.223 ammo for home defense???


March 10, 2008, 01:39 PM
Every night my POF 16" AR along with a HK Mark 23 sit to the right side of my bed. I also have a electronic ear protection that has a permanent home on my nightstand. Currently, the POF is loaded with full metal jacket rounds from Georgia Arms of the 55gr variety. I am assuming that there are better rounds for tactical/home defense scenarios.

Before someone jumps out and says not to use a rifle for HD, please dont. I have made up my mind that I will take a .223 with 30rnds, Eotech, light etc over my 12rnds of .45 any day. But back to the question, what ammo would you guys recommend for this purpose? how are the Hornady TAP ammos?


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March 10, 2008, 01:43 PM
Personally after hunting varmints and yotes i would probably keep a Vmax load.. They do tremendous damage on impact.. If your looking to kill and keep it confied to 1 room or so of a houase this would be a definate option... Never shot a piece of sheetrock with it but id say it dont carry too far after contacting anything

March 10, 2008, 02:15 PM
My understanding is that Hornady TAP is very good at not overpenetrating. Indeed, the lighter varieties (55gr, 60gr) are so good at this that there is concern that they underpenetrate. I don't know about how well they perform against drywall/sheetrock and other household interior wall materials.


March 10, 2008, 02:21 PM

How much of a concern is over-penetration where you are? Are you worried about a home invader who is wearing body armor--a fair question anymore.

From what I understand this seems to be a high-end version of the ss109 (green tip) Nato round. No personal experience with them but they get marks. Of course, these will likely go through MANY things.

Honestly, the 55gr is probably just fine. Lighter, hotter, and less-stable seems best for in-dwelling use when you have to worry about what (or who) is on the other side of the wall.

There are many other 'TAP' round that are lighter and not designed to penetrate barriers, as Coronach mentioned above.

Reliability of feeding and function in your particluar rifle is probably far-more important that most other concerns at home defense distances.

March 10, 2008, 02:24 PM
I salute you for choosing the optimum choice for a home defense "gun", a self loading carbine!;)

Vmax bullets don't penetrate enough for bad guy applications that need to be stopped immediately. Vmax's are great for fast and violent fragmentation, but they lack a 12" depth of termianal ballistics penetration that is the standard for home defense/self defense applications.

I would recommend some heavy bullets, something like a 75gr or 77gr bullet, loaded to 5.56 specs, it would be optimum to have a cannulure (but not necessary).

I've currently got 2 full 30 rd mags full of Hornady 75gr handloads that are sitting atop a hot charge of H335 that function like a dream in my homedefense carbine. The 16" Colt 1/7 twist barrel stabilizes the 77 and 75gr bullets no problem. My Varmint rig barrel (1/9 twist) stabilizes the 75gr bullets out to 200 yards, so if your carbine barrel is a 1/9 twist the heavy bullets will still work fine, especially at home defense ranges.

The longer 75gr and 77gr bullets have been proven to yaw and fragment faster at even slower velocities as compared to 55gr and 62gr bullets. Also, the heavier bullets break apart faster than 55gr bullets, which translates into less of an overpenetration issue; however DON'T MISS and you have that issue resolved.

March 10, 2008, 02:46 PM
If its a 1/7 twist I'd look at the 75 gr hornady tap, for a 1/9 twist I'd try some of the 75gr tap and see if its accurate, if not I'd go with the 68gr hornady otm or winchester 64gr jsp. I believe federal is also supposed to have a good 64gr jsp but I've not tried it.

March 10, 2008, 03:20 PM
Here's a relevant question: what the heck does OTM stand for?


Professor Gun
March 10, 2008, 03:23 PM
I would go with a shotgun, 12 gauge, buckshot loads from #4 up to #00.

Get a beat up looking Remington 870 in 12 gauge, have a gunsmith cut the barrel to 18 1/2 inches, put on a magazine extension. If you don't like the beat up stock put on one of the nifty synthetic versions available out there. Now you have what I would humbly submit is the best home defense weapon.

I know, you asked about a rifle. Your AR looks great. It would be highly effective. I would set it by the bed just to look at it :)

Bottom line: Go with what you are the most comfortable and proficient with.

Bailey Guns
March 10, 2008, 03:24 PM
OTM = Open Tip Match

March 10, 2008, 03:27 PM
I've seen a lot of recommendations for TAP 75gr. I keep M855 loaded in my go-to mag. If I got into TAP 75gr, I'd end up stocking up on it just like I stock up on any other type of ammo I have.

March 10, 2008, 03:29 PM
OTM = Open Tip MatchAh, gotcha. I knew SMK was Sierra Match King, but OTM was eluding me.


March 10, 2008, 03:30 PM
But back to the question, what ammo would you guys recommend for this purpose? how are the Hornady TAP ammos?

The 75gr Hornady TAP with the OTM bullet (Open Tip Match) is by far the best home defense round you can get. Better still is the Mk262Mod1 round from Black Hills but that's pretty much "unobtanium" at the moment.

I knew SMK was Sierra Match King, but OTM was eluding me.

It's called Open Tip Match to avoid the political mess around "hollow points" and the Hague Convention stuff.

Since the bullet design does NOT depend on expansion to do it's damage, it's not a "hollow point" in the turn of the century "Hague Dum Dum" bullet sense of the word.

Zach S
March 10, 2008, 03:32 PM
I use 75gr TAP.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 10, 2008, 03:55 PM
Yes, the OTM is basically a designation to downplay the original designation of BTHP (Boattail Hollow Point) since the desgin doesn't expand. The tiny open point is just an artifact of the way they produce the very uniform jacket.

The Hornady 75gr, the SMK, Berger 73gr, etc. are all considered OTM bullets IIRC.

As for what round for self-defense in .223, you want to consider two questions:

1. Do I want to rely on fragmentation or expansion as a wounding mechanism?

2. How much penetration do I need?

Expansion doesn't generate the same kind of wound channels that fragmentation does; but it is a tiny bit more predictable performance wise (especially when you start considering intermediate barriers, clothing, etc.)

On penetration, the FBI standard is 12" of ballistics gel. Anything that penetrates 12" of ballistics gel WILL present a lethal threat to a human being after passing through a typical interior wall. 5.56mm is often LESS lethal (not non-lethal) after passing through barriers because the round breaks up and has less momentum.

Some people opt for lighter varmint-type bullets that fragment or expand rapidly (like the 55gr Hornady TAP) because they reduce overpenetration concerns; but they also may not penetrate deeply enough to cause a physiological stop if you get a larger than average person or a less than optimum shot (from the side or through an arm).

Some rounds that are used by military and or law enforcement and meet all FBI standards are:

Hornady 75gr
Hornady 60gr
Federal 55gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw
Federal 62gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw
Sierra 77gr Matchking (this has a very long "neck" - the distance a bullet travels before it yaws and begins to fragment)
Nosler 77gr OTM

March 10, 2008, 04:05 PM

I'm wrestling with this issue right now. I'm considering the Hornady 68gr OTM as loaded by Black Hills or M193 (not "bulk" 55gr FMJBT). I have a 1:9 twist so I'm keeping away from the 70+ grain stuff.

March 10, 2008, 04:13 PM
I have a 1:9 twist so I'm keeping away from the 70+ grain stuff.

Try it first. I have a 1/9 on one of my ARs and the 75gr TAP shoots flawlessly in it, even though most say it shouldn't.

I've fired out to 250 yrds or so and no keyholing.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 10, 2008, 05:13 PM
Yes, try the 75gr. My Bushmaster 1:9 would not shoot it well; but it still did 4-5" (5rd groups) at 100yds, so it was practical for defensive use. A friend's Armalite 1:9 loves it though and shoots it very accurately.

No telling until you try.

March 10, 2008, 05:47 PM
Winchester 55 grain Ballistic Silvertip or Horandy 55 grain V Max would be my choices.

The 55 grain's going a little bit faster than the heavier grain choices that are out there and the M-193 was supposed to do alot better as far as one shot stops go than the SS109. Now I know that this wasn't entirely the result of changing grain weight slightly (it also had to do with the barrel length, the twist rate, the penetrator in the SS109 etc), but out of a fairly short 16 inch barrel (with a 1 in 9 twist rate) the 55 grain seems to make a little more sense to me.

Not to mention that they're both very accurate. Plus with them both being HP's and being essentially .223 Rem varmint loads neither one will end up making it through a wall and endangering anyone else. For what it's worth that's my thought processes on it anyway.

Ben Shepherd
March 10, 2008, 06:19 PM
The federal 62 grain BSP(bonded soft point) has been getting some very good marks if optimum penetration, expansion, and weight retention are your goals.

March 10, 2008, 06:25 PM
My rifle is loaded with 50gr ballistic tip thin skin varmint rounds. They feed and function 100% in my rifle and POI matches my 'normal' practice and rifle match round at 100 yards.

I live in a dense urban environment and my primary bad guy fatal funnel is backed up with 1 sheet rock wall and a apartment complex. I really, really can't afford overpenetration and that round has less penetration than any 9mmP or 12 gage round I've seen.


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