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Old March 6, 2013, 11:26 AM   #1
Swampman1
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Target ammo?

Just picked up 3 boxes of Winchester 9mm 115 gr. "target ammo" at Walmart. Could someone explain to a newbie, just what target ammo is good for other than target shooting? Does it have ANY credibility as far as defense? Maybe someone can make a short list of these "classifications" in order of defense/knockdown power etc. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old March 6, 2013, 11:51 AM   #2
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Target ammunition is deadly, however, "stopping power" is greatly reduced. FMJ bullets do not expand and do less tissue damage than a HP does, and may pass through your attacker reliably and still be moving fast enough to be deadly to another. A HP can also pass completely through, but whan a HP expands, the wound channel is bigger, more damage is done, and the target has to absorb more kinetic energy. Best case is the HP enters, expands, penetrates deep enough to get to vital organs, and does not exit; this means that the target had to absorb every bit of energy the round could deliver.

"Stopping Power" is a term that can be associated with tissue damage, the more devastating the tissue damage, the more likely the threat will be killed or immobilized quickly with less rounds fired.

For self defense you definetly want a "Jacketed Hollow Point", the type, weight, and manufacturer vary greatly.

My personal preference for the 9mm is 147 grain Hollow points, I would not use anything less than a 124 grain HP for defense, but that's just me, I am a firm believer in using the heavier bullets available for any given caliber.

Get yourself some name brand ammo that is specifically marketed as "defense" ammo and you should be good.
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Old March 6, 2013, 01:06 PM   #3
Hoosier_Daddy
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What kind of handgun are you talking about? Full size? Compact? Sub compact?
HPs in 124 gr or 124 gr+P or 147 Gr are all pretty effective for home defense with full size handguns. The longer barrel allows for max. velocity.
I can't recommend the 147 gr HP for a compact or sub compact. The heavier bullet coupled with the short barrel doesn't generate a high velocity which to me means less penetration and especially less expansion.
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Old March 6, 2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for the great info guys. I should have mentioned, I'm shooting a compact Glock 19 gen4 - 4" barrell. 124 gr is what I was looking for...but these days you take what you can get.
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Old March 6, 2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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“...but these days you take what you can get.”

I can relate to this statement. WWB (Winchester white box) comes in two different packaging that I know. One is the loose bulk value pack and the other is neatly arranged in some kind of holder. The loose stuff is considered third tier ammo, poorest quality. I suggest that each round be visually inspected and then placed in an ammo holder commonly used by reloaders and then labeled as such.

WWB is low in energy making it more sensitive to how the pistol is held for it to cycle properly. RWS is better but pricier.
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Old March 6, 2013, 04:54 PM   #6
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I dispute some of the assertions in this thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosier_Daddy
I can't recommend the 147 gr HP for a compact or sub compact. The heavier bullet coupled with the short barrel doesn't generate a high velocity which to me means less penetration and especially less expansion.
Several of the newer 147gr loads have an excellent reputation for reliable expansion when fired from any commonplace 9mm barrel length. You don't lose THAT much velocity going from a ~4-1/2" barrel to a ~3" barrel; the bullet will still be moving a good deal faster than most .38Spl or .45ACP bullets, and reliable expansion can be attained perfectly well with those cartridges. Furthermore, 147gr bullets often penetrate better because they have more momentum.

Also, with the types of bullets used in most defensive ammo today, it's a a commonly held misconception that more penetration equals more expansion. A typical modern JHP bullet will expand fully within an inch or two of penetration; in other words, it either expands effectively or it doesn't- more penetration doesn't typically improve matters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 745SW
WWB (Winchester white box) comes in two different packaging that I know. One is the loose bulk value pack and the other is neatly arranged in some kind of holder. The loose stuff is considered third tier ammo, poorest quality.
I've not seen a reliable source confirm that the loose 100rd "Value Pack" WWB is any different than the standard 50rd WWB. What's your source?
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Old March 6, 2013, 05:28 PM   #7
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745SW- No these are in the white box, but not loose. These are in holder with 5 rows of 10. I've gone through about 2 boxes and they've performed flawlessly so far.
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Old March 6, 2013, 05:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
I've gone through about 2 boxes and they've perfromed flawlessly so far.
Well that's my number one concern with SD ammunition.

Let's pull out the old saw here...would you want to be shot with one of these bullets? Well then of course it has some credibility as self defense ammunition. For heaven sakes we've got threads about .22 SD ammunition.

That said there are BETTER choices for SD ammunition than target ammo and I'd definitely go for those over the target ammo but again I'd have to shoot a bunch of them to make sure they functioned flawlessly in my gun.
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Old March 6, 2013, 06:48 PM   #9
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I should have said: "I recommend 124 gr +P JHP or 124 gr JHP for 9 mm compact or sub compact for personal defense."
Apologies to the 147 gr fans that I offended.

Hang in there on finding ammo. It has indeed been a challenge the last 2-1/2 months.
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Old March 6, 2013, 06:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
That said there are BETTER choices for SD ammunition than target ammo and I'd definitely go for those over the target ammo but again I'd have to shoot a bunch of them to make sure they functioned flawlessly in my gun.
I agree. And when I can get my hands on grade A ammo at a reasonable price, I'll stock up. Until then...I like shooting the .26 cents/round ammo.
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Old March 6, 2013, 08:05 PM   #11
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“I've not seen a reliable source confirm that the loose 100rd "Value Pack" WWB is any different than the standard 50rd WWB. What's your source?”

Now you’ve done it causing me to backtrack. Hopefully it's at least something interesting.

Here’s one right here under TFL although the OP did not specify it was the loose pack. I have a malformed WWB cartridge like the OP but in 45ACP. I will post a pic if I can find it.

New Glock 19 Gen 3: Cartridge Malfunction?
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=461764

The tier/grade is not specific to WWB, it’s a general term for ammo. I got the idea from a posting under AK47.net years ago. Pasted below. I don’t have the link but a Google should work if necessary.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the only remaining small-arms ammo factory owned by the government, and is the source of most ammo used by the US military. [Due to the drastic increase in ammo usage with the WoT, Winchester/Olin, the only other company with the loading machines to make mil-spec ammo, has been given a contract for a few million rounds of ammo.]

Lake City, while owned by the government, has always been run by civilian contractors. From 1986-1999, it was operated by Olin (Winchester). The Winchester "white box" "Q-load" ammo (such as Q3131) was Lake City-manufactured ammo stamped with Winchester (WCC) headstamps.

Starting in 2000, the contract to operate Lake City was given to Alliant Techsystems (ATK), who had just bought all the gun-related companies that were formerly owned by Blount. This "shooting sports group" included: Federal, Speer, CCI, RCBS, Weaver, Outers, Ramline, and perhaps one or two others. ATK chose Federal to run Lake City, and thus, the "Federal XMxxx" loads were born.

The US military has extremely tough and strict requirements for ammo, and many layers of Quality Control (QC) checks to ensure that contract ammo is up to spec. Obviously, as with any mass-produced item, some of the product is going to fail QC.

LC-produced ammo that passes all the QC checks is packaged up and sent out to fulfill military contracts. I call this "Grade1" ammo, which means "the best." Note that ammo that is delivered to the military can no longer be surplussed as whole ammo, due to an Executive Order by Klinton in 1997, so as a rule, this ammo will never be available on the commercial market.

Ammo that fails QC in a minor way, such as not being completely moisture-sealed, but is otherwise good ammo is "Grade 2". That's what "XM193" is that Federal sells in 20-round boxes: Grade 2 ammo. The same with XM855.

Ammo that has more serious problems, such as severe dents, bent rounds, split necks, and so on, is "Grade 3" (or worse). Federal is selling this as XM193PD and XM855PD, and packs it loose in 500 round boxes. (For those who haven't been around long, loose-packed ammo is almost always Grade 3 or lower quality, no matter who you buy it from. If it was higher quality, it would have been boxed up and sold at full price!)

It is important to understand that batches of Grade 2 ammo may be made up of a mix of Grade 1 and Grade 2, and that Grade 3 ammo may have both Grade 1 and Grade 2 ammo mixed in. The grade is given based on the worst ammo in the lot.

XM193PD (Grade 3) is sold at a discount compared to the boxed XM193 (Grade 2), and real M193 is not available to the public (unless it was surplussed before 1997). Discounted prices on ammo generally mean the ammo is lower quality, especially when the same ammo is sold for two or more different prices, so this really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Also note that the PD loads are clearly marked "For Practice Use Only", another indication that this is DEFINITELY NOT Grade1 (or even Grade 2) ammo.

Hopefully that clears up any confusion you might have. For those who have purchased "PD" ammo, make sure you hand-sort it first, and cull out any bad rounds. Also, be prepared for a squib load or any other unusual behavior, and make sure you know what to do when and if something occurs.

Finally, do NOT use the PD ammo for anything "important", and especially not for duty or defensive use. This is bargain ammo that will give performance and reliability in proportion to its selling price. TANSTAAFL!

-Troy
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Old March 7, 2013, 03:57 AM   #12
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As most have said there are definitely better self defense rounds but make no mistake about it, "target" ammo is plenty deadly. If you shoot a lot & want to save some money just get a couple boxes of good defense ammo to keep loaded & shoot through the target ammo at the range.
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Old March 7, 2013, 06:27 AM   #13
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Beggars can't be choosers

Right now ANYTHING would be good. Third tier, fifth tier, whatever.

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Old March 7, 2013, 10:38 AM   #14
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sure hollow points are better for SD purposes but would you like to be shot with a FMJ? Theyd work good if thats what you had in your gun and had to use it in that manner.
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Old March 7, 2013, 03:48 PM   #15
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...I was amazed the other day when I went into a gunstore that sent out emails letting everyone know that they were stocked up with ammo...9mm was $18 for 50rnd box for some Federal Target!!! WOW!! They had .45 for $23 per box of 50...i grabbed up 10 boxes of the .45.
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Old March 7, 2013, 04:07 PM   #16
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To keep it simple:

FMJ for paper
JHP for defense
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Old March 7, 2013, 06:32 PM   #17
Swampman1
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Quote:
...I was amazed the other day when I went into a gunstore that sent out emails letting everyone know that they were stocked up with ammo...9mm was $18 for 50rnd box for some Federal Target!!! WOW!! They had .45 for $23 per box of 50...i grabbed up 10 boxes of the .45.
Thats a good price for the 45's, at todays prices. 6 months from now probably 16-18.
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Old March 7, 2013, 07:47 PM   #18
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Sometimes I watch cop shows like "The First 48", and lots of times the victim is shot with FMJ. They typically show some steel or aluminum shells on the scene of the crime, or find a murderers weapon with the ammo in the magazine. Some of the victims do manage to run a short distance, but lots don't make it. FMJ is a whole lot better than nothing at all.
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Old March 7, 2013, 08:04 PM   #19
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Cost is not an indicator of quality.

Target ammo, really a misnomer unless you are talking about match grade or wadcutter ammo isn't really optimized for killing targets or a higher degree of accuracy. What you are really seeing is (98% of the time) the word "Target" being substituted for "cheaper". I like cheaper!
That doesn't mean not good, or not effective, or not deadly.

Assuming you are talking about "major" caliber ammo, 9mm or greater you are talking about just about every load being completely deadly. Sure some supper ammo is better than cheaper ammo, but if cheap ammo is what you got when 2 legged predators are threatening your goodies use that and aim.

Hollow points are good under certain circumstances, but not as good in others. Some super loads have overcome most of these issues such as Hornady Critical Defense and others but at a huge $ increase as much as 150% is some cases. For carry ammo I usually have about 1 box of super ammo for every handgun I expect I may carry or keep in the nightstand.
If the ammo is cheaper, and you practice MORE because you can, that will offset any "quality differences" with all but the worst ammo. If you find something cheap, buy some and if it works well and you are not suprised by shot placement or plagued by cleaning difficulties go back and buy more.
For "manstopper" performance, shot placement is about 3 times more important than caliber or bullet design. All things being equal, shot placement is so much more important that I would say you are better off putting 3 well placed .22LR rounds into a perps sternum than 7 spray and pray .45 ACP rounds which might as well kill innocents as your assailant.

Practice, practice, take-a-class and then practice some more or leave that heater at home.
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Old March 7, 2013, 08:14 PM   #20
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Home defense?

It's all deadly. Hollow points are better man stoppers. Frangables are better for over-penetration thru walls, ect. FMJ are the standard. I mix HP & FMJ.
In these times it's a matter of what you can get.
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Old March 7, 2013, 09:32 PM   #21
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reliability above all...

Regardless of which ammo you carry, make sure it functions 110% reliably in your handgun. Too many people emphasize this brand or load above all others...but if that ammo causes a stoppage at "that critical moment", all is lost.

In a semi-auto pistol, many recommend a minimum of 200 trouble-free rounds of the brand and load before trusting that ammo. These days, it is almost impossible to find a large quantity of any one JHP load. You might be better off sticking with FMJ until the situation eases a bit.
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:09 PM   #22
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Well the day I bought my G19 at a gun show, I also bought a box of ammo(dont ask what it was..I dont remember). Around the 4th of 5th round...a FTE. Since then, I've gone through about 150 rounds of Winchester 115 gr FMJ target ammo, and they have performed flawlessly. With each box I go through, I become more and more confident with this ammo. However, I WILL get a box of JHP to use as my defense ammo. I'd like to find it in 124 gr. if possible.
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Old March 7, 2013, 11:48 PM   #23
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“reliability above all...”

I believe the term “ironic” would be appropriate. My reloads I know are deadly reliable in certain pistols that I usually fire 200 rounds per session. Other pistols of mine have elements like a tight chamber that can cause issues. Hollow points, unlike years in the past, are packed 20-25 per box and labeled “Defense”. Is this marketing or a means of getting more $$ from the consumer for a product they consume comparatively much less?

I think the general consensus is hardball would be the most reliable profile for a bullet. Europeans have enjoyed hollow points that have a bullet profile like that of hardball using a coned tip. Is it politics or consumer demand?
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Old March 8, 2013, 12:01 AM   #24
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Target ammo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by spanishjames View Post
Sometimes I watch cop shows like "The First 48", and lots of times the victim is shot with FMJ. They typically show some steel or aluminum shells on the scene of the crime, or find a murderers weapon with the ammo in the magazine. Some of the victims do manage to run a short distance, but lots don't make it. FMJ is a whole lot better than nothing at all.
Although I agree that FMJ is better than nothing, your assertion here is that no matter what you use, it'll still kill. The purpose of defensive ammo isn't to kill, it's to stop. 9mm FMJ is a terrible stopping round, as is .40. Some would argue that .45 Auto FMJ is a good stopper, but I'd still say a good JHP is even better.

I know times are tough and ammo is scarce. But do yourself a favor and spend the money on good premium ammo for SD. It boggles my mind when people will spend hundreds of dollars on a good SD pistol, but can't seem to spare a few extra bucks on good ammo that was designed specifically to stop an attacker.
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Old March 8, 2013, 12:14 AM   #25
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Quote:
your assertion here is that no matter what you use, it'll still kill
I wrote that lots of victims don't make it, not that they're all killed.

This was in response to the OP's question:

Quote:
Could someone explain to a newbie, just what target ammo is good for other than target shooting? Does it have ANY credibility as far as defense?
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