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What are the common "uncommon" cartridges?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Skribs, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    The recent ammo scare has got me thinking that maybe something a bit more obscure is in my future. However, most of what I read is "9 vs. 45" or some derivative. Things like "9x25 dillon vs. .45 GAP" don't really come up, although those two might be in a bit of a different class.

    Not including the pocket pistol rounds (sized around .380 ACP, .32 ACP, or smaller), what are some of the common uncommon cartridges used in semi-automatic handguns? What I mean is a cartridge that is not one of the big 5 that come up in caliber wars (9x19, .357 sig, .40 S&W, 10mm, .45 ACP), but which has conversion kits currently being produced for common handguns as well as factory ammunition available from at least one reputable manufacturer.

    I'm curious to know about the popularity of various options, how they are available (i.e. which company makes a kit for which gun), and what the purpose of the cartridge is (i.e. why it was designed, what it is commonly used for, and why it is good for that use compared to other options). There are some that I know of, but I don't want to spoil my question by answering it before I get to see some responses.
  2. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Well-Known Member

    38 Super is the only one that comes to mind...
  3. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Well-Known Member

    Yup. Was thinking of getting a Rock Island in that today.

    460 Rowland
  4. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Well-Known Member

    7.62x25? A old soviet round.
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    The FN 5.7mm, 7.62x25, and the 9mmMak might qualify, although I don't know anything about the conversion kit availability for them. The first two are bottlenecked, sub-caliber cartridges intended to provide lots of penetration with a small or very small projectile.

    The last is about the most powerful cartridge that can be run in a reasonably-sized blow-back design pistol, with ballistics somewhere between .380 and 9mm luger.

    It's rare here in the US, but 9x21 is another option. Mainly used in countried where 9x19 is banned as a "military" round. My understanding is that it had some popularity with action pistol shooters, but it fell off after rimless .38 super became more readily available.
  6. RainDodger

    RainDodger Well-Known Member

    .38 Super - easy to handload, and can also be somewhat hotter than a 9mm. Plus you can use a variety of bullets, from .355 (9mm), to .356 (.38 Super), to .357 (.38/.357) depending on your actual bore. I've had good luck with both .355 and my standard 130 grain .356 bullets.

    Here's my carry pistol:

  7. mesinge2

    mesinge2 Well-Known Member

    I personally want a 400 CORBON.

    All you need to convert a 1911 is a barrel and recoil spring.
  8. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    What would be a good resource for information on the various calibers, especially the uncommon ones? Like I said, I don't know too much about what's out there aside from the big 5.
  9. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    Reloading manuals, good ones anyway, give each cartridge a multi-paragraph write-up. Objective information, such as the size and weight of projectiles and their velocity, are there in tabular format.
  10. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    I may look into that. Only reloading I've looked into is shotgun, and the manuals I have don't have much of a write-up, it's all just technical information. I was looking more for generic information, like I asked above.
  11. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    Reloading manuals are full of all kinds of interesting information, even if you don't reload. Understanding how cartridges actually work is pretty interesting. And learning about TRUE oddball cartridges, like .41 Action Express, is also fun.
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you need a copy of Cartridges of the World.
  13. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Well-Known Member

    I don't intend to offend at all, but 5,000 posts and you're not sure what's out there besides the big 5? ;) Excluding pocket pistol calibers and revolver calibers, these are the ones that come to mind, in approximate order of availability.

    .45 GAP
    9mm MAK
    .38 SUPER
    7.62 TOK
    .50 AE
  14. smalls

    smalls Well-Known Member

    Maybe a little less common than you're looking for, but 9x23 Winchester seems to have a decent following. I've thought about it from time to time.
  15. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    When ammo is really scarce, walk into Walmart and see what's still on the shelves. I note that .45 Colt is usually available, even when 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP are sold out.
  16. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    The_Armed_Therapist, most of the threads I look at on this site don't pertain to the more fringe calibers, plus up until recently I was actively ignoring calibers that weren't in the big 5. I've seen a lot of other calibers mentioned, but I was just looking for some of the different options out there.

    There are also a lot of things I find on various websites that I'm not sure if it's something that has any support behind it or if it was an idea 20 years ago that was virtually replaced 10 years ago by something different. In order for me to be interested in getting something in that caliber, it would have to have some current support, because I'm not into used guns or DIY type stuff.

    There are a lot of cartridges I've read a little bit about but haven't seen mentioned here, which probably means they are probably too fringe for my needs.
  17. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member


    Readily available projectiles and cut down good .223 brass for re-loading.

    Lovin' it!
  18. David E

    David E Well-Known Member

    I'd hardly count .357 Sig in the "Top Five."

    Often, there is a box or two of that on an otherwise bare shelf.

    10mm is another one, but works in reverse. You buy the gun in 10, then add the .40 (and 357 Sig) barrel(s) and shoot .40 until you can't find it. Oddly, this time around, finding .40 hasn't been too difficult.

    I really like 9x23, but even in normal times, it's not easy to find it on purpose at gunstores.
  19. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    I have always been a big fan of the. 38 Super cartridge. Plenty of power on tap when you hanload and in a M1911 platform very easy to convert to 9mm .
  20. 10mm in the 1911 isn't too common, either. A 1911 in .38 Super, 9x23, or 10mm would be the typical "non-standards". Actually, with just a small amount of trouble, a pistol could be set up to fire all three in the same slide and frame.

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