Interchangeable Calibers

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by JoeSalerno117, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. JoeSalerno117

    JoeSalerno117 Member

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    So, I know some cartridges are (for the most part) interchangeable, such as .223 in a 5.56, or a 45LC in a .410, but just how many are there? Do certain .22s work in other types of .22s? Do certain .17s fit into other .17s? Some calibers are very close to each other, and some identical, I'm not looking for specific guns that are "multi-caliber," but rather different rounds that often work in the same barrel. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jwdurf

    jwdurf Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Be very careful about this topic and check the sources of any info you get. While there are some interchangeable cartridges, there are also some that will chamber but that are very dangerous.

    There aren't to my knowledge any modern centerfire rifle cartridges that are "interchangeable." There are a number of cartridges that have multiple different names, for instance the 6mm Remington is also the .244 Remington. Older Model 700's are marked .244 Remington but Rem changed the designation (and the rate of twist) to 6MM because the original rifles wouldn't stabilize the longer bullets and also because of competition with the Winchester .243. Others that come to mind include the 30-30 Winchester which is also known as the .30 Winchester, .30 Marlin, .30 Savage and the .30 W.C.F. All different names used by different manufacturers for the same cartridge. There are several other older cartridges in this category.

    You mentioned .223 and 5.56, these are different cartridges and many (most) rifle manufacturers that make .223's will tell you not to shoot 5.56 ammo in their guns. However, .223 ammo is safe to shoot in a rifle marked 5.56 (lots of articles about this out there)

    .22 rimfires are a complicated genre but without getting too far into the details, in a rifle marked .22 Long Rifle (.22 LR) you can shoot .22 BB caps, .22 CB caps, .22 Short Blanks, .22 Shorts, .22 Longs, and .22 Long Rifles. The shorter stuff may not feed properly or operate semi automatic actions, but they will fire safely. Doesn't make it a good idea necessarily, but it wouldn't be unsafe.

    Handgun cartridges are a different story.

    There are many examples of interchangeable handgun cartridges. For instance, you can safely shoot .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt and .38 Specials in a gun marked .38 Special, and you can shoot all of these plus .38 Special +Ps and .357 Magnums in a gun marked .357 Magnum.

    While this is an interesting topic, again, be very careful. There are a number of very dangerous combinations where you could chamber and fire a cartridge from the wrong caliber and have a catastrophic result. Examples include .308 ammo in a .270, .7mm Weatherby Magnum in a .7mm Remington Magnum etc. Here is the SAMMI list of these dangerous combinations.

    http://saami.org/specifications_and...1-Unsafe_Arms_and_Ammunition_Combinations.pdf
     
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  3. nmckenzie

    nmckenzie Well-Known Member

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    Hi Joe, welcome to TFF from Sitka, Alaska. The one all important consideration you haven't mentioned is safety. Yes, there are rifles and handguns that are factory chambered for one round that can shoot another. One in particular has been popping up in threads here off and on for a while, and that's the Spanish conversion of 7x57mm turn of the century Mausers to a cartridge identical in dimension to 7.62x51mmNATO, but which operates at a much lower chamber pressure. Shooting NATO rounds in these rifles chambered for 7.62x51mmCETME is asking for trouble. Firearms manufacturers clearly mark cartridge designations on their products to avoid a hazardous/deadly situation developing from use of incorrect ammunition. Just out of curiosity, why the interest in this topic?
     
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  4. JoeSalerno117

    JoeSalerno117 Member

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    Thanks for the info, I'm looking at getting my first center fire and there is a plethora of .22s and .17s, so this clears up a bit of the confusion. I'd heard that the smaller cartridges wouldn't operate a semi-automatic, but that shouldn't be much of an issue. Thanks again
     
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  5. Don Fischer

    Don Fischer Well-Known Member

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    Best thing for you to do as this is first time buy, buy the type of ammo that is engraved on the gun. I've hd 223's, a couple. Don't recall ever firing so much as a 5.56 case, scrounged military. One cartridge they forgot to mention is the 280 Rem. Underwent a name change years ago hoping to improve sale's, I think it was called then, the 7mm express, something like that. I think that would be the only cartridge I'd mix ammo with. You won't find any 7mm Express factory ammo any where. I think for the most part inter changing ammo is not a good idea but, I used 38 spec ammo in 357's for years. Liked the weight of 357 handguns but not the recoil. There are other handgun cartridges but I've no history with them. Normally it's best to shoot the ammo the gun was designed to shoot.
     
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  6. Firpo

    Firpo Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Another one is a gun chambered 22WMR can shoot 22WRF but not the other way around. It's like shooting 22 shorts in a 22LR chamber. As previously mentioned shoot what the rifle is chambered for and you be better off for it. Even with 22's there's a price to pay shooting shorter Ammo. Do it too often and you'll build up lead at the front of the chamber and until you get that crud out of there you've turned your LR in to a Short only gun.
     
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  7. Bama1022

    Bama1022 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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  8. Grizzley1

    Grizzley1 Well-Known Member

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    Fire a .45 colt out of a .410 is asking for real trouble as the two are not interchangeable. You can chamber and fire a .45 Colt in a .410, the case will physically fit but about 3 inches down bore you will be forcing a .452 diameter bullet into a .410 diameter hole that's choked even smaller at the muzzle.

    There are some pistols that are specifically made to use both cartridges, they have a chamber long enough to hold a .410 shell but they also have a .45 caliber rifled barrel, not a .410 diameter shotgun barrel.
     
  9. Shrek73

    Shrek73 Well-Known Member

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    The most versatile firearm is the .327 Federal Magnum. They will fire .327, .32 H&R Magnum, .32 S&W Long and .32 S&W. Those rounds all have the same diameter of .312, but vary in overall length.

    Some have also documented that you can fire .32 ACP thru the .327 Federal Magnum and .32 H&R as it has a diameter of .311, but I have never done so.
     
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  10. drymag

    drymag Well-Known Member

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    Curious I didn't see the 7.62 chamber w/ not to fire 308 in the pdf.
     
  11. drymag

    drymag Well-Known Member

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    If it's just target shooting, I'd go w/ the 22 as ammo is much cheaper. the 17hmr can eat up some dollars fast. I'd also look for a rifle that can easily be cleaned. My old semi Marlin shoots well but I can't drill out the receiver to run a rod thru it. I have to run the rod down the barrel form the crown. If you are careful, you can do so, but most guns lose their accuracy by rods/jags banging up the crown and chamber. I use a bore guide for most of my rifles that will accomodate them. Then unscrew the jag before removal of the rod. I can drill a hole in my semi Ruger 10/22 and that works well. Now a bolt is nice but you have to work the bolt to shoot it. Most LGS carry lots of 40 grain 22LR ammo. But your rifle may like the 36 grain so make sure you can get multiple grains to find out which shoots the best. Not a big deal unless you are trying for sub moa shooting. Scopes for 22 rifles can be frustrating because the scope may only be set for parallax at 100 yds. So to get one that shoots at 50 costs a tad more.
     
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  12. jwdurf

    jwdurf Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Interesting point. Apparently SAAMI doesn't consider it a hazardous combination:

    Although not identical, the 7.62×51mm NATO and the commercial .308 Winchester cartridges are similar enough that they can be loaded into rifles chambered for the other round, but the Winchester .308 cartridges are typically loaded to higher pressures than 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges.[3][citation needed] Even though the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) does not consider it unsafe to fire the commercial round in weapons chambered for the NATO round, there is significant discussion[4][5][6] about compatible chamber and muzzle pressures between the two cartridges based on powder loads and wall thicknesses on the military vs. commercial rounds. While the debate goes both ways, the ATF recommends checking the stamping on the barrel; if one is unsure, one can consult the maker of the firearm.[7][
     
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  13. jwdurf

    jwdurf Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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  14. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    you can fire a .458 win mag in a .458 LOTT gun. ( then clean the chamber.... )
     
  15. ral357

    ral357 Well-Known Member

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    It's a interesting caliber 327 mag. With those options it can easily handle rodents to small deer with factory ammo and it certainly has enough poop to discourage two legged varmints. Now that the Ruger Single Seven is chambered in it it's a pretty good candidate for the ultimate camp/ survival pistol IMHO. In a heavier gun why not 357 but in a pistol literally the size of a Single Six with an option of a round nipping on the heels of 357......pretty impressive in my book.
    Sorry for the hijack:oops::D
     
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