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 .223 Hollow Point for Defense?
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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
6121 Posts

Posted - April 20 2022 :  7:05:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, the subject came up in a conversation, and I thought I'd ask for thoughts: Is there any one or two particular 55gr hollow point load(s) that would be recommended for social services? The consensus was that the Match loads were probably not the best idea, since they aren't designed to expand. The argument was that most .223 HP loads would tend to either A) expand too quickly, or B) not expand enough and tend to 'punch through'.

I've heard/read different things, but figure the folks here are more trustworthy. So please, help me win the argument--or at least look halfway intelligent on the subject (I tend to prefer soft points for hunting and social work, FWIW). Thanks. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?

billmc
Senior Member

647 Posts

Posted - April 20 2022 :  11:59:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have no where near the experience and knowledge that most of the folks here have. Consider that and take this for what its worth.

It was my understanding the reason for the hollow point was to shift the weight towards the back of the bullet. This should cause the bullet to fly straight, similar to an arrow. Upon impact however, the lighter front of the bullet will slow down much faster than the heavier back of the bullet. This causes the back of the bullet to overtake the front of the bullet. I believe the common word used to describe this is tumbling.

The hollow point bullets I've seen in this caliber, as you mentioned, are not designed to expand and (to my untrained eye) do not appear to have a large enough "hollow" to initiate any expansion.

But what do I know. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, then remember how much this opinion cost you.
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9957 Posts

Posted - April 21 2022 :  07:23:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can't make any hard and fast rules about hollow points in high velocity rifles. The pretty much do follow the patterns Ace described.

I've likely shot 500-600 woodchucks with a .243 using 87 gr. Hornady JHPs at 3400 fps. They don't list it on the box but I've heard that they are made like their .22 SX bullets (soft lead to limit penetration and reduce ricochet) .

I seldom had one penetrate more than a couple of inches. OTOH, I had a 77 gr. OTM (Black Hills I think) go through a small doe at 300 yards from a 5.56 (didn't leave much of a hole)...but one case doesn't make a "Study".

I know of several cases of the .308 168 failing with torso hits...not infrequently it breaks into two pieces.

Just Ramblin'

Jim H.

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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5838 Posts

Posted - April 21 2022 :  08:23:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Caveat: one anecdotal report does not constitute a study - or even a trend.... I used to know a police officer who worked undercover and participated in many drug raids. On one raid he used deadly force on an armed drug dealer. The .223/5.56 hollowpoint head shot reportedly blew out the man's cranial sutures, expanding his head to the size of a volleyball. I don't recall any mention of whether or not the bullet exited.

Jeff

jle3030

Edited by - jle3030 on April 21 2022 08:25:45 AM
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djwarner
Average Member

USA
279 Posts

Posted - April 21 2022 :  08:54:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill, moving the center of gravity aft increases instability. The original 223 had a propensity to tumble as was proven in the original cold weather testing prior to acceptance by the military.

Personally, while at Tan Son Nhut during the Tet offensive, I saw a tumbling 223 pass within 6 feet of me. Tumbling had apparently slowed it down quite a bit in order for me to see it.

From what I was told during basic training, the 223 was designed to tumble after penetrating rather than expanding. I would prefer to not be on the receiving end of either outcome.

NON NOBIS TANTUM NATI
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heavyweight
Senior Member

USA
873 Posts

Posted - April 21 2022 :  10:56:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Soft points may be better.
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jlwilliams
Average Member

USA
260 Posts

Posted - April 24 2022 :  6:02:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Short answer is I don't know. If I were looking for a good hollow point 223 load I'd look at hog hunting results. 223 is used pretty widely for hog hunting and hogs are tough animals in about the right weight class. You can likely find brand specific info to give a good idea what sort of wound is likely at what range by looking at hunting forums and or ammo manufacturers pages. That said, at reasonable defense distances I can't imagine any good 223 loads would be less than effective. Even a really light varmint load has more energy than any pistol round.
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Arvinator
Advanced Member

USA
5668 Posts

Posted - April 24 2022 :  7:58:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am no expert but I personally do the following:
A) pick a round that is reliable in my rifles.
B) shoot enough to figure out the point of aim/impact or get my scopes where I want them.
C) not worry about it if it's a rifle round. While no doubt ammo like Cor-Bon, Super-Vel, and good hollowpoints no doubt are excellent rounds, green tip are known to be good rounds, and me personally I picked brass case factory 55 grain fmj rounds and bought a box or two. Just don't ask me how big my box is...



Be honest, fair, and always prepared...
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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
6121 Posts

Posted - April 24 2022 :  9:02:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, all. I really appreciate the comments; of course, more are welcome. There's enough here to help me look at least kinda smart next time we get together.

In rifles, especially light-weights like .223, I've always preferred Soft Points, mainly because of stories I'd heard of FMJ sometimes skipping off windshields; plus, if it became necessary to hunt big(ger) game with the little bullet, the SP would tend to be more effective in that function. I've shot lots of pigs with .223, but all but one were through the ears. They don't seem to care about caliber or bullet design when their brains are scrambled. Only once did I shoot one through the ribs with a .223 (SP, of course); about 30-40 yards, he was trotting away, and at the hit he dropped instantly. The mess inside the rib cage was---well, icky. But as Jim points out, once is not a study. Also, if the use was 'only' against two-legged critters, and I had no choice, then I'd be fully satisfied with M193 or the slightly heavier green tip loads.

I'm hoping all this is academic, but then again, any non-argumentative discussion amongst gun guys is fun. In the FWIW column, I found a place on ammoseek, and stocked up on enough PMC-brand SP's to probably last a while--unless we have a massive invasion of yodel dogs or feral pigs.

Thanks again. Y'all never fail to please. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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Frogfoot
Senior Member

USA
940 Posts

Posted - April 25 2022 :  3:56:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In some of the Hornady reloading manuals, their A-Max bullets were listed as being suitable for target as well as varmint usage and some of the larger A-Max bullet diameters as suitable for medium game. I contacted them to see if there was a difference between the discontinued A-Max and the replacement ELD-M bullets and their response was that the only difference was the heat resistant tip on the latter. Would they work? I don't know, but think some testing would be in order to see how they would perform.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. - Sir Winston Churchill
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WR Moore
Advanced Member

USA
1089 Posts

Posted - May 13 2022 :  10:30:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
About tumbling bullets, I read and did some field tests to confirm that non expanding .224 & .308 (SMK) spitzer design bullets do at least swap ends when they hit something more dense than air. Mostly. Yes, the .224 bullets generally fragment, the .308 not, at least in my testing. Hornady did suggest that their .224 75 gr. HPBT was the way to go for social situations. More recently, they seem to have developed a ballistic tip version of this bullet-and a couple of lighter ones- for LE use, but I've never seen it, much less tried it. You can find this in the Law Enforcement section of the Hornady website.

FWIW, I've shot a lot of groundhogs with the Sierra 60 gr JHP in .223, I wouldn't expect deep penetration. Given far fewer examples, the 55 gr Blitz bullet (slightly thicker jacket than the Blitzking) seems to be slower expanding. The .75 gr A-Max needs at least a 1-8 twist to stabilize as it's longer than the HPBT.

Beware the politically obsessed. They are often bright and interesting, but they have something missing in their natures, there is a hole, an empty place and they use politics to fill it up. It leaves them somehow misshapen. Peggy Noonan


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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
6121 Posts

Posted - May 13 2022 :  11:56:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
By my shy country boy reasoning, I think I'd like the 70-ish grain bullets in a longer-ish range sniper-type situation. I'll have to look up the 75gr Hornady, then dream about setting up a specific gun for it ('dream' for now due to the current financial situation, plus the lack of a practical use for it).

I do appreciate the help, and of course more is welcome. Since there's probably more SP's in stock now than I'll ever use up hunting, now I'll need to focus on cheap loads to practice/train/play with. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9957 Posts

Posted - May 13 2022 :  6:24:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well ACE, ironically, I'm having an old Winchester M70 in .223 re-barreled as we speak - it had a very slow twist and would not stabilize even M855 ball.

I had it re-barreled with a McMillan 1 in 8 twist so I could shoot 80 gr. Hornady AMAX bullets (or other heavy bullets) - also had it threaded for a suppressor which about my only excuse for doing it since I have a Mossberg Predator with a 1 in 7 twist (but it isn't threaded).

Still, it's just for fiddlin' around - if I had a serious purpose I'd be carrying something other than a "Turbo-22" - still, it will do in a pinch

Jim H.

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Evan
Administrator

34969 Posts

Posted - May 13 2022 :  9:22:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just before the quarantine started, I got that old gut feeling telling me I needed more ammo. Choices were pretty narrow, so I bought a case of .223 Federal Tactical soft point and some Rem 125 gr +p jhp. They both shoot well and I'm sure if I do my part, they'll do theirs!

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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