What type of ammunition do you prefer?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by sequins, May 18, 2019.


What kind of ammo do you prefer?

  1. Whatever is cheapest (no real preference)

    20 vote(s)
  2. light ammo

    20 vote(s)
  3. normal ammo

    65 vote(s)
  4. hot ammo

    10 vote(s)
  1. Zendude

    Zendude Member

    Mar 27, 2015
    Light handloads, especially for snub revolvers.
    saaman and Jack B. like this.
  2. 357smallbore

    357smallbore Member

    Feb 14, 2015
    Libby MT
    SD ammo is HST for my autos. UMC JHP ammo for my revolvers.
    Practice ammo is all home rolled by me.
    SharpDog likes this.
  3. labnoti

    labnoti Member

    Apr 2, 2018
    I think people are susceptible to going through stages of maturity in handgunning where they start out working to overcome the most basic difficulties in gun manipulation to become safe and effective. As a beginner, they have to learn some level of competence in sight-alignment, sight picture, trigger control, grip, stance etc. Once they obtain some level of proficiency in those techniques, they can be tempted to increase the challenge they undertake by making things more difficult in order to advance their skills and to increase their capability. For example, they might downsize to a subcompact for concealed carry or they might step up to a "Magnum" for more firepower. Indeed if they reload, they might be tempted to load cartridges to maximum pressures or even higher. While they're self-aware of scaling up the chamberings they shoot and maxing out their reloads, they will downplay these things to other shooters in order to assume an identity where these choices are routine. In other words, they're "compensating."
  4. labnoti

    labnoti Member

    Apr 2, 2018
    Maturity in ammo choices can have a different appearance depending on the purpose for which a person is shooting. Economy is going to be a factor in any endeavor that calls for a high volume of fire, but plinking is different than competition with power factor rules. Terminal effectiveness is important to hunting and self-defense but the ranges and type of target can vary significantly. I can't prescribe what maturity looks like for any one person's purposes, but there are certain to be a few people here that are examples. I don't consider myself one -- haven't been around long enough.

    One description of what a mature choice in ammo might look like would be a cartridge that's just enough to make sure the job gets done. Note that phrase includes the words, "just enough" and it also includes, "make sure." In off-road driving, we say "as slow as possible, but as fast as necessary."

    If one's purpose takes terminal effectiveness of handgun ammunition into consideration, they should consider the following. It is evident from research on the subject that velocity, bullet energy, or momentum in excess of what is necessary for expansion and sufficient penetration of the target, including any barriers, isn't productive. I won't thoroughly rehash handgun effectiveness theory in this thread, but I'll point to another recent one on the matter and leave you with the question: does your hot ammo really do anything meaningful that normal ammo wouldn't do just as well? https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...eos-ive-seen-on-ballistic-gel-testing.850256/
  5. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

    May 19, 2016
    U S A
    For practice I prefer the cheapest I can find. After practice I reload with my carry ammo.
  6. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

    May 5, 2011
    Tampa Bay
    For range use, I like 4.7 grains of Titegroup under a 230 grain Berry's plated. Very accurate, pokes along at about 750fps. Low recoil, easy to shoot. Still working on a SD load, doing a workup with power pistol to get the velocity up...but as hot as I can, while staying within pressure limits
  7. drband

    drband Member

    Jul 2, 2014
    Handloads. "Comfortable" recoil and good accuracy. I suppose that falls into the category of "normal" ammo.

    I have not purchased commercial ammo in a long time.

    However, I do like to send some .44magnums down range at near max load! It reminds me why I mostly shoot standard/plinking loads in that caliber, but is sure is fun for a couple of cylinders full!
  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    I went through a magnum phase, I figure most shooters do. I don't know if I have recovered from the flinching caused by the blast and painful recoil. Currently I want enough velocity to reliably function an auto pistol, if I am shooting an auto pistol, and enough velocity to have excellent accuracy with a revolver. With fixed sight revolvers I am pretty much stuck with using bullet weights that shoot to point of aim with the sights.
    Dave T and drband like this.
  9. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

    Mar 15, 2017
    I keep it light for the most part. Easier on me and my guns. I have develop hot loads for all my guns in case I want them for some reason. Don't like to use them too often but sometimes I get the itch for some hot loads.
  10. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    I have never saw any sense in trying to hotrod a cartridge into something it wasn't meant to be. I will use +P in 38 special K frame revolvers as standard 38 is so underloaded. +P in 9mm gives you at best 100 fps more which really doesn't result in much better expansion or penetration.

    If I want more than a 38 I go to a 357. More than that I go to a 44 magnum. More than that I'll use a rifle. There are maybe 1% of the people who buy a 500 S&W that really have a need for one. Nothing wrong with the other 99%...but I'm not one of them.
  11. BearBrimstone

    BearBrimstone Member

    Jan 7, 2016
    I usually just buy the cheapest I can find when it comes to range ammunition. I employ that strategy somewhat with SD ammo as well. I have a couple brands that I trust and I buy whichever of them I can find the cheapest at the time.
  12. FlSwampRat

    FlSwampRat Member

    Feb 1, 2019
    Broward County, Fl
    I remember one range trip where my buddy and I were directed to ports bracketing a guy teaching his wife to shoot his .22 LR pistol. We really didn't think about it and opened up on our respective targets, him with his Desert Eagle .44 and me with my Anaconda.
    After the first round of shots he backed out of his port and said "Could you guys have found two louder guns to shoot?" I looked at him and said "Is that a request?"
    He packed up and left. Honestly, some people have no sense of humor.
    sequins likes this.
  13. sequins

    sequins Member

    Oct 14, 2014
    I honestly though hot ammo would be more popular, I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised when he commented. I thought I was in the minority but not this small of one.
  14. 1MoreFord

    1MoreFord Member

    Mar 27, 2014
    Central Arkansas
    The stuff that goes bang and functions properly Every time.
  15. PWC

    PWC Member

    Feb 20, 2018
    Central AZ
    Your choices appear to exclude handload only in favor of purchased. I only shoot what I make, except rimfire....So I can't vote.
    drband and P5 Guy like this.
  16. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    I voted "normal".

    I mostly shoot .38 Special as far as centerfire handguns. I like 158 grain SWC when I can find it. It is normally not particularly expensive. I have more confidence in it than FMJ if I had to use it for defense*. Also, it is the bullet weight most fixed-sight snubs are regulated for.

    That being said, less than 158 is just fine for range and practice.

    This is all outside of defense. I like the Speer short-barrel Gold Dots for that. A box or two should last me a lifetime. But for everyday use, yeah... "normal" ammo is definitely my vote.

    * Yeah, I know - wadcutters. I never see them out in the wild, and I don't order online.
  17. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    Missoula, Montana
    I carry and shoot a lot of 10mm Auto. This is a hot, high performance cartridge and deserves to be loaded as such. The lack of full power ammo from major manufactures and the difficulty in finding bullets intended for 10mm Auto velocities gives me fits. But loading weak "FBI" loads in this cartridge seems counter-productive, like putting cheap gasoline in a stock car. I want the performance I paid for, I want to shoot heavy-for-caliber bullets at respectable velocities, so I carry full power JHP loaded by boutique manufactures like Double Tap and Grizzly Cartrdge Co for defense and load full power FMJ of the same weight to the same velocity for training and practice. Right now I carry a 200 gr XTP over the chrono from my 4.6 inch Glock barrel at a little over 1200 fps, loaded by Grizzly Cartridge.
  18. murf

    murf Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    all of the above. cheap suff for the 22lrs, hot stuff for the 44 mag and 45lc and 45acp, mild stuff for the 38spl, medium stuff for the 9mm.

    ATLDave likes this.
  19. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

    Feb 6, 2014
    For handgun I usually start right at the bottom of a recommended charge and work up. Like someone said hot enough to reliably work the action and have decent accuracy. Any more juice is a waste to me. I do not complete, and all I do is shoot holes in paper.

    I shoot a lot of 9mm so if I can get more rounds out of a pound of powder its all good. Currently shooting 124gr RMR FMJRN with W231 or Sport Pistol.

  20. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    I'm all over the place. The majority of my handgun shooting is oriented towards USPSA, which has required power factors - so most of my shooting is done with ammo that is intended to reach the requisite level, but not much beyond that. For .40/10mm in limited division, that means a heavy bullet (I like 220's) driven at modest velocities. For 9mm Major in open, that means loads that are above published maximums (only safe-ish in purpose-built open guns). I think the latter is hot by anyone's standards.

    But if I'm truly just shooting for pleasure, I love 38 spl wadcutters that are slow enough to see in flight. And I love full-bore 10mm. And mid-range .41 magnum. And traditional 45ACP hardball... but also lighter 200 or 185 grain target loads. I like it all.
  21. uofaengr

    uofaengr Member

    Mar 29, 2019
    As long as they're safe loadings, if you like em hot then load em hot. Who's that guy to say you can't?

    For loading bulk handgun ammo, I prefer something around factory standard pressure loading. The mouse fart loads are counter intuitive for my purposes.
  22. mavracer

    mavracer Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    All of the above.
    Mostly for just shooting/practice is light to mid range. But occasionally fire breathing loads are fun.
    I load for a dozen handgun calibers.
  23. km101

    km101 Member

    Oct 1, 2013
    Texas; The State Most Likely to Secede!
    I load for accuracy over velocity. If the most accurate load is at the top of the charts that is what I am going to shoot, but velocity is not my primary concern.

    Of course I want enough velocity to achieve the results needed so sometimes there must be a compromise. But the old saying still holds true “Speed is fine but accuracy is fatal”.
  24. doubleh

    doubleh Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    NM-south of I-40
    I voted for light because one of the benefits old age has bestowed on me is a wimpy wrist. I can still handle 357 mag in a heavy gun but prefer 38 special. The 44 mags have turned into light loaded 44 specials and the 45 colt is downloaded to what is called "cowboy" loads. I've even switched to those ugly rubber grips and retired my fancy wooden grips and that has also been a benefit to my wrist.
  25. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

    Aug 13, 2005
    Sutton, Nebraska
    Depends on the mission at the moment..

    Relaxed range day is typically cheap off the shelf or lower midrange handloads.

    Hunting with rifle is upper midrange handloads with accracy I am looking for, or, decent quality off the shelf, again with accuracy I am looking for.

    Hunting with handgun, upper end, with the short distances I am willing to shoot a living critter, I will trade some accuracy for more power.
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