View Full Version : .223 through common household structures

Bartholomew Roberts
November 16, 2012, 07:57 AM

The author of this blog had an abandoned home complete with left behind furniture, appliances, food in the refigerator, etc. Like any good gun nut, he used the opportunity to test which of these items were cover and which were concealment when fired at with: M193, M855, Hornady 75gr TAP, and Hornady 75gr Training.

In addition to just being interesting, a lot of people will probably find it informative.

November 16, 2012, 10:42 AM
Great link

Metal god
November 16, 2012, 01:21 PM
I find it informative . It shows How limited the 5.56 round really is :(. Unless it's green tip don't plan on it going through anything and if it makes it through it will be much les effective . Time to stock up on the green tip stuff :D

I would have loved it if he would have used some other HD guns - shotgun , 9mm , 45acp etc as well as some bigger rifle rounds While he had the chance . That would have been cool

November 16, 2012, 03:54 PM
I find it amazing that people consider using a rifle for home defense. Why not a trusty shot gun? They are far cheaper than a AR and less aiming when in low light.

November 16, 2012, 04:13 PM
Isn't it funny how we think? Usually the 5.56/.223 threads are about worry of overpenetration, (Propane tanks, bedroom walls etc.) now is the opposite. I generally keep mine loaded with 50 grain HP's specifically to keep penetration down plus its a platform my wife is very familiar with. Me not so much but am learning.:D

November 16, 2012, 04:30 PM
Most of my buddies keep their refrigerators full of beer so I doubt they would use one as a shield and sacrifice all the brewski! :D

November 16, 2012, 04:35 PM
Isn't it funny how we think?

Yes. I was a bit surprised how close a refridgerator came to stopping a penetrator round.

Does Frigidair make body armor?

November 16, 2012, 10:43 PM
Hellow gentleman

I am the same "shawn" that wrote the article and did the testing roberts linked too

I am going to be doing more this weekend. 5.45, 6.8 double aught and pistol stuff

to the guy talking abouta shotgun. Number 4 buck over penetrated worse then what you saw. I am saving that for part 2. I dont suppose I need to comment about shooting anything in low light. shotgun or otherwise. thats why we use weapon mounted lights.. A well known trainer recently shot his own student in a shoot house because he didnt not have a light on the gun when shooting in the dark and could not do target ID.. among many other safety violations,.

To anyone who thinks HP in a light weight will keep penetration down, you are mistaken. IF anything, stick to a ballistic tip. with a very high velocity.,to get the jacket to frag and come apart ASAP when it hits anything. HPs SP, ball, and OTM will loose the jacket and just keep going. Keep checking the website to see the next few parts of the testing. I will be shooting through glass. more walls. drawers, and some brick to see what happens. Thanks for reading the website and thanks for sharing it on this forum

if you have any questions or requests to see me test something email me at

[email protected]

Metal god
November 16, 2012, 11:04 PM
I am going to be doing more this weekend. 5.45, 6.8 double aught and pistol stuff

By any chance you live in southern California ? I want to go with you ;) this sounds fun I'll bring some guns and ammo for them . :D

November 16, 2012, 11:50 PM
While you may have something there with the low light, I did not say any thing about shot size.

If you live with any one or in a neighbor hood then you really need to think about what you plan on discharging in your house during a home invasion. When your adrenalin is up and you are frightened it is easy to make mistakes. I would not want to find out what its like to live with the fact that you shot and injured or killed an innocent person.

November 17, 2012, 07:10 AM
Shawn, a little confused. Are you saying that a lightweight thin jacketed varmit bullet (NOT a match bullet) that is designed to come apart is going to hold together?

November 17, 2012, 08:44 AM
Great job, Shawn.
Here is an interesting link from Federal

November 17, 2012, 10:38 AM
Panfisher, Im saying it does come apart., the jacket will peel off and it frags. But the biggest part of the core still will travel on for some ways through typical household material. Im not sure if it is because the harder wood, boards etc, deform the HP and will not allow it to rupture correctly like soft flesh and meat will or because it key hols faster not giving the open cavity really anything to work against. I just dont know why, But I have seen that a varmint and matchking HPs cores still go through through more the inside walls.

the ballistic tips frag very, very fast. and just a few pieces of tiny fragmentation will make it through the obstacle. I would not want to get hit with that either. but it does not seem to be enough to put kills you. Anything can happen of course, but it in some cases would not go all the way through the cardboard target

November 17, 2012, 12:21 PM
Interesting, I've fired many many ballistic tips into everything from antelope to deer to coyotes and prairie dogs and I love them, just a little expensive as my ArR seems to always be hungy for more ammo. I reloaded some 50 grain Dogtown HP's for the door hanging duty hmm always something new to think about.

November 17, 2012, 04:01 PM
Why not a trusty shot gun? They are far cheaper than a AR and less aiming when in low light.

I’m not so sure about the “less aiming” part. At home defense ranges of 10 to 15 feet, shotgun patterns spread to 1 inch, 2 at the most? It’s very possible to miss with a shotgun with that small of a pattern.

November 17, 2012, 06:54 PM
I wouldn't be worried about using 223 for home defense after seeing these results.

If your plan involves shooting someone hiding behind your fridge our suppressing the intruder until they hide behind your couch and shoot them though it, then you should probably stop getting your tactics from Call of Duty.

November 17, 2012, 09:25 PM
I think people want to know about this not because they are going to get into another TET offensive, but because what may happen with s shoot through

I did more testing today with handgun ammo and other calibers, but my Dad had heart problems and I was at the ER most of this evening. I will try to get it up for all to see tomorrow. no promises

November 17, 2012, 09:55 PM
Years ago we, Police Officers, shot all kinds of things from car motors and doors to stoves to refrigerators, street signs to RR ties. We used shotguns, .357, .44 mag and .45 Auto. As a general rule the older the appliance the better it stops any round. Those little squat refrigerators with the rounded corners are tough to get through. Likewise those old pre-50 cars and trucks are like light tanks. A 5 gallon jug of water appears to stop nearly anything, at least the kinda gun you'd face in a gunfight.

November 17, 2012, 10:09 PM
Shawn, hope to see the info, but hope even more your dad is OK, worry about family first, we will all still be here later.

November 18, 2012, 05:03 AM
My comment wasnt aimed at you shawn, the testing is very insightful. It was aimed at anyone who would be put off 223 for HD after seeing it not penetrating a fridge or book case.
Did you do any testing on whether it penetrated the interior or exterior walls of the house?

November 18, 2012, 06:23 PM
I find it amazing that people consider using a rifle for home defense. Why not a trusty shot gun? They are far cheaper than a AR and less aiming when in low light
An AR-15 is a far superior home-defense weapon than a shotgun in my opinion. A shotgun's recoil can be difficult for some people, especially smaller, newer shooters, whereas the AR-15 has barely more recoil than a .22. Also, most AR-15s are shorter than most shotguns and much easier to use one-handed. Pump shotguns can be cumbersome and require two hands, and semi-autos aren't nearly as reliable as an AR-15; and unless the shooter is extremely consistant, even a pump is less reliable than an AR. And I can put 2 or 3 rounds center mass as fast as I can hit just once with a shotgun, making the AR far more devastating in the same amount of time. And contrary to popular belief, you do need to aim with a shotgun; at home defense ranges the blast is only going to spread a few inches. Also, an AR is going to have a much higher magazine capacity and will be much faster to reload. In addition, light plastic-tipped .223 varmint rounds will punch through soft body armor but will penetrate far less through walls than buckshot, meaning you're less likely to kill your neighbors or family members in another room.

There's nothing wrong with using a shotgun for home defense, but I think an AR-15 is easier to use, more effective (especially against multiple attackers and people wearing body armor), and also safer for innocent bystanders because of less penetration through walls. The only real disadvantage is cost.

November 18, 2012, 06:56 PM
Thanks for the well wishes fellows. I appreciate it.

I got the pictures uploaded and am going to start writing it as soon as I finish this post. Good news is I am getting a GoPro camera and I intend to do this stuff again on video so everyone can watch it and see it as it happens. SO check the site later tonight, I used a 545 some ballistic tipped 556 , a x39 and some 45 acp. I think some people are going to be surprised as I was over a few things that happened during the "testing"

November 18, 2012, 08:02 PM
Here is a link to make it easier for you guys


November 18, 2012, 09:51 PM
Interesting info, I think I will keep my HD load in my AR, as it doesn't seem that any of them performed markedly better. The rifle seems to like it and so do I. As for the rifle vs. shotgun arguments, whatever you like and can use with skill. I know what I can do with a rifle, and my wife is oh-so-familiar with the AR (as long as she doesn't look for the 3rnd burst!).

November 18, 2012, 10:09 PM
Thanks Shawn. Best wished for your Dad.
We used to use Sears Catalogs (uber thin pages) for 30-06 backstops, seemed like 250 pages was about the max any rounds would go through. Books with thicker pages didn't seem to provide as much stopping power.

Would love to see same testing with a .338 or .50BMG. My guess is there is little good cover in a home for either of these two rounds. We lived in S. Korea near a famous cemetery battleground. Amazing what a .50 will do to a 5-6" thick piece of granite...

Again thanks for the link, and tell Dad all of TFL is routing for him.

November 19, 2012, 08:51 PM

50BMG is doable. One of my best friends owns a Barrett M82. I didnt think about that. he has a 338 lapua mag as well.

Maybe thats beyond the focus of the testing, but maybe if enough people want to see it, I will do it

going to try out the 6.8 SPC and some 9mm next I think

My personal HD round is the 55 grain barnes TSX bullets as loaded by corbon. Over penetration is not an issue for me. Handgun ammo is 45 ACP corbon DPX 185 gr +P barnes solid copper HPs

Metal god
November 20, 2012, 01:47 AM
50BMG :D:D:D

November 20, 2012, 10:24 AM
Great link.

I think I'll stick with TAP but it's good to know if you need to shoot someone two rooms away who is hiding behind your Sofa, 855 will do it. :D

Willie Lowman
November 21, 2012, 11:49 PM
.50 BMG and .338 mag are getting a little far toward the realm of the imaginary when it comes to home defense.

That said, tests of .30-06 or .308 would be cool though...

November 22, 2012, 11:44 AM
For me, a 5.56 is better than for home, self, and camp defense than a shotgun. The ONLY place where a shotgun is better is stopping power, and a 5.56 is no slouch in that department either.

November 22, 2012, 12:16 PM
I have some 45 gr varmint rounds loaded as a HD mag. Figure light and fast will be more easily stopped, less momentum.

November 22, 2012, 02:39 PM
Yeah, light, fast varmint rounds are perfect for HD, unless you're running a 1:7 twist. Then I'd stick with 55 gr. bullets, 50 at the lightest; but I'd test them first of course.

November 22, 2012, 02:48 PM
And of course, happy Thanksgiving everyone!

November 22, 2012, 09:07 PM
It's an interesting read. I'm especially surprised by the 7.62x39mm. I've seen people advocating this cartridge for increased barrier penetration over 5.45mm and 5.56mm. It seems like it came up short.

November 23, 2012, 10:34 PM
I dont know why people say you need a heavier bullets for 1/7 twist and light bullets wont shoot as accurate

that is just not true. 1/7 is the most versatile twist for the AR15 and the 556 round

take a look here


November 24, 2012, 02:49 AM
I wasn't advising 55 gr. bullets or heavier in a 1:7 twist because of accuracy. Very light bullets in a 1:7 twist rifle can end up spinning so fast that the jacket completely shreds off the bullet due to centrifugal force. Sometimes it looks like a weird flash in front of your muzzle, but the way to tell for sure that the bullet came apart in mid-air is by the odd holes in the target.

An over-stabilized bullet can have issues at longer ranges. Sure, an over-stabilized bullet is a heck of a lot better than an under-stabilized one, but at longer ranges a 50 gr. bullet is going to work better in a 1:8 or 1:9 rifle than in a 1:7.

At home-defense ranges over-stabilization is isn't an issue, but the jacket separating in mid-air due to the bullet spinning too fast can be a problem. That's why I advised that if you have a 1:7 barrel you should test any home defense load that has a bullet 50 gr. and below, because jacket separation has been know to happen in 1:7 rifles using those bullets.

December 2, 2012, 09:21 PM
In 20 years of shooting

I have never seen a light weight bullet jacket from a light weight bullet come apart from a 1/7 twist

its a 556 not a 22-250 or 220 swift

the over stabilization/ jacket destruction is a myth in the 223/556

December 3, 2012, 04:37 AM
It's definitely not a myth; jacket separation happens. Does it happen every time you shoot light loads in a 1:7? Of course not; but it still happens, and the best way to avoid it happening is to use bullets of an appropriate weight. Also, over-stabilization effects accuracy, especially at longer ranges. Is it as bad as an under-stabilized bullet? No. You might not even notice the difference at shorter ranges. But shooting very light bullets in a 1:7 is not ideal.

December 3, 2012, 11:06 AM
Agree. I know of at least one rifle, a 1:7 16" barrel AR-15 that can not shoot 45 grain ammo. The bullets fall apart at about 30 yards. M-193 55 grain is OK, but that particular gun is most accurate with 60+ grain projectiles.

Metal god
December 3, 2012, 07:07 PM
This is a thread I found about bullet disitegration in mid flight

Bartholomew Roberts
December 3, 2012, 07:10 PM
It's definitely not a myth; jacket separation happens. Does it happen every time you shoot light loads in a 1:7?

What are you calling a "light" load? I have seen this argument used to suggest 55gr is a bad choice for 1:7 twists but in tens of thousands of rounds downrange, I've never seen any 55gr come apart due to twist rate. I've read people report problems with 36gr varmint grenades, which are really questionable for defense or large mammals.

It seems to me that any round that has a realistic probability of spinning apart in a 1:7 .223 is probably not a good choice for self-defense out of any twist rate.

December 3, 2012, 09:09 PM
I'm talking about 45 grain and lower. I'd worry about 50 grain coming apart also, but I admit I've never seen it happen. 55 grain is fine in a 1:7 but you will generally be more accurate at longer ranges with a 1:8 or 1:9 using those bullets.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 3, 2012, 09:43 PM
I'd argue that the irregular nature of the jacket on most 55gr ammo (99% of it being cheap blasting ammo) plays a bigger role in accuracy differences than the weight. On the other hand Hornady 55gr TAP and Training ammo has been great out of 1:7 and 1:8 barrels for me.

Metal god
December 3, 2012, 10:05 PM
It's my understanding you only notice the over stabilization of bullets at the longer ranges of that particular bullet . If a bullet is spinning to fast as it starts slowing down the tip wants to stay up and not point down in the same plain the bullet is traveling or in the same angle as the bullets arc . I just happen to be talking about this with a friend the other day that knows more about this stuff then I do . It seemed to make sense to me .

Check out the recommended twist rates for the berger match bullets . I was a little surprised