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5.56/.223 for Home Defense?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BluedRevolver, Aug 18, 2014.

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  1. BluedRevolver

    BluedRevolver Member

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    This document seems to give the message that the 5.56/.223 is not a very effective performer, and I was surprised to see it say that the M193 out of the M16A1 in Vietnam was considered ineffective. It seems to suggest the 5.56 is marginally adequate at best, and better suited to shooting groundhogs than people.
     
  2. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Member

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    I guess we are focusing on different parts of that article. Most of the complaints made were regarding either M193, M855 or performance through difficult barriers like laminated auto glass - which, while a big issue for law enforcement and military, is less of an issue for home defense. And even in those roles, he noted several effective 5.56mm calibers.

    He is also right that terminal ballistics isn't the top priority for the military in caliber selection (for that matter, that author has himself made the point that training and mindset are much larger factors than the type of ammo used).

    And while M193 has some deficiencies compared to modern ammo, it looks pretty amazing compared to most of its contemporaries.
     
  3. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    Most of the issues alleged against 5.56 have to do with wounds inflicted at ranges much longer than HD, as the round's effectiveness is largely dependent on the velocity when it hits. I like light bullets which will be going very fast at close range but come apart dramatically when they hit a wall. Those small fragments will likely go through but lose energy very quickly and are much less likely to seriously harm an innocent than a single mass of relatively large lead.
     
  4. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I tried to make that point back in post 24 since there are many more predators and varmints shot with the highly frangible ammo you described.
    The consistent performance is dramatic and when you have skinned coyotes that have the off side barely perforated and only by small fragments while complete destruction of contacted organs it leaves an impression.
    At home defense distances I have complete confidence in polymer tipped bullets in an AR.
    I'm not an ME so I can't speak to the effect upon humans but experience on many 4 legged creatures convinces me.
     
  5. mrming

    mrming Member

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    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=21&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAAOBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dtic.mil%2Fget-tr-doc%2Fpdf%3FAD%3DADA512331&ei=ECX2U-2nJtLlsATUiIKIBQ&usg=AFQjCNHA74gfai92OTRKZL-yjXHeDjMrZg&sig2=BmlL7HJ1KhkLK8xPzo4BBQ&bvm=bv.73231344,d.cWc

    Sorry for the google link to a pdf. White paper by US Army officer on taking back the half-k infantry. It covers 5.56 effectiveness extensively.

    Been a while since I read it. As I recall, 5.56 does awesome when fragmentation occurs. This appears to be dependent upon range, velocity, and individual rifle barrel harmonics. Some secondary concerns regarding build of the target being fired at.

    Long and short: on americans at sub 150 yards it'll work dandy. Pick really bad ammo and it'll through and through on you without enough effect. Good commercial ammo will be more consistent.
     
  6. Theohazard

    Theohazard Member

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    An AR-15 is easier for the average person to use than a 12 ga. shotgun, especially a pump shotgun. And an AR-15 will be more reliable than even a pump shotgun; I've seen a lot more stoppages on a pump shotgun due to short-stroking than I've seen stoppages on an AR-15.

    Add in the extra length of the shotgun (unless you go the NFA route) and the lower wall penetration of .223 defensive ammo, and that makes the AR-15 an overall better HD weapon in my opinion, especially for someone who is undertrained.
     
  7. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    For long range shooting in a military context, yes, M193 and M855 FMJ aren't the best choices. That's why the military developed longer-range loads like the Mk 262 77gr, which has performed very well indeed.

    In the context of civilian HD rather than military use, we are not limited to FMJ, but can use civilian JHP or SP instead and these perform more consistently than 55/62gr FMJ, while at the same time offering less risk of exiting an exterior wall.
     
  8. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Any opinion of full 5.56 loads (3000+ fps) using 55 grain JSP bullets, like Hornady #2266? I managed to buy a few thousand of those bulk bullets a couple of years ago, right before they disappeared. (they might be back now)

    I wish I had bought a lot more while they were 8.5¢ apiece. :(
     
  9. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator In Memoriam

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    At home defense distances, any hunting bullet is quite likely to be effective.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I practice with 55 Gr FMJ. I have 62 Gr Green tip in the weapon. I loaded a bunch of 55 Gr poly tipped bullets for rainy day ammo.

    Mindset, preparedness, awareness, a cool head under pressure, and the willingness to shoot are far more important.

    I don't really sweat the details much.
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    That's about it. :)
     
  12. z7

    z7 Member

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    My brother shot a 200lb deer at 40yds with a 223, using 77g hp winchester LE ranger ammo a few years ago, first shot was low, broke both legs and tore through the sternum, bad shot downed the deer but not a good kill. Second shot even worse, hit the hip. Bullet hit the femur, turned and traveled along the skin to the ribs where it hit a rib, put a big hole in the liver, one lung and exited. a large piece rib bone was stuck in the heart.
    Way too much penetration with that bullet, plenty of damage on a large animal. The tissue damage was extensive. I use 55g soft points (Win LE ranger) for hd for now. I have full confidence in the 223/556 and have a castle of sorts with a clear backstop in the event I need to discharge my weapon for HD.
     
  13. henschman

    henschman Member

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    I just use M193 in mine. It is good at penetrating what you want (people, body armor) but not what you don't for that role (walls). Plus it's cheap and plentiful. Maybe it won't fragment every time, but that's why you have 30 round mags! Also it is much more likely to fragment at the velocity you see at very close distances. I use a 16" barreled rifle, so it's still coming out over 3,000 fps.
     
  14. LouisianaAviator

    LouisianaAviator Member

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    From what I understand, law enforcement and military units using high quality ammunition like Speer's Gold Dot, Hornady TAP, Sierra, Black Hills, etc are very happy with the performance of their 5.56 rifles.

    M193 tends to perform well in gel tests, though for defensive use, it's probably best to go with a high quality OTM or soft point.

    Like it's been said before, the 5.56 is probably one of the most tested rounds in history and has benefited immensely from advancements in expanding/fragmenting bullet technology.
     
  15. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Given the opportunity/choice, an AR is my home defense firearm of choice.

    I keep a magazine of mk262 (Black Hills 5.56 77gr OTM) in it.

    At home defense/private citizen self defense distances I wouldn't be opposed to M193 or M855, or anything of reasonable quality that has been tested in your rifle...but I think an OTM or JHP like the mk262, Hornady TAP, Prvi 75gr, etc, is a bit better.
     
  16. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    That's weird. Can you explain how the more ergonomic, shorter weapon with a simpler manual of arms and less recoil that is just about the easiest non-rimfire firearm to start new shooters on at the range suddenly becomes unmanageable in a home defense scenario?
     
  17. Warp

    Warp Member

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    Is this post a joke? :confused:

    Edit: I guess I'll quantify just to be safe.

    Comparing an AR pattern carbine to a 12 gauge pump shotgun...the AR is probably going to be lighter, shorter, lower recoil, have more ergonomic controls, higher capacity, and not require anything other than pulling the trigger again to get follow up shots. The shotgun is probably going to be longer, heavier, much heavier recoil (even with reduced recoil buck), lower capacity, and can very easily be short stroked. You could go with a semi auto shotgun but most of those comparisons will remain.

    But I don't know that I'd put a laser on the AR...rather have an Aimpoint
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  18. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    Originally posted by: Walkalong
    THIS!
    Plus, a good dog or two and a decent burglar alarm never hurts. The best way to deal with potential intruders is to give them plenty of reasons to go elsewhere...
     
  19. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    Welcome to the forums, Mr. Biden
     
  20. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    NOW THAT'S FUNNY RIGHT THERE!
    Game, set and match to MistWolf!
     
  21. Amy12345

    Amy12345 Member

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    HIT or MISS

    Say goodbye to the person in the next room stick to the gauge nitro steel bird shot my friend
     
  22. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    The correct term of address is "Mr. Vice-President."

    Also - well done.

    -Jenrick
     
  23. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    Where does this information come from? Because I've never understood how an individual 00 pellet, which has less energy than a .380 round, is going to penetrate "more" than a rifle that has more energy than a .44 magnum (and I know some debate that issue but the muzzle energy formulas give the nod to the .223). I've shot lots and lots of guns in my life and this goes contrary to everything I've ever seen. A .223 round that expands perfectly may not penetrate much more than a 12 ga. but in building materials the 12 ga. buckshot load has been shown to not penetrate nowhere near what some .223 rounds do on the Box O' Truth website. Buckshot didn't penetrate even 8 sheets of sheetrock while the .223 round tested went through 12 sheets of plywood and kept right on going. They never got it to stop in their tests. I'm sure it stops somewhere but they limited the tests to the materials they used to test handguns and shotguns.

    A .223 bullet is far heavier than a 00 buckshot pellet and it travels at a far higher speed. The combined capability of the buckshot round is what makes it effective against humans. But it also has a round shape which is about as bad as it can get for resistance. The .223/5.56 round is a Spitzer shaped bullet designed for penetration. Of course it's also designed to expand on impact but from what I understand only the very best designs work a high consistency rate for expansion.

    Basically I've shot things for 50 years using shotguns, rifles, handguns, machine guns, and air guns. I know what I've seen. I've seen 2.23 rounds go through solid rock at 500 yards (about 3" of sandstone). I don't see how a shell filled with buckshot is going to do anything like that even at short distances. And of course buckshot does not carry 500 yards if it would happen to miss the target and fly out an open door or window or through a thin wall with sheetrock, insulation and vinyl siding as the only objects that must be penetrated. A .223 round can go right through a wall like that and travel a long distance and still do damage. I do not understand what some think a 2.23 type round is safer for not hitting things far downrange or even across the street close. For one thing buckshot will spread a good bit just going across the street so the chances of a person being hit by several pellets is low. And yes I have tested buckshot to see exactly how far it spreads at distances. Even the best designed shells spread considerably after 40 yards. I've done tests with cardboard at various distances with various loads. I did it to see what spread the least. But I learned that no buckshot loads stay together for a long time. So at most a person may be hit by half the 00 pellets at 50 yards especially after those pellets have penetrated a wall. They will lose a good bit of potency just penetrating the wall, they will spread out more if they penetrate a wall and they start out with far less energy per pellet than a single .223 type round.

    I understand wanting to have multiple rounds available and I understand that a semi-auto is better than a pump shotgun but shotguns come in automatic form too. I use a pump because of reliability and because I've been shooting shotguns for 51 years and I have a pretty good idea how to make one work quickly. That may not be true for everyone of course.

    There are no doubt benefits to each choice. But for me the choice is pretty obvious. I'll take a 12 ga. pump shotgun with a large tube and a side saddle round carrier. It may not fire as much as an AR but it will fire a lot of pellets shooting 8 or 9 at a time. And followup shots can be done quickly if you have practiced enough. I understand the risks of short stroking a pump gun in a stress filled situation but I've seen AR's jam too often to not worry about whether it will happen because of a stress reaction while shooting them. The body does things different under stress and that applies to shotguns and AR's.

    I'd really like to see the data on this that people cite. I've seen some tests but the ones I've seen compared .223 rounds to shotgun slugs. Well that's not a fair comparison. I use slugs for bears. I use buckshot for intruders or I would if I ever actually had one.

    So if you have a link to a study I'd like to see it to see the testing and what the reasoning is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  24. Glock19Fan

    Glock19Fan Member

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    I personally have a nice AR set up that I use for my primary home defense. It will defeat body armor (more criminals have them than you would think), it is extremely effective, and with day and night capabilities I have a great advantage. It is also compact, and has a high capacity. It does well through barriers and if the fight goes outside the house then I have plenty of cover fire and barrier penetration.

    I personally think the best choice for SD is a 60-64 grain JSP or a 69-77 grain OTM. Either will perform well and end the fight quickly. However, I have relied on FMJ in the past and wouldnt hesitate doing it again.

    M193 deserves a lot more credit than its given. Its a nasty round all around.

    EDIT: My issue with shotguns is the groups arent nearly as large as people like to think they are, and while they are quite effective, I dont believe they are much more effective than one or two pops from a good 5.56 soft point or OTM. I believe that with good training, good shot placement, and high capacity your chances of survival are high. When you are getting fired on the last thing on your mind is racking another shell into the chamber. The AR is a quick, effective, and reliable SD tool and would be my pick for any situtation.
     
  25. Cee Zee

    Cee Zee member

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    What about semi-auto shotguns? I use a pump but I've been shooting so long it's second nature to me. I've seen lots of people knock down multiple clays with a pump shotgun. But for someone less experienced a SA should do well.

    I know the shotgun doesn't spread a lot. I wouldn't want it to. It's the combination of pellets that causes the large wounds they deliver. Hitting a target is no harder than doing it with a .223 and is likely easier to get a few pellets in.

    I'm not knocking your choice. I have a semi-auto carbine for SD work. I have an SKS that I've had for over 20 years. I would have an AR but I've never seen a good reason to switch. Actual proof that .223's don't over penetrate might sell me on the idea. The thing is I bought when prices were very low and getting as prepared as I am now would require a big influx of cash on my part and I don't want to do it for a small advantage. It would have to be significant.
     
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