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Calibers for Survival

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Texanmile, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Texanmile


    Mar 28, 2011
    What are the calibers you recommend "consolidating" around, and for what purpose? Here are my recommendations:

    .22LR - Good for small game, cheap, compact, and lightweight to carry

    .357/.38spl - versatile (all my guns would be .357) simplicity of use for revolver, mild loads for self defense 2 legged animals, powerful loads for 4 legged animals

    9mm - prevalent cartridge, powerful enough... yet still small and cheaper than others

    12 gauge - powerful, short-range, ability to use slugs/birdshot/buckshot for hunting all types of game

    What am I missing???? Should I have another rifle caliber???? Are there any downsides to the above loads?
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  2. ratf51


    Aug 6, 2010
    NW GA
    A rifle caliber/cartridge that is adequate for hunting at least mid-size game (deer, wild hog, etc.). Most common would be (in most likelihood) .308, 30-06, 30-30. .223 is probably more common but I wouldn't feel comfortable with it in the deer-size game hunting role. Not saying that it cannot take deer-size game, just that it wouldn't be my first choice.

    I don't think there are any down-sides to your current caliber set-up, they will all do what you want them too.

  3. I've basically decided to stock up the most common calibers civilian & military. I'm trying to strike a balance between diversity in case of shortages and simplicity of logistics.

    An asterisk (*) means I've yet to buy a weapon in that caliber.

    A pound (#) means that it's not really a common caliber, but for what ever reason I have a gun that shoots it so I stock it anyway. I'm going to try and not acquire any more firearms like this, but it's hard to resist a good deal.

    .22 LR
    .38 SPL
    .357 MAG
    9 MM*
    .40 S&W
    .45 ACP*
    .410 GA#
    5.56 NATO
    .308 WIN
    12 GA

    I agree with Ratf51, you could get something in a "battle rifle/serious hunting" caliber.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  4. G23c


    Jan 23, 2009
    houston, texas
    I'm consolidating to .22 LR, 7.62x39, 12g and .40.
  5. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    Ammo I keep decent levels of stock on hand at all times.

    .22 LR
    - 40g Blazer Brass
    - 40g Minimag HP

    - 115g WWB FMJ
    - 124g Federal HST HP
    - 124g +P Federal HST HP
    - 147g WWB FMJ
    - 147g Federal HST HP

    - 55g XM193 FMJ

    7.62 x51
    - 147g Dag FMJ

    .380 APC
    - 95g WWB FMJ
    - 90g Spear Gold Dot HP

    12 gauge
    - 2-3/4" Rifled slugs
    - 2-3/4" #00 Buck
    - 2-3/4" #6 High Brass Shot

    20 gauge
    - 2-3/4 Rifled slugs
    - 2-3/4 #3 Buck
    - 2-3/4 #6 High Brass Shot

    We have quite a bit of other calibers, but don't target stocking levels for them (they are for fun rather than any kind of serious SHTF duty). I am running low on .22 Blazer Brass (down about 2K since we have been shooting a lot of .22 lately), just waiting for them to go on sale so I can stock up again.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  6. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    Estimates are that poachers have taken more deer with .22LR (typically an eye shot at very close range) than all the legal hunters combined. .223 is not legal for sport hunting deer, but it is plenty of gun for harvesting deer in a SHTF situation.

    My EOTWAWKI hunting rig is this Savage 24C, .22LR over 20 gauge. The .22 will be the primary hunting choice and the 20 gauge loaded with slugs is backup in case I need to put down dangerous game (hog, bear, big cat, feral cattle etc).



    I doubt I will be taking very many deer anyway (unless hunting for a large group). Rabbit sized game is going to plentiful pretty much everywhere.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  7. i currently keep .22lr, .223, .308, 12ga, .380, 9mm, .38spl, and .357mag. i will be adding another .45acp soon and am debating a 7.62x39. also debating a .300blk since i have the .223 for brass and the .308 for common bullets already but i will wait to build that one as a SBR.

    i also think its a good idea to keep plenty of componants if you reload as well. i am currently set up to reload 9mm, 45acp, .223, .308 and 12ga. need the revolver and .380 dies.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
  8. Turbo810


    Sep 3, 2011
    Willowick, Ohio
    9 mm
    .45 acp
    12 gauge
  9. UneasyRider

    UneasyRider C.D.B.

    Dec 1, 2005
    Concealed Carry:

    9mm is a very common round and I like the low recoil and stopping power.
    .380 for a larger caliber small size backup gun for close encounters. I don't feel I need a lot of this onhand.

    Home/local defense:

    .223 for a 30 round magazine in an AR or 7.62 for an AK would do just as well.


    .22 for small game and general purposes has low cost for large quantities.
    .308 for a bolt gun.

    Why don't I list a shotgun?

    1 The only thing missing is a bird gun so that would be ok if you live in that area.
    2 While it's a good home defense weapon an AR or AK with a 30 round magazine is better IMHO.
  10. Syclone538


    Jan 8, 2006
    Everyone needs one of
    12 ga./20 ga.

    You could get by with just 4 if you wanted to.

    While .357 out of a lever action is no joke, I agree with everyone that you need a rifle caliber.

    On .223/5.56 on deer, I see no reason it wouldn't work with head/neck shots if the deer you are looking at is really big.

    You might notice I do not like to talk specifically about what I have.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  11. RMTactical

    RMTactical CLM

    Oct 7, 2000
    Behind an AR-15
    You gotta have a rifle caliber.

    I would suggest 5.56, 7.62x39, and/or .308.
  12. Texanmile


    Mar 28, 2011
  13. Raiden

    Raiden C&R Fun!

    My personal "essentials" list is: .22LR, 9×19mm, 7.62×25mm (because I have so many pistols chambered for this), .223 and 2/3" 12ga shells. They feed the select firearms I would always want to have with me, come hell or high water.

    However, I'm always looking out for good deals, and stocking up on just about everything. I figure they'd be very handy for barter, given the right circumstances. Around where one of my family bug out locations is, a number of folks own and hunt with budget-priced military surplus rifles. Even if I don't own any firearms chambered in 7.62x39mm, 7.92x57mm, or 7.62×54mmR - I have plenty of each. In a pinch, I suspect once could spend them like $1 ~ $5 bills.
  14. G29Reload

    G29Reload Tread Lightly

    Sep 28, 2009

    Varies by state.

    WV allows it, I believe. Some states say they allow "any centerfire caliber".

    PA does too, but it can't be semi auto.
  15. G29Reload

    G29Reload Tread Lightly

    Sep 28, 2009
    No matter what calibers you wish to consolidate to, I suggest you keep at least a box of every kind of ammo you're otherwise divesting yourself of.

    Consolidate those in a separate ammo can.

    Reason: Scrounge situations, whether battlefield or otherwise, may turn up a "found" or otherwise acquired weapon that you may be able to use but don't otherwise have ammo for. On the low end of probability, but could happen. And you still wouldn't place that weapon in front line service, but it might make for a nice spare or to arm some friendly compound visitor that turns up.

    Its all about making operable something you stumble across in SHTF/TEOTWAWKI.

    Similarly, don't ignore common calibers you don't stock!

    If you are insistent that 9mm is all you'll ever need or want and does every possible thing in a sidearm that keeps you happy and you really dont give a rats about .45acp or 40SW, I'd still keep a box around of the latter two. Even if it becomes barter. Just sayin.
  16. Haldor

    Haldor Retired EE

    Oct 22, 2006
    Central Arizona
    Heck Ohio doesn't allow any centerfire caliber rifle (shotgun, BP, pistol or bow only) so we are SOL on that respect.

    Most states require centerfire rifles chambered in a caliber larger than .229 in width for deer, however as you noted, a couple only require a center fire rifle. My own opinion is that .243 is about ideal for a deer cartridge, although if choosing an all around rifle for 48 states use, I would go for something in .270 or .280.

    In SHTF this will all be a moot point. .22 LR for the win. The bigger cartridges should be reserved for dangerous targets.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  17. ratf51


    Aug 6, 2010
    NW GA
    Agreed. But I don't have the ninja skills to get within eye-socket range of a deer. I would readily use my .223 in a SHTF situation, but my first choice would still be my .308.
  18. 9mm +p+

    9mm +p+

    Mar 1, 2005
    Old Dominion
    So what, just because it's legal doesn't make it a deer round, by that line of reasoning a 17 rem or 22 hornet is a Deer round then?
    357 or 44mag
    7.62x39 or 51
    No shotgun? I have a 12 ga. but it figures very little into my survival, ammo is huge and heavy and it is a shortrange round. Rimfires will feed us.
  19. Since everyone is leaving it out I'll ask you throw some 50bmg in there. I like api rounds.
  20. Kentucky not only allows ANY centerfire rifle round for deer.. they also allow ANY centerfire PISTOL round... semi-auto is fine, 10 round mag limit.

    I am carrying a .32ACP in the deer woods next year.

    Not.. but darned if it wouldn't be "legal" to do so...
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012