9 mm hard cast bullets for self defense

This is a discussion on 9 mm hard cast bullets for self defense within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First, in my 9mm's I generally carry Ranger T 147 gr. HP, or Golden Saber 147 gr. HP. But in the past, I have used ...

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    Member Array BamaT's Avatar
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    9 mm hard cast bullets for self defense

    First, in my 9mm's I generally carry Ranger T 147 gr. HP, or Golden Saber 147 gr. HP.

    But in the past, I have used 158 gr. hard cast SWC in .38 snub, and almost exclusively used 215 gr. hard cast SWC in a .44 special. Both loads were approx. 800 fps. I know there are several people here that extol the virtues of such loads, maybe loaded to 850 fps.

    I've just starting loading 9 mm 147 gr. hard cast flat point with 4.1 gr. of Power Pistol for IDPA, and according to my Lyman manual produces 939 fps. If the 158 gr. .38 SWC at 850 fps is a good defensive load (at least in some people's opinion), how would this 9mm load compare? 9mm is slightly faster (and very accurate in my M&P), weight is similar, but the meplat is slightly smaller (.234 for the 9, .257 for my .38 SWC), and lacks the sharp shoulder of the .38 SWC. What is more important in this type load, meplat size, sharp shoulder, or just having a flat point?

    I'll continue to carry the Ranger T or Golden Saber for the most part, but was just curious what some of you might think of this 9mm load compared to a hard cast .38 SWC for a defensive round.
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    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    nothing wrong with using cast lead bullets. many mango seasons ago we did not have all of these new self defense rounds as we do now. it was fmj and/or cast lead and they got the job done. you can work up a cast lead load to do just as good as a factory load. don't get wraped around the axle over this. make up some cast lead loads and be happy. they will get the job done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaT View Post
    First, in my 9mm's I generally carry Ranger T 147 gr. HP, or Golden Saber 147 gr. HP.

    But in the past, I have used 158 gr. hard cast SWC in .38 snub, and almost exclusively used 215 gr. hard cast SWC in a .44 special. Both loads were approx. 800 fps. I know there are several people here that extol the virtues of such loads, maybe loaded to 850 fps.

    I've just starting loading 9 mm 147 gr. hard cast flat point with 4.1 gr. of Power Pistol for IDPA, and according to my Lyman manual produces 939 fps. If the 158 gr. .38 SWC at 850 fps is a good defensive load (at least in some people's opinion), how would this 9mm load compare? 9mm is slightly faster (and very accurate in my M&P), weight is similar, but the meplat is slightly smaller (.234 for the 9, .257 for my .38 SWC), and lacks the sharp shoulder of the .38 SWC. What is more important in this type load, meplat size, sharp shoulder, or just having a flat point?

    I'll continue to carry the Ranger T or Golden Saber for the most part, but was just curious what some of you might think of this 9mm load compared to a hard cast .38 SWC for a defensive round.
    I like heavy bullets lumbering along at subsonic speeds, but I doubt that there's a nickel's difference between the two.

    According to the Schwartz bullet penetration model, a .38 cal. 158 gr. SWC at 850 fps will produce 30.7 inches of penetration and a 9mm 147 gr. HCFN at 939 fps will produce 30.9 inches of penetration if neither one hits bone. The amount of tissue crushed along their respective wound paths (1.22 and 1.21 ounces respectively) should be nearly identical, too. Pretty much a wash, if you ask me.

    The folks over at Beartooth Bullets state that greater meplat diameter correlates to greater tissue damage, wadcutters offering the greatest (the bullet's nose is the meplat) amount all of which agree with the terminal ballistic penetration model that I cited above.

    Hardcast SWCs make great hunting loads, but they may offer too much penetration for use in highly populated environments. It's up to you to decide where that becomes an issue.

    If it was my choice, I'd just stick with the 147 gr. Rangers or Golden Sabres.
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    Will your 9mm feed a flat nose bullet?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaT View Post
    First, in my 9mm's I generally carry Ranger T 147 gr. HP, or Golden Saber 147 gr. HP.

    But in the past, I have used 158 gr. hard cast SWC in .38 snub, and almost exclusively used 215 gr. hard cast SWC in a .44 special. Both loads were approx. 800 fps. I know there are several people here that extol the virtues of such loads, maybe loaded to 850 fps.

    I've just starting loading 9 mm 147 gr. hard cast flat point with 4.1 gr. of Power Pistol for IDPA, and according to my Lyman manual produces 939 fps. If the 158 gr. .38 SWC at 850 fps is a good defensive load (at least in some people's opinion), how would this 9mm load compare? 9mm is slightly faster (and very accurate in my M&P), weight is similar, but the meplat is slightly smaller (.234 for the 9, .257 for my .38 SWC), and lacks the sharp shoulder of the .38 SWC. What is more important in this type load, meplat size, sharp shoulder, or just having a flat point?

    I'll continue to carry the Ranger T or Golden Saber for the most part, but was just curious what some of you might think of this 9mm load compared to a hard cast .38 SWC for a defensive round.
    I am an extreme advocate of cast lead bullets for all applications. I think the greatest thing about them is that they do not have to be pushed hard to be effective with regard to penetration.
    This is really nice for carrying known little "beasts" such as an airweight j frame. My loads out of the j frame are downloaded to about 700 fps, as measured over the chrono, and will still penetrate effectively. The only trade off is the poi is higher. But this is easily compensated for. I have found that at 15 yards, I aim for the mid stomach to get impact in the chest area, and at 25 yards aim for the belt buckle to get the same. Since the lead has less resistance than the copper jacket, you will get a free velocity increase, which allows you to down load the powder charge to achieve the same thing a greater charge is needed for in a jacketed bullet.

    This same principle applys to a semi auto. Here an example;

    These are 225 weight truncated flatpoint 45acp loads I have been playing with recently. With jacketed bullets, to achieve 850 fps, my charge of Unique needs to be about 3 grains higher than with these bullets, which I chronograph at 865 with the 3 grains less charge. They work the slide velocity of the Colt very well, but feel much smoother, and with less recoil, making my time back on target about the same as a Glock 9mm loaded hot. And they will penetrate very well.

    The same concept will work regardless the caliber or platform. Thats the real beauty of lead bullets, besides being cheaper.
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    Member Array BamaT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades View Post
    Will your 9mm feed a flat nose bullet?
    Flat points are not a problem in my M&P. When I switched to the 147 grain bullet, I initially had them seated too long, and had a chambering issue. Upon consulting the recommended OAL recommendation in the Lyman manual, I adjusted the seating depth, problem solved. I tested for chambering and ejection at home without any problems. Upon testing at the range, there were no failures of any kind.

    Never had any issues with the shorter 125 grain truncated cone flat point, and none now with the 147 with the proper seating depth.
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    481
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    Bama,

    Have you tried the Federal 147 gr. FMJFPs? I see that you are reloading for IDPA so you may have other considerations- just thought that they might be an option for you as they have been ultra-reliable in every gun I've used them in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 481 View Post
    Bama,

    Have you tried the Federal 147 gr. FMJFPs? I see that you are reloading for IDPA so you may have other considerations- just thought that they might be an option for you as they have been ultra-reliable in every gun I've used them in.
    No, I haven't tried them. What advantages would you see over the cast bullets?

    I've only had one range trip with the 147 grain hard cast flat point load since correcting the seating depth issue, but I had no problems. I'll certainly want to test them a little more, but at this point they seem reliable, and were very accurate at around 12 to 15 yards. Haven't shot this load yet at longer distances, but I think it will do fine. It's a very mild recoiling round.
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    Isn't there a problem shooting lead through the Glock pistols with their polygonal rifling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaT View Post
    No, I haven't tried them. What advantages would you see over the cast bullets?

    I've only had one range trip with the 147 grain hard cast flat point load since correcting the seating depth issue, but I had no problems. I'll certainly want to test them a little more, but at this point they seem reliable, and were very accurate at around 12 to 15 yards. Haven't shot this load yet at longer distances, but I think it will do fine. It's a very mild recoiling round.
    They might over a little more resistance to nose deformation while undergoing the feed-cycle. It is a small edge, but there nonetheless. Out of my G17, they are accurate, recoil mildly, and don't present an issue for the polygonal rifling that may occur with lead bullets. Just an option- yours to do with as you wish.

    Are you loading for recoil management (ie; to achieve the lowest possible charge weight while remaining operable) or for some other reason (economy)?
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    For a revolver, where you can use a bullet with any bullet shape lead bullets offer advantages over older technology HP's that do not always expand, and they allow deeper penetration than an expanding bullet at the same velocity.

    I just do not see and advantage in an auto loader besides practice. The meplate on an auto cartridge will be slightly larger than a FMJ, the only exception being the 357 Sig which allows an almost full caliber meplate due to the bottleneck case. I still think you are better off with quality HP's in anything for self defense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKflorida View Post
    Isn't there a problem shooting lead through the Glock pistols with their polygonal rifling?
    I'm shooting a Smith M&P with this load, which handles cast bullets just fine.

    The conventional wisdom is that you shouldn't shoot lead bullets in a Glock. However, some say as long as the bullets are hard cast it isn't a problem. I'm not speaking from experience, just repeating what I've read. Personally, I don't shoot cast bullets in my Glock just to be safe.
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    I dont think that using cast bullets for defensive purposes is the way to go. The reason that we use jacketed hollowpoints, is because its a step up, they just perform better on targets that shoot back.

    With that being said, when times get tough and ammo is hard to come by, the ability to make and use cast lead bullets will be a great asset. I cast a lot of bullets and I have used them for shooting both targets and hunting. I have two dozen molds and cast most calibers.

    Cast bullets shine in revolvers, but not so much in semi's. The lube and lead fouling will gunk up a gun fairly quickly. For plinking it dosent matter, but I'd stay with the fancy stufff for personal defense. We have come a long way in bullet technology in the last 25 years, there is no sense in going backwards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 481 View Post
    They might over a little more resistance to nose deformation while undergoing the feed-cycle. It is a small edge, but there nonetheless. Out of my G17, they are accurate, recoil mildly, and don't present an issue for the polygonal rifling that may occur with lead bullets. Just an option- yours to do with as you wish.

    Are you loading for recoil management (ie; to achieve the lowest possible charge weight while remaining operable) or for some other reason (economy)?
    No, I was just using the starting load for Power Pistol in Lyman's manual for a starting point and it turned out well. It actually gives a little higher starting velocity with a slightly lower pressure than the max loads for some other powders.

    Counting my time, reloading the 9 doesn't save much, but I like the flexibility of reloading, to tailor a load the way I want it. Generally, I have been able to craft more accurate ammo than what is usually available in commercial bulk ammo. So far so good on the nose deformation issue, but if it becomes problematic I will take a look at the FMJFN.

    I'm shooting a Smith M&P, so I don't have the polygonal barrel issue. I do have a Glock 19, but stick to jacketed bullets for it. It's one of my primary carry guns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    I dont think that using cast bullets for defensive purposes is the way to go. The reason that we use jacketed hollowpoints, is because its a step up, they just perform better on targets that shoot back.

    With that being said, when times get tough and ammo is hard to come by, the ability to make and use cast lead bullets will be a great asset. I cast a lot of bullets and I have used them for shooting both targets and hunting. I have two dozen molds and cast most calibers.

    Cast bullets shine in revolvers, but not so much in semi's. The lube and lead fouling will gunk up a gun fairly quickly. For plinking it dosent matter, but I'd stay with the fancy stufff for personal defense. We have come a long way in bullet technology in the last 25 years, there is no sense in going backwards.

    As I stated in my original post, I'll continue to carry Ranger T's and golden Sabers for the most part. The cast load I've talked about is mainly for IDPA and range use, but wanted to know what others thought about it for defensive purposes. While I might generally prefer a HP such as the Ranger T for my 9's, I still think a flat nosed hard cast bullet would put a hurt on a bad guy.
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