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Hello,

Assuming reliability & availability as a given.

What's the single most important factor to you, when it comes to your Carry Ammo? Is it Nickel Case's, Factory Sealed Primers, Expansion, Penetration, Low Flash Powder, Ect., Ect..

Thanks.
 

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Howdy Mr. Bob,

A very interesting question sir. Especially since you restrict us to only one factor. Given that I guess I would still have to choose expansion as that factor. If I am forced to use my handgun on duty (or off for that matter) I want my round to do the maximum damage possible. That will hopefully reduce the number of rounds I am forced to shoot to incapacitate the badguy. It will also reduce the chance of one of my rounds over penetrating and hitting an innocent.

If I could combine two into one I would opt for expansion/penetration together. I do want my round to penetrate deep enough with its expansion to hit a vital organ but not create an exit wound at the same time.

But limited to only one factor, I would have to choose expansion and hope for the best. Maybe if I could keep putting rounds in the same wound channel they would eventually hit a vital organ with effect.

twoguns
 

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As you said, it obviously has to feed in the gun.
After that, I start juggling factors.

Penetration is a must, but doesn't neccessarily override everything else to me. The "12-14 inch" figure may be the Holy Grail to some, but I'll accept less if it works well otherwise.
For example, the CorBon's 9mm 115 JHP has never been a big penetrator in any test I've seen, but all indications are that it works well...so I don't hesitate to carry it.

I want expansion, but not if it stops penetrating at 1", nor if the bullet shape doesn't feed well. Expansion may be just a bonus, but it's a nice bonus.

I want accuracy, but don't want the most accurate bullet if it won't make it through cardboard and never expands.

I might put more emphasis on expansion in the 9mm than in the .45. Maybe the caliber shouldn't matter, but I can't help myself.
I think the 9mm benefits more from expansion, and also has more velocity for expansion to be a possibility.
I do tend to place less value on potential expansion with .45 bullets.

Things like low-flash powders, sealed primers, etc are way down the list...if they make it at all.

In reality, I'd be better off if each minute I spent thinking about this was spent shooting, but I can't shoot 24 hours a day.
 
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Most of the LE-quality carry ammo available to us now, regardless of brand, has very similar performance with respect to accuracy, penetration, expansion, reliability, and low flash. I think it's necessary to have ALL of these five features present in your carry ammo, and I truly couldn't rank any of them higher than the others.
 

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I think I'd have to agree with Doc. In terms of chosing ammo, given relability and availability, I choose accuracy first, then penetration, then expansion, then low flash, recoil, and nickel cases, sealed primers, etc.

If I absolutely had to choose one above all, it's accuracy, the round doesn't do a darn bit of good if I can't hit. Followed closely by penetration.

-Rob
 

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For me (assuming availability and reliability - which makes sealed primers a non-issue, doesn't it? ;)), it's accuracy, penetration, low flash, price . . . and then I don't care. ;)
 

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Not to be cheeky, but that it is chambered for the gun I have to use.

Realistically, if the stuff goes bang and sends the projectiles in the direction in which the muzzle is pointed what really matters is if I (with great emphasis, I) do MY job, isn't it?
 
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Qualified one-shot stop statistics from real-world gunfights "on the street."

IMHO, shooting Jello and whatnot and fixating on the multiplicity of bullet external and terminal ballistic parameters is just dancing around and muddying the issue of "stopping power." If you want to determine the loads that flatten bad guys the quickest, then study real-world information for the loads that flatten bad guys the quickest. It just doesn't get any simpler.

Did I say that this was IMHO? ;)
 
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You left out a really important factor.... Price... I dont buy ammo that's given a fancy name and put in a graphically enhanced package. To catch rubes who will spend tripple or more on the latest Gunrag praised wonder round. Look at actual test results and compare basic hollowpoint ammo sold in generic 50 round boxes and you'll see nearly identical results, case in point Winchester USA 115gr hollow points versus "Silvertips".
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For me (assuming availability and reliability - which makes sealed primers a non-issue, doesn't it? ;)), it's accuracy, penetration, low flash, price . . . and then I don't care. ;)
Hello,

Erich, when I said reliability, I meant reliable feeding.

Joe4d, price/cost falls under Ect., Ect., at the end of the question. I feel the same as you regarding Winchester USA JHP's vs. Silvertips.

DocRocket, since many of us don't use premium ammo for carry, I thought it would be interesting to hear what's most important to those that don't.

Abninftr, very good point Sir. That's why I feel just fine carrying Winchester USA JHP's vs. Silvertips, Federal HI-SHOK's vs. Hydra-Shok's, ect.

For me, assuming reliability as a given, then factory sealed primers are most important. Penetration runs a very close second thow, much more than expansion. With all that being said, I won't & don't use any ammo of lesser quality than the better known American makers mid-line stuff.

Thanks for the replies.
 

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For me, price. On a very limited income, I can shoot more carry ammo at $20/100 than I can at $16/20.

I have greater confidence in its reliable functioning _in_my_gun_ than if I plink with ball and shoot maybe a couple dozen JHP a year.

After price, I value penetration. I don't look at exit wounds as the big bugabear some folks do, within reason.


Regards,

Pat
 
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After the reliability factor has been satisfied. The most important thing on the list is accuracy, in my book. Penetration and expansion are affected by many factors acting upon the bullet once it enters the human body. Did it strike bone? Was there and intermediate barrier that plugged the cavity? Is the attacker wearing 19 layers of clothing? Velocity is also affected by many factors. Temperature, altitude, barrel length, intermediate barriers, etc. Essentially what I'm getting at is that I can't control penetration, expansion, or velocity. But accuracy I can control. Why count on something that I can't control and ignore those things I can control? That's how I see it anyway.
 

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By the way, the priorities do change with me sometimes.

For one example- I used to see figures for "barrier penetration" and pass them over. I saw no reason to care how well a bullet did against auto glass or doors.
But having kids changed that.
Unfortunately due to sick freaks in this world, I now have to consider the possibility of someone grabbing one of our kids and trying to drive away with them. Now I look at those figures.
I know that no handgun can do very well against glass and car doors, but maybe that's even more reason to look for the better performing bullet.
 

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What's the single most important factor to you, when it comes to your Carry Ammo? Is it Nickel Case's, Factory Sealed Primers, Expansion, Penetration, Low Flash Powder, Ect., Ect..
I'd have to say expansion. If the bullet expands to it's full capability, that should translate to a properly design projectile traveling at the optimum speed for which it was designed. If that's true, one would think that over penetration would not be a factor.

At the range that most defensive shootings occur, I wouldn't think that the rounds accuracy would not be an issue ... just the shooters ability to put the round where it will good the most "good".

--
Mike
 

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I kinda did that toungue in cheek and forgot to get back to this thread (I have been sort of distractied lately).

Actually, since Bob was careful to set out the two critical elements in his original post; reliability and availablility, then the next thing I want is adequate penetrtion...in the body!

Way too many "magic" bullets do not penetrate adequately enough to reach the spine.

OTOH, one does not need "too much" penetration in some circumstances.

Onward,
Jim H.
 

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In my case, it is almost impossible to assume reliability and availability, so please allow me to post without this assumption.

Reliability is the most important factor.

If you live in a place where to get ammo is a real problem, and you might find ammo from WW I or WWII, you have to be happy if you get ammo that works.

Old ammo works good in a HP (blessings to Mr. Browning), but might not work in new gun models or brands.

So, sometimes, depending on where you are located and depending on the critical situation, you have to trust not only in your ammo, but in the ammo-gun combination.

Following this forums instructions, I keep some good, new Federal Hydra shock for an eventual bad situation, (because of penetration, expansion, accuracy, etc, etc) but after the ammo is gone.... combination of gun ammo reliability is the most important factor.

Once my reloading machine is here, and I am able to make my own ammo, and not depend on what I can get, I guess a good combination of penetration and expansion are going to be my carry ammo goals.

So, my answer assuming reliability & availability as a given, when I will be able to make my own ammo is a good combination of penetration and expansion. (Assuming you will not change my mind after the questions about reloading I will ask you when the reloading machine is in my hands.)
 

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Assuming complete reliability, I tend to follow Marshall & Sanow in any given caliber. But I will stick with WIN, FED, REM police products generally. In 9mm I like the BPLE +P+. In 38 the +P 158 WIN LSWC and in 45 ACP REM Golden Saber 230. Generally the Feds and Police do most of the other work. Lots of nickel cases & sealed primers are the result of the experience of equipping lots of marginally trained folks who are not as concious of the tools as the enthusiasts like me. I generally but enough to test fire, stock and then rotate through the magazines. I remember when I used to hoard it but now all of that SuperVel is as obsolete as brown (no sorry) black boots! Fashion is a hard thing to follow...
 
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