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Guns to Grab - Ammo Section
There are many calibers available to the 21st century Christian shooter, ranging from .177 to the massive 700 Nitro Express. In this article we will deal with the most practical and popular calibers on the market today. When outfitting a Christian family for personal self-defense firearms it is wise to keep everyone on the same page caliber wise, all should have the same caliber handgun and all should have the same caliber of rifle. I have done my best to simplify the following information, biased on a lifetime of firearm experience and evaluation.
.177 This caliber is listed because every home should have an air rifle in this caliber in the gunroom. It is a great training round and will put meat on the table without giving your location away to unfriendly individuals. The advances made in today’s air rifle are incredible, the day of the old spring loaded daisies are history, and my air rifle cranks out 1000fps and will roll a squirrel at 50yds.
.22LR Long Rifle: For many today, this was the first powder cartridge they ever fired from a firearm, this rim-fired cartridge makes a great training round and cost just pennies a round. Every major manufacture makes this caliber, so shop around for the best prices. This rim-fired cartridge has no center primer for ignition of the powder. A very sharp hit to the cartridge rims bottom base will cause this round to discharge, this round is very safe to carry and store. My advice here is to stock at least 10,000 rds (full case) away in a cool, dry place for each rifle of this caliber. The .22LR is the “jack of all trades” in the survivalist world, training, hunting and personal defense. Every one I know has a Ruger 10/22 in .22LR and is very proficient with it; we gave them as Christmas gifts throughout the years to all the family members to insure that they would have at least one good rifle. We all shoot together several times a year with our 10/22’s at my own private shooting range; our son was punching 27/30 bull eyes at 100yds by the age of 8.
.22 Magnum This rim-fired cartridge is a larger version of the .22LR and cannot be used in a .22LR firearm; this ammo is very expensive and limited in its range and use. Coyote and varmint hunters enjoy this round; personally I find little if any use for this caliber that the .223 (5.56) cannot handle.
.32 ACP Automatic Colt Pistol: this round and is made for pistol only and has saved several lives as a backup pistol for concealed carry purposes. In my opinion, this round has outlived its usefulness due to the compact 38 special, 9 mm, and 45’s on the marketplace now.
.380 Auto If you own a pistol in this caliber, more power to you. But in my opinion it is a no go. The cost and most important, the lack of stopping power and availability in hard times, rules this out. For those that just have to have this caliber I suggest that you stock up plenty of extra cases of ammunition.
.38 SPL This was a standard round for most law-enforcement agencies in the ’30, 40, 50, 60s. Today’ 38 revolve has come a long way in weight reduction, and design. I carry a 2 in Airlite by Smith and Wesson a loaded with CCI snake shot. The 13 pound 6 ft 4 in Eastern Diamond Back Rattlesnake mounted on my wall, reminds me to strap it on when I leave the back door. I don’t use this revolver for personal self-defense mostly because all of its five shot capacity and lack of accuracy at ranges beyond 10 yards due to the short barrel.
9 mm This is probably the most popular round on the market today. This round is made for pistol and rifle. This round was designed to operate in semi automatic firearms, and is used worldwide by elite units in full auto mode, due to its low recoil and stopping power. This cartridge is my personal choice for a sidearm in survival times. The 9 mm can be found in sporting goods sections and can be purchased in bulk by mail order.
The military and law-enforcement all stock this caliber and it should be easily found on the market for years to come. My advice is, stock at least 1000 rounds of fresh cartridges for each 9 mm firearm. My Browning high powers [9 mm] are loaded with mag safe ammunition, at three dollars a round, and worth every cent. By merely using the right cartridge I have the stopping power of a 45 in 9 mm. I have flattened deer with one shot from my camp nine carbine in 9 mm, so you forty-five die hearts who think 9 mm cannot do the job think again.
The 9 mm got a bad rap in a shooting report from the FBI in a Miami shoot-out gone bad. The truth was, it was just bad marksmanship that got those agents killed and sloppy stake out procedures. In Los Angeles, the 9 mm failed to bring down a couple of bad guys wearing full body armor, even the fabled 45 could not have penetrated their body armor suits. Bad rap aside; it is still a great choice for a personal side arm caliber.
.40 SW Smith and Wesson: I have included this cartridge simply because many police departments around the country have optioned to carry it. In my opinion, this is a caliber to avoid. Ammo will dry up quickly during survival times, and once your supply of ammo runs out, your pistol will become useless metal/polymer. The ballistics on this round has yet to be proved on the battlefield, or on the streets. All of the 40 caliber pistols I have held felt bulky and heavy in the hand [personal opinion] when fired.
.45 ACP Automatic Colt Pistol: this warhorse round has been on scene since WW1 to the present-day. This round is by far the most popular favorite of all veteran pistol shooters, and has stood the test of time. My favorite tactical pistol to date is an H/k sitcom Mark 23; the very side arm of our elite Special Forces and it uses a caliber designed 90 years ago. The Mark 23 is the only 45 pistol I’ve seen that is not a jammer.
The HIGH dollar price tag puts it out of reach for the average buyer. There are several makers of 45 pistols I can recommend, Wilson, Para-ordinance, and Gunsite, are just a few. This caliber is a great range paper puncher for ISPC matches, but in a survival situation where your wife [5 ft. 3, a hundred and 10 pounds] might have to use that 45-caliber pistol to defend her home/honor/life, you might be in trouble. My theory is that everyone in your family should have the same model and caliber of side arm and long rifle. Reason being, magazine exchanges between shooters are quick and no one is questioning what fits what, and whether they are using the right ammo.
Spare parts are a necessity and when everyone is using the same model firearm, repairs are quick and simple. If the firearm is beyond repair, it can always be skeletonize for the rest of the group’s future repairs. If you and your family are proficient with a 45 pistol and feel comfortable with its recoil and performance, then use it.
.357 Magnum This caliber is a beefed up 38 special and is enjoyed by many revolver shooters for home defense. A 357 Magnum revolver will shoot 38 special cartridges, but not vice versa! When practicing on the range, 357 Magnum shooters usually fires low-profile 38 special cartridges and when they get home, they load it with the 357 Magnum cartridges. Thousands of shooters do this every day, I say practice with the load you intend to use for home defense in a real-time scenario, so their are no surprises, and it makes a difference.
Due to the number of 357 Magnum revolvers around today, this caliber will be around for a while still. The cost factor for this cartridge and recoil makes it a no go candidate. Yes, the 357 Magnum can penetrate a engine block, and that is great if you want to shoot engines all day, only a reloader will have cartridges for this caliber when supplies dry up.
.44 Magnum I have included this caliber solely because I carry a 629 Mountain revolver from Smith and Wesson in 44 Magnum, while hunting. It is a custom piece from the Smith shop. Magna port in Detroit MI performed a Quadra port on the stainless four inch barrel, carried in a Galico holster, makes a great combination piece for side arm carry.
I truly love this revolver and the power it delivers to the target. I must give credit to Elmer Keith for bringing the 44-caliber cartridge to the forefront for today’s shooters. His ballistic research and data kept this cartridge alive in revolvers. Fact, Mr. Keith could hit a target at 400 yards with his 5 in. 44 revolver every time at demonstrations he put on to promote the 44. Where this cartridge has a role in survival times is not sure. Although this I do know, my 629 will be in my backpack as a spare. [44 special cartridges will fire in 44 Magnum revolvers, not vice versa].
.223 Remington [5.56 mm]: Only after reading the U.S. Army ballistic reports on this caliber and its origin was I able to grasp why the U.S. Army adopted this caliber for their main battle rifle. The m-14 [. 308] Lost out to the lighter/smaller colt 16 in 223 only because the weight and recoil of the 14 was too much for our smaller allies to handle. Mr. Stoner originally designed his rifle to fire the 308 caliber, the Army brass told him to tone down the load. The 223 [5.56.] round found a home in the civilian market due to Colts market strategy in AR- 15 models and the copycats that followed. If this is your choice for a survival rifle, then stock up on SS 109 armor piercing cartridges for your .223 rifle. They will punched through light metal and heavy wood items, and still have enough energy to penetrate an opponent. My wife and son have chosen the colt A R 15 model A2 semi automatic rifle for their "Guns to Grab," and I have chosen a customized AR 15, what is called it Delta model, or CAG as it is known in the Army, in semi automatic. It is set up for 500 yards shots, which is really this caliber's limit. This will be my gun to grab only because of the rule that all must have the same model and caliber of rifle in your group. I have set up a larger caliber rifle for longer ranges and night use in 308 and 30.06 calibers.
.308 NATO [7.62x51]: Since writing guns to grab in 1998, I have become a big fan of the 308 caliber rifle. I have a FN-FAL and a Remington 742 carbine in 308 and have found it to compare with the 30.06 in ballistic performance. The military and police units worldwide have adopted the 308 caliber for their main battle rifle. The 308 is going to be around for a long time and should be plentiful to obtain in survival times. With availability in mind, I would have to advise all to make their large caliber rifle a 308. In 10 to 20 years from now you will thank me. Surplus military 308 ammo will be on the market and hopefully cheap. I wish I could say the same about the 30.06 cartridges.
30.06 Springfield The M1 rifle and the Browning 1918A1 proved this caliber as a true man stopper. Why the military ever gave up this round is beyond me. I firmly believe that politics and cost, not the soldier’s safety, played a major role in changing our main battle rifle to .308. I originally built a 742 Remington carbine in 30.06 as my main defense rifle. I have since built a .308 in the same model because I have a feeling that ammo in the 30.06 will dry up someday, whereas the .308 will at least be found as military surplus. I love the 30.06 and wish that its future was brighter, but in the order of things I can’t say the 30.06 caliber will survive. And NO!, you cannot shoot .308 ammo in a 30.06 rifle!
.50 BMG Browning Machine Gun: this round was developed by the military to use against planes, light tanks and light armored vehicles. It was mainly used in the M2 machine gun or ma-duce as the troops called it. I am not sure as to who built the first shoulder fired 50BMG rifle for civilian use, but several companies now offers civilians their choice of bolt or semi-auto models. Barrett makes a model 82 in semi automatic that is extremely well built, but carries a 7000 dollar plus price tag, which is out of my wallets reach. The 50BMG cartridge is a specialty round that will hit its target with such a degree of precision that it would amaze most people, even at ranges out to a mile. One round of 50BMG can cost over five dollars, military surplus 50BMG ammo gets it down to about 2.00 dollars a round, for a very expensive afternoon of shooting, this is not a plinker round. This will be the next round to be removed from the civilian market due to its power at extreme ranges. This caliber will be around only because of a large stockpile the military has put away for the troops, civilian ownership of this round looks bleak.
12 Gauge The 12 gauge is probably the most widely used shell in the shot shooters world. The 12 gauge shot shell comes in every variety imaginable and then some. From No. 9 shot trap load to armor piercing slugs, to flachette [30 plus Dart’s], Dragon breath [flame thrower], bean bag rounds, the list goes on. I highly recommend having at least one 12-gauge firearm on your survival list, and stock as much ammo as you can afford. I recommend having a minimum of 500 rounds of No. 6 shot loads, 500 rounds of 00 buck and at least 250 rounds of slugs. The 12-gauge shell can always be used for trade or barter even in the worst-case scenario. The 12 gauge shot shell will be around long after the 410, 16, 18, and 20, 10’s have dried up and disappeared from shelves.
Conclusion: All the calibers listed below, in a true breakdown of common goods trade, will dry up faster than you can say “new world order”. I own several firearms in these dying calibers and plan on passing them out to those around me who thought things would never come to this. When the ammo for these specialty firearms runs out, they will be useless metal. Unless you plan on learning the fine art of reloading and stocking plenty of reloading components, you are hanging in the wind. Study what the United Nations military uses for ammunition and you can’t go wrong when using a firearm of the same caliber! I believe in the near future you’ll see United Nations military troops, keeping us safe, using the calibers I have mentioned in this article, on the streets of the United States of America.
God Bless this Republic of The United States of America!
Gary D. Winstead, Sr.
© Gary Winstead, Sr / Alpine Group
All Copyrights Reserved
Dying Calibers in Post-Survival Times
I recommend replacing them!
|17 HRM||.30 Carbine||400 Corbon||6 mm||410 Gauge|
|22 Short||6.5 mm|
|22 Hornet||30–40||41 Magnum||28 Gauge|
|30–30||44 Special||7 mm–08|
|218 Bee||300 Savage||7 mm||20 Gauge|
|220 Swift||300 WinMag||416||7.62x39|
|222 Remington||16 Gauge|
|25–06||35 Remington||45 Long Colt|
|357 Sig||454 Casull|
|25 Auto||38 Super||460|