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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading yet another guntest on hollowpoints out of short pistol barrels, am I no longer convinced that carrying hollowpoints in the magazine is the best option...box o' truth website. I am seriously considering switching back to ball-style rounds especially when shooting out of shorter barrels.

I'm thinking that if the rounds don't expand fully out of a short barrel, then why use a hollowpoint at all?

I have a compact semi-auto, and looking at a few snub-nosed revolvers for the new carry piece. How many people stand by their hollowpoints out of a 2-1/2 inch or less barrel?
 

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What caliber are you shooting?

My 3" .357 Mag revolver has more than enough oomph to make a 158 grain Hornady XTP expand.

If it's some variety of weenie round like a .380, then yes, you'd be better off with hardball - in the event a hollwpoint were to expand, you probably would end up with very little penetration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking smaller calibers like .380 ACP, 9mm, .38 Special, and not so much .357 magnum, .44 or .45 ACP rounds. Like wwb said, those rounds have enough mass to do the job with or without expansion.
 

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When you get into the mid-range calibers with short barrels, bullet type becomes very critical. Anything .380 ACP and up I use an expanding bullet design, under .380 ACP I'll carry expanding bullets for summer and FMJ for winter use. Many of the standard hollow points do not expand reliably even in full sized pistols and are even worse in the smaller guns. With the great increase in the use of smaller guns by CCW holders, the ammo companies have increased development in bullets that work at lower velocities. Some of the bullets that have good reputations for doing so are the Hornady XTP, Winchester STX/Ranger, the Federal Personal Defense line, Corbon's personal protection series, and probably a few others I can't think of right now. The specialty rounds such as those by Glaser and Magsafe would also bear looking in to except that they are rather expensive for the reliability testing one should do prior to carrying them.
I believe in using a personal defense designed expanding type bullet in any gun as at their worst they will be lttle or no different than an FMJ and any expansion that occurs has got to be better than none. Short barreled guns are more ammo sensitive and one must thoroughly try out the gun with the ammo being proposed. In the typical self defense situation the range will be short and the bullet does not have to travel though obstacles such as glass, car doors, and arms therefore reducing the requirements a bullet needs to achieve. Some small guns do not like lighter than normal bullets or bullet profiles while others do not care. Case in point, my old widebody 1911 with 3.5" barrel did not like the Federal Personal Defense loads even though they were meant to be used in these types of guns. Very occasionally, 185 gr bullets would hang up while I never had a problem with 230 gr bullets of any design or type. The latter is what I carried in that gun. On the other hand, my 9mm Kel-Tec P-11 is loaded with 95 gr soft points and they feed in that gun very well and the bullet expands and penetrates deep enough on deer out to 15 yards if shot behind the foreleg.
Revolvers give more options as nonjacketed lead hollow point bullets are available. In any barel length, the 38 Spl +P lead hollow point semiwadcutter design seems to have a penchant to expand and would probably be best for this caliber. I prefer a little lighter bullet and have been hoarding my supply of 125 gr Federal Nyclad bullets in case I ever decide to carry a .38 snubby again.
 

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It's always great to read your responses UD. Detailed, knowledgeable, and to the point--no BS. Thanks for the information you provide. T
 

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Re: re: JHP or Ball ammo

uglydog said:
When you get into the mid-range calibers with short barrels, bullet type becomes very critical. Anything .380 ACP and up I use an expanding bullet design, under .380 ACP I'll carry expanding bullets for summer and FMJ for winter use.
I think I'd quibble about the .380, which is kind of a borderline round. Most of what I've read recommends a SWC for .380 over any hollowpoint and the issue is simply penetration. A bullet has to penetrate enough for any expansion to be effective. If the design, such a hollowpoint inhibits penetration, which it can in a relatively low-power round, then you're better off with a solid core. Especially if you have to consider the BG wearing winter clothing. The SWC offers somewhat better "shock" value over regular ball FMJ, with little loss of penetration.

But - YMMV, read the data and make your choices
 

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Federal makes a great rd for the snub. My 2 snubs are a little older, so it is not recomended for +P. The rd i like is there 110 gn "Hydra Shok" Low Recoil Premium. Has 1000fps at 245lbs of energy. Good expansion and mushrooming affect and good knock down power. With low recoil so control and time back on target is quicker. I am not sure what they offer in +P. This is my favorite carry rd for my J-frames. :wink:
 

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Re: re: JHP or Ball ammo

jack62 said:
Federal makes a great rd for the snub. My 2 snubs are a little older, so it is not recomended for +P. The rd i like is there 110 gn "Hydra Shok" Low Recoil Premium. Has 1000fps at 245lbs of energy. Good expansion and mushrooming affect and good knock down power. With low recoil so control and time back on target is quicker. I am not sure what they offer in +P. This is my favorite carry rd for my J-frames. :wink:
Per Federal's site that is 980 fps from a 4" barrel. I suspect that you can reduce the velocity quite a bit for a 2". I have not chronographed this particular load, but a similar handload (max load, without straying into +P territory) clocked less than 850 fps. from a J frame with 1 7/8" barrel. This will still get the job done, but 1,000 fps/245lbs is optomistic from a 2" gun, even at +P pressures, IMHO.
 
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Thanks for that info, i must have mis read it. Plus i never got into the chronagraph as of yet. Good to hear you say it still has some good stoping power.
Take care Pete, Jack
 
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