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Thread: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

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    Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    This would be for an AR15 type carbine, 16" barrel, mid length gas system, 1:9" twist. Wall penetration with .223 should not be much of an issue inside this old, solid built house and all bedrooms are on one end anyway.

    Just want to find the best round(s) to put an attacking bad guy down ASAP with this set up.

    For a basic example, would military M193 55 gr. FMJ rounds be better/worse/the same as SS109/M855 62 gr. penetrator as far as stopping somebody? I know there's also a lot of relatively new LE ammo out (TAP, Gold Dot, etc.).



    Thanks!

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Hey, Norm-

    I'd recommend abandoning fmj altogether. You're still going to get plenty of penetration in close quarters with that twist. Head to Box O Truth for some fun examples. You may try lead tip (Win Ranger makes some decent stuff) or even frangible rounds.

    More importantly, remember good old Rule #4, and come up with some ideas of the fields of fire in your home. Sounds like your'e already thinking in that direction.

    Hope that helps!

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: ForceResponse
    Hey, Norm-

    I'd recommend abandoning fmj altogether. You're still going to get plenty of penetration in close quarters with that twist. Head to Box O Truth for some fun examples. You may try lead tip (Win Ranger makes some decent stuff) or even frangible rounds.

    More importantly, remember good old Rule #4, and come up with some ideas of the fields of fire in your home. Sounds like your'e already thinking in that direction.

    Hope that helps!


    Thanks for the info!

    I found another useful link from AR15.com that seems like a veritable encyclopedia of 5.56/.223 ballistics. They seem to give the nod to M193 in close quarters.

    http://ammo.ar15.com/ammo/

    Here's another link (not for the squeamish) that indicates that the TAP ammo was not all it's cracked up to be, at least on a certain bad guy:

    http://concealedcarryholsters.org/wp...e-Shootout.pdf

    Of course, the more you read, the more confusing it gets:

    http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=272325

    Then there's an apparent example of the vaunted "meat axe" effect of the M193 fired from an M16 (again, not for the squeamish, it actually gets worse on page 4):

    http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=17111.0

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    I would take a look at M4 carbine.net the DocGKR "Dr. Roberts" on that site is supposed to be one the foremost experts in terminal ballistics in the country.

    http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=19881

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    I'd recommend Hornady TAP. It may be pricey but, you get what you pay for.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=724752

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    +1 for Hornady TAP
    Quote Originally Posted by FD338Lapua View Post
    This site is full of you super pricks with big mouths hiding behind a computer screen.
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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    I use 110 grain Hornady TAP in 308.

    Also, I would try to determine what ammo your local PD/Sheriff/SWAT team uses.

    Using the same ammo can help in some wrongful death cases.

    Plaintiff's Attorney: Why did you use those awful man-killer hollow points?

    Defendant: I just used what the local sheriff uses--I figured he would know best.

    BMT

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    60 gr TAP is a great round for what you are looking for.
    You will take my life before you take my guns.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Hornady TAP all the way! Its accurate as hell also.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Get frangible, the sinter packed stuff will give you some more piece of mind as far as ricochets.

    There's plenty of test data and actual wound documentation that show that ball ammo is VERY effective, and the 193/855 argument is always a long one. But as far a shooting people up close with a 30-round magazine carbine, anything load you choose will be MORE than effective for taking down "the bad guy". Just don't use reloads (for liability reasons).

    Long story short, for the <40 yd distances you're focused on:

    - Close quarters, everything breaks up due to high speed out of the muzzle. FBI & Army testing shows ball ammo is "frangible" up close, sometimes even in WOODEN walls
    - Soft points/hollow points won't expand well at all at AR-15 muzzle velocity speeds
    - Heavier weight bullets (ball/steel core/solid brass) will have slightly more penetration, but it's not much of an issue close in (see above comment about wood walls), but they are MUCH more likely to ricochet (the real danger).
    - Frangible will make ricochets MUCH less likely, its more effective in pistol calibers (Glaser Safety Slugs used the frangible concept), but still works in 5.56. This is reduce the worry of having a steel core glancing off your mirror/car hood/brick wall/etc.


    Get the stuff that looks like compressed granola (sinter packed), if its copper jacketed at all, even, just semi-jacketed, the benefit is compromised.



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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    +1 for listening to DocGKR's advice
    Terminal Ballistics Forum
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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Soft points/hollow points won't expand well at all at AR-15 muzzle velocity speeds

    is that a misprint/mistake? just curious. I perform quite a few ballistic workshops and see 5.56 round expand very reliably on both bare and barrier-blind gel.

    another +1 for reading up on what Doc Roberts has provided for us to learn from

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: sagebrush

    is that a misprint/mistake? just curious. I perform quite a few ballistic workshops and see 5.56 round expand very reliably on both bare and barrier-blind gel.


    Nope, my opinion, typed correctly. I don't see results that show 224 soft point bullets at muzzle velocity expand. They just shred like everything else. The following data shows that they actual expand LESS than Ball/FMJ type ammo.


    ATK says that using same rifle & gel,

    55 grain soft point expands to 0.488"
    55 grain solid expands to 0.508"

    64 grain soft point expands to 0.347"
    69 grain bthp expands to 0.406" (Proportional much more than the weight difference)

    As for the bthp above (Matchking), its pretty much a FMJ, the Matchking points are small and for aerodynamic purposes, not expansion, especially compared to the relative size of a soft point type.

    If you have other data, does it disagree? Do soft points of similar weights expand more than ball type ammo in your workshops?







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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    20GA pump, short as the law will allow would be best.
    Roger that, Jawbreaker out....

    There are very few problems that cannot be solved with the proper application of precision fire.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: armydog
    20GA pump, short as the law will allow would be best.


    My problem is that I live in an old "shotgun" rancher, with a long hall all the way down the middle of the house. Easily defensible from one end of the house to the other, but too long for reasonably tight buckshot patterns. Also, the AR carbine is lighter and handles better in close quarters and has better range than my full length 20" bbl. shotgun.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    I like the heaviest bullet I can shoot. I have 75 gr Hornady BTHPs loaded in my carbine.

    I don't think one could go wrong with anything over 55 grains. You can see that the 43 and 50 gr bullets fragmented and didn't penetrate very far in the chart shown above.

    The one thing that I do not like about my AR for HD is that they are harder to load when kept condition 3 than a shotgun. I have a harder time manipulating the CH than the pump on a pump shotgun. I have considered starting to keep mine condition 1.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    yes, properly constructed soft point ammo not only expands reliably without shredding through a variety of media but does so with great consistency and maintains a straight wound path. Mind you an older soft-point bullet design from the varmint class of bullets will perform poorly on barriers so we are in complete agreement there. I was at a ballistic workshop with Doc Roberts a few months ago and asked him why he doesn't recommend 55gn FMJ at high velocity (from 16" barrel) and he said without hesitation that it's performance in bare or cloth covered gel is very unpredictable in several variables and that it's also terrible on auto glass. At my first ballistic workshop several years ago we fired several brands of 55gn ball from 16" barrels and at 10 feet from calibrated gel they did NOT reliable break up or even come apart which surprised me. some shots looked pretty good in gel with deep straight crush cavities, while others zipped laterally and exited the block at 7" of penetration. just too bizarre.

    there are many good loads available now in this caliber. I'll be running winchester's new bonded Q3283 60gn as soon as I get my hands on it (bout 2 weeks now). the FBI has recently awarded Winchester a huge contract for this load after exhaustive testing. Federal also has a round that performs identically but I don't have info on it. I had been using the win 64gn power point which expands VERY well in bare or cloth media but it's performance on auto glass is pretty sketchy. I'm not a pro, I just love to learn all I can.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    +1 for Doc Roberts. He's fantastic.

    You can see the can of worms you opened up, eh, Norm? [img]<>/blush.gif[/img]

    Always come back to what YOU will be doing with the bullets. What is YOUR house made of? Not likely that you'll encounter auto glass with a home defense weapon. Not likely that you can articulate to a jury your need for shooting through barriers. SO focus on fields of fire, a good safety plan that you rehearse with your family, and THEN decide what the likely scenarios will require you to use. Sounds like you're already thinking in this way (e.g. my shotgun will not pattern well down my hallway, etc).

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Honestly I have a hard time seeing a carbine as a practical home defense weapon.

    I really think you'd be better served by a small to medium-sized pistol in the largest caliber you can shoot with reliable accuracy.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: BCP
    Honestly I have a hard time seeing a carbine as a practical home defense weapon.

    I really think you'd be better served by a small to medium-sized pistol in the largest caliber you can shoot with reliable accuracy.



    Seriously? As compared to most pistols, a carbine has a higher capacity magazine, shoots a more effective cartridge, has similar or less risk of overpenetration, is easier to shoot quickly, and is easier to shoot accurately. How is it not a practical home defense weapon?

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: ForceResponse
    +1 for Doc Roberts. He's fantastic.

    You can see the can of worms you opened up, eh, Norm? [img]<>/blush.gif[/img]

    Always come back to what YOU will be doing with the bullets. What is YOUR house made of? Not likely that you'll encounter auto glass with a home defense weapon. Not likely that you can articulate to a jury your need for shooting through barriers. SO focus on fields of fire, a good safety plan that you rehearse with your family, and THEN decide what the likely scenarios will require you to use. Sounds like you're already thinking in this way (e.g. my shotgun will not pattern well down my hallway, etc).


    I know, I'm in the habit of opening up cans of worms on this forum!

    Like they say, there's no such thing as a stupid question -- just a lot of stupid people out there like me asking questions.

    The one problem I have with Dr. Roberts, Fackler, and other ballistic gurus is that they don't show pictures of wounds on their forums and I'm not seeing statistics of different rounds performances. Evan Marshall did this to some extent with handgun rounds, but he is either glorified as a guru or villified as a con artist, depending on who you ask. It seems the more you learn on this subject, the less you know. Drawings and photos of ballistic gelatin tests are nice, but pictures and x-rays of actual wounds, along with medical/autopsy reports, are worth a thousand words.

    Earlier, I posted some pretty gruesome flesh wound pics from the Phillipines of the "meat axe" effect of a M193 round compared to autopsy photos of a bad guy who took multiple "ice pick" hits from some TAP ammo and still had to be subdued to be cuffed before he later expired.

    Hard to argue with the impressive effects of the M193, yet Drs. Roberts & Fackler seem to zero in on a single anecdotal failure of the M193 to make massive wounds. There had to be some legitimate reason why the Soviets dumped the 7.62x39 in favor of the 5.45x39. You can find books of wound ballistics for $$$, many printed decades ago, but since the field of ballistics is constantly evolving, even new info is obsolete by the time it gets published, at least as far as the effects of the latest available loads to hit the market. Most of these books are geared to police forensics rather than determining what the latest and greatest round is doing on the streets.

    There must be an infinite number of variables as to why a single round would succeed or fail to stop a bad guy in his tracks. There's always going to be an anecdote about one round doing this, another doing that in some circumstance or another. I guess the best you can do is look at the overall success rate of a certain round in multiple shootings, analyze the body of evidence and choose accordingly.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    have used the Nosler 60gr to kill many deer at various ranges loaded by Black Hills--if it drops a 200lb+ deer--should be ok on bad guys--gonna try TAP next
    do or do not; there is no try...........

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Hopefully when you get attacked its early in the morning when everyone is in their beds if your gonna use fmj's. That way none of your family gets caught in the crossfire when your spraying fmj's down the hall and into the other rooms.

    I personally have a 12 gauge beside me plus a .40 but I don't have a 150 foot motion lighted hallway like you do, so my pattern is still pretty tight at the normal 30 foot max hall. I suspect if I ever get broken into the thief won't be turning on the lights so I can see to aim, thats why i have the shotgun.My pattern is about 18" instead of .224" if you use your carbine.
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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: RebelYell
    Hopefully when you get attacked its early in the morning when everyone is in their beds if your gonna use fmj's. That way none of your family gets caught in the crossfire when your spraying fmj's down the hall and into the other rooms.

    I personally have a 12 gauge beside me plus a .40 but I don't have a 150 foot motion lighted hallway like you do, so my pattern is still pretty tight at the normal 30 foot max hall. I suspect if I ever get broken into the thief won't be turning on the lights so I can see to aim, thats why i have the shotgun.My pattern is about 18" instead of .224" if you use your carbine.



    How on earth did you know about the 150' hallway with the motion lights? I suppose you know all about the vicious attack dogs and the rattlesnakes stationed around the premises, not to mention the claymore mines and the bomb shelter. Watch out for the punji sticks in the yard. The internet is a dangerous invasion of privacy!

    The thing is, out to 100', even with Flitecontrol wads, I might only get 3 or 4 buckshot pellets to center mass at reduced velocity. But hell, why not? Keep the 12 ga. handy in case the little woman wants to get into the act. She can use it if she promises not to blow off my head. We'll just have a whole arsenal of knives and pistols at the ready around the house, along with tear gas, grenades, etc.. With everybody in the family shooting, we'll at least know where we're all at and maybe scare off the intruder(s). Also, with the AR I can easily add night vision in case the zombies cut off the power in the middle of the night.

    One can't be too careful these days!

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Though I don't claim to be the ballistics expert by any means, for the weapon system you described, I'd feel pretty good about Hornady TAP with the lighter rounds for that 1/9 twist - not sure if 55 or 62 is ideal (like i said, I'm not the expert).

    But in answer one part of your question - I'd definitly stay away from military surplus 5.56 m855 ball kinda stuff. You've got alot better options available for defending your family than that.
    Well, you know what they say about experience- it's what you get after you needed it.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: maladat

    How is it not a practical home defense weapon?


    Lots of reasons. Your fantasy home defense scenario will happen on your terms with a gaggle of bad guys dashing down your hallway into your kill zone while you spray and pray. That's not a realistic scenario.

    If you're honestly worried about self defense (and not some zombie invasion thing) then take a couple good pistol classes and get yourself a CCW. A good AR loaded with the current best self defense ammo on the market won't mean anything if it isn't in your hands when you need it. An AR carbine is a great ranch rifle and you can certainly defend yourself with one (no matter if it is loaded with 55fmj, 60vmax, 75bthp, 52bthp etc) but you're going to look a little bit strange carrying it with you wherever you go.

    edit: Teach the wife and kids how to shoot and make sure they know where you keep your home defense weapon as well (as long as they are old enough and responsible enough). Lots of home invasions happen when the parents/adults aren't home - just recently here in Sacramento some 13 year old girl and her baby brother were damned near stabbed to death by an intruder who turned out to be a 14 year old boy.









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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: RebelYell
    Hopefully when you get attacked its early in the morning when everyone is in their beds if your gonna use fmj's. That way none of your family gets caught in the crossfire when your spraying fmj's down the hall and into the other rooms.

    I personally have a 12 gauge beside me plus a .40 but I don't have a 150 foot motion lighted hallway like you do, so my pattern is still pretty tight at the normal 30 foot max hall. I suspect if I ever get broken into the thief won't be turning on the lights so I can see to aim, thats why i have the shotgun.My pattern is about 18" instead of .224" if you use your carbine.


    If you are shooting buckshot or slugs out of your shotgun, the shotgun will have at least as much barrier penetration as an AR. Ditto the .40 pistol.

    Also at your 30 foot max shooting distance your pattern is going to be a lot smaller than 18". Like maybe the size of your hand. You will still have to aim.

    Originally Posted By: BCP
    Your fantasy home defense scenario will happen on your terms with a gaggle of bad guys dashing down your hallway into your kill zone while you spray and pray. That's not a realistic scenario.


    I didn't bring up any kind of home invasion scenario. Nice straw man. [img]<>/smile.gif[/img]

    Whether it is ten people, or one person, or a raccoon breaking into my house, my preference would be to respond with the most effective weapon I have available.

    An AR is easier than a pistol for rapid, aimed fire. Where did you get "spray and pray"? Nice straw man. [img]<>/smile.gif[/img]

    Originally Posted By: BCP
    If you're honestly worried about self defense (and not some zombie invasion thing) then take a couple good pistol classes and get yourself a CCW.


    I have taken several good pistol classes, have a CHL, and shoot IDPA. That doesn't make a pistol a better choice than a carbine or a shotgun for home defense. Zombie books are entertaining but I'm not concerned about them breaking into my home. Nice dismissive personal attack. [img]<>/smile.gif[/img]

    Originally Posted By: BCP
    A good AR loaded with the current best self defense ammo on the market won't mean anything if it isn't in your hands when you need it.


    Neither will a pistol.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: BCP
    Originally Posted By: maladat

    How is it not a practical home defense weapon?


    Lots of reasons. Your fantasy home defense scenario will happen on your terms with a gaggle of bad guys dashing down your hallway into your kill zone while you spray and pray. That's not a realistic scenario.

    If you're honestly worried about self defense (and not some zombie invasion thing) then take a couple good pistol classes and get yourself a CCW. A good AR loaded with the current best self defense ammo on the market won't mean anything if it isn't in your hands when you need it. An AR carbine is a great ranch rifle and you can certainly defend yourself with one (no matter if it is loaded with 55fmj, 60vmax, 75bthp, 52bthp etc) but you're going to look a little bit strange carrying it with you wherever you go.

    edit: Teach the wife and kids how to shoot and make sure they know where you keep your home defense weapon as well (as long as they are old enough and responsible enough). Lots of home invasions happen when the parents/adults aren't home - just recently here in Sacramento some 13 year old girl and her baby brother were damned near stabbed to death by an intruder who turned out to be a 14 year old boy.










    This is a home defense thread. No need for it to be easy to carry. Shootability and effectiveness are key. That is why carbine > pistol.

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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Killshot, great looking rifle.

    The 8126N T2 75gr Hornady 5.56 load is the best.



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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    Originally Posted By: BCP
    Originally Posted By: maladat

    How is it not a practical home defense weapon?


    Lots of reasons. Your fantasy home defense scenario will happen on your terms with a gaggle of bad guys dashing down your hallway into your kill zone while you spray and pray. That's not a realistic scenario.

    If you're honestly worried about self defense (and not some zombie invasion thing) then take a couple good pistol classes and get yourself a CCW. A good AR loaded with the current best self defense ammo on the market won't mean anything if it isn't in your hands when you need it. An AR carbine is a great ranch rifle and you can certainly defend yourself with one (no matter if it is loaded with 55fmj, 60vmax, 75bthp, 52bthp etc) but you're going to look a little bit strange carrying it with you wherever you go.

    edit: Teach the wife and kids how to shoot and make sure they know where you keep your home defense weapon as well (as long as they are old enough and responsible enough). Lots of home invasions happen when the parents/adults aren't home - just recently here in Sacramento some 13 year old girl and her baby brother were damned near stabbed to death by an intruder who turned out to be a 14 year old boy.


    I never considered facing 20 armed men pumped up on drugs a fantasy, but I have had the incident of incountering a scenario like that. I have a carbine rifle and a pistols to boot but never carry them unless I'm out praticing. When I came across that situation, facing 20 men with knives, I had nothing but a small dirk 1 1/2" on me and nobody got hurt. Them nor I, and I used nothing but words and insight to get them to flee. Today they would rather walk the other way when they see me, and thats the way I like it [img]<>/wink.gif[/img]
    I always tell people that the most important weapon is YOU! Mental prepardness is key and understanding the opposition is essential. Like an old Buddha saying "Your greatest weapon is your enemies mind." [img]<>/wink.gif[/img] Study study study you can never learn enough regardless what people think never stop! Perfection in your chosen art is never attainable, but one never stops seeking to attain it. Martial arts is a life long persuit and one must live it to understand it.
    -----------add----------
    People always say one Way is greater than an other Way. There is no such thing everything serves is purpose and it is up to the student along the path to understand essence of his tools of trade. In the beggining people often think "This is my weapon and it is the best for it allows me to rule my domain." With continued study that they find their weapon is good but others serve an equal purpose. Only in the end does the student realise there is no weapon. [img]<>/wink.gif[/img]
    "Let a man never stir on his road a step
    without his weapons of war;
    for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise
    of a spear on the way without."
    -Hávamál

    "Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed."
    Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. 1513.

  31. #31
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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    I'm not familiar with the posters here, or their experiences/backgrounds... this is just my .02.

    A few years back I had to do some research on the best round for a LE agency, for a similar rifle and barrel length.

    I won't get into the "best" ammo, as I believe the primary factor is placing the shot where it needs to go. Some thoughts on things that were mentioned, though.
    - FMJ ammo will/should disintegrate with the barrel length you mention and at the distances in your scenario IF the bullet has a cannelure. The cannelure is the breaking point on the bullet as it yaws in soft tissue.
    -HP ammo will usually mushroom, as it was desinged to do. One thing that will prevent this is passing through objects such as wood or plasterboard. When passing through substances like those, the bullet may deform or the HP may fill with the material being passed through, making it perform more as a FMJ.
    -The frangible/sintered metal rounds may be a good choice. I don't have rifle data in my memory, but in handgun calibres, some of it broke into shards and penetrated soft armor. I'm not thinking of the armor piercing qualities for the rifle ammo, but the shard effect.
    -Copying the local LE SWAT team may be good reasoning for the legal fight that will follow a shooting, let's just hope they chose the ammo for it's performance and not because of some type of payoff/kickback... it does happen.

    I'm not familiar with Dr. Roberts, but I am familiar with Dr. Fackler's writings.

    I would not use green tip/armor peircing ammo for home defense. I would stick with (1) HP, (2) SP or (3) FMJ w/cannelure from a reputable manufacturer.

  32. #32
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    Re: Best 5.56/.223 Home Defense Ammo?

    I shoot a 40gr nosler BT with a full charge of powder. I crimp the rounds heavily. They really do a number on coyotes at close range. I can not imagine they would go threw a person and a wall. I do know if I hit a person in the arm they would loose it. When hiting prairie dogs PD with these bullets they just turn into little peices