Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Quick Thought On Calibers




A novice shooter recently acquired a weapon for personal defense (after some casual comments at work) (Yay her!). She was wondering about other things, once she's happy and comfortable with her new tactical tupperware of the ever-shooting goodness variety. I passed on the following thoughts.

In the time since the US military first fired brass cartridges, and before they switch over to phased plasma rifles in the 40 Mw range, they have primarily and overwhelmingly used personal arms and ammunition in the following flavors*:

.45-70
.30-06
.308 (7.62x51)
.223 (5.56x45)

For pistols it's been
.45LC
.38Spl
.45ACP
9mm

Along with shotguns in
12 ga

And training rifles and pistols in
.22LR

Which coincidentally comes to ten examples.

That goes back some 140+ years. All such are still in full production to this day. Were one to acquire/possess and stock up on firearms and suitable varieties of ammunition in most or all of those calibers, and those alone, they'd absolutely be capable of reliably stopping any game or wild animal on both of the American continents with from two to four legs, from thieving bastards to buffalo, and would also be highly unlikely at any foreseeable time, of running out of ready re-supply, one way or another.

Nearly everything else is thus a relative oddball, however beloved it may be, for whatever reasons, and to whomever.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.












*(Yes, I know about such esoteric things as the .30-40 Krag, .38Colt, etc. Makes no difference to the larger point.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yup, especially if you stick with modern rifles and handload, you can push the 45/70 enough to kill anything on four legs anywhere in the world (possibly excepting elephant, but maybe not). The .45 LC can also be pushed to well above .44 Magnum power in a gun like the Ruger Super Blackhawk or Redhawk, and in something like the Freedom Arms revolvers you can go even hotter. Just don't use those loads in a Trapdoor Springfield or Colt SAA respectively, at least not one you like.

At the other end of the scale, there are CB Caps and CB Longs for .22 LR that give BB-gun level power and in a bolt action rifle all you hear is the firing pin click, sounds like a misfire.

For a while I amused myself by imagining a collection of rifles that could be used to hunt any animal in the world while avoiding serious overkill (i.e. not using a .600 Nitro to hunt squirrel), and tried for the smallest number of rifles. Most of my lists looked a lot like your list, except without the .308 (similar to the 30'06) and with a middle-magnum like a .338.

Mark D

Cederq said...

I think spot on! These are all the tried and true calibers and such a healthy supply of them. Except for the .45LC it looks like my gun cabinet.

Anonymous said...

Out of all of the posts on calibers and weapons, this is short, sweet, and perfect. As someone who has carried a weapon for work in the Military, Police, and .GOV for over 25 years, there was nothing missing from your post. I am in charge of millions in weapons and ammo, run a shooting range, and am a competition shooter. I have barrels and barrels of 9mm, 38, 5.56, 308 brass, and tons of USG 9mm and 5.56 in storage. At the end of the day, anything else is just fun to have, but not valuable for what is on the horizon. Ammo for anything else will disappear like the food from the local store when the diversity have been cut off from food stamps.

Dan said...

Of the listed calibers 45-70 is NOT "readily available". I have yet to see that
Calibers at Wally World be many guns free do no carry it. Larger vendors (Cabela's etc) usually have some in stock but you can't count on variety, volumes or even availability.

Aesop said...

Get out more. The sun doesn't rise and set on what WallyWorld chooses to stock.
I can find it at half a dozen stores and chains locally, even here in Califrutopia, without breaking a sweat.
And that's ignoring ordering it online and having it shipped to your door.

Dan said...

Cabela's sometimes has some, same with Scheels and Sportsman's Warehouse.....Just as often they have none. The local gun stores are hit n miss. If they have any at all it's only a box or two. Some places....like Wally World and Cal Ranch I have NEVER seen it on the shelf. Maybe it's common in Kali because 45-70 is a big boy cartridge with oomph....And Kali is full of pussies afraid of guns and recoil so they never sell any.

Aesop said...

You might be onto something there.

The folks that want it, want it.
Most of the rest don't know what they're missing.
The nice thing about .45-70 is it's a shove, not a hammer to the shoulder.

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Aesop said...

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