Self Defense Ammo for .223?

This is a discussion on Self Defense Ammo for .223? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I just recently purchased an M&P15 Sport for target shooting as well as SD around our home. I have the Moosberg Persuader for inside our ...

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Thread: Self Defense Ammo for .223?

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    Senior Member Array ront's Avatar
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    Self Defense Ammo for .223?

    I just recently purchased an M&P15 Sport for target shooting as well as SD around our home. I have the Moosberg Persuader for inside our home, but wanted something with more reach for around our home. We live out in the country. I am just wondering what your suggestions may be. The barrel is a 1 in 8" 5R Rifling.
    Thanks for any input.

    Ron
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    Distinguished Member Array orangevol's Avatar
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    Not to give you a "short" answer, but just about anything you put on target from a 5.56 rifle can be considered a self defense round... from 55gr FMJ to 75gr HP. I use Wolf $4.50 bx / 20 for plinking & Federal HP for defending.
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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    I like 55gr TSX's. Federal Vital-Shok line or Barnes Vor-TX.

    They work great on deer.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    Well there are three basic rifling types. 1/7, 1/8, and 1/9.

    1/7 generally stabilizes the heavier bullets up to 70 something. 1/8 is a good all around twist for both 55 and some of the heavier rounds, and 1/9, again generally, does well with 55 gr and lighter. You can shoot any of the bullet weights through any of the rifles just all depends on the accuracy you want or expect.

    As far as SD loads I normally do not carry anything but NATO ball ammo for general use outside the house, 62 gr LAP to be exact.
    Yes I know there are possibly better rounds but I know it feeds well, will give good penetration with armor if they happen to be wearing it and gives good accuracy. I have in the past carried speciality ammo, namely ballistic silvertip, in my entry guns when I did that sort of thing for a living. Just assured me of a good energy dump inside whatever target I hit.

    Before anyone jumps on the over penetration band wagon, remember you are shooting a rifle round so any up close and personal encounters will likely result in the bullet going all the way through. Yes you can decrease this risk with speciality ammo, corbon, Hornaday TAP, or Win silvertip are some, but you cannot eliminate it entirely. My inside the house home defense rifle is loaded with ballistic silvertips and all other mags that I would have access to have the load mentioned before.

    Just see what works for you and your rifle.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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    VIP Member Array Gene83's Avatar
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    I'm using 60 grain Hornady TAP, but that's just personal preference. I pretty much agree with orangevol that whatever you put through it will work.
    "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come." ~ Confucius

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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacman605 View Post
    Well there are three basic rifling types. 1/7, 1/8, and 1/9.

    1/7 generally stabilizes the heavier bullets up to 70 something. 1/8 is a good all around twist for both 55 and some of the heavier rounds, and 1/9, again generally, does well with 55 gr and lighter. You can shoot any of the bullet weights through any of the rifles just all depends on the accuracy you want or expect.

    As far as SD loads I normally do not carry anything but NATO ball ammo for general use outside the house, 62 gr LAP to be exact.
    Yes I know there are possibly better rounds but I know it feeds well, will give good penetration with armor if they happen to be wearing it and gives good accuracy. I have in the past carried speciality ammo, namely ballistic silvertip, in my entry guns when I did that sort of thing for a living. Just assured me of a good energy dump inside whatever target I hit.

    Before anyone jumps on the over penetration band wagon, remember you are shooting a rifle round so any up close and personal encounters will likely result in the bullet going all the way through. Yes you can decrease this risk with speciality ammo, corbon, Hornaday TAP, or Win silvertip are some, but you cannot eliminate it entirely. My inside the house home defense rifle is loaded with ballistic silvertips and all other mags that I would have access to have the load mentioned before.

    Just see what works for you and your rifle.
    I'l have to disagree with your assesment of 1:9 being for 55gr and lighter. It's seems that's a popular internet misconception that doesn't bear out at the range--at least in my experience.

    While 1:9 does not do well with the super heavy--that is75gr and heavier bullets, in my experince, 69gr SMK's have always proved to be excellent performers from 1:9 barrels. However, when you go light--say, 40gr--accuracy is terrible out of the 1:9's. And 1:7's shoot 55gr just fine, but will tend to get their best accuracy out of the heavier choices. 1:8 does well with everything from 55 on up.

    1:10 and slower twists tend to be the lightweight bullet choices.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

    ...man fights with his mind; the weapons are incidental.--Jeff Cooper


    There is a reason they try and make small bullets act like big bullets--Glockmann10mm

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuda66 View Post
    I like 55gr TSX's. Federal Vital-Shok line or Barnes Vor-TX.

    They work great on deer.
    Whether it be through my mk18, which is a 10.5" or through a 16" barrel, up until a couple months ago I would have said 75 grain TAP in the 5.56 variety. I still would suggest that if over penetration is a concern. But, the barrier blind loads like the TSX (which does not reply on fragmentation and also does not need the weight of a fragmenting round) are climbing quickly to the top. Both TSX and TAP will defeat a vest and be extremely effective, but TSX will have a longer effective range, especially from SBR's since it's not relying on velocity to fragment. Not sure if it applies to you or not, but the TSX loads, being barrier blind, will be much more consistent through auto glass and other intermediate barriers like car doors, for example. This would definitely be a wise choice for law enforcement or anyone in a rural environment.

    What really got me with this type of ammo is that 75 grain TAP in 5.56 through a 10.5" barrel has a maximum consistent fragmentation range of just under 50 yards. The 223 variant 75 grain TAP is closer to something like 35 yards. The 62 grain (I think that was the weight of the round in the study) will be just as effective at 3 or 4 times that distance. I'm buying a handful of TSX bullets and having them loaded to hotter 5.56 velocities. I'll see where that goes. It seems to be doing very well with out military right now.

    I'm not sure exactly which TSX is the best by weight. I have a hard time leaving my 75 to 77 grain loads, but with this ammo the 50 (or 55, not sure which it is) or 62 would most likely be the best choice. Again, I have a hard time going that direction as I always like heavier loads, but after enough research it seems lighter is the way to go.

    So for me, for home defense since I have two kids and a wife and we live in a neighborhood, 75 grain 5.56 TAP is still my first choice. My work gun gets TSX since I have different concerns away from home.

    By the way, my new 14.5" BCM 1:7 barrel just shot a 2" ten round group of 55 grain xm193 at 85 yards with a T1 without the magnifier from prone using the magazine as support. All of my rifles are 1:7. Regardless of what ammo I shoot, I won't buy anything but a 1:7 unless it's a precision SS barrel and it has a 1:8 twist. 1:9 is for commercial grade guns in most cases.

    Here's the 55 grain xm193 from a 14.5" CHF Bravo Co barrel

    Got a little ahead of myself and wrote 100 yards, but it was actually 85. On the left are the first 3 shots of the day and first 3 ever on this rifle with irons to see where I was hitting with them and a mechanical zero. KAC front and rear. These were shot using the magazine as support and without the magnifier.

    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I am currently experimenting with the 55 grain Barnes TSX, 60 grain Nosler Partition, and 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips, for dual purpose HD and hunting applications.

    One note about the Barnes copper bullets; a 55 grain TSX is equivalent in length to a 70(ish) grain lead bullet. So it's best applied with a faster twist like the 1/7.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Yeah, there's a pic of the 70 grain TSX and it's extremely long... For anyone not aware, like zacii is saying, they faster twists are to sanitize longer bullets as opposed to heavier bullets. But, since heavier almost always means longer, people mention weight when talking about barrel twist. The reality is, a 1:9 would probably do a not-so-good on with a 62 grain all copper TSX while I've seen some handle 75 grain TAP perfectly fine.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Well dont know about an internet misconception but my older Colt AR with a 1/9 sucked with heavier rounds but shot well with the polymer tipped 45 grain load, dont recall what they were called.

    Things may vary from rifle to rifle who knows. I do see great variances from semi auto service rifles to bolt guns with custom barrels.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    The length/weight of bullet to rifling ratio is just a guideline.

    Every barrel is one of a kind and will digest ammo accordingly.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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    RKM
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    My 1/9 16" will shoot 75gr at 100 yards. Never shot it any further. I'm loaded with 5.56 Mk262 or .223 75gr TAP or plain ol' 5.56 XM193. If you're going to loaded up with FMJ, make it XM193. Some target .223 ammo will not fragment, and a .223 that doesn't fragment or expand is going to perform poorly.

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    Senior Member Array AZ Hawk's Avatar
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    See here: 5.56 mm Duty Loads - M4Carbine.net Forums

    "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 using 1/9 and faster twist barrels are the 5.56 mm Federal 62 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (TBBC) bonded JSP (XM556FBIT3) and 5.56 mm Winchester 64 gr solid base bonded JSP (Q3313/RA556B) developed for the FBI, along with the outstanding new Black Hills 5.56 mm 50 gr TSX loading. Another acceptable 5.56 mm loading is the Speer 55 gr Gold Dot JSP; the Federal 5.56 mm 62 gr Mk318 Mod0 (T556TNB1) is also a potential option. Note that these are all true 5.56 mm loads that require a real milspec 5.56 mm chamber, not a SAAMI .223 chamber--be sure to check with an appropriate gauge or reamer. Most other acceptable LE barrier blind loadings are at .223 pressures, including the .223 55 & 62 gr Federal bonded JSP Tactical loads (LE223T1 & LE223T3), along with loads using Nosler 60 gr Partition JSP, Remington 62 gr Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded JSP (PRC223R4), .223 Federal 55 gr TSX (T223S), and the .223 Speer 55 & 64 gr Gold Dot JSP's (and identically constructed Federal 62 gr Fusion JSP and Federal XM223SP1 62gr Bonded JSP). The Swift 75 gr Scirocco bonded PT is also good choice, but usually requires a 1/7 twist. Note that 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, most TSX bullets exhibit less expansion than bonded JSP’s, as the Barnes jacket either collapses at the nose, the jacket "petals" fold back against the core, or the "petals" are torn off; this results in a caliber size projectile configured a lot like a full wadcutter, leading to deep penetration. If running 1/12 twist barrels, stick with the BH 50 gr TSX, Fed 55 gr TBBC, Speer 55 gr Gold Dot, or Fed 55 gr TSX. NONE of the fragmenting 5.56 mm OTM bullets, even the heavy 75 - 100 gr loads, offer acceptable performance through automobile windshield glass. Contrary to what many believe, M193 & M855 FMJ are not very good against glass; the best military 5.56 mm load against glass is 52 gr M995 AP, followed by the 62 gr Mk318 Mod0 OTM and 70 gr Optimal "brown tip" OTM.

    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 standard JSP loads can offer acceptable performance. 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 (T223L) JSP, Hornady 60 gr JSP, are likely to run accurately in the majority of 1/9 twist rifles. Again it is critical to keep in mind that the above loads fail to offer adequate penetration through intermediate barriers."

    - Dr. Roberts

    -------------------------------

    FWIW, I load the 75 gr. Hornady 5.56 NATO Superperformance Match BTHP in my LWRC M6A3 which has a twist rate of 1:7.
    Move. Shoot. Survive. ― The "Unofficial" Suarez International Doctrine

    “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress and grows brave by reflection.” ― Thomas Paine

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    DocGKR (Dr Roberts) is where most of my basic info comes from and run with it from there. rob_s and I have had a lot of conversations regarding bonded 5.56. The mk318 looks promising. The 70 grain brown tip is supposed to be remarkable ammunition and is apparently a hot loaded 70 grain TSX.

    The ammunition sub forum on m4carbine and it the ammo oracle on ar15.com are full of his posts and threads. All great info.

    I love my 5.56 TAP, but having something that doesn't rely n fragmentation, especially for my SBR's, is a great option.

    AZ Hawk, a funny note - "amateurs train until they get it right, professionals train until they get it wrong" is actually a misquote by Chris. How it slipped throu editing, I have no clue, but someone should have caught that! It's supposed to end with something like "professionals train until they can't get it wrong". If you have been or are attending one of their classes, be sure to mention it. He has a few gems and a couple of us have thought of getting shirts made with his quotes to wear at the next class!
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Senior Member Array AZ Hawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    DocGKR (Dr Roberts) is where most of my basic info comes from and run with it from there. rob_s and I have had a lot of conversations regarding bonded 5.56. The mk318 looks promising. The 70 grain brown tip is supposed to be remarkable ammunition and is apparently a hot loaded 70 grain TSX.

    The ammunition sub forum on m4carbine and it the ammo oracle on ar15.com are full of his posts and threads. All great info.

    I love my 5.56 TAP, but having something that doesn't rely n fragmentation, especially for my SBR's, is a great option.

    AZ Hawk, a funny note - "amateurs train until they get it right, professionals train until they get it wrong" is actually a misquote by Chris. How it slipped throu editing, I have no clue, but someone should have caught that! It's supposed to end with something like "professionals train until they can't get it wrong". If you have been or are attending one of their classes, be sure to mention it. He has a few gems and a couple of us have thought of getting shirts made with his quotes to wear at the next class!
    Hah! I was wondering which way it was supposed to be, as I heard it both ways... Figured I heard it correctly straight from the horse's mouth, but it seems he said his own quote wrong!

    Anyways, I'm going to be in Tucson in Nov. for the Carbine class, so I'll have to mention it to Chris.
    Move. Shoot. Survive. ― The "Unofficial" Suarez International Doctrine

    “The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress and grows brave by reflection.” ― Thomas Paine

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