Lead Bullets as Defensive Bullets

Lead Bullets as Defensive Bullets

This is a discussion on Lead Bullets as Defensive Bullets within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I don't know much about ballistics and bullet types. What would happen with a lead bullet shot out a 45 acp at say mid 900 ...

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    Member Array chiltech500's Avatar
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    Lead Bullets as Defensive Bullets

    I don't know much about ballistics and bullet types.

    What would happen with a lead bullet shot out a 45 acp at say mid 900 fps vs 9mm at higher velocity? Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array WrongRecroom's Avatar
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    I tink the question is bullet type not metal. A fmj 45 I would think might have more omp then a ligher 9mm fmj going faster .

    I would not carry FMJ roudns for a 45 or 9mm for carry .. Just saying .. If you were to go with the 45 fmj

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    What would happen would have a lot to do with bullet design, not just material. A 45acp LSWCHP should expand well, a lead round nose, not so well. Same thing would apply to a 9mm.
    msgt/ret, Bad Bob and flintlock62 like this.
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    VIP Member Array DingBat's Avatar
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    ...they will definately make your gun dirtier...

    ...and the steep feed ramps of even modern 1911's don't care for the softness of lead heads....not saying it'll always make em trip, but it doesn't help.

    ...though i have always kind of wondered what a wad-cutter, or semi-wadcutter would leave for a wound channel...course i don't think a 1911 would be too happy trying to feed wad-cutters either...(as in NOT). and i assume you'd have to load them yorself as wad-cutters are mostly for wheel guns.

    there is also lots of stories floating around about .45acp FMJ's and their tendency to "deflect". stories from WWII of some poor guy getting shot in the hip, and the round bounces of his bone and ends up coming out his shoulder, don't know how much truth there is to any of that, but i've never heard such stories about 9mm "ball".
    i do know i have seen .45 ball ammo do some silly deflection stuff, but almost seems more of a liability than an advantage.

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    Bullet jackets as a necessity for non-magnum handgun bullet expansion are hugely overrated. It's just that everyone these days has the expectation that their handgun bullets obtained for defensive purposes be jacketed. Few know why they expect it. They just expect it.
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    Lead bullets were getting the job done hundreds of years before the invention of the jacketed bullet.
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    A 230 grain 45 acp bullet traveling at 900 fps will develop 413 fpe. A 115 grain 9mm bullet traveling at 1100 fps will develop 309 fpe. Those are the ballistics of the rounds. Either one will do a respectable job of punching a hole in the bad guy. I'm assuming these are lead round nose. If they are hollow points they'll do more serious damage.
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    Member Array chiltech500's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. It is indeed the jacketed hollow points that everyone uses - as bmcgilvray points out - that had me wondering. I somehow thought an lead unjacketed bullet would just break into small fragments - but that's for rifle or high velocities right?

    What is the function of the jacket, to hold the bullet together till beyond initial penetration?

    Would a LSWC target type bullet respond in a similar fashion to a similarly shaped jacketed hollow point? I honestly don't know much about defensive rounds, I shoot mainly paper.

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    One factor is the lead alloy itself. Push too soft too fast and you will end up with a smooth bore in short order. In a "typical" scenario you wont fire enough rounds to make that an issue, but if the zombie hordes show up it could be a problem. Make it "too hard" and you might not get the expansion you want unless you use hollow points.
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    Federal's traditional SD load for the 45Colt is 225grn lswchp, which chronographs @ 965fps from my 4.5" Blackhawk.
    I would guess a 230grn lswchp from a 45acp would be comparable. So long as it feeds, it should do the job.
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    You would give him lead poisoning and the family would sue you for using bullets that caused their loved one to suffer
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiltech500 View Post
    Thanks for the replies. It is indeed the jacketed hollow points that everyone uses - as bmcgilvray points out - that had me wondering. I somehow thought an lead unjacketed bullet would just break into small fragments - but that's for rifle or high velocities right?

    What is the function of the jacket, to hold the bullet together till beyond initial penetration?

    Would a LSWC target type bullet respond in a similar fashion to a similarly shaped jacketed hollow point? I honestly don't know much about defensive rounds, I shoot mainly paper.
    Most of the time, the lead bullet will just deform. Whether it breaks up depends on the brittleness of the specific lead alloy, the velocity at impact, and what it hits.

    Bullet jackets were developed to limit expansion, in order to result in a more humane wound on the battlefield. Eventually jackets were modified with cutaway tips ('soft points') and subsequently hollow points, all in order to control the rate of expansion.

    Go here to see what an unjacketed lead HP looks like (under assumed ideal conditions): https://www.google.com/search?q=lead...ml%3B328%3B307
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    Senior Member Array medmunds21's Avatar
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    I tink the question is bullet type not metal. What do you prefer & what works best for you???
    "A free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought."

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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    Lead bullets were getting the job done hundreds of years before the invention of the jacketed bullet.
    Yes they were and, at typical .38 Special, .44 Special, .45 ACP, and .45 Colt velocities, the bullet jacket doesn't do anything to actually enhance expansion that I can see, especially at the velocities these and similar cartridges produce. Jackets would seem more likely to retard expansion to one degree or another. Jackets solve the leading problem mentioned above. Jackets are a sure-fire way to insure universal feeding function in all automatic pistols but revolvers don't require them. Jackets make the ammunition appealing to the self-defense market which has come to view jackets as essential in all instances.

    I like the idea of soft lead bullets in revolvers for self-defense purposes and my particular 1911s feed them fine. It's heresy to say this but I'm not even very concerned that the bullet I load for self-defense purposes has a hollow point. I'm not even worried about leading, for if I'm slinging lead at handgun distances, leading simply won't matter, even if it's zombie hoards fended off with high-volume fire. I just hope I have a suitable repeating rifle for the hoards rather than only a handgun.

    When I was young I too followed the latest trends in thinking on what was "best" for loading in one's self-defense handguns. At that time, the notion of the factory loaded, specialty self-defense oriented bullets/loads was just coming into its own. Most factory ammunition was standard velocity, standardized bullet weights, and loaded with either lead round nose, full-metal jacket of one persuasion or the other, with a few jacketed soft nose loads thrown in for the automatics. The thinking of the savvy shooters at the time was that one had to handload to truly gain a advantage over factory provided loads and to a great degree that was the case. I went the handloading route and built all sorts of nuclear-powered handloads, using whatever latest and greatest component bullets were being brought out and trying to squeeze the last foot-per-second out of them. Most of the "fancy" bullets could not be had in factory loadings then. The very light-for-caliber jacketed hollow-points were thought to be cutting edge. Bullets like the 110 grain Sierra Jacketed Hollow Cavity for the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum (along with the 125 grain in the .357 Magnum), the 180 grain Sierra Jacketed Hollow Cavity, driven "hot" in the .44 Special, the 200 grain Speer Jacketed Hollow Point (the famous "flying ashtray) in the .45 ACP. Folks were still loading reversed hollow-based wadcutters in their .38s at "enhanced" velocities too. I tried 'em all. Of course the Magnum revolver cartridges had a big following then. I don't remember anyone doing much with the 9mm in the late 1970s, either with available factory loads or with component bullets for handloads. I was around 9mm then but didn't take it seriously nor did anyone else I knew who owned one. The .40 S&W and .357 SIG were several years into the future.

    Anyway, it's liberating to get off the "cartridge du jour" merry-go-round, find something that works well in one's chosen handguns, sticking with it year in and year out, knowing that if one does his job and sticks a bullet in the right place (the "super-owie-zone" or SOZ as Mas Ayoob has called it) then one has done about all that may reasonably be expected to do with regards to effective self-defense. Leave it to someone else to dither and "chase their tail," bearing all the not inconsiderable cost of constantly seeking the next "bullet of the week" that promises to make it cloud up and rain blood and guts when employed.

    And, what you see right here in this post is pure, unadulterated pontificating of personal opinion.
    manolito, OD*, StormRhydr and 9 others like this.
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    Some 357 alloy loads were developed that made body armour not hold up so well. I carry lead in my snub nosed bug. What matters is hitting where you want and doing it consistently and accurately.

    BMC ? Boatsun chief? I liked your response rather refreshing in my opinion.

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