Can someone explain hollow point ammo to me?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by igordog, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. igordog

    igordog New Member

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    Yes, I'm a newbie. I've just recently gotten into guns and I only own a shotgun. I plan on upping my arsenal soon (with what I'm quite sure yet...)
    I hear so many people talking about hollow point ammunition. I know that there's been problems with it in the past (as far as legislation goes.) I'd just like to know more about it. Yes, I could have just googled it or looked it up someplace else, but I figured that I should ask some people who are experts.
    What I don't understand is, why is hollow point ammo any good? When you look at it logically, (at least from the sound of the name HOLLOW POINT) wouldn't ammunition with a solid point be more effective in terms of penetration just because it's probably heavier, etc.?
    Anyhow, can someone (a few of you even) give me a lesson on what exactly hollow point ammunition is, why so many people love it so much, and what the big deal with it is?
    I'm sorry if it's been discussed a million times before, but I wanted a fresh take on it, specific to what I wanted to know. Thank you.
     
  2. Poink88

    Poink88 New Member

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    You are right about the penetration for FMJ but JHP EXPANDS which results in a bigger wound cavity later translates to more damage and bleeding.

    Read a bit more here http://www.btfh.net/shoot/bullet-test-2.html

    Compare the unfired 9mm FMJ vs what a JHP (Federal HST & Golden Saber) looks like after...
    [​IMG]

    BTW, none of these will implict as much damage as your shotty can. ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010

  3. Poink88

    Poink88 New Member

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  4. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

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    Like most things in life there are different jobs for different tools. Hollow point ammo is designed to deliver it's energy to the target at the expense of penetration, Full Metal Jacket ammo is better suited for penetration...there is a trade off and a practical consideration.

    A round of FMJ that can pass through a car door will also pass through a softer target taking the energy with it, not to mention the risk that some innocent bystander or family member will be hit by the now stray round.

    A HP or hollowpoint round is designed to "blossom" on impact. The blossoming creates a devastating wound and impedes the round's ability to travel through the target. This transfers the round's kinetic energy to the target and reduces the risk of overpenetration and collateral damage from a stray round.

    The legislative issues you refer to are more a problem with misunderstanding the nature of a hollow point. Many believe a hollow point round to be the so called "cop killer" round, so they ban them for carry. A HP round is actually a safer alternative, for everyone other than the intended target.
     
  5. Poink88

    Poink88 New Member

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    Not sure where now but I actually read that FMJ is (at one point) considered illegal for CC somewhere because of the over penetration issue and the risk for people behind the target in case of an "engagement".
     
  6. Fuzzball

    Fuzzball New Member

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    50-60 years ago bullets were of very simple "cup and core" construction and the open point/hollow point actually meant something. Today the HP design is mostly useful for target ammo because of it's slightly greater average accuracy. In fact, many of today's plastic point bullets are more violenty expansive than HP designs.

    What controls expansion is much more complex than the point design. Area of open front (diameter), jacket material and construction and the core material are all major contributing factors controlling expansion or penatration. Point shape (meplat) is one of the least important factors but hollow points look good and sell well so they keep making 'em.
     
  7. Poink88

    Poink88 New Member

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    Sorry but I definitely do not agree with you.
     
  8. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    http://www.brassfetcher.com/9x18mmMak.html

    Check out these ballistic tests of different caliber rounds; there should be some HP's in there. It is my basic understanding that the HP's are better for leaving larger holes in softer targets (guts) while FMJ's are better for penetrating with harder targets like someone wearing a really heavy coat or maybe some really light body armor.

    I am not familiar with ballistic tipped bullets with their special plastic klan hats.

    edit* This test was specifically HP vs FMJ. http://www.brassfetcher.com/Hollowpoint Versus FMJ.html


    Yes, Lon, just like that lil hater there. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  9. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger New Member

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    Like this one.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Fuzzball

    Fuzzball New Member

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    "Sorry but I definitely do not agree with you. "

    That's fine, and you may be right. But I'd need some reasons for your disagreement to know.
     
  11. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Fuzzball- I also disagree with blanket statement. 60 years ago was 1950, and it was rare to find jacketed hollowpoint handgun ammo. The current crop of Gold Dot, Ranger SXT, Golden Saber etc are NOT target cartridges. The current Russian 5.45 RIFLE cartridge is a hollowpoint for accuracy. Care to explain a bit?
     
  12. Fuzzball

    Fuzzball New Member

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    "(50's) was rare to find jacketed hollow point handgun ammo. The current crop of Gold Dot, Ranger SXT, Golden Saber etc are NOT target cartridges. The current Russian 5.45 RIFLE cartridge is a hollow point for accuracy. Care to explain a bit?"

    Sure.

    The OP's question was about hollow point bullets, he did not specify handgun or rifle. I answered in broad terms, not as an absolute to cover every possible application. I think most reloaders realize that many things about bullets are generally true but there are exceptions to everything.

    To start over, MOST - if not all - highly accurate rifle target bullets are hollow points and that's what I meant. Even your mention of the rifle ammo reflects that you may already understand that. Rifle hollow points are often capable of shooting into a single small hole at 100 yards or more. No handgun bullets of any kind are capable of that.

    That said, handgun bullets are "accurate" only compared to each other, meaning the best of them are somewhat less inaccurate than the worst of them. (And, in an effort to prevent confusion, I do not include any bottle neck cases or bolt action 'handguns' in that category.)

    I know of NO commonly available jacketed handgun bullets except FMJ in the 50s, but there were lots of poor shooting and poor performing hollow point lead bullets. The velocity of even the .357 'powerhouse' of that period was too low for hollow points to give reliable expansion if they were hard enough to take the speed. The most commonly accurate AND effective hunting handgun bullets in those days were hard cast SWC bullets. (IMHO, that's still true, a proper sized conventional revolver hunting bullet is still slow and they need to penetrate deeply so hollow points and expansion is a distant secondary concern to many of us.)

    Lee Jurras introduced the first truly effective thin 3/4 jacketed, soft core handgun bullets (as SuperVel) in the late 60s. They were acceptably accurate and came in both hollow and flat point. Both performed about the same; at short ranges they often disintegrated in flesh and often would not exit chest hit fox at short ranges. SuperVel started the progression to all those you mention and they are still game/defense bullets, not "target" (bullseye), no matter the point configuration.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  13. igordog

    igordog New Member

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    Very interesting info here...Thank you all.
    One question that you might think is stupid though...When does the bullet "petal" like that? When it hits the target, even if it's hitting something soft, like flesh?
     
  14. Poink88

    Poink88 New Member

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    Note that not all JHP will "bloom" like that but yes they are actually designed to expand more upon hitting flesh. Clothes can (fill the hollow point and) retard the expansion actually.
     
  15. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Fuzzball- I still have an original 100 round box of Super Vel 125 gr bullets. Picked up in a trade several years back, been sitting in the back of the reloading supply cabinet. Been doing this for a while.
     
  16. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    Igor- with the controlled expansion hollowpoints (petals) the base metal is harder than the core, permitting the "petals" to bend out from the impact, but remain attached at the base. Remember, that whole assembly is turning at a VERY high rate of speed- visualize the blade from a kitchen blender being shot towars you.

    Long but interesting video, different bullets, striking different materials. Don't have your speakers too high, music gets annoying.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfDoQwIAaXg]YouTube - 1 million fps Slow Motion video of bullet impacts made by Werner Mehl from Kurzzeit[/ame]
     
  17. igordog

    igordog New Member

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    Thank you for taking the time/being willing to explain this all to me. So far I've come across nothing but nice, good people here.
     
  18. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    More and larger holes in means more blood out. Drop the blood pressure and drop the tango!
     
  19. Fuzzball

    Fuzzball New Member

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    C3; "Fuzzball- I still have an original 100 round box of Super Vel 125 gr bullets."

    I'm down to my last few dozen .357 SuperVels and I'm saving them for history. All of my .429s are long gone. I bought mine off the shelf in the early 70s and got a fairly good stock laid in then but didn't expect them to dissappear.

    SuperVels weren't much for deer (IMHO), too fragile, but Jarrus sure used them on big game successfully. Mine were great for smaller critters tho and were a lot of fun while they lasted!



    Canebrake; "I could very well be mistaken, but I don't think a hollow point is necessary when you’re shooting a bullet the size of a small child."

    Fully concur. Things that start big, hit big and not a lot of expansion needed! Nor a lot of speed; how fast does a boulder need to fly?
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  20. planenut

    planenut New Member

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    I'd like to have a few shots from that video as a screen saver!

    Pretty cool.