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Old 04-04-2012, 18:36   #1
bmungle
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Home defense ammo question.

Hi guys and gals I got a question about what type of ammo you guys use in your rifle for defense at home. I have bushmater M4A3 with an eotech 512. I have been using Hornady 55gr. soft points. But after cleaning her today and getting ready to put her back beside my bed, I looked at the round I had ejected before cleaning and noticed the soft lead point was mangled to say the least. And when I tried to chamber the round it got caught up. Now I'm gonna change my defense round to some thing different. I'm still only going to use brass cased ammo, as that is all I've ever shot out of this gun. Just wondering what are some of the best brass defense rounds out there.
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Old 04-04-2012, 19:46   #2
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From a 16" barrel, 55gr soft points will be fine as long as you don't chamber the same round multiple times. This is a bad idea in general with SD ammo, since it can also damage the primers.

The twist rate of your barrel will determine what types of ammo will work best in your AR, should you choose to upgrade.
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Old 04-04-2012, 20:17   #3
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Thanks. Maybe I have chambered the same round alot. And it is a 1/9 twist. I was just also kind of curious about what other kinds of brass cased rounds were out there, as all I can find is metal cased ones for defense.
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Old 04-04-2012, 21:00   #4
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This article on Ammo Oracle has a pretty good suggestion of defensive ammunition and the basis for their selection. It seems that due to the likelyhood of intermediate barriers, a "barrier blind" ammunition would be an excellent candidate. Otherwise a heavy (Preferably 75-77 grain OTM if your rifle can handle it with the 1:9 twist, or a 65-69 grain OTM if your rifle's twist can't) bullet would work well.

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De...index.htm#.223

Another site I have found useful:

http://ammo.ar15.com/

Grab your favorite beverage and start reading, enjoy!
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Old 04-04-2012, 21:18   #5
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Thanks. Maybe I have chambered the same round alot. And it is a 1/9 twist. I was just also kind of curious about what other kinds of brass cased rounds were out there, as all I can find is metal cased ones for defense.
Any quality HD ammo will be brass cased. Some of it is plated or coated (Such as Hornady TAP FPD), but I have never seen steel cased, high end HD ammo.

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Originally Posted by chemcmndr View Post
This article on Ammo Oracle has a pretty good suggestion of defensive ammunition and the basis for their selection. It seems that due to the likelyhood of intermediate barriers, a "barrier blind" ammunition would be an excellent candidate. Otherwise a heavy (Preferably 75-77 grain OTM if your rifle can handle it with the 1:9 twist, or a 65-69 grain OTM if your rifle's twist can't) bullet would work well.

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_De...index.htm#.223

Another site I have found useful:

http://ammo.ar15.com/

Grab your favorite beverage and start reading, enjoy!
Barrier blind is not for HD, it's for environments where you may have to take shots through intermediate barriers - generally referring to vehicles (windshields and car doors). Barrier blind ammo is ideal for patrol use or trunk duty. There's not a down side to using it in HD (especially the new Mk. 318 SOST ammo) that I am aware of, but it's also not truly needed.

With the extra velocity you get from a 16" barrel, 55gr soft point or FMJ will be quite effective, especially at HD distances - however, OTM or SP will be preferred. Heavier ammo will give you a little better terminal performance, but the heavier ammo isn't as critical as it is with SBRs.

OP, you can stick with your SP ammo (and just not chamber it until you HAVE to), or look for some 62-69 grain open tip or soft-point ammo.
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Old 04-04-2012, 22:10   #6
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Thanks. I did not know the Hornady was brass with plating. I think I'll pick some up. Again thanks...
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Old 04-04-2012, 22:15   #7
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Thanks. I did not know the Hornady was brass with plating. I think I'll pick some up. Again thanks...
I'm not a fan of the Hornady TAP FPD ammo, since most of it is basically their V-Max ballistic tip - a bullet originally designed for rapid expansion in varmints. The 75gr OTM load they sell under the FPD line isn't bad, but it's not as effective as the LEO-marked 5.56 load.

16" ARs aren't nearly as ammo-sensitive as shorter barreled carbines, thanks to much higher velocities. Like I said, your current soft-point choice will likely (depending on brand/load) serve you well, so long as you're not chambering it repeatedly. My rule with duty/SD ammo is once it's been chambered, it either gets fired, or removed and tossed in with the range/testing ammo.
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Old 04-04-2012, 22:22   #8
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How would I know if my rifle could handle the 75gr. bullet? I love all the match rounds I have ever shot, but never tried any in my 1/9 twist bushmaster.
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Old 04-04-2012, 22:31   #9
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I just dont want to damage my rifle.
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:13   #10
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How would I know if my rifle could handle the 75gr. bullet? I love all the match rounds I have ever shot, but never tried any in my 1/9 twist bushmaster.
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I just dont want to damage my rifle.
You won't damage it at all. The only possible problem with 75 grain ammo in your rifle is poor accuracy, even to the point of the bullet losing spin mid-flight and beginning to tumble. Some 1:9 barrels are actually cut a little faster than 1:9 due to natural variations in the manufacturing process, and will work fine with 75 grain ammo. Some are not, and will not. The only way to know for sure is to get some 75 grain ammo and try it.

At HD distances, accuracy problems are likely to be a moot point. However, I would suggest thoroughly testing it in YOUR rifle to be sure. If I had a 1:9 barrel, though, I would look at some of the 62 to 69 grain soft point and open tip loads available on the market. They will work great out of your barrel, AND they are less expensive than the 70+ grain loads.
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:01   #11
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Your current ammo choice is fine. I trust my life everyday at work to 55gr SP's and do the same at home.(Ours is Federal TRU's but they are all pretty comparable.)
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:38   #12
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I had / have the same question about what ammo would be best in a .223 AR for HD.
I am concerned with overpenetration.
I though a varmit bullet might be a good way to prevent excessive penetration.
I tried the Nosler 55 gr. ballistic tip which I handloaded, but it's also available as a factory round: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/662...mint-box-of-20

I shot the 55 gr. Nosler into water filled gallon jugs; both times the performance was the same, bullet was obviously fragmented when it left the first jug, some fragments recovered in second jug, some fragments on ground past 2nd jug, tip not recovered.

I shot a 55 gr. Barnes TRX (handload, but also available factory loaded) into water filled jugs. The Barnes TRX was recovered inside the 4th jug and it had made a hole nearly getting out the back; the fully mushroomed bullet expanded to .47 diameter.

I'm considering loading the first few rounds in the magazine with the Nosler Ballistic Tips followed by more penetrative rounds in the event that the Ballistic Tips were not sufficient.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:16   #13
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I had / have the same question about what ammo would be best in a .223 AR for HD.
I am concerned with overpenetration.
I though a varmit bullet might be a good way to prevent excessive penetration.
I tried the Nosler 55 gr. ballistic tip which I handloaded, but it's also available as a factory round: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/662...mint-box-of-20

I shot the 55 gr. Nosler into water filled gallon jugs; both times the performance was the same, bullet was obviously fragmented when it left the first jug, some fragments recovered in second jug, some fragments on ground past 2nd jug, tip not recovered.

I shot a 55 gr. Barnes TRX (handload, but also available factory loaded) into water filled jugs. The Barnes TRX was recovered inside the 4th jug and it had made a hole nearly getting out the back; the fully mushroomed bullet expanded to .47 diameter.

I'm considering loading the first few rounds in the magazine with the Nosler Ballistic Tips followed by more penetrative rounds in the event that the Ballistic Tips were not sufficient.

Try not to sweat penetration too much. Anything suitable for HD (including many FMJ loads, excepting M855) is not likely to exit after a solid chest hit, at least not with significant energy left. Also, any 5.56 projectiles that rely on fragmentation for tissue damage tend to break up pretty quickly after hitting a wall. If you start looking at any "real world" tests for this, try to find ones where the drywall sheets were spaced realistically, and not just 12 sheet with an inch of air between each. The velocity lost between wall A and wall B due to the bullet tumbling is pretty significant, and that's something many tests do not replicate.

If you have a 16" or longer barrel, 55gr FMJ, soft point, or OTM will all function quite well for HD, and won't suffer from the severe over penetration you can get from other calibers. 1:9 twist barrels will generally work best with 62-69 grain loads, but avoid M855 (green tip). In a 1:7 barrel, you can also look at the 70 grain Barnes TSX offerings, as well as 75 and 77gr OTM loads, like the 75gr TAP and Mk. 262 loads.

A shorter barrel is generally going to need heavier bullets to be effective.

Edit to add: Varmint bullets have a bad habit of not reaching the penetration needed to reliably reach vitals. FBI standards call for 12" of penetration in calibrated gel - the rough equivalent of 24" in water.

Last edited by WoodenPlank; 04-05-2012 at 07:17..
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:32   #14
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I can offer some info that the polymer tip rounds (Vmax and the like) fragment very rapidly. They do a great job on varmints in the area of saving the pelt when placed right behind the shoulder, they typically enter and do not exit and put coyotes down hard. That being said if you hit big bone going in (shoulders) you often get a "splash" wound where the entrance is larger than your fist and sometimes huge, with very very little penetration. Just my experiences but I would run a pointed soft point and or HP for self defense.

The one pic is an example of a splash wound on big bone. Usually you get a spin, run a ways, stagger then drop. The other pic is a Vmax placed just behind the left sholder, dime sized entrance, no exit, dropped in its tracks.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:54   #15
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What you got as far as performance on those bullets have alot to do with the firearm used- I take it the bolt gun has a 20-22" barrel? That mean more velocity- more explosive expansion. Big difference between 2800 fps and 3200 fps.

To the OP those 55 gr Sp are very good bullets for SD/HD and your 1:9" barrel. Now you can go heavier 69 gr HP SEI are another good choice- one I use in my 1:9". If you want to spend alot of money for not much gain in performance go buy the Factory SD rounds. You paying for the name.
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Old 04-05-2012, 13:20   #16
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bmoore
What you got as far as performance on those bullets have alot to do with the firearm used- I take it the bolt gun has a 20-22" barrel? That mean more velocity- more explosive expansion. Big difference between 2800 fps and 3200 fps.

To the OP those 55 gr Sp are very good bullets for SD/HD and your 1:9" barrel. Now you can go heavier 69 gr HP SEI are another good choice- one I use in my 1:9". If you want to spend alot of money for not much gain in performance go buy the Factory SD rounds. You paying for the name.
Actually at SD distance theres not much difference at all with polymer tips. Yes I hunt with Bolt guns, 22-250 and 243. A 55grn Vmax out of an AR pipe will act very similar. Not as much difference as you think when bone is hit. My friend that I sometimes call for uses a standard 16" AR with a 3-9 on the flat top.

Now if you are talking out at 150-200 yards, yes there is a difference. But if were talking at SD distance then the polymer tip stuff is explosive from a 16" barrel to a 22" barrel. I dont want to turn this into a pee pee match. My experience comes from going out, hunting and shooting coyotes. Not reading about what may happen or what somebody may think will happen. This is just based on what I have seen when rounds hit yotes from 20 yards out to 250, polymer tip, hollow point and pointed soft points. Seen them all hit home. The polymer tips from 223 out of an AR still get gnarly splash wounds.
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Old 04-05-2012, 13:21   #17
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The 75gr OTM load they sell under the FPD line isn't bad, but it's not as effective as the LEO-marked 5.56 load.
Still, looks pretty good to me:

TAP 5.56 75gr:
Black Rifle Forum

TAP .223 75gr:
Black Rifle Forum
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Old 04-05-2012, 20:52   #18
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Still, looks pretty good to me:

TAP 5.56 75gr:
Black Rifle Forum

TAP .223 75gr:
Black Rifle Forum
Yep, the .223 load is still quite effective. The 5.56 load has an advantage in velocity, especially in shorter barrels. That little boost in velocity from an SBR can make all the difference.


Also, I agree with bmoore on the VMAX loads - the chances of under-penetration in a BG (especially if you have to shoot them from a bad angle, and not square-on) are too damn high. There are far too many other loads on the market that will perform better for about the same cost.
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:23   #19
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Try not to sweat penetration too much. Anything suitable for HD (including many FMJ loads, excepting M855) is not likely to exit after a solid chest hit, at least not with significant energy left. Also, any 5.56 projectiles that rely on fragmentation for tissue damage tend to break up pretty quickly after hitting a wall. If you start looking at any "real world" tests for this, try to find ones where the drywall sheets were spaced realistically, and not just 12 sheet with an inch of air between each. The velocity lost between wall A and wall B due to the bullet tumbling is pretty significant, and that's something many tests do not replicate.

If you have a 16" or longer barrel, 55gr FMJ, soft point, or OTM will all function quite well for HD, and won't suffer from the severe over penetration you can get from other calibers. 1:9 twist barrels will generally work best with 62-69 grain loads, but avoid M855 (green tip). In a 1:7 barrel, you can also look at the 70 grain Barnes TSX offerings, as well as 75 and 77gr OTM loads, like the 75gr TAP and Mk. 262 loads.

A shorter barrel is generally going to need heavier bullets to be effective.

Edit to add: Varmint bullets have a bad habit of not reaching the penetration needed to reliably reach vitals. FBI standards call for 12" of penetration in calibrated gel - the rough equivalent of 24" in water.
My concern about overpenetration is due to the fact that if someone were to kick in the front door they are going to be between me & my kids; my bedroom is at one end of the house and theirs is at the other, front door in-between. Their bedroom is actually behind the entry foyer. In the event that a round missed, it would be very desireable for it to break up quickly on drywall.

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I can offer some info that the polymer tip rounds (Vmax and the like) fragment very rapidly. They do a great job on varmints in the area of saving the pelt when placed right behind the shoulder, they typically enter and do not exit and put coyotes down hard. That being said if you hit big bone going in (shoulders) you often get a "splash" wound where the entrance is larger than your fist and sometimes huge, with very very little penetration. Just my experiences but I would run a pointed soft point and or HP for self defense.

The one pic is an example of a splash wound on big bone. Usually you get a spin, run a ways, stagger then drop. The other pic is a Vmax placed just behind the left sholder, dime sized entrance, no exit, dropped in its tracks.
I could be wrong, but I think that "splash" wound would get a reaction if inflicted upon an attacker.
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:46   #20
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My concern about overpenetration is due to the fact that if someone were to kick in the front door they are going to be between me & my kids; my bedroom is at one end of the house and theirs is at the other, front door in-between. Their bedroom is actually behind the entry foyer. In the event that a round missed, it would be very desireable for it to break up quickly on drywall.



I could be wrong, but I think that "splash" wound would get a reaction if inflicted upon an attacker.
Rounds that break up quickly in dry-wall tend to lack the penetration needed to reach vital organs and CNS structures inside a BG. The exceptionally shallow wounds you saw in those photos will definitely kill a bad guy....

Most likely from blood loss, several minutes after you shoot him. They will not reliably STOP the bad guy - something very different than killing them.

Some planning with your kids of what to do if someone breaks in (hit the deck, get under/behind something solid), and some possible furniture rearranging (heavy wood bookcases against the interior wall filled with books, etc), combined with knowing your shoot/no shoot lines within your home can go a long way.

You might want to take a trip up to the Go Ask The Experts (GATE) - Self Defense forum and pose your concerns to mas Ayoob. A lot of what I have suggested is based off of advice he has given in the past, but he might be able to offer some additional insight.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:01   #21
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No pissing match here I'm relating what I've seen hunting yotes with the AR as well I have yet to see what you've seen with 55 gr SP. In fact just the opposite. I shot two with 55 gr SP and got complete pass troughs and no blow ups. Nice .223 hole in and about .5-.75" hole out! Both were DRT on the spot with major damage to heart /lungs. I have no doupt what the outcome would be if I put two to the chest of a BG. DRT on the spot. If you want to step up in wt the 63 SEI SP is also a very good bullet. And you will not get any blow up with that bullet.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:01   #22
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My concern about overpenetration is due to the fact that if someone were to kick in the front door they are going to be between me & my kids; my bedroom is at one end of the house and theirs is at the other, front door in-between. Their bedroom is actually behind the entry foyer. In the event that a round missed, it would be very desireable for it to break up quickly on drywall.



I could be wrong, but I think that "splash" wound would get a reaction if inflicted upon an attacker.
A reaction, neat. Like shear rage to tear you apart. I dont think most people are looking for a reaction.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:03   #23
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No pissing match here I'm relating what I've seen hunting yotes with the AR as well I have yet to see what you've seen with 55 gr SP. In fact just the opposite. I shot two with 55 gr SP and got complete pass troughs and no blow ups. Nice .223 hole in and about .5-.75" hole out! Bought were DRT on the spot with major damage to heart /lungs. I have no doupt what the outcome would be if I put two to the chest of a BG. DRT on the spot. If you want to step up in wt the 63 SEI SP is also a very good bullet. And you will not get any blow up with that bullet.
I agree with you, I was just speaking about polymer tips. Sorry if I got you confused Pointed soft points are great.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:05   #24
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bmoore
No pissing match here I'm relating what I've seen hunting yotes with the AR as well I have yet to see what you've seen with 55 gr SP. In fact just the opposite. I shot two with 55 gr SP and got complete pass troughs and no blow ups. Nice .223 hole in and about .5-.75" hole out! Both were DRT on the spot with major damage to heart /lungs. I have no doupt what the outcome would be if I put two to the chest of a BG. DRT on the spot. If you want to step up in wt the 63 SEI SP is also a very good bullet. And you will not get any blow up with that bullet.
Soft points are fine, so long as you're not shooting through barriers. Moore's post was in reference to polymer-tipped bullets originally designed for rapid expansion in varmints - a different kettle of fish.

Edit: Dammit, BMoore beat me to it by a few moments....

Last edited by WoodenPlank; 04-06-2012 at 12:06..
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:07   #25
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Yep the polermor tip are softer jackets. Stick with normal SP for SD/HD. The old 64 gr Win SP was and still is used by many in Law Enforcement. Good all around bullet!
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