View Full Version : Lets Talk AMMO

September 1, 2008, 01:03 PM
Ive been seeing alot of talk about newer ammo and was curious what everyone is using for PD these days. Specifically I was looking at Cor Bon Powerball and DPX. Winchester Ranger SXT and T have been talked about alot but Im not sure how easy they are to comeby for non LEO?

I CCW currently with a SW 642 38 spl. But am headed to the store this week to get either a glock compact/subcompact or a HK p200sk. Not sure yet since Ive never shot either of them.

September 1, 2008, 06:14 PM
Personally, I like Speer Gold Dot and Corbon, either the standard JHP load or the DPX. I haven't had any trouble getting PD loads in my area. I also see Hornady, Federal, and other PD loads for sale across the counter. All are readily available and none are illegal for civilians to use.

Night Watch
September 1, 2008, 06:15 PM
:) Ranger ammo is generally available somewhere on line; and, you don't have to be law enforcement to purchase it. As far as I'm concerned the, 'T' and, 'B' series are best-of-breed.

More important to my way of thinking is what sort of recoil pulse does a certain brand of ammo produce? If I have to work extra hard in order to place fast and accurate follow-up shots on target, then, I'm not going to be extremely happy with that particular round.

My own favorite 45 acp bullet is Speer, 'Lawman'. In spite of the name anyone can buy it; and, because it's not a JHP configuration it's generally considered to be target ammo. (Something which, 'Lawman' definitely is not!) My favorite 357 magnum bullet for my 3" backup revolver is the Speer 125 grain GDHP.

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what this or that bullet will (or won't) do. I fire two or three times at everything; consequently, I'm much more concerned about how well I'm hitting with the entire group rather than with whatever bullet I happen to be using. ;)

September 1, 2008, 10:21 PM
I have been asking some people I work with that are firearms enthusiasts and one (he's a bit on the cheap side I think) swears that regular old target ammo is just as good as anything. His only real argument for this is "Stand over there for a minute and I'll shoot at you with the target ammo and we'll see if it does the trick..." I'm not really sold on either the concept or the proposed testing of said concept, but what better place to bring it up than here?

I'll admit, I have more target ammo than Self Defense ammo but that stands to reason. I shoot at a paper target far more often than I actually shoot at a living target...

Anyone have thoughts? What are your reasons?
W. Perkins

September 1, 2008, 11:04 PM
I use Hornady TAP +p 230gr .45acp and Speer Gold Dot +p 124gr 9mm; I've been happy with those.

September 1, 2008, 11:11 PM
For my CCW (HK P2000SK 9mm) I carry Federal HST 124gr, for work (Glock 19) I carry Gold Dots 124gr +P

September 2, 2008, 12:01 AM
For the 642 I like the Speer/Gold Dot 135 Grain JHP's.

It comes in boxes of 20 or 50. My suggestion is get the box of 50. It doesn't say "Short Barrel" on it, but it is designed for shorter barrels. The "Short Barrel" marking is nothing more than a marketing ploy designed to help you part with your money.

For the Glock 9 MM you have a few good choices. I prefer to use at least a +P round when I carry 9 MM. Right now I'm using the Corbon 115 Grain +P DPX JHP and that is my favorite pick. My "Duty Load" is my second choice, and one I have no problems with. It's the Federal 115 Grain +P+ JHP. That's the reknown 9BPLE. It's been proven to work and work very well for a long time. I also would have no problem with a 124 Grain +P or 127 Grain +P+.

Those are my choices. Thank you for letting me spend your money. :)


September 2, 2008, 10:04 AM
I carry Federal HST 124gr


I really like this round in 9mm.

how easy they are to comeby for non LEO?
Check sites like ammunitiontogo.com. They have overstock LE ammo from time to time. I buy from them regularly.

September 2, 2008, 10:57 AM
When I started in LE we were issued 38 158 RN lead bullets cast and loaded by prison trustees. Or we could buy our own, (guess what I did).

When I retired they were issuing winchester 125 Grn HPs in 357 or 38 depending on what you carried. They had just started allowing autos and I carried a USGI 1911a1, and was issued 185 HPs for it. But I went back to the 357.

They, the Anchorage Police Dept. pretty much went to autos and I dont know what they issue now.

September 2, 2008, 11:04 AM
Night Watch,

I am curious why you made the following statement..

and, because it's not a JHP configuration it's generally considered to be target ammo. (Something which, 'Lawman' definitely is not!)

when the following is a quote from Speer's website...

Lawman encompasses all our brass-case, general purpose ammunition. Bullets are either Speer TMJ® or conventional full metal jacket depending on the product. There are times you don’t need a hollow point bullet, like when target shooting, training, or out for an afternoon of plinking. Lawman is right at home.

Speer does call it a "general purpose" ammo, but I think they fall short of calling it a "defensive" round.

While non-expanding ammo could be used for defensive purposes, I think there are few that would argue that it is the optimum choice for the task. While a case can be made for large caliber slugs such as .45 in a ball configuration, I think this is typically due to reliable function more than terminal ballistics.


September 2, 2008, 11:15 AM
NMWPerk, I believe the answer to whether "Target" ammo is good enough depends on what one is using for shooting targets. A FMJ .357 is going to be more likely to overpenetrate in a SD situation than a JHP in the same caliber.
You are dealing with two seperate objectives. On the range, you can use whatever you want, those targets won't know the difference. Using a 300 grn. solid .44 Mag would be a good choice for hogs. For SD dealing with humans, not so much. Home made reloads for CCW is another can of worms.
Expense comes into it for many of us. I tote a .44 with Silvertips. I can't afford to use this ammo for range practice, so will be setting up for reloading a lead round with comparable recoil/ballistics.
Hope this was helpful.

September 2, 2008, 11:16 AM
If you're looking for Winchester Ranger T ammo check here (http://www.berettaforum.net/vb/showthread.php?t=15497).

I personally carry 9mm Federal HST 147gr. I like the expansion it achieves. As far as your choice, there was some interesting information at http://frag.110mb.com/.


September 2, 2008, 11:57 AM
I guess Pow'RBall ammo isnt very popular since no one has mentioned using or carrying it...

Night Watch
September 2, 2008, 12:54 PM
Night Watch, I am curious why you made the following statement ...

Justin, you pretty much answered your own question. Speer, 'Lawman' is generally considered to be full power, 'range' and not, 'carry' ammo. As you can probably tell, I disagree. In 45 acp I consider, 'Lawman' to be my personal carry ammo of choice.

(I know: I'm not politically correct; but, like many older gunmen, I know how to shoot; I understand what can, and often does, go wrong with JHP rounds; and, I'm keenly aware of Rule #4.) ;)

September 2, 2008, 01:55 PM
Night Watch,

I thought that your answer would be similar to that, and both both agree and disagree. I also am a believer in a reliability above all else, and will agree that ball type ammo, as a general rule, is less prone to malfunction. I would not consider myself to be inadequately armed if I carried a mil spec 1911 with ball ammo, but I also believe that modern semi auto pistols of quality manufacture (including 1911s) enjoy reliability far above earlier designs. guns of today are quite literally designed with the intention of reliably feeding a vast array of bullet designs.

I also feel that the cause of a malfunction is commonly misunderstood or misdiagnosed. My personal criteria for a carry gun is that it digest 500 consecutive rounds of the intended duty ammo, using all magazines at hand, without failure before I trust it. If a malfunction occurs, caution should be used in determining the cause of the failure, as it could be anything from ammo problems to limp wristing. If a malfunction is blamed on hollow point bullets, but the true cause was a bent magazine lip, switching to ball ammo is not a cure.

I have been fortunate enough to have never had a malfunction during a life threatening situation, but I also maintain and evaluate duty/carry firearms meticulously. One of the things that I find I do not like with LE agencies, mine included, is the mandate of carrying a specific load based on the assumption that it will operate reliably in all officers guns. Your entire duty rig, including belt, holster, firearm, magazines, ammo and ammo carriers should be evaluated as a system, and any deficiencies found should be corrected and tested within that system. It can be very easy to miss a problem if any component is tested on it's own, rather than as a part of the system.

As to the question of stopping power, I will leave that to academics to discuss, as this is where the discussion belongs. Stopping power is not provided by caliber, bullet design or weapon systems. Stopping power is the ability, in combat conditions, to deliver the first telling blow.


September 2, 2008, 02:29 PM
Ranger T
Golden Saber
Gold Dot

Any of the above cartridges will get yoü through the night. I personally prefer heavier bullet weights - 147gr, 230gr, etc..

I agree 100% with Flyboy_451's post

ps ~ get the HK! :cool:

Night Watch
September 2, 2008, 02:59 PM
I thought that your answer would be similar to that, and both agree and disagree. ....

:) Well, Justin, yes; but let's not forget what the United States Military's experience has been with hard ball pistol ammo. (The troops are using it, right now, as we speak!) As Chuck Taylor said in a recent issue of, 'Combat Handguns' magazine:


BL's statement: ‘He, (Chuck Taylor)(Ed.) also, previously recommended ball ammunition for defense in 45 acp caliber over all modern 45 acp caliber hollowpoint rounds other than Winchester Ranger.’

Chuck Taylor's Reply: ‘I can, only, say that I chronograph all loads I test in an Oehler M35P from real guns with the appropriate barrel lengths. So I know the velocities are accurate.’

‘BL’, also, needs to understand that few JHP’s, other than the Ranger SXT, LEO’s, actually expand to any appreciable degree – Especially and specifically including the 45 acp. Thus, my recommendation is for 230 grain FMJ hardball.’

‘It is, after all, the load with which the legend of the 45 acp was made and has never shown any tendency toward overpenetration like the 115 or 124 grain 9mm has. Claims to the contrary are assumptions based upon the 9mm’s well-known tendency towards excessive penetration with FMJ bullets’.

Chuck Taylor, Combat Handguns Magazine, September 2008, Reply To Letters

Then there’s always this:


(And, yes, I'm aware of an occasional contradiction between respective viewpoints. )

September 2, 2008, 03:34 PM
.38 spcl.
Buffalo Bore non+P 158 gr LSWC-HP

.45 ACP
Speer 230 gr Gold Dot
Cor-Bon 230 gr +P HP

.38 Super
Corbon 125 gr DPX

September 2, 2008, 03:36 PM
In my 357's i use 110grain federal hollowpoints that are low recoil,exept when hunting then i pull out the full power 357 rounds.

September 2, 2008, 04:13 PM
I reviewed my post and found a typo that may have caused some to misunderstand my point of view. I originally posted I thought that your answer would be similar to that, and both both agree and disagree.

What I meant to say wasI thought that your answer would be similar to that, and I both agree and disagree.

Meaning that I do agree that .45 ball is a potent round and suitable for defense, but I also feel that the ability of a bullet, that has been proven to operate reliably in a given firearm, enhances performance as a general rule. If the bullet fails to expand, it is no less effective than ball ammo. If it expands and performs as designed, there are benefits such as larger wound channel, increased delivery of energy and others that I may not be aware of. The key being that it is proven to be reliable in the firearm. An FMJ bullet that completely penetrates a target does not deposit all of the energy that it is carrying onto the target. If a HP bullet of the same diameter, weight and velocity passes completely through the same target at the same place, it does not impart 100% of it's energy either, but due to the increased frontal area, it will impart a higher percentage of it's energy and exit the other side at a lower velocity than the first bullet. As well as providing a larger wound channel with the possibility of doing more damage, this is also a consideration with regard to reduced danger of overpenetration. If the reliability of the two rounds is identical in the given gun, I see no benefit to the FMJ.

Reliability is the true key and I have seen just as many failures to feed caused by an FMJ bullet that was seated too deep or a victim of some other type of manufacturing defect as I have stoppages resulting from HPs with a proven track record in a particular gun.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I have always believed that our armed forces used ball ammo as a result of the Hague convention. This is what I was taught while I served, but that information could be invalid as I do not recall having ever read the Hague convention. Going to do that now though, just for educational purposes.


Night Watch
September 2, 2008, 10:01 PM
No, you are entirely correct. The Hague Convention of 1899 banned the use of hollowpoint point ammunition in warfare. (This prohibition originally included, both, rifle and pistol ammunition.) Today, however, hollowpoint point bullets are most often used in low velocity pistol ammunition; and, it is primarily to pistol ammunition that the Hague restrictions presently seem to apply.

(By the way, the United States is NOT an original signator to the Hague Protocols. Good thing, too, because nowadays both Western and Eastern armies presently allow for the use of hollowpoint bullet designs in their military rifles; and, as far as I’m concerned, modern high velocity, ‘tumbling’ or, ‘fragmenting’ rifle bullets are far more destructive than the old British, ‘Dum-Dum’ ever could be!)


‘Overpenetration’? Listen, you and I have a better chance of winning the PowerBall lottery than we do of either getting hit, or hitting someone with an over penetrating pistol round! In all my years I’m only aware of 3 instances where something like this has actually occurred; and, in two of those events, good old fashioned human stupidity or a complete indifference to someone else’s wellbeing played a dominant role.

Let’s talk about something else, too: Exactly what is the logical correlation between a RN/FMJ pistol round penetrating to 26 inches in ballistic gelatin, and a JHP pistol bullet going no more than 12-14 inches? IN THE REAL WORLD could any of this actually matter? If you miss bone, you miss bone. If you make a peripheral hit, the round is going to go sailing on through all the same!

Neither do I buy into the argument that if a hollowpoint point bullet makes it all the way through the target, then, it’s going to create two oversized wounds. I’ve done a lot of hunting in my time; and, I’ve yet to see any relatively low velocity hollowpoint bullet perform this way. The most likely result is for a low velocity hollowpoint to remain inside the torso area.

On the other hand, large RN/FMJ bullets will often punch, both, an entrance and an exit wound, tear up heavy muscle and bust bone in the process. Large RN/FMJ bullets seem to do a better job of traumatizing skeletal structures; and, my own research indicates that this is an unduly important factor with all relatively slow moving pistol ammunition.

With RN/FMJ bullets there is no, ‘gray area’ about whether or not the intended expansion is actually taking place – The stories about JHP’s not expanding according to their design are legion! Neither is there any worry about the bullet’s hollow cavity plugging up with the target’s clothing; something that is always a concern in northern climates!

Where pistol ammunition is concerned I remain a proponent of: large, heavy, slow moving bullets with a broad frontal area. ;)

Ideally I want a bullet that also isn't going to be easily defeated by a barricade; and, I want to be able to fire these bullets from a pistol with a slow recoil impulse, too. For me this implies the use of a 45 acp handgun. (Which, even after 40 years of use, I continue to have a great deal of confidence in, and remain able to fire very well at speed!)

If it's my life that's on the line, I'm not about to trust my fate to: small, light, super fast, and zippy, 'wide mouth' or 'flower petal' pistol bullet designs. ALL PISTOL BULLETS ARE CAPABLE OF PENETRATING TO AN EXCESSIVE DEPTH AND/OR OF, ‘PUNCHING THROUGH’ THE TARGET. The only truly effective way to eliminate overpenetration issues with pistol bullets is to stop using firearms!

(And, quite frankly, I don’t see this happening to any executive branch of either state or federal government at anytime soon!) :)

September 3, 2008, 02:26 PM
Rampant is right on. I'm settled now on DPX and Ranger T's as primary loads but I'll stock any of those he listed when I find a deal.

September 16, 2008, 11:56 PM
I have used 230g Gold Dots with a stiff load of Blue Dot for years and have plenty of confidence in it. The bullets are great and I get about 830 fps out of a 4" bbl. Not the cheapest powder to use considering I could get about the same velocity with maybe half the amount of Bullseye, but pressures are much lower enough that it's worth a few extra bucks a month.
When the original Talons got swiped from the market I bought up a bunch, but these Gold Dots have done very well in gel tests - as far as that goes - and they are already almost 1/2" around!
There are more powerful over-the-counter pistol rounds; I'm not at all concerned about the reloading issue coming up in civil court. Can't imagine any lawyer worth his salt not being able to connect the dots between self-defense and plenty of power.