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Old 06-04-2011, 04:47 PM
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Default Best AR-15 ammo for self defense



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I found this old thread on another forum. I thought it had alot of good information.

First, a few points:

5.56 vs. .223 loads. A "5.56" load means that the round is loaded to "military" pressures, which exceeds SAAMI's safe rating, and generally means from 120 fps (75-77gr bullets) to 200 fps (55gr bullets) additional muzzle velocity. AR-based rifles with "5.56" or Wylde chambers can fire this ammo safely. More muzzle velocity means a longer fragmentation range, so 5.56 loads are more desirable. Having said that, you are almost always better off using a better-performing bullet in a .223 load than a lesser-performing bullet in a 5.56 load.

Generally, Open-Tip Match (OTM) bullets, also called Jacketed "Hollow-Point - Boat-Tail, Match" (JHP-BT Match) or Boat-Tail Hollow-Point, Match (BTHP Match) bullets, are the most reliable performers, as the consistancy in construction required for match accuracy also results in consistant terminal ballistic performance.


Okay, from best to worst:

1. Loads using the Nosler 77gr or Hornady 75gr OTM bullet. While these bullets may be slightly less accurate *in some rifles* than the Sierra MK, they offer better wounding capability. These bullets maximize terminal ballistic performance AND they extend fragmentation range over other loads, and even provide *some* fragmentation range from 10" barrels. These bullets require 1:8 or tighter twist barrels, though they may work in SOME 1:9 barrels.

- Hornady 75gr TAP (5.56 load)
- Hornady 75gr TAP or TAP-PD (.223 load)
- Black Hills loads with 75gr Hornady (.223)
- (no known factory load using the Nosler bullet) (Edit 8/13/2008 - Some availble from at least one source - Nosler custom competition)

2. Loads using the Sierra 77gr MK. Like all MK bullets, this one doesn't start to yaw until it passes through several inches of flesh, resulting in a longer "neck" area of the wound profile, and thus being rated slightly lower than the Nosler or Hornady bullets.

- Black Hills Mk262 Mod1 (5.56, cosmetic seconds are available)
- Black Hills 77gr Sierra loads (.223)
- Federal 77gr Sierra (.223)

www.ammo-oracle.com/images/77grMKing.jpg
77grain MatchKing OTM in calibrated ballistic gelatin. Note the long "neck" before fragmentation begins.


3. Loads using the 68gr Hornady OTM. Note: barrel length needs to be 14.5" or longer; these will not have enough velocity to fragment from a 10" barrel and only a couple of yards from an 11.5" barrel. 1:9 or faster twist required.

- Hornady 68gr Match (.223)
- Black Hills 68gr Hornady (.223)

4. Loads using the 69gr Sierra MK. Note: barrel length needs to be 14.5" or longer; these will not have enough velocity to fragment from a 10" barrel and only a couple of yards from an 11.5" barrel. 1:9 or faster twist required.

- Federal 69gr Sierra (.223)
- Black Hills 69gr Sierra (.223)

5. Loads using Trophy-Bonded Bear Claw bullets. The 62gr performs a bit better than the 55gr, but the 62gr bullet is ONLY available in the LEO-only Federal Tactical line. As a bonded-core bullet, these are excellent in situations with an intermediate barrier, and are the #1 performers when having to shoot through glass. Note: these soft-point bullets have an exposed lead tip and cannot be rechambered more than a few times. May not feed reliably in some rifles.

Federal Tactical 62gr TBBC (.223)
Federal Tactical 55gr TBBC (.223)
Federal Premium 55gr TBBC (.223)


6. Loads using the Winchester 64gr PowerPoint bullet. Note: these soft-point bullets have an exposed lead tip and cannot be rechambered more than a few times. May not feed reliably in some rifles. 1:10 or faster twist required.

- Winchester Supreme PowerPoint Plus (.223)
- Winchester Super-X PowerPoint (.223)


7. M193-class ammo, 55gr FMJ-BT bullet. True M193 ammo will be sealed at the bullet and primer, will have a crimped primer and bullet, and is a 5.56 pressure loading. 1:12 or faster twist required.

- Lake City M193 (genuine surplus M193; no longer available)
- Federal XM193 (seconds) or XM193PD (thirds)
- Winchester Q3131 (seconds)
- Winchester Q3131A (manufactured by IMI)
- IMI M193
- PMC, '98 and earlier
- South African M1Ax in battlepacks

8. M855-class ammo, 62gr FMJ-BT bullet with mild steel penetrator in the nose. True M193 ammo will be sealed at the bullet and primer, will have a crimped primer and bullet, and is a 5.56 pressure loading. 1:10 or faster twist required.

- Lake City M855 (genuine surplus M855; no longer available)
- Winchester M855 (genuine surplus M855; no longer available)
- Federal XM855 (seconds) or XM855PD (thirds)
- Canadian IVI (genuine surplus M855; no longer available)
- British SS-109


This list should give you an idea of what is preferred, and in what order. Obviously, many of the loads at the top are quite a bit more expensive than the loads further down (though the TBBC loads are by far the most expensive), but if you're looking just at performance, then this should be your guideline.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:06 PM
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The kind that you have the most of.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:48 PM
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Just switch uppers and go with one that shoots the 7.62 X 39 ammo or one that shoots the 6.8 SPC ammo. Much more effective than the wimpy .223/5.56 bullets.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:15 PM
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M193 for me. Perfectly adequate performance and I can afford to stock a lot more of it than the fancy stuff.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:24 PM
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I've only had opportunity to use M855 on people so I have no real experience with the other rounds listed.

I know that FMJ is not the best for defensive use, but it works.

I guess it's wrong but I'd be interested in seeing what some of the other rounds listed will do to human tissue.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:03 AM
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i will take the 64 grain power point, 63 grain sierra, and 62 grain fusian over a match bullet any day. im all about reliable expansion in flesh, as opposed to fragmentation that has to happen in a goldilocks zone of speed.

match bullets were designed for one purpose, and it wasnt for wounding anything.

do yourselves a favor and buy bullets that were DESIGNED to penatrate and expand reliably.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHP1127 View Post
I found this old thread on another forum. I thought it had alot of good information.

First, a few points:

5.56 vs. .223 loads. A "5.56" load means that the round is loaded to "military" pressures, which exceeds SAAMI's safe rating, and generally means from 120 fps (75-77gr bullets) to 200 fps (55gr bullets) additional muzzle velocity. AR-based rifles with "5.56" or Wylde chambers can fire this ammo safely. More muzzle velocity means a longer fragmentation range, so 5.56 loads are more desirable. Having said that, you are almost always better off using a better-performing bullet in a .223 load than a lesser-performing bullet in a 5.56 load.

Generally, Open-Tip Match (OTM) bullets, also called Jacketed "Hollow-Point - Boat-Tail, Match" (JHP-BT Match) or Boat-Tail Hollow-Point, Match (BTHP Match) bullets, are the most reliable performers, as the consistancy in construction required for match accuracy also results in consistant terminal ballistic performance.


Okay, from best to worst:

1. Loads using the Nosler 77gr or Hornady 75gr OTM bullet. While these bullets may be slightly less accurate *in some rifles* than the Sierra MK, they offer better wounding capability. These bullets maximize terminal ballistic performance AND they extend fragmentation range over other loads, and even provide *some* fragmentation range from 10" barrels. These bullets require 1:8 or tighter twist barrels, though they may work in SOME 1:9 barrels.

- Hornady 75gr TAP (5.56 load)
- Hornady 75gr TAP or TAP-PD (.223 load)
- Black Hills loads with 75gr Hornady (.223)
- (no known factory load using the Nosler bullet) (Edit 8/13/2008 - Some availble from at least one source - Nosler custom competition)

2. Loads using the Sierra 77gr MK. Like all MK bullets, this one doesn't start to yaw until it passes through several inches of flesh, resulting in a longer "neck" area of the wound profile, and thus being rated slightly lower than the Nosler or Hornady bullets.

- Black Hills Mk262 Mod1 (5.56, cosmetic seconds are available)
- Black Hills 77gr Sierra loads (.223)
- Federal 77gr Sierra (.223)

www.ammo-oracle.com/images/77grMKing.jpg
77grain MatchKing OTM in calibrated ballistic gelatin. Note the long "neck" before fragmentation begins.


3. Loads using the 68gr Hornady OTM. Note: barrel length needs to be 14.5" or longer; these will not have enough velocity to fragment from a 10" barrel and only a couple of yards from an 11.5" barrel. 1:9 or faster twist required.

- Hornady 68gr Match (.223)
- Black Hills 68gr Hornady (.223)

4. Loads using the 69gr Sierra MK. Note: barrel length needs to be 14.5" or longer; these will not have enough velocity to fragment from a 10" barrel and only a couple of yards from an 11.5" barrel. 1:9 or faster twist required.

- Federal 69gr Sierra (.223)
- Black Hills 69gr Sierra (.223)

5. Loads using Trophy-Bonded Bear Claw bullets. The 62gr performs a bit better than the 55gr, but the 62gr bullet is ONLY available in the LEO-only Federal Tactical line. As a bonded-core bullet, these are excellent in situations with an intermediate barrier, and are the #1 performers when having to shoot through glass. Note: these soft-point bullets have an exposed lead tip and cannot be rechambered more than a few times. May not feed reliably in some rifles.

Federal Tactical 62gr TBBC (.223)
Federal Tactical 55gr TBBC (.223)
Federal Premium 55gr TBBC (.223)


6. Loads using the Winchester 64gr PowerPoint bullet. Note: these soft-point bullets have an exposed lead tip and cannot be rechambered more than a few times. May not feed reliably in some rifles. 1:10 or faster twist required.

- Winchester Supreme PowerPoint Plus (.223)
- Winchester Super-X PowerPoint (.223)


7. M193-class ammo, 55gr FMJ-BT bullet. True M193 ammo will be sealed at the bullet and primer, will have a crimped primer and bullet, and is a 5.56 pressure loading. 1:12 or faster twist required.

- Lake City M193 (genuine surplus M193; no longer available)
- Federal XM193 (seconds) or XM193PD (thirds)
- Winchester Q3131 (seconds)
- Winchester Q3131A (manufactured by IMI)
- IMI M193
- PMC, '98 and earlier
- South African M1Ax in battlepacks

8. M855-class ammo, 62gr FMJ-BT bullet with mild steel penetrator in the nose. True M193 ammo will be sealed at the bullet and primer, will have a crimped primer and bullet, and is a 5.56 pressure loading. 1:10 or faster twist required.

- Lake City M855 (genuine surplus M855; no longer available)
- Winchester M855 (genuine surplus M855; no longer available)
- Federal XM855 (seconds) or XM855PD (thirds)
- Canadian IVI (genuine surplus M855; no longer available)
- British SS-109


This list should give you an idea of what is preferred, and in what order. Obviously, many of the loads at the top are quite a bit more expensive than the loads further down (though the TBBC loads are by far the most expensive), but if you're looking just at performance, then this should be your guideline.
Personally a 6.8 or a 308 upper is my preference. Obviously if that's not an option the NATO M855. And you obviously aren't very prepared if your AR fires 556 and you don't have 1000 rounds of it at the min.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:09 PM
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Guys, this post is about the best 5.56 round, not opinions on the best caliber.... because we all know 6.5 Grendal is better than 6.8..LOL
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:34 PM
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Federal LE223T3, 64 grain, bonded
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:55 PM
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Here's another round that is, IMO, the best value at the moment.

http://www.m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=73955

http://palmettostatearmory.com/1829.php
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:09 PM
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How about disentegrator rounds? Check out extreme shock usa. They specialize in these rounds and no i have no affiliation with that company but the 150 grain 7.62x39 rounds are absolutely devastating. Might be worth atleast looking into. Hope this helps or gives you ideas. I also believe you can find ballistic test of the diff rounds on youtube. You can also make your own ballistic gel out of ingredients from the grocery store and you can see and find out what works best for you.
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Old 06-11-2011, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkybriches View Post
i will take the 64 grain power point, 63 grain sierra, and 62 grain fusion over a match bullet any day. im all about reliable expansion in flesh, as opposed to fragmentation that has to happen in a goldilocks zone of speed.

match bullets were designed for one purpose, and it wasnt for wounding anything.

do yourselves a favor and buy bullets that were DESIGNED to penetrate and expand reliably.
Agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by freddieb View Post
Federal LE223T3, 64 grain, bonded
W-W 64gr PowerPoint is my personal favorite .223, except it has an exposed lead bullet tip that will foul up the feed ramp in short order. The 64gr Fusion and Bonded also have a softpoint lead tip, but not as pronounced as the Winchester PP. All of them will positively function in .223-chambered rifles, they're accurate and stable from 1/9 twist barrels, and are suitable for medium game like deer and pig. A win-win situation. Only drawback is they're kinda expensive ($14-$20 per 20rd box)

More useful info HERE
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Old 07-14-2015, 09:27 PM
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Top three choices...

1. Hornady TAP 5.56 75 Grain T-2
2. Winchester PDX-1 .223 77 grain
3. ASYM Precision SDX .223 70 Grain Barnes TSX
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxerpapa View Post
Top three choices...

1. Hornady TAP 5.56 75 Grain T-2
2. Winchester PDX-1 .223 77 grain
3. ASYM Precision SDX .223 70 Grain Barnes TSX
I'd have to throw the LeHigh Defense Controlled Chaos round in there as well. That thing is just straight up nasty.
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Old 07-15-2015, 01:57 AM
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Barnes Black Tip 110gr.
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:14 AM
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I keep a couple mags of 62gr Fusion loaded up.
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Old 07-15-2015, 09:52 AM
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Old thread with old info in the OP, much of it colored with personal opinions.
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Old 07-18-2015, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyinID View Post
Old thread with old info in the OP, much of it colored with personal opinions.
I would have to disagree, while yes opinions run rampant at times. A 4 year old thread may also be old in Internet terms. Bullet technology has not made leaps and bounds above what it was in 2011. Hornady's Tap 75g OTM is still ballistically probably the best 5.56 round out there. And the mk262 mod1 ballistically comes in a very close second. I doubt any bullets that have been introduced since 2011 have made them antiquated in any shape and or form. I believe ballistically, this list probably still holds true today. I don't know of a 5.56 round that performs ballistically better then that of the top two on this list.
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Old 07-19-2015, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSshane69 View Post
I would have to disagree, while yes opinions run rampant at times. A 4 year old thread may also be old in Internet terms. Bullet technology has not made leaps and bounds above what it was in 2011. Hornady's Tap 75g OTM is still ballistically probably the best 5.56 round out there. And the mk262 mod1 ballistically comes in a very close second. I doubt any bullets that have been introduced since 2011 have made them antiquated in any shape and or form. I believe ballistically, this list probably still holds true today. I don't know of a 5.56 round that performs ballistically better then that of the top two on this list.
Are we talking terminal ballistics? Because if we are I'll gladly point you to the LeHigh Defense Controlled Chaos round. At least IMO it's better.

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Old 07-19-2015, 01:27 AM
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I've heard that the original M193 round out of a 20" barrel is quite effective. It kills by velocity and fragmentation. It can also go through plates at close range.
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