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FMJ just fine out of a rifle for defense?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by AcceptableUserName, Feb 3, 2010.

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  1. AcceptableUserName

    AcceptableUserName member

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    So I'm starting to feel like if I ever needed to use my AR in a defensive capacity, it wouldn't matter a whole lot what I shot out of it much in the same way I feel about the .45 acp, but for different reasons. Speed, accuracy and rate of fire for the AR, sheer bullet size for the .45. Yes, soft point and JHP's probably offer better terminal ballistics, but honestly...by how much? It seems to me 1 or two hits of plain jane 55 gr. fmj at CM is gonna devastate regardless just like a 230 gr. .45 acp hardball gives me no worry whatsoever if it came down to it.


    Am I way off base here or what? I'm not disputing that better ballistics can be had with SP and JHP ammo, I am merely asking if the fmj is considered "good enough"?

    I'm getting some .223 and .45 acp ammo this weekend, and honestly it's probably going to be FMJ. I'll take 100 rds of hardball over 20 jhp anyday.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. lopezni

    lopezni member

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    I dont think so, at close range a fmj is more likely to go through someone. If you want home defense, get a 12gauge with some 3" turkey loads.
     
  3. shadowalker

    shadowalker Member

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    Unless legally required to do so I would heavily recommend against using FMJ in any capable handgun caliber for home or personal defense. Modern JHP offers a significant performance advantage even for 45 ACP and is worth the extra cost.

    Not even considering the probably unwanted penetration of 45 ACP FMJ in a self defense situation you are already at a huge disadvantage.

    The exception is .380 ACP in which expansion rarely occurs due to low velocity and when it does expand it reduces penetration too much.

    Most the time 223 / 5.56 penetrate less drywall than either handguns or shotguns and is a very good choice for home defense.

    I wouldn't use FMJ for home defense just because the other choices really are significantly better. 223 / 5.56 is a lot like 9mm and is very dependent on a good projectile.

    75 grain TAP or 77 grain Sierra OTM perform drastically better than FMJ in 223 / 5.56. They fragment more reliably and result in significantly larger permanent cavities which translates to stopping the threat faster. A 1:7 or 1:8 twist barrel is preferred, if you have a 1:9 twist barrel it may not stabilize 75 / 77 projectiles so test it first.

    M193 and M855 can work but there are much better choices and they have a variable tendency to fragment even within the same lot of ammunition.

    Take a look at hornadyle's ballistic report on TAP rifle ammunition.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  4. Al LaVodka

    Al LaVodka member

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    I am a fan of standard ball for reliability. Penetration too. In a .45 especially though I have a little fancy HP. For .223 I am driven to the .62 gr. FMJ. However, I was convinced that for the fast rifle round, as we're not constrained by the Geneva Conventions, some quantity of JHP was reasonable and today it probably makes up about 30% of my .223 cartridges.
    Al
     
  5. AcceptableUserName

    AcceptableUserName member

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    this is all hypothetical. A rifle will n ever be my go to HD weapon (read: HOME defense, as in inside my house and at practical distances at or less than 20 yds). I am first and foremost a shotgun guy always. And if it wasn't for that, I'd probably buy a 9mm and loaded it with 124 gr JHP STRICTLY, but just for the house. A 230 gr. fmj has a lot more penetration than ppl think, I would venture to say.

    I'm saying IF I needed to protect myself from someone shooting at me from 20 yds or more, I feel like, and I'm not saying I'm right here, that I'd be better served with buying, oh lets say 1,000 rds of decent fmj than 250-400 rds of JHP or nice OTM/SP for the same price. Not saying I WON'T buy any of that good ammo, either...just won't put an emphasis on it.


    as for saying the .223 being like the 9 in that it does need the right ammo, I agree to a point. I think a lot of velocity helps cover up for the lack of bullet weight. Plus you have a lot more ammo on hand, a LOT more accurately.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  6. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    In my experience FMJ works rather well in 5.56. But I have seen what my departments duty ammo (Federal Tactical 55grn HP) can do and its substantially more than what FMJs usually do.
     
  7. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    Yep, need at least a .50" hole to be even close to level playing grounds and even then, might as well go for a slug gun so you get at least a mediocre wound cavity. Lord, now a .45" hole isn't enough. What does it take to stop a bad guy?
     
  8. nathan

    nathan Member

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    7-12 yds, the 9 mm Mak round is a great choice as well.
     
  9. AcceptableUserName

    AcceptableUserName member

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    I would hope he means being at a disadvantage having a pistol vs. a long gun...and the disadvantages the fears of penetration bring with a 230 gr fmj.
     
  10. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    That has not been my firsthand experience with FMJ .223. If I were you, I would use something else.

    Devastation is certainly not the word that comes to mind.
     
  11. AcceptableUserName

    AcceptableUserName member

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    soft point ammo : does it basically feed like an FMJ, and KINDA expand, like a poor mans jhp i guess? i am on the right path?


    im looking at some 55 gr soft point. i wont want to go higher than 64 or so because of my 1:9 barrel.
     
  12. Shadow Man

    Shadow Man Member

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    Benzy2, you missed the first part of his quote where he stated that the concern with using a .45ACP FMJ was overpenetration not lack of lethality. If you're going to quote someone, have the decency to quote everything that applies.
     
  13. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    Another THR overpenetration rant thread?
     
  14. AcceptableUserName

    AcceptableUserName member

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  15. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    Lets look at the post he made again. Here is the sentence in full:
    The way I interpreted the post, the first half that was left out had no relevance to my post or point. I still feel it has no relevance. He was saying that JHP significantly outperform compared to FMJ which I take as meaning what happens to the target. Then he says he isn't considering the penetration of a FMJ. To me that says the on target performance is such a disadvantage, which was and is my point, be it quoted in full or in part.

    Buy what you like. Not many people are going to be laughing after getting shot with a .223 at 10 yards, regardless if you are shooting 55gr fmj or not. There may be better rounds out there, but we all draw our own line somewhere. Its all arbitrary to what we personally feel is enough. Draw your own line and sleep well.
     
  16. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    You dont need like 8 mags full of the stuff for home defense. I have one 20 round mag with 18 Federal Tactical in it and 2 30 rd P-Mags full of ball. Then I have another 250 or so unloaded next to several other mags.

    If I ever have to reload to one of my 30 rounders full of ball. I think my concerns about overpenetration and what not are out the window.
     
  17. AcceptableUserName

    AcceptableUserName member

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    I wish I'd done more rifle shooting. I'm so clueless when it comes to HPR bullet types and performances.



    I'm mostly wondering how good the soft point stuff will feed. That's the main concern. From what I understand, soft point seems like a good middle ground between fmj and jhp.
     
  18. AcceptableUserName

    AcceptableUserName member

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    I hate using this term, I really really do, but I'm starting a SHTF stockpile. There, I said it. That's the purpose of what I'm buying. The rifle is not and will not ever be an HD weapon.
     
  19. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    FMJ all the way for SHTF.
     
  20. Hatterasguy

    Hatterasguy Member

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    The good old M193 and M855 have sent a ton of people to their graves.

    I don't beleive in buying super expensive defensive rounds. If you do your job and put an M193 round on your target, the target won't know the difference.

    With ammo I just buy whatever is the least expensive good quality I can find, right now thats Federal XM193.
     
  21. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    I would not (and do not) use FMJ for any defense gun, nor would I recommend it. That said, for a unlikely SHTF scenario I don't think it matters. Personally I use HP/SP for all of my defense weapons except for the Saiga-12 which gets No. 1 Buck (my go-to HD gun). Speer Gold Dot .380ACP in my Ruger LCP (carry only), Ranger T-Ser. .45ACP+P in my HK USP (bedside gun), Speer 110gr. HP in my .30Carbine (carry rifle for hiking), and Hornady 55gr. TAP in my M17 (this is likely to change to 77SMKs).

    :)
     
  22. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    The dynamic and overwhelming experience of a firefight, and the rapidity of events seem compressed even more than they really are. 100 rounds of ammo is nice I suppose, but if you are lucky enough to get 3 to 5 out the tube by then either yourself or the other guy is likely on the floor bleeding, or both of you.

    I suppose it could happen where you have a shootout that requires several magazine changes but this is unlikely at 20 feet.

    Choose the bullet with the best available characteristics for your AO. If you are only likely to shoot maybe 5 of them, the price is not particularly relevant, IMO.
     
  23. CTW

    CTW Member

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    I wolud stay away from fmj just for overpenetration purposes. With all the good dedicated self defense offerings out there surely you can find one you like. You dont have to have thousands of rounds of it, just a couple mags full.
     
  24. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    1. Defense of what? I think a rifle is a bad choice for "home use" due to size/handling in close quarters and excessive power in urban areas. For a farm or cabin maybe makes sense.

    2. FMJ's best feature is best possible reliability is self-loading actions. Down side is excessive penetration and less shocking power than expanding rounds. If you need penetration go with FMJ. If you need shocking power use expanding bullets.

    BTW- Don't think that 45 ACP hardball is a great manstopper. I shot a skinny guy 4 times through the torso with this load and he didn't stop until he bled out. I was very underwhelmed by the stopping power of the legendary 45 ACP at that point.
     
  25. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    The problems with using standard 5.56 ball (M193 or M855) are:

    1. Fleet yaw
    2. Variablility from Lot to Lot of ammunition, particularly in more complex construction like M855
    3. Require sufficient velocity (2,500fps-2,700fps) to be effective

    You need to remember that for both M193 (55gr) and M855 (62gr) that in approximately 25% of the cases where it does have sufficient velocity, it still fails to yaw or yaws very late. If it doesn't yaw, it does the .22 caliber icepick thing.

    Probably less of a concern in infantry style combat; but in any scenario where you are going to be held accountable for the resting place of every round fired, it would make me uncomfortable to use M193 or M855, especially if I had not gel tested both the lot of ammunition and the particular rifle I planned to use it in.
     
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