Top Ten Calibers For Preppers

9 Apr

This is a brainstorming post. I’ll list what I believe are the ten top calibers for preppers.

1) 9 mm Parabellum. Also known as the 9mm Luger and 9×19. Designed by Georg Luger this caliber is designed to work in pistols and SMGs. For preppers, it’s one of the most popular calibers for a defensive pistol. Some of the most popular defensive pistols in this caliber include the Glock 19 and the Browning Hi Power.

2) 45 ACP. The 45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge is a favorite of old-school survivalists and preppers who feel the 9mm has too little power for a defensive pistol. The 1911 pistol made this caliber famous.

3) The 223 Remington/5.56 mm. I write about the difference between the 223 and the 5.56 in the book and won’t repeat that here. Suffice to say the 5.56 mm is hugely popular because it’s fired in the immensely popular AR-15 rifle. It’s a flat shooting rifle that most consider inadequate for deer, but suitable for defense. It’s light recoil makes it a great choice for recoil sensitive shooters.

4) The 308 Winchester/7.62 mm NATO. I write extensively about the differences between the two rounds in the book. The 308 Winchester (or 308 WCF) is a popular deer hunting round. The 7.62 mm NATO is a popular caliber for military battle rifles and their semi automatic counterparts. This is a popular choice of old-school survivalists who feel the 5.56 mm caliber to be inadequate for a fighting rifle. In the military, it’s a common sniper round.

5) 12 gauge shotgun. This gauge is the most popular shotgun gauge in America. It can be loaded with rifled slugs for bear, buckshot for self defense, and birdshot for birds and small game. The most popular gauge for the 870 Remington shotgun.

6) 22 LR. LR stands for long rifle. Depending upon the action, a 22 LR can also fire 22 longs and the 22 short. Semiautomatics won’t cycle the shorter and less powerful loads. For quiet practice, 22 CB caps come in 22 long. There’s really no reason to seek out and find the 22 short. This caliber is popular for small game and target practice. Some shooters also use it for self defense at home. Ammo is cheap, so you can practice a lot.

7) 7.62 x 39 mm. This Russian caliber is popular in America because it’s the common caliber of the AK-47 rifle. This is considered an alternative to the 5.56 mm and the 7.62 NATO in a fighting rifle.

8) 30-06. Old timers consider this the universal hunting cartridge. It can take deer, bear, elk, and moose reliably. In terms of actual ballistic performance, it’s very similar to the shorter 308 Winchester.

9) 357 Magnum. This popular revolver caliber also fires the shorter 38 Special. With short barrels and full power 357 magnum loads, it’s not much fun to shoot because of the muzzle blast. With a 4 inch or longer barrel and 38 Special loads, it’s a sweetheart. Considered by many handgunners to be the best all around handgun cartridge.

10) 44 Magnum. Shooters who don’t like the 357 Magnum sometimes like the more powerful 44 magnum. This caliber is popular with handgun hunters who hunt deer and bear. If you need a really powerful handgun to carry in bear country, a 4 inch barreled 44 Magnum is handy and powerful. A longer barreled gun is better for hunting. Many hunters put pistol scopes on their 44 Magnums. Scopes on handguns never made much sense to me, but as I get older and my eyes don’t focus as well as they used to, I appreciate pistol scopes more.

There are some calibers that deserve honorable mention. The 20 gauge shotgun is very popular and usually has less recoil than the 12 gauge. The 30-30 is very popular as is the 243 Winchester and the 270 Winchester for hunting. The 7.62 x54R is the caliber of the Mosin Nagant, which many budget preppers like as an alternative to a 30-06 for big game. Many preppers who are shooters will own guns in several calibers on the above list.

Charlie Palmer, author The Prepper Next Door.

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One Response to “Top Ten Calibers For Preppers”

  1. rmactsc April 10, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    Excellent post. I’ve recently discovered the benefits of the 7mm Remington Magnum for long distance shooting which I find I now prefer over the 308 and 30-06.

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