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Are Pistol Caliber Carbines relevant these days?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Panzercat, Mar 17, 2013.

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Are pistol caliber carbines relevant?

Poll closed Apr 2, 2013.
  1. Yes; It's the right tool for the right job.

    234 vote(s)
    82.7%
  2. No; There's a better tool no matter what the job.

    49 vote(s)
    17.3%
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  1. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Over penetration?

    Better for use with a can?

    SBRed doesn't really lose much?

    Less recoil? Etc, etc, etc...
     
  2. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Over penetration? The advantage is actually going to go to rifle cartridges loaded with properly selected bullets.

    Better for use with a can? "Better" in what sense? I think 147 9x19s are better in the sense of cost vis-a-vis say 300 BLK. Its cheaper to have subsonic ammo, particularly sub sonic ammo with decent terminal ballistics. Performance wise, however, 300 BLK is going to be better than pistol calibers in many respects. The same is true of other rifle calibers as well. I think one needs to be much more nuanced in this argument, rather than simply assert one is better for use with a can than another.

    SBRed doesn't really lose much? I'm not sure this is a per se advantage of pistol calibers. Just as some pistol calibers gain or lose more when barrel length is added or subtracted the same is true of rifle rounds. I can think of a number of rifle rounds that don't suffer greatly when you SBR them. Based on my chrono testing (and cross referencing it against what others are reporting) 7.62x39 loses very little dropping from a 16" gun to my 11" one, and even on a 7" barrel it is still pretty useful. More over the absolute performance of many rifle rounds is going to eclipse pistol rounds at a given barrel length. My 7" AK is going to push 123 grain bullets to about 2000 FPS. A 7" 9x19 carbine is likely not going to 9x19 +p 124 grain bullets to even 1400 FPS. And rifle bullets tend to have much better BCs and tend to be more capable in terms of accuracy IME.

    Less recoil? Etc, etc, etc... Again I feel like this going to depend on the exact calibers and platforms in question. I need to go shoot some of my pistol carbines against some of the rifle caliber ones and measure split times (which to me is often the real issue with recoil/muzzle rise) I'm not sure what the etc, etc, etc, actually is
     
  3. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    I guess it depends on what you are using either platform for.

    Although, why do i heavy 9s NEED to go 1400 fps? Aren't SLOW, heavy bullets big over penetrators? If I'm not suppressed, 1400 sounds dandy. Otherwise, a x39 going 600fps is breaking the sound barrier as well, and that crack is still giving you away.

    What accuracy issue would I have at ranges where a PCC is still viable? Beyond that distance, I've brought the wrong gun anyway. An SBR PCC is nominally going to be longer than a pistol in terms of barrel length, either gaining something or nothing, so I fail to see your point there. With rifle rounds, something's usually lost.

    As for use with suppression, pistol rounds, as my experience allows, are still sound dampened more than rifle. Maybe due to less "boom" from less powder? I believe the sectional area of a .45 ACP is going to trump a severely downloaded rifle cartridge when a silencer is in play. Bigger hole, but slow. This is where the rifle round may shine, due to penetration of walls or undesirable targets.

    I've no PCC, nor had any, that recoiled more than a rifle powered gun. Call it subjective, fine, but a pistol cartridge simply doesn't generate the recoil energy of a rifle cartridge. The "etc" is to put not too fine a point on the period ending my post. I feel this sufficient enough reason for myself to own a PCC, as they have some advantages. I don't really see the detractors you've stated as plausible. You'll have to compare your two carbines as to recoil. I'm betting that PCC is softer.

    YMMV
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  4. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Of course with a suppressed rifle round you could be much further away, subsonic or not.
    Less accuracy is not or never will be an advantage.
    You're really being obtuse to ignore the point.
    sure a SBR is going to have more velocity than a pistol and less than a rifle. The point you're missing is 2400-400>1200+200 all day every day.
     
  5. Shawn Dodson

    Shawn Dodson Member

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  6. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    The 300 black out is relatively new and there may still be kinks to work out regarding guns intended for use with sub and supersonic ammo. Also, i'm not so sure i'd give the edge to 300blk when we're talking subsonic performance. Pistol caliber rounds are designed to operate at subsonic speeds so expansion is still reliable.
     
  7. whetrock

    whetrock Member

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    A good example could be the El Tigre, in spain. That 92 copy was used extensively by Police, Prison Gaurds, and even was used to a certain capacity in the Spanish Civil war. The reason I'm so fascinated by the El Tigre is that this little carbine was used well in the 20th century. I know that even stateside, there were Law enforcement that carried 30-30 lever guns until pretty recently, but the fact that the El Tigre was chambered for the 44-40 piques my interest. I feel like a pistol caliber carbine, if kept short and lightweight, can help fill a certain niche, that was left by guns like the M1 Carbine. I know the 30 Carbine wasn't intended as a pistol cartridge, but is more akin to a pistol than a rifle round according to many. Slow moving lead, still wreaks havoc at close range.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  8. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    No it is not. The speed of sound is roughly 1100 FPS. So something going 600 FPS is not breaking the sound barrier.

    It depends on the task at hand. For combat effective hits inside 200 yards (and really the pistol guns are more of 100 yard and in affairs unless you know your holds well) probably none. That, however, doesn't mean rifle bullets do not tend to offer greater accuracy potential than pistol bullets. As you said advantages and disadvantages depend on use. The other issue is that a subsonic 220 gr 30 cal bullet with its vastly superior BC effectively extends the range for the rifle bullets.

    There are two separate and distinct issues, shooting suppressed with supersonic ammunition and shooting suppressed with subsonic ammunition. The validity of what you assert depends on which we are discussing. Also the issues are more nuanced than your statement suggests. They can turn on the rifle or pistol round in question (not all rifle rounds or pistol rounds suppress the same) and even the weapon and suppressor in question. To put it simply, some suppressors work better than others and some guns suppress better than others. I'm not sure I'm following whether you are trying to talk about suppressed subsonic or supersonic in your statement above. Like anything else when it comes to suppressed shooting there is a spectrum for factors like, noise and terminal ballistics. Where the sweet spot is depends largely on intended use.

    As mentioned by another poster, this is really talking around my point and the bottom line. Rifles are more powerful than pistols. A 300 BLK at its best with an 8" barrel is more powerful than 9x19 at its best with an 8" barrel. A 5.56 may lose a lot of velocity if shot from a 10" gun but it still is vastly more power than a .45 ACP shot from a 10" gun. As you go to subsonics the discussion really shifts to bullet construction as you can shoot a 230 grain .45 ACP sub sonic and a 220 grain 300 Blk sub sonic and the energy is nearly the same (although the rifle bullet and its better BC will retain more velocity the longer the distance).

    Many subsonic rifle rounds will offer more practical range than the common pistol calibers.

    It's not so much felt recoil, in as much as I don't really think a number of rifle or pistol caliber rifles I have offer any real noticeable felt recoil. It is more a matter or muzzle rise and time back to target affecting split times. I admit at the get go this may not be 1:1 comparison as some of the pistol caliber rifles I have, have triggers that aren't that great. I'm sure if we compare an FAL or PTR 91 it has more recoil and rise than a 9x19 gun. A 50 A&E AR has more than a 5.56 AR. As between say a 5.56 and 9x19 I think a lot will vary with the particular guns. I think the rise and recoil is unlike to be more limiting than most peoples skill in most cases anyways. In sum, year at the extremes a rifle round will recoil more, it also offers vastly more energy. In the middle ground any difference is probably pretty negligible and may be secondary to other factors.

    At the end of the day if it cost the exact same to shoot 300 Blk and 9x19 (optimized for what the task at hand is) and availability was the same there wouldn't be much reason to use a 9x19. However, for most of us, cost is a factor, as is availability.

    I used to fervently argue that 300 BLK was not better than 9x19 for subsonics if terminal ballistics mattered. I argued this basically for the reasons you state. However, there are now bullets designed to perform at sub sonic speeds so that argument has lost a lot of validity.
     
  9. Old judge creek

    Old judge creek Member

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    Cheese, Louise......... so much for the OP.

    I've been out of the loop for several weeks and this thread simply mam-mazes me!

    That said, in ~1979 I bought the first Winchester "Trapper" model carbine available since GCA 1938. On my first deer hunt with it, I was forever sold on the utility and handiness of Trapper length (16 1/4" barrel) long guns.

    Not long after that SASS came into being and the possibility of "combos" again became an option. I found that for so many, many outdoor excursions (camping, prospecting, exploring, fishing excursions, canoe tripping, etc - occasions where shooting was NOT the primary purpose of the adventure) the old Cowboys had it right: commonality between sidearm and longarm is indeed a virtue.

    Indeed, I discovered just how deadly efficient such a combo can be out to 175-225 yards.

    ... not to mention that (regardless if it is "only a matter of time" - and it is if we don't stand together NOW) these wheel gun / lever action carbine combos are the farthest down of the list of what the antis have zeroed in on.

    Now I'm 70 years old and BTDT a time or two and I gotta tellya IMO: You dang bet'cha the combos have a viable raison d'être in the here and now.

    ... bu-ut whatta I know
     
  10. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    Girodin pretty much summed up what my response woulda been.


    I guess I'll just wait outside...
     
  11. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    I've never owned a semi-auto PCC, but I have owned revolver caliber leverguns. If I had a large piece of land and a few hundred dollars left over for one gun, it would definitely be a lever in .357, .44, or .45. They are far more versatile all around guns than AR-type firearms, especially from the perspective of someone who handloads and casts his own bullets.
     
  12. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Are you saying that with the proviso that I can't change uppers?

    Even if we assume we are only putting one upper on an AR type I'm not sure that I would agree that a .357 lever gun is more versitile than an AR in any number of cartridges. I say that as someone who hand loads and owns a .357 mag lever gun (I even have a very large chunk of land where I can shoot it.)

    You stated versitale, not economical and as such I'm speaking only of versatility at this point.

    What can a lever gun in any of the cartridges you mentioned do that a 300 BLK AR carbine wont? I can think of a few things. Share ammo with a sidearm, be used in CAS (the AR instantly evens things out though by being competitive in 3 gun where a lever gun wouldn't be). Beyond that what? And cartridges like the 300 BLK, 6.8, 6.5 have the numbers ballistically speaking of any of the cartridges you mention. Furthermore, as much as I like lever guns the AR with its modularlity and ocean of aftermarket parts makes it pretty dang versatile. You can have quality QD mounts and go from Irons, to magnified optics, to RDS, quickly and easily. Heck you can even have all three on the gun at once. If we listed every plausible possible task for a carbine to do, do you really think there are many that an objective person would chose a 357 lever gun over an AR in 6.8 6.5 or 300 BLK for, let alone name more than a few very niche tasks the AR couldn't do?

    For an all round gun I'd actually argue a 6.8 or 300 Blk AR would blow a 357 (or any of the others mentioned) lever gun out of the water.

    Hunting: Some states such as IN might limit you (of course a 458 socom is still on the table for the AR), but with no artificial limits a I'd take the 6.8 or 300 BLK. More range, more energy, and more accuracy.

    Defensive use: I like lever guns and a lever gun can still be a fairly practical defensive tool. That said, this task is unquestionably the providence of an AR.

    Gun games: There are some such as CAS that you would need the lever gun. Overall an AR is more useful in a broader range of gun games. In any of them if you really want to compete you are likely looking at getting equipment that will fall outside the purview of a general use gun.

    Fun/recreational shooting/plinking etc: One would have to run the math for a hand loader as to cost. That said IMO and experience they are all guns and can do this task and be pretty good at it. Shooting at distance the lever guns will fall on their face a bit where as a number of AR calibers are good for punching paper out a few hundred yards.

    Ability to mount suppressors, various optics, etc: AR hands down

    Some times I'm sort sighted, so I would be interested in hearing what the tasks there are that a pistol caliber lever gun will do that no AR type will. I just don't see how a lever gun is more versatile.
     
  13. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    Magnum Revovler carbines are variable power.

    In one sitting I can handload a a magnum revolver round that out of a carbine will take small game without instantly converting it to flying burger or load a medium to big game round. Can anyone really do the same with any pointy round in a semi-auto?

    I can also scavenge scrap lead and cast bullets I can seat over 4-5 grains of powder for dirt cheap fun shooting. Most semi-autos I know of will gum up as bullet lube burns.
     
  14. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    300 BLK and 357 mag from 16" are very close ballisticly the BLK will have a decided range advantage due to BC and there's no reason you can't shoot cast bullets from a AR.
     
  15. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Do you really think you can't? With something like 300 BLK you certainly can load and tune it the same way by varying loads and choosing bullets. As a hand loader myself I don't think there is much to that argument in favor of 357 lever gun versatility. Moreover, I can drop a .22LR upper on my AR and shoot a small game etc. (FWIW, I can also put a 458 Socom upper on it and shoot a grizzly bear, or a 50 BMG one and shoot something a mile away)

    I've seen a lot of lead bullets go through a 300 BLK. I also know of a number of other people shooting lead through it. There are even molds made specifically for bullets to be used in the 300 BLK. So on this one I am again going to say there is no advantage to the pistol calibered lever guns. Furthermore if one is going to go to the expense of buying casting equipment and the time of involved in doing it, then I think that its not out of bounds to talk about some uppers that can be bought for a few hundred dollars. One would be a .22LR for really cheap fun shooting (and certainly added versatility). Some may say its not as fun as shooting cast loads but that is a matter of opinion and as stated that option still exists with a 300 BLK AR. I am again going to say I just don't see any real argument that a lever gun is more versatile.

    PS. I also know of a lot of people shooting cast bullets through the big bore ARs in 458 Socom and 50 Beowulf.

    Also I know Tony Rumore of Tromix fame shoots bullets he casts out of his 50 A&E AR upper. So yeah I think there is plenty of evidence that lead can be shot out of AR type guns.
     
  16. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

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    Pistol caliber carbines are way easier for homebuilders to make. Compare a heavy bolt to a complicated system of locking lugs and delicate timing. Also lots cheaper--Suomi kits are already back below 100$ these days, and far easier to throw together than any rifle caliber carbine. Compare that with an AR or AK parts kit--never mind the receiver itself.

    TCB
     
  17. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    You can get into casting for way less than than the cost of an AR upper.

    I'm not saying anyone should buy a P-Cal levergun over an AR. just that people dismiss PCCs way too quickly when they are in fact very versatile guns, not to mention far less expensive in most cases.
     
  18. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    You know, I'm not sure why I posted 600fps being supersonic. You're right, Girodin. I'm actual a bit perturbed that I typed that.

    After reading your later posts, I do happen to agree with you about rifle cartridges better BC, I'm just not sold on there not being a use for PCCs. I'll even add that, as much as I'm not a huge fan of the round, 5.7 is a good example of trying to get the best of both worlds.
     
  19. TommyD45

    TommyD45 Member

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    "Are pistol caliber carbines relevant these days?"

    Let me start by saying that I'm not a believer in the Zombie Apocalypse or that I will be engaging in pitched battles with hordes of paramilitary types swarming over my house. I am not going to be doing squad level maneuvers with suppressive fire. I'm not looking at the end of the world.

    "Are pistol caliber carbines relevant these days?"
    Depends where you are and your intended use.

    Obviously full power centerfire rifle cartridges have much greater power, range, and accuracy than pistol cartridges. If I want to hunt medium to large game at greater than 100 or maybe 150 yards, I feel better served with a bolt action .308 or 30-06. It depends on your local terrain.

    But . . .

    Due to the politics here in New York State, the legal availability of semi-autos with pistol grips, detachable magazines with more than 7 rounds, and even threaded barrels that *might* accept a flash suppressor has become problematic.

    Deer hunters in Indiana may only use shotguns or rifles with pistol caliber cartridges.

    Under 100 yards there few things that a good lever (or even a bolt) gun in 357 or 44 mag won't do, especially if you are a hand loader.

    Consider the 357/38 special paired with a good revolver.

    Only one caliber of ammo to carry. With today's ammo shortages that is a definite plus.

    Easy to reload. Straight walled pistol cartridges and carbide dies are a match made in heaven. When you can't buy jacketed bullets, you can cast your own using wheel weights or recycling range lead.

    Versatility. Low power and low noise 38 Special for small game and plinking. Full house 357 for deer or hogs. and anywhere in between depending on how you want to load them. Semi-autos are much more finicky about what will cycle reliably.

    For those who prefer large bore, a 44 mag or 45 Colt (Ruger loads) might be just the ticket. A cast solid 320 grain flat nose 45 Colt slug going 1450 fps should be adequate for almost any game in North America except for the biggest bears.

    For self defense, a pistol round which is already effective in a revolver can only be enhanced by the longer rifle barrel.

    Finally, they are just FUN to shoot.

    "Are pistol caliber carbines relevant these days?"
    Yes. They aren't the best tool for every application, but they can get the job done within their range limitations.
     
  20. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Neither am I. I think that they (and the broader class of pistol caliber rifles not just what technically meets the definition of a carbine) can be used for all sorts of things and often at a lower cost than shooting rifle. I own some and like them. Cost alone is probably enough to argue relevance. Relevance is a different question and discussion than if real rifle cartridges will do things better.

    I'm going to discuss this somewhat ignoring the highly fluctuating prices during the last couple months. I do this because prices seem to be dropping back to normal as we speak. Even during the height of the panic a friend bought a Tac Sol .22 LR upper for right about $400. That is admittedly a good deal. One could find uppers for $250 (PSA sans BCG) pre panic and put a drop in unit in it for under $200 or a BCG. Also in the context of just being able to shoot cheap, a .22 drop in kit is significantly cheaper if one is starting with a 5.56 AR. I just looked on midway for the prices of various casting tools. It would be pretty easy to spend $400-500. One could do it for less if one bought just the bare necessities, but he or she would be spending hundred dollars. My experience with loading has been its nice and much easier to have more than the bare necessities. If one isn't already set up to hand load and had to buy that stuff too then the cost of course goes way up. One thing that people also fail to account for in hand loading/casting costs is the time they spend doing it. I load for various cartridges. Loading ones own offers lost of advantages. Some times cost is an advantage. However, if I accurately accounted for my time, it probably rarely would be. I don't want to sound pretentious so I'm not going to try and do figures but if I use my professional hourly rate, those cast bullets become REALLY expensive! Now for me loading is somewhat of a hobby itself. Others find no enjoyment in it. Over the long haul I'd wager buying a .22LR upper and shooting .22LR is cheaper than buying casting stuff, buying consumables, sourcing lead, and taking the time to do it all.

    Obviously, the notable difference in casting for 357/44/45 etc is that you are shooting that caliber and not a little .22LR. That fact is going to up the enjoyment factor for some people. For them the calculation is different. It is not a per se truth that it is more fun to shoot say a 357 than a .22. I took some new shooters out awhile back, inlcuding some teenage boys. I though they would be really into some of the "cool" guns I brought (various AKs, ARs, PS90, a wide array of center fire handguns) but a number of them commented at they end they liked a couple of the .22 LR guns best (which was awesome because they are SO MUCH cheaper to feed). The point of mentioning that is that for you or I we may calculate cost versus enjoyment differently than other people and thus cannot really talk about it definitively because it varies person to person.

    Well to be fair what you did state, and your statement that we were discussing, was the following: "They [pistol caliber carbines] are far more versatile all around guns than AR-type firearms . . ."

    I am right with you that they are versatile guns and that they are often cheaper to both acquire and shoot than various AR type guns. That, however, is a radically different statement than saying they are more versatile as a general purpose gun than any AR type. I just don't think there is much of an argument at all for the latter statement. That's not a knock on pistol caliber rifles either, more a testament to how versatile some of the AR guns really are.
     
  21. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    It seems that many here confuse less capable with incapable. But I find this very common with this community, people read less accurate and think in accurate. A rifle caliber carbine is going to be more capable, this doesn't mean a PCC is incapable.
     
  22. Warp

    Warp Member

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    People also tend to have a very hard time realizing that just because, in their opinion or experience, one choice is, overall, better than another, that the better choice isn't necessarily superior in every single way imaginable, and to every person in every situation. That is part of why different people have different firearms.

    There are some things a Pistol caliber carbine does better than a rifle caliber carbine. That doesn't mean a PCC renders the rifle caliber useless. And vice versa.
     
  23. colorado_handgunner

    colorado_handgunner Member

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    not for me. AR is I roll.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
     
  24. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    "There are some things a Pistol caliber carbine does better than a rifle caliber carbine."
    Name one thing that actually pertains to making a shot that a PCC is capable of doing better.
     
  25. Warp

    Warp Member

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    The fact that you have to qualify your question should, right there, justify my statement.

    But...less recoil makes shots easier to make/more quickly. Less muzzle blast and flash is less disorienting and can also help with follow up up shots. More experience as a result of more practice because you could afford more ammo can also make your shots better.''
     
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