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Old April 10, 2010, 01:49 PM   #1
DanThaMan1776
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Defensive 5.56/223 Question

I have read that the M193 (lake city made for me) is actually designed to fragment in spite of NATOs restrictions. My understanding is that the bullet is light (55gr) and once it enters the human body it begins to yaw, and once it yaws to about 90 degrees and the resistance is greatest the bullet fragments. Other FMJ 223s and 556s don't do this as well or at all.

My question: would .223 JHP rounds (40-69gr) produce better terminal ballistics and be better suited for defense or would the Lake City FMJ M193 actually produce better results?

I suppose you really have to subscribe to the m193 being a reliable fragmenter. The argument's in favor of m193 is that it doesn't get clogged in clothing, it has far better penetration (will break bones whereas a light varmint JHP round might be deflected), and will fragment every time. However common wisdom has me thinking JHP for defense.

What do you think?
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Old April 10, 2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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I dont think its actually designed to do so, but rather that it just happens to do so because of its limited design and dimensions to allow a bullet that stays together.
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Old April 10, 2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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I prefer using the Nosler Partition, or Barnes TSX for self defense. We aren't bound by any NATO agreements, so use a bullet that will perform. :2cents:
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Old April 10, 2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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However common wisdom has me thinking JHP for defense.
12 pellets of 00Buck is a far better choice.
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Old April 10, 2010, 02:47 PM   #5
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While I would NEVER poo-poo the power of buckshot, the .223 has it's place in self defense. It doesn't penetrate as much as buck, or even 9mm. There is a gel test that shows the differences if I can find it.
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Old April 10, 2010, 02:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
would .223 JHP rounds (40-69gr) produce better terminal ballistics
Yes. Heavier weights are better generally. I use 75gr OTMs in my 1/9 and 1/7 twist ARs.


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12 pellets of 00Buck is a far better choice.
Good terminal effects, but shotguns have a lot of disadvantages. Especially a 12Ga.
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Old April 10, 2010, 02:49 PM   #7
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In my humble opinion, 5.56 is not a defensive round, nor is a rifle. Rifle’s are offensive and handguns or shotguns are defensive. With that said…. A few years back I read a coroner’s report on the internet about a bad guy that got hit by a three round burst at 50 feet with a 5.56/.223 loaded with 55 grain Hornady V-Max (or was it Nosler Ballistic tip?) bullets. The report actually made me squirm, usually reading graphic reports doesn’t bother me, but this one made me shake my head a few times. According to the report, there wasn’t an organ in the guys body that didn’t have a hole in it, including his brain. Fragments of the bullets that hit him in the chest actually turned upward and stopped in his brain. A few pieces somehow followed the bones in his arms and came out the elbows. The guy was a real mess. So maybe looking into varmint rounds for close quarter personal defense is worth investigating.
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Old April 10, 2010, 04:34 PM   #8
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Old April 10, 2010, 04:58 PM   #9
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My primary self defense weapon for the home is a shotgun.

When fired from a 20-26" barrel, the M193 5.56mm round is a superb hog killer out to 150-175 yards. After about 175 yards it quickly loses its magic.
When the hog is hit low behind the shoulder; the bullet penetrates 5-7", yaws and fragments. The bullet shreds the heart, lungs and diaphragm.


Col. Fackler is a retired Army medical doctor. Military bullet wound patterns:


http://bajaarizona.org/fklr/fklr.html
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Old April 10, 2010, 05:33 PM   #10
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Pretty much any 5.56mm round you can reliably make more or less COM hits with is a fight stopper. Perfect training trumps perfect bullet selection.
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Old April 10, 2010, 10:58 PM   #11
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http://razoreye.net/mirror/ammo-orac...cle_Mirror.htm
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Old April 10, 2010, 11:21 PM   #12
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Im with mike38 on this. I dont believe that a rifle (other than a 12 guage) is the optimum weapon to use for defense.
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Old April 11, 2010, 12:02 AM   #13
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I keep Hornady Tap in my AR. Great round, accurate, performs well.

Even better is the Hornady Urban Tap, designed for police use in urban scenarios. Tough as hell to find though.

Seriously though, if you want your AR to be a defensive tool, pick a load that will do the job. Tap is a great round.

http://www.hornady.com/store/TAP-FPD-Bullets/
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Old April 11, 2010, 12:20 AM   #14
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My dept spec'd Federal w/ Nosler BT's for patrol rifles until TAP came along and the TAC guys lobbied for it's inclusion. Seems the best SD rifle bullet is a varmint bullet, not an AP bullet. Kinda makes sense, right?
There's a 12ga hugging my bedpost, BTW...
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Old April 11, 2010, 01:00 AM   #15
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However common wisdom has me thinking JHP for defense.
Many hollow-point rifle bullets are not designed to expand. The hollow point is only there because the core is put in from the front of the jacket allowing for a more uniform base and better accuracy. If you want expansion don't just pick up any BTHP bullet. Get a ballistic tip or something of that nature.

That said, if defending my home I'll always grab the 870 with 5 rounds before my AR with 20-30.
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Old April 11, 2010, 01:54 AM   #16
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The picture that RT posted sums it up nicely. Most of the "problems" with the 5.56 against people have to do with either the ammo used, the velocity at impact, or both. Even when it fragments, ball will always have inferior terminal ballistics to a well designed expanding round. FMJ is cheaper though.

Of course the photo also shows that one needs to be careful to pick a load that also gives adequate penetration.

Quote:
In my humble opinion, 5.56 is not a defensive round, nor is a rifle.
I took a quick look in the dictionary.

Rifle: Noun, A firearm with a rifled bore, designed to be fired from the shoulder.

OK, got that cleared up.

As for being a defensive round, that depends on the weapon and the load. A bolt action .223 with a 26" barrel would not make a very good defensive rifle at close range. My Mini-14 factory folder would make an excellent defensive rifle at close range.

Quote:
Rifle’s are offensive and handguns or shotguns are defensive.
That's funny, shotguns and handguns have been used as offensive weapons to great effect throughout history. Most notably in WW1 trench warfare. To the point that the Germans wanted them banned. (They were perfectly OK with full-auto burp guns though. )

A rifle, shotgun, or handgun is not inherently offensive or defensive. It all depends on the configuration and what the operator intends to do with it.

Quote:
With that said…. A few years back I read a coroner’s report on the internet about a bad guy that got hit by a three round burst at 50 feet with a 5.56/.223 loaded with 55 grain Hornady V-Max (or was it Nosler Ballistic tip?) bullets. The report actually made me squirm, usually reading graphic reports doesn’t bother me, but this one made me shake my head a few times. According to the report, there wasn’t an organ in the guys body that didn’t have a hole in it, including his brain. Fragments of the bullets that hit him in the chest actually turned upward and stopped in his brain. A few pieces somehow followed the bones in his arms and came out the elbows. The guy was a real mess. So maybe looking into varmint rounds for close quarter personal defense is worth investigating.
Newtons 2nd law of motion calls BS on that report. Fragments are not going to move 90 degrees to the point of impact. What CAN happen is small fragments can get into the larger blood vessels and get pumped around the body.

Sorry to be nitpicky.

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Perfect training trumps perfect bullet selection.
That's like saying that Mario Andretti should be able to win the Indy 500 in a souped up Dodge Intrepid. Superior training will compensate for inferior equipment, but only up to a point. It takes, at most, a few hours of reading and research to choose the best available bullet for your use and about 5 minutes to order a case of it online.

Quote:
Im with mike38 on this. I dont believe that a rifle (other than a 12 guage) is the optimum weapon to use for defense.
Could you please elaborate further and explain your position? As was pointed out in another thread, shotguns have many disadvantages.

1. High recoil.
2. Too precise. In typical civilian defensive situations you're not going to get a spread more than 6" so you'll have to aim it just like you would a rifle.
3. Not precise enough. The spread of shot makes precision shooting extremely difficult should the need arise.
4. Slow followup shots because of recoil.

I'm not trying to be confrontational, but your view is not very well explained in your post. I have nothing wrong with someone having an opinion different than mine, but I would like to see the reasoning behind it.
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Old April 11, 2010, 04:27 AM   #17
Bartholomew Roberts
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I have read that the M193 (lake city made for me) is actually designed to fragment in spite of NATOs restrictions.
Actually neither M193 nor M855 were designed to fragment (which explains why they do it so inconsistently). It just is a side-effect of using a small, high velocity round. Also the Hague Conventions restrict the use of expanding bullets and bullets "designed to cause unnecessary suffering" and a fragmenting FMJ is neither as the convention was originally understood.

Quote:
My understanding is that the bullet is light (55gr) and once it enters the human body it begins to yaw, and once it yaws to about 90 degrees and the resistance is greatest the bullet fragments. Other FMJ 223s and 556s don't do this as well or at all.
Any spitzer bullet will yaw when it hits a mostly liquid medium like flesh. What happens is the pointy nose has less weight and slows down faster than the rear of the bullet. Eventually the rear of the bullet is moving faster than the nose and the bullet yaws. However, WHERE the bullet yaws depends on the round.

With M193, about 85% of the time, the bullet travels 5" before the yawing process begins (which is relatively short compared to say 7.62x51 M80 ball). The lighter 55gr round has less mass and is travelling at high speed. Having less mass, this means that the loss of speed and subsequent yaw is more dramatic. One the 55gr bullet begins to yaw, it is still travelling faster than heavier bullets but is small enough that it is sometimes too fragile and breaks apart (typically at the cannelure) and sprays the expanded temporary cavity with fragments. The tiny fragments cause the already stretched tissue to tear (kind of like if you started poking pinholes in a rubber band as it was stretched), causing damage far beyond its size.

Rounds with thicker copper jackets tend not to fragment (though they still yaw given enough time) because they don't break apart. Some 5.56 is intentionally made with thicker jackets so as not to fragment (British Radway Green and Swiss GP90) because those countries have a different interpretation of the Hague Conventions than we do.

Quote:
My question: would .223 JHP rounds (40-69gr) produce better terminal ballistics
JHPs will be a lot more consistent in their behavior than FMJ and some of the better ones will perform better through various barriers than FMJ. Having said that, in terms of purely making the biggest possible hole in bare ballistics gel, the award goes to the Hornady 75gr and Sierra 77gr open-tip match rounds. There are a lot of factors that effect wounding and some wide variations in .223 ammo, so it is hard to say what is better.

To give an example, a 40gr JHP in bare gel produces a massive sized cavity; but it only penetrates about 5" of ballistics gel. If you get a classic B21 silhouette (unobstructed, front torso shot), that round is probably going to perform impressively. Now have the same attacker raise his arms in front like he is pointing a firearm back at you and the round will probably severely damage an arm; but it isn't going to stop the fight because it lacks the penetration.

Same scenario with M193 that yaws late - with the unobstructed B21 silhouette, you'll need perfect shot placement because the bullet won't start to yaw until it is within an inch of exiting and average human male. However, with the arms out in front, this same round will penetrate right through and be yawing/fragmenting right in the perfect spot.

This is why expanding rounds are often preferred even though technically the yawing/fragmenting rounds can produce bigger wound cavities in bare gel. You have more consistency of performance.
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Old April 11, 2010, 08:06 AM   #18
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Hugue is commonly believed to be a humane method of waging war, as the signatories were accepting the idea that expanding point bullets caused more suffering.

In light of the less advanced state of medical arts and large calibers used, expanding bullets did make unrepairable tissue damage. What has resulted is the use of Full Metal Jacket rounds, which don't expand and stop relatively short in tissue. They go right through.

In the civilian law enforcement world, that soon was shown to be a problem. FMJ bullets don't stop as often. It became standard for LEO use to have highly developed hollow points that could even be considered one shot stoppers - unlikely, but possible. The comparable result is that a perpetrator shot by hollow points may need as little as one shot to stop, with FMJ, multiple rounds may be necessary.

Shot once, or shot five times? It's reported and suffered by vets that took mulitiple rounds and continued to fight, and reported and suffered by LEO and civilians that took one round and stopped.

Who suffers more is open to discussion.

The US Army asked JAG to revisit our voluntary adherence to the Hague Convention on the subject of hollow points, and JAG responded that rounds developed for superior aerodynamics could be hollow point - but not for superior expansion. With that in mind, be advised we now have fielded and use hollow point bullets in combat operations.

For civilian and LEO use, hollow points are the preferred and traditional round to use, are more likely to stop an assailant, and possibly considered more humane. It could be said that someone only fired one round to stop an attacker, or fired mulitple rounds of debilitating and ineffective full metal jacketed military rounds to do the same, causing collateral damage to the neighbor's property and carelessly endangering the lives of them and their pets.

FMJ is a military round designed by anti war humanitarians, and that alone should be a clue it's not a valid point of view from a technological standpoint. It's also subject to the law of unintended consequences, which is shown to be the introduction of mechanisms and techniques to cause multiple wounds.

How humane is that?
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Old April 11, 2010, 08:54 AM   #19
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FMJ is a military round designed by anti war humanitarians, and that alone should be a clue it's not a valid point of view from a technological standpoint. It's also subject to the law of unintended consequences, which is shown to be the introduction of mechanisms and techniques to cause multiple wounds
.

Interesting. I was under the impression that FMJ bullet wounds were lengthier and more expensive to treat, hence, a 2-fold return of removing soldiers from the battle field while costing the opposing force more money to treat their wounded (as opposed to a funeral), depleting 2 resources at the same time.

In fact, I have heard this theory explained many, many times.
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Old April 11, 2010, 10:01 AM   #20
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In fact, I have heard this theory explained many, many times.
In fact, you may have, but that doesn't make it a fact, sort of like the fact that you can't use a .50 BMG against people so soldiers are taught to shoot at uniforms that contain people. You can use the .50 BMG to shoot people and the military has been doing so since the .50 BMG was adopted.

The notion that a wounded soldier takes more soldiers out of the battle only applies to those instances where the soldiers care (either personally or by order). This is something that doesn't appear to be a significant factor in engagements in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and even in Iraq.
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Old April 11, 2010, 10:11 AM   #21
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This topic comes up a lot. It always seems to involve people whose answers are opinions without any supporting data, followed by people who provide data, and then followed by more opinions without any supporting data and which actually go against the data.

Statements such as "rifles should not be used for self-defense" are illogical. Why not use a rifle for self-defense? If you say, "For me, I prefer a shotgun" without providing some hard data in support, that's okay, there's nothing wrong with having a preference, but it doesn't answer the question because you are giving a mere preference.

Whether something is the right tool, or at least an appropriate tool, for self-defense depends entirely on the situation. No rifle, shotgun, handgun, katana sword, K-Bar knife, nightstick, pepper spray, or fist is the best tool for every self-defense situation.

If you are interested in self-defense, you need to figure out your likely self-defense situations. You will have several, and you will need different responses depending on whether you are attacked at home, in your car, or in the mall. Then look at the data and figure out what works best for your individual situations.

Quote:
Even better is the Hornady Urban Tap, designed for police use in urban scenarios. Tough as hell to find though.
The supply seems to come and go. Here are some places where you can find it:

http://www.ammunitiontogo.com/catalo...a&filter_id=18

http://wrigleyammo.com/catalogammuni...6-c-21_22.html

http://www.botachdefense.com/Hornady...nady-80265.htm

I've had good luck with Ammo to Go and Wrigley's. I've heard good things about Botach, but I have never personally used them.

NOTE ADDED: The stuff in the orange boxes is the Urban TAP.

Last edited by WhyteP38; April 11, 2010 at 11:13 AM.
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Old April 11, 2010, 10:15 AM   #22
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The notion that a wounded soldier takes more soldiers out of the battle only applies to those instances where the soldiers care (either personally or by order). This is something that doesn't appear to be a significant factor in engagements in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and even in Iraq.
+1. Plus, I would add that we rarely seem to fight enemies whose soldiers care either personally or by order. So to think our military factors that notion into its choice of ammo seems at best highly unlikely.
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Old April 11, 2010, 11:39 AM   #23
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Interesting. I was under the impression that FMJ bullet wounds were lengthier and more expensive to treat, hence, a 2-fold return of removing soldiers from the battle field while costing the opposing force more money to treat their wounded (as opposed to a funeral), depleting 2 resources at the same time.
Nope, that's just myth told to recruits when they ask why they shoot people with ammunition that is illegal to use when hunting game at home.

The short version of the REAL story goes as follows:

The British develop the 303 round and adopted it for their armed forces to replace the .577/450 Martini-Henry round. The British found that while the 303 was fully capable of producing fatal wounds, those wounds often did not quickly incapacitate the enemy. The result was that technologically inferior, but numerically superior forces, like the Zulus, could overrun British forces (Sounds familiar doesn't it?)

A solution was soon found. By having the jacket material on the nose of the bullet removed, the round would deform and expand when it impacted tissue. This is what happened with the older lead rounds, not because of design, but because the softer lead bullets could not maintain their shape as well as a jacketed bullet and thus would flatten on impact.

Well, the Germans in 1898 saw an opportunity to make the British look bad and said that the new expanding rounds were "inhumane" and "violated the laws of war". These accusations were of course, to put it nicely, pure bull***t. The expanding 303 rounds still produced smaller and less fatal wounds than the older .577/450 Martini-Henry round did but the efforts of the Germans were effective and expanding bullets were banned under the 1899 Hauge convention, of which the US did not sign.

Think of the whole thing as a 19th century version of the Black Talon fiasco in the early 90's.

The Germans tried to pull the same stunt with Shotguns during WWI but we told them to go pound sand. Of course the Germans didn't like shotguns, but had no problem with deploying submachine guns and mustard gas. Showing the downright stupidity of the whole thing

So yes, the reason militaries don't use expanding ammo is because of a 19th century political ******* match based on lies and misinformation. Not something that drill instructors want to have to explain to the troops. Thankfully civilians are not bound by such stupidity in most places and can use ammunition that makes the 5.56 far more effective.

Quote:
JHPs will be a lot more consistent in their behavior than FMJ and some of the better ones will perform better through various barriers than FMJ. Having said that, in terms of purely making the biggest possible hole in bare ballistics gel, the award goes to the Hornady 75gr and Sierra 77gr open-tip match rounds. There are a lot of factors that effect wounding and some wide variations in .223 ammo, so it is hard to say what is better.
Very good post, but I do have to offer a counterpoint to that statement. While I agree that those rounds are an improvement over standard FMJ rounds, they are still not ideal. They, like other non-expanding rounds, still travel too far before fragmenting in gelatin IMHO unless you happen to be shooting an evil Fat Albert.



This MAY be a good thing if your shot travels through an outstretched arm before entering the chest or abdomen of an attacker, but will be a very bad thing if you get a direct hit and the round has mostly passed through the BG before it starts to fragment. Or if you happen to graze them, the round will pass completely through without yawing or fragmenting. Minimizing the injury to the attacker.

One also might argue that rendering an attackers arm unusable is almost as good since it greatly compromises their ability to continue the fight and gives you an advantage. In the 86 shootout, hits on limbs greatly affected the flow of the battle. Agent Mireles was unable to deliver effective fire from his shotgun because his left arm was rendered unusable. He was also unable to reload the weapon because of this injury and had to transition to his revolver. Agent McNeill was unable to reload his revolver because of injury to his hand. Platt was still able to return effective fire despite the loss of use of his right thumb and other injury to his right arm, but the injury did cause him to lose control of his revolver.

The only reason I see for using rounds loaded with the open-tip match bullets is:

1. You're not allowed to use expanding ammo.
2. It's all you have.
3. You're going to be shooting through a lot of windshields.

If none of those apply you would probably be better served with rounds like the ones that RT posted. Personally, if I had to pick form the ones in his photo I would use one of the bottom 5 in his pic. Quick expansion and you still get fragments that penetrate 12" or close to it.
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Old April 11, 2010, 02:58 PM   #24
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Interesting stuff, Crosshair.

For home SD, I was thinking the T223L and T223E looked like good choices, in that order.

Right now, I have the Hornady Urban TAP 60 grain #83286, which offers a little more penetration than the 50-grain version, just in case I need it, but a little less penetration than the 75-grain version, which seemed a little too much for my situation.

I can tell you from personal experience that the 60-grain version will absolutely explode a watermelon at 25 yards. It was there one moment and gone the next. Not a piece left that was bigger than 3 inches, and those pieces were pretty much jellified. I suspect the hydrostatic shock effect was greater than would be if the bullet hit a living creature, given the more rigid rind than you have with skin (meaning more likely to burst than to stretch), but it was an impressive sight.
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Old April 11, 2010, 03:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Very good post, but I do have to offer a counterpoint to that statement. While I agree that those rounds are an improvement over standard FMJ rounds, they are still not ideal. They, like other non-expanding rounds, still travel too far before fragmenting in gelatin IMHO unless you happen to be shooting an evil Fat Albert.
I think you are generalizing too much here. This is true of the 77gr SMK; but the Hornady 75gr TAP typically yaws and upsets in less than an inch of ballistics gel. The larger mass of these rounds not only means a lbigger maximum cavity; but keeping the cavity bigger over more of the path of the bullet.

Quote:
The only reason I see for using rounds loaded with the open-tip match bullets is:

1. You're not allowed to use expanding ammo.
2. It's all you have.
3. You're going to be shooting through a lot of windshields.
Actually, the newer hollowpoints like the 55gr and 62gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (LE223T1 and LE223T3 above), the 62gr SOST, and the 70gr Barnes TSX all outperform OTMs through windshield and other intermediate barriers.

However, something like the Hornady 75gr TAP looks to me about perfect for a home defense round. You have a large cavity that starts at 0.5" and continues to about 7" while the core of the round penetrates to about 13". It isn't the best round through barriers or say a chest rig of AK mags; but for home defense it seems to do a nice job of combining big cavity and adequate penetration without being too aggressive on penetrating barriers.
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