40 Cal Hollow Point Failure | DHS Buys 450 Million Rounds?

Article Posted: April 6, 2012

There has been some stink in the tin foil hat wearing community as of late over the DHS signing a contract for 450 million Federal HST JHP 180gr bullets. The media has been calling them death stars, barrier penetrating, man killers, top of the line .40 cal ammo.

Im not sure why the 50,000 Border Patrol and TSA [TSA Blows] need the ammo, but let's at least look at the facts. The hollow point is the only bullet people with half a brain carry for self defense, and this is because of the fact that it expands and creates more damage. The Federal HST JHP 180gr is not the most expensive 40 cal bullet, in fact I purchased several boxes for $16.95 each and did so not because they were the best and most expensive, but because it's "plinking ammo price" for hollow point rounds. This way I don't feel guilty spending $75 shooting 150 rounds just having fun. Instead I spent $50 and go home not feeling so guilty. It's basic math and economics really.

Not only are these bullets not the best but they have a pretty poor expansion rate, and if the DHS purchased these for active duty rounds in order to project their agents then they may have made a poor decision. These bullets "clog" with material and do not expand. We had about a 70% proper expansion rate vs 30% clog rate. This means that the ammo is not so effective on persons with heavy winter jackets or vest. When they fail you get increased penetration (maybe even over), but less expansion.This expansion prevents over penetration and ensures that all the energy is deposited in the target. The end result smaller permanent cavitation, and in the case of over penetration (Bullet passes straight through target because it fails to expand) less of an "energy dump" into the target.

Maybe they should have adopted the FBI testing standard of 2-3 layers of heavy denim over ballistic gelatin, if they had they would have seen this result.

We will do some follow up tests with FBI grade balistics gel and some clothing barrier to see if this was a fluke.

Let's Have A Look at the Pictures

Federal HST JHP 180gr

This is plain white box that the bullets come in. Pretty cheap packaging. They do have a plastic bullet tray to hold the rounds, some of the even cheaper bullets dont even come with trays.

See it says..."Federal HST JHP 180gr"

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Federal HST JHP 180gr failure

Failed expansion when penetrating hardcover book. We had about a 30% failure rate when target shooting an old computer book. This was not meant to be a balistic test but when we pulled the book apart we were suprised to find a large percentage of the Federal HST JHP 180gr rounds clogged with debri. More expensive rounds like Hornady Critical Defense have a core that ensures that the hollow point will not be clogged and thus have proper and even expansion.

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properly expanded

This is what the bullets look like when they properly expand. Notice the copper jacket over the lead core. A jacketed..hollow..point.

Properly expanded these bullets grow in diameter from 10.15 mm a width of 30.10 mm. This was measured using a set of digital calipers. This is a great expansion rate if it were consistent, but it is not. This expansion prevents over penetration and ensures that all the energy is deposited in the target. The end result smaller permanent cavitation

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So whats the verdict?

So what do we think of the Federal HST JHP 180gr rounds? We think you should buy some too, not for your main defense ammo but for fun. At less than $20 a box for hollow points they are a pretty good deal. We purchased ours at SG Ammo if you want some hop over there and get them shipped right to your door.

The Attacker

This is the book that attacked me. Im pretty sure I ruined its day. The book is a 1200+ pages and a hard cover book. It was about 10 years old, and seen better days anyhow.

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round expanded to 30.1mm

This is a photo of the round expanded to 30.1mm at its widest point from from 10.15 mm on top of the ammo box. Nice photo so I figured what the heck let's put it in the article. lol.

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Link to this Article: http://gundata.org/blog/post/federal-40-cal-hollow-point-failure/

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