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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 6/5/2003 11:10:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/6/2003 6:52:10 AM EDT by Charging_Handle]
While I was preparing a reply to another topic tonight, I got the idea that I would take part of the data I was using in that post and start a new thread. With this thread I hope to list as many of the common self defense calibers as possible, along with the ammunition that offers the best performance in each. For all of you veterans, this will be old stuff. But I commonly see newer members who ask these questions and I hope this post will be a help to them in some way. Plus, I am bored and need something to keep me occupied for a few minutes! I claim to be no ammo guru, but the info all originally came from those who do fit that mold. All of the data that follows is stuff that I have gathered from various sources over the past year or so. All of them are very intelligent people when it comes to terminal ballistics and I consider the info very solid. Some of these people include Dr. Gary Roberts, our own Tatjana, Brouhaha and Troy, as well as some other folks. The performance comes from gel tests and whenever possible, actual use in police shootings, etc. If any moderator feels this thread is worthy of reviewing, feel free to tack it here somewhere and add to it where you see fit. OK, the following rounds all meet the FBI's requirement for at least 12" of penetration in gel/soft tissue and will robustly expand (or fragment as is the case with some of the rifle ammo) even when passing through clothing: 9mm -Winchester Ranger 127 gr +P+ JHP -Winchester Ranger 147 gr JHP -Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP -Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP -Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP -Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP .40 S&W -Winchester Ranger 180 gr JHP -Winchester Ranger 165 gr JHP -Speer Gold Dot 180 gr JHP -Federal Tactical 180 gr JHP -Remington Golden Saber 180 gr JHP .45 ACP -Winchester Ranger 230 gr JHP -Winchester Ranger 230 gr +P JHP -Federal Tactical 230 gr JHP -Speer Gold Dot 230 gr JHP .357 Sig -Winchester Ranger 125 gr JHP -Speer Gold Dot 125 gr JHP .223 -Black Hills or Hornady 75 gr OTM -Black Hills or Federal 77 gr OTM -Black Hills or Federal 69 gr OTM -Black Hills 68 gr OTM -Winchester Supreme Power Point Plus 64 gr JSP -Federal 55 and 62 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (these also penetrate deeply, even through barriers so be careful where you employ these rounds) -Black Hills 60 gr SP .308 -Hornady 155 gr TAP (with AMAX bullet) -Federal 150 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip -Winchester Supreme 150 gr Ballistic Silvertip -Loads using the 165 gr Sierra Game King 7.62X39mm -Lapua 125 gr JSP -Winchester Super-X 123 gr Power-Point .30 Carbine -Remington 110 gr JSP 12 Gauge -Most any 00 or 000 buckshot loads will provide necessary penetration. However some may pattern better than others. The Federal Tactical 00 Buckshot is often a favorite. I hope this little list is helpful to someone. Again, this info was gathered either from scientific gel testing, info obtained from post-shooting analysis or both. The rounds should all perform well. While not all inclusive, it does list most of the best rounds when it comes to defensive criteria against human attackers. If more details are needed, I will be happy to provide them later but there is only so much room in one post. Penetration against glass, car bodies and other barriers is another story but most of the bonded bullet rifle loads do well, particularly the Federal Trophy Bonded and Nosler Partition. In handguns, the Speer Gold Dot is hard to beat for this purpose, although a bonded rifle bullet from a .30 caliber rifle is obviously a better choice. And with shotguns, the Brenneke slugs have a good reputation. But remember, these are deep penetrating loads and may not be ideal choices for entry or home defense where over-penetration is a concern. Again, I hope someone finds this list useful and I hope I haven't bored any of you veterans. Hehe. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 12:07:15 AM EDT
Did you look at Federal's expanding full metal jacket?
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 12:20:47 AM EDT
The Federal EFMJ is often frowned upon because it doesn't consistently expand as well as the above mentioned loads. In the test results I have seen, some calibers using the EFMJ have a failure rate of 20% or more when it comes to expansion. In fact, Tatjana posted a thread relating to this in which pictures were also shown. I think she got those from ammolab.com. Also, even when the bullet expands properly, it doesn't have the sharp, jagged edges like the Gold Dot and Ranger. Smooth edges often push tissue out of the way, but not doing as much damage to it as other bullets with the "talon" like edges. With the sharp edges, this flesh is collected and cut as the bullet passes through. This can lead to a generally more severe wound and promote more bleeding. The EFMJ is certainly an interesting load. But it appears that it needs some tweaking to become as effective as some of the other designs. Based on what I have seen and what the experts recommend, I would favor the Ranger or Gold Dot over the EFMJ at this time. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 12:55:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/6/2003 5:39:51 AM EDT by Charging_Handle]
Also, I will now post some more information regarding BUG (Back-Up Gun) ammo such as 9mm and .38 Special. I couldn't find any place to fit it into the original post, but feel it is important since so many people carry subcompact handguns. The Smith and Wesson .38 snubby is one of the most widely carried back-up and CCW guns in the nation. But it's small size also affects it's performance. Many, if not most of the .38 special loads, were designed for use in full size revolvers with a 4" or longer barrel. The 2" barrel of a snubby just doesn't generate much velocity, even with +P ammo because the .38 is relatively slow to start with. Therefore many of the hollowpoint bullet designs just do not open up in this caliber. The "FBI loads" (158 gr +P LSWCHP's) have often been given the nod in certain circles. You certainly see them referenced frequently in gun rag articles while often branded the best stoppers. This round may in fact offer decent performance in a full size revolver, but in a small snubby, the expansion isn't likely to be dramatic....if it expands at all. To complicate this even more, this bullet style also has a tendency to sometimes clog with the fabric of clothing as it passes through it, which in turn plugs the hollowpoint and prevents it from expanding. This is a common problem with many bullet styles in many calibers, especially older designs. This load does rank at the top with Evan Marshall and Massad Ayoob however. In the Sept 2000 issue of Guns Magazine, Ayoob rates the the FBI load tops from a snubby and compares it's effectiveness to 45 acp hardball. However the only evidence he uses to back up his statement about expansion in his discussion was one example where he shot a hog in the head in a slaughter house. He said the round "mushroomed" really well. But, a lead bullet hitting a thick skull is not the same as a bullet hitting soft tissue. The bullet may have actually flattened as a result of the impact instead of expanding. For this and various other reasons, I don't place much faith in Ayoob's methods as there is no sound science involved with them. Also, Evan Marshall's data is often subject to criticism from the scientific community because they feel his statistics are seriously flawed. So draw your own conclusions as to who is correct in the on-going "ammo wars". In defense of the FBI loads, Massad Ayoob once mentioned that Martin Fackler thought the Federal load was the tops in .38 loads. But what Ayoob failed to mention was whether Fackler was making that assessment based on performance from full size revolvers or snubbies. That would make a very big difference. But Fackler is certainly one of the best in the business and his focus on the Federal FBI load justifies further exploration. Needless to say, the FBI load will probably fair as well as any .38 special hollow point design in snubbies whether it offers reliable expansion or not. In a snubby that uses an already slow bullet, there is not likely to be a magic round. But some may be better than others. Now while this may sound weird at first, one of the best loads out there may in fact be the 148 gr lead wadcutters! That's right, lead wadcutters! While these rounds certainly don't do anything dramatic, they often do create a more serious wound than can be delivered by round nose lead ball, FMJ or a hollowpoint that doesn't expand. They have a larger frontal area than most other bullets that taper toward the nose. They are also mild to the shooter which can aid in recovery and follow-up shots. They are also very accurate. While I am not a fan of the .38 special in general, the 148 gr wadcutters may be as good as anything out there from the snubby. And this load too has the DocGKR stamp of approval. Also wildly popular are subcompact versions of the Glock and now the Springfield XD as well. Most of the 9mm cartridges until recently suffered the same problems as the .38 in that they were designed to expand in a velocity envelope best reached with full size pistols. From a 3.5" barrel for example, many loads just don't perform well. But the Winchester Ranger 127 gr +P+ as well as the Speer 124 gr +P Gold Dot seem to perform pretty well from these shorter barrel lengths. In fact, in tests performed in ballistic gel, expansion is not much less than in full size handguns. These loads have been refined to near perfection by Winchester and Speer and offer excellent, consistent performance over a range of velocities. If I wanted a round for a 9mm with a barrel under 4", I would give the nod to the 127 gr +P+ Ranger. The 147 gr Ranger, although not as fast, still does well also in smaller pistols. It also has less recoil and muzzle blast than the +P+ load. Both are good and it's honestly hard to pick one over the other. If the Ranger is hard to find, the Speer load is also an excellent choice that offers performance that rivals that of the Ranger. Either of these 3 loads perform well and would be my top choices for a subcompact 9mm. Again, these are just my opinions based on the work of professionals who have extensively tested these rounds. I am no ballistics expert. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express recently, so hopefully that counts for something! LOL....J/K. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 6:30:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 6:47:21 AM EDT
Awesome Forest! Thanks for reminding me about the Lapua load. I remember reading that now but had let it slip my mind. The Lapua load actually has the largest recovered diameter. I will include it among the others. Thanks again! -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 6:17:49 PM EDT
M193 and M855 both meet FBI specs.
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 7:08:07 PM EDT
Great post CH! I totally concur with your handgun ammo comments,(although I would eliminate Remington's GS due to QC problems seen in the past). Good point Austrian.
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 8:14:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Austrian: M193 and M855 both meet FBI specs.
View Quote
That's a good point Austrian and I agree with you. I'm not sure why these two loads were left out of the .223 rounds appropriate for self defense and law enforcement by Dr. Roberts. But I have one theory that may explain it. Rather than being one type of ammo (which it should be), there are many brands and variations within M193 and M855 ammo. So in reality, it's actually a whole class of ammo rather than one type. The Lake City and IMI tend to be similar, with the same velocity and bullets made to the same specs. But when dealing with other brands, such as Sellier and Bellot's M193 labeled load or some of the other SS109 loads, this may be where the consistency in velocity and bullet construction end. The S&B marked M193 load, while giving good velocity, uses a thicker jacket material than the US and Israeli M193 and doesn't fragment. So technically, by definition, this isn't even M193 because the specs are off. None-the-less, it is marked as M193 on the box and is often sold as such, so Roberts may have questioned listing the general term "M193" so others wouldn't go out and buy anything marked as "M193" thinking it was in fact all the same. A similar problem exists with loads using the SS109 bullets. While M855 is actually the US and Israeli spec, many people often confuse anything with the SS109 bullet as M855 ammo. We all know that there are tons of variations within the SS109 bullets. For example, the steel penentrator core is often not centered in the bullet. If it is more to one side than the other, this can have an effect on how the bullet performs. It seems that the terminal performance of these rounds vary from batch to batch. Therefore, even though there is a certain specficication these rounds should meet, there are still variations within. And factor in all of the loads using the SS109 bullets around the world (Olympic, Igman, Radway Green, Lake City, IMI, Hot Shot, Sellier and Bellot, Santa Barbara, etc, you can see that this is actually a class of ammo as opposed to a single type. And some of them are pretty poor quality as well. So Roberts may have avoided listing rounds using these bullets in an effort to avoid the confusing elements involved. Or, he may just not like the M193 and M855 very much. But based on the results of Tatjana and Brou's earlier testing, I would say the M193 and M855 do in fact meet FBI specs. The penetration is there and in most cases, the fragmentation as well. As a result of their thorough testing I have made the M193 my general purpose round as I feel it is just the more consistent performer between the two types. I have recently gone to the Hornady 75 gr OTM for home defense however, because I feel it's performance exceeds that of M193. But M193 is still more practical in terms of practice or buying in larger quantities. And why DocGKR didn't list either of these loads in his recommended ammo list, I simply do not know. Perhaps it was for some of the reasons I listed. Or maybe he just hasn't got around to it yet. This may be a question I will pose in his forum. If I get any data supporting that opinion on M193 and M855, I will post it here. Thanks, -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 8:49:38 PM EDT
OK, after searching through some past threads over at tacticalforums.com, I saw some info from Dr. Roberts and Dr. Fackler concerning the M193 and M855 loads. From Roberts..... "Combat operations the past few months have again highlighted terminal performance deficiencies with 5.56 x 45 mm 62 gr M855 FMJ. These problems have primarily been manifested as inadequate incapacitation of enemy forces despite their being hit multiple times by M855 bullets. These failures appear to be associated with the bullets exiting the body of the enemy soldier without yawing or fragmenting. This failure to yaw and fragment can be caused by reduced impact velocities as when fired from short barrel weapons or when the range increases. It can also occur when the bullets pass through only minimal tissue, such as a limb or the chest of a thin, malnourished individual, as the bullet may exit the body before it has a chance to yaw and fragment. In addition, bullets of the SS109/M855 type are manufactured by many countries in numerous production plants. Although all SS109/M855 types must be 62 gr FMJ bullets constructed with a steel penetrator in the nose, the composition, thickness, and relative weights of the jackets, penetrators, and cores are quite variable, as are the types and position of the cannelures. Because of the significant differences in construction between bullets within the SS109/M855 category, terminal performance is quite variable—with differences noted in yaw, fragmentation, and penetration depths. Luke Haag’s papers in the AFTE Journal (33(1):11-28, Winter 2001) describe this problem." And from Fackler..... "In 1980, I treated a soldier shot accidentally with an M16 M193 bullet from a distance of about ten feet. The bullet entered his left thigh and traveled obliquely upward. It exited after passing through about 11 inches of muscle. The man walked in to my clinic with no limp whatsoever: the entrance and exit holes were about 4 mm across, and punctate. X-ray films showed intact bones, no bullet fragments, and no evidence of significant tissue disruption caused by the bullet’s temporary cavity. The bullet path passed well lateral to the femoral vessels. He was back on duty in a few days. Devastating? Hardly. The wound profile of the M193 bullet (page 29 of the Emergency War Surgery—NATO Handbook, GPO, Washington, D.C., 1988) shows that most often the bullet travels about five inches through flesh before beginning significant yaw. But about 15% of the time, it travels much farther than that before yawing—in which case it causes even milder wounds, if it missed bones, guts, lung, and major blood vessels. In my experience and research, at least as many M16 users in Vietnam concluded that it produced unacceptably minimal, rather than “massive”, wounds. After viewing the wound profile, recall that the Vietnamese were small people, and generally very slim. Many M16 bullets passed through their torsos traveling mostly point forward, and caused minimal damage. Most shots piercing an extremity, even in the heavier-built Americans, unless they hit bone, caused no more damage than a 22 caliber rimfire bullet.” Fackler, ML: “Literature Review”. Wound Ballistics Review; 5(2):40, Fall 2001 And yet again from Dr. Roberts...... "keep in mind that 5.56 mm FMJ terminal effects are somewhat variable". Evidently, Roberts feels like the M193 and M855 are not as consistent in their wounding mechanisms as some of the various other loads. Certainly, when they yaw and the resulting fragmentation takes place early, they are very effective. But it appears that the M193/M855 loads aren't as consistent in doing this as some other loads such as Hornady 75 gr TAP for example. While this may be the case it is still my opinion (whatever my opinion is worth) that the M193 and M855 are still superior to any other FMJ bullet type in this caliber as well as many of the lightweight varmint bullets. M193 fragmentation is still more consistent and dramatic than that produced by lower velocity SAAMI spec .223 FMJ loads. It also consistently penetrates to the desired 12" minimum established by the FBI, a feat the lightweight varmint bullets can't accomplish. Conclusion? M193 is probably the best bet in a cheap round for stocking or buying in large quantities. It seems more consistent than M855 and is cheaper. But the newer OTM match loads may offer more consistent performance and be superior in terminal performance as well. Since self defense or law enforcement purposes doesn't require thousands of rounds of ammo per user to be on hand, this is probably why these rounds get the nod. Now I am gonna shut up for awhile! After this long day my fingers and eyes are getting a bit tired. LOL. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 11:45:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/11/2003 3:04:08 AM EDT by Charging_Handle]
Alrighty, now that I have had a brief break to rest my weary eyes and fingers, I have located some more stuff I had saved that might be of interest to this discussion. I know some people here live in areas where the RKBA isn't exactly a priority of their local governments. As such, many people probably aren't allowed to own weapons like the AR-15, AK-47, etc. But in many cases, hunting rifles and carbines are allowed. While these do not have the same rate of fire as a semi-auto military style rifle, they can be very effective for defensive use if called upon. Below I will post some test results of various hunting rounds that exibit acceptable performance in the role of self defense, as well as a few of the calibers I have already discussed. keep in mind that many of these hunting rounds penetrate deeply and may not be the most appropriate caliber choices for home defense or urban use. But as far as wounding potential, they are pretty impressive. The following loads were tested by Dr. Gary Roberts using calibrated 10% ballistic gel: 30-30 Federal 125 gr JHP (#3030C} velocity: 2425 fps penetration: 15.7" expansion: 0.54" recovered weight: 87.8 gr 30-30 Winchester 150 gr JSP Silvertip (#X30302) velocity: 2211 fps penetration: 18.9" expansion: 0.57" recovered weight: 125.8 gr 30-30 Winchester 170 gr Power Point (#X30303) velocity: 2036 fps penetration: 20.5"+ expansion: 0.62" recovered weight: 158.0 gr * Note the 30-30 loads mentioned above were fired from a 16" barrel Marlin carbine, not the 20" rifle. 44 Magnum Speer Gold Dot JSP 270 gr (#23968) -Fired from a 16" carbine velocity: 1418 fps penetration: 20"+ expansion: 0.74" recovered weight: 269.5 gr 45-70 Winchester 300 gr JSP Nosler Partition Gold (#SPG4570) velocity: 1733 fps penetration: 29.9" expansion: 0.78" recovered weight: 294 gr 30-06 Federal 180 gr TBBC (#P3006T3) velocity: 2942 fps!!! (high energy load) penetration: 20"+ expansion: 0.60" recovered weight: 177.6 gr 30-06 Winchester 180 gr Nosler Partition Gold velocity: 2830 fps penetration: 20"+ expansion: 0.59" recovered weight: 140.6 (I originally identified this cartridge as Federal. Please excuse my mistake.) .30 Carbine Remington 110 gr JSP (R30CAR) velocity: 1864 fps penetration: 16.5" expansion: 0.54" recovered weight: 95.9 gr 7.62X39mm Winchester 123 gr JSP (X76239) velocity: 2253 fps penetration: 14.4" expansion: 0.56" recovered weight: 90.1 gr 7.62x39mm Lapua 125 gr Mega Spire Point velocity: 2316 fps penetration: 17.3" expansion: 0.62" recovered weight: 122.6 gr -This round also offers excellent performance through a windshield barrier as well. .223 Black Hills 68 gr BTHP Match velocity: 2615 fps penetration: 12.1" temporary cavity max diamater: 9.0cm recovered diameter: 0.39" recovered weight: 31.5 gr fragmentation: 53.6% .223 Federal 69 gr BTHP Match velocity: 2646 fps penetration: 14.7" temporary cavity max diameter: 10.0cm recovered diameter: 0.40" recovered weight: 27.5 gr fragmentation: 60.2% .223 Winchester 69 gr BTHP Match velocity: 2758 fps penetration: 11.9" temporary cavity max diameter: 8.5cm recovered diameter: 0.36" recovered weight: 17.5 gr fragmentation: 74.6% * The above .223 results were fired from a 1/7 twist 16" barrel carbine into bare gel at a distance of 10 ft from the muzzle. 12 Gauge Brenneke 1 oz slug (from an 18" barrel) velocity: 1331 fps penetration: 20" expansion: 0.88" recovered weight: 433.5 gr Well, that's all of the stuff that I can dig up from the notes I have here. If I find anymore credible testing results such as those above I will add them later. If anyone has factual test data that you would like to add to this list, feel free to do so. Afterall, I sort of started this thread to discuss ammunition not addressed in the ammo FAQ and it would be nice to have for future reference. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/7/2003 7:23:14 AM EDT
Charging_Handle: Great post!! You did exactly what I've been wanting to do for the last 2-3 mos, but haven't been able to because I'm swamped with graduate school papers I need to write. THANK YOU! Urban
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 12:11:02 PM EDT
Great topic, thanks for posting this info. I'm surprised that only one .40S&W load lighter than 180 grains made the cut, given the popularity of 155 and 165 grain bullets. Didn't the Border Patrol run extensive tests on 40S&W and end up selecting the Remington 155 grain load?
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 6:14:30 PM EDT
Thank you, and great post/s. I was surprised with the penetration(lack of) numbers of 7.62x39. Jason
Link Posted: 6/20/2003 7:23:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Powergen: Great topic, thanks for posting this info. I'm surprised that only one .40S&W load lighter than 180 grains made the cut, given the popularity of 155 and 165 grain bullets. Didn't the Border Patrol run extensive tests on 40S&W and end up selecting the Remington 155 grain load?
View Quote
That's a good observation Powergen. I'm not sure what round the US Border Patrol issues so I can't comment on that. I do wish there was more info relating to actual Border Patrol shootings available for study. This agency probably has more shootings per year than any other US LE agency. It would be great to have access to such a large sampling. In regards to the 155 and 165 gr loads, it seems that in many selections that these are less reliable performers. The 155 gr Speer Gold Dot (or the same bullet loaded into virgin ammo by Black Hills) is an excellent performer when it does open up, producing very similar results to the 180 gr Gold Dot or 180 gr Ranger. Dr Gary Roberts recently tested the 155 gr and found it acceptable (he just emailed this notification to me yesterday). Here are his results: 40 S&W 155 gr JHP Gold Dot 53961 (lot# G17H32), gel calib= 9.5 cm @ 585 f/s Bare Gelatin--vel=1166, pen=13.2, RD=0.64, RL=0.32, RW=155.5 4 layers of Denim-- vel=1166, pen=16.0, RD=0.60, RL=0.44, RW=155.3 .40 S&W Win 180 gr JHP RA40T (lot# 06HS), gel calib= 9.5 cm @ 585 f/s Bare Gelatin--vel=899, pen=13.8, RD=0.64, RL=0.40, RW=171.7 4 layers of Denim-- vel=893, pen=15.0, RD=0.65, RL=0.44, RW=181.0 As you can see, this is nearly identical performance, with a slight edge going to the Ranger load. But I am not sure how many rounds Doc tested and therefore I am still not convinced the 155 gr load is as good as the 180's. I am certainly not questioning him, as he is very knowledgeable. But I have seen another test performed by David Difabio in which 10 rounds of Black Hills 155, 165 and 180 Gold Dots were fired into bare and denim covered gel (5 in bare gel, 5 in denim covered gel). The recovered bullets were then displayed side by side for comparison. [url]http://www.ammolab.com/BH%2040S&W%20Test.htm[/url] Looking at all of those, none of them really look bad. But if you notice, 1 of the 10 155's tested failed the denim test completely. That's a 10% failure rate. All of the 165's expanded but the denim shots were less impressive than the other two loads. The 180's all expanded well in both bare gel and denim with no failures of any kind. This illustrates why the 180's usually get the nod. They are very consistent, either through clothing, barriers, etc. And they are consistently good. While the differences are really minute, we are seeking every bit of an advantage we can get. As of now I feel the 180 gr loads are tops in .40 S&W, although the 155 gr Gold Dots appear sufficient. I would like to see more tests to try to determine whether that 10% failure rate to expand was just some sort of fluke or whether it's common. And it seems that the 155 gr Gold Dot roughly equaling the performance of the 180 is really one of few exceptions where the lighter load performs as well. One advantage the lighter loads do have is less felt recoil. In my experiences they are a bit milder on the hands. With proper selection, the 155's would make a good defense load. Again, it seems the Speer 155 is the best of the light and fast pack and if I were choosing such a load this would be my selection. But for now I will stick to my 180 gr Rangers or the 180 gr GD's if I can't get my hands on the Ranger. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 3:05:50 PM EDT
Do you have any informantion about the Federal Hydrashok 135 grain in .40 S&W and the Golden Saber 165 grain in .40 S&W? I have some of both and am interested in any tests.
Link Posted: 6/27/2003 9:19:57 PM EDT
Torf, Neither of those rounds made the list of better performing loads in .40 S&W by Dr. Roberts. Whether they had problems with lack of expansion, penetration, weight retention or a combination of these, I can't say. It seems the Hydra-Shok often has problems with the clothing tests. It is interesting however that the 180 gr Remington Golden Saber was on that list. It's amazing how the same bullet designs can be like daylight and dark when when their weight is changed. But I think it's safe to say that there was a problem significant enough with the 135 gr Hydra-Shok and 165 gr Golden Saber to drop them from the top choices. Oh, and BTW, here's the list of the best performing .40 loads again: Win 165 gr JHP (RA40IP} Win 165 gr JHP (RA40TA) Fed 165 gr JHP (LE40T3) Fed 180 gr JHP (LE40T1) Rem 180 gr JHP (GS40SWB) Speer 180 gr Gold Dot JHP (53966) Win 180 gr JHP (RA40T) ...Out of all of those, my personal favorites are the 180 gr Ranger's, Gold Dots and Federal LE versions. -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 7/5/2003 1:13:13 PM EDT
I'm surprised by the apparent better performance of the 110Gn Remington .30 Carbine over the 123Gn Winchester SX 7.62x39mm. I guess I'll have to order some of the Lapua ammo for my AK & SKS series rifles.
Link Posted: 7/6/2003 9:43:44 AM EDT
AR15fan, Yeah, the little .30 carbine with proper ammo is certainly no slouch. While the military 110 gr FMJ loads may not have a reputation for being a man stopper, it seems the Remington 110 gr JSP has lots of potential. It seems pretty much on par with the Win 7.62x39 123 gr JSP. Both are good loads. But the Lapua 7.62x39 load behaves in a similar manner to Federal's Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullets in that it penetrates really well, retains nearly all of it's weight and offers optimal expansion. And all things considered, it really isn't all that expensive (you get 30 rounds per box...better for those 30 round AK mags). -Charging Handle
Link Posted: 7/9/2003 10:52:51 AM EDT
So what happens if we don't like the Short & Weak? [:)] Do you have any info on 10mm rounds?
Link Posted: 7/11/2003 11:52:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:46:36 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By Cerebus:
So what happens if we don't like the Short & Weak?
Do you have any info on 10mm rounds?



Cerebus,

I prefer to think of it as the "short and wicked"......hehe ! But to answer your question, I haven't seen very much data concerning the 10mm. The very best sources of data seem to come from the most commonly used LE rounds and there's just not many agencies that use 10mm.

The state police here in Kentucky use the discontinued S&W 1076 and I haven't heard much in the way of complaints regarding the gun or it effectiveness. But due to the availability of parts issue as well as their aging guns, I recently read where they are gradually being replaced by a similar S&W pistol chambered in .45 ACP (if the reporter knew what they were talking about).

None-the-less I will do some searching and see if I can dig up some good, detailed info on the 10mm. If I can find anything I will be sure to post it here.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 7/11/2003 1:34:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:46:42 AM EDT by brouhaha]
OK, I did a quick bit of looking around and found the following test data for 10mm over at www.firearmstactical.com/ammo_data/10mm.htm. Keep in mind that the test dates range anywhere from 1989-1995. This means that current bullets may be of a different design and some of the loads may or may not even remain in existence.

Also in searching past threads over on tacticalforums.com, I learned that Dr. Gary Roberts has not tested any 10mm loads either in the past 5 years. So it appears that very few, if any, people are testing 10mm ammo these days. Without recent test data to base an opinion on, I personally don't feel comfortable suggesting any load to someone who's life may depend on the info. Therefore I will just let you look over the info and make a choice based on your own conclusions.

Also, FWIW, it seems David Difabio likes the Pro Load 155 and 180 gr JHP's that use the Gold Dot bullet. Evidently he bases this on performance while using it to take whitetail deer however, not in scientific gel tests. So take this for what it's worth. The 180 gr Gold Dot bullets perform very well when fired from the .40 S&W. Whether or not this would remain the case with 10mm velocities is beyond my level of knowledge.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 7/11/2003 4:29:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:46:47 AM EDT by brouhaha]
Found this too:

www.totse.com/en/bad_ideas/guns_and_weapons/10mmpist.html

Some interesting info here. Especially the inherent accuracy of the 10mm, and the fact that 80% of shot taken by LEO's don't strike their intended target.
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 9:54:13 AM EDT
Anybody have a source for the Lapua 7.62x39? I'm not having any success. [:(]
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 12:20:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:46:54 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By Mach1:
Anybody have a source for the Lapua 7.62x39? I'm not having any success.



www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/item.asp?sku=001094317237
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 2:06:00 PM EDT
Thanks!
Link Posted: 8/1/2003 9:57:10 PM EDT
You're welcome.
Link Posted: 8/10/2003 6:37:18 PM EDT
Any info on the .243?
Link Posted: 8/13/2003 2:23:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/13/2003 2:34:39 PM EDT by wyv3rn]
What about .40S&W 180gr "bonded" Golden Sabers? Any information on these (besides what Remington has posted on their website)? Is the "bonding" of the jacket to lead going to impact terminal ballistics significantly? More/less penetration? More/less expansion? It seems to me that a bonded jacket would give slightly more penetration due to better weight retention and overall stronger structual integrity of the bullet. It also seems to me that the outer jacket would not peel back right away as the normal round does, but would help facilitate faster expansion of the lead core which generally takes longer to expand than the jacket. However, I have no data to confirm this. Anything would be helpful.
Link Posted: 8/13/2003 4:25:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:04 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By Mach1:
Any info on the .243?



I'm not aware of any great amount of testing with this caliber, but based upon my own experience I would stick to the heavier bullets in the 100 gr range. You can get very light ballistic tips for this caliber, but they are designed for varmints and may lack the needed penetration for use against deer or for self defense. I too own a .243 rifle and I stick to the 100 gr SP's such as the Winchester Power Point or similar loads from Remington and Federal. For barrier penetration, a bonded 100 gr SP would be a good choice, if you can find any. The .243 is no wonder caliber, but with proper ammo it is better than many. Plus it's low recoil combined with a short action rifle makes it a very accurate combo.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/13/2003 4:30:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:09 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By wyv3rn:
What about .40S&W 180gr "bonded" Golden Sabers? Any information on these (besides what Remington has posted on their website)? Is the "bonding" of the jacket to lead going to impact terminal ballistics significantly? More/less penetration? More/less expansion?

It seems to me that a bonded jacket would give slightly more penetration due to better weight retention and overall stronger structual integrity of the bullet. It also seems to me that the outer jacket would not peel back right away as the normal round does, but would help facilitate faster expansion of the lead core which generally takes longer to expand than the jacket. However, I have no data to confirm this. Anything would be helpful.



The regular Remington 180 gr Golden Sabers seem to be adequate in terms of expansion and penetration. But I have heard nothing from the experts that make me feel at all fuzzy inside about the bonded version. In fact, from what I have been hearing, it's not a very good load at all. For a good performing bonded bullet, I would prefer the Speer Gold Dot. It offers excellent expansion in both bare and denim covered gel and penetrates barriers as well or better than any defensive ammunition in the caliber.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/13/2003 6:21:09 PM EDT
Can you elaborate on the things you've heard? It seems to me the Golden Saber is more than adequate. To top it all off it has very low flash, sealed primer/mouth, etc. I'm just wondering how the bonding would effect it's ballistics. It seems to have done well for the Federal HydraShoks and Speer Gold Dots. How about the regular 180gr? How well does it penetrate glass, barriers, etc.? Do any of the other loads have a nice low flash besides the Federal and Remingtons?
Link Posted: 8/13/2003 8:19:12 PM EDT
Anyone know how the muzzle flash on RA40T (Ranger Talon, 180gr) compares to the muzzle flash of Remington Golden Saber? Thank you.
Link Posted: 8/14/2003 5:15:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:18 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By wyv3rn:
Can you elaborate on the things you've heard? It seems to me the Golden Saber is more than adequate. To top it all off it has very low flash, sealed primer/mouth, etc. I'm just wondering how the bonding would effect it's ballistics. It seems to have done well for the Federal HydraShoks and Speer Gold Dots. How about the regular 180gr? How well does it penetrate glass, barriers, etc.? Do any of the other loads have a nice low flash besides the Federal and Remingtons?



From what I have heard, it seems the bonded GS does well enough at penetrating, but it doesn't do very well when it comes to expansion. So what I am saying is why not get the load that does both? That would be the 180 gr Speer Gold Dot. FWIW, the Winchester Ranger RA40T is also an excellent choice, as it penetrates barriers and expands really well. IMHO, the 180 gr Ranger and 180 gr Speer Gold Dot are the two top loads in the caliber. They also seem to have low muzzle flash. I hope this answers your question.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/15/2003 8:57:17 PM EDT
There's no doubt the Ranger's terminal ballistics are great. Seeing as how most shootings take place at night, flash is a major concern to me, thank you for answering that. As for the Speer, I was originally very impressed by this round and was packing it for defense purposes awhile back (never did shoot it at night though). However, it seems to have very shallow penetration at times. It opens up consistently 1.5x it's diameter, which is good. When the Golden Saber does open up, it opens up more than the Gold Dot, and still penetrates further. The problem is that it doesn't open up reliably in the denim tests. I'd prefer a round that does both perfectly (the Ranger Talon). However, if I have to choose, I'll take high penetration and opening up 90% of the time over low penetration. A well placed shot is the most important part of the equation, and I want that bullet to go deep through the arm, into the chest, etc. And I'd rather have 2 "small" entry/exit holes for the assailant to bleed from than 1 entry hole.
Link Posted: 8/16/2003 6:05:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:27 AM EDT by brouhaha]
Shallow penetration? In all the tests I have seen the Gold Dot seems to be a very good penetrator. It also tends to be very good at expanding. Take a look at these tests here:

www.ammolab.com/BH%2040S&W%20Test.htm

This is the Black Hills ammo that uses the Gold Dot bullets. It shows the 155, 165 and 180 gr tests in bare gel and denim. While all of them looked good, I chose the 180 gr version. My reasons for this was the most consistency between testing mediums. I would likely have chosen the 155 gr version had it not had the one complete failure to expand it denim. But it just seems across the board the 180 gr version did best at doing everything. While a couple of bare gel shots did dip below 12" ( 1 was 11.7" and another 11.9"), that is close enough to me not to be a significant issue. It certainly isn't "shallow" penetration.

So I stand by my initial pick of the Speer 180 gr Gold Dot and Winchester 180 gr and 165 gr Ranger being as good as anything out there. The Federal 180 gr Tactical is also a good load. The Remington 180 gr Golden Saber non-bonded version also seems to be adequate. And of course the Speer 155 gr Gold Dot is no slouch. Just pick the one that you shoot best, has the lowest flash and functions best in your weapon. They can all do the job effectively.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/16/2003 7:48:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/16/2003 7:51:05 AM EDT by wyv3rn]
Those 180gr's are also loaded quite hot though (and I believe black hills pistol ammo has quite a large flash). The 180gr's are traveling at almost 1000fps. Although, I did revisit the FBI tests which I have to say I have a little more faith in, and they penetrate around 14.5" @ ~950fps reliably. I take back my "shallow penetration" comment, I was wrong. I wasn't saying it was a bad load though. And if penetration is an issue, go with the 165gr's, they seem to penetrate better than the 180gr's. Like I said, I used to carry them (and reload them... I still have a few boxes of 165gr's laying around). Oh, and _ALL_ ammunition works reliably in my pistol, it's a Glock. :) I think I just found a source for some Ranger Talons, so this is becoming a mute point for me. :)
Link Posted: 8/16/2003 10:47:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:37 AM EDT by brouhaha]
The 1000 fps velocity for a 180 gr round really isn't all that hot. In fact, it's pretty much standard. For comparison I just found the Speer listing for the same load and they advertise a velocity of 1,025 fps. Remington's 180 grain Golden Saber is listed at 1,015 fps. Even many of the 180 gr FMJ economy practice loads have an advertised velocity of 990 fps or so. Keep in mind that many of these velocities are with 5" barrels and will be a little less in other guns. So 950 fps from say, a Glock 23 sounds pretty reasonable.

As for the comparison to the excellent Winchester Ranger, my impression is that both are very, very good. I have read some discussions in the LEO forum, as well as seeing others on different forums. It seems that police officers who have used both in real-life incidents swear by them. I have carried both Ranger and Gold Dot and I have felt very well protected with either. As such I wouldn't really say that one is better than the other because any difference is very small. But I think you will be very happy with the Winchester Ranger, as it is excellent performing ammuntion.

I just traded off my Glock 22 a few days ago for a Kimber Classic Custom and I had the 180 gr Ranger loaded in it at the time. I also have a Sig P229 that is loaded with 180 gr Gold Dot. When I rotate the ammo out of it I will likely replace it with the Rangers, since it is newer ammo. But I don't feel the Ranger is significantly superior to the Gold Dot to switch before the time for rotation comes. Ammo that is rotated out of carry gets put in a special box and is used for training. It always goes bang anyway but I still like to replace ammo in my carry guns with fresh every 6 months or so just to be safe.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 8:44:59 AM EDT
Alright, I have a question regarding the Winchester Ranger Talon, 180gr. What is the difference between the RA40T and the RA40SXT? Do they perform the same or what? I've seen teh expanded bullets of both and they are very different. They are both marked Law Enforcement Ammunition.
Link Posted: 8/28/2003 11:49:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:43 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By wyv3rn:
Alright, I have a question regarding the Winchester Ranger Talon, 180gr. What is the difference between the RA40T and the RA40SXT? Do they perform the same or what? I've seen teh expanded bullets of both and they are very different. They are both marked Law Enforcement Ammunition.



That is an excellent question. In short, the version marked "SXT" in the product number is an older version of the bullet. Like the Black Talon bullet before it, it performs well in bare gel but often failed denim tests. Therefore Winchester tweaked the bullet a bit and now the loads marked such as "RA40T" are the newest and best version of the bullet. It does exceptionally well in both test mediums. Buy the RA40T over the RA40SXT if you have a choice.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 12:04:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/28/2006 8:59:43 AM EDT by Troy]
Link Posted: 8/29/2003 7:18:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2003 7:26:12 AM EDT by wyv3rn]
I found some information later on at firearmstactical.com that indicated the RA40SXT is the same as the Black Talon, just renamed. The RA40T is the following generation and has the black lube removed but is basically the same load/round with some tweaks. Thank you both for your replies/information. You've only further re-enforced my purchase. [:)]
Link Posted: 9/5/2003 7:48:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:47 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
Also, I will now post some more information regarding BUG (Back-Up Gun) ammo such as 9mm and .38 Special. ... The "FBI loads" (158 gr +P LSWCHP's) have often been given the nod in certain circles. ... This round may in fact offer decent performance in a full size revolver, but in a small snubby, the expansion isn't likely to be dramatic....if it expands at all. ...


My partner in Chicago shot 5 criminals (5 separate incidents) with a snub (M60) loaded with 158 +p LSWCHP. The recipients were all very impressed with its performance.
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 2:14:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:48:03 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By HeadHunter:
My partner in Chicago shot 5 criminals (5 separate incidents) with a snub (M60) loaded with 158 +p LSWCHP. The recipients were all very impressed with its performance.



Five seperate shootings by one officer? Geez, you guys must have worked a really bad area of the city! Glad to hear you won out over the criminals.

But in regards to these 5 shootings, I don't view them as a large enough sample to be totally accurate. I mean, yeah, in these 5 cases it worked. But what were the circumstances? Were the perps wearing heavy clothing? Were they in a psychotic state of mind? Under the influence of drugs or alcohol? How many shots were required to stop each of them? Were they stopped as a result of the wound or more for psychological reasons? There were not enough shootings observed to honestly say how the round performed/would perform in such situations.

Most people don't like getting shot very much and will quickly give up. But with a small percentage of situations, you are going to have those who will not simply give up because you shoot them. So you better have a round that will create as much damage as possible.

The .38, regardless of the load you use, is no excellent performer. It can and will kill you. But other calibers may do it faster and more reliably. But the .38 is a better option than the other small calibers in small back-up size guns. That's why we use it. But even with the hyped 158 gr +P LSWCHP, it's not going to stop the threat 100% of the time, which is what you seem to be suggesting with your 5 shot sampling. You need a much larger sample, say 100-150 shootings. With a sample that size, you would see it is much less successful as more situations are encountered.

Again, the "FBI" loads are as good as any hollow point made for the .38 special. None of the other HP loads reliably expand from the short barrels through clothing either. Those that do are horrible under-penetrators. Therefore I have no problem using the FBI load. But I just listed that info so people would not think it is some outstanding stopper, because it's not. In fact, the .38 is really at best a compromise caliber.

And the 148 gr wadcutter? It performs as well from snubbies as the FBI load in situations where heavier clothing may be encountered. In fact, when the hollow point doesn't expand, the wadcutter makes a more serious wound because of it's large, flat nose (as opposed to the tappered nose of the HP). The 148 wadcutter is also a mild shooting load, meaning rapid follow up shots. This makes it excellent for today's titanium 10 oz guns that will shake you fillings loose with +P ammo.

By all means, if you shoot the FBI loads well, carry them. Otherwise the wadcutters are a good choice. But never expect magical terminal performance from a .38 special regardless of ammo used. I stand by my original statement as I have seen nothing to suggest I am wrong.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 2:53:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:47:56 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By HeadHunter:

My partner in Chicago shot 5 criminals (5 separate incidents) with a snub (M60) loaded with 158 +p LSWCHP. The recipients were all very impressed with its performance.



This is a classic error in ballistic thinking. Because a relatively small number of encounters with a given round result in quick incapacitation that this round is somehow "certified" as a good "stopper." The other classic one is to compare round performance in a few animal or hunting shots and extrapolate that performance to self-defense effectiveness.

Only a combination of good gel testing criteria (12"+ penetration in calibrated 10% gel) verified through actual "street performance" over time is a metric by which rounds should be judged. This is particularly so because there is no way at all to account for the variable of shot placement.
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 8:29:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:48:11 AM EDT by brouhaha]
Thanks Tatjana for saying in two paragraphs what I poorly attempted to say in seven. LOL.

One other thing I want to make clear (that I may have not done well in previous posts) is that the 158 lead HP +P performs better when used in revolvers with barrel lengths of 3-4". Again, the velocities generated by the 2" barrel snubbies is sufficient to create adequate expansion in bare gel. But when heavier clothing is encountered it fails to expand. However, when fired from the longer barrels, it does better through clothing. This bullet style has been around for a while and is by no means perfect, but it is an adequate performer as long as it's limitations are recognized.

Oh, and BTW, while I am thinking about it, not all 158 gr lead HP +P's perform alike. Remington seems to be the best in the tests I have seen, followed by Federal and Winchester....in that order.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 9/6/2003 10:57:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:48:15 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
Thanks Tatjana for saying in two paragraphs what I poorly attempted to say in seven. LOL.

One other thing I want to make clear (that I may have not done well in previous posts) is that the 158 lead HP +P performs better when used in revolvers with barrel lengths of 3-4". Again, the velocities generated by the 2" barrel snubbies is sufficient to create adequate expansion in bare gel. But when heavier clothing is encountered it fails to expand. However, when fired from the longer barrels, it does better through clothing. This bullet style has been around for a while and is by no means perfect, but it is an adequate performer as long as it's limitations are recognized.



For some reason this reminded me of something.

Counterintitively, the best rounds in 9mm, .40SW, .357sig, and even some .45 all have terminal performance that is very close. These huge debates over the better of .40SW and 9mm are mostly a waste.

Simple criteria. Find the caliber and pistol that you can put controlled pairs into CoM followed by a non-stoppage drill headshot easily and quickly from concealed presentment. Then pick one of the top 3 performers in that caliber depending on which your weapon prefers.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
Link Posted: 9/7/2003 3:03:18 PM EDT
Very good advice...but will the masses listen?
Link Posted: 9/7/2003 5:23:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:48:25 AM EDT by brouhaha]

Originally Posted By DocGKR:
Very good advice...but will the masses listen?



LOL. Only time will tell.

BTW, it's good to see you posting more often here Doc. With folks like you, Tatjana, Brouhaha, Troy, Forest, KevinB, DevL and several other members, there is a very good base of knowledge and experience here in this forum.

-Charging Handle
Link Posted: 9/8/2003 11:53:43 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:48:29 AM EDT by brouhaha]
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 12:57:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2004 5:48:35 AM EDT by brouhaha]
I'm trying to find the best defense load for a 12-guage shotgun. I do not want slugs. You recommend #00 buck shot, however, I found this article:

www.firearmstactical.com/briefs10.htm

Which says I should use #1 buckshot. So which one should I use? Do you have any performance #'s on #1 buckshot? By "consistent 12-inch penetration" do they mean that ALL the #1 shot penetrates atleast 12"? What about #0 buckshot as a compromise between #1 and #00? What about 3" loads as opposed to 2 3/4", they hold more shot, do they penetrate as well? Thank you.
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