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First read the OP. Then, what should my next caliber or gauge priority be?

  • 12 gauge

    Votes: 15 42.9%
  • .45 ACP

    Votes: 5 14.3%
  • .308

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • .38 Special

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • .357 Magnum

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • 10mm

    Votes: 4 11.4%
  • 6.5 Creedmoor

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • 20 gauge

    Votes: 1 2.9%
  • other

    Votes: 3 8.6%
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You didnt say if you reload or not and that might change my position so I wasnt able to answer the poll but
.357/38 which to me is one category is so versatile a cartridge with so many different offerings in firearms that it is hard to not put that at the top of the list of new needs to me.

Its a breeze to reload and YOU GET ALL YOUR BRASS!!! :)

You can have it loaded up with 357 when out hiking, maybe swap out 38+p (I like the underwood here) for round town and then load it up with 38 for some range work and never worry about magazine feed lips springs or re chambered cartridges and bullet set back. I would come in from shooting photos out in the desert and drop the 357 rounds out into my hand and load the gun up with 38+p and now it was the in house gun.

I have 4 handguns chambered for 357/38 and one a dedicated 38+p. Can just swap ammo from one to the other so I dont need 5 loaded mags around. Just a versatile round

Commercially unfortunately 357 and 38 are kind of on the expensive side. Even before the rush you could find 10mm for $15 a box but you almost never see 357 or 38 for less that about $24. I dont load my own SD stuff but because of the reasons I mentioned above you kind of need less of it but I load all my range ammo and I can make them mouse fart 38's for newbie shooters or blazing 357. Just a lot of fun and I consider it one of the best jack of all trades gun and cartridge combo.

In the end ... My first real gun was a 12 gauge bought about 35 years ago. Still sits handy but without knowing what you want to do ???
 

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Let me preface my opinions with my situation: I am a prepper. I live at my BOL (on a low mountain in a rural area) and I am retired. I have an ammo cache of over 50K rounds (about 35K of that is rimfire, most of the rest is defensive rifle and pistol, and the remaining is hunting ammo for bolt, lever, single and revolver). That supply is for 3 people.

Unlike some gun owners who are "consolidating" right now, I believe in diversification.

If ****, I might come across different ammo, and I would rather have another gun for a more or less common chambering, than have fewer guns in more common chamberings. I also want to have "backup" firearms - e.g., I own a CZ 527 bolt action in 7.62x39, a Ruger bolt action in .223, and a Browning BLR in .308 - the idea being that if I lose my semi-auto "evil" guns in a tragic boating accident, then I have much less "evil" and socially acceptable firearms that shoot the same ammo.

I have:

.22 RF
.223/5.56
7.62x39
7.62x51/.308

5.7x28
9x19
.40 S&W
.45 ACP

.30-30
.30-06
.45-70

.357 mag
.44 mag
.460 mag
.46 LC

.410
20 ga
12 ga

I have grouped them above by type and purpose.

Initially (I started prepping decades ago) I had mostly just defensive ammo. I started with a .45 ACP pistol and a .308 bolt action, then started picking up semi-auto rifles, then pistols (both semi-auto and revolvers).

I tried to stick with the very common and mainstream chamberings. I even felt that .40 S&W wasn't mainstream enough, but after getting a conversion kit, I decided I was wrong. While I have a lot of 9x19 and do not feel under-gunned with it, I now prefer .40 as it is only slightly less popular than 9mm, and right now actually more available and less expensive - so I have plenty of .40 S&W ammo. All of my .40 and all but two of my 9mm handguns, being SIG P22x pistols, are able to shoot 9mm with either a conversion barrel or barrel/slides. So if I run out of .40 ammo, I can just switch to 9x19.

I do have a .357 SIG barrel for some of my SIGs, but I am not a fan of it, just got it along with a .40 conversion kit. I only have one box of .357 SIG ammo - just to try it out.

The .460 mag shoots the much more common .45 LC cartridge, but I am considering selling it. This was bought on a whim (with the idea of having something that shoots .45 LC) and I don't feel I really need it or something that shoots .45 LC - I would rather have a revolver that shoots .45LC and .45 ACP (I am considering having it modded to shoot .45 ACP with moon clips).

I used to have a .50 BMG rifle with about 600 rounds of ammo, but I never shot it (at first I didn't have ammo or a scope for it, and then it just was a matter of finding somewhere to shoot it at the distances it was made for, which is very difficult). I finally decided that at 66 years of age, it was just too much hassle to deal with a 35 pound rifle that was almost as tall as I am, so I sold it and the ammo, using the proceeds to buy more ammo for my other guns.

I have thought about a .338 Lapua to replace it, but again, where do I shoot that? Maybe later, but unlikely.

BTW, I just picked up 800 rounds of .44 mag - not sure what I would do with that much .44 mag ammo - I don't shoot it that much, and I don't hunt anymore (health concerns make it hard). Just a couple hundred rounds would last me a lifetime, even if I did still hunt. If **** it might serve as good barter and I got a decent deal on it, so I bought all 4 cases. Better to have too much than not enough.
 

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With regards to shotguns, I have two Shockwaves in 12 ga. - one in my daily driver (for when I drive into town - just in case), one, with a pistol brace, at home beside my bed for home defense.

I have a 20 ga and a .410 - both single shot - for hunting.

I am not much of a shotgun person, but I have the guns and the ammo. I consider a 12 ga. a .22 RF, a defensive pistol and a defensive rifle to be the minimum guns a prepared gun owner should have. I have more .22 rimfire guns than any other caliber - fun, cheap and useful.
 

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I would say its great to diversify calibers and variety. In the current state of the world, I'll throw my hat at the "Other" option. An 'odd' or previously unpopular cartridge or a newer, less demanded cartridge may well be a great idea. Prior to deciding what you want next, check what the trend on ammo availability is.

All of the listed cartridges are fairly mainstream. I've seen great increases in each of these in terms of cost and demand as of late (expect 40 s/w - seems given all the issues, there's still no takers on this junk!). Perhaps there is something out there that's still a bit affordable, and available. Now I poke a little fun at 40 sw, but it was nearly obsoleted prior to the pandemic. Now, its one of the few cartidges readily available at my local shops. I'm glad I kept a few around for it.

I've personally been shooting a LOT of 350 legend lately, just because I've been able to readily aquire it at under $10 box, where as 5.56/223 has been limited to 2 boxes per customer here locally, and ringing in at over $12 a box. Your results may vary in your location, of course.
 

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Personally, I like 6.5 creedmoor. Better than 308 ballistics, much less recoil. And don’t forget, there are plenty of proven battle rifles chambered in 308, so if you can have a battle rifle in 6.5, that is better than 308 for distance, and less recoil for close quarters, why wouldn’t you?
 

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I voted 6.5 Creedmoor. I got a chance to shoot one the other day and ended up starting a long distance build almost immediately. 10mm would probably be the second choice just to see what the hype is. 12-gauge and .38special/357-mag are always going to be there and without a purpose don't really turn the fun dial up. Same could be said for .308 and .45 ACP, but they do have that cool military factor. You really need to be running .45ACP through a 1911 and .308 through an M1A to really appreciate them over other rounds.
I've got the M1A loaded model and shoot 308 and 7.62 through it not problem and several hand guns in .45. So I only need to buy and store these two rounds
 

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Hard to beat 12 gauge shotgun for versitility. Seems to be the hole in your arsenal that needs filling. I am a Remington 870 guy, Good for everything from snakes to birds to much larger creatures.
 

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12 ga. You have handguns and rifles covered. A shotgun is the most versatile firearm as far as types of ammo and use. In a poop hits the fan / end of the civilized society situation, you can hunt deer with a slug, birds with bird shot and zombies with buck shot.
 

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I'm a hand gun guy. And I'm a 1911 guy. So .45 ACP is the natural 1911 calibre. Yes, there are other calibres nowadays, but my sense is that .45 ACP will always be one of those calibres that you can find. Even in the boonies. For defense, a 230 gr bullet will have more of an effect on someone than a 9 (yes, I know - I am only expressing MY sense, not wanting to start another calibre war).

Rifles are a different story.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I For defense, a 230 gr bullet will have more of an effect on someone than a 9 (yes, I know - I am only expressing MY sense, not wanting to start another calibre war).

Rifles are a different story.
That's not necessarily or evenly largely true and I'll briefly explain.

I only agree in part with the author's conclusions in the following study based on 1800 people shot with various calibers, but if you jump down to the charts you will quickly see what I am saying. The equation for energy seems to support these results: An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power | Buckeye Firearms Association (look at the failure to incapacitate rates, and keep in mind, the majority of 9mm rounds were FMJ and not HPs).

The simple equation for energy is: Kinetic energy = 1/2 times mass x velocity squared (k.e. = .5m x v²). As such velocity counts more than mass for building energy.

A 230 gr. bullet is particularly good for 1) shorter barrels (as a .45 ACP relies on velocity less than a 9mm), and 2) penetration of larger animals as mass, unlike when we're computing energy, actually accounts for more when we're talking penetration. So if you're worried about bears, I'd say .45 ACP is better than 9mm. But if you're speaking in terms of people, they're within the margin of error, and if anything, .45 ACP does not do a better job unless perhaps we're talking about extremely short pistol barrels. 9mm does have less energy on average, but with the right ammo 9mm can provide more energy than the average .45 ACP.
 
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I believe I said (1) it was my opinion and (2) I really didn’t want to start a calibre war discussion. Those are rife on the internet and have no real conclusion.

Let me just say one small thing. You quote studies. Those have some validity, but unfortunately don’t really speak to what happens during an actual gunfight. The things you speak to, mostly energy, are issues important to the surgeon caring for the GSW afterwards. And he mostly wants to know if it’s a handgun wound or a rifle wound, because no matter WHICH handgun you pick, they are ALL “low energy” compared to rifles.

Hit a guy fatally with ANY round and he is going to die - even a .22 LR. Question is, how long will it take and what will he do in the mean time. Fatal heart shots often lead to approximately 4-9 seconds of UC (useful consciousness). This is true of not only bullet wounds but stab wounds. Stab someone in the heart and you can expect he will “last” 4-9 seconds afterward. If he’s 6’3” & 275 fair weight, he can do a LOT of mayhem in that time frame. So ask yourself, ?do you want him bleeding (and so reducing his UC) through a .357” hole or a .45” hole. Remember your physics - flow will be related to the square of the radius. Furthermore, ?do you want him hit with a 124 gr projectile going 1200-1400 fps or a 230 gr projectile going 900-1,000 fps. My PERSONAL choice would be the latter.

Just my thinking; YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I believe I said (1) it was my opinion and (2) I really didn’t want to start a calibre war discussion. Those are rife on the internet and have no real conclusion.
No worries. I wasn't trying to start a caliber war (only a discussion), but when someone says something that could use some clarification, I like to offer my opinion as well. When you said that's your "sense", that tells me that's your opinion, but it doesn't mean you're opposed to a conversation about it.

Let me just say one small thing. You quote studies. Those have some validity, but unfortunately don’t really speak to what happens during an actual gunfight. The things you speak to, mostly energy, are issues important to the surgeon caring for the GSW afterwards. And he mostly wants to know if it’s a handgun wound or a rifle wound, because no matter WHICH handgun you pick, they are ALL “low energy” compared to rifles.
You said the studies I quote don't really speak to what happens during a gunfight, and that energy is mostly important after the fact, but I disagree in part with both points. First, the study certainly DOES speak to what happens in a gunfight. That's what separates it from gel tests, for example. In other words, it is displaying the results of 1800 gunfights, attacks, defenses (whatever you want to call them) fought with different calibers. It talks in terms of whether the hits immediately incapacitated the person or not (i.e. failure to incapacitate rates), it also mentions things like how many hits it took to incapacitate someone and the accuracy in which they did it. Those are all points specifically about what happened during the fight. Agree? So I am not sure what I should discuss during the gunfight in the context of this post other than what I mentioned.

Second, energy is what incapacitates a person. In other words, it is the energy that needs to be present for the blood to wound someone serious enough to either disrupt the CNS or cause rapid blood loss. A bullet without energy never leaves the barrel.

Hit a guy fatally with ANY round and he is going to die - even a .22 LR. Question is, how long will it take and what will he do in the mean time. Fatal heart shots often lead to approximately 4-9 seconds of UC (useful consciousness). This is true of not only bullet wounds but stab wounds. Stab someone in the heart and you can expect he will “last” 4-9 seconds afterward. If he’s 6’3” & 275 fair weight, he can do a LOT of mayhem in that time frame. So ask yourself, ?do you want him bleeding (and so reducing his UC) through a .357” hole or a .45” hole. Remember your physics - flow will be related to the square of the radius. Furthermore, ?do you want him hit with a 124 gr projectile going 1200-1400 fps or a 230 gr projectile going 900-1,000 fps. My PERSONAL choice would be the latter.
I agree with everything you said about fatal gunshot wounds and stabbings, and one surgeon I heard from mentioned how a person can live on to fight for more than 15 seconds without a heart! I heard someone on one of the forums cite a doctor who said 30 seconds, but I can't verify that.

But energy is important because it is NOT the .357" or .45" hole that is the primary cause of a person bleeding out. It is the permanent wound cavity that far surpases the diameter of either bullet that is mostly responsible for this (when the CNS isn't involved), and it is the energy behind the bullet that is going to determine how much damage is done (and the more energy that stays in the body [as opposed to exiting it], the larger the diameter of the permanent wound cavity is going to be]). This is why 9mm is as effective as .45 ACP because both permanent wound channels exceed the .45" diameter you mentioned, and it is all this cutting and tearing that is going to cause someone to bleed out quickly. As another surgeon mentioned, the blood doesn't even need to escape the body because the body cavity has all the volume needed to ensure rapid blood loss.

Anyway, I apologize if you thought I was turning this into a caliber war. That was not my intention. I just like the discussion because we all stand to understand this stuff better when we share our perspectives.
 
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I think perhaps our terminology is riccocheting every which way.

Permanent wound channel is the channel ripped open by the passage of a bullet. Energy certainly causes the bullet to move through tissue but it is not a creator of the permanent wound channel; it is, instead the cause of permanent wound tissue damage.

SO, when dealing with a rifle wound, the surgeon will need to cut away tissue that has been trashed by energy (and resulting hydrostatic shock). That will mean abraiding a fair amount of surrounding tissue to yield healthy tissue to heal the wound and close any channel. But the tissue didn’t miraculously disappear to leave a channel; it is surgically removed.

Impact on a human body of projectile attack is variable, according to numerous factors, including (non-exclusively) psychological status at time of injury, natural ability, previous experience, will to live, physical condition, stature, fear (perhaps included to some degree in the first mentioned factor) - and probably a host of other things not known or mentioned. That makes wounding/killing an opponent a complex thing. But ONE thing battle impact will be affected by is momentum. And in that, velocity has no similar outsized effect as it does on energy (Momentum = MxV; Energy = (MxV2)/2) while mass is more important.

I am not sure I would accept that one can function 30 seconds after the heart was taken out of the equation. 15 seconds might be true in special circumstances.

The reason there is so much variability in interpretation of results and variety in actual gunfight results is that the actual activity is not yet well understood, so some things are surmised rather than proven. In such, your experience in fights will make a difference in what you believe occurs or will occur.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
I think perhaps our terminology is riccocheting every which way.

Permanent wound channel is the channel ripped open by the passage of a bullet. Energy certainly causes the bullet to move through tissue but it is not a creator of the permanent wound channel; it is, instead the cause of permanent wound tissue damage.
I disagree. That is not my understanding of how it works. If it was the bullet cutting, why would two identical 125 grain bullets cause different size wound channels? The difference is in how much energy the cartridge will deliver. The permanent wound channel is the result of kinetic energy being converted into mechanical energy upon impact (and to a lesser degree thermal energy). Everything you wrote is a result of that kinetic energy transfer. This is often why a pass through of a FMJ bullet, or even a more energetic HP projectile, leaves a relatively small permanent wound channel compared to a bullet which remains in the body (delivering all of its potential energy). This is specifically why the larger diameter .44 Magnum fails to incapacitate as much on average as a 9mm despite having twice the kinetic energy (both failing approximately 13% of the time compared to .357 magnum/SIG which fail even less). The bullet passes through so cleanly that too much of its energy remains with the bullet upon exiting the body. I do agree that hydrostatic shock plays a role. In fact, damage to surrounding tissue radiating throughout the body can even be observed from pistol rounds now that relatively recent technology is available to detect it (that wasn't readily available in the 1970's and 1980's when the FBI dismissed the idea). But even then, hydrostatic shock is the result of this kinetic to mechanical energy transfer which is largely a function of velocity rather than the mass of the bullet itself (hence k.e. = 1/2 x mass x velocity squared). In fact, it is thought that delivering at least 500 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy is needed to reliably incapacitate the CNS by way of hydrostatic shock (which again results from kinetic energy being transformed into mechanical energy in a fluid environment).
 
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