Ammo Commonality vs. The Right Cartridge for the Job

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Ammo Commonality vs. The Best Cartridge for the Job

Ammo commonality
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67%
The best firearm/cartridge combination for the job
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33%
 
Total votes: 42

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Ammo Commonality vs. The Right Cartridge for the Job

Post by quazi » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:09 am

I've been planning out my future firearms purchases, and I've had some difficulty deciding what I want. I like the idea of ammo commonality, it's nice to only have to stock a few different cartridges and have multiple firearms chambered in each. On the other hand, by limiting my choices to a few cartridges I might not be able to get the “ideal” gun/cartridge for the job I want the firearm to do.

So what do you guys think? Is it better to get the best gun/cartridge for each specific job, but end up with a dozen different cartridges to stock, or is it better to have a handful of different cartridges with multiple firearms chambered in each, but possibly compromise a little on the effectiveness of each?

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Post by TheMonkeyMan » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:50 am

Id say the best round for the job, but on that note there are not many jobs that cannot be done with 7.62NATO/.308 Win.

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Post by Trebor » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:41 am

What are the different jobs you want to accomplish?

Really, once you narrow it down to "classes" of cartridges, there isn't anything one can do that another in the same class won't do just as well.

For instance, for a handgun for personal defense, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP all fill the same role. If you want to minimize, there's no need to get more then one caliber for a semi-auto in that role.

If you need a smaller gun with a smaller round, .380 ACP and 9x18 Mak and .32 ACP all accomplish the same role. But, with the smaller 9mm's available today, I don't know if you'd even need a .380 ACP class weapon.

On the revolver side, either .357 Mag or .38 Special is fine. If you get a .357 Mag weapon you have the option of shooting either one, but could primarily or even exclusively stock .38's.

For rifles, there's small bore, where the .22 LR rules, and then "intermediate" rounds like the 5.56, 7.62x39, 5.45 or 6.8 SPC. They are all designed for defensive use and all do about the same thing. Pick the one you like best. No need to stock them all unless you want to.

For the larger calibers there is no real practical difference between the performance of .308 and .30 - '06. Either one would accomplish what you want a "battle rifle" cartridge to do. They both would work for both hunting or self defense.

If you have .308, for instance, there is no need to get a .270 in addition or a 6.5 Swede or whatever. The .308 would accomplish anything those other two rounds would do just as well.

Now, if you like guns and want guns in different calibers because you like the gun, that's a different story. But, for pure NEEDs, all you need is a few calibers. One in every category would do you.

One handgun round - 9mm, .40 or .45 ACP being the top three choices.
One revolver round - .357 or .38, if you want both a semi and a revolver.
One "intermediate" rifle round - 5.56, 5.45, 7.62x39, etc.
One larger caliber rifle round - .308, .30 - '06, etc.

Heck, you don't really need BOTH a intermediate round and a large caliber round if you really want to minimize. Pick the category that best fits your needs and stick with that. In my mind, the large caliber round would be more flexible, but others may disagree.

Oh, and if you do shotguns, just get a 12 gauge and be done with it.

It's much simplier then it seems, if you really want to go that route.
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Post by zombie_mike » Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:39 am

With modern ammo, the difference is becoming smaller everyday. Not to say, of course, that a handgun cartdrige is on the same level as a rifle cartridge etc...but for common uses...such as personal defense and hunting, etc, multiple calibers can do the job well.

For example, a deer can be taken with a .243 as well as with a .308, .270, 7.62x39 and even the 5.56x45.

Further, a decent, well-placed 9mm will kill just as well as a decent, well-placed .45, no matter what you read on the net.

I personally go for commonality. This is both for the above reason and the fact that it keeps the cost down.

If you want to keep 35 different calibers and wish to keep them stocked, go for it.

Another thought would be only to keep common calibers (.308, .223, 9mm, .45, .22lr, etc) so in the event of a SHTF moment, you can hopefully find replacements.
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Post by F.I.B. » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:16 am

I mostly agree with the above, as long as your are not hunting specialty animals (e.g. large predators, African game etc). This should be a very complete setup.

The shotgun should be in there as well because it is IMHO the most versatile firearm around.

I would probably go .44 magnum on the revolver because it is IMHO a real step above the hot loaded semi auto calibers.(if you want a revolver). And only if you are comfortable shooting it!

.22lr is fun, easy to shoot, cheap and great for training.

My list would probably be:

.22lr Handgun or rifle your choice (or both :lol: )
12ga Shotgun
.308 / 30-06 / .270 / etc. Rifle
9mm / .40 / .45 ACP Handgun
5.56x45 / 7.62x39 / etc Rifle

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Post by Obiwan » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:22 am

While it is a lot of fun to argue the relative merits of different calibers.....

I agree with these two very smart guys :D

I once had a whole host of weapons in different calibers......kept adding new ones mostly because I liked the platform and it was most readily available in XXX caliber

and don't get me started on the damage my C&R did to my efforts at consolidation :shock:

But my efforts to stock a good supply of ammo for each got out of hand.....my basement looked like an ammo dump

I still have room for improvement...but I have done reasonably well at consolidation....which with rising ammo costs is nice :wink:

And while I may not have the best weapon/caliber for a given job....there is not a lot I cannot achieve with what I have
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Post by jor-el » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:40 am

What you really want to discuss is budget.

If you had thousands of dollars to burn annually, it wouldn't matter to limit your ammo choices. Storage would become the bigger issue.

For us mortals, one must strike a balance in what you can afford, how much storage space you have, and likely uses.
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Post by doc66 » Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:00 am

I like the ammo/rifle to do the job approach. I posted somewhere else here all the rounds that I reload for and it was something like 25 different calibers. My approach is; if I find ammo, I can use it. If I find a firearm, I have ammo for it.

I keep wanting to lighten up the choices in my personal battery, I really do, but then I find that special one that just looks really cool or fits so nicely in my hand and then next thing I know, there's another caliber to the battery.

But, Trebor gives good advice on all this... Decide what you want it to do, pick the one that works the best for the situation and use it. The .22, 9mm, .38/357, 12 gauge, .308 is a good all around battery for the "everything" PAW. I left out the .40 and .45 because of expense, but the .40 would be the next choice up from a 9mm. A good question to ask yourself for this battery is "what does the local PD carry?" In a PAW, it might be that you'll need that ammo/magazine interchangability. Nearly evey patrol car in the US has a 12 gauge of some sort in the car, so that's a good bet.

While I agree that the .223 is a good round for the personal defense battery, it can be a little light for deer-sized game if you're not sure of your abilities to take game cleanly. It would actually be my last purchase once I had something in all the other calibers.

If you must, you can get by with the simple approach of a pistol of some kind and the shotgun. A 9mm/.40 caliber pistol with 12+ rounds in the mag and the 12 gauge sporting a slug barrel will met the needs of most PAW survivors. You can get by with brid shot, buckshot and slugs for longer ranges. The key to any battery is; practice. Practice shouldering, sighting, reloading, and shooting. Practice all the time and everywhere. Sitting in front fo the TV with an unloaded pistol is good practice. Dry fire and dry fire practice practice practice.
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Post by Abacus » Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:26 am

I vote for commonality. Bullet is a bullet, I'll make do with what I have, I just want to have as much ammo available as possible.
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Post by Jonas » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:11 am

I agree with Trebor about grouping firearms into classes and matching calibers within them. There are a lot of reasons to have the same ammo for your sub-compact and full size pistol; but there are fewer to have the same round in your precision long range gun and your MBR.

As far as stocking up on ammo, I don’t think it’s necessary to have 1000 rounds for every gun you own. If you buy a 30-30 as a ‘brush gun’ for hunting, it’s an appropriate task specific choice but if you don’t have any intentions of using it as a bug and have a better gun to fill that position, you might not need to keep more than 50 rounds stocked up for it.

Lastly, I think the concept of having a common round for scrounging ammo is largely a fallacy. However I think passing over ballistics for purchasing power is generally a good call. Really anything with a surplus market or bargain prices is going to be relatively common, so it works out to be the same. I just dislike the mindset of finding boxes of ammo in a disaster like they are power-ups in a video game.
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Post by muscleman_coffeemesto » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:23 am

12 Gauge, .357/38spl, .45ACP combo for me.
I've picked my ammo, now it's time to find a rifle/carbine that shoots either .357 or .45 that I like.
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Post by doc66 » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:40 am

Jonas wrote:Lastly, I think the concept of having a common round for scrounging ammo is largely a fallacy. However I think passing over ballistics for purchasing power is generally a good call. Really anything with a surplus market or bargain prices is going to be relatively common, so it works out to be the same. I just dislike the mindset of finding boxes of ammo in a disaster like they are power-ups in a video game.
And why is that? Even the "Top Firearms Instructors" in the United States tout this as a reasonable possibility. John Farnum, Mas Ayoob and others talk about this over beers after the range day. My favorite remark from John when asked why he prefered the .308 over other rounds was "Because when the End of the World happens, I know I can get .308 from the burnt out shell of every country store and sporting goods in America."
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Post by Jamie » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:47 am

At one point, after being in these forums for a while and getting a headache thinking about all of the different ammo types that people shot, I briefly considered simplifying to the point of just owning/shooting/stocking 9mm...

I figured that I could get most bases covered (at least out to 75-100 yards) with a handgun and a carbine in 9mm...

After mulling over this for a while, I decided that I like shooting my 22lr rifle, like hunting with my 30.06, like owning a 12G shotgun, and wanted to get a milsurp rifle with semi-auto capability...

I also bought a cheap 20G at a gunshow recently ($50), and have had fun playing with that...and I want to get a handgun or 3 (9mm, 22lr, and .410)...

So...that leaves me with...22, 30.06, 12G, 7.62x39mm, 20G, 9mm, and .410...7 different ammo types...

I wouldn't/won't stock tons of all of them...22, 7.62X39mm, 12G, and 9mm...with lesser amounts of the other ones...

Shit...that's too many, time to rethink...maybe... :wink:

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Post by IllTemperedCur » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:50 am

Some folks feel that a lot of the commercial loadings are just marketing tools to get people to purchase new firearms. .204 Ruger and .357SIG have been accused of this, even though they do their jobs quite well.

I'd make a distinction between firearms for serious use (home/self defense, subsistence hunting, pest control and zombie eradication), and firearms for fun (cowboy action shooting, benchrest and silhouette shooting, generalized noisemaking). Different jobs, different ammo stocking requirements.

But ultimately, you have to live with your firearms choices yourself.
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Post by lefty » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:57 am

I think it is a good question adn you ahve gotten some good advice.

I was taought the guns are tools a few basic ones that everyone should have, (and know how to use) and then if you like you can expand.

A good pistol auto or rev
a good shot gun 12 ga
a 22 lr
a good rifle

with these you can handle most situations including a shtf. you can defend your self or harvest game of nearly any type.

Once you have these and know how to use them then expand if you like. but IMO there is not much you can not do with the weapons listed above and do not get sucked into mall ninja hype. A good 30-30 lever action will get the job done for example in the rifle area you do not need an AR with every bell and wistle, know how to use the tool is MORE important that having a cool tool. The range is full of guys running around with $$$$ AR's and I would much rather face any of them then to have faced my grandfather with his marlin.

I recently decieded to pick a defense round (special tool) I went with 5.56 and have a good AR and a mini 14 to fire it, I will eventually add another AR for the wife. Do not get me wrong I do love my Bushmaster and mini 14 and would grab them now if the SHTF but if I had too before these I have a marlin 30-30 that I feel sure I could accomplish the same results with.
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Post by Jonas » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:07 am

I think that a disaster compiled with wide spread looting and rioting will deplete or destroy your average sporting goods or big box store in less than a week.

The concept of having the same rounds as the military and police in hopes of scavenging ammo is a valid one; but it works on the assumption that they have been somehow incapacitated, as surely they will never willingly give civilians ammo. Working under this premise you could just as easily scavenge weapons, or more likely, assume that the person/s that incapacitated them has walked off with their weapon as well as their ammo.

I don’t think that I’d ever advocate using a .35 Whelen as a bug, as clearly commonality should work in your favor. I just happen to think that the time to find ammo in a disaster is before it happens.
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Post by Obiwan » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:17 am

doc66 wrote:"Because when the End of the World happens, I know I can get .308 from the burnt out shell of every country store and sporting goods in America."
Notice John said it was why he preferred .308.

Common calibers good.....stocking every caliber....maybe not so much :wink:
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Post by mantis » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:37 am

doc66 wrote:And why is that? Even the "Top Firearms Instructors" in the United States tout this as a reasonable possibility. John Farnum, Mas Ayoob and others talk about this over beers after the range day. My favorite remark from John when asked why he prefered the .308 over other rounds was "Because when the End of the World happens, I know I can get .308 from the burnt out shell of every country store and sporting goods in America."
The problem is that everyone else and his brother has the same idea and is poking through those very same smoking ruins.
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Post by Organdonor » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:41 am

I have 5 types of rafle ammo in my house, to feed a multitude of long arms in those calibers.

12 gauge... for sporting and HD
.22... for plinking and survival hunting
.223 for plinking, and commonality
7.62X39 for the cheapest but effective for HD/Zombies
7.62X51 for a "cheap" heavy round, at longer distances, for deer and zombies.

The last three rounds are for my ARs. Between those 5 rounds, I'm pretty much covered for the most common types of ammo I can scrounge up for my rifles.

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Post by zombie_mike » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:54 am

I think NFA and Obi brought up a pretty good point....there is a BIG difference between owning a variety of different calibers and stocking up ammo for the PAW. I stock 9mm and 7.62x39, but I also own a variety of other calibers. While I do keep ammo on hand for these calibers, I've run out before with no loss of sleep. Meanwhile, I always have 9 and x39 on hand.

So, to the OP, my advice is to get whatever makes you giddy, but limit your stockpiling to what you will take when you BO. Honestly, if you are really honest with yourself, you aren't going to bug out with 12 different calibers, just because they are specialized for what you MIGHT find.

As was said before, there's not a lot a cartridge like a x39 can't do...I'm going to guess even the largest of African game cannot stand up to 30 rounds of Soviet gold.
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Post by FelixArchon » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:54 pm

Are commonality and effectiveness mutually exclusive?

There really aren't a lot of jobs beyond the combined capabilities of .22, .223, .308, .45, and 12 ga. (I own more calibers than those, but those are the ones I keep significant supplies of. Oh, and 54R, because at that price, why not?) People will always be fascinated by exotic weapons and chamberings, but there's a reason that common calibers are common. All in all, if you think you're going to be facing unusual situations, you'd probably be better served by buying a common caliber and buying quality training for that situation, rather than spending the same amount on an exotic weapon custom built for that scenario.

Just my .02.

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Post by crypto » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:25 pm

doc66 wrote: And why is that? Even the "Top Firearms Instructors" in the United States tout this as a reasonable possibility. John Farnum, Mas Ayoob and others talk about this over beers after the range day. My favorite remark from John when asked why he prefered the .308 over other rounds was "Because when the End of the World happens, I know I can get .308 from the burnt out shell of every country store and sporting goods in America."
In my mind this falls under exactly the same category as "bugging out to wal-mart". If TS ever really and truly HTF, anything likely to be useful for survival in a store will rapidly be looted/scrounged. Ammo will be at the top of this list. So either you rush in and fight others for it, or you'll find an empty store. Either way is a bad deal, so I wouldn't bet on it.

As far as battlefield pickups, my feeling on that is that in a SHTF or a TEOTWAWKI scenario, most of the ammo you're going to find is going to be sitting next to or inside a gun, next to a corpse.

I said this in another thread, but it bears repeating I think: If I have an AK with twenty rounds left and I find a M4 sitting under a dead body with 3 mags on the corpse's web gear, I'll drop that AK like a bad habit and roll with the AR. I think that most battlefield pickups will be like that: co-located with bodies, and extremely short-lived, since the first person who finds it will pick it up.
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Post by misanthropist » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:07 pm

I don't have much to add here but I would like to point out that being a top-flight firearms instructor makes you, in all likelihood, an awesome shooter.

That is not the same thing as being a great survivalist.


Other than that, I pretty much agree with Trebor way back at the beginning who pretty much solved this thread.

I go with:

.22lr
.45acp
.38/.357
.308
12 guage

I like the .357 as if works in both a revolver role and an intermediate rifle round role. I think a guy could be pretty comfortable, if he was trying to gear up on the cheap or had a crazy wife or whatever, if he owned a good .357 revolver and matching lever gun. I know if I couldn't gear up in a serious way, that's what I'd be doing for sure. I don't know what it costs me to crank out a thousand .38 specials (which in itself probably proves just how cheap they are) but I bet I could feed a lever gun a pretty steady diet of those and do a hell of a lot of shooting for $200 a month.

I am trying to stay out of all other calibers although chances are pretty good I won't be able to keep my hands off the .44 stuff for much longer.
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Post by Hoppy » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:58 pm

i agree. its your intentions.

to have a hunting shotgun and a defense shotgun in the same (12) gauge. is common sense

to have a pistol, and a pcc (pistol caliber carbine) in the same caliber makes sense

to sacrifice a full rifle for a PCC for the sake of commonality does not.

however. almost as important as ammo commonality, is magazine interchangeability. you anc the guy next to you can both be shooting 7.62X39. but ig hes got a VZ58 and youv got an AK. you might aswell have a AR or FAL if you need to grab a mag
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