which caliber for all around use?

Discussion in 'Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun' started by hunter29180, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. CJ_56

    CJ_56 New Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    SE Ohio
    A couple of points here. The military chose the .45 ACP long before there was such a thing as a .357 magnum. That's why they used that caliber for a long time. They didn't switch to a .357 after it came out because it was a revolver instead of a semi-auto and those quick load mags just can't be beat on the battlefield. And much of the reason NATO went with the 9mm was tradition as much as anything. We used .45's in the wars. They used 9mm's especially in Italy and Germany and also the Swiss produced a heck of a 9mm weapon. Plus those rounds were known to penetrate glass and steel (i.e. car doors) when a .45 would flatten out and bounce back. The use police forces nearly went with a 9mm handgun for that reason during the 1930's because of all the motorized bank robbers roaming the nation. But along came the .357 which had the knock down power of the .45 AND the high speed of the 9mm enough to penetrate steel and glass. So the .357 became the de facto weapon for US police for decades or often the .38 special was used because it was considered more humane wounding instead of killing. And they trusted revolvers more than semi-autos, not needing to re-load as fast as a solider on a battlefield.

    It wasn't until the coming of the better 9mm bullets and the plastic gun 9mm's that US police and military switched to that caliber. Of course the military doesn't use hollow points but they were pressured by NATO to adopt a uniform cartridge. And the advent of modern gun designs made the decision much easier because no one wants to carry a 3 pound sidearm when a 1.5 pound sidearm will get the job done. And of course the ammo was lighter as well. And even the ball ammo became more effective adding to it's ability to penetrate steel and glass, both of which are important because of vehicles.

    All of this means little to me in terms of what I want to carry. If someone is hiding behind a car door shooting at me I'm likely going to try to run rather than confront them. So give me the traditional .45 ACP. As for protection against dangerous game, I use a .44 magnum. It will get the job done without breaking your wrist even if you're a female. Larger rounds might just break a woman's wrist especially getting into the .454 range. There's a reason handguns are limited to a certain size. We could make them to shoot 20mm cannon rounds but we prefer to be able to shoot more than once in our life. So the limits are put in place more because of what can be handled easily than any other reason.

    A .45 ACP can be fired multiple times while regaining aim between shots so it makes a great man-stopper. A .44 magnum doesn't need to be fired repeatedly. It needs to do the job on one shot because of the nature of shooting dangerous game. You will likely only get one shot at a charging bear. A .45 really isn't big enough. A .44 mag is right over the border line of being effective at stopping a bruin in it's tracks. That's much better than being just under that line.

    Plus the rules have changed on man-stopper cartridges. We all know about the advancements in cartridge technology that allow a 9mm to effectively stop a man. Then there's the .40 cal. which gives us the speed of the 9mm with the stopping power of a .45 and the ability to load very high capacity mags into a normal size handgun. They will penetrate glass and steel and they come close to knocking down a human as well as a .45 because of bullet technology. Bullet weights are close to the level of the .45 ACP bullets while speeds are close the 9mm's. It's a compromise round really that either gets the best of both possible calibers or the worst depending on your point of view. I carry a .40 now after carrying a .45 for a very long time. I still do carry a .45 often but I also carry a .380 at times too. It if was good enough for Custer, it's good enough for me (the Navy Colt ballistics were very similar to the .380's).

    What I carry has as much to do with where I'm going as anything not to mention what I think I might want or need to shoot.
  2. al45lc

    al45lc Active Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    colorful colorado
    I just caught this one.
    If you have to survive, that may mean MOVING, as in walking through fields and living off the land.
    One rifle is ALL I want to carry under these circumstances, anything more is too much gear along with other needs.
    That's how I percieve "all around".
    And just to throw in my opinion, I consider the .357 to be the "all around" pistol caliber, despite my love of the .45LC.
    We're talking all around, not favorites, and the practical and utilitarian in me says ready availability.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012

  3. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    "so 4 BG's attack and you use 1 magazine to make sure one is down and out? (just tugging at your leg since you so kindly stuck it out there!!)"

    Nope, not really. everyone gets some before I go back and hand out seconds.

    One target, they get the whole mag (pays to bring friends, hahaa!) Two targets, first guy gets one, second gets two, first gets a second shot. then the mag gets finished between the two based on what they're doing. but the mag gets finished on them.

    more than that, everyone will get either one or two quick shots and once I'm thru everyone, start over. reload as necessary!

    But my point is that anyone I shoot ends up with roughly a full magazine in them. anything worth shooting once, it's worth shooting them a million times. Ammo ain't that expensive yet.

    I generally train for one to three or four targets/threats, more than that, up close anyway, I probably won't make it if they're all shooting at me. I can get rounds on 3-4 targets in under a second at average handgun distances. with a rifle, same speed but much easier and more accurate.

    ya got me again, goin' off on another tangent! hahahaa

    alc45 is correct, I think we're looking for the ONE gun that fits all bills. We all have favorites for different things, but which ONE caliber are you gonna choose if you could only have one gun? for me it's still .308

    and for the 12g, where I live it's perfect; got a long hallway that runs the entire length of the house, front door on one end, my bedroom on the other. Kids are out of the line of fire. Backstop is my driveway, a huge berm, 300yds of field to the next house. Nothing you can load in a 12g is making it that far. For others, penetration is an issue so I understand. But something like #4 buckshot won't penetrate anywhere near what the average handgun round will, nobody seems to worry about the handgun though?

    I do love the little .410 but I just can't see it as a 'all around' best by any means.
  4. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
  5. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    ^^ correct. Something everyone seems to overlook. People think that because a 12g is a bigger shell than a 9mm, it will penetrate more when the exact opposite is true. (except a slug or if you're using some wazoo round like flechettes)
  6. CJ_56

    CJ_56 New Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    SE Ohio
    Uh guys. We need to not forget Sir Issac on this topic. Force equals "mass" x acceleration. So when you have that big chunk of lead from a 12 ga slug (some are incredibly big) there is certainly a difference in the effect it will have on a target in comparison to a .410 slug. In fact there will be a massive amount of difference. The size of the hole and the penetration into a given target will be hugely different. You are assuming wrongly that s 9mm will penentrate with as much force as a 12 ga. slug and that just isn't true. Yes you can get deeper penetration but the amount of energy delivered by a 12 ga. is colossal compared to the energy delivered by a 9mm. It's exactly like the difference between hitting a board with a hammer and hitting a board with a nail being struck by a hammer. The nail will certainly penetrate more. But if you get enough force going to make the hammer penetrate you will see a phenomenal difference in the amount of destruction. You really can't compare two projectiles without taking this into consideration. There's a reason no one uses a 9mm to stop a charging bear. First the projectile (the bullet) is liable to not penetrate at all because it takes less force to deflect it's path and that force is the potential energy of the mass of a bear's skull. It takes a LOT bigger object to turn a 12 ga. slug.

    Then there's the fact that a 12 ga. slug will do great damage to a bear's skull while a 9mm just won't. It could be that the 9mm will kill the bear. But the odds of the 12 ga. killing the bear are MUCH higher because the slug will do far more damage over a wider area and once it breaks the surface tension of the bone then the bone will shatter allowing all that energy to be implanted in the bear's brain.

    The bottom line is that a 12 ga. slug will kill a bear where a 9mm bullet won't and the bigger the slug the more that's true as long as the speed of the projectile remains high enough to penetrate.

    Obviously a man doing a dive will penetrate the water deeper if he hits the water with his hands first followed by his body doing in a straight line behind his hands as compared to a man who hits the water doing a belly flop. But look at the man's stomach after that belly flop. He will be red as a beet if he jumped from a high enough position. It's the same with guns. As long as the speed is there a flat impact will impart a huge amount of energy and that can mean a much more effective weapon against certain animals or whatever.

    I've avoided saying this since the beginning of this thread but here goes. I think the time is right. The best all around caliber by far is actually a 12 ga.. Technically that is a caliber. A shotgun can do just about anything you want to do with a firearm and it can do it nearly as well as the most specialized firearm around. You can fire a slug a great distance with a rifled barrel and the right kind of slug. You can use light bird shot to kill the smallest animal without destroying too much of the meat. You can use buckshot for self defense very effectively. If you have the right shotgun (one that shoots 2 3/4" to 3.5" shells like the Benelli Super Black Eagle for example) you have a tremendous range of operation as far as how much power you can apply to a target. This stuff all adds up to being super versatile. That, IMO, is an "all around" firearm in the most important sense of all. You can kill everything from a squirrel to a polar bear or even an elephant just by changing shells. And BTW you can load shells as the gun fires them pretty much. That's not true of many rifles. There's no doubt about it. The most versatile firearm there exists is a 12 ga. shotgun. It's nowhere near being close even with other shotguns because the range of shells isn't there for other gauges of shotguns.

    If I'm bugging out and living off the land I'll be taking a shotgun for sure. It's the do it all gun of the firearm world and it has been for a very long time. And before anyone asks, yes it comes in a pistol format too if you can still find a street sweeper.
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    That's the problem with arguing shotguns versus anything else...their VERSATILITY.

    BUT you have to make sure we are talking apples to apples....

    Note the comments above about shotgun energy being equal no matter the guage does NOT pertain to SLUGS.....

    But many people mistakenly assume the difference between shotgun SLUG energies and power and range between guage size as meaning the same difference between buck and bird...it is just not so! The individual PELLETS in the pattern are EXACTLY the same size in any guage, and the pattern will be just as BIG in the same choke at any range....the only difference is the NUMBER of pellets, so the pattern is denser in the bigger guage...so more pellets should HIT the target....

    That is why the .410 is the "Experts" shotgun at least on the skeet range...to get enough pellets on the target to insure the bird breaks, you have to have a tighter choke, so where my '97 Cylinder Riot does really WELL for me (I am NO expert) I have a 15 -20" pattern at most of the stations....the guy who owned the skeet range that BEAT me was using a full/full double .410....HE was hitting them with maybe a 6-8" pattern if that, which takes a LOT more skill than I have.....

    Slugs MERELY give a shotgunner the ability to use the weapon as a "point" rather than the "Area" weapon for which it was designed....

    BUT, as much as I love slugs, and have killed many deer from 20 feet to 192 yds with them, it is merely a COMPROMISE as a "Point" Weapon!

    If you HAVE to use slugs, fine....if your slugs are just to help out in a situation that you will only have the shotgun, fine also...if your "point" fire is only demanded at SHORT range, like finishing off wounded dangerous game in tight brush, or as a "Defensive 'Bear Gun'" that will help you claim later in court you HAD to shoot the bear because he was so CLOSE...well then fine TOO, if only because you can switch BACK to buck....

    BUT if you CHOOSE to use a slug when you KNOW you will need "Point" fire at traditional "rifle" ranges and the alternative is a rifle, you will be stupid NOT to have picked just about ANY rifle over the slug....
  8. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012

    maybee i missed it.. but did someone actually argue that a shotgun/slug was better than a rifle, at rifle ranges? seems a no brainer.
  9. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    ya missed the part where I said 'except' a slug

    force = (mass) x (acceleration)squared

    so more velocity puts exponentially more force or energy into a projectile than a similar increase in mass.

    see, told you we'd insite a riot if we dared talk about 12g rounds! hahahaaa

    good points from everyone so far though. I have to agree that the 12g is one of the most versatile guns out there just by switching ammunition or barrels.

    growing up a rifleman, gotta stay with a rifle if I'm down to one gun. you wouldn't do too bad with the shotty though.
  10. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Well-Known Member

    this thread is Great! Polishshooter,CJ56 and aa1911, great information! keep it comming!

    now back to the discussion.....

    first I never argued that the 12 was more powerfull than the .410...although I would argue that point! IF a 410 is as powerfull as a 12 then why isnt it suggested as a Bear defense weapon? the 12 with slugs is recommended! the .410 slug weighs as much as the bullet fron a 44 mag, 454,and 500 mag.....all recommended Bear defensive rounds.

    simlpe it just isnt powerfull enough. and no I would have a hard time believing that a .410 pellet at 20 ft hits the target wuth the same power as a 12...the 2 dont even have the same range! as would be the case if both left the barrel with the same force and velocity!

    next 95% of people do not use birdshot for SD...they use 00,000 and slugs. It seems you and I belong to the rare 5 % who choose birdshot. (although I actually use 6-8 shot)

    as to pattern..well a 12's pattern is designed to spread out faster than a .410..it has a lot more pellets to do so with! so at the same range the 12 pattern will be 2-3 times the diamater of the .410! so at 15-20 ft the .410's pattern is still pretty much within the size of a large mans chest! the 12's will be about 1 1/2 that size.. at 30 ft the 12 will be about 4 ft and the .410 will be about 2-2 1/2 ft..assuming the chokes are the same that is. Yes Polishshooter also pointed this out!! although I disagree with him on the pattern being the same size with any shotgun if the chokes are the same.

    now on my judge...first shot (fired about head high) is a #8 shot to disorent and hopefully blind the BG and partner if one is behind him. (ever notice a person who is behind someone is always trying to look around him?)..the 2nd is a defensive load .410 with 3 buck and 6 bb's, next 3 are 45lc for finishers.

    the pattern on my judge opens the #8 to about 4 ft at 15 ft and 2 ft for the defensive load....the 45lc, I can hit a mans chest at 30 yds...so in my hallway from the door od the master bedroom to the end of the hall is about 22 ft. so any shot penetrating the wall to the bedroom on the side is well past where someone would be sleeping or hiding.
    as you can see I have thought this out! the 12 could possibly nip someones feet in the same situation. (in theroy that is..)

    after all untill it happens its all theroy..right?

    as to deer..well the 12 as a slug gun is very good as a deer collector..and I have took deer with my .410 using slugs..but I would never attempt to do so at the ranges you can with a 12...the .410 just dont have the power to reliabily get a slug that far out and have enough force to reliabily kill a deer at over 40-50 ft. maybe I am just very conseravative with my .410 but I have took more game with a .410 and .22 than with any other firearms and consiter my self well versed in their capabilitys. NOT saying a better shot cant do many things I wouldnt even think of doing. I rank my self as a average so-so shot overall.

    and just as a reminder the Original though was beween 3 calibers of rifles..for longer range of larger game and defense. but the other things we have touched up is very approate also and is being used in the ongoing discussion I am having with my friends.
    we are still planning and stocking up. between the 6 of us we are trying to cover most the based as we can. pooling some and deligating some. so keep it comming!
  11. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    that 500 mag can have projectiles that mirror 12g shotgun slug performance:

    'Indeed, some rounds use bullets weighting almost 1 oz. (28 g ~ 440 gr.), which are sent at about 1,500 ft/s (460 m/s) – essentially the same performance of a 12 gauge shotgun slug.

    there is now a 500 gr (32 g) JSP/Hard Cast that makes 1500fps and 2,500 ft·lbf ... probably not getting that out of the average 410 :)
  12. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    more points to remember with choosing projectiles for anything really, but buckshot especially or different caliber slugs:

    equal mass and equal velocity, a smaller diameter will penetrate more.

    equal velocity and diameter, the higher mass object will penetrate more. i.e., round balls

    equal diameter and mass at higher velocity will penetrate more.

    The .500 will certainly approach 12g slug loads as far as muzzle energy, the heavier and faster loads are ringing in roughly 2500 ft/lbs! ouch. and with a smaller diameter, they will penetrate better (depending on bullet choice). Barrel length might alter those results though too. and recoil management is a huge difference.

    Only shot the .500 once, even in a heavy handgun, it was ridiculous. 12g shotgun, super easy to control/manage.

    most 12g defense loads deliver close to 3000 or more where pistol is usually 250-400 ft/lbs.

    Another thing to remember is that heavier bullets retain their velocity and therefore muzzle energy at greater distance than a lighter round.

    so a .357 for instance, the 125gn is a great choice for close to medium ranges due to the higher velocity where the 158 will deliver better performance at longer distances because it does not shed energy as fast.
  13. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    500 Magnum Barn-XPB
    3032 ft/lbs
    1975 fps

    found this load for the 500, 3000 ft/lbs!!! holy camoly! hahaaa with the lighter bullet too.
  14. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    yup.. my 500 is the 10.5" tipping the scales empty at 5.2# and when fired is for sure a beast. I used to think my 50ae was a beast.. now it's a tow compared to that 500swmag :)

  15. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2012
    2877 ft#

    and another wiuth inbetween slug.

    oh man.. that's killer ft# !!!! in a huge 400gr bullet ( 26 grams = 0.917123011 ounces )

    almost shotgun slug again.. :)

    i found some test data and their test gun used an 8 3/4" bbl.

    wonder what my 10.5 throws?

    hmm.. manybee i need a chronny :)
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