Why are our weapon calibers shrinking?


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FIVETWOSEVEN
January 9, 2012, 02:40 AM
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back then when firearms were first invented, they fired large balls. Now the norm is .22ish caliber rifles. Why is it that the bullets got smaller and smaller? Is this trend going to continued till it's no longer a caliber but a beam of energy in the 40 watt range?

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Saakee
January 9, 2012, 02:44 AM
Because smaller calibers are lighter, meaning a soldier can carry more magazines full of ammo than they used to.

ShawnC
January 9, 2012, 02:46 AM
I don't know. Seems to me Magnum calibers, while not as big as musket balls, are pretty popular. I'm a .444 Marlin man myself. :)

Telekinesis
January 9, 2012, 02:58 AM
Smaller calibers also give less recoil which means you don't get pushed off target as quickly when firing in full auto. That coupled with the individual rounds being lighter (infantry can carry more ammo for the weight) makes it more attractive for the military, which then drives LEO and civilian sales.

Even though I'm a fan of 7.62 rifles, I do think that the 5.56 has some advantages, even if they don't really affect me.

Shadow 7D
January 9, 2012, 03:01 AM
Called IMPROVEMENT
used to be a trained soldier could fire 2 maybe 3 shots a minute
now a untrained person can EASILY do that, with a semi, a trained person can do 2-3 shots a second.

gazpacho
January 9, 2012, 03:10 AM
Because a modern version of a .68 caliber mini ball, pushed by modern powders would kill a cape buffalo, and the rifle necessary to shoot it would weigh 20 pounds.

idcurrie
January 9, 2012, 03:26 AM
A 5.56 is probably 1/3 the volume and size of a 30'06. A soldier can carry 3x as many into battle. There were many times in WWII where soldiers armed with a Garand would run out of ammunition during a battle.

5.56 is plenty to kill a man. Wounding is preferable so the more powerful 30'06 or 308 were simply not needed and had disadvantages.

5.56 practically non existent recoil means no chance of developing a flinch and allows faster followup shots.

In terms of cost of manufacture and the ability to meet wartime ammunition demand, a 5.56 might take 25 grains of powder where a 30'06 would take 55. It would have less than half the brass, less than half the weight of bullet. You get the idea.

You can make 2x the ammo in 5.56 using the same raw resources. You can transport it around in greater quantities, the GI can carry much more of it, and it has less recoil.

Win Win Win.

blarby
January 9, 2012, 03:39 AM
Here we go again !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5euXm5msz1Y

One side of the argument would argue that 3x the ammo would whoop that drum solid.


The other side of the argument argues that you only need ONE round to pierce the barrel, and STOP your assailant.

99.47256382031% of the arguments essentially boil down to this...thats why I posted the vid.

In realistic fire-exchange situations BOTH sides have merit.

murf
January 9, 2012, 03:43 AM
don't have to shoot horses anymore.

murf

pikid89
January 9, 2012, 03:44 AM
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back then when firearms were first invented, they fired large balls. Now the norm is .22ish caliber rifles. Why is it that the bullets got smaller and smaller?

When black powder was the only gun powder, in order to get the required energy out of said projectile, it had to be large and heavy, like the .75 caliber brown bess

nowadays, with modern smokeless powder, a smaller lighter projectile can be moved many times faster, which yields similar (or more in some instances) than the previous heavy slow projectile

energy is determined by multiplying mass (the amount of matter or "stuff" in something) times the velocity squared

Energy = Mass*(Velocity^2)

E=mv^2

if we take a 545 grain .71 caliber ball over 100 grains of black powder (British Army Brown Bess load), you would get around 1000fps, you get about 1210 foot pounds of muzzle energy

alternatively,the M16 load, a 55 grain .224 caliber bullet pushed to 3110 feet per second yields 1181 ft/lbs

those are similar muzzle energies
but they are not the only factors at play here

momentum is the measure of how much energy it takes to get something moving (or stop its movement)

it is calculated by multiplying velocity times mass

so 545 grains * 1000 fps gives us a momentum (p) of 545,000

while 55 grains * 3110 fps = P = 171,050

so now we know that the large ball has more momentum and we can then summarize that it takes more energy to get it moving

that then brings us to newtons third law of motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

so if the brown bess takes (X) amount of energy and applied it to the heavy ball, then the third law says that the heavy ball will be applying the exact equal energy (X) back to the rifle system (which includes the shooter) which translates into recoil

the M16 bullet (with a lower momentum) requires less energy to move it and thus applies that same lower amount back to the rifle and shooter

simply put, we get less recoil for the same amount of muzzle energy

also, and not AS physics related, 180 rounds is a standard combat ammo load, and 180 .71 caliber lead balls weighs over 14 lbs (not including powder) and 180 rounds of 5.56 weighs just shy of 5 lbs

Ragnar Danneskjold
January 9, 2012, 03:49 AM
Most battles fought with small arms since the switch to 5.56 have be reliant on crew served weapons and some form of vehicle/artillery support. The infantry rifle is used primarily for suppression fire while other units maneuver to eliminate the threat. War is far more dynamic than it was in WWI and II. There were no front lines in Vietnam, nor are there any in Iraq or Afghanistan. Soldiers picking off other soldiers from foxholes is not really applicable right now. The ability of an individual soldier to carry more ammunition in order to be able to participate in suppression fire is more important that each round's terminal ballistics. If you balance out the rounds fired vs. how many insurgents were killed by the US in Iraq, it comes out to roughly 250,000 rounds for 1 dead insurgent. Obviously most of these are from crew served weapons, and were not directed at specific targets. It's not uncommon for turret gunners to lay massive amounts of SAW and .50cal fire when pushing through a complex ambush. Or for whole squads of soldiers to go through multiple magazines each shooting at 1 or 2 insurgents behind a mud wall. The ammo is free, so why not use it and be sure. All of this is easier with smaller lighter rounds. When precise fire is needed, Designated Marksmen do use 7.62 rifles to engage specific targets. The M4/M16/SAW weapons are used to "volume of fire", something they are very good at. Again, what 1 individual round can do when it enters a person doesn't matter as much when nearly all of the rounds are fired at and near the target, not necessarily into them.

blarby
January 9, 2012, 05:19 AM
If you balance out the rounds fired vs. how many insurgents were killed by the US in Iraq, it comes out to roughly 250,000 rounds for 1 dead insurgent.

Thats really sad.

The explanation wasn't really for combat-liners, FWIW

I was mainly trying to head off the rush of mall nin....hey.......wait LOOK OUT< ITS THE 45 and 9 MM GUYS ! RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNn

BigN
January 9, 2012, 05:22 AM
Efficiency, ease of use, cost factors, etc. It's the same with everything...

WeedWacker
January 9, 2012, 07:47 AM
Efficiency, ease of use, cost factors, etc. It's the same with everything...

You forgot politics..... ;)

One_Jackal
January 9, 2012, 08:50 AM
It appears that everyone has covered the military reason for the military switch to the .223/556 NATO. However, I don't understand law enforcement agencies switching to the .223/556 NATO. I can see swat team snipers needing a rifle. In a patrol car shotguns loaded with buckshot are far more effective at ranges less than 40 yards. Slugs will bust cinder blocks. Forcing suspects holed up a building to surrender. Another concern is rifle bullets passing thru their intended target, hitting innocent by standers. I think the switch is a budgetary thing. If a department doesn't spend it's entire budget, next years budget is cut back. $1000+ rifles eat up a lot more money than $300 pump shotguns.

Sam1911
January 9, 2012, 09:05 AM
However, I don't understand law enforcement agencies switching to the .223/556 NATO. I can see swat team snipers needing a rifle. In a patrol car shotguns loaded with buckshot are far more effective at ranges less than 40 yards. Apparently not. 5.56 is proving to do all that really needs to be done to a human being, with faster follow-up shots, less recoil, and more rounds on tap if things get weird.

Slugs will bust cinder blocks. Forcing suspects holed up a building to surrender. You're going to be hard-pressed to find any police training teaching officers of any sort to fire through building structures to induce suspects to surrender. Yes, they used to do that in the old gangster movies, but these days if you don't put eyes on the target, you don't shoot. Even for police officers, shootings and killings must be lawful -- they can't simply kill a suspect just because he refuses to come outside -- and perforating little Jimmy in the next house or the hostage tied to the chair is really hard to explain away in court.

Another concern is rifle bullets passing thru their intended target, hitting innocent by standers.Which some 5.56 rounds are much safer about than pistol bullets or shotgun projectiles.

Chris-bob
January 9, 2012, 11:55 AM
Cause they're a bunch of ninnies. ;)

One_Jackal
January 9, 2012, 12:48 PM
@Sam1911 I say this with all due respect. My father served with the LA county Sheriffs Dept during the 1962 and 1965 Watts riots. They did shoot cinder block structures with slugs to disperse rioters. My cousin is a Highway Patrol self defense/tactical instructor and a former Navy SEAL. I have heard him tell my father that the use of a shotgun to destroy masonry is still taught.

I don't think their experience came from a "gangster movie."

The damage a load of buckshot does in a single shot is equal to shooting a suspect 12 times with a .223. The US Army still teaches soldiers how to use a shotgun in urban warfare training. If you ask any law enforcement officer what is the best home defense weapon, 99% will say a shotgun.

benEzra
January 9, 2012, 12:58 PM
I don't understand law enforcement agencies switching to the .223/556 NATO. I can see swat team snipers needing a rifle. In a patrol car shotguns loaded with buckshot are far more effective at ranges less than 40 yards. Slugs will bust cinder blocks. Forcing suspects holed up a building to surrender. Another concern is rifle bullets passing thru their intended target, hitting innocent by standers. I think the switch is a budgetary thing. If a department doesn't spend it's entire budget, next years budget is cut back. $1000+ rifles eat up a lot more money than $300 pump shotguns.
A good summary of the LE move from 12ga toward .223 can be found in Roberts G.K., "Law Enforcement General Purpose Shoulder Fired Weapons: the Wounding Effects of 5.56mm/.223 Carbines Compared with 12 ga. Shotguns and Pistol Caliber Weapons Using 10% Ordnance Gelatin as a Tissue Simulant, Police Marksman, Jul/Aug 1998, pp. 38-45.

INTRODUCTION

Until recently, the 12 gauge shotgun has remained the universally accepted shoulder fired weapon for United States law enforcement use, despite the shotgun's limitations as a general purpose weapon--short effective range, imprecise accuracy, downrange hazard to bystanders, small ammunition capacity, slow reloading, and harsh recoil. While 12 gauge shotguns still have a valid law enforcement role, especially to deliver specialized munitions and possibly in close quarters combat (CQB), recent recognition of the shotgun's significant limitations as a general purpose weapon have prompted many American law enforcement agencies to begin adopting the more versatile semi-automatic carbine for general purpose use.(12) Semi-automatic carbines offer more accuracy, less recoil, greater effective range, faster reloading, and a larger ammunition capacity than the traditional shotgun.

...

Less well known is that 5.56mm/.223 rifle ammunition is also ideally suited for law enforcement general purpose use in semi-automatic carbines.(5,6). It offers superb accuracy coupled with low recoil, and is far more effective at incapacitating violent aggressors than the pistol cartridges utilized in submachineguns and some semi-automatic carbines.

...

CONCLUSION

A 5.56mm/.223 semi-automatic carbine with a minimum of a 14.5" to 16.5" barrel may be the most effective and versatile weapon for use in law enforcement. When used with effective ammunition, the 5.56mm/.223 carbine simultaneously offers both greater effective range and less potential downrange hazard to bystanders than a 12 ga. shotgun, handgun, pistol caliber carbine, or SMG , as well as far greater potential to incapacitate a violent criminal than any handgun, pistol caliber carbine, or SMG.

...

The routine issuing of 5.56mm/.223 semi-automatic carbines for general purpose use to all law enforcement officers would significantly enhance officer safety, increase police effectiveness, and decrease dangers to innocent bystanders in all situations requiring the use of firearms.

gamestalker
January 9, 2012, 01:03 PM
This would be termed as progress through innovation. Waaaaay back then, they didn't have the technology to get a .172" projectile to shoot 4000+ fps too.

Double Naught Spy
January 9, 2012, 02:53 PM
Ever tried to load a small caliber muzzle loader in the extreme cold? The colder it gets, the harder it is load as the fine motor skills and chilly away by the cold.

Sam1911
January 9, 2012, 03:10 PM
@Sam1911 I say this with all due respect. My father served with the LA county Sheriffs Dept during the 1962 and 1965 Watts riots. They did shoot cinder block structures with slugs to disperse rioters.I have no proof that your father and his department did not do that back in the '60s. I really don't see how shooting a structure helps to disperse rioters, but I will take your word that that department did that back then.

My cousin is a Highway Patrol self defense/tactical instructor and a former Navy SEAL. I have heard him tell my father that the use of a shotgun to destroy masonry is still taught.I can't argue with what you heard your uncle tell your father. I will stand by my statement and simply say that any such use would be vanishingly rare. The general ineffectiveness of it and risk to others makes it a poor choice. If you get the chance, ask him exactly who is teaching this and for what purposes.

I assume you know the difference between shooting to destroy a structure, and using sintered slug breaching loads to open doors? That is a tactic in current use.

The US Army still teaches soldiers how to use a shotgun in urban warfare training. And yet, very few go into urban warfare situations with shotguns. Very few. The last one I spoke to who did was a Lieutenant who said they let him have a shotgun because he was back in the Humvee most of the time directing events and they figured he wouldn't get into much trouble with it.

If you ask any law enforcement officer what is the best home defense weapon, 99% will say a shotgun. While I appreciate what you're saying, cops are not really a "top tier" source for shooting and defensive tactics advice, generally speaking.

As an acquaintance of mine and NJSP officer -- and one of the fastest and most accurate shooters I've ever seen in competition -- likes to say, "Ask a cop which he'd rather have, a new pen or a new gun. He'll always take the pen. It's something he'll use."

Ragnar Danneskjold
January 9, 2012, 03:18 PM
Well I just got back from Afghanistan, and I can say that shotguns have essentially 2 uses overseas. Less than lethal rounds for detainee operations, and breaching rounds for opening doors. I don't think we loaded buckshot into our 500's the entire deployment. The shotgun is no longer a practical combat weapon. Tool? Yes. Weapon? No.

And when I went through an MCOLES police academy in Michigan, we were taught to fire our weapons at threats, not into buildings to scare people. The 4 Rules still apply in police-work and were thankfully taught in my academy. Shooting into an occupied structure is a clear violation of "be sure of your target and what's behind it". I guess I fall into the 1%. I prefer the AR15 to the shotgun any day. Overseas, on duty, and at home.

FIVETWOSEVEN
January 9, 2012, 03:32 PM
It appears as though my thread has gone from weapon history to shotgun tactics, wonderful...

Ragnar Danneskjold
January 9, 2012, 03:58 PM
pikid89 gave a pretty good reason. As time passed, we figured out how to get the same effect out of smaller bullets. Technology advanced and so did tactics with it. You mentioned .22ish caliber rifles, which the .223 is the most popular for fighting guns. The reasons we switched to the .223 have been given: you can carry a lot more rounds for almost the same terminal ballistics, and both the military and police forces realized that the low recoil and high round capacity of the .223 caliber weapons fit their needs better. Bigger rounds are still used for specialized needs, like snipers. Again with pistol rounds, police forces realized that the low recoil and high capacity of 9mm and even .40 fit their needs and tactics better than a small amount of bigger rounds. Police, like the military, tend to fire lots of rounds at each threat, and miss with most of them. It's far better to get a hit with a smaller round than miss with the bigger rounds and be empty.

Tactics for the military and also for police evolved where many smaller rounds are preferable to a few bigger rounds. And bullet and power technology evolved along with it where we can get almost the same effect on target with those smaller rounds. The switch came from a natural desire to get the best of both worlds.

As for the shotguns, that comes into play in this thread, because a 12ga shotgun vs. a .223 carbine is the epitome of what you're asking. It's a perfect example of a group switching directly from a very big round with a very low capacity, to a very small round with much bigger capacity. The reasons for that switch, which are being discussed, play a large part in your general question of why larger calibers were given up for smaller ones.

NG VI
January 9, 2012, 04:05 PM
The damage a load of buckshot does in a single shot is equal to shooting a suspect 12 times with a .223. The US Army still teaches soldiers how to use a shotgun in urban warfare training. If you ask any law enforcement officer what is the best home defense weapon, 99% will say a shotgun.


That's ludicrous. A single 00 buck pellet does not cause nearly the same amount of tissue destruction that a single shot from a .223 rifle does, unless the rifle shot happens to be a glancing hit and the pellet is a solid hit on a vital piece of body.

FIVETWOSEVEN sorry to add to the off topic. But yeah, a lighter weight projectile traveling at a high velocity can be plenty effective on people while giving all of the wondrous advantages of low recoil and flat trajectory.

In the intermediate cartridge class, a smaller caliber's primary advantage is that it allows for higher velocity and better trajectory while also allowing the use of longer for caliber projectiles, which fly better and fragment better, which in many instances will make them more effective than a larger caliber cartridge using stubbier bullets (don't fly as well and need to be more carefully designed to guarantee fragmentation, and they often aren't) at lower velocities (less non-bullet mass wounding potential, less force acting on the bullet and target to create wounding mechanisms like fragmentation and hydrostatic shock, less distance flown before hydrostatic shock ceases to be a factor in wounding), and they can be lighter, allowing the soldier to carry more rounds for less weight.

brickeyee
January 9, 2012, 04:43 PM
...LA county Sheriffs Dept during the 1962 and 1965...

You realize that was around 45 and 50 years ago, right?

When almost every cop carried a .38 special revolver, and the Sergent s might have a shotgun in the trunk.

rcmodel
January 9, 2012, 04:44 PM
a single shot is equal to shooting a suspect 12 times with a .223.Even assuming you are talking about a single round of 00 Buck, not a single buckshot.

There are 9 pellets in a military load, not 12.

And a single .223 round is going to do as much or more damage as nine 00 Buckshot going 1/3 as fast.

rc

d2wing
January 9, 2012, 06:53 PM
Jackel , I do not agree that it is the same as shooting a person with 12 rounds of .223.
None of the buckshot rounds would have the energy or penetration of a .223 round at close range and at beyond a few yards the energy level drops off very quickly. It would be more like being shot with a .32 caliber revolver at close range 12 times. A very lethal dispersion of lead to be sure.
The military discover during the Mexican war of the 1840's that smaller and faster is better. Studies by every military around the world confirm this and the .223 round is considered optimum and results in general prove this and it has dictated the tactics of battle. Nobody wants to match us man for man rifle for rifle in open sustained battle.
I am not sure that the 9mm is an improvement over the .45 ACP. That's a different question to me. I guess gun capacity is a factor there.
A fact of war is that volume of sustained fire is important as well as range and accuracy.

redneck2
January 9, 2012, 07:07 PM
As for the Youtube video....go back and play it. Watch the top of the drum as each round hits. The .223 makes the top of the drum dance. The 7.62 barely makes it move. The AK round is passing on thru, not dumping it's energy.

There's a reason that hunting ammo is SP or HP. Dump the energy. Bullet passing thru doesn't do the same damage.

nipprdog
January 9, 2012, 10:03 PM
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back then when firearms were first invented, they fired large balls. Now the norm is .22ish caliber rifles. Why is it that the bullets got smaller and smaller? Is this trend going to continued till it's no longer a caliber but a beam of energy in the 40 watt range?

From your sig;

Here's to hoping for a XD chambered in 5.7 x 28 in the near future!


:rolleyes:

Epic thread fail.

langenc
January 9, 2012, 10:05 PM
No more horses... now it is drones.

hammerklavier
January 9, 2012, 10:43 PM
Many good reasons here. Try using a ramrod on a .22 cal muzzle loader with fouled barrel.

Also, the soldiers can engage the enemy at 300 yards without having to know as much about ballistics as they would if using a .45-70 (this is more the reason we went to .30 cal).

Jim K
January 9, 2012, 11:08 PM
Back to firearms history. As noted, black powder burned very fast and did not generate enough energy to propel a bullet very fast. The desired lethality could only be achieved by a bullet having a large mass. The big change came with smokeless powder, which actually burned more slowly, but released much more energy. Now the necessary killing power could be achieved with a faster moving and less massive projectile, while getting a bonus in greater range.

But the higher velocity meant that the old lead bullets would strip in the rifling, so the jacketed bullet (the first smokeless powder bullets were solid bronze) was forced on the designers.

As for the the 5.56mm, it has many advantages, but its real reason for being is that the U.S. wanted a controllable full auto rifle (which the M14 was not). The obvious choice, adopting the AK-47, was ruled out by world politics. So the Army, in spite of misgivings, yielded to JFK's pressure and adopted a modified AR-15 as the M16. (If you wonder, the M13 was the name given to a series of .22 rifles, the M15 was a squad automatic version of the M14.)

Jim

bushmaster1313
January 9, 2012, 11:26 PM
Wounding is preferable

I disagree.
Beds at Gitmo are expensive.

infmp32
January 9, 2012, 11:56 PM
Back to firearms history. As noted, black powder burned very fast and did not generate enough energy to propel a bullet very fast. The desired lethality could only be achieved by a bullet having a large mass. The big change came with smokeless powder, which actually burned more slowly, but released much more energy. Now the necessary killing power could be achieved with a faster moving and less massive projectile, while getting a bonus in greater range.

Admittedly, for as much as I love history I don't know much about it, but was the recipe for black powder the same between the 18th century and the invention of smokeless powder? Even then projectiles were getting smaller. The US Military went from .69 caliber muskets, to .57 caliber, to .50 to .45 caliber before the .30-40 was adopted.

So even in the black powder era projectiles got smaller as time went on, were there advances in powders back then or was it essentially the same?

VT Deer Hunter
January 10, 2012, 12:04 AM
Because smaller calibers are lighter, meaning a soldier can carry more magazines full of ammo than they used to.
Well for the military yes, its better for the troops. You can carry more .223 ammo than .30-06 for a 5 mile hike.

SharkHat
January 10, 2012, 12:05 AM
There were advances in a lot of things that made it possible over time.

Ignition method (flintlock, caplock, etc)
Smooth bore vs rifled bore
More accurate and reproducible machining capability, leading to truer bores
Minie ball ammo
And yes, powder refinement

Jim K
January 10, 2012, 12:15 AM
Black powder and variations like brown powder were continually undergoing improvement. The earliest (c. 1300) was literally a powder with ground up ingredients mixed at the scene of action since they settled in transport. The first change was to wet mix the ingredients, then break up the resulting cake.

From then on, there was gradual improvement; while the powder of the Revolutionary War was basically the same as that used in, say, 1890, there still had been some improvement, like graphiting the powder to make it moisture resistant. But the invention of smokeless powder was a sea-change. That grew out of the invention of nitroglycerine, then of dynamite by Nobel in 1867. Many chemists tried to tame the beast and make a compound that would burn progressively, and not just explode. And it was not a one-stroke process either. Some experimenters blew up guns (some blew up themselves) playing with nitroglycerine, nitrocellulose, and the like. Finally, a French chemist, Paul Vieille, invented smokeless powder and the French were the first to adopt a rifle using it.

Of course, ballistics improvement was not the only benefit of smokeless powder. We sometimes forget the significant fact that it was smokeless. No longer would the smoke from thousands of muskets and artillery pieces completely blanket a battlefield. Now, officers could see their men; generals could see troop movements. I doubt that anything else, until the advent of aerial reconnaisance, had such a great effect on battle.

Jim

goon
January 10, 2012, 02:17 AM
IIRC, the French 8mm Lebel was the first smokeless round, loaded with Poudre B.
A little trivia for you folks, assuming I'm right about that.

I also think the advent of cartridge ammuntion also had a huge impact on warfare. The advantages of self contained, relatively well sealed ammuntion are too numerous to be ignored.

An example that fits the original quesiton of this thread well is the Henry rifle compared to something like a Springfield or Enfield rifle musket. The .58 Minie ball over a healthy charge of black powder has better range and hits harder than a .44 Henry Rimfire round, but the rapid fire of the Henry more than made up for that.

Ragnar Danneskjold
January 10, 2012, 02:22 AM
I guess when you can fire 1-4 rounds per minute, each round better be a stopper on it's own. When you can fire 30 rounds in 10- seconds, you can afford to give up a little ;)

Skribs
January 10, 2012, 02:27 AM
Ragnar, I'd say the shotgun is an effective weapon, just not for soldiers. For police officers and Joe Homeowner, I think it's got a lot of value. Not knocking the .223, just not knocking the 12-ga either.

As you get smaller, lighter bullets with the same energy, I believe you get increased accuracy, and greater control on the part of the designer as to what happens when the bullet hits a target.

Saakee
January 10, 2012, 02:53 AM
Ragnar, I'd say the shotgun is an effective weapon, just not for soldiers. For police officers and Joe Homeowner, I think it's got a lot of value. Not knocking the .223, just not knocking the 12-ga either.

As you get smaller, lighter bullets with the same energy, I believe you get increased accuracy, and greater control on the part of the designer as to what happens when the bullet hits a target.
The shotgun is an extremely effective weapon for a soldier, otherwise tools like the Masterkey wouldn't be issued to service personnel, even if its only use is to breach a door with the soldier transitioning back to the carbine to penetrate enemy armor.

Skribs
January 10, 2012, 02:59 AM
Saakee, he was making the point that it's not a "weapon", it's a "tool". That tool being less lethal (thus, not really a deadly weapon) or door breaching (not using it on a person). He is saying that all it is good for is a masterkey system.

I was arguing that it is effective as a weapon on other fronts.

CollinLeon
January 10, 2012, 03:36 AM
There's a reason that hunting ammo is SP or HP. Dump the energy. Bullet passing thru doesn't do the same damage.

If that's the case, then why is the .45-70 such a popular round?

Because the hunters want to be able to drive a bullet from end to end in Hogzilla?

CollinLeon
January 10, 2012, 03:40 AM
And a single .223 round is going to do as much or more damage as nine 00 Buckshot going 1/3 as fast.


There have been people hit with a .223 and they were still able to return fire... I'm not so sure that a full load of 00-buck from a 12-gauge would have had that same affect... Most arguments with a 12-gauge tend to get settled fairly quickly...

Shadow 7D
January 10, 2012, 04:12 AM
The shotgun is a GREAT weapon
the Germans in WWI negotiated to have the Allies quit using shotguns due to how effective they were in the LIMITED confines of trench warfare.

That said, they still are a hell of a lot better than a Brown Bess
and I think a shotgun vs AR comes down to lots of close power Vs. range and ammo

One_Jackal
January 10, 2012, 09:25 AM
What gets my goat about this thread is everyone was quick to twist my words about the 22LR. Yet everyone is singing the praises of a glorified 22 magnum. There is something wrong with this picture.

@rcmodel I just checked a box of Winchester Super X 3" magnum buckshot. There are actually 15 pellets in a shotshell. I use a stock Maverick 88 pump with no magazine extension for home defense. It holds 8 shots of 3 inch magnum buckshot and doubles nicely as gun for deer drives. It's also a fair skeet shooting gun - the cylinder choke leaves something to be desired for sporting clays.

lizziedog1
January 10, 2012, 10:21 AM
I was talking to an older LEO years ago and the subject of shotgun versus rifle came up.

In the old days, most cops grew up with more shooting experience than they do now. That included shooting shotguns.

When they went through police training, many of them were used to the recoil generated by a shotgun. A 12 gauge launching slugs or buckshots kicks, no question about it.

These days many recruits have had little of no shooting experience. Also, more women are entering the force now. These folks basically can't handle the recoil of a shotgun.

This is one theory why some police departments have moved away from shotguns and moved towards small caliber rifles and handgun caliber carbines.

NG VI
January 10, 2012, 11:33 AM
What's funny is that people seem to think that the only wounding mechanism a bullet can use is its diameter, as if high-speed rifles don't cause horrific wounds independent of the width of the bullet they are firing, or as if an elongated projectile isn't capable of being designed to have much more capability in tissue than a stubby projectile, like a spherical piece of shot.

I spent four years in the National Guard, and never once saw a shotgun. Probably because I wasn't an MP. At Fort Knox we didn't even go over the M9 during US Weapons.

CollinLeon, Jim Cirillo's book Guns, Bullets, and Gunfighting has some very interesting anecdotes about shootings, including several with shotguns. Worth checking out.

FIVETWOSEVEN
January 10, 2012, 01:06 PM
I've always heard that a single 00 pellet is equal to a single round from a .32 ACP pistol.

Epic thread fail.

I was curious about what people had to say about it and how it go to where we are. I like the concept of small but "zippy" rounds but because of the research that is available to us today. That didn't come out of thin air.

What gets my goat about this thread is everyone was quick to twist my words about the 22LR. Yet everyone is singing the praises of a glorified 22 magnum. There is something wrong with this picture.

.22 Magnum isn't as powerful as 5.7 x 28, that line is getting old and has been shown to be false.

NG VI
January 10, 2012, 01:42 PM
I think he might have been referring to all the advice that a 5.56 rifle is an excellent, probably best-suited weapon for both home defense and combat use.

PT92
January 10, 2012, 02:00 PM
Personally speaking, it's CHEAP;) I can shoot .22 all day long in both hand/long gun without breaking the bank. For serious purposes, of course I rely on larger calibers (though I do use a Beretta 21A in .22lr for BUG)..

-Cheers

goon
January 10, 2012, 02:04 PM
If the 5.7 isn't just a glorified .22 Magnum, the 5.56 certainly isn't.

The fact is that lighter smaller rounds have a lot going for them. If they work, and they seem to, why not? Why carry more weight than you need to? Even during the French and Indian War, those could could carry a smaller lighter weapon than a full size musket often did. Robert Rogers required his men to have sixty rounds of powder and ball ready to go, and sixty rounds of .75 caliber ball is freaking heavy!

Nothing against a load of 12 gauge buck or a slug, but if an AR-15 works for home defense but can still reach out to 300 yards, I don't see why anyone would be angered by saying that.

Skribs
January 10, 2012, 02:08 PM
527, I'm about to put this line in my signature, because of how often it's come up lately:

"If the 5.7 is a glorified .22 magnum, then the .357 magnum is a glorified .380 ACP."

FIVETWOSEVEN
January 10, 2012, 03:12 PM
Appreciate it, I'm all for stopping the flow of misinformation about firearms.

Skribs
January 10, 2012, 03:41 PM
When did you put the one about the XD in your sig?

VT Deer Hunter
January 10, 2012, 05:23 PM
There were advances in a lot of things that made it possible over time.

Ignition method (flintlock, caplock, etc)
Smooth bore vs rifled bore
More accurate and reproducible machining capability, leading to truer bores
Minie ball ammo
And yes, powder refinement
Yah and each time it makes the guns more reliable, safe and shoot everytime. Except dud rounds you occationaly get.

FIVETWOSEVEN
January 10, 2012, 06:33 PM
When did you put the one about the XD in your sig?

I think a few weeks ago, I figured I would be nicer to Glock guys. After all my sig line was "Glocks, simple guns for simple people."

Skribs
January 10, 2012, 06:53 PM
Which is ironic because the XD is very close to a Glock...

I guess I'm a simple person, though. I wanted to make a picture of a 5.7 cartridge yelling "I WAS IN THE POOL!"

FIVETWOSEVEN
January 10, 2012, 07:22 PM
It didn't apply to all Glock owners, just those fanboys that claim 1911s and other guns with safeties and such horrible because you could forget about them and claim they are junk. XD doesn't have the same fanbase and it is a different gun that shares similar features.

One kid claimed that I'm inexperienced simply because I don't like the way a Glock feels in my hand and that since people who "know more" and are better paid like them. Just to be clear, it's not Glock owners but those fanboys that feel as though they have to shove their "perfection" in everyone's faces.

One_Jackal
January 10, 2012, 07:57 PM
This thread is riddled with false statements. To start off with the common caliber used by the military and law enforcement is a 5.56. The difference between a .223 and 5.56 is barrel pressure. The 5.56 has a much higher barrel pressure than a .223. It's not safe to shoot a 5.56 in guns labeled .223. However, a 5.56 can be reloaded and safely shot in a .223.

To protect innocent bystanders fragmenting bullets would be required in an urban environment. The FBI recommends 18” of penetration for law enforcement rounds. You can't get 18” of penetration out of a fragmenting bullet. The reason 18” of penetration is recommended is most attackers assume a “blade stance.” The best shot one might get is in the shoulder or in the ribs from the side.

Shooting 30 rounds in 10 seconds is not very considerate of innocent bystanders, such as your neighbors, wife and children.

A range of 300 yards is required for self defense? I am quite sure if you shoot someone 300 yards away you will be convicted of murder, even in TX.

Weight of ammunition for home defense? I don't see how weight of ammunition matters in home defense, unless you live in the Superdome.

I have owned a .223 for over 20 years. It's great for killing coyotes, crows and paper targets. The .223 passes through a self healing plastic target so fast it won't spin or even move when you hit it. Yet a 5.56/.223 supposed to have enough knock down power to protect you from an armed attacker?

Given all the facts above I will stick with my shotgun for home defense.

One other thing, I have a signature now.

Sam1911
January 10, 2012, 08:32 PM
The difference between a .223 and 5.56 is barrel pressure. Well, A difference is chamber pressure, yes. There are others, such as the length of the leade, headspace, and thickness of most brass.

It's not safe to shoot a 5.56 in guns labeled .223. Well, not exactly true. There are some manufacturers who label their barrels .223, even though they have 5.56Nato or Wylde (or other mixed-use) chambers. Have to check with the manufacturer to be sure.

However, a 5.56 can be reloaded and safely shot in a .223.Yes, a 5.56NATO case can be used to work up a safe load for a .223 Rem. rifle. Case thickness differences will require that you don't use the same load data.

Shooting 30 rounds in 10 seconds is not very considerate of innocent bystanders, such as your neighbors, wife and children. If one was to NEED to shoot 30 rds in a defensive situation, it would seem that being considerate of the auditory discomfort of bystanders would take rather a back seat to whatever dire need you were addressing, no? If the job isn't finished with 10 rounds, should one stop firing so as not to damage one's wife's hearing?

They probably won't be real comfortable after you fire 15 out of your handgun or 9 out of your shotgun, either.

The .223 passes through a self healing plastic target so fast it won't spin or even move when you hit it. Yet a 5.56/.223 supposed to have enough knock down power to protect you from an armed attacker?No, I don't think so. "Knock down power" is a worse myth than "stopping power." No basis in reality. NO shoulder-fired firearm really knocks down the target. Cause them to fall? Yes if the right structures are struck. But not knock them down.

One other thing, I have a signature now. Hey that's pretty funny! Can I come over to YOUR house and tell you how much I hate IT? :D

...

Anyway, question is answered, and we've drifted into yet another 5.7 debate. Surely one of those is more than enough.

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