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Discussion Starter #1
I was looking at Speer Gold Dot's in 9mm on cheaperthandirt and saw that they come in 115, 124, and 147 grains. What do you suggest for all around self defense? Should I be looking at a different brand? Winchester Rangers? Hydra-Shok's? I'd just heard so much about the GD's that I thought I'd give em a whirl.

Also, exactly how is bullet weight measured??

*edit* I also heard that you should use a heavier bullet weight to "break the spring in" on a new gun. Is there any validity to this claim or is it just more gunshop hogwash??
 

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If you are shooting them out of a subcompact then go 147gr. They have a wider window of expansion in relation to velocity. Other wise you can't go wrong with 124 or 147. Gold dots are excellent performers. 147gr will offer slightly more penetration but I don't think it's enough to make or break either way.

brad cook
 

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kabob983 said:
Also, exactly how is bullet weight measured??
Exactly how one may speculate, its the weight of the bullet, in grains. There is 7000 grains per pound, thus 1 grain = 0.000142857143 pound. Surprisingly enough, bullet weights don't vary much, from my experience, its not normal for 1,000 bullets only to deviate +/- 0.2 grains.
 

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kabob983 said:
I also heard that you should use a heavier bullet weight to "break the spring in" on a new gun. Is there any validity to this claim or is it just more gunshop hogwash??
This is the first time that I've seen this one. Short of rejecting it as hogwash, it is not really clear what the intent is. Factory loads tend to trend with lower muzzle velocities at higher bullet weights, with a smaller reduction is muzzle energy as the weight increases. With modern springs in modern guns, I'm not certain how applicable breaking in the spring really is...
 

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I load up 124+p Speer Gold Dots in my sub. I like a bit of weight with a hot velocity so that woud be the middle of the road IMO.
Lighter bullets will be going faster, heavy bullets will normaly penetrate deeper.
 

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The best self defense / LE load in 9mm is the Winchester SXT 124gr +P+. I know this from a ballistics demo I attended in June. Gold Dots and Hydra-Shoks did not expand well in the heavy denim and the wall board test as the hollow point plugged, and over penetrated. By over penetrate I mean 17 to 18 inches, the ideal is 10 to 13 inches. The Hydra-Shoks were the worst, which is what my department currently carries. We carry .40's and are switching to the Winchester 180gr SXT's. The second best 9mm load in my opinion is the Remington Golden Saber 124gr +P. 147gr 9mm loads don't expand well as the velocity is low with the heavy bullet, only about 990 to 1010 fps.
 

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David_4 said:
The best self defense / LE load in 9mm is the Winchester SXT 124gr +P+. I know this from a ballistics demo I attended in June. Gold Dots and Hydra shocks did not expand well in the heavy denim and the wall board test as the hollow point plugged, didn't expand well and over penetrated. By over penetrate I mean 17 to 18 inches, the ideal is 10 to 13 inches. The Federal Hydra Shocks were the worst, which is what my department currently carries. We carry .40's and are switching to the Winchester 180gr SXT's. The second best 9mm load in my opinion is the Remington Golden Saber 124gr +P. 147gr 9mm loads don't expand well as the velocity is low with the heavy bullet, only about 990 to 1010 fps.
The info about the 147gr loads is incorrect and based on the old, original 147gr bullets that were intended for use in submachine guns. Newer 147gr bullets have advanced far beyond that and the newer designs of today such as the Winchester Ranger 147gr with the SXT bullet actually are actually more forgiving of lower velocities than the 127gr. That's why I said earlier that they have a wider window of expansion in relation to velocity and are therefore a good choice for subcompacts.

I agree with you that Winchester Ranger SXTs are the best load available in all pistol calibers. I disagree about 10 to 13 inches being the ideal penetration depth. That is inconsistent with the standards of both the International Wound Ballistics Association and the FBI. See the FBI publication "Handgun Wounding Factors and Effectiveness" by special agent Urey W. Patrick which explains their rationale for their terminal ballistics criteria and states:

It is essential to bear in mind that the single most critical factor remains penetration. While penetration up to 18 inches is preferable, a handgun bullet MUST reliably penetrate 12 inches of soft body tissue at a minimum, regardless of whether it expands or not. If the bullet does not reliably penetrate to these depths, it is not an effective bullet for law enforcement use.
Winchester Ranger 147gr consistently penetrates from 14 to 15 inches in bare gel and up to 16 inches in denim covered gel and expands very reliably, usually to a diameter of .55 to .60 inches.

BTW, I think you meant Win SXT 127gr +P+
Winchester Ranger 127gr SXT consistently penetrates to a depth of just under 13 inches in both bare and denim covered gel and expands similarly to the 147gr.

I also agree that Remington Golden Saber is a good round although not quite as consistent as the Ranger. If I'm not mistaken both of them have the commonality of reverse-tapered jackets...which means that the jacket is thicker at the top and thinner at the bottom. Perhaps this is part of the secret of a reliably expanding bullet.

brad cook
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hrm, Ranger SXT's eh? Where can you buy those? Cheaperthandirt has Supreme SXT's (same thing in a different box or something?) but no Ranger's. I also don't see any that are +p or +p+.
 

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Ranger is Winchester's Law Enforcement offering. You're not likely to see Ranger offered on cheaperthandirt or other high-volume web-based retailers.
 

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kabob983 said:
Hrm, Ranger SXT's eh? Where can you buy those? Cheaperthandirt has Supreme SXT's (same thing in a different box or something?) but no Ranger's. I also don't see any that are +p or +p+.
What McDorce said.

I'd avoid theWinchester Supreme loadings.

You can order Ranger ammo here from this guy:

http://www.hs2000talk.com/viewtopic.php?t=22368

He'll treat you right. Or when they open back up you can go to www.proload.com and buy it there but you can't find it browsing. You have to specifically do a search for "Ranger"

brad cook
 

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DigMe, you are correct about the 9mm SXT being 127gr, sometimes I forget to check what I type. The 147gr SXT wasn't very impressive in the ballistic demo I observed and the Winchester rep conducting the demo also said the 147gr is not their best 9mm load and to stick with the 124 or 127gr loads. As for ideal penetration, a bullet that penetrates 17 to 18 inches may pass through a person if shot from the front which means your bullet may exit the body which is a bad thing. All of the bullets energy should be expended inside the body and if the bullet exits the body this doesn't happen. A penetration of 10 to 13 inches will in most cases remain in the body of most persons shot from the front and will allow for penetration into the vitals on someone shot from the side.

I did not post here to argue, I am just giving information based on observations of bullet performance I have witnessed first hand, and from talking to LE reps of the following ammunition companies, Remington, Winchester, Hornady and ATK which owns Speer and Federal.
 

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David_4 said:
As for ideal penetration, a bullet that penetrates 17 to 18 inches may pass through a person if shot from the front which means your bullet may exit the body which is a bad thing. All of the bullets energy should be expended inside the body and if the bullet exits the body this doesn't happen.
Incapacitation doesn't come from "energy transfer" and in pistol calibers what people call "energy transfer" is a complete and total nonfactor. Incapacitation in pistol calibers comes from blood loss or damage to the central nervous system. If a pistol bullet stays in a person then it hasn't reached it's full potential for damaging that person because if it had gone all the way through then more cutting and tearing of tissue would have occurred and therefore possibly more blood loss.

The only valid point I can see against a bullet that "overpenetrates" is possible damage to bystanders, however in most shootouts far more bullets DON'T hit the bad guy than do and those bullets that don't hit the person are far more of a threat than a bullet that might pass through him and hit someone else.

A penetration of 10 to 13 inches will in most cases remain in the body of most persons shot from the front and will allow for penetration into the vitals on someone shot from the side.
THe reason that the FBI and other experts state 12 to 18 inches is that the bullet must be able to penetrate to vitals when shot from any angle at any size person. IF you have a huge dude who's either very fat or extremely muscled up and you have to shoot him from the right side because he's threatening someone else and you hit him at torso height that bullet has to go through his big fat arm/shoulder and all that tissue and bone, therein, exit arm, enter torso and then penetrate through to vitals. That distance can add up real quick even on a person who's NOT extremely fat.

I did not post here to argue,
I am just giving information based on observations of bullet performance I have witnessed first hand, and from talking to LE reps of the following ammunition companies, Remington, Winchester, Hornady and ATK which owns Speer and Federal.
Yeah, I know and I'm not trying to argue either. It's just that some of the things you posted are contradictory to the findings of some of the world's foremost experts on terminal wounding. People that know far more than most or all of the reps from the companies. ALso, company reps will ALWAYS have a bias no matter what. Who knows..it could be that Winchester wants them to really push the 127gr over the 147gr for some business reason. I think its important to get our info from an outside, unbiased source when making these kinds of decisions and unbiased testing of calibrated gel in a controlled lab environment shows that 147gr win ranger penetrates slightly deeper than the 127gr and expands just as consistently. Street results back that up as well. In fact I believe it was San Diego PD that went from the 127gr to the 147gr because they weren't happy with the penetration performance. From what I've heard they've been happy with the 147gr. It may have been San Fran now that I think about it.

Also, did that Winchester rep address subcompact barrels? That's what we're talking about here.

brad cook
 

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Based on what I've researched my primary carry load in my SC is Corbon's 115gr +P. My alternate carry load (incase I'm out of CB) is WWB 115gr jhp as I can easily get it locally.

Here's a one idea on how to decide what load you should use:

First, pick a quality expanding bullet (hollow point, EFMJ etc) in your choice of weight and pressure/velocity range (yes, I know that pressure isn't the same as velocity but with one you generally get the other). There is alot of hype as far as which bullet design is "better". Different bullet designs are optimized for different criterea. For example, some designs are aimed at LE use so are going to perform better after barrier penetration. For civilian use, that's nice but not needed. You could do just as well with a different design that's cheaper and easier to find.

Next, ensure that the load is reliable for both feeding and extraction in YOUR gun. Just because it's perfect in your buddy's gun doesn't mean that your gun will like it.

After you're comfortable with the reliablity issue (some say 200 rounds, but that could be expensive if you're on a budget so it's up to you, I'd suggest atleast a box or two when the gun is already dirty from cheap ammo) see if the accuracy is sufficiant for your needs. It doesn't have to be one hole at X number of yards, but if it resembles a shotgun pattern...

But overall, you have to hit them before the bullet matters. A solid hit with ball will do more than a marginal hit with whatever death-ray bullet you had heard was best.

My only other thought is that the what works great in theory doesn't always work great in practice. And no amount of lab work will change that.

I'm sure some here may disagree with me. That's their choice. These are my thoughts and are worth what you paid for them.

Steelheart
 

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I think bullet maker and weight could be argued forever but bottom line is.
I would rather be shot in the arm with a .44 than be hit between the eyes with a .22.

Bullet placement is everything, there is no magical bullet.
 

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Having been in law enforcement, military and executive protection, I've seen everyone jump on the latest best round to come down the pike. They(my coworkers and friends too) read one or two articles on the what one expert says is the best and they switch, usually once every six months.
The human body is full of differring material. Air pockets, round bone, flat bone, dense organ tissue, muscle tissue, skin, water etc., no one round is going to perform 100% against all of this. Thrown in a layer of clothing and, well you know.
Me, after 32 years I just chose the single most accurate round in my carry gun. In my Service and Tactical XDs thats Remingtons 115gr +P RMM6 load @1250fps with 400ft lbs of energy at the muzzle. Placing lots of small bullets very accurately is more important to me than anything else. With a spare mag thats 31 rounds of a phenominally accurate round.
Just my $.02
 

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I agree with ya'll by the way that hitting what you're aiming at is more important than bullet expansion, etc... I try and choose bullets that are both accurate and reliable expanders. I don't fault anyone for the ammo they choose...it's a personal thing. However it should be noted that both can be found in a cartridge...why just choose accuracy and stop there when you can have accuracy AND reliable expansion/terminal performance? I've found the Ranger ammo to be very accurate ammo in both guns that I've used it in.

brad cook
 

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I wouldn't go by what the FBI reports. Their idea of "The Perfect Round" is a lot different from what most civilians should use in self defense. The FBI rounds must penetrate all kinds of fun stuff like auto glass, wall board, automotive sheet metal, etc. and then penetrate the targets to make it through their tests with flying colors. Most self defense situations won't have you shooting through wall board or auto glass or metal. Therefore I don't think you'd need to worry about penetrating such things. Remember, their job is to enforce the law. Ours is to get our backsides home safely.
 

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hal.9000 said:
I wouldn't go by what the FBI reports. Their idea of "The Perfect Round" is a lot different from what most civilians should use in self defense. The FBI rounds must penetrate all kinds of fun stuff like auto glass, wall board, automotive sheet metal, etc. and then penetrate the targets to make it through their tests with flying colors. Most self defense situations won't have you shooting through wall board or auto glass or metal. Therefore I don't think you'd need to worry about penetrating such things. Remember, their job is to enforce the law. Ours is to get our backsides home safely.
Yes, but the info I posted was, I believe, from a report that only addressed defensive ammo penetrating to vitals without getting into penetrating boards and whatnot.

brad cook
 
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