Author Topic: Do you need hollow point (versus FMJ) 5.56 and 7.62x39 for "bad guys"?  (Read 20222 times)

Offline Amerigo

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I've been buying tons of full metal jacket .223 American Eagle and Remington UMC for my preps.  Obviously, since I'm a member of this board, these preps are for the possibility of a societal collapse where I would need to defend my family.

Does this mean I should actually be buying hollow point .223, and when I get an AK, hollow point 7.62x39?  With my handgun, I always use FMJ at the range and hollow points when I carry, but I never thought about rifle ammunition.  Am I wasting my money buying FMJ if this ammo is for SHTF scenarios?

Offline RPZ

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Re: Do you need hollow point (versus FMJ) 5.56 and 7.62x39 for "bad guys"?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2011, 01:15:20 PM »
For what you describe FMJ .223 ammo is all you need. If you have a rifle or rifles with the military 5.56mm chamber your choices broaden greatly with all kinds of surplus stuff, otherwise stick to commercial .223.

For a .223 rifle about the only reason to buy anything other than FMJ ammo is if you plan on shooting any game animals and want to minimize the chance of them getting away from you. However IMO the only ammo suitable for this use premium bullets like the Nosler Partition loads etc and are very expensive.

The 7.62x39 is another matter. It is complicated by the fact that our domestic manufacturer's barrel their guns and make bullets slightly smaller diameter than the Russians and Europeans. The bottom line is that shooting American made 7.62x39 ammo in Russian or Euro AK's, SKS's etc will usually produce very poor accuracy.

So if you have a Russian or Euro AK then there are some softpoint loads available that are worth considering for defensive purposes. These are the Russian Bear ("Silver Bear" etc) brands. I have not used them personally but all reports I am aware of are quite favorable for hunting light to medium  big game. If they are effective in that area then they will be ideal for self defense.

There is also some hollowpoint ammo available in 7.62x39. I have seen mixed reviews of this and in the absence of some credible reports or shooting some myself I would not use it at this stage. Some other members on here might have some experience with it.

That said you will have to decide what ammo is for what purposes, and for anything beyond short ranges you will want some level of accuracy. So you should know what accuracy level your combination(s) of ammo and rifle are capable of and that they are sufficient for your needs.


Offline Sequanti

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Re: Do you need hollow point (versus FMJ) 5.56 and 7.62x39 for "bad guys"?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2011, 01:16:40 PM »
I'll throw in my opinions, but I must say that I have exactly zero experience shooting anyone with anything (paintballs being the exception).  ;)

Honestly, I don't think you're going to find many who have a lot of experience shooting people with .223 hollow points since our armed forces cannot issue them. Maybe some SWAT guys use them, IDK.

In a rifle caliber, I don't think it matters that much. For me personally I would rather have 1000 FMJ than 500 hollow points, ballistic tips, etc. From total collapse standpoint, I believe volume is better. And, no matter what you're budget, you can get at least twice as much FMJ for the same cost.

I can't speak to the AK round at all, but the .223/5.56 has a little bonus feature of tumbling once destabilized (hitting a soft target). You can google that for the specific velocities needed for that, but even from a carbine at a distance that would be anywhere near justifiable you're going to be in that range. That tumbling is going to do what hollow points attempt to do.

I've considered getting a small amount (100 rounds or so) of Hornady TAP to keep at the ready, but right now I enjoy shooting more than storing so I actually go through ammo. I've almost developed a "cost flinch" — bang $.35 —bang $.35. I would really get a flinch if I knew it was bang $1.

If you do go hollow points, soft tip, ballistic tip, etc. run a few hundred rounds through to be sure there are NO feeding issues. This is something you CAN'T get info for from the Internet. You need to know YOUR choice of bullets work with YOUR rifle.

Now I do agree about handgun/carry rounds — hollow point always.

Offline Amerigo

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Re: Do you need hollow point (versus FMJ) 5.56 and 7.62x39 for "bad guys"?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2011, 04:13:17 PM »
Great - thanks for the info.  As far as the .223/5.56, I figured I was probably fine since I had never really heard people talk about hollow point for that.

Interesting about the 7.62x39 differences between US and foreign manufacturers.  Didn't know that.  Looks like before I jump into the AK platform I need to do a little more research.

Thanks again!

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Do you need hollow point (versus FMJ) 5.56 and 7.62x39 for "bad guys"?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 09:18:33 PM »
I might as well jump on this too.

In the case of military cartridges, you are buying military surplus ammunition....
What does that tell you?
Since the Hague convention back around 1898, all military ammunition is restricted to FMJ configuration.
(The reason for this was that back in the late 1800s, England was experimenting with soft nose expanding bullets for the then new 303.
This was carried out at the Dumb Dumb arsenal in India... Sound Familiar?
When England got into it with the Bores in South Africa in the 1880s, they came across an enemy using expanding bullets.
It was devastating... Hence when the Hague Convention convened, to establish the rules for war, England insisted on banning the dreaded Dumb Dumb Bullets.)
So, the countries of the world were restricted to the type of bullet used for war.
What do you think they did about it?
Designed cartridges that were effective with FMJ bullets of course.
So, if you are buying military surplus FMJ ammunition, you are still getting usable bullets that penetrate better than normal expanding hunting bullets.
The down side of this is handgun bullets. 
Military rifles produce enough velocity to develop Ballistic Pressure waves... Unfortunately military handguns do not.

So, don't be overly concerned about surplus rifle ammunition.
Pipsqueak 9mm FMJs are great for training and plinking, but defend your life with hollowpoints.

Speaking of surplus, why would anyone buy US made AK47 ammunition when the Russian stuff is made with the correct size bullet and is cheap?

Practical experience??? Been there, Done that....

My 2 cents