consolidating calibers


January 28, 2013, 12:21 PM
anyone consider consolidating calibers ?
for me I have several 9mm,40 s&w and .357 was thinking maybe better
to drop the 9mm or 40, easier to stock up on ammo by standardizing
the collection,

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January 28, 2013, 12:40 PM
There are two primary schools of thought for those of us who have thought about it...

Having a variety of calibers means if there is an emergency, and for some reason a lot of one type of ammo becomes obscure (or only one is produced), you have something in that caliber. So if you have 9, .40, and .45, and the cops are hoarding the .40 and the military the 9, then you can still buy ammo for your .45 and use that.

I am on the other side of the fence. I think that if you would use it for the same thing, you might as well pick one caliber and stick with it. I currently own 9, .40, and .380, but I'm looking at consolidating and shifting to 9mm and .32. They would each have a distinct purpose, 9mm for most of my pistols (used for HD and carry), and .32 ACP for when I want to CC in clothes not designed for it. The advantage here is simplicity.

On the other hand, if a magazine ban does go through, I will amend my plan such that whatever weapon I get has the biggest rounds I can get while still holding 10 (so 9mm in sub-compacts, .40 or .357 in compacts, .45 in duty). However, it will still fit with my philosophy of each caliber serving a purpose, it's just that the purpose would be based on the size of gun.

January 28, 2013, 09:49 PM
I had all 9mm pistols, but was tired of not finding any ammo, so I traded 2 for .40 S&W.

January 28, 2013, 10:10 PM
In handguns I started consolidating my calibers about four years ago. What I have now are: .22, 9mm and .45. I intentially chose those so I could stock up on ammo by being able to concentrate on just 3 calibers. Also, if for some reason things got really bad, these are probably the most common so probably would be the easiest to "pick up", in the event they happened to be lying on the ground by someone. Same concept with my rifles. Also, I have 2-3 of each caliber in gun form.

January 28, 2013, 10:11 PM
It seems to me that you are missing out on learning about, owning and shooting many different types of guns and cartridges.

I think it is important to remember owning and shooting firearms is fun and not to get too caught up in this tactical baloney.

January 28, 2013, 10:14 PM
I went from a 45 to a 40 to a 9. Still have my 40 and it is looking better all the time. Seems like you can always find 40 ammo.

Sergei Mosin
January 28, 2013, 10:16 PM
To me, owning three calibers would be a consolidation! I have seven just in handguns, never mind the rifles, and have no interest in reducing. If anything I want more variety, not less.

January 28, 2013, 10:38 PM
5 different handgun chamberings, 5 rifle chamberings, but only one shotgun chambering. I guess that makes me "non-consolidated".

If I were to consolidate, handguns would be .22 and .357, and long guns would be .22, .30-06, and 12 gauge.

Of course I probably won't actually make a decision to consolidate, it will most likely occur incrementally as my kids loot my modest arsenal. :D

January 28, 2013, 10:53 PM
I feel I am pretty well consolidated...

22 lr
45 acp
380 acp
38 special
357 magnum
44 magnum


22 lr



Everything I have serves a purpose, I would hate to get rid of any of them. I don't see a need for adding another caliber at the moment but who knows, I may find a purpose for it too.

Variety is the spice of life my friend.

January 28, 2013, 11:10 PM
9mm and .45acp are all I need for SD semi-autos.

January 28, 2013, 11:52 PM
My handgun calibers..


This pretty much guarantees me I wont have a paper weight even in hard times... (like now for instance)

January 29, 2013, 12:06 AM
Get into re-loading.

January 29, 2013, 12:22 AM
As some have mentioned, having a variety of calibers available is good when certain varieties are scarce. However, consolidating calibers can been good when ammo is scarce IF you have a small stock pile ahead of time. For example, say you restricted your pistol ammo choice to 9mm (I don't count .22). You could have a pocket carry gun, a larger IWB CC gun, and a full framed gun for home defense, all in 9mm. If you put together a small stock pile of 9mm, say 2000 rounds of FMJ and 200 rounds of self defense ammo, you could go to the range and do a lot of practicing before having to worry about running out. If you have multiple calibers, you will have to keep more on hand to guarantee that you have enough to shoot every gun during an ammo shortage.

I prefer to keep a small stock of each of my pistol calibers on hand, about 500 rounds, to ride out shortages. Therefore I try to keep my caliber variety low. For instance, I don't think that .40 brings much to the table that isn't covered by my .45. Some might argue with me, but that is my opinion. Also, I'd be interested in getting in to shooting 10mm, but unless it is going to replace my .45, that won't happen.

If/when I get into rifle shooting, I will likely "limit" myself to only a few rifles, but probably 2-3 calibers. I'd love to get a Ruger Mini-30 for medium game hunting.

January 29, 2013, 10:12 AM
anyone consider consolidating calibers ?

I'm currently fairly consilidated. In handguns I've got .22, .38/.357, 9mm, and .45ACP while in rifles I have .22, .223 and .308. I could probably drop the .45ACP withour really missing it, but I just like those big ol' bullets.

I'm constantly being tempted to expand my caliber list, though. At various times in the last year I've come close to buying guns in .380ACP, .30-30WIN, .257WBY and .45-70GOVT so I don't know if I'll keep the number of different calibers down forever... ;)

January 29, 2013, 10:57 AM
tactical baloney
The evolution of marketing, right there.

January 29, 2013, 11:54 AM
It seems to me that you are missing out on learning about, owning and shooting many different types of guns and cartridges.

I think it is important to remember owning and shooting firearms is fun and not to get too caught up in this tactical baloney.

I just don't think it's worth it, personally. My guns serve 2 primary purposes: range practice and personal protection. I also do a bit of competition (but I'm not very good). I have selected 9mm as my preferred carry choice based on other factors. If I consider the 9 to be superior to the .40 or the .45, why do I want a .40 or .45? (Similar the other direction if you prefer .45).

January 29, 2013, 01:16 PM
I decided to go the consolidation route a few years back, with my primary calibers being .22 mag, 9mm, and .223. Those are the calibers I have stocked up on over the years and also standardized so everything has the same slings, scopes, mags, cases, etc.
Since I enjoy shooting other calibers as well I also have a few magnum calibers in both pistol and rifle as well as plinkers and light duty self defense/backup calibers. I wouldn't mind so much running out of ammo for my .380, however being shy on 9mm would be considered unacceptable......

January 29, 2013, 01:32 PM
I think it is important to remember owning and shooting firearms is fun and not to get too caught up in this tactical baloney.I just don't think it's worth it, personally.

What having fun?

Not everything has to be broken down to a tactical formula of some sort of scenario....
IMO It is great to pick up a gun that has no other purpose other than to put a smile on your face..

January 29, 2013, 01:42 PM
I don't think it's worth the extra cost of owning extra guns in the other calibers just to have them.

But I'm a very practical-minded individual. I don't have a dinner table because my desk works just as good (I'm a bachelor).

January 29, 2013, 01:50 PM
I consolidate to the point of concentrating training and stocpiling my two go to pistol/carbine calibers. Other than that there's no reason to consolidate, buy what you like just make sure you concentrate ammo/training on what you use/carry most.

January 29, 2013, 02:24 PM
Some people like to consolidate ... others like to have as many calibers as possible. I handload and I've got the following calibers in 10 handguns:

22 LR
22 Mag
380 ACP
38 Spl
357 Mag

Once I finish my case of 22 Mag, I probably won't buy any more, and once I've used up my 380 ACP components, I'll probably stop loading that caliber and retire my PPK/S.

I would be happy having only 22LR and 9mm for pistols and 22LR and 38/357 for revolvers, plus 30/30 for my one rifle.

Roadking Rider
January 29, 2013, 04:58 PM
This is as far as I got in pistols
45 acp.

In Rifles

If I consolidated more then this I'd have to sell some pistols and rifles I really like, and that gentilmen is not going to happen.:D

January 29, 2013, 05:05 PM
I would think the current situation illustrates the perils of consolidation. All of the calibers that are supposed to be "always available" - to wit, 9mm, .40, .45 ACP, .223/5.56, .22LR - are the ones that either cannot be had, or cannot be bought at a price anyone not actually in a firefight at that moment would pay. "Oddball" calibers, however, remain roughly as available as before.

Besides, variety is fun.

January 29, 2013, 05:31 PM
I think I'm about right for my caliber foot-print. On one hand, 2 of my pistols can feed more then 1 cartridge. On the other there are a lot of firearms that I'd love to pick-up but am wary of have to feed.

1 pistol: 9x19mm
1 revolver: .22LR, .22 Mag.
1 pistol: .22LR
1 revolver: 7.62x38R, .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Mag. (Can kinda sorta shoot .32 ACP through it, but my attempts to fit the conversion cylinder were... lacking).

2 shotguns:20 gauge
1 rifle: 9x19mm
1 rifle: 7.62x39mm
1 rifle: .22LR
1 rifle: 8x57mm Mauser
1 rifle .30 Carbine

My biggest issue right now is that I can't find any decently priced food for any of my pistols or half my long arms. :(

January 29, 2013, 05:36 PM
Dave, I can't imagine someone stopping in the middle of a firefight to pay for ammo. More likely they'd grab it off the shelf and yell "put it on my tab".

What sort of calibers are you thinking of? 10mm, .357 sig, 9mm mak and .380 ACP are not on your list that I'd think are fairly common, are those it?

January 29, 2013, 06:02 PM
I would think the current situation illustrates the perils of consolidation. All of the calibers that are supposed to be "always available" - to wit, 9mm, .40, .45 ACP, .223/5.56, .22LR - are the ones that either cannot be had...

Good point. If you ARE going to consolidate to only a few calibers, then you need to stock up ahead of time, either with loaded ammo or components. I've seen enough ammo shortages that I make a point of buying when ammo or components are plentiful - even if I won't need it for a few years - and I don't even bother looking when supplies are tight.

January 29, 2013, 06:41 PM
You're right, JJE, it is a good point. I don't like it. Because that point suggests that the more expensive route might be the better route. I would still use the KISS principle regarding platforms, but I don't see a downside to having multiple calibers available. I could still carry my primary choice, just practice with the others.

That's why I was asking Dave what he would recommend for oddball calibers, because it would have to be common enough to at least have a conversion kit readily available. At the least, I could see getting a .40 and getting the .357/9mm conversion barrels as being a very good option from a cost/effective standpoint.

January 29, 2013, 10:47 PM
Well, by "oddball," I meant pretty much any of the calibers other than the 4-5 most common handgun calibers and the 2 most common rifle calibers. 10mm, .357 SIG, and .38 super would probably be the most commonly available of the non-standard autoloader cartridges, while most wheelie cartridges other than .38 and maybe .357 fit that profile. Probably not much tougher to get .44 special or .41 magnum or .327H&R today than in November. In rifle cartridges, the last few gun shows I attended suggested that getting .270 Winchester or .45-70 is little harder than usual. IOW, as long as you've got something OTHER than the things people pick because they expected to ALWAYS find ammo, things are inconvenient but not impossible to get.

All this ammo and component shortage cr@p will blow over eventually, but in the meantime, diversity is your friend.

Whether some common platform is best is another discussion. But I think the same lesson applies. Standardizing on, say, a Glock sounds good until there is for some reason a shortage of Glock parts. Think about the logistics and industrial infrastructure that nations have adopted during prolonged, total war. A single manufacturing plant for all barrels, or all ball bearings, or all engine blocks, is simple. It's also vulnerable to disruption. Simplicity is the absence of redundancies. Redundancies are how you make a system more stable.

January 30, 2013, 12:01 AM
There's a difference between having a shortage of parts and having a shortage of ammo. Besides, people buying non-big-name weapons might have a shortage of parts already.

I'd also say there's a difference between the MOA of a Glock, Beretta, and 1911, compared with the difference between 9, .40, and .357 sig.

I guess it would make sense to get a popular weapon in .40, and then get the .357 sig and 9mm conversion kits. Cover two popular options and one semi-obscure option.

Simplicity may be the absence of redundancies, but too many redundancies can be a problem.

January 30, 2013, 12:09 AM
I consolidated to 9MM, .45acp and .38Spl., (and only for my rarely shot bug out S&W 442).
And of course, .22.

Roadking Rider
January 30, 2013, 09:03 AM
I'm not one to think consolidating to much is a good idea at the moment. I went into a walmart the other day. They had no 22's, 9's, 40's, 45's, 223's,or 762x39's. What they did have was 30/30's so I bought there last two boxes. At least the trip was not a total waste of time. I wasn't really looking for 30/30's at the moment, but what the heck it's not like they have a short shelf life either. That and I'm sure the prices will only be going up in the near future. I'm pretty much stocked up on ammo for all my pistols and rifles but if I find something I might need in the future,or a friend might need I pick them up.
They do the same for me, and by watching out for each other I've been able to aquire 3 550 count value packs of 22's and 300 9mm in the last couple weeks. Times are tough but if you and your friends look out for each other it's not so bad.

January 30, 2013, 10:53 AM
I think the general principle behind consolidating, is to be able to put more monetary resources into standardization, parts, and ammunition for fewer calibers that one feels are the must haves for his/her collection or use. As someone pointed out above 9mm, .40, .45 ACP, .223/5.56, .22LR, etc are in very short supply right now. What that means is there is a greater stockpile of these popular calibers in private hands, which ultimately may be a good thing if/when the supply chain is permanently interrupted for one reason or another.

January 30, 2013, 01:20 PM
I buy the guns I enjoy shooting and would hate to limit my gun choice based on the need to consolidate ammunition. That being said, I do my own reloading and buy in bulk. I reduce my costs further by picking up brass at the range and either using myself to reload or selling it to pay for reloading components. 1 8lb jug of Universal will load most handgun cartridges without any problems and pistol primers are only come in 2 sizes. Even with the shortage going on, I can still find lead bullets without any problem for all cartridges I load. If bullets of one caliber are hard to get ahold of, I just load for the other guns.

January 31, 2013, 09:58 AM
I've typed out several responses, and have decided to just conclude that there are too many factors involved to properly quantify. HAHA... I like both schools of thought. However, on a tighter budget (like us), it makes the most sense to have as few calibers as possible, that are also common, and stock up on those.

With more $ to spend, I still say start at this point. Then, you can choose to expand in the same calibers (more pistols/revolvers), add one or two other "common" calibers, or purchase new guns in new calibers, just in case that's all that may be available sometime down the line.

January 31, 2013, 03:41 PM
I reload, so my main interest in consolidation is reducing the number of different powders I have in stock. I like the fact that Red Dot, Clays, and Unique can be used in shotguns, as well as all of the pistol calibres I reload for.

January 31, 2013, 06:41 PM
It seems to me that you are missing out on learning about, owning and shooting many different types of guns and cartridges.


I'd rather have a variety. If something is in short supply I'll shoot or carry something else or reload it. Having all of my handguns chambered for the same 2 or 3 cartridges just so it's easier to stock up (hoard) ammo isn't my thing. I'm not trying to equip an army. Plus, and this is the biggest thing, it's much more interesting and enjoyable (at least for me) that way.

on a tighter budget (like us), it makes the most sense to have as few calibers as possible

True, you may save some money that way but in another way you also might be getting less "bang for your buck" by missing out on some variety, just shooting the same ole, same ole, 9mm or whatever all the time.

January 31, 2013, 08:45 PM
What having fun?

Not everything has to be broken down to a tactical formula of some sort of scenario....
IMO It is great to pick up a gun that has no other purpose other than to put a smile on your face..

Like the smile on my face when I ran my first magazine of 7.62x25mm Tokarev ammo through my $200 delivered C&R eligible Zastava Yugo M57 (or my $280 delivered C&R CZ52 for that matter). I very much ENJOY shooting and learning about various different handguns.

I currently can shoot .22, .25 ACP, 7.62X25mm Tokarev, .32 ACP, 9X17mm / .380 ACP, .38 Spl., .357 Magnum, 9X18mm Makarov, 9X19mm Luger, and .45ACP. Variety can be the spice of life. Today it was .380 in a Beretta 84 and 9mm (reloads) in a (FEG Hi Power) Luger M80.

I stock some of each caliber and am in a position to take advantage of just about any handgun ammo sale I stumble across. Seems like I still need to add a .40 S&W pistol when I find one I can afford.

January 31, 2013, 10:37 PM

22 lr

I thought this was all I needed. Then my smallish son started hunting, so a .243 got added. Now he's not so small anymore, so maybe I'll sell that and get another 30-06 (I don't have dies for the .243 yet, it's on a trial basis). Or sell the 30-30, where we live now the deer aren't normally that close in, my ancient eyes need a scope and I think it may be against my religion to scope a lever-gun)

January 31, 2013, 11:20 PM
I only need two

Steve C
January 31, 2013, 11:29 PM
From a strictly practical point it may be a good idea to consolidate but I bought my guns because I liked them, not for a practical reason so I won't be reducing my collection for a while.

February 1, 2013, 07:07 PM
Let's see what I got ...

.45 ACP 1911
.45 ACP / .45 Auto RIm S&W 625 <-- & .45 Super
9mm Luger CZ 75B
.357 Mag/.38 Spcl +P - S&W Model 60 3" bbl.
.22 LR/L/S S&W 617

.45 Colt - 1894 Marlin

oh, and a BarSto .400 COrBon for the 1911

I consolidate by not getting anything not in the above
chamberings Still a lot of options to supplement / compliment

Like a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt
a CCO or Commander 1911 variant
a S&W Model 63 w/3" bbl.
or a single stack 9mm that seems popular these days

Where's the gain adding .40 S&W and//or 10mm Auto?


bubba in ca
February 1, 2013, 10:21 PM
As I evolved from a collector and a plinker to a SD/HD mode, I got rid of some calibers. .380 and 9 were the first to go as they serve no real purpose. I keep a few odd calibers for pet guns, but I have concentrated now on .22 for plinking, 38 for cc, and 20 gauge and .223 for HD.

February 2, 2013, 06:27 PM
I do own an AR (5.56), a Colt Commander (.45ACP), and a Winchester 94 (30-30) but all my other two dozen guns are either -

.22LR (rifles and handguns)
.38/.357 (rifles and handguns)
9mm (handguns)
12 gauge
20 gauge

I find this convenient because I only need to keep 5 kinds of ammo on hand to be able to shoot almost any gun that I have.

February 3, 2013, 12:04 PM
Never. All my shooting is for fun at the range time or for hunting. I've never had to shoot a gun for Self-defense and hope I never do. So many great old guns and calibers out there to be shot.

I have my bucket list of guns and calibers that will be bought when found. Every other gun and caliber falls onto my want list. I couldn't stand the thought of shooting only 3 or 4 different calibers much less 3 or 4 different guns. I like'm all well most all of them.

el Godfather
February 3, 2013, 11:17 PM
I agree with BSA1.
This tactical thing is over rated. Just have fun. How many times in your life time you were stuck in your cellar where you had to fire fight your way out or have wondered in the jungle with rations fighting enemies near Detroit or Flagstaff?

Beauty of various calibers is to enjoy their advantages as a hobby and sport. So having just one caliber will deprive you of the joys.

Not to discount a solid home and self defense plan against possible threat. For this if you wish to consolidate you will realize sooner than later there is no such benefit of doing so. Stock your ammo slowly by slowly as budget allows and deals present themselves. No need to buy 100,000 rounds when and if when some national catastrophe is taking place or right before the big invasion or the break of the civilization.

February 3, 2013, 11:39 PM
One more thought... One reason I've eliminated a few calibers (and would like to eliminate more) is that I LIKE to have ammo on hand to feed all of my guns. I don't want to say "I don't have any 9mm left, so I'll shoot my .38 instead). I'd rather have fewer calibers with a bigger overall stockpile.

February 3, 2013, 11:45 PM
I have consolidated calibers but for me the biggest factor is I have consolidated bullet diameters. Stocking three or four different dies and brass is logistically and financially much less taxing that it would be if all the bullets were not interchangeable.

My collection is increasingly 38/357/35/9mm caliber

posted via that mobile app with the sig lines everyone complains about

February 4, 2013, 12:54 PM
Like many others here, I've been a shooter/hunter for many years. And over the years I've purchased various guns for various reasons (that is, 'justifications') at the time I got them. - - - When this whole panic started I was very happy to have firearms chambered in less popular rounds that I could still purchase ammo for. And even some of those chamberings have become more difficult to find lately. - - -It wasnt a plan - but just happened to work out that way. Glad it did.

February 4, 2013, 01:11 PM
Right now, I've got several handguns, but I only stock three calibers... .22LR, 9mm, and .45 ACP. My strategy is to have as much ammo as possible for those three, and not worry about some shortage (the type we're seeing now). For rifle cartridges, I only stock 7.62x39. I have others, but that's the only one I keep in a considerable quantity.

Basically nullifies the whole "WELL WHAT IF THERE'S A SHORTAGE OR AMMO ISN'T PRODUCED ANYMORE!?!?!?!?!1111?!" thing...

February 4, 2013, 02:05 PM
Just because you have multiple calibers does not mean you need to stockpile for all of them. Stock up on your favorite. Keep a small amount of ammo for the other guns and shoot them sparingly until the stormy days have passed.

This conversation is moot though at this point. The time for this decision has passed. I can't find ammo or mags for any caliber right now.

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