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Why .223 hollowpoints?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by DirksterG30, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. DirksterG30

    DirksterG30 Active Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Since the majority of .223cal/5.56mm rounds are designed to wound by tumbling/fragmenting, what advantage (if any) is there to using hollowpoint ammo? Are hollowpoints more lethal, or not? It seems to me that regular FMJ should do the job.
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Senior Elder

    Sep 8, 2005
    Most .223 hollowpoints are just incidentally hollow in front, because they don't have a hole in the back. It's an artifact of the way the jacket is put onto match bullets. They don't tumble or expand when they punch paper, anyway.:)

    .223 softpoints are deliberately designed to expand, just like any similar hunting bullet.
  3. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 26, 2002
    .223 only does damage via fragmentation if two things happen: 1) the bullet yaws and 2) the bullet breaks apart during yaw.

    Both of those are dependent on bullet design and require some fairly tight tolerances to be consistent. Regular ball ammo can fail to yaw or fragment entirely and may not always yaw or fragment when you want it to (too deep or too shallow and the big wound cavity misses vital organs). These also are dependent on velolcity to be effective.

    Expanding softpoints won't develop the same kind of large wound cavity; but they can be more reliable in performance. Also if you are in a situation where you need deeper penetration, a bonded hollowpoint can be superior to FMJ in some circumstances (auto glass for example).
  4. Rockstar

    Rockstar member

    Apr 25, 2004
    Very few of us actually shoot people with our .223s.
  5. Shane333

    Shane333 Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    Very true. We should count our blessings that most of us live in such relative peace and security.

    However, sometimes the good ol' Boy Scout in us wants to be prepared.:)
  6. Grump

    Grump Participating Member

    May 22, 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    Do you mean majority of TYPES of ammo, or the majority of rounds actually loaded and sold? I count a lot more varieties of .223 HP load types than FMJ types.

    Every document I've seen on the development of the M193 round--as in back then, not based on what we know now--shows that the focus was on increasing hit probability by making the round shoot flatter. Just high velocity with a little boat-tail added to keep it moving fast past the first 300 yards.

    Fragmentation was a happy accident--not designed into it at all. In fact, you could argue that in the process of increasing penetration with the M855 63-gr NATO round, the ballisticians designed some of the fragmentation/wounding properties OUT of the round.:neener:

    The advantages of HP ammo in .223 are thus:
    1. Reliable expansion. Varmint bullets, dude! This expansion is not defeated by short barrels, low velocities at 400+ yards, or whether the bullet hits the "wrong" internal features of the target.

    2. Greater accuracy than FMJ ammo.

    3. Reliable expansion beginning within the first few inches of penetration, if that is what is desired. Compare with the pre-yaw "necks" of M193 and M855 wound tracks in Jello.

    4. More expansion and wounding effect than most hits with M193 type ammo, WITHOUT a Y-shaped wound track that can deviate from the vital zone you were aiming at.

    Doubt this? Shoot two gallon jugs filled with water at 150+ yards, using your "deadly" "fragmenting" FMJ bullet for one, and any old hunting hollow-point for the other. I sure saw a difference when I had my son do that about 4 weeks ago...Okay, it was a 2-liter soda bottle...but that gallon jug will be easier to hit.

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