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Let me clarify a question about ammo to use in AR for home defense.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Balrog, Oct 6, 2019.

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  1. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    This has not been my experience in shooting coyotes with ball ammo.

    If it “dumps huge amounts of energy in tissue, we would see big internal cavity destruction like JHP’s or poly tip bullets. But we see small entry, small exits, limited internal trauma, and dogs which run off in high gear without being recovered.
     
  2. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    I guess I am confused by the thread. Some have said I am grossly overthinking ammo choices for 223, implying to me that all 223 ammo will work fine. Some have said that M193 will fragment and work fine. Some say M193 doesn't work well for the reasons you describe. Some have said varmint bullets like V-Max may not penetrate enough.

    I am pretty confident I want to stick with 55g weight for my purposes. I still guess I am not sure if I would be better off with M193, a varmint bullet like V-Max, or a soft point.

    Maybe there is no definitive answer.
     
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  3. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Because not all of us are using the same barrel length or at the same ranges. 20 inch barrels will yield more foot pounds of energy and velocity than a 16 inch or a 14.5 inch with a permanent flash hider.

    Brands of M193 are also going to be different.

    Shot placement is also going to vary as well. In some cases if the shot had just been over a fraction of an inch over to the left or right and they would have seen the performance that they wanted.

    It’s not an exact science. You’ll more see trends in one direction or another.
     
  4. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

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    Better bullets give you more leeway in shot placement.

    A FMJ through the heart or brain is going to kill anything fast. But you actually have to hit a vital spot. A expanding or fragmenting bullet can make what would be a marginal hit with FMJ good enough.

    M193 wasn’t designed to fragment and don’t necessarily fragment in all reasonable conditions. That they have some better affect than other ball rounds is a happy accident.

    BSW
     
  5. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    @Balrog - relative trends don’t always describe performance within the bounds of an application.

    I personally would say the problem you’re seeing is a lot of folks talking about trends, without real experience, and speculating off-map about sea dragons and the Edge of the World.

    Fact: FMJ’s penetrate more than JHP’s and poly tipped bullets.

    Non-sequitur conclusion some folks might draw from that fact: poly tipped bullets and JHP’s may not penetrate enough.

    It’s silly. Semi-tractors have more horsepower than pick-up trucks, but I don’t need a Peterbilt to pull my johnboat to the lake. FMJ’s penetrate further than Vmax’s, but vmax’s typically will exit in a coyote, so the extra penetration of the FMJ is just penetrating air and dirt. The advantage here is more Work is done inside the animal by the Vmax, and they fall dead faster, and closer to the point of impact.

    Fact(s): m193 fragments. JHP’s fragment. Poly tipped bullets fragment.

    Non-sequitur conclusion drawn by folks who haven’t killed anything with these rounds to compare wounding: They all fragment, so they’re the same.

    What’s true in the real world: poly tipped bullets get forced open immediately upon impact, with only a couple inches of penetration before violently opening while retaining inertia for straight line penetration. JHP’s delay this violent expansion a bit, as the tip has to deform of its own accord to motivate the bullet to open, so it penetrates slightly farther before opening - after which, like the poly tip, the bullet violently opens, and like the poly tip the retained mass of the core/shank penetrates relatively straight. FMJ’s, however, don’t have any opportunity to open. Fragmentation only happens after the bullet has penetrated far enough to find a reason to tumble, at which point the bullet falls apart willy-nilly, planing and cartwheeling, flinging chunks here and there nearly randomly. So when a Vmax enters a coyote, it gets through hide and ribs, and by the time it’s 2” deep, it starts throwing hate on everything around it. Much like a bunker buster missile. JHP’s might pass twice as deep before performing largely the same. M193 is known to typically penetrate more than 4-5” before it starts to tumble, at which part it comes apart like an egg on the sidewalk. Bullet destruction wastes energy, and the tumbling and random direction fragmentation doesn’t propagate as much temporary cavity trauma.

    If someone is attacking you - which would you prefer: a round which enters and starts laying hate immediately, opening a massive trauma tract before it even reaches the centerline of the body, creating a temporary cavity nearly centered within the confines of the body, or a bullet which enters, slips to the center of the vital zone, then finally decides to start doing something? If you consider the temporary cavity to be a bomb, do I want my bomb centered on the centerline of my target, or centered on the backside surface?
     
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  6. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    You are overthinking this. Pick a round that is reliable and groups well.
     
  7. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    @Varminterror did a good job laying out the longer version, the shorter version is that worrying about fragmentation is essentially a military thing. They use FMJ because they have to use FMJ by international convention, and fragmentation is about they only way they can get more damage from a bad bullet design. Were they given the choice, every Army M4 on the planet would probably be loaded with a magazine of soft points or hollow points.

    As far as self defense ammo - 55gr vs 62gr vs 77gr, Hornady vs Cor-Bon, etc - those factors aren't a big deal. It's not a situation where you need to have a really ideal bullet design to make up for a marginal caliber; any expanding rifle bullet hitting you at point-blank SD range is going to be bad news.

    Is M193 FMJ bad news as well? It still is, but the gap between SP/HPs and FMJs is drastic because the SP/HPs simply tend to deliver more energy on target. 223 rifles have a lot of energy to give, and expanding bullets are better at transferring it into people.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  8. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    M193 and M855 both fragment as a function of velocity while tumbling. The .22 caliber projectiles have thin jackets. Above a certain impact velocity, usually agreed to be ~2700 fps, the jacket will fracture at the cannelure as the bullet tumbles. If the velocity is marginal for fragmentation, then the bullet pretty much just breaks in half and creates two separate wound channels. If velocity is high enough, the base of the projectile, which tends to be hollow where the jacket is folded over the rear of the lead core, will come apart rather violently ( https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=mg7M8fk3&id=EA0C8D03CC321BAE290D7EF1C5D7FF3DA4276D93&thid=OIP.mg7M8fk36VF3amAlYX0BRgHaHa&mediaurl=https://www.grafs.com/uploads/product-picture/preview/12600.jpg&exph=600&expw=600&q=m193+projectile&simid=608000616160624797&selectedIndex=3&qpvt=m193+projectile ). The tip, being enclosed, tends to retain a little more of its structural integrity and will continue penetrating, perhaps flattening, but rarely disintegrating like the base. This is especially true of the M855, which has the dense tungsten penetrator in its nose. How long the projectile takes to tumble is a matter of "fleet yaw," the angle at which the projectile strikes the target. This can be erratic, esp at close range, before the projectile has had a chance to settle down or "go to sleep," and is at any rate unpredictable, which is why these projectiles have a reputation for being inconsistent in the real world. Generally speaking, either of these projectiles is going to take at least four inches to tumble, under even ideal conditions. So against some targets, like coyotes, you may not see this effect at all. There is a good section on the M193 as studied by Martin Fackler here:

    http://kjg-munition.de/Zielwirkung/military_bullet_wound_patterns.html

    Polymer tipped bullet, jacketed soft points, and jacketed hollow points will all exhibit much more consistent performance because they are not as velocity dependent. They are designed to expand point forward and therefore are not reliant on tumbling, and they are designed to deform, so they aren't reliant on having a high enough impact velocity to actually fracture or break the jacket. Many of the modern polymer tipped and jacketed hollow points may exhibit useful expansion a full 1000 fps below the velocity threshold for fragmentation for M193/M855. This expansion occurs very quickly and very consistently. Often these projectiles will expand almost instantly, and almost never take longer than half the distance to expand than the M193/M855 takes to tumble.

    So again, if you want to stick to 55 gr, you can. If you want to stockpile M193 for any sort of SHTF scenario, you can. This round is available and has a decent track record within its range parameters. But for defense and pest control, you can probably find a decent JSP for not a lot more coin that will be more accurate and consistent, and will provide better terminal ballistics. The M193 stuff is decent, relatively effective, but certainly not the best. It may work, but you can do better. As a thinker who is prone to over-analyzing things myself, I encourage you to not put too much thought into this. Practice and stockpile the M193 if you want, but keep a few mags of whatever 55 gr JSP is available, accurate, and reliable in your rifle handy for defense and pest control.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  9. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    @Balrog,

    Every gun is a rule onto itself. For example my 16” 5.56 1 in 7” is very accurate with PMC 55 grain .223.

    On the other hand I have not found a accurate 55 gr. bullet for my 16” .223 Wylde 1 in 9”. It has a Wilson Arms air gauged barrel and a high quality BCG. It acts it wants to group but then as the barrel gets warmer the group opens up. Common lore has it that the results for both guns should be the other way around.

    Your ammo choices are easier by only owning one AR-15. In my case I have two other 5.56 AR’s so it is a matter of compromise. I would buy few boxes of the different brands available in your area and then choose the one that gives you the best performance in the price range you can afford. In the case of my AR in .223 Wylde I am going to try some 62 gr. bullets. If I can’t get the groups to tighten up I will either sell the upper or rebarrel it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  10. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    Varminterror,
    Thanks for the good summary.

    So it sounds like I would be better off with a polymer tip or soft point. I think I am reading that a soft point will penetrate a little further before it expands and/or fragments. That could be a good thing if someone is in heavy clothing, I would think.

    Between polymer tip and soft point, which is less likely to penetrate interior walls and still be lethal?
     
  11. TikkaShooter

    TikkaShooter Member

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    We live mostly in the Chattahoochee NF. Our nearest neighbor is close to a mile from us; although I would never ever, I doubt a 300 winmag could make it through the forest. We still have a house where we spend a day or two each week preparing it to sell. Although the neighbors are closer; the house is roughly in the same situation.

    Within their effective envelope which is determined by velocity; they'll yaw with 1:12 or 1:14 and they also fragment. More pieces flying around inside have a better chance of doing more damage.
    Here is an excellent read: http://www.ar15.com/ammo/project/Fackler_Articles/wounding_patterns_military_rifles.pdf
    The reason behind today's 1:7 to 1:9 is they will stabilize heavier bullets.

    As a result of how they are manufactured, a lot of modern bullets have an air pocket (OTM) in the nose; however, they are not JHP or BTJHP..
    http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/open-tip-match-when-a-hollow-point-is-not-a-hollow-point/
     
  12. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Poly tip. Pretty simple.
     
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  13. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    I was watching a youtube video of a guy shooting 223 rounds through consecutive layers of drywall. The 55g FMJ penetrated 22 layers. 55g V-Max penetrated 13. V Max penetrates a lot less, but still gonna go from one side of house to the other.

     
  14. Jim Rau

    Jim Rau Member

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    Buy any brand of 55 gr JSP and don't look back. I have seen, first hand, what they do to humans, and yotes and it don't get any better than what they do.:)
     
  15. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Not necessarily. Those layers are pretty close together. The bullet is going to break up after the first few layers. So it might penetrate a wall, but if you give it ten or twelve feet to break up and dissipate energy before hitting the next wall, it probably isn't going to penetrate that wall. I remember watching a video on Youtube of some guys shooting popular rounds through an actual double wide trailer, and it was really enlightening. Unfortunately, I can't find that video right now, and it seems everyone else makes the same mistake of just stacking the drywall inches apart like it is actually relevant to home defense. I don't know about you, but my rooms are more than 4 inches wide. To test properly, you'd have to construct a section of interior wall, then set another up a reasonable distance behind, like an actual room. Any round capable of penetrating to the vitals of a human from any shot presentation is going to penetrate several layers of drywall. A polymer tipped 5.56 round is probably going to penetrate less than most. I don't think over penetration should be anywhere near the top of your list of considerations, but if it is, a 55 gr Vmax is going to be one of your better options.
     
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  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    So you’re seriously proposing here that AIR will cause bullets to fragment, but reject the results of the video which show bullets passing through over a dozen layers of drywall, transversing several feet.... man...
     
  17. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Is English your first language? Can you read?

    Nope, never said that. Not even close.

    There is a reason we are trained to stand back away from cover or concealment. Having space between you can your cover gives that round time to break up or yaw. Once the bullet begins breaking up in cover, it spreads like the pattern of a shotgun. Like the pattern of a shotgun, the individual pieces have relatively little mass and lose velocity fast. So if you give them some space between you and your cover or concealment, then the chances are higher that you will be hit my smaller pieces with less velocity that don't penetrate as far, or that the bullet having not broken up will yaw off its course and miss you. I've shot enough live rounds in a kill house before to know bullets that don't break up rarely maintain a linear course.
    Stacking boards inches apart from each other doesn't give us useful information. We already know drywall makes poor cover. And our rooms are more than inches wide. So this experiment isn't relevant or applicable to home defense. That Vmax is not going to penetrate seven walls, or 13 layers of drywall if the layers are spaced feet apart from each other like an actual room, because after the first few layers, the bullet is going to break up as designed, the pieces are going to lose energy, and stop in the next layers. This is actually pretty common sense if you shoot stuff with your rifle.
    In this video, they at least put a couple feet between their walls, and you can see the Vmax is pretty well broken up by the second wall. You can also see the pattern produced by the broken up bullet getting larger, and losing energy:

    I can't believe I have to draw this out in crayon for you, but obviously, common sense isn't common anymore. So if you put 12 to 15 feet, instead of 2 feet between your walls, like a typical American home, then the pattern is going to get pretty big, lose energy pretty fast, and obviously not penetrate as many layers. Anything with enough penetration to be lethal on a human is probably still going through several interior walls, but the Vmax will break up and dissipate energy quicker than most.
     
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  18. redbullitt

    redbullitt Member

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    1/7 twist, I'd use a 77 matchking. They shoot well in everything I've had with enough twist, and they work in the AR mags just fine. The 69 grain or similar match bullet should be good too!

    The 60ish grain bonded gold dot, fusion etc. would be my go to if you were after something more along those lines.

    Nose makes a 60ish soft point as well that works very well on deer, and I'd imagine 2 legged goblins too.
     
  19. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    I am not interpreting that video same as you. The 60 g V Max penetrated six layers of sheetrock, two layers of 3/4" plywood, and sent small fragments through the last layer of sheetrock.

    It is hard to compare the results of the 2 videos, but if a 60g V Max is able to penetrate through the equivalent of 3 interior walls (six layers of sheetrock), I don't see how that is a good result inside a house.

    The conclusion I draw is that any 223 round is going to penetrate multiple interior walls.
     
  20. C-grunt

    C-grunt Member

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    The best way to limit overt penetration is to hit the bad guy. Bullets go through walls. No getting around that. That also means that depending on what wall is behind your target you might have to pass on a shot if you can't guarantee a good hit.

    The is no best bullet. Everything has compromises.
    M193 is cheap and TENDS to fragment at HD ranges. It doesn't always though. Plus you will have a few inches of penetration before it yaws and starts to fragment. Depending on shot angle that can be mostly through or all the way through before the high damaging factors happen.

    Soft points are much more consistent and start deforming much faster. However they can actually have a good amount of penetration depending on which bullet used. Soft points can also lead up feed ramps over time and cause feeding issues.

    Hollow points and tipped bullets expand and/or fragment very reliably and quickly. However depending on design they can have a lot of penetration (TSX, GMX) or very little penetration (light weight varmint type bullets). The lower penetration bullets will also have issues penetrating barriers if you need to shoot through something. Also hitting an arm before you hit the torso can really reduce effectiveness.

    I shot a guy last year with a 55 grain Sierra Gameking Federal TRU round. The first round went through his left forearm, shattering both bones above the wrist, then hit him in the left side of his chest, shredded his left lung, and the base of the bullet punched a hole through his heart. He then charged me. The second round hit him in the lower right chest, blew up his liver, cut his right side diaphragm in half, and the base of the bullet lodged against his spine. He fell down and talked to me and continued to try and get his gun for about a minute before he lost consciousness.
     
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  21. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    The proper conclusion to draw is as I stated, that any round powerful enough for self defense is going to penetrate several walls. The Vmax will penetrate less than most, which is why Hornady puts it in their TAP Urban. As CGrunt stated, the obvious solution is to hit the bad guy first. If you miss the bad guy, a .22 LR, .38 Special, or even 12 gauge birdshot is likely to make it through at least one or two walls. Drywall simply sucks at stopping bullets. An eight year old boy can punch through a common interior wall. I have seen a paintball gun go through an interior wall. I don't know what you expect, but there are no free-bees in physics. Anything powerful enough to penetrate to the vitals of a human is going through some drywall. The fact remains that the Vmax penetrates less than most, including less than most handgun rounds.
     
  22. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Exactly. What @MTMilitiaman seems to be pretending is that the bullet will have completely fractured after the first wall, and only preceded through the remaining 11 layers because the fragments were close together.

    However, anyone who has shot inside a shoot house, or done any of their own dry wall destruction tests knows the bullet isn’t immediately destroyed.

    Also, he’s positing an illogical conclusion - sure, if someone is shooting at you, intentionally, standing disposed from the wall will give opportunity for deflection and divergence. But in an over-penetration case, they aren’t shooting intentionally at you through the wall, so you have just as much chance of being struck by a bullet diverging towards you as being saved by a bullet diverging away from your line. Indeed, maybe common sense isn’t so common.

    2” or 12’, if there is nothing more than 2 layers of drywall between you and a muzzle firing a 223/5.56, you’re going to have a bad, bad day. Period.
     
  23. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    I agree V-Max penetrates less, but its decreased penetration is irrelevant. The fact that M193 can go through 10 walls, and V-max only through 5 or 6 still means either round will go from one side of your house to the other.
     
  24. bfoosh006

    bfoosh006 Member

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    Both great reads... and this is what I mean by yaw dependent... Note the angle of impact...

    FleetYaw2.jpg
     
  25. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    If it is that big of a deal to you, don't use a firearm for self defense. It really is that simple. Bullets go through walls. There is no getting around that. So you can sleep next to a baseball bat, or you can keep a gun for home defense and accept that any missed rounds are going through at least a few walls.
     
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