“Buy common calibers” is the mantra in prepping circles when it comes to choosing a handgun or rifle. The argument is typically focused on the fact that if you have a common caliber firearm you are better positioned to trade/barter for ammo should SHTF. If you want to trade ammo, you’ll have a caliber others will want. If you need ammo, others will have that ammo available.
There is another reason that owning a common caliber firearms is helpful – they offer a wide variety of ammo options! The more unique a caliber is, the less demand there is for it and thus there are fewer ammunition options. Owning a common caliber like a .22 or a .308 allows you to pick behind a whole variety of cartridges. This makes your firearm more versatile. Different cartridges create more options.
This is a “no duh” concept to the experienced prepper, but there are a lot of beginners visiting this site, so you old timers will just have to sit back for this post.
Let’s use the .308 as an example, my favorite rifle caliber. I received an order of high quality .308 ammo from SHTF Blog advertiser Lucky Gunner the other day, Hornady 165gr BTSP Interlock to be exact. That spurred the inspiration for this post as I opened the ammo can and saw various .308 cartridges.
On the left side of the pic are Remington’s Managed Recoil rounds. This is how they market these rounds:
“Half the Recoil…Twice the Confidence!”
50% less Recoil
- Concentrate on the shot, not the recoil
- Increase shooter confidence
- Develop good shooting technique
Deadly Deer Hunting Performance to 200 Yards
- 37% more energy than the 30-30 Win
- New Managed Recoil Core-Lokt bullet delivers 2x expansion with 85% weight retention
No Scope Readjustment Necessary
- Virtually the same point of impact as full velocity loads
In the middle of the pic are Remington’s Express Core-Lokt rounds, the 180 grain soft nose. This is how they market these rounds:
“Deep Penetration and Controlled Expansion up to 2X the Original Caliber Diameter.”
“High Weight Retention – Won’t Break Up or Separate On Impact for More Effective Stopping Power.”
“The Deadliest Mushroom in the Woods.”
On the right side of the pic are the Hornady rounds I just received. Hornady markets these rounds as simply:
“Accurate. Deadly. Dependable.”
Here is are the individual cartridges, Hornady on top, 180 grain in the middle and managed recoil on the bottom.
These three common caliber cartridges each offer a different performance. The Hornady is when you need sniper-like accuracy. The tip of that bullet is perfectly shaped, where as the tip of the managed recoil is a bit sloppy. The 180 grain is just a massive slug of lead that will turn into a big mushroom on impact. The managed recoil round lessens the shoulder impact through a reduced charge.
Each, as you can image, can be used for a specific purpose.
- The Hornady for when accuracy and consistency is paramount.
- The 180 grain for when you need to stop something big – like a Maine moose.
- The managed recoil for target practice and smaller size game.
This doesn’t even go into the bulk quantity target and surplus ammunition available for common calibers. You won’t get options like that with atypical calibers.
– Ranger Man
BTW: the 180 grain “freight train” .308 Core-Lokt cartridge is probably my favorite. Do YOU have a favorite cartridge?