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Defense ammo, low grain and high Ft-lbs energy, is it worth it?

AABigRick

Operator
Hello all, when searching for self defense ammo, with accuracy being the same should we be looking at the highest amount of ft.-lbs of energy for the round?, or more of fast expansion of the round. I would think that ft-lbs of energy would be a big factor but I see that is generally achieved from lower weight projectiles. Are you we just looking for that magic depth range and expansion in a ballistic target, or is that ft. lbs of energy creating that larger energy transfer into the body something that should be at the top of the list. I have had mixed thoughts on the temporary wound channel created which can make this even more confusing. I have generally relied on Hornady or federal defense rounds because of the amount of data on them being effective, but I dont want to discount hotter faster rounds with more energy, though my thoughts may be seriously flawed. Someone educate me.

For example, in my .357 sig,

I generally had carried Hornady 124 grain, 502 ft/lbs @ 1350 velocity

But looking at the energy power of the Grizzly cartridge 90 grain, 721 foot/lbs @ 1900 feet a second

thats a lot more foot/lbs.

Thoughts
 

OkiePewPew

Moderator
Staff member
I get where you’re coming from with bears or gators but don’t know enough to have a valid opinion. For human self defense I look at only 2 things, expansion and penetration depth. If it’s quality ammo that opens consistently to a large diameter and hits the magic 16-18 inches, I’m happy.
I’m sure there are others here with a much deeper knowledge of ballistics who can explain why I may be wrong or right.
 

AABigRick

Operator
I get where you’re coming from with bears or gators but don’t know enough to have a valid opinion. For human self defense I look at only 2 things, expansion and penetration depth. If it’s quality ammo that opens consistently to a large diameter and hits the magic 16-18 inches, I’m happy.
I’m sure there are others here with a much deeper knowledge of ballistics who can explain why I may be wrong or right.
thanks pew pew
 

HansGruber

Professional
Foot pounds don’t wound.

I’ll say that again—foot pounds don’t wound.

“Hydrostatic shock” isn’t real; what most people call hydrostatic shock is actually temporary cavity damage...and most defensive handgun bullets don’t do enough of it to matter.

Which brings us to permanent wound channel; in short, expansion and penetration...the only things that matter.

So, no, lightweight, warp speed wünderbüllets are not worth the money, or the tome to consider them.
 

AABigRick

Operator
Foot pounds don’t wound.

I’ll say that again—foot pounds don’t wound.

“Hydrostatic shock” isn’t real; what most people call hydrostatic shock is actually temporary cavity damage...and most defensive handgun bullets don’t do enough of it to matter.

Which brings us to permanent wound channel; in short, expansion and penetration...the only things that matter.

So, no, lightweight, warp speed wünderbüllets are not worth the money, or the tome to consider them.
Alrighty then, thanks
 

TEXASforLIFE

Professional
It's a combo of cartridge, caliber and distance! It's never a perfect world for all to work? Velocity gets you the distance. Caliber gets you the energy and distance fills in the rest. High velocity at close range can go threw without the expansion on most to all calibers? Know what the maximum expansion velocity is for the caliber and it helps! Not all companies publish this information, but a call to them could get you the answers? I use fmj, so I wouldn't be the best for hp ammo answers?
 

TEXASforLIFE

Professional
I carry them for those who try too shoot from cover. HP is little use, but fmj will get you! This would be from a pistol round not a rifle. I use junkers for testing! Don't forget the trash can scene from "Police Squad"!
 

southtex

Master Class
Founding Member
I get where you’re coming from with bears or gators but don’t know enough to have a valid opinion. For human self defense I look at only 2 things, expansion and penetration depth. If it’s quality ammo that opens consistently to a large diameter and hits the magic 16-18 inches, I’m happy.
I’m sure there are others here with a much deeper knowledge of ballistics who can explain why I may be wrong or right.
Roger that...I look at expansion with passable penetration.
 
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