Caliber conundrum

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Caliber conundrum

Post by woodsghost » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:21 am

Ok, we all talk about calibers. I am in a pickle as to what to choose and invest in for the medium term future.

I have .38. and will keep that, as it allows me to reload. The round is acceptable. I have the gear already. I just need to find the pistol that somehow disappeared in my parents house..... who knew something like that would be so hard to find?!?!?!


The conundrum comes from wanting to choose between 9mm and 7.62x25. I can get an inexpensive pistol in either caliber. So....

My needs: It must be comfortable for my wife to shoot. It must be relatively inexpensive. It must be an adequate choice for defense if a natural disaster hits and things go down for 4 weeks or so (my wife is suggesting I might want to shoot a tornado in self defense. She is right).

Pros:
9mm:
Common. Very common.
Well documented performance.
Light recoiling.
Lots of choices for sub-sonic and super sonic loads. Though I"ll not be getting a suppressor anytime soon.
Currently cheap. Easy to stock up on.
7.62x25
Not commonly used. Availability based more on import schedule than political winds.
Very light recoiling.
Currently inexpensive. About 60% of the cost I have been paying for new .38. Though 2x the price of cheap 9mm.
Interesting options for reloading with rifle bullets. Mostly lighter ones (sub 100 gr)
Extremely reliable penetration. Can even punch through some light armor.
Cons:
9mm
If a "gunpocolypse" happens this November, prices will be through the roof. Availability may dry up as anybody who sees it buys it.
Penetration may leave something to be desired when facing heavy clothing or barriers.
7.62x25
Loud.
Big flash at night/dusk/dawn.
Less common. American supplier is expensive (about what I pay for .38). Foreign supply dependent on imports.
Less well documented defensive performance.
My biggest worries are having a supply of ammo during a gunpocolypse and continuing to train with the weapon/ammo. One school of thought is to get something with low demand so you can find it in tough times. Another is to stock deep now. Not sure which strategy to follow.

I loved shooting 5.45 and 7.62x54 during the 2012 gunpocolypse. 40mm was always available in my experience, as was .357 Sig. I suspect 7.62x25 will again be available. However, 9mm and 5.56 bounced back the quickest as makers focused hardest on those rounds. Towards the end, 7.62x25 was hard to find as imports had slowed in favor of 9mm and other, more common rounds.

I"m not concerned with "commonality" and "battlefield pickups" or "bartering for ammo" type situations. If that kind of SHTF hits, my rifle will be more important than my pistol. I"m mostly concerned with being able to shoot/train for the next 2-4 years. And if a natural disaster hits, I"m interested in being able to protect myself.

Let me know what y'all think! Thanks a bunch!
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by LowKey » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:27 am

Out of the two calibers I'd strongly suggest going with the 9mm.
Selection of handguns, ammo cost, ammo availability, ect.


BTW, if you can reload .38 Special you can reload 9mm....j
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by 00dlez » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:47 am

9mm 100%

For arguments sake, lets say I buy into all your pros/cons. Foreign companies that seem to produce bulk x25 (PPU, wolf... maybe you have a favorite you'd care to list?) those companies also make 9mm as well. 9mm is internationally used and in demand, if you are importing ammo, I would think that 9mm will still be the easier/cheaper choice.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by quazi » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:48 am

My experience during the last panic was that I could get 10mm when nobody could get 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, etc., but only for the first six months or so. After that, more common calibers started showing up on shelves and 10mm started drying up. I was then unable to find 10mm at all for 1.5 years. (These time frames are guesses based on my shitty memory.)

My guess is that following the initial panic the ammo manufacturers switched over to producing the cartridges that were in the highest demand, and didn't bother producing low-demand cartridges until the panic had cooled off. This meant that while I could get through the initial part with my more obscure cartridge not being in high demand and therefore not selling out very fast, once it did sell out I was really screwed for a while there.

I didn't know 7.62x25 was light recoiling. I've never shot it. Is there defensive ammo available for it, or would you have to load your own?

Edit: The panic buying seemed to wipe out different cartridges in different areas, so YMMV.

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by woodsghost » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:01 am

quazi wrote:My experience during the last panic was that I could get 10mm when nobody could get 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, etc., but only for the first six months or so. After that, more common calibers started showing up on shelves and 10mm started drying up. I was then unable to find 10mm at all for 1.5 years. (These time frames are guesses based on my shitty memory.)
.......
I didn't know 7.62x25 was light recoiling. I've never shot it. Is there defensive ammo available for it, or would you have to load your own?
......
Good points everyone.

Quanzi, x25 is typically 86 gr, so very light recoiling. It is also zippy, often over 1600 fps out of a 4 inch barrel, and I believe up to 1800 fps.

Defensive ammo would be hunting ammo. There are soft points and hollow points. The best I have seen are all Privi Partisan.


And everyone, please keep your thoughts coming. I"m hearing some pretty clear consensus, and it is persuasive, but I"m still interested in any/all thoughts.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by raptor » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:12 am

One thing to remember is that there are 1,000s of firearms chambered in 9mm and there are relatively few chambered in x25. Thus you may find that the x25 suits your purpose but that the firearms chambered in it do not fit your or your wife's hands, esthetics, etc.

I suggest (for anyone) that they first find the firearm that fits (your hands, tastes, preferences, etc) and then work through the caliber issue.

I would suggest the 9mm because of the large number loads from the many manufacturers add much more versatility to the round than the x25.

You can deal with shortages by purchasing and maintaining a decent inventory of the ammo. 9mm ball in bulk these days is relatively cheap. Though you can do the same for x25.

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by Stercutus » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:44 am

During the '08 panic .380 dried up for years.

:?

I sold the only gun I had in that caliber. .40 S&W seems to leave last and return to the shelves first. The only way to be sure is to buy up a three year supply of that caliber to outlast the panic. I keep a little more than that and am currently shooting 09-10 vintage 9mm. I buy when it goes on sale.

.40 is an ok cartridge.
I just need to find the pistol that somehow disappeared in my parents house..... who knew something like that would be so hard to find?!?!?!
Look in a box of junk the basement. That's where I found one I was missing last month.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by woodsghost » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:43 am

Raptor, I have a gun in mind. It's two caliber choices are 9mm and 7.62x25.

Stercutus, I have been searching the attic. I should probably start to look at the basement.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by emclean » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:40 am

9mm, so many more choices of ammo.

is there much hollow point 7.62X25 out there?

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by yossarian » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:49 am

woodsghost wrote:Raptor, I have a gun in mind. It's two caliber choices are 9mm and 7.62x25.
So we can safely assume that you're looking at Tokarev's?

As far as I can tell the 7.62x25 is twice as much as 9mm. You could buy a second pistol with the cost difference if you shoot much.

That said, if your bug out attire is a track suit and a big gold medallion, go with the 7.62.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by woodsghost » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:14 am

yossarian wrote:
So we can safely assume that you're looking at Tokarev's?

As far as I can tell the 7.62x25 is twice as much as 9mm. You could buy a second pistol with the cost difference if you shoot much.

That said, if your bug out attire is a track suit and a big gold medallion, go with the 7.62.
You are pretty safe in that assumption. :v: At this point, my wife is really not interested shooting pistols (she did not even enjoy .22 pistols), but she LOVES the .22 rifle (bolt action). A full sized Tokarev addresses her main concerns when she shot my .38 snubbie: Trigger pull and recoil. A full sized Tokarev has a single action trigger and the all steel frame soaks up a lot of recoil. The Tokarev also meets my main issues: Mag fed, reliable, inexpensive. Extra mags for a M70A are around $40-$80 though, so it will be a 2 mag weapon. Likely for as long as I own it.

My plan right now is to keep letting her shoot what she likes to shoot (and she genuinely enjoys the rifle), and get what I want for a bug-out/car gun. If she decides she wants to try a pistol again, I will have one that addresses her main issues.

I"m hoping to talk her into meeting up with a mutual friend who has a plethora of pistols and wants to help her find something she likes. If I can talk her into that, I'll wait to pick up a pistol till I know if she actually likes something. But so far she has shot .22, 9mm, and .38, in both steel and lightweight forms, and not really liked any of them.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by quazi » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:16 pm

Was it the recoil she didn't like with the .22 pistols? Or the muzzle blast? Or just something indefinable?

What .22 handgun was it?


I would be inclined to go with 9mm if practicality is your main concern. Twenty years from now the 7.62x25 guns might be more valuable from a collector's perspective, but then again they might not be.

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by yossarian » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:58 pm

You can get a Hi-power clone like an FEG-PJK for the same price. Mags would be readily available, as would holsters and spare parts. It's been a very long time since I fired a Tok, and it was in 7.62, but I'd wager that a Hi-power is much more pleasant. It also has nearly double the ammo capacity.

Unless you're executing political dissidents, I don't see any advantage to the Tokarev.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by raptor » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:38 pm

yossarian wrote:You can get a Hi-power clone like an FEG-PJK for the same price. Mags would be readily available, as would holsters and spare parts. It's been a very long time since I fired a Tok, and it was in 7.62, but I'd wager that a Hi-power is much more pleasant. It also has nearly double the ammo capacity.
I too would have to chime in and suggest one of several other firearms IF you go with 9mm.

The Canik TP9/TP9 v2 series and S&W SD9VE for instance are available for not a lot more than the cost of a 9mm Tokarev.

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by HistoryJunkie » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:46 pm

I'll chime in and say 9mm as well. You can get some fairly high velocity 9mm loads too.

It's easy to shoot. It's common. Many guns to chose from. Parts, magazines, etc are going to be more available and at a lower price.

Look at CDISALES on Gunbroker and you can find some nice used guns in 9mm for around 300. A lot of 3rd Gen smiths, used CZ75s and Hi-power copies.

Otherwise new you can get a Smith SD9, the Canik TP9 for 300 new.

Lower priced are a couple Taurus options at around 200.

I agree with most. I don't see the advantage of the 7.62x25 or the Tokarev.

.40 was the most available caliber I seen during the last panic.

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by The Twizzler » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:56 pm

I don't know if it helps but Zastava Arms makes a Tokarev pistol in both 7.25 Tokarev and 9x19. I used to have one. I had the 9mm version. I believe Century Arms import them. I think I paid 250 for mine.Nutnfancy has a video about them if you want to check them out. I remember they break down like a 1911 so the only differences I could see was barrel and magazine. It might be possible with a mag and barrel quick change to run either caliber from the same gun. They are really simple inside with loose tolerances fed from a single stack mag so chances are good. You might want to research further if interested.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by woodsghost » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:09 pm

quanzi,

She shot a Buck Mk II. Bull barrel. Suppressed. She did not feel like it was "precision shooting." She really likes printing small groups with a rifle. That is her gig. She likes other .22 rifles as well. But she does not seem to like semi-autos (or she simply likes traditional stocks, and not AR lookalikes). We were shooting steel with the pistols, so that may have had something of an effect, and maybe shooting paper would change things?

I can't always explain my wife. I love her though!
(chatting with her, she just likes holding a rifle rather than a pistol. It simply appeals to her more, and I"m fine with that. If she changes her mind later, then cool)

yossarian,

I"d totally jump on a BHP or FEG. I got to put about 100 rounds through one, and really enjoyed it. Plus it is all steel, hammer fired, single action, and I love those old school tiny sights. I can find a Tok for $220, and have been unable to find FEGs in stock for less than $350. I may just be looking in the wrong places. PM me if you have a secret location? Or maybe I should just spend more time on gun broker?

raptor,

I"m with you. I"m just thinking for the price of those other pistols, I can get a Tok and 600 rounds of ammo. My thinking is that I can get that now and be ok for a year, maybe 2, if a gunpocolypse happens. If nothing happens, I can pick up one of those choices in 10-18 months. Though if my logic is not sound, I trust someone will let me know. Oh, and my gun money is fixed right now by what I can sell my less useful guns for. Things will be more flexible once some larger expenses are paid and the emergency fund is re-built.

HistoryJunkie,

Thanks for the head's up. I"ll take a look. And yeah, 40 S&W seemed pretty common (NOT 40 mm, as I posted in my OP) :?


The Twizzler,

Sadly, they cannot be switched. There are too many differences between the rounds, so the grips are literally different widths.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by quazi » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:41 pm

woodsghost wrote:quanzi,

She shot a Buck Mk II. Bull barrel. Suppressed. She did not feel like it was "precision shooting." She really likes printing small groups with a rifle. That is her gig. She likes other .22 rifles as well. But she does not seem to like semi-autos (or she simply likes traditional stocks, and not AR lookalikes). We were shooting steel with the pistols, so that may have had something of an effect, and maybe shooting paper would change things?

I can't always explain my wife. I love her though!
(chatting with her, she just likes holding a rifle rather than a pistol. It simply appeals to her more, and I"m fine with that. If she changes her mind later, then cool)
Wow, so it definitely isn't muzzle blast and recoil then. :lol: I just wanted to make sure it wasn't something like a snub nosed .22 LR revolver, which still seem loud AF to people not used to shooting.

I think you have the right philosophy. It seems like letting people know something is an option, but not pushing them too hard towards it, is a much more successful strategy for getting people to learn something you think is important. Nagging people just makes them resistant.

I think that most people who enjoy shooting tiny groups with .22 LR rifles will eventually on their own decide to move onto something more challenging, either longer distance with centerfire rifles or switching to handguns. So yeah, encouraging her to do what she likes will probably pay off in the long term.

Something you might want to keep in mind as a potential option down the road is one of those Crickett/Chipmunk single-shot .22 bolt-action "pistols" (~$150-$200 IIRC) plus shooting sticks. It wouldn't be the most practical firearm, but it might be a good intermediary that is pretty similar to what she already likes. It wouldn't be a terrible small game setup either.

Keep up the good work!

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by woodsghost » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:51 pm

quazi wrote: Something you might want to keep in mind as a potential option down the road is one of those Crickett/Chipmunk single-shot .22 bolt-action "pistols" (~$150-$200 IIRC) plus shooting sticks.
Great idea! I saw one at Wally World and now that you say that, I"ll have to put some serious thought into it. It is not as "tactical" as I would like, but it might be more "real world useful."

My thread on bug out guns makes me think I do need a pistol, but those Cricketts store so nice, it might work out ok.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by minengr » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:21 pm

FWIW, I've got dies for reloading at least 20 different calibers, I don't remember how many others I've owned over the years, however, I do know 7.25 has never been one of them. 9mm all the way and don't look back.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by southalabama » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:11 pm

9mm

Enuf said

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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by Doryman » Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:46 am

I'd go with the 9mm and stack it deep.

Pick a base number of rounds you'd like to have on hand for emergencies or whatever. THis is largely dependent on your AO, personal predictions, etc. If the 'zombies in black helicopters come to attack the nuclear food riots', what do you need? Buy that much, and hide it away until the kill-bot pandemic occurs.


Then, rough out your training schedule, and see how much ammo you'd need for a years worth of range time (be honest with yourself). Buy that much and keep it on hand. Don't use it unless you actually spend a year without being able to find your caliber to train with.


Once you've gotten this far, you're largely inured against ammo shortages. Leave that base alone, buy and shoot as it comes available, and with 9mm, it WILL become available.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by RonnyRonin » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:30 pm

I was on a hypothetical 7.62x25 kick for quite awhile (I really really really needed a reason to get a PPSH) and tried every which way to convince myself it was a worthy round. In the end I couldn't, while it is fast (not sure if it is actually faster then hot 9mm) the poor bullet choices imply very poor terminal ballistics, and I didn't trust the cheap ammo not to dry up out of the blue.

Turns out its ability to defeat armor is greatly exaggerated, and the Venn diagram for armor that "can defeat 9mm" and "can defeat 7.62x25" is 95%+ overlap. Safest to assume anyone that went to the trouble of buying and then wearing armor can defeat your handgun caliber and "hips and head" is the rule of the day.

While I agree with the ZS mentality of "stack it deep or you don't have it" I also plan for the possibility of having to abandon my main stashes, and I can say that any family/friends/friendly band of nomads you are likely to join forces with are unlikely to have 7.62x25 or the WIFI connection to buy more. I'd bet that near human extinction is more likely the North America running out of 9mm in the first generation of an industrial collapse.
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Re: Caliber conundrum

Post by Stercutus » Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:03 pm

Running out and not being able to buy any after some nutjob shoots up a school are two different things.
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