Author Topic: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?  (Read 37686 times)

Offline d0j0w0

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In a pistol (9mm and up) does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round.

Is it better than an FMJ non-hollow point.

Or is a differ bullet profile better such as a semi wad cutter or a flat nose (in lead only no jacket).

Or is the JHP the best.

Offline ZenGunFighter

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lead is a lubricant. (that's why it used to be in gasoline) mix a lube, with a round shape, and you have something that is not terribly damaging.
If you have to use lead, then a SWC (hardcast) will at least give you a good cutting surface. So you will at least get caliber sized holes in the target.
Flesh is rather elastic, and will stretch and let round bullets through, then snap back to a small hole.
The flat point of the SWC also has some effect.

But none of this holds a candle to a modern well designed hollow point.

Offline holyokesurvivor

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While I agree that nothing beats modern hollow points I do disagree with your assessment of round nose bullets. Deformation is what causes serious trauma. Lead is vary soft metal, even the harder alloys are pretty soft and to say you will get no deformation of the bullet is not true. If it were you would not see lead nose hunting bullets for big game.


 Your argument would be more correct for fmj but for the reason that the bullet would have no deformation not lubrication.

Offline Steve Cover

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While I agree that nothing beats modern hollow points I do disagree with your assessment of round nose bullets. Deformation is what causes serious trauma. Lead is vary soft metal, even the harder alloys are pretty soft and to say you will get no deformation of the bullet is not true. If it were you would not see lead nose hunting bullets for big game.


 Your argument would be more correct for fmj but for the reason that the bullet would have no deformation not lubrication.

Bullet upset is a function of velocity.
Round nose lead soft point rifle bullets are driven about twice as fast as handgun bullets. 
At these velocities, properly constructed hunting bullets expand very well.
However, this is rarely the case with handgun bullets. 
Any deformation of a lead soft point is minuscule compaired to modern hollow points at the same velocity.
I would place the lead round nose handgun bullet just above round nose FMJ bullets for self defense use in handguns.
Even FMJ bullets with a different meplat (Truncated Cone, etc) will cause greater tissue distruction than a round nose soft point.

my 2 Cents

Steve

Offline d0j0w0

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I don't want to put to fine a point on it, but generally speaking a lead bullet is a better defensive round than a FMJ.  The lead bullet will in most cases expand were the FMJ will not.

Also a hard cast bullet with a flat face profile is better than soft lead round nose?

Is this the consensus?

Offline Steve Cover

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I don't want to put to fine a point on it, but generally speaking a lead bullet is a better defensive round than a FMJ.  The lead bullet will in most cases expand were the FMJ will not.

Also a hard cast bullet with a flat face profile is better than soft lead round nose?

Is this the consensus?

Are we talking rifle or pistol???

Don't confuse the pretty mushroom of a Remington Core Locked RNSP rifle bullet with any RNSP pistol bullet.

A round nose lead bullet out of a handgun rarely disrupts.
A good example is the (in)famous 38 Special Police load that helped spark the development of the JHP.

Even butter soft pure lead requires a minimum amount of energy to deform.

Without getting too technical, a bullet requires a minimum amount of resistance (friction) from the tissue it is penetrating to deform into a mushroom.

A hollow point captures tissue and forces it against the inside wall of the HP. If the energy levels (velocity) are high enough there is sufficient force to open up the HP cavity.
Once expansion has started, the increase of cupped frontal area greatly increases the friction the bullet encounters from the tissue, and expansion increases more rapidly.
If energy levels are not high enough, the HP does not expand and the bullet performs like a Truncated Cone Flat point.  (An early problem with JHP pistol bullets)

At the same velocity, a round nose lead soft point, however, presents a profile that allows the tissue to easily pass around the bullet creating much less of the friction necessary for deforming into a mushroom.

As for flat point FMJ bullets, the flat meplat does not provide a smooth transition for the tissue that is being displaced by the bullet to get out of the way like a round nose does.
The effect is a stronger shock wave pushing out at 90 degrees from the bullet path than from the round nose. Thus more tissue disruption (tearing rather than stretching).

Just about every "Stopping Power" formula from Hatcher onward has been based on momentum and bullet form factor.
Holding momentum to a constant, bullet shape provides the variable in tissue disruption.

Bullet effectiveness is thus measured by it's effect on tissue.
The more tissue that is disrupted for the same momentum, the higher the bullet is rated.

For nonexpanding bullets (Hatcher era)  the larger the flat area of the meplat was the defining factor.
Round or Parabolic nose shapes were deemed the lowest effectiveness, while full Wadcutter profiles were the highest.

This was the case until the early 1960s when Lee Jurras started a small company called Super Vel and introduced very light weight JHP bullets for handguns.
These new bullets, when tested against the popular bullets of the day, were devastating. (Actually more of a function of velocity, as a lot of these early HP bullets did not deform either.)
Shortly there after, the major ammunition companies started to bring out JHP ammunition of their own.
One of the most effective is the 125 Gr. JHP 357 magnum load adopted by the police to replace the RNL 38 Special.
(One of the reasons for the 125 gr. 357 Magnum's success is that it drives the bullet far enough above the speed of sound to effectively enter Hydrostatic Shock territory...
A detailed discussion of Ballistic Pressure Waves and the Sandow/Fackler debate on the subject is for another thread someday)

It is, however, quite interesting that the 125 gr. JSP driven at the same speed as the JHP does not perform nearly as well.

Now that we are well into the age of effectively designed Hollow Point handgun bullets and uber-powerful cartridges (454 Casull - 460 Ruger - 500 S&W... et.al) bullet shape shares stopping power effectiveness with Ballistic Pressure Waves due to velocity. 

Even here, the Soft Point lead round nose bullet is still out classed by all of the expanding hollow point designs.

At normal 9MM velocities, I'd expect any upset of a Round Nose Lead Soft Point bullet to be quite unusual.

Several years ago, super light (95 & 100 gr.) Soft Point 9mm bullets were all the rage with law enforcement.
However, these were flat points, not round nose, and while they did expand, had a very poor reputation as a fight stopper and were abandoned.

So, until someone can show me differently, I'll continue to consider Round Nose Lead Soft Point design bullets in the same class as Round Nose FMJ designs, and inferior to any design that has a reasonable flap point, full jacketed or not.

Steve


Offline d0j0w0

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Thanks Steve just what I was looking for, good info!

Offline welshman

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The FBI did a study on the 9mm jhp and found that in some cases depending on what you are shooting through the JHP had a tendency to fill up with material and and became a full metal jacketed bullet that does not expand I believe they were shooting through walls

Offline d0j0w0

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Yes, this does seem to be the case with some JHP's or most for that matter.  I think bullet designers take this into account when designing bullets.  I know I've seen many pictures of JHP that are loaded with cloth or whatnot that have not expanded.  I'm not sure about the effectiveness of shooting any handgun round through a wall, but, I'm sure that is a consideration when testing the abilities of a self-defense round. 

One interesting thing about a FMJ bullet is; I have seen many such bullets with the jacket torn from the lead forming a very sharp and nasty cutting edge.  This happens a lot when shooting into a dirt stop.  Though I would not count on this happening reliably in soft tissue, during a firefight.  But it may happen when shooting through a wall.  But, then velocity and accuracy can be tossed out the window.

Offline Muddyboots

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NO handgun bullet is optimum. That said, they DO work.  Looking at bullet design is a common trap that people fall into. At a guess, I'd say that it is about 5% of the formula and that has mostly to do with reliability. A quality hollow point will be the most effective round most of the time. There are also a whole box of conditions and variables when it comes to shooting a human who is a threat to you. One .22 might do it. A dozen .45 might not. If you train correctly, it doesn't really matter what the round is, you will get the most out of it.

Good posts Brother Cover

Offline tween

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2011, 04:18:22 PM »
none of the handgun bullets available or handgun loads, amount to much, but the better ones are way better than lrn. lrn is no better than ball fmj stuff, which is nearly worthless, actually, when you need an instant stop, it better be a brain hit with such stuff.  The sort of bullets and loads that really work well in handguns are illegal for civilians, because their very lightweight bullets and very high velocity makes them shoot thru soft body armor.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2011, 04:51:19 PM »
Why do companies like Buffalo Bore market full house 180gr LRNFP .357mag loads for hunting?
see http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=100

It's rather interesting that hunting and self defensive rounds often have mutually exclusive terminal ballistics. 

I suppose the difference is you want to "kill" a deer, even if it takes minutes.  You want to "stop" a bad guy and his ultimate fate is not really the point of your defensive action.

Offline Perfesser

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2011, 06:26:15 PM »
Just that you're shooting back goes a long way. If you're connecting, even better.

Offline tween

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2011, 07:00:16 PM »
It is NOT necessarily true that a hit with a .22 beats a miss with a .44 mag.  The miss with the .44, at typical defense distances (10 ft and less) is so much blast and flash that most guys will flee. A hit with a .22 make make him determined to take you to hell with him, and unless the hit is to his eye socket, it isn't likely to do much to stop him doing whatever he wants to do.

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2011, 02:44:32 PM »
I'm a hungun hunter. If I want penetration, round nose is it. These also are more accurate in rifles and pistols. Linebaugh has done penetration tests with a variety of calibers. I would heat treat a round nose bullet and if it would not shatter on impact, it will drive through an object. I hunt with round balls also. Never seen an Elk walk away, round ball was not recovered either. Elk died. Wide meplat bullets are the rage right now with WFNs and LFNs dotting the landscape. I remember when hollow points were all the rage. I use 230 gr hardball in my .45. Good enough then, good enough now.

I use nothing but cast bullets. I have not found that jacketed bullets have any real advantage in handguns. This is my opinion and I hunt and use what works. I heat treat H.P. bullets and they shatter when I hunt small game. Minimal damage. Some bloodshot but that is to be expected. It does anchor them. I carry round nose and swc for hunting. I will load what seems to be necessary. I have a plethora of moulds and since I've read about the Linebaugh penetration tests, it has opened my eyes up! Now I test at home. Lead can be soft or very hard. Depends on alloy and temperature.

It doesn't matter what bullet style you have, just have your firearm ready when you need it.

r1kk1

Offline d0j0w0

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2011, 08:53:15 PM »
Thanks r1kk1,

I was looking for some real world data like your hunting results.  When casting lead bullets what is added to increase the hardness of the alloy?

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2011, 04:46:57 AM »
Three different ways I accomplish this, water quenched dropped from the mould. Second way is to add tin to the mix, third is to heat treat. Lyman has a great article on heat treating bullets in the 3rd edition casting book.

take care,

r1kk1

1567 fps 255 grain bullet, blue dot powder, 44 magnum, 10" barrel Dan Wesson.

Offline MT4Runner

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2011, 04:40:22 PM »
Huge difference in terminal performance between LRN and SWC.
Load both and shoot them!

If SHTF, I'd rather have a SWC mould than run out of JHP and have nothing!!

Offline d0j0w0

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2011, 06:18:47 PM »
Thanks r1kk1.

Thanks MT4Runner.


endurance

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2011, 06:51:57 PM »
On of John Farnam's recent ballistics gelatin tests found that below about 1100fps hollow points did not consistently expand.  So, this may account for some of the conflicting results regarding bullet distortion in solid lead.  There's probably a velocity below which you're not going to get reliable distortion and expansion with a given hardness of lead.

My only beef with unjacketed lead bullets is they're a pain to clean your gun after, especially if you're running relatively hot loads, as they tend to lead your barrel.  I have enough challenges to getting out to the range on a regular enough basis to remain proficient, so more time scrubbing guns after a day at the range isn't conducive to my preparedness.  Obviously YMMV.

Offline d0j0w0

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2011, 06:58:42 PM »
So, lead fouling would be less of a concern in slower moving rounds such as the .45 ACP and the .38 special, in standard pressures.

endurance

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2011, 07:12:13 PM »
So, lead fouling would be less of a concern in slower moving rounds such as the .45 ACP and the .38 special, in standard pressures.
Yes, in fact my favorite round ever was a .38 special with a 148gr. full wadcutter at 850fps.  What a tack driver of a round.  Probably not a round I'd be crazy about self-defense wise, but probably the best target round I've ever loaded. 

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2011, 07:44:50 AM »
Huge difference in terminal performance between LRN and SWC.
Load both and shoot them!

If SHTF, I'd rather have a SWC mould than run out of JHP and have nothing!!

I agree.

r1kk1

Offline r1kk1

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2011, 07:59:47 AM »
I have done feed to failure tests with 9mm's and 45 acp. Stop the test at 5,000 lead rounds. Barrel cleaned easily enough. I will buy a Hawkeye bore scope to prove the point next year. I can cast a projectile to do what I want. I do not worry about expansion in the 475 linebaugh or the 50 because a half inch diameter exit or better would is what other bullets want to expand to. I have some modified hollow point moulds that do expand at low velocities. I cannot comment on jacketed bullets as I do not use them in pistol or bores larger than .30 caliber in rifle.

One bullet mould and the use of different alloys allows for bullets to be produced to do very different things depending on velocity and what is struck. Pat Warner has a gas check maker to fit plain base bullets so that further extends that one mould.

Lead gets a bad rap. Too bad. Bullet fit, lube, velocity are considerations that must be taken into account. It took me a few weeks to get copper fouling out of a military surplus rifle. I've seen jacketed bullets pushed too fast as well as to slow. Problems manifest themselves here also. No perfect bullet for the wide range of conditions. Recently I've pushed gas checked bullets out of a 30-06 at 2500 fps. No ill effects. Have some paper patched bullets and will test these later. Initial testing has raised my eyebrows.

just my .02 cents with change left over,

r1kk1

Offline soupbone

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2011, 11:06:35 AM »
As I understand it, there are two ways that a bullet does damage. The first is through the transference of energy either through a shock wave or through upset and stopping in the target; the second is through penetrating (ie. punching a hole in) something vital. In the first case, hollow or soft point bullets are used, in the second, hard cast SWC, round nosed or FMJ bullets are used.

Given that handgun rounds are not that powerful, and that a high velocity is needed for reliable expansion in hollow / soft points, I tend to favor the second school - punching a hole. The trick to using this method is to have a good working knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. Knowing what lies under the surface is critical in where to place a shot. Center of mass is not the best target area - too much there to deflect a bullet. The pelvic girdle at the level of or in the area of the hip joints is a much better target area - a lot of major nerves and blood vessels fairly close to the surface.

From a prepping standpoint, I lean toward the FMJ. These rounds do not oxidize as exposed lead does, nor do they get banged up as do hollow points. In the service, it was common to carry and fire ammunition that was 15 or 20 years old, and it looked brand new. More importantly, it functioned 100% in an M-15 revolver.

soup

Offline porkchop

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2011, 07:14:35 PM »
I remember seeing a test somewhere on the internet where someone put a lead wadcutter bullet in a .38 special case backwards.
They used varying amounts of powder and fired them into clay or ballistics gelatin, sorry can't remember which was used.
The bullets were recovered and placed in a line for comparison.  They mushroomed out just like a modern hollowpoint.

Has anyone else seen this test on the interwebs?

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2011, 09:01:32 PM »
I remember seeing a test somewhere on the internet where someone put a lead wadcutter bullet in a .38 special case backwards.
They used varying amounts of powder and fired them into clay or ballistics gelatin, sorry can't remember which was used.
The bullets were recovered and placed in a line for comparison.  They mushroomed out just like a modern hollowpoint.

Has anyone else seen this test on the interwebs?
Interesting how we have drifted from round nose bullets for defensive use, through handgun hunting bullets, "Stopping" mechanics of bullet impact, and now to backwards loaded HBWCs.

Backwards Loaded HBWC Bullets
This was quite popular for snubbies about 25 years ago.

I tried it myself, only I seated a gas check on the nose of the bullet before loading it backwards.
I loaded these to an estimated 900 FPS out of a S&W model 15.

The Hollow Base Wad Cutter is similar to an air gun pellet with most of the weight forward giving it good stability at target velocities.
However, when shot backwards, it is not overly stable. As a very close range defensive bullet, it could be very effective.
But, beyond just a few yards, my experience was keyhole impacts in the targets.

I went back to normal Wadcutters for short barrel defense use.

Here is an article about HBWC loaded backwards with a "T" Buck Shot stuck in the hollow base.
I never tried this... The better balance of weight, could improve stability to where these might be practical.










Getting away from round nose bullets, and discussing other options:

My choice for defensive bullets are: 
For Magnums that have enough velocity, a mid-weight Jacketed Hollow Point.
For Standard cartridges, a mid-weight semi wad cutter.
For Snubbies, I like full wadcuttes loaded to about 900 FPS.

Survival Loads



Eagle Strip Alaska BLM Camp

Loads in the S&W 629 were 265 Gr. JSP (designed for the 444 Marlin - Heaviest bullet available at the time) over a stiff load of WW 296.
This load was chosen with the idea of deep penetration rather than mushroom.
Although this "Survival' ammunition was a round nose, it was not expected to be a defensive load.
Luckily, I didn't need to test it for real....

Your results and opinions may vary

Steve
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 09:08:42 PM by Steve Cover »

Offline porkchop

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2011, 07:03:09 PM »
Steve, Thanks for the article!

That's not the article I was looking for but it was greatly informative none the less.

IIRC, Jim Cirillo was a proponent of a similar "backwards" wadcutter design during his years on the NYPD Stakeout Squad.

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2011, 10:40:31 PM »
Steve, Thanks for the article!

That's not the article I was looking for but it was greatly informative none the less.

IIRC, Jim Cirillo was a proponent of a similar "backwards" wadcutter design during his years on the NYPD Stakeout Squad.
This is one of several old (1960s-70s) articles on the subject.
I chose it because of the added shot.....

I have a copy of Cirillo's video where he discusses his bullet design.

Interesting stuff.

Steve

Offline MacReady

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Re: Does the Lead Round Nose Bullet have a place as a self-defense round?
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2011, 01:25:17 AM »
I was recently in an OIS in which I was getting out of the way of and shooting into a moving vehicle.  I was using Winchester Ranger .45 230gr JHP T Series and less than half penetrated the vehicle.   Granted they all came in at varying angles but were at very close range.  Two rounds went through the small back door of the extended cab truck and lodged in the back of the drivers seat without going through it.  The driver was struck once and the injury was very minor.  The bullet basically bounced off of his leg.  It bled a little, apparently hurt a lot and Im sure the bruise was one for the books but that was it.

Had I been using FMJs or round nose lead bullets, I think the guy would be dead.  I've heard of officers mixing a few FMJs in with JHPs for this reason.  However, for liability purposes, I'll stick with what I'm issued.