Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Link dump:

Just to clear out a couple tabs...

  • You know that old saw about "Use a shotgun or a pistol inside the house because a .223 bullet will go through a hundred walls and hit a school!"? Yeah, well, maybe not so much. This is part of why my go-to long gun changed from an 870 to an M4gery some five years ago.
  • From the Reefer Madness Files: I wonder how much Epic and EA had to pay Fox News for this full-page ad that's guaranteed to drive sales?


DanH said...

Heh, every so often someone has to decide that "everything you know is wrong." Not to long ago I saw an article by someone at Mossberg that said a .410 is much better for home defense than a 12ga because it is quieter and easier to handle. Surely by coincidence they had begun selling a .410 "home defense" model.
I'll keep my 12ga, tyvm. As much as I would like an AR, I can't afford one.

wv bessino - drunkspeak, "my frens arrr the bessino"

Tango Juliet said...

AR "middy" reporting for duty here!

Hornady 60 gr. TAP in the mag. (A very, very evil 30 round mag.)


Anonymous said...

Interesting site regarding rifle/shotgun/pistol ammunition and penetration thru walls etc. at


ViolentIndifference said...

I honestly thought the title was "Limp dink".

I have distupidia.

atlharp said...

There are two myths when it comes to guns:

1. There is a "perfect" gun for home defense.

2. An AR-15 is unaffordable.

Seriously, any gun can over penetrate so it really corresponds to what you are most comfortable with. Me? I like an 870 loaded with 00 buck. There are plenty of entry level AR's (DPMS) that are are between $600 to $700. Saiga makes a .223 that is around $350. Regardless, there is plenty of room to work with concerning money.

Mike S said...

Box o' Truth covered that (and a bunch of other objects) some time ago.

It's too bad their site has so many ads now, but I hope it's helping their shooting budget.

aczarnowski said...

The manual of arms alone moved me to an AR a while back. I love running my 870, but how many people with one under the bed have really tried to drive one quickly? It aint easy.

Thankfully (?) my home interior is plaster covered with drywall in most locations and the exterior is covered in about three re-dashes of stucco. Only the windows make me think much about "outside."

Anonymous said...

I keep the 870 and 00 buck because of the short range power and it's better (not perfect) on moving targets. Living in a brick house 150 yards from anyone else mean I don't care about the neighbors.

If I had one of my AR's I would be perfectly fine as well.


Tam said...


Way to miss the point.

If someone's using an 870 because they rock it hard and it's the weapon they feel most comfortable with, then they should get down with their bad self.

If they're using it because they think that 00B turns into pixie dust after passing through a sheet of gypsum board, then they're wrong. ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree Tam oobuck just doen't turn into pixie dust! That is why I use no 6 shot. It will mess someone up very well and i don't worry about over pentration like when you use buckshot.


Rustmeister said...

I wish I could remember which show I was watching that did this exact test.

Bottom line, the AR was the second least penetrating thing they tested. Something about the velocity and bullet weight causing the bullet to turn to pixie dust, I mean fragment after hitting the first wall. =)

Gewehr98 said...

I use 00 Buck because it sends several projectiles at once, causing the bad guy to either leak a lot more, or garner a more severe case of lead poisoning than one leetle 55/63/69 grain boolit. An extra-full turkey choke on an 18" USMC 870Mk1 keeps the pattern tight for both gobblers and goblins.

I come away from that test, as well as the old reliable Box O' Truth tests, with the knowledge that if you want to use enough kinetic energy to stop evil, you're probably gonna bust through drywall, too. That, or live in a cinder block bunker like what I had in Florida - at which time my Krink was my bedside gun. Still debating with myself whether the 75-round drum was overkill, though...

Fred said...

I'll continue to stick to a hi-cap 9mm with a flashlight on it. I like the idea of only "needing" one hand to use the gun in a home defense situation, like trying to use the phone or open a door. If I can't take care of it with 17 rounds of 124gr +P, the AR's not too far away.

Anthony said...

I don't read this so much as a "you MUST use a .223 for home defense!"

Rather, it's a debunking of "you're crazy and irresponsible for using a .223 for home defense, because you'll kill every granny and child in your neighborhood!"

Anonymous said...

This is analogous to that Mythbuster episode where there tried to determine whether it is true that swimming underwater will protect your from the bad guys firing at you.

The conclusion was "it depends", if the bullet was small and fast you were safe within a shockingly small amount of water.

Big, heavy, old-fashioned low velocity rounds penetrated WAAAY deeper.

Arrows were deadly to shockingly great depths ( compared to bullets)

Effectively high kinetic energy & low mass caused bullets to self destruct.

Anonymous said...

In my youthful ignorance (which I suppose is on-going) I once was told, by an ex cop, that his 45 ACP could shoot through an engine block. Without bothering to ask him if he ever tested that theory, my first inclination was to try shooting an old chainsaw with 10 mm and 9mm pistols (not having a 45 at the time). It turned out that Mr. ex cop was a true expert, i.e. a gibbering idiot. It was only later that I found out about steel targets.

Why more people don't actually test these things, I’ll never know. -- Lyle

Bram said...

I have a .40 carbine now. Probably more responsible than the .308 HK91 I used to keep under the bed when I lived in LA.

TheOtherLarry said...

Low and slow will also penetrate. In my teens I was hit in the knee with a 22 LR that went through 2 doors, a wall, and clean through a refrigerator - a distance of about 40 feet. It only pierced the skin on the inside of my knee, but the bullet was relatively undamaged. Burned like the dickens!

BTW - if you are going to use an AR-15 for home defense, don't use M855 ammo - you will never find the penetrator.

My recommendation: for shotgun #4 or #6 shot; for handguns or rifles use a JHP round, it might help with the break-up. PMC and American Eagle both produce JHP rounds in .223, although it's hard to find.

Steve Skubinna said...

The 5.56 NATO round was way oversold. Back in the mid seventies I heard all the stories: the round enters at the elbow and comes out the opposite hip, it tumbles inside the body turning everything into mush, you get shot in the knee and both buttocks get blown off, blah blah blah. I was agnostic, even as a dumbshit E-1, because having remembered my high school physics none of it seemed at all reasonable to me.

And then there was my experience working the butts on the range, learning to identify the peculiar sound a bullet made if it had knicked anything, like a twig enroute to the target and slapped sideways through the paper, assuming the blade of grass or whatever permitted it to keep a similar line of travel.

Nope, seemed to my ignorant self that the combination of high velocity and light weight made a fast but unstable projectile which still needed good placement on the target to do damage. Nothing magic about it at all.

Then, many years later I read an article that police forces were moving to AR type rifles as patrol carbines because ballistic tests had determined overpenetration to be much less of an issue than previously assumed. Then there was the venerable M14 getting a new lease on life as the Mk 14 Mod 0 EBR, so maybe 7.62 still had some tactical advantages. About the same time you could read reports from troops in Iraq complaining that the 5.56 round was too light for close range urban fighting, from which the SpecOps guys came up with the 6.5 Grendel, and you might have figured the last of the old myths were dead.

But nope. Myths are too important to some people. For some reason the one that a hypervelocity varmint round, a .22 on steroids, was the deadliest bullet on the planet is just too comforting to let go.

Montie said...

It took me a long time to convince my previous chief that a 9mm MP-5 was more penetrative on household type construction material than a 5.56 M-4. I had to construct a similar set of simulated walls to be able to demonstrate the point.

Imagine his suprise when I then demonstrated the exact reverse happened when shooting at a used vest (as though a bad guy were wearing one).

He finally gave in to transition over, all the while complaining that he just didn't understand how a gun that could not shoot through a vest could shoot through more walls than a gun that could.

Spud said...

I'll take a Judge with a lowly 410 for indoor sports, thank you very much.

Tam said...


There are a few pieces of errata I feel all compelled to nitpick. ;)

"About the same time you could read reports from troops in Iraq complaining that the 5.56 round was too light for close range urban fighting, from which the SpecOps guys came up with the 6.5 Grendel..."

1) "SpecOps guys" had nothing to do with the 6.5 Grendel. It was developed by long-range target shooters. You're thinking of the 6.8SPC. Which was never adopted.

2) "SpecOps guys" like Mk262 Mod1 just fine, and it was developed to address the problems of the 5.56 at ranges >300m, not for "close range urban fighting".

Anonymous said...

Me, too. Tam mentioned something a while back in a discussion about 77 grain bullets tumbling. After some research, my social work magazines are now stoked with Buffalo Bore 77 grain HPs which I anticipate will tumble nicely upon impact, no matter what they hit. No assurance they won't penetrate a couple layers of drywall, but I have first hand knowledge on just how may layers 00B will.

And, that move led to another 'speriment: I discovered it's much easier to move around the house with the M4gery's stock pushed in a click or two and a two-point sling than it was with the 870, and faster to engage - and stay engaged - as well. Managing the light is easier, too, thanks to the vertical foregrip.

Plus, I find that, thanks to frequently shooting one or both of our two monthly 3-gun matches, I'm faster and smoother with the AR platform than I ever was, or will be, with the 870. Ergonomics will win out every time.

Thanks, Tam.

genedunn said...

Re: Bulletstorm,+Paper,+Shotgun)

Although I am an "avid" gamer, BulletStorm was not high on my list (I was probably going to put it on my Goozex wishlist, but not actually buy it). After this article and the hyperbolic BS, I will go pre-order it.

Jerry said...

I carried an HK-91 when I was a LEO. now, 7.62 definitely has a penetration issue so I loaded 100 grain half jacket bullets. Muzzle velocity was over 3,000 fps. Penetration was 2 layers of drywall.

Bram said...

Steve Skubinna - The Veitnam era M16 and 5.56 rounds were very different animals than they are now. Much lower rifle twist, lighter and faster rounds. I take those stories with a grain of salt but it makes sense that you don't hear those stories anymore.

Gewehr98 said...

Heavy and Slow does have its place - but damn, does the 32" .45-70 Sharps make it a gold-plated beeyotch to maneuver inside! May have to give the Ruger #1 a simulated run-through to test house-clearing merits. Tactical Ruger Falling Block, anybody? Black synthetic stocks are available...

Unknown said...

"Rather, it's a debunking of "you're crazy and irresponsible for using a .223 for home defense, because you'll kill every granny and child in your neighborhood!""

That's it exactly. I still recommend a shotgun for HD if it fits the bill, but my point was that on drywall, it doesn't stop as quickly as once thought.

As for the ballistic vest penetration, Monte is right about the penetrative qualities of 5.56mm on a vest. I did one of those tests a couple of years ago -

Thanks for the link Tam!

Tam said...


Stainless/Synthetic No.1's make the baby Jesus cry. ;)

Boat Guy said...

I've seen instances of the damn wad from 12 ga 00 pentrating drywall, never mind the pellets.
I guess we're a "mixed marriage" in so many ways; Bride's go-to is her Stag 2L with a light and loaded with USGI frangible. I rather doubt she'd shoot only one round in a repel-boarders action ("Shoot until you are happy with what you see" said the 1SG back in the day). My bump-in-the-night is a .45 XD with tritium sights and a light.
We'll see if Bride goes to a handgun after being schooled with same this summer at Thunder Ranch. Right now, I'm VERY happy she's got her M4gery ready...

Gewehr98 said...


I would wager a parkerized/synthetic Ruger #1 w/rails would make not only G-98 cry, but also The Holy Trinity. :)

(But it would be the ultimate in Tacticool, nicht wahr?)

Wait - I've seen something like that before. IIRC, somebody on this blog has pics of themself holding an H&R/NEF break-action all kitted out in high-speed, low drag format...

Probably should market shotgun/poodle shooter/wondernine-proof drywall, too. Sounds like there's a market for that sort of thing!

Kristophr said...

Tam:2) "SpecOps guys" like Mk262 Mod1 just fine, and it was developed to address the problems of the 5.56 at ranges >300m, not for "close range urban fighting".

Heh. That was part of the little problem the Russians had in Grozny.

Their AKs were only really effective at under 200 meters. They couldn't use artillery or air support unless the target was more than 600 meters from their own troops.

The Chechens, using mostly bolt action rifles and RPGs in town, picked them to pieces at 300 to 500 meters, staying in that zone to avoid artillery, and avoiding attacking down the length of streets to avoid tank fired HE or long ranged MG fire.

The initial Russian unit assaulting Grozny made it all the way to the train station untouched, as if on a parade, then heard a voice on their own radios say "Welcome to Hell", just before every Chechen in town with a rifle decided to re-enact Little Big Horn.

That Russian unit ( a brigade ) was annihilated that day.

Will said...

I've observed the results of a .308 fired inside a house (missed me by maybe a foot, and I saw the expanding muzzle gas/shock wave as I was diving through a doorway).
Round went through two standard sheetrock walls, and some really lite sheetmetal in-between. It appeared that the round (case marked: WCC 87, with steel jacket) exited the first wall in two parts, and broke up farther from impact with the second (exterior) wall. Lead smears were found on another outside wall that is angled perhaps 15 degrees from trajectory. Lead fragments were found slightly indented in the redwood fence and on the ground below it. Total flight path about 30ft. The steel component of the slug was not recovered, and may not have exited the second wall.

I'm unsure if the steel jacket (and possible steel core construction-Chinese?) was the cause of the rather limited penetration results. BTW, that steel jacket is VERY soft, as an x-acto blade can scrape slivers off it. Think I'll cut it open to see the guts.

Geodkyt said...

Tam, Gewehr,

Have you seen the latest abomination from Mossberg?

A tact'ed out, 18.5" black over-under with plastic furniture and rails.

I cried.

Will said...

I cut the bullet open. No steel core, just a steel jacket, approximately 0.8mm/0.032" thick.

Steve Skubinna said...

Tam, yeah, after hitting "Publish" I asked myself "Wait - did I mean 6.8 SPC? Oh well, too late now."


Bram - it could be that those stories have faded because we haven't been spraying the jungle with thousands of rounds where it was difficult or even impossible to verify them. The past ten years we've been fighting in environments where the effects of an individual shot are easier to evaluate. And of course, as you note current 5.56 rounds are heavier, and are fired from heavier barrels with faster twist.

Even still there is widespread dissatisfaction with the lethality of the 5.56 round. On the other hand, a lot of troops griped about the Garand replacing the Springfield in the early '40's, so maybe combat troops are hardwired to think there could be better weapons than whatever they have. When I was in Basic a lot of troops still believed that the M-16 was a Mattel design.

Henry Blowfly said...

All soldiers (and ex soldiers) believe that the "other guy" has a far better individual weapon than his issue rifle, regardless of his country of origin.

I was astonished to see the occasional US soldier in Vietnam carrying a POS Chicom AK47 in the weird belief that it was better than the M-16, yet the VietCong prized M16's above any other rifle.

SpecFor seems to be particularly prone to this disease.

Steve C said...

For Vietnam, I'm not so sure I wouldn't agree with the guys carrying the AK47's. Ranges were usually short enough that accuracy was not an issue and it is hard to treat an AK bad enough that it will not fire. M-16's, particularly in the 60's, had issues. Better a POS that shoots than a pretty gun that jams.

Geodkyt said...

Actually, the original reputation and nickname for the AR15 ("The Meataxe") came from confirmed kills dragged out of the jungle and photographed by the highly trained advisors in funny felt hats that were using the AR15.

The darkening of the AR15's reputation came when masses of privates were issued these things, while their NCOs and armorers had been told NOTHING about the rifle of any use, and after the US Army rejected the designer's strident cautions.

Once the reliability issues were mostly solved, complaints turned to terminal ballistics -- mostly by people who had never closely examined a 5.56x45mm hit in a real person. A lot of "I was there. . . " tales that sounded REMARKABLY like the tales that surrounded the M2 Carbine in Korea.

In both cases, it is relatively easy to calculate that the primary reason Comrade Badguy didn't drop when you lit off a whole magazine in full auto from the hip is that you MISSED.

WWII, D-Day, "Pegasus Bridge" -- a British para with a Bren gun, highly drilled in accuracy for the last two years, and a German sergeant with a submachinegun, both did full mag dumps at while out in the open. . . no hits on either side. Most failures to stop are probably panicked clean misses.

One of the biggest current problems with teh ammo is that we are firing heavier bullets (thus slower, since they wanted to keep about the same energy) from a significantly shorter barrel -- thus a significant loss in mullet velocity, right at the muzzle.

Problem is, the M855 (and M193) has most of it's effect on soft tissue because of high impact velocities. . . the faster it flies, the faster it spins; the faster it spins, the faster it precesses into a tumble when moving from an aerodynamic to a hydrodynamic medium, and the comparatively thin USGI jackets, compromised by the aggressive cannelture, get all verklept from the stresses.

When moving at high velocity sideways (or spinning) through a liquid media, the jackets tend to fragment, scattering bullet jacket and leadfilling in a pattern reminiscent of a tiny explosive warhead.

Shooting M855 from a 14.5" barrel exacerbates the problem. 7.62x51mm NATO M80 ball actually does a (comparitively) crappy job on people -- M193 and M855 hit a maximum wound channel around 2" wide, about 6-8" deep -- or about where the good bits are located. The M80 is maxed out at a wound track as wide as the bullet is long, that occurs at about 12", as it is exiting the body.)

Steve Skubinna said...

February 11, 2011


Bram - it could be that those stories have faded because we haven't been spraying the jungle with thousands of rounds where it was difficult or even impossible to verify them. The past ten years we've been fighting in environments where the effects of an individual shot are easier to evaluate. And of course, as you note current 5.56 rounds are heavier, and are fired from heavier barrels with faster twist.

Anonymous said...

"mullet velocity".

I laughed so hard.

Tam said...

The highest mullet velocities occur in Trans Ams after a fifth of Jack.