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Old 03-06-2014, 06:42 PM
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Jerry D Young Jerry D Young is offline

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I don't remember this thread from way back when, or if I saw it at the time I decided to stay out of the controversy, since my own choices are quite a bit different from those listed. But since the topic has come up, and I'm in a mood, I'll respond this time.

#5. 12 gauge: Since this is survivalist handguns, when the time comes, a 12 gauge double or triple barrel Whippet will be a very useful hand weapon. Totally illegal now, so not for production, possession, or use in normal times.

#4. .32 ACP: Great hideout gun. Decent small game round. Very light recoil. Available in hideout size semi-autos to full-size semi-autos. Also excellent in .30 caliber rifles with chamber adapters as a near silent small game round as effective as .22RF, and can be reloaded.

#3. .45 Colt: Great defensive round, good hunting round, good 3 yard snake round w/CCI shot shells, and flares. Available in double action revolver and single action revolvers. With full power loads in appropriate new revolvers, rivals the .44 Magnum. Cowboy loads equivalent to .44 Special loads. Initially a black powder round. Can still be loaded with black powder or BP equivalents. Good lever action rifle round.

#2. .38 Super: Great defensive round, limited hunting round. Much better than 9mmP, less recoil than .45 ACP. Available in semi-auto

#1. .45 ACP: Great defensive round, limited hunting round, good 3 yard snake round w/CCI shot shells, can fire flares as well. Available in semi-auto, double action revolver, and single action revolver. (Flares and shot shells only in semi-autos)

Honorable mention:

4. The magnum revolver cartridges in general, .32, .357, .41, .44, .50: Only for specialized use by those that can handle them, can reload, and want to have a gun to use ammunition that might just be found in the PAW.

3. The 9mms/.357s and .40s/10mm semi-autos in general: Just to use ammunition that might be available.

2. .380 ACP: If one doesn't have a .30 caliber rifle, this is a better hideout gun caliber than .32 ACP.

1. .50 GI: Just a bit better than .45 ACP, but pretty much all custom.

Just my controversial opinion.
Jerry D Young
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:22 PM
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44 Flattop 44 Flattop is offline
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Originally Posted by Ferguson Outfitters View Post
Anybody's opinion change? 22LR is probably going to be off my list very soon.
Absolutely not. A .22LR is the most used caliber on my homestead. From punching holes in leather to rabbits, grouse and usually about a dozen coyotes per year.

I enjoyed the OP. Can't really disagree with it for the general public and back east or down south. We tend to have bigger critters around here, some with teeth that would really hurt! My list is as follows:

5) 9mm

4) 38 special

3) .357 mag

2) .45 acp

1) .44 mag/sp

The most used of all the above is the .44, in both rifle and pistol. There are at least 2 dozen in total last time I took a count.

Running a close second would be the .357, just because we have a 357/20, a Marlin 1894 and a few different handguns in this caliber are my wife's go-to guns.

Though I'm not a huge fan of the 9mm, my wife is because of a few different pistols she enjoys along with her favorite, the new(er) Just Right Carbine in 9mm that she simply adores. But more importantly, she feels much safer with the carbine handy whenever I'm gone.

The .45? Everyone should own a .45. Nuff said on that.

Number one for me was the .44 mag. Walking just 100' from where I sit in my living room, I am inside the timber that stretches 50 miles to the south, only broke up by a logging road here and there. I spend much of my time there, usually with a .44 flattop on my belt and a .44 Marlin in my hand. And at least 75% of the time when I go to town anymore, I tend to just belt on a .44.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:07 PM
whirlibird whirlibird is offline
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I also avoided this post originally, my choices are nothing new, nor is my reasoning.

But in no particular order:

.45 ACP. There's little the .45 can't do, loaded up or down from spitwad level target loads through heavy hunting loads that will shoot through a Deer/Hog.

.357 Mag/.38 Special. Again, much like the .45 ACP, there's little that can't be done with the .357/.38, assuming proper loads. Many a critter and bad guy has fallen to the .357 over the last 3/4 century. What it lacks in capacity, the .357 wheelgun makes up for with versatility.

.22LR. What else can be said about the .22LR that hasn't been said already? It kills out of all proportion to it's size and power level. The trapper/hunter/scrounger is well served with a light and accurate .22 pistol. Not 'cheap' anymore or as available as it once was, it's versatility and usefulness has not changed one bit.

9mm Parabellum, after being around even longer than our favorite .45 ACP, the 9mm comes and goes, fades and rises. People choose 9mm for various reasons but it's normally the guns that make the choice for you in this instance rather than the cartridge itself.
After all, some of the finest handguns ever designed were built for the 9mm cartridge. The H&K P-7 and the Sig-210 for example.

And the .44 caliber. Note that I didn't specify which cartridge itself the bullet would be launched from.
Both the .44 Special and .44 Magnum have their fans and proponents, both are highly effective, and have multiple uses from hunting, target work and defense.

Honorable mention?
There's so many, the .41 Mag, 10mm, .40 S&W, .38 Super, .45 Long Colt, pretty much all the useful cartridges that have survived the last century.

Certain choices, have survived despite the negative comments of many nay-sayers, such as the .32's, to include the .32 ACP, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, .32-20 (and the newfangled .327 Magnum) perform much the same service as the .22 LR but in a more effective package that is reloadable.

Realistically, any of the common and even the semi-common handgun cartridges are a decent choice for preppers/survivalists, you just pick the one (or more) that fit your needs best regardless of what people say to the contrary.
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Old 03-06-2014, 11:42 PM
catfish hunter catfish hunter is offline
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I'll plug the 357 for top billing again for range and versatility. In my area there are lots of open areas that call for accuracy past 30yds and I can reach those ranges with a 357 easier than other rounds. 45ACP is slower and has more of a rainbow trajectory, 44 magnum is more recoil than I can shoot well. Nothing at all wrong with either, they just don't fit me.

I've had to euthanize some livestock as a rancher also, animals that have terminally injured themselves. When I need to end the suffering of an animal I want to do it as quick and clean as possible. The relatively high velocity and small diameter of 158gr 357 loads have penetrated the skull and shut down animals very reliably for me. That is another reason I like them, with the right bullet they penetrate bone well and get the job done. I took my first handgun deer with a 158gr JHP from a 6.5" Ruger Blackhawk this year also and it never took a step, had an exit wound on a quartering shot. It has just worked for me and I have no reason to switch. The same load is good through my 16" lever carbine also which I like. The light 158gr 38's I use for small game shoot the same POI at 30yds also, so that is a plus.

The same penetration I love from my 357's where I live could be a big liability in more urban areas where the bullet could punch through and do unintended damage, favorite rounds should match their intended use.

I also like the 9mm mostly because my Sig with tritium sights shoots it. 40 is good also, and real common with law enforcement now. They definitely have their place.

22LR is good within it's limits and versatile in it's own way. One that has been missed is the 22WMR also, it is capable of more than it gets credit for defensively and also very capable for hunting small game. Downside is that ammo isn't that common, and it is expensive now. Good loads are running over 50 cents per round if you can find them currently and you can get centerfire for that.

I have nothing against the 45 either, but it's kinda the opposite of the 357 that fits me and my area so well. Big bullet with less powder. It has it's place also it just isn't with me. For defensive use at normal handgun range it has a heck of a lot going for it, the 357 just fits me better.
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Old 03-09-2014, 01:21 PM
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elmojo elmojo is offline
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Aside from 12 ga. we only carry 357 mag/38 and 22lr. used to carry 45 colt/410 handgun and .223 black rifle but it was more fun than serious business and pared it down to the aforementioned. My wife's kit load is a Ruger 10/22 takedown, scoped, bipod, etc. and a Ruger SP101 in 357. (used to carry a Lady Smith in 357 but she decided it was too light). I carry a Ruger MKII with some mods and a Marlin 1894C lever gun.

We feel protected and tricked out for hunting anything that we would come across in our A.O.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:11 PM
fwilliam1 fwilliam1 is offline
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Like most here I have the assortment of defensive handgun calibres, from 9mm thru .40S&W to .45acp and 44 magnum but I'll have to admit that my favorite wear around the property weapon is a .22 revolver. It's light and capable of dispatching the kind of varmints I'm likely to encounter and being a revolver I can readliy switch to the ammunition I need to do the job from shot loads to hollow points. In my case I'm carrying to handle the kind of threat I'm really likely to encounter rather than the imagined zombie hordes.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:34 AM
Inpursuit Inpursuit is offline
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Only one thing to point out relative to your original post. Actually there are 7000 grains in a pound of powder so it is even more economical to reload.
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Old 03-26-2014, 03:59 PM
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For me

9mm and 45acp are tied for 1 & 2, the 9mm is easy to shoot and cheap, 45acp is my favorite caliber and is semi-cheap, I used to be a strictly .45acp guy but sometimes the store had 9mm and sometimes they had 45acp so I have both so I'm good to go regardless.

2) .357-great caliber, I own one and use it for hunting, shoots .38 spcl which I use for target shooting, only thing is not as easy to find around here as 9mm or 45acp and not as cheap

3) .22lr, great caliber, good for small game that is standing still or moving slowly, could use for any game SHTF, cheap and lightweight, but up until very recently good luck finding it at a decent price.

4) 40 S&W, I don't own one because I always just get a .45acp, but semi-affordable and usually available, good all around round.

5) 44mag, great caliber for hunting big game, expensive and hard to find at times, makes this not great for stockpiling, but still a good round.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:12 PM
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Area Man Area Man is offline
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I'm surprised folks go for the .357 mag over the .44 mag. If you're gonna shoot a magnum, go big. And I'm not sure about anyone else out there, but there is something about the .357 mag that has a sharp "bark!" when it comes to shooting them. I can be wearing whatever ear protection there is available, ear plugs and muffs, and it still drills to the center of my brain.

My top 5 are only 4:

4. 22LR - obvious. Used to be a lot cheaper, but still cheap to shoot (when you can find it)
3. .380 ACP - gotta have something you can concealed carry with ease, and knock something down.
2. 9mm - while it was rare for a while, coming back around to good availability, and versatile
1. .44 mag/.44 spl - like I said before, if you're going to go magnum, go big, and .44 is much more available than .454, .480, .500, etc.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:30 PM
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I agree with 357 being #1. It is my favorite. 38 special is great for target practice with full house 357 for social work and hunting. I'd put 22lr as # 2. It is just so versitle and easy to shoot. I'm not a .44 mag fan. I do like 454 casull with 45 long colt for target and just fun. I am not an auto loader fan except in 22lr. I'm comfortable with a ruger bolt action 357 and a large frame smith 357 on my hip.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:03 PM
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I must totally agree with the OP as I currently have them all. I sleep good at night with my 38+P under my pillow. My ruger 22 bull barrel is tucked away in my BOB.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:32 PM
MadDawg MadDawg is offline
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Originally Posted by Matchking Man View Post
Breakdown of popular calibers by muzzle energy, projectile weight, muzzle velocity

1. 22 LR 182 ftlbs 40gr 1260fps
2. 25acp 66 ftlbs 45gr 810fps
3. 38 Special 215 ftlbs 158gr 800fps
4. .380 Auto 180 ftlbs 95gr 850fps
5. 9x19 435 ftlbs 147gr 1010fps
6. 357 Mag 780 ftlbs 158gr 1380fps
7. 357 Sig 525 ftlbs 125gr 1375fps
8. 40 S/W 500 ftlbs 155gr 1275fps
9. 44 Special 485 ftlbs 165gr 1150fps
10. 41 Mag 900 ftlbs 210gr 1350fps
11. 44 Mag 1050 ftlbs 240gr 1380fps
12. 45 ACP 475 ftlbs 185gr 1000fps

Are most of the "energy" numbers wrong on this list ?
Using this - most are incorrect and high.. Only a few appear to be about correct.
Thought I'd point that out for those that just don't know.

The other thing is that the velocity of a round in a particular gun is also related to how long the barrel is- and not all guns are created equally- nor are all calibers.
For example, I like .357 because out of a 4 inch barrel, it's decent ; better out of a 6 inch barrel- and gets a nice boost coming out of 16 or 18 inches of barrel.. another example- in the opposite direction-is that 9mm and .45 ACP- for example- are optimized for shorter barrels and really don't add a significant amount of velocity coming out of a 16 inch barrel- nothing like a .357 will..
So- not all rounds are created equal; it depends upon what you want out of the round.
Faves- in order.
.357 Magnum ! Versatile. And kicks some butt.
.45 ACP - sweet and slow...
9mm - versatile at a price! Not the best caliber- but not the worst either for a handgun.
5.56x45.. Yep- For the fear factor ! If you don't think that 55gr moving at about 2600 feet per second won't do any damage....
.22 LR .. economical- or at least it used to be.

Top 5 pistol rounds- well, how many don't have 5 different pistol calibers ? I guess I will actually start that "My top 50 rifles & pistols that I will take with me when SHTF.." thread.. It's far better than the top 5 or the top two.. It also leaves me with a few to pick up too...

Or the "which rifles and pistols will you leave behind during shtf ? " thread... This way- my safe queens don't feel left out...
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:53 AM
223shootersc 223shootersc is offline
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My votes are as follows:
5. 410, 45 Long Colt and 45 acp all can be shot out of some revolvers (like the Taurus judge)
4. 44 mag. and 44 special can be shot out of same revolver
3. 9mm most used round all over the world
2. 357 Magnum / 38 special again get a Ruger GP100 or SP101
1. 22LR and 22 short , 22 Rat shot Ruger Single six or ten good to go
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:02 AM
arleigh arleigh is offline
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My list would be according to the situations I am facing, and the area I'm living in.
In the north country where the big critters are top of the list is the .454 , the same gun will allow .45 long colt as well,and with moon clips handle .45acp.
Though I have a .44 mag single I'd just as soon have a double action as an alternative to the .454 .
Coming south a bit the .357 mag is sustainable for practically every thing formidable.
I don't care about the 9MM because the .357 mag handles 38 special nicely.
And the 38 special will handle every thing 2 legged as well.
The .22 is a fun gun and shot shells are available for snake and maybe some quail .
More formidable though is the .17 HMR with greater velocity and a flatter trajectory and accuracy, and very low recoil .
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Old 03-27-2014, 12:05 PM
Rifleman55 Rifleman55 is offline
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I have handguns in .22, .380, 9mm .44 mag. and .45acp I don't shoot the .44 mag much now days, a few years ago I had Ruger rebarrel it, I had shot out the forcing cone I bought it used over 40 years ago, it is a Ruger Flat top made in 59. I have a few other calibers but if the shtf they would be used as spares as ammo would be hard to get.
Now days I could get along with the .22 and .45acp if I had to.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:44 PM
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I have been thinking a lot on this thread. I was molding projectiles yesterday. I molded several hundred 9mm as I was out. the whole time I'm thinking,"when was the last time you shot the 9mm pistol or carbine?" It has been years. I also molded some 452 projectiles. I can remember the last time I shot the Ruger or when my son shot his 45acp. I also molded a couple hundred 22 caliber projectiles as they are fun in the hornet. When I head for the back pasture I have either a 22lr or a 38 special on my hip. Other than hunting season the other pistols just don't get out of the gun safe. My point is: when we list our favorite pistols are we listing those we really carry? Is our list based upon magazine articles that we read? I like 357, but I carry a 38 special. the 4" smith is a companion in the field. I have a 5" which has not been out of the safe in over 10 years. The best part of these thread is that it made me think! I may open the safe and look up some old friends as a result of this thread.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:12 PM
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RobbK RobbK is offline
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.7.62X39, 45acp, .22 lR, 12 gauge ,and .410gauge.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:32 PM
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Nice list, I only have the 9mm and .45 ACP but we do have a couple of .40's in the family. I do however, have ammo for all five just in case I end up with any of the others.
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22 long rifle, 357 magnum, 357 magnum for shtf, 38 special, 45acp, 45acp for shtf, 9mm, 9mm for shtf, pistol calibers

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