2010, 07:54 PM   #14
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.223 Federal Gold Medal Match 69 Gr BTHP A very devastating round and preformance

this is the baby brother to the "preferred" sniper round of .308 168gr BTHP GMM


http://www.federalpremium.com/produc...le.aspx?id=146
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Old January 23, 2010, 09:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Most of the HP .223 you come across are "match" and not designed for expansion like HP pistol bullets - they are HP for accuracy purposes.
That's true of the heavier weights (particularly the 77gr loads), but is not true of the lighter JHP's designed for varmint hunting. 40- and 55-grain .223 JHP's expand and fragment extremely well (some say the 40-grainers fragment too well, and don't penetrate enough, ~6" or so). My own favorite .223 HD load is Federal 55gr JHP, which is still on the shallow end of the penetration scale.

Any light .223 JHP will generally penetrate less in building materials and gelatin than most handgun JHP, including 9mm.
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Old January 24, 2010, 03:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
I'm not worried about over penetration so I was trying to find out what would have more stopping power. I've heard before that .223 FMJs would be more effective than HPs at close range.
I have no idea where you got that piece of information, but it is flagrantly false, . . . bordering on just plain goofy.

FMJ ammo is designed, was designed, and will always be designed for penetration, . . . period. It will go through some body armor, . . . through some walls, . . . through some doors, . . . through some windows, . . . that soft points or hollow points will not go through. The soft points or hollow points will smash up, mushroom, and yes, in some cases will even tumble sideways, depending on what and how they strike the body.

For SD or HD, . . . soft point or hollow point will be far, exponentially better than any JHP round for that application.

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Old January 25, 2010, 10:38 AM   #17
Al Thompson
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I really doubt using an HP is going to really mitigate over-penetration
With the right bullet, oh yeah - penetration is much reduced. I tested some 45 grain JHPs (Winchester Varmint) and frankly found them a bit too frangible for HD/SD. My load of choice (I do have over penetration issues) is a 55 gr Ballistic Tip as loaded by Georgia Arms.
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Old January 25, 2010, 12:29 PM   #18
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Even at very close range? At least in my situation that's how I see it going down. And like you said, any round that won't overpenetrate (varmint) I wouldn't use for HD/SD anyway. After reading the atricles people have been posting links to, I'm going to have to revise my "as long as it goes bang" ammo philosophy.

I think I'm going to have the mag I keep with my weapon for HD loaded with something more suited for expansion, and have other magazines loaded with something for barrier penetration handy. I'll use different colored magpuls or some colored electrical tape to tell them apart. Anyone else have a system like this?
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Old January 25, 2010, 12:50 PM   #19
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Honestly this is what I think. If you shoot an intruder COM with a .223 of any composition he will not want to keep bothering you. If you shoot him more than once COM he will REALLY not want to keep bothering you. 99% of the time if he even SEES you with a big scary black rifle he will probably not want to keep bothering you. Even if you should miss and he sees the muzzle flash at night from aforementioned big scary black rifle, he will probably not want to keep bothering you.

Pick an ammo that you trust to feed and fire reliably, practice like it's going out of style with it, and you ought to be alright IMO.
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Old January 25, 2010, 12:57 PM   #20
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If it were me, I would want to reconsider using an AR-15 for HD. While I do have one in my arsenal, my tactical use is to keep back attackers before they enter my house. For example, they have penetrated the fence line and working their way towards the house. The only other time I would consider using an AR-15 for HD is if they are in my great room and I can ambush them from the balcony that overlooks the great room. Any round that I shoot will either stop at the intruder or enter the tile over cement floor. Other than that, my 1911 is my HD gun and it sits Condition One on my night stand each and every night.

I purchased my AR-15 when I owned a horse ranch and wild cats roamed the Everglades preying on livestock. The AR has a Trijicon ACOG scope on it and I could hit anything with extreme accuracy. I think, otherwise it is a bit of overkill to use in a crowded neighborhood. I know that if I miss an intruder with a .45ACP round, it will stop before it penetrates all the way through my wall and enter my neighbors house.
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Old January 25, 2010, 01:46 PM   #21
Bartholomew Roberts
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I think, otherwise it is a bit of overkill to use in a crowded neighborhood. I know that if I miss an intruder with a .45ACP round, it will stop before it penetrates all the way through my wall and enter my neighbors house.
From the link: http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De..._FAQ/index.htm



I can't recommend strongly enough that anyone contemplating home defense with a firearm give that link a read.
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Old January 25, 2010, 10:27 PM   #22
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Thanks Bartholomew Roberts! I was looking for that link to post it. Great site with lots of credible information which could be helpful for many of the posters here.
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