.223 Ballistics Test Results – Home Grown

.223 bullets 5.56 bulletsCouple things I love to do; 1) go shooting, 2) talk ammo, 3) act like a know-it-all.  So I managed to cover all three of those things.  And maybe, just maybe, give you some useful information along the way.

OK, out at my favorite BLM trash dump, gravel pit I did a little .223 / 5.56 ballistics testing and wanted to share the results and get some opinions.

The rounds were fired from a 16″ 1 in 7 twist barrel.  Here are the tested rounds…

Brand                                           Weight   Point/Type      Misc.                                                                              Velocity
Hornady V-Max                             60gr       Poly tip              24.5gr Accurate2230, Lake City military brass.             3087 fps
Winchester PowerPoint                64gr       Lead tip             21.3gr Accurate2230, Lake City military brass               2900 fps
Winchester PowerPoint                64gr       Lead tip             21.3gr Accurate 2230, Commercial brass                      2850 fps
Fiocchi                                          55 gr      PSP(soft point)  Commercial ammunition                                                3230 fps

Ballistics Target for .223 ammunition.

 

Target :  5-1/2″ of book material duck taped together.

 

 

Brand                                                  Penetration    Recovered Weight     % Recovered
Hornady V-Max                                          2.75”                 21gr                            35%
Wincheser PowerPoint – military               4”                      29gr                            45%
Wincheser PowerPoint – civilian                3.75”                 38gr                             60%
Fiocchi                                                       4.125”               22gr                             40%

So this is what the front of my homemade target looked liked after shooting them from about 75′.

.223 ballistics results
Narrative:

Without question the Hornady V-Max expanded the quickest with the largest diameter channel. However, it also penetrated the least of all the other bullets by 1″ depth . The Fiocchi round penetrated the deepest, had a decent retained bullet weight and a seriously sweet post-penetration bullet shape. The Fiocchi bullet would have created a serious wound channel with significant associated trauma. Both the Winchester round performed just fine with the civilian load actually performing just a bit better overall for wound generation.

In a serious CQB situation I think I would go with Fiocchi, then either of the Winchester rounds and then finally the Honrady round. Unless of course the bad guys were all wearing Speedos and then the Hornady would do just fine (less need for penetration). And the thought of some hadji in a Speedo…….YUCK!

I did fire a standard military XM855 62gr FMJ round with a SS109 core into the target. It penetrated the entire 5.25” and kept right on going. I have no idea where in the dirt mound it ended up. In close quarters battle situations (short range) I think the XM855 rounds would not be especially effective and would require multiple hits to secure a casualty sufficient to stop the bad guy in a hurry.

Winchester PowerPoint – Commercial brass

As it was dug out of the book pages….

Winchester PowerPoint 5.56 round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is looked like after I gently broke it up. Gives an indication as to what the fragmentation might be in gel or a body.

Winchester PowerPoint 5.56 round

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winchester PowerPoint – military brass
As it was dug out of the book pages….

Winchester PowerPoint 5.56 military brass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is looked like after I gently broke it up. Gives an indication as to what the fragmentation might be in gel or a body.

BallisticsWPPMB2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hornady V-Max

As it was dug out of the book pages….

Hornady V-Max 5.56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is looked like after I gently broke it up. Gives an indication as to what the fragmentation might be in gel or a body.

BallisticsHVM2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiocchi Soft Point

As it was dug out of the book pages….

Fiocchi Soft Point  5.56

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is looked like after I gently broke it up. Gives an indication as to what the fragmentation might be in gel or a body.

Fiocchi Soft Point 5.56

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what the damage looks like after the rounds had passed through 1″ of catalog material.

Ballistics223a

 

Hornady V-Max is creating a large wound channel (i.e. gaping hole).  Notice the XM855 is a very nice round hole that is almost invisible.  That round is just slicing through the material with ease.  However, it is not leaving much of a wound channel.

This is what they look like coming out of 1-1/2″ of the 2nd book, total of 2-1/2″ of material.

Ballistics223bNotice the Hornady V-Max is still holding on to the largest wound channel. The sheer size (diameter) of the hole as the round comes through would create a very large and traumatic wound channel.  The XM855 on the other hand is still cleanly slicing through.  While not a true AP (armor piercing) round, the steel tip core makes defeating barriers much easier.

This is what the back of the homemade target looked like at the end of the firing.

Ballistics223TargetBack

Notice that all of the round fired were stopped by a mere 5-1/2″ of printed material with the exception of the XM855 that has the SS109 core.  I was surprised to say the least.  But you also see why now that the military asked for a better round than the original M-16 55gr M193 5.56 round.  The M193 was just too easy to defeat.

But now that you see that the XM855 can easily penetrate the 5-1/2″ of target material you have to ask yourself the question, “What effect it would have on a determined enemy?”   Another legitimate question would be, “Is an AR the gun for home defense or would a shotgun be more appropriate?”

And finally, now you can see why so many folks love the AR-10 with the 7.62 / .308 round.  Maybe I should go do some ballistics testing on that one.

Summary –

Bullets are like any other “tool”, choose the right one for the job.  With an AR:

  • If I was going hunting for game (deer, etc.) I would use the Hornady V-Max.
  • If I was defending myself in CQB I would want to use the Fiocch soft point.
  • If I was going into a firefight I would want to use the XM855.

 

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4 thoughts on “.223 Ballistics Test Results – Home Grown

  1. Pingback: 7 Days of September – Part #2: Threat of Violence | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  2. Pingback: Choosing the Right Gun : Shotguns | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for grid-down

    • Jesse, you are as right as right can be! I would love to do that kind of testing but I don’t have an spare live test subjects at the moment. I was thinking that the same book material but saturated with water could have been a little closer to reality, but I didn’t think of that till afterwards. Maybe one of these days 🙂 What did you think of the 855 vs. everything else?

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