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Newbie Question - Military Rifle Caliber Comparison

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by brufener, Feb 14, 2006.

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  1. brufener

    brufener Member

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    I've been around handguns some, but am itching to get a rifle. It seems that a military surplus rifle is the way to go because ammo is quite affordable. However, I'd like to narrow it done to a specific caliber so I can look at different guns in that caliber. Thus I need some information.

    Please tell me:
    1. What the realistic range of the average marksmen w/ an average gun is in this caliber
    2. How much power the average/standard bullet has in this caliber
    3. What size game most hunters use this caliber for
    4. Any other information you think I should know.

    Here are the calibers I'd like to compare:
    .22LR (I know this isn't military, but I am familiar with it and will use it as a baseline)
    9mm from a carbine (to use as another baseline)
    .223
    5.56
    .308 (is this the same as 7.62x51?)
    30.06
    7.62x39
    7.62x54R
    8mm

    Thanks,
    Bryce
     
  2. brufener

    brufener Member

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    Doesn't someone out there know this about military surplus calibers, or is everyone as in the dark as I am?

    TTT
     
  3. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Why not search the archives for info regarding the cartridges you are interested in?

    Don
     
  4. brufener

    brufener Member

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    Looked to see if there was a similar post in the archives, but couldn't find it. Thought about doing research on each cartridge, the problem is that I want to compare the calibers. I can (and have) looked up technical data for each cartridge, but that doesn't tell me things like what size animal it could kill, and how far it can effectively be shot. Furthermore, it doesn't do me a lot of good to look at one person's opinion of one caliber, and then someone else's opinion of another caliber - they're going to have different assumptions which makes a comparison fairly worthless.

    At any rate, I was hoping to just get a general idea of what each cartridge is capable of. Most posts don't hit the kind of general info I'm looking for, they are discussing other more specific aspects (like bullet weights) - that is why I titled the post newbie question.
     
  5. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    .22LR - Realistic range is 50 yards, at least for me. I know some can get to 100 yards and beyond, but you are talking averages. Good for small game only.

    9mm from a carbine - 9mm, as has been discussed here before, doesn't gain that much with longer barrels. I'd say realistic range is 50 yards, too. I've heard it's decent on small game and small predators.

    .223/5.56 - Realistic range is about 0 to 300 yards. Actually, I wouldn't want to try to use it on anything over 200. For hunting, I can't see taking anything beyond hogs or small deer. Of course, the average AR can nail silhouette targets at 500 and 600 yards, and specialized ARs are accurate even at 1000 yards, but the bullet doesn't have much left at that point. The differences between .223 and 5.56 are discussed at http://www.ammo-oracle.com

    7.62x39 - Similar effective range to the 5.56. Has more muzzle energy, but it has a less-flat trajectory and the nature of the typical 7.62x39 rifle (AK) and cartridge (Wolf) limit its performance.

    .308 (is this the same as 7.62x51? - not exactly, but you can fire 7.62x51 in any .308 IIRC) - This is very slightly under .30-06 in terms of power, but only slightly - maybe 100 fps slower. Ammo will be cheap compared to .30-06 because of military surplus. Can be used on virtually anything in the lower 48, though many think it's a bit light for elk and it's certainly not ideal brown bear medicine.

    30.06
    7.62x54R
    8mm

    Very similar in terms of performance. Commercial ammo is more available for the .30-06, while 7.62x54R surplus is cheap and common. 8mm surplus is common too, but it's getting harder to find. Any of these calibers will work on medium size game.
     
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The short form is that the .30-06, 8x57, 7.62x54R, and .308/7.62 NATO are so close in performance that the only thing that really matters is the condition of the rifle and the quality of the ammunition.
    Adequate to whatever range you can get a good sight picture, effective on all North American game except maybe big bears.

    7.62x39 - Cartridge for SKS carbine and AK assault rifle, meant for use by drafted potato farmers. Less powerful than .30-30, militarily adequate to claimed 300 metres, powerful enough for deer with softpoint ammo.

    .223/5.56 - The US assault rifle cartridge, since upgraded to serve as main issue infantry rifle. Accurate to considerable range if everything is right, game power in the varmint category.
     
  7. M92FS

    M92FS Member

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    1. .22LR : 200 yds
    9mm : 200 yds
    .223 : 300 yds
    5.56mm : 300 yds
    .308 : 400 yds ( is not the same as 7.62 x 51mm )
    .30-06 : 400 yds
    7.62 x 39 : 300 yds
    7.62 54R : 400 yds
    8mm : 400 yds ( is this 8mm Mauser ? )

    average shooter using rifle with iron sights. my estimation. :)

    2. top to least power cartridge.
    a. .30-06/7.62 x 54R/8mm Mauser
    this 3 are full power military cartridge.
    b. .308 Win / 7.62 x51mm
    this two cartridge are similar but not the same.
    c. 7.62 x 39 mm
    intermediate power cartridge.
    d. 5.56mm / .223
    this two cartridge are similar but not the same.
    e. 9mm
    hangun/carbine cartridge.
    f. .22LR
    rimfire cartridge.

    4. checkout this link : http://www.gunsandammomag.com/ballistics/

    note : you can use .223 ammo for a rifle chambered for 5.56mm cartridge but not the other way round.

    you can use .308 ammo for a rifle chambered for 7.62 x 51mm cartridge but not the other way round.

    military surplus ammo available for : 5.56mm , .30-06 , 7.62x51mm ,7.62x39mm,7.62x54R and 9mm :)
     
  8. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Backwards. While I would not hesitate to use 7.62x51 surplus in any of my .308's, I will not use commercial .308 in my 7.62x51 Ishapore Enfield. The brass is too thin in the .308 to work safely in the oversized chamber of the Ishapore, and a number of other surplus 7.62x51 guns.

    I do load some light .308's for the Ishapore, but will not shoot factory ammo in it.
     
  9. colt.45

    colt.45 Member

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    mulliga, you you are underestimating the power of these bullets. i have shot prarie dogs out to 200 yards. i have gone to 600 with the 5.56. you are correct on the 7.62x39, 300 yards is about as good as you can do with it. .308 will make quick work of a black bear, i draw the line at grizzly. 8mm is a verry powerful round, i would not hesitate to take it on a safari, but the only thing chambered for it is surplus rifles.
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    .22LR

    1. The average marksman hunts squirrels and rabbits with this cartridge. Hunting range is less than 50 yards. Targets are shot to 100 yards in formal competition.

    2. Kenetic energy is around 130 to 140 foot pounds.

    3. Squirrels and rabbits.


    9mm from a carbine

    1. No formal long range target shooting is done with this cartridge. You wouldn't go far wrong to consider it a 100 yard limit.

    2. KE is about 500 ft lbs from a carbine.

    3. This is a defense cartridge. It's a bit on the large size for small game, and on the weak side for larger game.


    .223
    5.56


    Technically these are not the same cartridge, but they're awfully close.

    1. The 5.56 is used out to 600 yards in formal target shooting.

    2. KE is around 1200 ft lbs.

    3. This cartridge is mostly used for varmit hunting -- from crows to coyotes. Some people use it for deer, others feel it isn't powerful enough. In some states it is illegal for deer.

    .308 (is this the same as 7.62x51?)

    Technically these are not the same cartridge, but they're awfully close.

    1. The 7.62X51 is used out to 1000 yards in formal target shooting and sniping.

    2. KE is around 2400 ft lbs.

    3. This cartridge is adequate for any large game hunting in North America.

    30.06

    This cartridge is ballistically similar to the .308/7.62X51. It has a bit more power for handloading purposes. You can get up to 3000 ft lbs with good handloads.


    7.62x39

    1. The 7.62X39 is about the same as the .30-30 Winchester, using lighter bullets. It is chambered in rifles not noted for their accuracy and is not used in formal target competition. It can be fairly considered a 150-200 yard cartridge for hunting purposes.

    2. KE is about 1600 ft lbs.

    3. Those who use it for hunting generally hunt white tail deer.


    7.62x54R
    8mm

    These cartridges are ballistically similar to the .308/7.62X51. They have a bit more power for handloading purposes.

    As a general rule, you will find few sporting rifles chambered for these cartridges.
     
  11. Pafrmu

    Pafrmu Member

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  12. MikeHaas

    MikeHaas Member

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    Here is a ballistic comparison of the rounds you requested:
    1: .22 Long Rifle
    2: 9mm Luger (Parabellum)
    3: .223 Remington (5.56mm NATO)
    4: .308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO)
    5: .30-06 Springfield
    6: 7.62x39mm Russian (M1943)
    7: 7.62x54R Russian/7.62x53 Finnish
    8: 8mm Mauser (8x57 JS)

    http://ammoguide.com/?tool=bcompare&it=126|3|132|92|99|18|11|5

    Hope it helps. (May take a few seconds to calculate)
     
  13. kennyboy

    kennyboy Member

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    It looks like I wrote a lot, but it addresses your concerns

    7.62x51 is the same as .308win. 5.56 is the same as .223rem. 22lr is the cheapest, but is not used in basic service rifles.7.62x39 is used in the AK-47 and SKS. 9mm is used in carbines and rifles. 8mm is a big bullet and packs a punch. 7.62x54 is used in rifles such as the Draganov and I think the Mosin Nagant. .30-06 is comparable to the .308. The .30-06 has a little more power, but the .308 has more accuracy.

    Price. .22lrs are the cheapest. .223/5.56mm is probably the most expensive. 7.62x39 can be had in bulk almost anywhere very cheaply. .308 and .30-06 can be had in bulk but will cost a little more than the 7.62x39. .30-06 is more readily available than .308. 7.62x54 will be priced a little less than the .30-06 and .308. 8mm is about the same price as the last 3 rounds I mentioned.

    For a service rifle that you want for plinking and stuff, 7.62x39 is probably your best bet. Ammo is cheap and there is a crapload of rifles chambered for the round.
     
  14. kennyboy

    kennyboy Member

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    As far as game- .223/5.56 is used for varmints and small game (groundhogs, coyotes, etc.), but can be used for heavier game. You really can't ethically shoot anything bigger than a deer with a .223 (not enough power).

    7.62x39 will work for deer-sized animals and smaller game if you don't care about damaging meat.

    .308 and .30-06 and 7.62x54 and 8mm are deer calibers. They can also take larger animals such as bear, elk, moose, etc. 8mm can take the biggest animals of the bunch.

    .22lr is used for small game (rabbits, squirrel, etc.)

    9mm doesn't have a practical game usage. The round is too weak for deer and larger animals, will cause too much meat damage on small game, and does not have a flat enough trajectory or velocity to be a good varmint round.
     
  15. Mayo

    Mayo Member

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    and somewhere in between the .223 and .308 would be either the 6.5 Grendel or 6.8:banghead:
     
  16. cbsbyte

    cbsbyte Member

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    I hate my computer.
     
  17. cbsbyte

    cbsbyte Member

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    The 8mm Mauser is also internationaly know as the 7.92x57. It is a comtemporary of the 7.62x54 Rimmed, and 30-06 Springfield. They are contemporaries of each other. All where designed in the late 19th to early 20th century for militaries.
     
  18. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    the 22 and 9mm ,outot 100 yds. all the others, as far as you can see with your sights, thats it. if you have a scope, then farther, but i wouldnt put the 223 as a kill shot past 350 yds, unless you can do head or neck shots.
     
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