.223 Vs. 5.56 Vs. 7.62 AK for SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situations?


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Ligament
February 14, 2006, 12:45 AM
Hello All,

I am looking into buying one AK for SHTF/TEOTWAKI situations and home defense if needed. Which caliber would be better for this situation? Cost is not much of a consideration regarding ammo in my case, so ignore cheap ammo arguments.

I know the 7.62 is what the AK was designed around. Perhaps this leads to better reliability. However, I do not see too many high end 7.62 rounds available, mostly limited to russian or surplus. I know the round is cheap and easily found everywhere in the world.

The .223/5.56 is appealing to me because it is just as, if not more, readily available to me in my area. I see more .223/5.56 in the stores than 7.62 around here. LEOs use .223/5.56. Tons of people around here own ARs in .223/5.56. The most appealing thing to me is the wide range of very high quality ammunition available in .223. One is not limited to a few russian ammo makers in .223/5.56. The terminal performance seems just as good if not better than 7.62.

Correct me if my thoughts are wrong, I really appreciate your advise. Which round would be better for me?

Thank You.

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ocabj
February 14, 2006, 12:51 AM
Search the forums for: 'shtf' or '5.56 7.62' will return plenty of results regarding this topic.

SHTF rifle and/or caliber choice is a topic that has been well discussed in several other threads.

Art Eatman
February 14, 2006, 01:23 AM
Since there's no perfect "one size fits all" rifle or cartridge, the first thing--IMO--is to work out the most logical scenario that fits your world. Married or single; with or without kids; urban or rural; stay staic to protect a home, or bugout for Elsewhere.

The choice of weaponry will be different within these sorts of parameters.

Art

MTMilitiaman
February 14, 2006, 01:27 AM
I love seeing these threads pop up in multiple forums at the same time and knowing I am not the only one that frequents half a dozen different gun boards.

mordechaianiliewicz
February 14, 2006, 01:42 AM
Since there's no perfect "one size fits all" rifle or cartridge, the first thing--IMO--is to work out the most logical scenario that fits your world. Married or single; with or without kids; urban or rural; stay staic to protect a home, or bugout for Elsewhere.

The choice of weaponry will be different within these sorts of parameters.

Art

I couldn't agree more. While I have an AK set up, it is based around the idea of not having alot of money to blow, living in an urban area (therefore reaching out past 300 yards away isn't incredibly important), having hunting rifles that give me the extra range, and I have a huge stock of 7.62x39mm.

You're mileage may vary. What I do know is that as long as you have a pistol, a .22 rifle, and a semi-auto centerfire you are gonna be a lot better off than most. After you get it, practice alot.

beerslurpy
February 14, 2006, 01:44 AM
Depends on your situation.

If I lived on a big patch of open land, I would probably get a FAL or an AR10 variant. Or a semiauto M1919 with a big belt and a bipod.

In florida, which is all 50-100 yard dense urban and swamp, I prefer the AK. Many prefer the AR15. No one is really right or wrong. They are both awesome guns out to 100 yards and decent out to 3-400. If the indian is good, it wont matter what arrow he uses to get you.

5.56 is deadlier under 100-150 yards due to fragmentation, but this isnt entirely consistent across guns and bullet weights. More accurate, less bullet drop and doesnt drift in the wind as much as much. Very low recoil.

7.62x39 has slightly more recoil, more wind drift, pretty bad bullet drop past 300 yards and less accuracy at pretty much every range. Goes through cover better. When neither fragment, 7.62x39 wounds better than 5.56.

Mulliga
February 14, 2006, 01:54 AM
Without a functional magazine, your AK is just an awkward single shot rifle. If we're talking real SHTF/TEOTWAWKI, the ability to take common 7.62x39 AK mags (available nearly anywhere on the planet) is a plus. Most of the AK stuff is geared towards the 7.62x39 version.

Without ammunition, your AK is just an awkward club. The ability to use readily available ammunition from your local former-retailers (i.e. Wal-Mart) is a plus. How much 7.62x39 is on hand at your local Wally World? How much .223? Which are you most likely to find in abandoned police stations, police cruisers, military bases? Remember, you may not be able to carry your ammo dump whereever you go.

The only AKs I've ever seen that were unreliable were .223 AKs. Not to say that they all are, but it's something to consider. Basically, it's a tossup. I'd lean towards the 7.62x39 myself, if only because my Katrina-style scenario strategy involves getting the heck out with a large supply of cheap, loaded mags.

Man I love SHTF threads. ;)

Erinyes
February 14, 2006, 01:57 AM
Should TEOTWAWKI come, I plan on a bugout situation to my grandfather's farm in rural Missouri. Because of that, I plan on having a good .308 MBR (My Franken14 would be good. Or the next rifle currently toping my "to buy" list, the PTR-91). If I were staying put, I'd probably choose an AR-15 because I hate notch sights.

Crosshair
February 14, 2006, 02:00 AM
Personaly, I believe 7.62x39 to be a better hunting round than .223. So if you are mainly going to be putting deer meat on the table. 7.62 might be the better choice. However, .223 will do the job as well, only thing is shot placement is a little more important as is bullet type. As a plus, drop in 22LR conversion kits for the AR-15 mean you can use light, cheap ammo for hunting rabbits. For a round against two legged creatures, I'll go for 7.62x39 all the way. Both rounds have their place though.

Don't Tread On Me
February 14, 2006, 02:06 AM
Well, Art is right. Depends entirely on bug out or stand your ground. In my opinion, you MUST prepare for bug-out. Even if you plan to stand your ground. You just never know. Nothing is ever 100% static.


Given that, you're not going to be carrying a gun and ammo only. You'll want to carry other needs also. So, keep it LIGHT is critical. So I have to go with the AR-15. Can carry more ammo for less weight and in smaller space. Rifle is light too (if you get an original profile one)


Figure, a 16" barreled "superlight" or "pencil barrel" with an A1 upper (newer one with forward assist) and collapsing stock will run you about say, not an ounce over 5.5lbs. Probably closer to 5lbs even. Fully loaded 30rd mags are 1lb each. 1 mag in gun, and an extra 4 mags gives you 150rds of ammo, and you are at 10.5lbs total weapon system. Give the rifle some tritium sights and you don't have to deal with reddots or other things that might break, need batteries, or add weight.


Consider that other people have "carbines" that unloaded and without extra ammo comes close to that weight. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a carbine.


As far as killing power / effectiveness. It's good enough.


If weight is NOT an issue (and I find this impossible to believe in any real scenario) then you'll want to get a rifle with the lowest possible maintenance / reliability. Go AK all the way.

beerslurpy
February 14, 2006, 02:23 AM
I dont buy into the ammo scavenging theory. If I need to use an AR15, I'm sure there will be plenty lying on the ground for me to pick up.

Don't Tread On Me
February 14, 2006, 02:37 AM
I don't buy into it either. .223 is more abundant than 7.62x39. Shop around, and you'll see virtually every store that sells ammo has .223, but not always 762x39.


Problem is, in some SHTF of that severity, any place that has ammo, won't have it anymore for you to scrounge up. The owners or employees of such places will clean house long before the looters get there, and if not, the looters will probably get it all before you do. Just like pharmacies and such. All the important stuff, like water/medicine/ammo/fuel/gold will be looted by those in-the-know early on.


So, your best bet is to not count on that. Instead, collect ammo from the corpses of those who you take care of. Better yet, keep a healthy stash of your own ammo. If you are going to stay put and dig in, then it's not a problem. If this is some ultra long drawn out SHTF..then you should have considered even a 22LR, or a couple of firearms with specialized uses, perhaps a reloading set up.

Fingolfin
February 14, 2006, 02:51 AM
The world as we know it includes guns. If it is the end of that maybe we should talk about stone versus pointy stick.

:neener:

beerslurpy
February 14, 2006, 03:25 AM
But every store online has 1000 rd cases of 7.62x39 for 100 bucks. I've got enough ammo that I dont need to run to the store in an emergency. Or several emergencies for that matter.

Crosshair
February 14, 2006, 04:10 AM
My SHTF senarios are either a major flood (Like we had in 1997) or economic colapse like Argentina's in 2001 ish. I really don't see a Mad Max situation happening.

whm1974
February 14, 2006, 08:11 AM
My SHTF senarios are either a major flood (Like we had in 1997) or economic colapse like Argentina's in 2001 ish. I really don't see a Mad Max situation happening.

What about the aftermath? If starving people around you find out you have food... You may have to shoot them.

-Bill

benEzra
February 14, 2006, 10:19 AM
Either. Inside 300 yards, neither has a clear advantage over the other; I'd say pick the rifle/platform you like best and let that determine the caliber. Both the AK and AR platforms can mount decent CQB optics (Eotech or red dot for the AR, Kobra on the siderail or a red dot on an Ultimak for the AK), both are very reliable (assuming the AR is kept reasonably clean), and both are accurate enough for defensive purposes. Ammo availability during a SHTF situation isn't really so much of an issue if you merely buy a case or two of ammo when you buy the gun. If things do go south in a big way, hypothetically speaking, Wal-Mart's ammo counter will get cleaned out by panic buying long before you get there anyway.

If you want to use the gun for non-SHTF home defense, .223/5.56x45 currently has a bit of an edge in ammo selection; 40- and 55-grain .223 JHP's penetrate less in building materials than most readily-available 7.62x39. (If you live in a brick house, that's probably less of an issue.)

Tag
February 14, 2006, 10:49 AM
This is my main motivation for buying a .223 semi-auto. NATO ammo will not be too hard to find for some years after the fallout. An 870 couldn't hurt either.

What does TEOTWAWKI mean? I feel totally left out... :scrutiny: (the end of the world and what.... ..... ....)

TexasRifleman
February 14, 2006, 10:50 AM
What does TEOTWAWKI mean? I feel totally left out... :scrutiny:

The End Of The World As We Know It

TexasRifleman
February 14, 2006, 10:52 AM
My SHTF senarios are either a major flood (Like we had in 1997) or economic colapse like Argentina's in 2001 ish. I really don't see a Mad Max situation happening.


Did you miss the news footage from New Orleans? Imagine that a nationwide incident.

Crosshair
February 14, 2006, 11:06 AM
Did you miss the news footage from New Orleans? Imagine that a nationwide incident.
I don't see that happening for very long. It will be in peoples best interests to start working together to get things working. Those who want to prey on others will be killed soon enough.

carlrodd
February 14, 2006, 11:15 AM
i choose 7.62. also, i have a new tool for SHTF situations...Google Earth. survival has a great deal to do with knowing your surroundings/situational awareness. i study google earth images of my area all the time while thinking about how i might eventually link up with jed eckert and the rest my wolverine brothers.

MechAg94
February 14, 2006, 11:37 AM
I tend to agree that most places, people will start keeping order themselves. Being a loner is not the best long term solution. The rest of the country is not like New Orleans though many places are. If the farming and transportation systems really do break down, the areas around major cities will be bad for a while. It would take quite a bit to cause that to happen, but your best bet is knowing your neighbors and working together.

I tend to go with the comment I saw a while back. If I am truly alone and I survive long enough to go through even 200 or 300 rounds, I would consider myself lucky. I have more than that on hand of course with magazines. I actually need to work on food, water containers, and hiking type gear more than ammo. A few spare parts might be useful as well.

My other universal SHTF comment is to shoot the gun that your are comfortable with and are confident in. Don't choose a gun because you think that is the gun you should have. Choose a gun you like and that you can use proficiently and accurately, and maybe have some idea of how to work on it.

Tag
February 14, 2006, 02:05 PM
If the farming and transportation systems really do break down, the areas around major cities will be bad for a while

They will be bad for a long while, like until food production on a local/community level ramps up, which may not happen at all...

The population would have to fall off first.

MechAg94
February 14, 2006, 02:18 PM
No disagreement there. I was just trying to think of what would cause that to happen on a national scale short of a major nuclear strike.

Shane333
February 14, 2006, 03:01 PM
Regarding SHTF scenarios:

Economic collapse or earthquake are the two most likely here in Utah. Frankly, I don't see a lot of New Orleans-type behavior here. At least, not for the first few weeks.

What I do see as a possibility is a serious worldwide economic meltdown or civil war in neighboring countries south of our borders. I see it as entirely possible for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of desperate Central Americans swarming over the border in desperation for food, etc. (Already happening in some ways;) ) The closer you are to the border, the bigger this potential threat may be.



Anyway, going back to the original topic of 223 vs. 7.62. I'm getting both. I already have a .223 AK. It's a converted Saiga and is amazingly accurate (2 inch groups at 50 yards shooting offhand with Wolf ammo). I'm building a feed ramp so I can use converted 5.45 mags.

I'm also building a 7.62 Romanian AKM from a kit.

If I'm staying put or just strolling around my neighborhood, the 7.62 will do the job just fine. If I have to hike around at all or bug out, or if I'm facing longer ranges than 250 yards, the .223 will be preferred.

Since both rifles are AK's, training is standardized for their use.

MTMilitiaman
February 14, 2006, 04:00 PM
Why would you prefer the 5.56 over the 7.62 at ranges beyond which either of them can be relied upon to deform or fragment?

The 5.56 has a flatter trajectory, but I have my AK and my SKS sighted in for 200 yards and can get consistant hits on targets out to 350 yards without too much difficulty. At 250 yards, with my zero, the bullet is within 4 to 6 inches of my POA. Holding high in the chest, that is still flat enough to be in the heart and lungs, and having a bullet with twice the mass and 35% more frontal diameter than the 5.56, I think, is an advantage in this case.

eab
February 14, 2006, 04:15 PM
The way I see it is this, 5-7 mags of 30 rounds of 7.62*39 for my AK is all I should really need. If I need more then that;
A. I am in over my head.
B. I should probably high tail it to fight another day.
C. I expended my ammo and am victorous and can loot my enemies for weapons and ammo and standarise on what they are using.

Shane333
February 14, 2006, 04:30 PM
Why would you prefer the 5.56 over the 7.62 at ranges beyond which either of them can be relied upon to deform or fragment?

The 5.56 has a flatter trajectory, but I have my AK and my SKS sighted in for 200 yards and can get consistant hits on targets out to 350 yards without too much difficulty. At 250 yards, with my zero, the bullet is within 4 to 6 inches of my POA. Holding high in the chest, that is still flat enough to be in the heart and lungs, and having a bullet with twice the mass and 35% more frontal diameter than the 5.56, I think, is an advantage in this case.

Well, frankly, my 7.62 kit isn't finished being built yet. I know what accuracy I can expect from my 5.56 AK. If my 7.62 AK is anywhere near as accurate, than your argument is absolutely valid. If the 5.56 turns out to be notably more accurate, it is definately a better choice for longer ranges simply because I'm more likely to score a hit.

Tag
February 14, 2006, 07:00 PM
a sizeable drop in global oil production and a hard winter would do the trick.

Don't Tread On Me
February 14, 2006, 07:22 PM
Well....a lot of good arguments are being made. But now the debate is starting to shift to long-range use. I still think the AR is best or the AK because in a SHTF, you won't need to shoot 350 meters, and if you do, they are still effective at that range. Let's not get into that mentality that they become spitballs after 200 yards. Reminds me of the mousegun bashers. Spread the notion that a .22 just bounces off of people, but no one dares to stand 20 yards out while I test the theory on them...


The best solution for a SHTF rifle and ammo combination for all ranges, uses would be a Springfield SOCOM 16 in .308. You can load 110gr loads for 2-legged vermin, or move up to heaver loads for hunting, long range work, or penetration. It's not very light though...

Ligament
February 14, 2006, 09:31 PM
Ha Ha MTMilitiaman you found me out! I'm getting lots of info all at once now. ;)

I love seeing these threads pop up in multiple forums at the same time and knowing I am not the only one that frequents half a dozen different gun boards.

BevrFevr
February 15, 2006, 01:46 AM
Without a doubt the most veratile and reliable survival firearm has to be the 12 gauge pump. You can turn the shells into make shift land mines to protect your flanks and rear. From flares to rock salt to slugs to pebbles the possiblities are almost as endless as your imagination.

I know it ain't what you asked about.

back on topic. Buy at least 2 aks in 7.62 and a pile of ammo. That way you can eat, sleep, and poop in shifts and both be armed.

Otherwise, you are just somebody that needs to be followed till nature calls, and then your stuff turns into somebody elses.

-bevr

as for a cause for bad things it is easy to come up with bad ones... pandemic, rapid climate change, comet, tsunami, contminated food supplies (mad cow, bird flu, CWD) that shuts down import export.

Kali falls into ocean. Oh wait that is a good thing.

roscoe
February 15, 2006, 01:56 AM
That's weird - a thread about 5.56 vs. 7.62x39 and SHTF. Those two just wouldn't seem to go together.

MTMilitiaman
February 15, 2006, 02:35 AM
Without a doubt the most veratile and reliable survival firearm has to be the 12 gauge pump. You can turn the shells into make shift land mines to protect your flanks and rear. From flares to rock salt to slugs to pebbles the possiblities are almost as endless as your imagination.

I know it ain't what you asked about.

back on topic. Buy at least 2 aks in 7.62 and a pile of ammo. That way you can eat, sleep, and poop in shifts and both be armed.

Otherwise, you are just somebody that needs to be followed till nature calls, and then your stuff turns into somebody elses.

-bevr

as for a cause for bad things it is easy to come up with bad ones... pandemic, rapid climate change, comet, tsunami, contminated food supplies (mad cow, bird flu, CWD) that shuts down import export.

Kali falls into ocean. Oh wait that is a good thing.

Yeah, you can throw a lot of different ammunition types into a shotgun, but the roles it can fullfill are still pretty limited, and I don't consider the shotgun very versitile because of this. A smoothbore even with slugs and good sights isn't much good past 100 yards, certainly not on par with even a reliatively inaccurate intermediate rifle like the AK. So no matter what you stuff into your shotgun, you are still limited in range and thus, in utility. Even a relatively inexperienced rifleman can engage you from well beyond your effective range and keep you pinned down and defenseless. With a rifle you are more limited in ammunition choices--non-expanding FMJ, SPs, HPs, some match loads, and maybe some more obscure designs like flat point or RN, but this allows you to do anything you should need to do--penetrate barriers, control penetration through expansion, ect. And because the rifle is more accurate and effective to a longer range, I feel it is more useful. I have a shotgun but it sees very little use because basically the only thing it can do that a rifle can't do better is wingshoot. If there was a crisis that required me to pick armament to protect myself in a wide variety of conditions, I would skip the shotgun entirely and not miss it. I guess I am a rifleman at heart because I will always pick a rifle before anything else if given a choice.

Crosshair
February 15, 2006, 04:47 AM
+1 MTMilitiaman, Unless I am being attacked by geese with diarrhea I'll take the rifle.

BevrFevr
February 16, 2006, 12:40 AM
ugh!

MechAg94
February 16, 2006, 09:46 AM
The best solution for a SHTF rifle and ammo combination for all ranges, uses would be a Springfield SOCOM 16 in .308. You can load 110gr loads for 2-legged vermin, or move up to heaver loads for hunting, long range work, or penetration. It's not very light though...
Doesn't the .308 lose some longer ranged effectiveness out of the 16" barrel? I have a standard M1A that I would love to use, but the weight would prevent me from using it unless I was bugging in or driving.

I was loading some new magazines yesterday. I have 5-30 round AR mags and 4-30 round steel AK 7.62 mags. The 5 AR mags were still lighter than the AK mags fully loaded. If I was on foot, I think my Armalite would be my first choice.

student
February 16, 2006, 11:52 PM
In my humble opinion the .223 AK in the USA is a good idea, but flawed in availability of cheap mags and a lack of design tweaking. The 5.45 AK also seems like a good idea but ammo availability is likely worse than 7.62. I am glad my AK is a 7.62 for those reasons. A folding stock SAR-1 was my BOB and SHTF rifle, but I realized with ammo and mags and weapon it was too heavy for my tastes. I compromised and went with the less weighty stainless .223 mini-14 with a folding stock and several reliable factory or promag mags. Mixed with a 5.5" stainless bull barrel 22/45 and a glock 27 I have my travelling combo that can go everywhere with me. I still have and love the AK, but it would go with me only on vehicle bug outs. Basically I am planning for survival and not battle, but if the need arises...

colt.45
February 17, 2006, 03:46 PM
the best gun in this situation is the one your holding.

an m-1 carbine would be a good choice. light as heck and a full mag is like 4 oz.

as far as .223 fragmenting goes, ss-109 will freliably fragment out to 400 yards and even after that the bullets still yaw and break up a little bit.

MTMilitiaman
February 17, 2006, 03:51 PM
Actually, colt, both the M193 and the M855 "Green Tip" require about 2700 fps to reliably fragment in ballistic geletin. From an M4, you reach this velocity at ~100 yards, and from an M16, around ~150 yards. Fragmentation is far less predictable in living tissue, but I have seen a Win M193 clone fail to fragment through 3 feet of tissue at 40 yards. If you happen to like the 5.56, that is fine, but you shouldn't hold any misconceptions as to its capabilties.

Lindenberger
February 18, 2006, 01:44 AM
Hello All, I am looking into buying one AK for SHTF/TEOTWAKI situations


What is TEOTWAKI? Let me guess--The End of Time (How'm I doin' so far?)--but what's WAKI?

Solo
February 18, 2006, 01:48 AM
The End Of The World As we Know It.

Lindenberger
February 18, 2006, 03:02 AM
The End Of The World As we Know It.

Thanks, Solo.

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