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.223/5.56 carbine for self defense

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by chaim, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    A lot has been written about this caliber for home defense. Many experts claim lower overpenetration than even many handgun calibers, along with good short distance stopping power, making it a great home defense choice. I don't want to argue the effectiveness of the round for this purpose, I am sold. I have been in my parents' house so the distance between houses is just enough that I felt OK with a 12ga with 00buck for my home defense long gun choice. However, I'm moving to an apartment- to lower overpenetration issues with a 12ga you have to go to shot weights that are too light for my comfort (maybe #4 buck will work out). So, I think I may start saving for another .223/5.56 carbine or rifle and just use the shotgun until I get the new carbine (late fall/early winter target date but waiting until tax refund time isn't unlikely either).

    Some considerations:

    -It is for home defense so I definately want it in semi-auto or a lever rifle (the Browning BLR has a box mag so spitzer/pointed rounds, like the .223, is safe, but I haven't checked to see if they chamber it in .223). A bolt rifle in a scout rifle configuration may work for this use, but speed may be an issue (I am not very experienced with bolt rifles). Still, you may be able to convince me on that particular configuration so I'm open to hearing any benefits I'm overlooking.

    -I will be living in Baltimore City where even the most clear cut self defense cases in your home will probably result in charges. Baltimore City juries aren't going to be particularly knowledgable about guns. So the more PC it looks the better (i.e. no ARs, wood furniture, a lever rifle is probably a plus if it can fit my price range).

    -I am a teacher, I am moving in Sept and have a lot of furniture that needs replaced (I've been living with my parents too long and storage didn't agree with some of my furniture, especially the upholstered items) so I have a lot of one time expenses coming up. I may not have a lot to spend on the rifle. Definately, it has to be under $1K, and preferably more like the $450-700 range.

    -I am open to other caliber suggestions, within reason, but don't try to talk me out of my belief that .223/5.56 is a great caliber for my needs. If you know of another caliber that will be good for stopping an attack without too much overpenetration (thin apartment walls, I don't want to hit my attacker, have the round exit and then have sufficient energy left to go through the wall and hit a neighbor). I am partial to revolver caliber lever rifles, but I am worried that .357mag and certainly .44mag would have too much overpenetration for my situation out of a revolver, so out of a long gun it certainly is an issue.
  2. TOU

    TOU Well-Known Member

    Saiga 19"
  3. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    .223 is very effective; but ammunition selection plays an important role as well. First, I would consider whatever rifles I already owned and whether they could be serve well with good ammo selection.

    If you are still set on .223, take a look at the gel tests in the Rifle Forum Reading library. They will help give you an idea of how your defensive ammo might perform.

    Finally, if you are set on a new .223 rifle, I would consider a Saiga for your criteria. They are affordable, reliable, and tough. You could leave it in its stock "sporter" form to make it appear less threatening; but still have a detachable magazine semi-auto that can take large mags and would be very effective for your purposes.
  4. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    I've thought a little about the Saiga. With the sporterized stock, and if I go with wood furniture as well, it looks pretty much like a hunting rifle at first glance. However, (maybe because I'm a gun person and know what it is) when I look at the receiver it says "AK" all over it to me. I'm in Baltimore, think "we'd ban guns if the state would let us" mindset of the politicians in charge- I don't want to have headlines of "Tenant kills several youths with assault rifle" while the article extolls the virtues of the "young kids who never got into trouble" between drug dealing arrests, who I brutally killed when they were engaged in a home invasion of my place. I'm probably just being paranoid though. I'll see if I can find a Saiga at a shop in the area and see what they look like in person.
  5. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    You have two good choices here, the saiga is fabulous, and cheap, but will frowned upon, if you ever have to go to court, since it is a deff 'evil AK' the most evil of all weapons. Also Keltec has a line of m16 knock offs, with folding stocks, and they take reg aftermarket m16 mags, plus the c and d model has a toprail, to attach all kinds of lights and goodies, plus it is all milspec so you can attach reg stuff that uses military measurements. it is about 150 bucks more than a Saiga, but you should still be able to get for under 500.
  6. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    to avoid overpenetration all together, find an old remmy semiauto , shotgun, that holds I think 5 or 8 410 shotgun rounds. Should be about 300 bucks or so, more if in great condition, I personally would love to get a hold of one of those, for fast, light , home defense.
  7. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    My AR would be ideal, if I lived somewhere else. The one thing I can pretty much be assured of in Baltimore City is if I am in a defensive shoot (no matter how good a shoot) I probably will be charged. Also, racial tensions around town are getting ugly so I probably wouldn't have a very sympathetic jury (Orthodox Jews are particularly hated by certain of our neighbors). I want a gun that looks as PC as possible (for my home defense handgun I'll probably go back to using revolvers exclusively and only use the auto pistols for range fun and CCW when out of state).

    My other long guns:

    SKS. 7.62x39 will have far too much penetration to be safe for my needs and with the bayonnet it is definately not a very PC safe choice.

    Benelli Nova 12ga, 18.5" barrel with rifle sights. With effective ammo overpenetration may be just a little high for apartment use. Also, with my PC looks concern, I'll at least have to replace it with something else as soon as I can even if I do stay with a shot gun (maybe a wood stocked Mossberg 500).

    Winchester 94 in 30-30. Overpenetration would be a huge issue. It is plenty PC enough, and I can get off shots almost as fast as with a semi.

    Winchester 94 in .45LC. Maybe, but probably too much overpenetration. Also, something about the .45LC and the Win 94 action isn't quite a perfect fit- I usually have some kind of minor reliability issue every 2-3 boxes of ammo. I hear .357 and .44mag are much more reliable, but definate overpenetration issues if I trade it for a 94 chambered for the magnum chamberings. Maybe a Win 73, Puma, or Marlin in .45LC would work?

    Marlin Model 60. Don't laugh, .22lr out of a rifle can be fairly effective. However, it would probably take several rounds, and in Baltimore City (again the PC issue) the more stopping power the better since the fewer rounds the better (if it takes 5 rounds of .22lr I can see the prosecutor now talking about how blood thirsty you have to be to put 5 rounds into the sweet innocent kid with a gun who was kicking in your front door).
  8. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member

    Hmm, one option I was seriously considering looks like it is off the table.

    I was thinking the Browning BLR would be near perfect (hard to be more PC than a lever rifle and the Browning looks like a deer rifle) but they don't have .223 on the website. The BAR also seemed a good choice for my needs (semi-auto and removable mags are good for HD, yet it looks like grandpa's old deer rifle) but again it isn't listed in .223. Does anyone know if they ever chambered these in .223 or am I not going to find them, new or used, in .223?
  9. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Well-Known Member

    I'd stick with a pump shotgun if you are ruling out all the "evil looking" rifles.
  10. Monkeybear

    Monkeybear Well-Known Member

    A mini 14. Its small, handy, easily resold, and semi-auto.

    Still I would think that despited the penetration issues of 00 buck the energy lost per penetrated wall would be far greater than that of a .223 due to the lack of spin of the projectile and the lower sectional density, am I wrong?
  11. Slvr Surfr

    Slvr Surfr Well-Known Member

    I don't understand why you believe a .223 will not over penetrate like a 12ga would ? Have you read this :http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot3.htm


    For home/apartment defense the .223 will be more likely to over penetrate and kill a neighbor than your 12ga. will. I know of at least one case where a guy had an AD with an AR .223 and shot the neighbor next door. The neighbor was asleep in bed, and was shot through the wall while in bed.
  12. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Well-Known Member

    Slvr Surfr,

    You are correct on one thing specifically, and that is, the .223 very likely will over penetrate.

    That is not exactly why .223 is better in urban areas... although the reason is still that it is "less lethal". This is because although it will pass through barriers (just like shotgun pellets, other rifle rounds, and other pistol rounds), the passing through of barriers will (hopefully) slow the bullet below fragmentation velocities making it a less harmful .22 caliber projectile...
  13. Slvr Surfr

    Slvr Surfr Well-Known Member

    The only real world tests I have seen are from the Box O truth, so.......I would assume that a shotgun pellet that stops in 6-7 sheets of sheet wall is going to have less lethal force than a .223 that goes through all 12 sheets. We can argue that .223's may frag and fall apart, but the fact is that it penetrates more so, than 12ga depending on the round.

    I wish I had a place to do all my own real world tests, but I don't.

    If you have any other sites that give good info on this please post em up.
  14. Monkeybear

    Monkeybear Well-Known Member

    Rocky- but a 00 pellet will slow down into an even less dangerous projectile if that is what you are going for.
  15. woof

    woof Well-Known Member

    It's hard to get more PC looking than the almost "cute" little cz carbine in .223. I just bought a new one for $450 and love it. With practice, the smooth and short Mauser action can be operated pretty quickly.
  16. chaim

    chaim Well-Known Member


    While those tests are interesting, what makes them useless for judging overpenetration in a self defense situation is that he is shooting directly into building materials. With any gun, even a .22lr, you are pretty much screwed so far as the bullet being a risk to someone else if you miss. .223 will go through hard barriers pretty well. What I'm interested in is OVERpenetration should I hit the target.

    Once it hits the human body, the small and light projectile of the .223 probably won't exit. If it does, there have been other tests (many documented/reported here on THR) that show the .223 to have less overpenetration danger than pretty much any other effective defensive round. Other than trying to evaluate real life shooting events (which isn't very scientific), the best test is shooting into a block of ballistic geletin with buiding materials placed behind it.

    Again, I don't want this discussion here, as I am convinced. I am not seeking to convince anyone else if they don't want to be convinced. It has been rehashed again and again here and other gun boards. If you want to see for yourself do a search here, at TFL or even on Google to find the benefits of .223/5.56 for defensive and law enforcment use.
  17. PT-Partners

    PT-Partners Well-Known Member

    Just an thought and I have seen it in somes places for use, keep the pump shot gun and change the load to number 4 buck shot. 27 or so pieces of lead at about the size of a 22 round at one time in the space of any size room (15" to 25") should be adequate for any situation with the excpection of body armor.

    Now if some one or several individuals are entering your apartment without your permission with body armor and brandishing firearms there is something else going on and you are in very, very, deep "waste material."

    On the overpenetration part, I think the speed of the load is in the 900 fps range. You stay politically correct if there is such a thing in a large city. :rolleyes:

    Again, just a thought.
  18. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Well-Known Member

    Look for a used Mini-14, e.g., a police trade-in. It should run $400 or less. Use Ruger factory mags or if you can find them, pre-ban PMIs.

    Pro-Mag introduced 20s and 30s after the AWB sunset, which mimic the Ruger factory design to a "T" and have a very good reputation. I have a 20 but haven't tried it yet, but assuming it works it's a cheaper alternative to the Ruger or PMI mags.
  19. woof

    woof Well-Known Member

    After thinking about this I don't really think it matters. If you ever get charged the fact that you have an SKS in your apartment will be dragged out and you will be branded as an assault rifle owning wacko anyway.
  20. stevek

    stevek Well-Known Member

    Remington also makes the Model 7615, a .223 pump rifle, with wood furniture and a 10 round magazine...might be a good alternative, but I'm don't how much they're selling for. Good luck in your search.

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