Good idea to diversify the calibers in your arsenal?


Dollar An Hour
January 18, 2008, 05:32 PM
Since we don't really know where ammo prices / availability are headed, is it a good idea to have rifles in a few different calibers, or do you prefer to K.I.S.S. and have several rifles on several platforms (or one platform) chambered in the same caliber?

I'm looking to buy a couple of rifles, and want something that'll fill the SHTF role if needed, but also something fun at the range that won't break the bank with ammo costs.

I'm thinking AK, so would it be better to get two AK's in 7.62, or one in 7.62 and another in 5.45 or 5.56?

Seems like 5.45 is the biggest gamble since it's all imported and that could stop at some point...

Is 7.62 safe looking forward (suppose Hillary gets elected) since it's manufactured in the U.S. no matter what? Or is a foreign military caliber something that could be banned later?

Is 5.56 probably the safest in terms of future availability, even though it's gotten quite pricey lately?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and strategies for caliber choice these days. :)

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January 18, 2008, 05:41 PM
this is a very interesting question. I know that i have a diverse list of calibers in my arsonal, its not for that reason though. As for the 7.62, I dont think it will become unavailable - if anything the imports could be banned, in which case it would very quickly climb in price to roughly equal (maybe a tad less) than that of the .308. I think we are plenty safe with the .223/5.56, however, I dont envision it getting any cheaper. If you are really worried about availability and/or price, I would suggest picking a caliber that is easily reloadable - that is probably your best bet.

Just my .02....could end up being the complete opposite, who knows.

January 18, 2008, 05:41 PM
I am taking a different path and consolidating my collection.
Most of what I have is 7.62x51 M14, then 7.62x39 AK and now 5.56x45 AR.
I am reducing my 7.62x39 AK foot print down to one single collectors item rifle and a bunch of ammo, mags and drums.
I am increasing my 5.56x45 foot print with two LE6920 M4s - I need mags and ammo for these.
My M14 count should stay at eight in different configurations and I have plenty of mags and ammo for them.

January 18, 2008, 05:45 PM
All but one of my rifles are for hunting, so I have a few different calibers for different game. I could consolidate, but I have alot of ammo for each caliber, so ammo prices aren't affecting me. I did sell the 300mag and 45-70 ones, mainly because I really didn't need the punch and recoil of them, and yes, ammo price was also a factor there.

January 18, 2008, 05:46 PM
All but one of my rifles are for hunting, so I have a few different calibers for different game. I could consolidate, but I have alot of ammo for each caliber, so ammo prices aren't affecting me.

Ditto and I handload for mine.

January 18, 2008, 06:07 PM
Have been "consolidating" for the passed 10 years or so. Am (finally) down to:

.22 lr/.22 mag (Ruger Single-Six & Browning Buckmark)

.243 (Remington 700 Custom)

.38/.357 Mag. (1875 Remington - Uberti replica)

.44 Mag (Ruger Super Blackhawk)

.36 C&B (1861 Colt Navy - Uberti replica)

Can reload for all three centerfires.


January 18, 2008, 06:09 PM
I narrowed my calibers a few years ago, for ease of storing ammo, but I still have a few odd balls. In rifles the 30 caliber family is predominant: .300 Winmag, 30-06, 7.62x54, with a couple 5.56 and 7.62x39, one .270 and one .338 lapua. In handguns I really simplified: .45's, 9mm's, .38's (includes .357), and .22's.

Now when I'm out buying, if it isn't in one of the calibres listed, I don't give it a 2nd. look.

January 18, 2008, 06:13 PM
All our rifles are chambered in 5.56 NATO, except for a nostalgia SKS in 7.62x39.

Same for pistols: all are 9mmP except for my wife's favorite Sig P220 in .45 ACP.

We save on ammo buy buying by thousand round lots when we find a good deal.


January 18, 2008, 06:20 PM
It's much easier to be caliber-diverse with pistols: .38 through a .357, .40 S&W through a 10MM, .45 ACP through a modified .45 LC, .40 S&W barrels interchangeable with .357 SIG and 9MM ones in certain pistols. Rifles are a bit trickier and less option-friendly.

I've got sufficient (I think, for me, at least) ammo at this point in 8MM Mauser, 7.62x54R, 7.5x55, 5.56x45, 7.62x39, and 5.45x39 for immediate, short-term, and possibly long-term needs, but only the AR fodder is easily reloadable. I agree that foreign calibers could easily get cut off, but (1) at $120/1,080, 5.45x39 is dirt, dirt cheap, and (2), a cut-off of foreign ammo imports would most likely be shortly (like a year or two) followed by legislation against everything else. If that's the case, all bets are off, and Katie bar the door.

I'm not done buying ammo yet, that's for sure. If nothing, I'll give them all massive hernias when they come to cart if off.

January 18, 2008, 06:52 PM
I buy whatever hits my fancy and don't worry about it.

Ohio Rifleman
January 18, 2008, 06:58 PM
Currently, the only calibers I use are: 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, 7.5x55 Swiss and .22LR. So yes, I should probably diversify. :neener:

Evil Monkey
January 18, 2008, 07:16 PM
I'd rather just stick with 5.56x45mm, 7.62x39mm, and 7.62x51mm.

You got your low impulse cartridge, your all round assault rifle cartridge, and your long range cartridge. Of course, the 7.62mm nato still isn't the best long range round in terms of energy but all the battle rifles I like are chambered for it so, oh well.

I have to check myself sometimes. I'll see some cheap 5.45mm for sale and that'll get me to thinking that I "need" an AK74, but I dont because I'm trying to get an ar15. And I'll see some cheap 7.62x54R on aim surplus and think 'man I should get a PSL', then I think no, I'm trying to save up for a FAL. I have to try and standardize.

January 18, 2008, 07:20 PM
I am not paranoid, but I like to think. Perhaps too much sometimes, and this thinking has led me to want some diversification in my collection.

If there ever was a long term "problem" in the future, (SHFT, major gun bans, etc) guns and ammo would likely become more rare... and who knows what type of ammunition would be the easiest to find at that point. I would hate to have an entire collection of 7.62 NATO & 9mm only to find out that everyone else had the same guns and gobbled all the ammunition up.

I guess the solution would be to store some away... but not all of us are able to just yet, and stockpiles are not always guaranteed to remain unspoiled.

January 18, 2008, 07:55 PM
I like consolidation just for its own sake and don't worry about availability too much. But I like to stick with common stuff anyway, which I guesss is sort of a nod in your notion's direction.

7.62x39 is so ubiquitous in a global sense that I'm not that worried about it. Plus it is made domestically as you say; pricier, though. If I was truly concerned I'd just get a .30-30 also, which is roughly the same thing ballistically and about as ubiquitous on a US scale (though not as cheap).

Good ol' .22LR does a lot of consolidating for all of us! :cool:

January 18, 2008, 08:04 PM
I'm not complaining about having a few nice firearms and in different calibers,but at some point you realize it's like having a fleet of Humvees and then having to gas them up.....

Which is why I have some that I shoot often and some I indulge in sometimes.My twisted logic lately is,hey how about a AR or UZI carbine,9mm is still reasonable and I could shoot it alot,but actually the price for one of those carbines I could just use for ammo for one I already have but then I'd talk myself out of a "valid" reason for buying yet another gun lol.;)

January 18, 2008, 08:25 PM
i consolidated as well and got rid of several calibers. i got rid of all my 5.7x28 (multiple guns), 9mm (multiple guns), 50bmg

now I just have high volume serious calibers: 223/45acp/22lr
and screwing around calibers: 6mmXC, 480ruger, 220 swift
and one 308win project that's kind of in-between

Bazooka Joe71
January 18, 2008, 08:35 PM
I try to keep it someone simple...But there are just certain rifles that I had to have, that did come in one or the other caliber...


January 18, 2008, 10:02 PM
I keep it simple...then again, reloading opens up the possibilities a bit)

.45 Colt (reload for this)
.45 ACP (reload for this)
.40 S&W (reload for this)
.357 Mag/.38 Special (reload for this)
10mm Auto (reload for this)
9x19 mm (reload for this)
7.62x25 mm
9x18 mm
7.62 Nagant
.36 cal BP
.22 LR
12 ga (reload for this)
20 ga
.30 Carbine (reload for this)
.45-70 Gov't (reload for this)
.300 WSM (reload for this)
.30-06 (reload for this)
7.92x57 mm
7.62x51 mm (reload for this)
7.5x55 mm (reload for this)
7.5x54 mm
.303 British
7.7 Japanese (reload for this)
6.5x55 mm (reload for this)
.30-40 Krag (reload for this)
7.62x39 mm
8x50R Lebel (reload for this)
5.56x45 mm (reload for this)
.50 BMG
.58 cal BP

January 18, 2008, 10:11 PM
I've been trying to consolidate the cartridges I shoot. So far I'm down to the following.

Airguns-.177, .20, .22, .25.


Shotguns-12g, 20g

Handguns-.32ACP, .380, .40

Centerfire rifles-.223, 7.62x39, .308, 7.5 Swiss, 7.62x54R, .30-06, 8mm Mauser

Obsolete cartridges-11mm Murata, 30g

I think I might have pared things down a little bit too much though and my options might be somewhat limited. Although I still want to maintain a lean and minimalistic assortment of cartridges, I'd like to add 6.5 and 7.35 Carcano, 6.5 and 7.7 Arisaka, .303 British, 5.45x39, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, 9mm and maybe 3 or four others. I don't want to get carried away though. Some people just have no self control and buy guns in half a dozen chamberings that all do the same thing. There's no way I'm going to let that happen to me.

January 18, 2008, 10:13 PM
I used to stress ammo prices (which led me to trade my beloved JLD PTR-91) but then I got into reloading. I make great ammo hand tailored to each rifle for what I used to buy surplus for. If you go this route, your only worry is accumulating a pool of brass per caliber you care to reload. THen all you have left to do is buy in bulk and blast away.

January 19, 2008, 12:53 AM
I believe in consolidation of calibers for my main stock calibers. Which are

22 LR
9 MM
357 mag
12 gage

I also have weapons in 22 mag, 32acp, and 30-30. I just don't stock a lot of ammo in those calibers.

I'm sure there are pro's and con's for both trains of thought. I don't think there is any "right" way. It's what ever makes you happy.

If the anti's get in office there may be legislation that restricts some calibers. So I would think twice about a caliber that is not produced here. If you do decide to go with one of those calibers, such as 5.45x39, stack it deep.

January 19, 2008, 08:31 AM
KISS. I have 45/70, 30-06AI, 8mm, 7.62x39, 30 Car and 22. I will probably sell the 7.62x39 but I have 2000 rounds. I may sell my 8mm's but I have 4000 rounds. If I could start from scratch I'd have a 308 bolt, 30 Car and 357 - lever gun.

January 19, 2008, 09:32 AM
You can always sell and start over again. Guns aren't permanent appendages to your body.

I stock sufficient ammo for my short term needs in the calibers I shoot. I'm not too concerned about it really. If I run out of ammunition, then I do. SHTF scenarios don't really play heavily into my buying habits in general.

High Planes Drifter
January 19, 2008, 10:26 AM
Im in the process of consolidating. I want to get down to 4 long gun cartridges (excluding shotguns and .22 rifles):

.223 Remington
.30-06 Springfield
.30-30 Winchester
6.5x55 Swede

I have decided to stop buying guns for the moment and start buying ammo before the cost goes up even more.

Rifleman 173
January 23, 2008, 12:31 AM
I have 4 .223 caliber rifles in the AR-15/M-4 variants and one SAR-1 rifle for now. I eventually plan to have 5 of each type rifle available for emergencies and a couple of 7.62 NATO rifles, like AR-10s and M-1As, later on for longer range work if ever needed. I already have a number of about 6 .22LR rifles all of which have scopes mounted on them. Eventually when I have the number of rifles, handguns and shotguns I want then I will try a couple of SVD type rifles for the fun of it. I may even try a .40 S&W K40-GL carbine from Olympic Arms for general use around the house. The K40-GL will use the same ammo and magazines as my Glock 22-C pistols which will make things simpler for me.

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