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13th Legion

Calibers for Survival - Your Input Please

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For those diehard .223 addicts, the AK does come in a .223 version and I am presently looking for one.

Remember that the 5.56 will shoot the .223 but the .223 will NOT handle the 5.56 NATO. It is dangerous to shoot 5.56 NATO in a weapon chambered for the .223.

 

My only complaint about the AK family is that the standard stock is much too short for me. My 5 ft tall wife loves it - the ergonomics are better for her than the AR platform. It is, beyond question, the easiest gun to clean I've ever found. Only thing easier than cleaning an AK is to not clean it. It will still shoot, just not quite as well.

 

At 6ft 2in the stock is too short for my comfort. I can handle it but it just isn't comfortable. I'm looking at the Ruger Mini-30 or getting an AK with a different stock. As to the 10-22, I agree. It is one of the most fun, accurate and easy shooting guns out there. I want one (I fired my grandson's and I'm hooked).

 

The 5.56 caliber Mattel CAR/M-16 or whatever else you want to call it is a weapon that is built to aircraft tolerances

 

Yep, precision manufacturing makes for efficient machinery but lousy combat weapons if you're not able to maintain them. Even with good maintenance, a malfunction at a shooting match is not nearly as serious as a malfunction at a "shooting".

 

I basically agree with what you have written. I like a double as a home defense weapon. The fastest second shot in the universe comes from a double and looking down twin tubes is as intimidating as it can get. Just my not so humble opinion.

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My only complaint about the AK family is that the standard stock is much too short for me. My 5 ft tall wife loves it - the ergonomics are better for her than the AR platform. It is, beyond question, the easiest gun to clean I've ever found. Only thing easier than cleaning an AK is to not clean it. It will still shoot, just not quite as well.

 

At 6ft 2in the stock is too short for my comfort. I can handle it but it just isn't comfortable. I'm looking at the Ruger Mini-30 or getting an AK with a different stock.

 

Capt Bart, I have to agree that many of the original AK stocks are extremely short. Luckily there are many companies that offer after-market stock sets so you can retrofit them. Some guys don't like an AK to get all "Barbie Dolled" up to the point that they almost look like an AR, but for me it helped out tremendously with the ergonomics. Adding an ATI stock set to mine actually made it more accurate too. Not sure if it has to do with the harmonics of the weapon, the fact that with the collapsible stock it actually fits me now, or it is the added weight of the newer stock allowing me to hold point of aim better. (Might be all three, I don't know) In any event, it looks great, and shoots even better.

 

I probably have more calibers for survival than some others do, but I am also looking at it for both my wife and me.

 

As far as pistols go, I have both .45acp and 9mm. The 45acp for me and the 9mm for my wife. There are two reasons behind this. The .45 although maybe not as commonly used by LE is certainly a proven combat round and if I am having trouble locating it then 9mm is much more common and easily attainable.

 

I have a couple different bolt action rifles but I really don't worry about them as much. I have the ability to hunt large game if need be, but I am pretty certain if it gets that bad there won't be much large game around. (Not animal at least) So I stick with the .22LR cartridge. Pretty versatile round for small and medium game.

 

For shot guns I have both 12 and 20 gauge. (Again) One for me and one for my wife. (:rolleyes:She is actually a better shot when trap shooting than I am.) Probably the most versatile weapon that a survivalist can own.

 

Carbine wise I like the 7.62x39. The ballistics are about the same as the 30-30 and although not as straight shooting as the .223 (5.56 NATO) it can be used for taking larger game while hunting if needed.

 

One thing that I think needs mentioned as well is the importance of concealment. Although I would like to think that if it gets bad enough that I would just throw the AK over my shoulder and start walking through town, that may not be the case or even possible depending on the scenario. For this reason handguns are an important necessity for any survivalist.

 

All of this of course is just my opinion and YMMV.

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CCSir,

The important thing about the AK isn't the looks but the functioning. General Mikhail

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Kalashnikov

designed one heck of a solid shooting platform. The external looks don't get to me much. I may have to find one of the longer stocks and see how it works for me.

As for shotguns, if I was starting fresh, I'd have 20 gauge instead of a mix. The difference in recoil is substantial but the difference in hitting power doesn't show up except at extreme range. As I age I'm discovering that the makers of 12 gauge ammo slip more recoil into their shells each year! (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I enjoy a 20 now much more than a 12.

I also have 9 and .45 for carry. I can't always carry a .45 and my wife likes 9mm. I also have guns I just enjoy shooting. That's allowed, I'm told. I have no need for an elephant gun (unless I'm planning to shoot out an engine block or a circus train wrecks close to the house) but it is fun to shoot just like my black powder and cowboy stuff is. Could they be used for survival issues? Sure but they wouldn't be my first choice. Taken squirrel hunting, a .375 H&H Mag might leave a little fur on the tree, if it left the tree.

The trouble with things getting "bad enough" is that it most likely won't be a step function. We won't go from good times to TEOTWAWKI in 15 minutes. There will be a gradual build up which can be dangerous enough by itself. Get in trouble then and it is hard to survive from a jail cell.

My personal opinion is that a hand gun is never my first choice but I always have one. It is my "where did that (here name least favorite predator) come from and how did he get so bloody close" weapon. Cowboys carried their Colts to shoot their horses if they got hung up in the stirrup or a longhorn that got feisty or a big cat that is getting too close to the herd. Rarely did they get used in a gun fight, TV westerns not withstanding.

Just my not so humble opinion.

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If anyone has read my earlier posts, I am an AR guy. It was what I used, and what I am comfortable with. i like the fact that I can have thirty in a magazine, and touch someone at 500+ yards. the rifle i currently have has only two problems with it. One, the sights are not "affixed", they are mounted on rails. I have a detachable carry handle, and a detachable front sight. I originally had an Eotech, but got rid of it due to the battery issue. Two, the stock is collapsible. i am looking into getting a fixed stock, which will be more reliable, and offer a better cheek weld. If I could change those two things, it would be perfect for me. 5.56 is eally a overpowered .22, and as such, you could run a conversion kit in your gun (Which I plan on doing, working on getting the release of funds from my wife to get one) and use it as your small game gun. I agree wholeheartedly on the .22LR views. that round is indispensable. its too useful to not have something that shoots it. i am not sure where I heard this, but supposedly the .22 burns all of its powder within 16". That being said, a 16.5" barrel would be about perfect for a .22LR as it would burn off all the powder, and have minimal drag from the barrel afterwards. If that is the case, it really makes the argument for a 16.5" barrel a moot one for me. i have seen Marines shoot the M-4, which has a 14.5" barrel on the rifle range, and hit man sized targets out to 500 yards, so accuracy is not an issue. The only issues would be terminal effect. that all being said, I would trade hitting power, over familiarity any day. What i lack in stopping power, I make up for in skill.

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Mike,

My only two issues with conversions are that you have two weapons with single points of failure (break the trigger group in the AR and both .22 and 5.56 are out of service for example) and when configured for .22, you don't HAVE a 5.56 for defense. Not sure how long the change over takes but for that amount of time, you don't have your 5.56.

The only other consideration would be the cost of the conversion set compared to the cost of a separate .22 rifle/carbine. There are plenty of .22's out there for under $200 so is it really cost effective to go with the conversion.

Just food for thought.

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I agree. While probably really fun to shoot, and AR .22LR conversion is not for me. You can buy 2 Ruger 10/22's for the price of one AND a few bricks of ammo. Like Bart said about the single point of failure. Break a trigger spring and you are out two weapons.

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I see the practical reasons for limiting your calibers, and I have tried to practice some restraint. However, sometimes you need the right tool for the job. In the interest of practicality, I have so far managed to avoid .32, .380, 40S&W and gone with 22LR, 9mm, 38/357, and 45ACP in pistol. Keep it simple. For shotgun, I have gone with 12 gauge, though I did consider 20 gauge for the reasons Capt noted.

 

For rifle, I decided to embrace more diversity and went with 22LR, 5.56, 7.62x39, 30-30, .308, 7.62x54, and 30-06. I have one odd-ball caliber, 7.5 French, and I would not part with this rifle despite the cost of the ammo and the scarcity. The MAS 49/56 is one sweet rifle and Prvi Partizan makes the ammo. By the way, these guys make some pretty good rounds, including (for Ready?for?What) .303. I have multiples for each except for the 7.5 French because as has been said many times, two is one and one is none. I figure these calibers have me covered out to 300-400 yards. Anybody see hole in my coverage?

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Anybody see hole in my coverage?

I didn't see any MPADS! I hear the Libyans have them on the market now. (tongue firmly planted in cheek :) )

 

Bill,

Looks like a good mix. There are plenty of calibers I don't NEED but want. M1 Carbines have been singing a siren song to me for years. I may yet surrender and get one. You have a solid survival arsenal with the .22, the 12, and any one of the 30 caliber rifles. Everything else is backup and just sheer joy of shooting. I got rid of the 9X18 just because I didn't like shooting it, didn't like the platform I had for it and I didn't trust it as a defensive gun. It is now history. I traded it for a .380 for my daughter - she likes the Kel Tec P3, trusts it and is good with it.

 

I always tell folks, decide WHAT you need a firearm to do. The mission will decide the caliber and platform. The other thing is, "I like shooting it" is a valid mission. Sometimes we forget that fact.

Edited by Capt Bart
spelling

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Thanks, Capt Bart. I appreciate your words. Shooting for the fun of it does have some benefit, as it gets me off the couch and out working on my shooting skills. I've thought about the M1 carbine once or twice just because, but recently I decided to save up for a M1 Garand shooter instead. I picked up some inexpensive Greek 30-06 ball at a gunshow. Any experience with the Garands? Other than mixed parts and worn barrels, anything else I should watch for when hunting one up?

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I see the practical reasons for limiting your calibers, and I have tried to practice some restraint. However, sometimes you need the right tool for the job. In the interest of practicality, I have so far managed to avoid .32, .380, 40S&W and gone with 22LR, 9mm, 38/357, and 45ACP in pistol. Keep it simple. For shotgun, I have gone with 12 gauge, though I did consider 20 gauge for the reasons Capt noted.

 

For rifle, I decided to embrace more diversity and went with 22LR, 5.56, 7.62x39, 30-30, .308, 7.62x54, and 30-06. I have one odd-ball caliber, 7.5 French, and I would not part with this rifle despite the cost of the ammo and the scarcity. The MAS 49/56 is one sweet rifle and Prvi Partizan makes the ammo. By the way, these guys make some pretty good rounds, including (for Ready?for?What) .303. I have multiples for each except for the 7.5 French because as has been said many times, two is one and one is none. I figure these calibers have me covered out to 300-400 yards. Anybody see hole in my coverage?

 

If you have all of these calibers at home, I suppose that is one thing. If you're on the move, I would think you'll have to choose fewer. I still believe having the right gun in your hand with the right ammo within reach could be confusing in any situation.

 

One solution I have come up with for flight is the Magpul Masada AR Platform. One carbine/rifle with interchangeable 5.56/6.8/7.62x39 capability (I still need to purchase the barrels and parts for 6.8 and 7.62x39). It all has to stay packed together of course.

 

That said, it is the backup, my main rifle will be in 7.62x51/.308. I picked up a Remington 700 in .308, but it's certainly not a TEOTWAWKI gun. In the future I hope to land a H&K762 Civilian with EO Tech sights and AAC Suppressor. If not, it will likely be a POF (Patriot Ordinance).308. Once I have this, accessories, sights, and so on are interchangeable between the Masada and H&K/POF. BTW I shot a FN Scar17, but the constant movement of the charging handle is too bothersome for me and takes me longer to get back on target. Otherwise it would be my #1 choice. Others may not have an issue with this.

 

.308/7.62x51 is so versatile. Self-Defense and CQC, Sniper, Barrier Penetration, and Hunting. Further, .308 and 7.62x51 is interchangeable. Not always so with 5.56 and .223. Go to a Big Box store and you'll find .223, but 5.56 is non-existent. Further 5.56/.223 really is a varmint cartridge. Trying to bring down larger game, at best, you'll be tracking a wounded deer much too far. As mentioned before there are may registered kills with the 5.56 in Iraq/Afghanistan, but doing some research, it is due to the sheer quantity of 5.56 Carbines. 7.62x51 primary use is in Sniper platform rifles.

 

I don't want to turn this into any sort of age old caliber argument, but having researched this since I first started the thread, for me, there is just too many experienced special force, regular military members, and firearms "experts" who are not satisfied with the 5.56. The 6.8 may very well be the future, but for now quantities are way too limited to consider it for a primary cartridge in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

 

While I personally love my 30-30 and the 30.06 cartridge, to me, they just mean extra ammo and guns. I can't stress enough the need for everyone to consider an AR type platform weapon. For hunting the .308 is better than the 30-30 and not far enough behind the 30.06 to quantify carrying another rifle and ammo.

 

Handgun wise, it's a FN-FNP45 Tactical with AAC Suppressor. The 15 rnd mag solves the capacity issue with .45s. Next two will be a Compact 45* and a back-up 9mm* and possibly a sub-compact 9mm ankle gun. I also will pick up a S&W Governor. A revolver with.45ACP/.45LC/.410 capability. *My favorite choices are FH FNPs and S&W MPs.

 

As said before I have a 12 gauge, but would like to upgrade to the Remington 870 MCS, of course minus the 10" barrel (illegal). Another additional consideration is the Mossberg JIC Mariner that has a stainless steel barrel.

 

Finally, a .22 for the reasons given by many. I am considering the Henry Survival rifle to legally carry in my back pack while hiking and canoeing. (Handgun on me as well). If I went full rifle, I would probably go with one of the new .22 tactical rifles based on the AR design. Besides matching accessories, developing a familiarity with this platform is a benefit, not to mention, saving money practicing at the firing range! I know, most of you know this, but just-in-case; regardless of what weapons you choose, practice is so very important. You can't or shouldn't just collect an arsenal and store them away.

 

I suppose if I am missing something useful, it might be a PDW in a Handgun caliber. H&K makes the UMP in .45, but it isn't cheap. One point for the 5.56 is that a few companies make PDWs in this, but no one makes a 7.62x51. Going this route could add a lot of cost, weapon and ammo.

 

I think we can all agree that because this is about SHTF scenarios, exotic ammo such as 5.7 and 6.5 Grendel, and so on, just isn't practical long term. Replenishment is the obvious issue. Otherwise I might go 6.8 Carbine, 5.7 PDW and handgun, but right now it's just not a good choice.

 

One thing I have learned is this; when selecting Firearms and Ammo, you can't always use or compare to Military or LEO. Our military's ammo (type such as no hollow point not cartridge) is limited by Laws of Armed Conflict, and LEOs are limited by cartridge size. So be careful, besides Full-Auto, we as civilians sometimes have better choices.

 

So I know I still have much to buy/build up. But it comes down to:

 

7.62x51/.308, .45ACP, 12 gauge, .22 which entails accumulation of ammunition. Back-up platforms include one weapon each of; 5.56/7.62x39 and 9mm, which entail limited amounts of 5.56 and 9mm ammunition.

 

Well, that's where I'm at and my goals. For now. It's a fool who never changes their mind... great discussion.

Edited by 13th Legion

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Very good points, Legion. I'm not planning to lug most of that ammo anywhere but to the range. If we have to bug out, my pick will be .308, 9mm, .22LR and 12 gauge. I agree the 45ACP packs more punch, but you have to consider other factors. My wife is set with her 9mm carbine and pistol, so we can share ammo ( and pistol magazines).

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I have been looking at this whole ammo issue...

 

As a result I'm thinking about getting rid of my 30-30 and picking up a Ruger Mini 30. I don't think I'm giving up anything by dropping the lever gun, the balistics of the two rounds (30-30 vs 7.62x39) are very similar, and it means that I'll have one less caliber that I'll have to carry.

 

The only negative thing that I've heard about the Mini 30 so far came from one of the salesmen at the gun shop who told me that they had an issue with steel case cartridges...has anyone else heard anything about this?

Edited by vonBayern

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Most of the responses have sounded like the Alabama v Auburn debate to me. Good points on both sides and well thought out rebuttals. I say go with what your comfortable with, then practice as much as you can.

 

As to the mini 30 not handling the steel cases a lot of the AR platforms have that issue as well as other Ruger products, from what I've read in this and other threads. Additionally you have to watch out that the steel case is capped by a steel bullet, which are banned at all of the indoor ranges in my area.

 

I personally went with a .40 S&W, 12 ga and am leaning towards the 5.56 because I am in the middle of one of the largest urban areas on the west coast,in terms of area if not population. The most dangerous creature I'll be facing for the first half of my BO moves on two legs! Actually the thought of going to .22 cal (say a 1022) is starting to sound like the better option and the move up to the 5.56. Since I haven't fired a long gun in over 20 years, I would be basically starting from square one, it would be a cheaper learning curve. 22s are much cheaper to feed then the larger caliber, and moving the hard won skills up is easy enough.

 

Just some of my evolving thoughts.

Ben

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Ben,

In your environment, the .22LR is a decent choice. I suspect it will be substantially cheaper than an AR, is less 'demonized' in the city areas, is certainly cheaper to train on, at city ranges is very effective. I really like the 10/22. Don't have one but have shot one and really liked it. When finances allow, a 5.56 would be a step up but you would not be unarmed with the .22 and a .40 is a solid caliber, at least that is my not so humble opinion.

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Sort of off topic but I think your far from unarmed with a frying pan and a willingness to use it. Armed and unarmed is as much a mind set as it is a choice of weapon. The guy with the tricked out space gun who is afraid to go outside to get more water is probably less psychologically armed then the crack head that's come up with a cunning scheme to beat him with a rock and rob him. I don't know where I'm going with this but it popped into my head so I'm sharing.

 

But a very true statement.

nakid women pop into my head maybe you need to have that looked into LOL

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Sort of off topic but I think your far from unarmed with a frying pan and a willingness to use it. Armed and unarmed is as much a mind set as it is a choice of weapon. The guy with the tricked out space gun who is afraid to go outside to get more water is probably less psychologically armed then the crack head that's come up with a cunning scheme to beat him with a rock and rob him. I don't know where I'm going with this but it popped into my head so I'm sharing.

 

Not off topic. The primary, and ONLY acceptable, caliber for defense and survival is the major caliber weapon being used for something other than keeping your ears separated. The reason that there have not been any successful hijackings since 9-11 is not the presence of the federal officers on board. The primary reason is that the passengers and crew will not cooperate. Prior to 9-11 they all cooperated to avoid getting anyone hurt. That was policy everywhere. Now? Yeah, right! I know some cabin crew. Ask them and they will tell you the cockpit door WILL NOT BE OPENED! Period, end of discussion. They can't have sharp objects, of course. TSA must keep us safe from those dastardly crew members who might destroy the plane with a butter knife - feel safe now? The thing is this, those 'disarmed' crewmembers know just how good a weapon is scalding hot coffee or a coffee pot or a fire extinguisher (either sprayed or used as a club) or the buckle on the 'demo belt' or ??????.

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A .22 40g jhp,will penetrate 10 inches of flesh,so where you put that bullet counts allot.

147g 9mm jhp

230g .45 jhp

Just remenber that you most deal with overpenetration,is very important to know what`s behind what ever you are shooting at.

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Four most important (Due to commonness) calibers.

 

12 Gauge (It's not a caliber, but it sill counts!)

.22 LR

9MM (More firearms are chambered in 9MM than .45 ACP, to my understanding.)

.308

 

If you have an AR-15 or an AK-47, throw the respectable ammo into the mix, but I don't think 5.56 or 7.62X39MM is as common as say 12 Gauge.

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A .22 40g jhp,will penetrate 10 inches of flesh,so where you put that bullet counts allot.

147g 9mm jhp

230g .45 jhp

Just remenber that you most deal with overpenetration,is very important to know what`s behind what ever you are shooting at.

Ready,

no disagreement but remember, when the adrenaline in pumping, fine motor skills (like careful aim) are only a memory. There have been pistoleers who have the reputation for not flinching (Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Bill Hickok for examples) but I am certainly not one of them. Given a two way lead exchange, I most certainly will flinch. I therefore aim center of mass as that gives me the best chance of hitting something in the general area I'm aiming for.

Your comment about over penetration and downrange is very true and must be considered to protect the innocent.

Edited by Capt Bart

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well here we go again

 

NATO calibers first

 

12 ga., 7.62x51, {shoots .308 9MM, 5.56, {shoots .223 22 long rifle {it is used by everyone for training}

 

as far as everything else.

 

7.62x39 is equal to 30-30 winchester

7.62X54R is more like 30-06

 

as long as you have plenty of spam cans of ammo for these 2 who cares they work

the problem I have is lack of ammo first weapons depends on your pocket book should be nato

if lack of funds then the sks ar ak or the moison just make sure you buy both the ammo and gun.

or else it is a boat paddle ammo can dry up on these fast as you can blink.

 

as far as carbines they have better ballistics than their pistol counterparts here is a link to info

 

http://ballisticsbytheinch.com/

 

357 mag shoots 38 special also and a carbine as well as a pistol are easy to find

and good enough for any thing south of the mason Dixon line.

 

Unless your in big animal country then you may need 44 mag pistol rifle combo..

 

.40 S&W is a good caliber but unless you got 2K rounds your under stocked and 5 or 6 mags

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Every time I get into one of these discussions, it reminds me that, when it comes to firearms and ammo, I am a greedy, greedy man. If I could only pick four sizes of ammo, I’d go with:

 

40 – for my M&P-40 and Beretta Storm in 40

22 – we all have handguns and rifles because this is so flexible

7.62 X 39 – sorry, I like the AKs because, as Cap’n Bart pointed out, they just keep shooting. That and have yet bought anything in 223/556. Got a Beowulf, though. Looks like a 223 but makes a big boom.

50 – for 50 BMG. Ya, no one NEEDS one… but they are awesome to shoot!

 

But for some reason, I want one of everything! I have all sorts of various ammo in the locker. I kind of like it that way. The wife said that I have bought enough. That’s as close to a divorce as we have been in the last 32 years. She’ll never say that again… I hope!

 

Snake, you are a wise man... a very wise man.

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