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10/30/2020 2:42:12 PM
Posted: 11/18/2008 7:11:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/18/2008 7:44:49 AM EST by Southern_Shooter]
Overtime I have acquired a large number of .223 ammo in Federal Power-shok 50 grain hollow-point and Monarch (brass) 55 grain soft-point.  These were bought when I mainly was shooting a Ruger Mini-14 for varmints.  However, I recently purchased an AR-15 for recreation and more serious issues if they ever arise.  

My concern is this:
Are these hollow-point and soft-point rounds of any use in terms of self-protection or defense?  I assume that they will not have the penetration of a fmj.  But, are they useless for the indicated purposes and should be left to varmint hunting?

Link Posted: 11/18/2008 7:28:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/18/2008 7:30:17 AM EST by Andras]
You didn't say what brand, but you might want to check out the wound profiles in this Federal catalog http://le.atk.com/pdf/223RifleDataBook.pdf

Personally, the only 55gr ammo I would use for self defense is FMJ, with a 64gr minimum for an expanding bullet.
Link Posted: 11/18/2008 5:21:31 PM EST
I would not trust either one unless it's all I had. I do trust Remington green box 55 gr PSP even though it's an inch short on the 12" penetration recomendation. Monarch is a little under powered and won't cycle either of my 20" weapons well. The power shok will most likely under penetrate. Read the tacked threads up top and you'll get the low down on right ammo to get.
Link Posted: 11/20/2008 4:55:48 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/20/2008 6:07:23 AM EST by Southern_Shooter]
I have dropped a dab of superglue into the hollow of some hollow-point pistol rounds that I did not want to expand.  It did not effect the accuracy of them.  Of course, I understand the velocity being much slower than rifle ammo may have some to do with that.

I wonder what would happen with the 50 grain hollow-points if I filled the cavity with some superglue. ??????

Link Posted: 11/20/2008 5:19:02 AM EST
I am issued Federal LE223T1, their 55gr JSP round, for use in my 10.5" duty AR.  Unfortunately, I had to use it one night and three rounds were fired center of mass from about 20 feet.  From what I gather from my LT's that went to the autopsy, the damage was devastating.  One round exited his back.  We mainly got the JSP's due to their higher performance at lower velocities compared to FMJ's and I'm satisfied in how they performed.  I wanted a higher grain bullet at first (maybe 62), so I guess my only concern is adding distance to this 55gr round.
Link Posted: 11/20/2008 11:49:58 AM EST
In the current Hunting Ammo thread I recently posted what I've seen from four different loads on whitetails at 100 yds and mostly closer. That plus what all the terminal ballistics guru's note in the oracle . . . it's SP, OTM etc all the way.
Link Posted: 11/20/2008 11:53:48 AM EST
Hit a thug in the breadbaket with any .223, and he's defunct.
Link Posted: 11/20/2008 4:12:02 PM EST
I notice that the hollow-point referenced in the link you indicated was a 40 grain bullet.  I wonder if the extra 10 grains in these Federal hollow-points I have would make any kind of difference.  

Link Posted: 11/20/2008 9:35:23 PM EST
Only after proper foundational and ongoing repetitive refresher training, cultivating warrior mind-set, and ensuring weapon system reliability do you need to worry about ammunition selection.  Most folks would be far better off practicing with what they have, rather than worrying about what is "best".  As long as you know your what your weapon and ammo can realistically accomplish, it is all just a matter of training and shot placement.   I would much rather go into battle with a guy who practices 15,000 rounds a year using generic 55 gr FMJ out of his old M16A1 than with some guy that has the latest state-of-the-art ammo and rifle, but only shoots 500 rounds a year.  If you need to delve into the arcane subject of agency duty ammunition selection, below are the state of the art choices in 5.56 mm/.223:


For LE Patrol use, where there is a high incidence of potential engagements around or involving vehicles, ammunition that is able to effectively penetrate intermediate barriers, particularly vehicle glass is critical.  The best LE 5.56 mm/.223 loads for intermediate barrier penetration are the 62 gr Federal bonded JSP Tactical (LE223T3) and the similarly performing 55 gr Federal bonded JSP load (Tactical––LE223T1 or identical Premium Rifle––P223T2).  The Swift 75 gr Scirocco bonded PT and 60 gr Nosler Partition JSP bullets are also good choices.   The Barnes all copper TSX bullets are great projectiles and offer good penetration through barriers, however, when first hitting a laminated automobile windshield intermediate barrier, the TSX bullets exhibit less expansion than a TBBC, as the Barnes jacket either collapses at the nose, the jacket "petals" fold back against the core, or the "petals" are torn off. This phenomena has been documented by the FBI BRF, as well as being noted in our testing.  None of the OTM bullets, even the heavy 75 - 100 gr loads, offer acceptable performance through automobile windshield glass.  FWIW, contrary to what many believe, 62 gr M855 FMJ is also not very good against glass.  For military use, the M995 AP is the best choice for vehicles and glass.

In those situations where intermediate barrier penetration is not a critical requirement, for example LE urban entries or long range shots in open conditions, then OTM, JHP, and JSP loads can offer good performance.  If your expected engagement scenarios are at typical LE distances, say out to 200 yards, then either 5.56 mm or .223 SAAMI pressure loads are fine.  For 1/7 twist barrels, the Hornady 75 gr OTM, Nosler 77 gr OTM, and Sierra 77 gr SMK OTM are all good choices.  The experimental BH loaded 100 gr OTM exhibits impressive fragmentation, even at relatively low velocities, however while capable of shooting out to 600, it is optimized for 200 and under.  If stuck with 1/9 twist barrels, the heavy 70+ gr loads are not universally accurate in all rifles and the 69 gr SMK OTM, the 68 gr Hornady OTM, the Winchester 64 gr JSP (RA223R2), the Federal 64 gr TRU (223L) JSP, Hornady 60 gr JSP, are likely to run accurately in the majority of 1/9 twist rifles.  NOTE:  With 1/12 twists, I would probably choose the 55 gr Federal bonded JSP load (LE223T1 or P223T2) or Barnes 45 or 53 gr TSX bullets in order to ensure adequate penetration.

For longer range precision weapons (like the Mk12) with faster 1/8 or 1/7 twist barrels I would choose one of the combat proven 5.56 mm (ie. 5.56 mm NATO pressure loads, not .223 SAAMI pressure loads which run about 200 f/s slower) heavy match OTM loadings:  either the Hornady 75 gr TAP (#8126N) using the OTM bullet w/cannelure or the equally good 77 gr Nosler OTM w/cannelure loaded by Black Hills, followed by the 77 gr Sierra Match King OTM––which, while exceedingly accurate, offers slightly reduced terminal effects.

Short barreled 5.56 mm weapons, such as the Colt Commando, Mk18 CQBR, HK416, HK 53, HK G36C, etc…offer advantages in confines spaces.  If SBR’s are used with 1/7 twist barrels, the 70 gr Barnes TSX, the 75 gr Swift Scirroco PT, 75 gr Hornady OTM, 77 gr Nosler OTM, 77 gr SMK OTM, and 100 gr BH OTM loadings offer acceptable performance, as do all the bullets recommended for slower twists.  For 1/9 twist SBR’s, stick with the Fed 55 or 62 gr Tactical bonded JSP's, the 60 gr Nosler Partition JSP, or the lighter Barnes TSX’s.  Remember, with SBR’s, effective engagement distances are significantly reduced compared to the longer barreled carbines.

Keep in mind, that with non-fragmenting bullet designs, heavier bullet weights are not necessarily better, especially at closer ranges and from shorter barrels. As long as penetration and upset remain adequate, it is possible to use lighter weight non-fragmenting bullets and still have outstanding terminal performance. With fragmenting designs, a heavier bullet is ideal, as it provides more potential fragments and still allows the central core to have enough mass for adequate penetration.  In addition, heavier bullets may have an advantage at longer ranges due to better BC and less wind drift.

Whatever projectile is used, it is best with a cannelure to prevent bullet set-back in semi-auto/auto weapons. Also, be cautious with the exposed lead on the JSP designs.  Often they will run great for up to 200-300 rounds, but then mysterious feeding failures will begin as a result of lead build-up on the feed ramps.  I have personally seen this occur with a variety of JSP's including 55 gr, 60 gr, and 64 gr in LE training courses.  As soon as FMJ or OTM was substituted, all the feeding failures ceased.  

Be sure to watch your ammo storage conditions. Temperatures above 150 deg F will degrade the powder and cause pressure spikes. Hint: Think locked metal conex containers in the mid-east, car trunks in the southern U.S., and storage areas near heaters in the northern U.S.  Also be cautions of leaving a round in a very hot chamber; besides the obvious danger of a cook-off, the powder can also be damaged by the heat, leading to dramatically increased pressures when the round is eventually fired.


The Black Hills produced Mk262 uses the 77 gr Sierra Match King (SMK) OTM and is built as premium quality ammunition intended for precise long-range semi-auto rifle shots from the Mk12 rifle. It is great for its intended purpose. Mk262 has demonstrated improved accuracy, greater effective range, and more consistent performance at all distances compared to M855 when fired from current M16, Mk12, M4, HK416, and Mk18 rifles and carbines.  However, despite this substantially improved performance, Mk262 is NOT necessarily the best choice for LE or most military combat use from carbines, as Mk262 still manifests the problems of poor intermediate barrier penetration and somewhat variable terminal performance inherent with the SMK design, as well as increased cost.  

As articulated by combat AAR’s the last few years and demonstrated in recent military wound ballistic testing, improved combat ammunition that is specifically designed for rifle and carbine use, not machine guns, is urgently needed.  New loads should offer:

–– JAG approval
–– Full reliability in diverse environmental extremes
–– A thermally stable propellant
–– Consistent lot-to-lot and shot-to-shot performance, even when fired from short barrel weapons
–– Crimped and sealed primer
–– Sealed case mouth
–– Cannelure for functional reliability in adverse conditions
–– Decreased muzzle flash
–– Acceptable accuracy at 300-500m
–– Good soft tissue terminal performance (early consistent bullet upset within 1 or 2 inches of initial tissue penetration
–– 12 to 18 inches of penetration coupled with maximized tissue damage during the first 10 to 12 inches of travel in tissue
–– Designed to minimize AOA and fleet yaw issues
–– Blind to Barriers

OTM, although a step forward, does not fully provide what is needed in a military setting.  Until recently this goal seemed impossible, however “Barrier Blind” ammunition requirements from multiple organizations, including the FBI, USMC, NSWC Crane/USSOCOM, & JSOC have yielded several options from industry that appear to effectively address this issue.  For example, see the 01 June 2006 Marine Corps RFI (http://www.cbd-net.com/index.php/search/show/1087257) for “Barrier Blind” ammunition.

A good review of current military ammunition requirements and choices is available at: http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2008Intl/Roberts.pdf
Link Posted: 11/21/2008 5:18:54 AM EST
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