Quantcast

Best bullet type for woodland carry - is it cheap, old school JHP?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Martin248, May 30, 2020.

  1. Martin248

    Martin248 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2019
    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm thinking about typical handgun calibers, from 9mm to 40s&w to 357sig as those are the choices I have for my P320--but I think this discussion could apply to "proper" woodland calibers as well, that start with a 4 and end in mag.

    Reading a lot of forums and watching a lot of youtube, the standard advice for woodland ammo is to go for the hottest, heaviest FMJ you can find, and ideally a FMJTC/FMJFN. Lots of people will then suggest lead hardcast underwood or buffalo bore. These are claimed to have the best penetration, and penetration is supposed to be what you need if you shoot a 4 legged critter, especially head on where the round has to penetrate a long way to get to vitals, or punch through some thicker animal bone--and especially if that 4 legger is a growling thing with sharp claws.

    But, a lot of other people will point out that the most dangerous critter in the woods still walks on two legs, and statistically you may be better off preparing for that encounter than for the infamous but rare bear vs pistol debate.

    Then I watched a lot of those online ammo tests where they shoot at gelatin through several layers of denim, or sometimes through a wood board, and so on. And in these videos they go on to complain that older JHP rounds don't work very well because they act like FMJ rounds and over-penetrate.

    That got me to thinking: Are the older style, and pretty cheap, JHP rounds exactly what you need in the woods? Like the old-school Winchester whitebox "personal defense", old federal JHP's or even Hydroshocks. Online these seem to routinely fail the "FBI test" by over penetrating when they go through some thick clothing.

    But those older rounds also work pretty well. They are not as good as modern rounds like HST for confronting a home invader, but they work a lot better than a FMJ round. They still do frequently expand, and they sometimes even expand pretty well. Just not as well as the newer stuff.

    So, is that maybe exactly what you want in the woods?

    A round that, if it strikes a 4 legged critter, will "over penetrate", and do the job? While still being a not bad choice against a more common 2 legged threat?

    Just wondering about this and wanted to hear what others think
     
  2. DocRock

    DocRock Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Messages:
    1,484
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Heavy for caliber Barry's plated. Soft enough to expand, hard enough to penetrate.
     
    JT-AR-MG42, Glockula and LoonWulf like this.
  3. RETG

    RETG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    485
    Location:
    Somewhere in Idaho But on the move; AGAIN!
    In the woods I carry a .40 FNHD (Flat Nose Hard Cast) 200 gr Buffalo bore. More likely to come into contact with a bear, lion than I am a two-legged mammal wearing pants. (Also carry bear spray; used it twice on two grizzlies and it worked great.) Would not worry about over penetration if I had to use it on a two-legged wearing pants since in the so-called woodland areas, 99% of the time, there would be no ono behind the target.
     
    Glockula, Ks5shooter and LoonWulf like this.
  4. DR505

    DR505 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    139
    Location:
    VA
    I like Keith style lead bullets for my .45 Colt, .41 magnum, and .44 magnum revolvers.
     
  5. Drail

    Drail Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    6,015
    I also have always used Keith style SWC hard cast slugs for .357, .41 and .44 cal. They do a lot more damage than most people seem to think.
     
    JT-AR-MG42, DR505, Glockula and 3 others like this.
  6. armoredman

    armoredman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Messages:
    17,506
    Location:
    proud to be in AZ
    I don't change a thing, same CZ P-10C with 135gr Critical Duty loads. Of course, here in the high desert, our predators are usually smaller than the cool country.
     
    C-grunt and LoonWulf like this.
  7. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,557
    Location:
    Free State USA
    Of those choices, I'd go with Gold Dot in 357 Sig.
    If the P320 is regular carry and you go into woods, the most likely threat is human (opinion, I know).
    Manufacturer testing:
    https://le.vistaoutdoor.com/wound_ballistics/load_comparison/load_comparison.aspx
    357 Sig Gold Dot penetrates 18'' after heavy clothing, 40 Gold Dot 180 only 13'' and HST in either just over 12''
    357 Sig Gold Dot - 14'' wallboard, 17'' plywood, 15'' auto glass.

    357 Sig Gold Dot would be great for SD against human, and is deeper penetrating in case of animal.

    (In before someone tells me I'm wrong and that I'd get eaten by a bear - LOL)

    I know its not an option, but woods carry is a good excuse for a Glock 20SF. ;)
     
  8. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    7,835
    For most of the year I am happy with standard JHPs when the biggest threat to me is 2 legged or rabid skunks, yotes and the occasional Black Bear on the otherside of the Blueberry patch. During deer season I have dedicated hunting bullets, usually bonded or JSPs.

    I shoot Berry's at hard rock maple bowling pins and they expand about as much as standard FMJs. IMHO, other than the Speer(Gold Dot, Deep Curl) and other higher end plated bullets, standard plated like Berry's or X-treme are best suited for defense against paper and steel gongs at the range.
     
    Glockula and magyars4 like this.
  9. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    12,090
    There’s no single answer to this. It’s all based on what the potential threat is.

    Generally a good JHP is fine for human sized threats and smaller. I prefer Gold Dots or HSTs. For anything larger I prefer a hard cast or copper monolithic bullet as that’s what our local big critter hunters have successfully used.

    FMJs have a track record of deforming and deflecting so I only use them for range time.
     
    Pat Riot, Glockula and magyars4 like this.
  10. 1942bull
    • Contributing Member

    1942bull Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2020
    Messages:
    246
    Location:
    Southeast PA
    I think it depends on the fauna of the particular woodland. What is the largest four legged animal might you encounter? It is a grizzly in AK. And a black bear in PA. However, there are areas in either of those states where you will not find a bear. I hike the PA State forests. In most of them you can find bears. coyotes, bobcats, foxes, rattle snakes and copperheads. You are more likely to be in jeopardy from the snakes that the four legged four legged types. So I carry the following items: 9mm with Underwood Extreme Penetrator +P ammo, bear spray, and a walking stick that could be (and has been) used to relocate a snake that I cannot get around and which stays in my path. If I were in AK I would be carrying the same items except the gun would be 44 magnum with long barrel.
     
    bassjam, Glockula and magyars4 like this.
  11. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    5,565
    Location:
    Fl panhandle
    I think this subject is vastly over-thought. Of course, in my case, the most dangerous critters I might come up against are wild hogs, gators, and poisonous snakes- none of which are especially hard to kill.
     
    bearcreek, Glockula, HB and 2 others like this.
  12. murf

    murf Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,594
    Location:
    arizona
    most anything with a flat point will work, fmj bullets not so much. i'm talking woods work here, not back in civilization.

    luck,

    murf
     
    Pat Riot, Glockula and magyars4 like this.
  13. DocRock

    DocRock Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Messages:
    1,484
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    Your experience is...unique. The suggestion that a plated lead bullet performs the same as FMJ is not supported by the experience of others or the design of the two bullet types.
     
  14. magyars4

    magyars4 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    Indiana
    Keith style SWC in 45 Colt under 1000 FPS has always been my go to round.
    I dropped a fair number of animals over the years with it. I'm comfortable with it and know it's limitations.
     
    DR505 and Glockula like this.
  15. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2017
    Messages:
    1,714
    Location:
    Lee of Death Valley, ...where Tigers feed.
    Tend to carry FMJ-FP or HDY XTP.

    Penetration trumping expansion.




    GR
     
    Glockula and murf like this.
  16. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    7,835
    You give me evidence of this so called "experience of others". Why is it that no one, no one recommends standard cheap plated bullets like Berry's(and not Barry's) for SD/HD? No expansion. Period. Even Xtreme HP plated.....do not expand. On Bowling pins. Due to their design. Now I did not say they do not deform. They do. But they do not expand. Big difference.
     
  17. DocRock

    DocRock Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2019
    Messages:
    1,484
    Location:
    Colorado Springs
    I, for example, am someone. They do expand. Your experience is...unique.
     
  18. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    19,812
    Location:
    Deep in the Ozarks
    First of all, what do we mean by "woodland?" Are we talking encounters with grizzlies or with squirrels?

    For small game, I carry a Colt Woodsman (mine was made in 1938.) If I don't carry that, I carry a Colt .45 (usually a New Service) with 255 grain wide flat nose cast bullets (Lee 452-255-RF). It has been my experience that if you make a .45 hole through a deer, the deer will not go far.
     
    DR505 likes this.
  19. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    18,765
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    I don't know where or why the standard advice would be FMJ or the need for it to be the "hottest and heaviest" available. I would opine that the folks recommending that have never shot anything living with their chosen load.

    My "standard advice" for the lower 48 is any decent hardcast SWC, WFN or LFN. Anywhere from 240-300gr for .44's and .45's, driven 800-1000fps. It's simple, easy and it gets the job done without fanfare.
     
    .38 Special, DR505 and murf like this.
  20. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    19,812
    Location:
    Deep in the Ozarks
    I donno -- I've shot a boxcar load of squirrels with my woodsman, and several deer with my New Service.
     
  21. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    18,765
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    Dunno what???
     
  22. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,977
    Location:
    Communist state of nj
    hardcast lead....:thumbup::thumbup:
     
  23. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    19,812
    Location:
    Deep in the Ozarks
    Actually, fairly soft works best for me.
     
    .38 Special and DocRock like this.
  24. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    Messages:
    684
    Location:
    U S A
    I use a .357 158 - 180 grain Semi Jacketed Soft Point for my sidearm in woods when hunting.
     
  25. Glockula

    Glockula Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    484
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    In the woods I want penetration. The exact opposite of a HD scenario. I usually carry .38/.357 either in lever action or revolver form. Most of the time it is .38 lead 125 fp's that are good from bunnies to bears. When I know there are big bears around I will carry. 357 158swc or 158 xtpfp's loaded near the top of the data.

    If I happen to have my g43 or 23 I have heavy for caliber hp's that perform admirably. My 9mm 147 golden sabers killed a nice 8 point last year shot from my G43. That story is for another thread.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice