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Most EFFICIENT handgun caliber?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by shadow9, Dec 24, 2012.

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  1. shadow9

    shadow9 Member

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    Not "BESTEST" or "BEST" or "MOST STOPPING" or "WHIZBANG!"

    But...what do YOU consider (read: Opinion, math not necessary) to be the most efficient caliber?

    By efficient - I am looking for design of case/cartridge, accuracy (both short and far), recoil handling, and ease of wear on the weapon.

    For example - the 6.5x55SE I find to be a VERY efficient cartridge for hunting - it's smaller case size allows for a maximum charge with reasonable recoil. The long bullets can drive deep with moderate velocity (able to take game much larger than statistics should indicate), and it's use of smaller/lightweight bullets with high BC make for excellent ballistics. Also, being a intermediate cartridge with long seating, it can be chambered in any mauser-length long-action (versatility).

    NOTE: Cartridge is/should be handloading-friendly, and it's usefulness in this manner can be used as part of consideration.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  2. 918v

    918v Member

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    .22 Short

    9mm Luger is pretty efficient for a centerfire, though.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Well, the first two that come to mind are the .38 Special and the .45 ACP.

    Both have withstood the 100 year test of time.

    And both have won enough Bullseye target & combat shooting trophy's to fill the swimming pool 10 times over at Bill Gate's house.

    For "FAR" range?
    Then you are looking at the .357 & more so, the .44 Magnum.
    There isn't even a runner-up.

    rc
     
  4. Naybor

    Naybor Member

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    Tossup:

    .22 LR
    .357 weapon (shoots .38 Sp, .38 +P and .357 Mag)
     
  5. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    .357 mag & 9mm. What one can't do efficiently, the other will.
    GS
     
  6. Hungry1

    Hungry1 Member

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    I like a cast 158 gr LSWC in .357 over 6 gr of Unique.

    At regular handgun distances accuracy is more than acceptable and I know it sounds like a story,,,, but it's true I swear. I've been able to consistently hit a 3' wide x 5' high metal gas container at 200 yards with a 4" GP100.

    Not that I would ever try and take game at that distance with a handgun or that load, but it sure is good "range fun". :)
     
  7. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    What exactly are you trying to measure?

    I get about 12,000 miles per gallon out of my .357 using Unique and 158 grain lead semiwadcutters.:eek:

    I am not sure how to calculate group size into that figure, much less the terminal ballistics.:confused:

    If you want to measure groundhogs per gallon with 222 Remington or .218 Bee would you want by the pound or per head?:neener:

    Lost Sheep:D

    OK, seriously. I re-read your original post. You specified no math required, opinion desired. But I can't resist teasing you some about the folly of using the term "efficiency" with regard to something so difficult to quantify.

    So, shooting fun per dollar spent? 22 rimfire

    All-around practice value per round expended (as well as dollar spent) my handloaded .357 rounds. If limited to factory, probably 9mm or 45 ACP followed by 38 Special and maybe .40 S&W (but I don't shoot 40, so am just guessing that the price might be right).

    For fast stops on dangerous game (bears, wolves, people, etc) larger is better.

    You asked for opinion.

    Regards,

    Lost Sheep

    edit: I see that your O.P. seemed focused on rifle cartridges. Most of the respondents talked about handgun cartridges, as did I. Sorry, I don't have anything approaching useful on rifles. Here's hoping some riflemen will respond soon.
     
  8. hAkron

    hAkron Member

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    9mm is a very universal round. Easy to reload, guns are plentiful in the caliber, doesn't use much powder, bullets are cheap, and if I reached my hand down on the floor of the gun range and grabbed a handful of brass, 80% or more of it is probably going to be 9mm
     
  9. 56hawk

    56hawk Member

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    I think 9mm would be by far the most efficient pistol round. Does just about everything the bigger rounds do, but has less recoil and a higher magazine capacity.
     
  10. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I got to say, it depends on what your objectives are.

    A 22 Hornet is not very good on dangerous game, but a 375 H&H makes a lousy small pest rifle.
     
  11. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    In the right pistol, I'd vote for 9mm "LUGER" (9x19):
    1. Bullet types and weights available: all nose shapes and types, 90 gr to 150 gr+ by a wide range of companies
    2. Bullet speeds are very versatile: 750 (or less) to to 1600 fps+ (Often Used by open class competitors with compensated bbls.)
    3. Versatile with powder choices to match shooter requirements: VERY fast-burn powders to very slow burn powders with a wide range of choices for each.
    4. Ammo is relatively inexpensive as it one of the most heavily produced calibers world-wide.
    5. Reloading is inexpensive: Range cases-pickups are abundantly available free. Bullets are relatively inexpensive. Primers are SPPs and standard pricing. Powder charges are limited to the small case.
    6. Acuracy: While 9x19 can be very accurate, 38 and 45acp are better known for their accuracy. If you are a full-time bullseye type shooter, then the need for precision accuracy would likely drive you to other choices. (9mm Luger "can" be a pretty darn accurate round.)
    7. Range: Long range service-type pistol shooting is usually done with fairly heavy bullets. Lighter bullets don't carry as far accurately. The 9mm will shoot to 100 yds +, but maybe out to 50 yds would be in the 9mms more effective range.

    Just my thoughts. Readily available, versatile uses, good accuracy and inexpensive to shoot; I see as "EFFICIENT"
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  12. GaryL

    GaryL Member

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    I don't know the answer, but I do know this: I have a 105mm case in the man cave given to me by my son (he was in the plane when it was fired). Out of curiosity I measured all the dimensions and compared the scaled values to handgun calibers. It scales almost exactly to a 357 mag.

    Carry on.
     
  13. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    cfullgraf, the .375 H&Hn Mag is a far more efficient round for small pests than a .22 Hornet. Just think, you eliminate the step of picking up the dead ground squirells when you use a .375.:neener:
     
  14. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Member

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    which would you take with you into the crawlspace under the house looking for a water moccasin?
     
  15. blarby

    blarby Member

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    I throw my coppers in with RC and 45 ACP.

    We all have different definitions of "efficiency"... With that said, I can feed it lots of powders, lots of primers, I find brass by the bushel, and can cast for it in multiple weights till the end of time.


    Makes me wish I had more of them........

    And to boot, it'll fit under that imaginary magazine limit we have floating out over the horizon.... unless you like an extra handle !
     
  16. grumpy66

    grumpy66 Member

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    .45acp- cast 230grain, 5.3 grains Unique.

    30-30- cast 150 grain, two throws of the powder handle (10.6 grains) Unique.

    I'm working on a cast load for my .308 now.
     
  17. Magnum Shooter

    Magnum Shooter Member

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    357Mag, Can shoot 38s for pests, 158g JHP for deer, 180g match for plate ringing.
     
  18. jack44

    jack44 Member

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    44 mag. and the 40S&W
     
  19. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    357 Mag. I almost said 38 special because it will do almost everything but the 357 is a 38 special + +.
     
  20. 918v

    918v Member

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    You're all wrong.

    The 22 Short will get you the most power per grain of powder of any metallic cartridge.
     
  21. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Useful? Target & Hunting- Near & Far-Big & Little Critters?

    Thompson Center Encore that fires .460 S&W (2200fps) and the less powerful .454 Casull, .45 Colt(750fps efficient). Loads range from light target loads in the Colt, to long range hunting loads/scoped barrel. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  22. Clark

    Clark Member

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    In power supply design, the Greek symbol Eta in lower case is used to represent efficiency:
    η
    We spend a lot of time calculating it and never do much to improve it.

    η = power out / power in

    But for a cartridge is would be

    η = kinetic energy out / chemical energy in


    My 50CB wild cat can do 798 fps 186 gr .500" round soft lead ball squished 2.8 gr Red Dot, WLP, wax, air, adjusted doubled ended double press die.

    η = 263 foot pounds / 2.8 gr powder = 94 foot pounds per grain

    The reason I was striving for so much efficiency was to get the noise down. 798 fps is the most I can get out of it and still sound like a pellet gun. And it did get me making my own dies which has worked out for a number of other projects.
     
  23. lykoris

    lykoris Member

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    extremely interesting and quite impressive!
     
  24. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    I have no data, but hte 9MM (9x19) cartridge seems very effecient, for case size, and power.
     
  25. 918v

    918v Member

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    Back in the '80's Guns and Ammo did an article on efficiency. Guess what it said...
     
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