Let's talk Ammo. Good Target brands and how to interpret the specs

Since we’re on a gun discussion this week. :stuck_out_tongue: Pull up a chair and lets talk Ammo.

I’ve never fully understood all the various Specs. I know FMJ is Full Metal Jacket and IRT is Indoor Range Target. Some ranges only allow IRT because its super clean. Other ranges don’t care because they have really good ventilation.

Anyone want to explain the Specs? For example…
.38 Special Remington UMC 130 Grain FMJ 790 FPS 50 Round Box

What size Grain is good for Target? And what Grain is good for stopping a 300 lb Bodybuilder jacked up on PCP? What’s the FPS number mean and what’s a good number for Target and Personal Protection?

One of my biggest questions has always been what’s the difference in the Remington Yellow Box Ammo and Green Box?

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM359-1.html
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/30306512-1.html

Does cheap Ammo hurt your gun even if you carefully clean it after target practice?
Note the comments say this Ammo smokes a lot! Not sure I’d want to shoot it. But, at 27.5 cents a round this is very affordable target ammo.
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/AMM3325-1.html

:stuck_out_tongue: Now, that’s some cheap ass Ammo.

Fps= feet per second. Typically, this is the velocity as the bullet leaves the muzzle.
“Grain” refers to the weight of the bullet in grains. 15.4 grains to a gram. 7000 grains to a pound.
Ceteris paribus, a lighter bullet will go faster which means that gravity and wind will have less time to affect its trajectory.

Ceteris paribus, a heavier bullet will be less affected by air resistance (thereby conserving its velocity better) and wind.

Usually, lighter is better for short range accuracy, heavier is better for long range accuracy.
As for terminal effects, typically you want enough momentum to reach and go thorugh vital organs. If you can reach vital organs and go thorugh them with a hollow point (which about doubles the diameter), all the better.

Add-on:

Comparing the weight of bullets in grains only makes sense if the bullets have broadly the same sectional area and shape. A 9mm Para bullet and a 308 Winchester may both weigh 145 grains but they’re quite different in how they behave, even if you control for velocity.

If comparing significantly different calibers, you want to look at the sectional density (which is easy to calculate) and, for more precision, ballistic coefficient (which is a little more involved).

Wish I was wealthy enough to buy this fancy IRT Ammo. But at 60 cents a round its too rich for me.

http://www.amazon.com/Federal-Cartridge-40-180gr-TMJ/dp/B000UV8Q50/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1329526969&sr=1-1

Really all I need is good 38sp target Ammo. Something that won’t beat the crap out of my wrist as I shoot. You don’t need a lot of power to punch holes in paper.

Any recommendations?

For personal protection, 38sp +P is the way to go isn’t it? My pistol can handle either 38sp or 38sp +P

Forget to ask, what is UMC in the Ammo description?

No ammo recommendations but hopefully some details that might be pertinent to the topic of target shooting and personal protection.
If you’re shooting a handgun for accuracy (target shooting), I suspect that the weak link accuracy-wise isn’t the ammo, it’s the fact that you’re using a handgun.

If you want to shoot holes in paper, perhaps a 22lr would be best. 22lr ammo is dirt cheap and if you shoot a fair amount, it might justify the purchase of a 22lr pistol/rifle in terms of savings.

You say “pistol”, I understand that many people use that word in the sense of “handgun” where “handgun” can refer to either a pistol or a revolver.

If it’s a revolver you have, is it a 38special only or is it a 357 magnum? If the latter, it likely can accept both 38 special and 357 magnum. 357 magnum is quite preferable for personal protection.

Since the 357 magnum is a 38 special +++P, I guess 38 special +P to plain 38 special would be preferable for personal protection.

.38 Special is the caliber (of course). Remington UMC is the manufacturer. 130 grain is the bullet weight, a fairly standard target load weight, albeit on the high end for .38 Special (the .357 Magnum “gold standard” load is 158-grain). FMJ is full metal jacket, whch means that the lead is not exposed except at the base. There are also semi-jacketed hollow points, hollow points, wadcutters, semi-wadcutters, and unjacketed lead in addition to more exotic things like frangible bullets (which suck royal, don’t use them). FPS is feet per second. 790 FPS is subsonic, hence fairly quiet compared to supersonic rounds (1,126 fps at 68 degrees in dry conditions at sea level, if you were curious), but still loud in its own right.

Now THAT is one of the legendary arguments. Ask a 9-mm shooter what’s good for personal protection and you’ll get one of two answers: 115-grain jacketed hollow point, light and fast, or 147-grain jacketed hollow point, heavy and slow. I favor the latter, but that’s just me. The same argument exists for all calibers. The only thing we (virtually) all agree on is hollow point ammunition, with some holding out for wadcutters and a very small number favoring ball (full metal jacket ammunition). Given good shot placement, any of the above will work, but hollow points are better for you since they expand and dump energy, meaning that they don’t pass right through and hit grandma next door at her kitchen table. The feet per second number is just an indicator of how fast it is. For practical defense purposes it’s largely irrelevant. A .45 ACP round is slow and heavy but it demonstrably works, as does 9mm, .40 S&W, etc. Pick what you like and go with it. Arguing feet per second is gun hobbyist minutiae.

Nothing.

It can. Some surplus ammunition uses corrosive primers, and if you don’t clean your weapon after you’re done shooting it will be damaged. Also, the dirtier it is the longer it takes you to clean your weapon. Is a few cents saved worth the hassle or the possibility that it might gum something up that you might miss?

My advice to you is this: whatever you shoot, get target ammunition that approximates your carry/defense load. If you shoot light stuff for defense but heavy stuff at the range the difference may be enough to throw off your aim at the worst possible time when you need it the most.

Or you can be like me and get whatever and shoot a half-dozen guns such that you never really get used to a single load. I put Winchester white box and UMC through my guns all the time without issue, and it is rare indeed that a target load matches my carry load in any of my guns.

Regardless, be safe and have a good time.

EDIT: UMC means Union Metallic Cartridge, a company that Remington bought. It is nothing more than a brand name.

I recently bought the Smith & Wesson 638 Bodyguard .38 Special +P. A revolver and FAIK it takes only 38sp or +P rounds. I really need to borrow one of my dads .22’s target pistols and work on my aim. I spent a lot of time as a teenager plinking, but it’s been almost 20 years since I shot very often.

a review
http://www.gunreports.com/gow/handguns/Smith-Wesson-638-Bodyguard-38-Special-self-defense_1524-1.html

I had always thought that the 125 grain at 1400 fps load was the gold standard for .357 Magnum, per Messrs. Marshall and Sanow. (I agree with you, Doors, it’s all gun hobbyist minutiae.) IIRC, the load that SA Mireles used in the FBI Miami shootout to put down Matix was a 158 gr, 38 Special +P. (I’ve no doubt that the wiki is correct in that a .357 Magnum revolver was used, but I can see a snubby being loaded with .38 Special instead.) This is a minor quibble though. I need to look through my copy of American Gunfight, but I recall the Secret Service guys at the time of the Truman assassination attempt using .38s with 158 grain loads too.

Target loads, all else equal, will be loaded less hot than personal defense loads, and, in revolvers, will usually be wadcutters.

Have you considered taking up reloading, aceplace57? It’s usually much less expensive, and you have the benefit of tinkering with several variables to improve accuracy and consistency with your particular pistol.

Thanks for the info. I’ll try several loads and get a feel for them

Right now I’m leaning towards ordering this Ammo. My dad always shot Remington at the Bases’ Rod & Gun Club. It never let him down.

This one has Kleanbore primers and should make my gun cleaning afterward easier. 35 cents a round isn’t too bad for targets.
Ammo .38 Special UMC Target Metal Case 130 Grain 995 fps 250
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/74769-1.html

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