Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

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Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by SouthernZombie » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:45 pm

Hi all,

I'm constantly torn between consolidating calibers or having a diversity of guns. On the one hand, having only a few calibers allows for stockpiling of ammunition and you know you can use it even if one gun breaks or is lost. You can also outfit family and friends with firearms that pull from the same pool of ammo, so you never have to worry about one gun just becoming a nice showpiece.

On the other hand, a diversity of caliber guns allows you to shoot whatever you can find when there's virtually nothing left. I can't imagine anything worse than having a 9mm handgun and only finding .45 or vice versa! :gonk:

At the moment I've gone with consolidating down to 9mm and .22. The 9mm gives me a respectable caliber while allowing me to carry a lot relative to the weight and cost of other calibers. Plus it lets me practice on the cheap. I have two handguns in 9mm and two in .22. The .22 firearms serve the same function, my wife also prefers them, and I also have a .22 rifle. So there's a lot of compatiblity. I can shoot squirrels and rabbits with the .22 and its much quieter. And then I have the 9mm for when life and limb is on the line.

For each caliber I have a semi and a revolver. Yes, I'm one of the crazies with a 9mm revolver. Suffice to say, I have a lot of moonclips.

Do you guys consider caliber consolidation? Am I crazy to be down to these two calibers for handguns? (granted, I have some shotguns and rifles, but this is the handgun thread.)
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by The Twizzler » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:52 pm

I like the diversification option. I mean I just like shooting a lot of different calibers but if you had to in a shtf, you either have the ability to use more available ammo choices or ( and I would only do so if I needed it to live) jack the price up on ammo that you have that everyone else wants. You don't need 9mm cause you have plenty of 357 Coonan :lol:.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by RonnyRonin » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:02 pm

People keep reinforcing to me that calibers other then .5.56/9mm/.308 are largely irrelevant. Just based on sheer numbers, other calibers are "statistically insignificant" and expecting to "find" anything else just isn't likely enough to seriously consider.

Someone on Reddit pointed out that 5.56 is "post scarcity," basically anything that would deplete the national stockpile would also cause human extinction, so if you can't find any it is probably because everyone is dead.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by Dooms » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:40 pm

[.22lr, .17 hmr] [9mm, .45 acp] [.223, .30-06]

That's kind of what I've consolidated to as far as, "If I had to get rid of everything else, this is what I'd keep." These are also what I practice with the most.

That being said, I've still got some other stuff in my collection mostly because I just enjoy the diversity and the opportunity to shoot interesting cartridges. I probably wouldn't take them with me if I had to leave my home in a hurry.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by mortblanc » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:29 pm

Caliber consolidation is a computer forum and survival magazine topic and only considered in those places, engaged in by folks absent any short term memory.

It is as if you people did not just live through two serious ammo shortages when your consolidated calibers evaporated into the mist.

People in the real world seldom think about consolidation and I have heard more and more real world people that have lately chosen calibers specifically because they were still available during the last ammo shortage and were not .308/9mm/22lr.

I live in the eastern US in good deer country and people one would not expect to even own a gun have a 30-30 in the back of the closet, a .38spl in the nightstand and a 12 gauge stuck away somewhere.

And around here the "average guy" has never heard of the term "opsec". You ask them if they hunt deer and they automatically reply "Ya, I have a 30-30." And out of the hundreds of folks I have asked they all seem to have a 30-30 and a couple of boxes of ammo. Many have a secondary rifle, but it is not bought because they need "found ammo". Generally it will be a 30-06, 7mm mag or possibly a .300 win-mag with occasionally grandpa's 300 Savage or .35 Whelan or some other oddball being present.

Add to that the certainty that every rural household contains at least one 12 gauge shotgun and several boxes of mixed shells (that is not a projection it is an expectation) and your polls and projections go out the window for anywhere but the inner city apartment dweller/magazine reader/internet surfer between 21 and 35 years old.

And the one ammo that was always available, stacked in piles and moved on pallets by fork lift operators, was the simple 12 gauge shotgun shell.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by ManInBlack316 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:40 pm

I'm a fan of consolidation.
Mostly because the idea that:
"I may not find 9mm in the zombie apocalypse, but I could find 45!"
It just doesn't make any sense to me. Don't count on ammo lying around, because for starters you shouldn't be a looter any ways, and most people don't have as much ammo as you'd think. 22lr, 9mm, and 5.56 fit all of my needs for firearms based on MY area and habits/training/thoughts.

But if that 30-30 is what you use for hunting dear, the 30-06 for other hunting, the 22lr for squirrels, the 45 for self defense. Then by all means have as many calibers as you want. Just either stack them all deep, or prioritize which ones you want to stock.

When it comes to market scarcity, my goal is to be well stocked up enough to where it doesn't matter to me. Have enough FMJ and JHP to where it won't matter to me, I can still go to the range and be comfortable with what I have set back. But I'm not there yet and won't be for awhile.
Also think about while that 7mm might have rounds still for sale when they 308 didn't, the 308 might rebound and come back on market a lot faster than the 7mm.
Just my thoughts, worth what you paid for them.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by MacAttack » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:43 pm

Expecting to find any ammo during a Z-Apocalypse is not a smart plan.


First off what do you expect? Do you think ammo will be laying around out on kitchen tables? Like in video games.
No its going to be with the people who already have the gun to use it. Only an idiot buys ammo he cannot shoot.

If the guy has extra ammo that he can use do you really think he will be willing to trade it for anything? A single round could get him a deer or protect his life. What can you offer him that beats that?


A gun is only valuable if it has ammo to go with it. So that nice .303B Enfield is only worth something until its ammo runs out. I have a sportered one and its the first gun I plan to run out of ammo on. It takes deer nice.
If I was willing to trade it it would be for a few months worth of food because thats what I could use it for and thus thats what its value is to me.
I certainly wouldn't trade something to get ammo for it. I would just use a different weapon.


I hear they still make pin-fired ammo for those few museum pieces still out there. But I would not go out and buy it all up hoping to trade something for it or even getting the gun and using it in a Z-Apocalypse.
Save the cash and effort and invest it on something you will actually use. Like food or the ammo you really plan on using.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by Dogan » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:33 pm

Personally, I like to think I take kind of a measured approach.

I've consolidated within my "Actual ZPAW" choices based off of availability and economy of platforms, commonality of parts, availability and price of ammo to 5.56 and 9mm.

Then I still have reasonable stores for guns I know are far from ideal for ZPAW use, yet still go bang reliably and I don't want to have run dry if the need arises. These are what I half jokingly refer to as "loaner guns," and are why I stock 7.62x54r, 12g and .357/38+P, but at much lower levels than the above calibers. Half jokingly because I do have a very short list of people welcome to my home in an actual SHTF scenario, and at least 3 of them do not own a gun period but will still be expected to take watch and do security.

Then I stock .22 as deep as I can because why not? It's cheap as hell and in a pinch 25 rounds of .22 would probably cure what ails you in a SHTF scenario, in addition to being ideal for small game and training. But due to the many shortcomings of .22LR, I don't consider it to be in the loaner category. Yes, one of my Short List people might have a +1, but I'd rather hand them a single shot 12g or a very old 5 round .38 than a high cap .22 that very well might not go bang when they need it to.

Trading ammo does not appear on this list because it is not something I plan to do. For the people on my Short List that don't need a loaner, they will likely bring all the ammo they can carry, and are responsible for their own resupply.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by flybynight » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:01 pm

MacAttack wrote:Expecting to find any ammo during a Z-Apocalypse is not a smart plan.


First off what do you expect? Do you think ammo will be laying around out on kitchen tables? Like in video games.
No its going to be with the people who already have the gun to use it. Only an idiot buys ammo he cannot shoot.

If the guy has extra ammo that he can use do you really think he will be willing to trade it for anything? A single round could get him a deer or protect his life. What can you offer him that beats that?


A gun is only valuable if it has ammo to go with it. So that nice .303B Enfield is only worth something until its ammo runs out. I have a sportered one and its the first gun I plan to run out of ammo on. It takes deer nice.
If I was willing to trade it it would be for a few months worth of food because thats what I could use it for and thus thats what its value is to me.
I certainly wouldn't trade something to get ammo for it. I would just use a different weapon.


I hear they still make pin-fired ammo for those few museum pieces still out there. But I would not go out and buy it all up hoping to trade something for it or even getting the gun and using it in a Z-Apocalypse.
Save the cash and effort and invest it on something you will actually use. Like food or the ammo you really plan on using.
Actually ,during a Z-Apocalypse , finding ammo on the kitchen table is exactly what I expect to find. A Z-Apocalypse would have to be sudden and quickly over. Overwhelming civilization in an extremely short time , thus leaving ample supplies of unexpended ammo and firearms of every description. If the Z-Apocalypse was slow enough to use up all the ammo out there it would never become a Z-Apocalypse because the zombies would be shot before they could overwhelm.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by woodsghost » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:03 pm

The issue I have is with people who buy a gun because they want caliber diversity. In pre-panic times one does not need to buy a 40 cal pistol "because 40 was still pretty available back during the panics...." You are looking at spending $500 for a pistol and $200 to kick-start your stockpile. Instead, buy $700 of your favorite flavor (9x19 or 45 GAP, whatever). Add a few spare parts and you will be much better off than the guy who bought 6 different pistols so he could be sure to use "found ammo" or "whatever happens to be available for trade in the PAW town market."

Which brings up a whole other issue: what world are we preparing for?

Tornado hits town? Probably need 20 rounds and your Nagant revolver will do nicely.

Ammo panic and anti-gun legislation? Buy reloading supplies and political muscle.

A year long disaster? Probably need 1/4 of the ammo the posters to this thread have stashed away. Unless you are actually trying to feed a family by shooting squirrels or quail. Try trapping or shooting bigger game.

In a country facing war? Just pile It deep. Your FAK supplies and skills will need equal attention.

Now, the whole " I want more calibers" argument really only makes sense to me 10 years after "the big one" and the world has completely changed. In such a case I think buying a shotgun and some caliber adapters will get you farther than buying whole guns. Take the money you saved by not buying extra gun and plought it into stockpiling ammo you will actually need and use.

My $.02 on the subject.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by Halfapint » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:12 pm

When I first started into firearms about 2 or so years ago. My thought was stick with what the military use. And that is exactly what I've done. I got a .22lr because it's easy to shoot and was cheap, then the panic hit, and I sold a lot of the 22lr I had, or traded it for 223. I've pretty much stuck with 9mm, 223, and 308, those are my "consolidated" calibers. Then came the 270 and the 10mm, I love both those.

Just like everyone else, said if anything ever happened I don't plan on scavaging. Mostly because who's knows if it'll be available. So I've stacked deep. I honestly don't know how much .223 I have I've plain lost count.. I have over 3k for the 308, 2 50cal Ammo cans full of loose 9mm along with boxes of factory, 500 for the 270, and over 2k for the 10mm.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by MacAttack » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:31 am

flybynight wrote:
MacAttack wrote:Expecting to find any ammo during a Z-Apocalypse is not a smart plan.


First off what do you expect? Do you think ammo will be laying around out on kitchen tables? Like in video games.
No its going to be with the people who already have the gun to use it. Only an idiot buys ammo he cannot shoot.

If the guy has extra ammo that he can use do you really think he will be willing to trade it for anything? A single round could get him a deer or protect his life. What can you offer him that beats that?


A gun is only valuable if it has ammo to go with it. So that nice .303B Enfield is only worth something until its ammo runs out. I have a sportered one and its the first gun I plan to run out of ammo on. It takes deer nice.
If I was willing to trade it it would be for a few months worth of food because thats what I could use it for and thus thats what its value is to me.
I certainly wouldn't trade something to get ammo for it. I would just use a different weapon.


I hear they still make pin-fired ammo for those few museum pieces still out there. But I would not go out and buy it all up hoping to trade something for it or even getting the gun and using it in a Z-Apocalypse.
Save the cash and effort and invest it on something you will actually use. Like food or the ammo you really plan on using.
Actually ,during a Z-Apocalypse , finding ammo on the kitchen table is exactly what I expect to find. A Z-Apocalypse would have to be sudden and quickly over. Overwhelming civilization in an extremely short time , thus leaving ample supplies of unexpended ammo and firearms of every description. If the Z-Apocalypse was slow enough to use up all the ammo out there it would never become a Z-Apocalypse because the zombies would be shot before they could overwhelm.


So basically you agree. If you can find the ammo you can find the gun close by. Thus no need to buy the oddball gun now.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by raptor » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:08 am

I come from the school of having few calibers and stocking deep. I further belive in having as much commonality as possible to make stocking of spare parts, consumables and especially magazines simpler.

The cost of introducing a new caliber firearm does not stop with the purchase price. By the time you add the usual components the cost can easily exceed 2,000 rounds of 5.56mm. Ask yourself if that firearm's utility will outweigh the utility of an equivalent dollar of ammo.

Now do not get me wrong I am not saying collecting firearms is the wrong. I am simple saying collecting firearms is an different activity than prepping.

The other point is that I am a fan of caliber converters. They add utility in many
ways.


Edits due to spelling - goofy spell check "doffered"?
Last edited by raptor on Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:39 am

raptor wrote:I come from the school of having few calibers and stocking deep. I further belive in having as much commonality as possible to make stocking of spare parts, consumables and especially magazines simpler.

The cost of introducing a new caliber firearm does not stop with the purchase price. By the time you add the usual components the cost can easily exceed 2,000 rounds of 5.56mm. Ask yourself if that firearm's utility will outweigh the utility of an equivalent dollar of ammo.

Now do not get me wrong I am not saying collecting firearms is the wrong. I am simple saying collecting firearms is an different activity than prepping.

The other point is that I am a fan of caliber converters. They add utility in doffered ways.
QFT.

Put my vote down for consolidation.

I think people who have an abundance of round diversity have an, 'ooo, shiny' mentality.

Capitalism is the greatest force for good in the history of the world, but needless consumerism is just stupid.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by NamelessStain » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:01 pm

raptor wrote:I come from the school of having few calibers and stocking deep. I further belive in having as much commonality as possible to make stocking of spare parts, consumables and especially magazines simpler.

The cost of introducing a new caliber firearm does not stop with the purchase price. By the time you add the usual components the cost can easily exceed 2,000 rounds of 5.56mm. Ask yourself if that firearm's utility will outweigh the utility of an equivalent dollar of ammo.

Now do not get me wrong I am not saying collecting firearms is the wrong. I am simple saying collecting firearms is an different activity than prepping.

The other point is that I am a fan of caliber converters. They add utility in doffered ways.

+1

BUT...
Stocking the most popular calibers is not a bad idea nor is having a firearm that can use multiple calibers.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by raptor » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:48 pm

NamelessStain wrote: Stocking the most popular calibers is not a bad idea nor is having a firearm that can use multiple calibers.
That is a good point. I prefer .30-06 but cheap surplus ammo in that caliber is rare. On the other hand 7.62x51mm surplus is often available.

Enter this device.

http://www.mcace.com/adapters.HTM

For $20 and a tube of locktite I can convert my bolt action .30-06 into a .308 rifle. I can convert it back by using my broken shell extractor.

There are other calibers and converters.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by Close_enough » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:06 pm

A couple of exchange a barrel setups (H&R, Rossi, etc.), caliber conversions, in case of found ammunition isn't a bad idea. But, historically and currently, commonality has been preferred. IIRC, the .44-40 was a popular caliber in the Old West because it could be fired from both revolvers and carbines. It's the same reason you try to make all your emergency electronics run off the same one or two battery types.

If I had to stock up for the Z-pocalypse, I'd favor a common caliber. I.e. matched pairs (handgun + carbine)in a shared and common caliber. 9mm, 44 spec/44 mag, 38 spec/357 mag, 40S&W, 45acp. If getting guns for the entire family, look for ones with common and interchangeable parts. That way, you only need to stockpile spare parts and ammo for a single family of guns.

If you're lucky, you'll be able to find a cache that doesn't belong to anybody still living. But, the whole point of prepping is self reliance.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by MacAttack » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:42 pm

I am running conversion kits.

An AR in 5.56N with a .22lr conversion.

An EAA Witness in 45ACP, 40SW, 9MM, 22LR. Thinking about making a 357Sig and a 380ACP barrel.

An H&K 4 in .22LR and 380ACP. Looking for the other two conversion kits in 25ACP and 32ACP.

An 870 super magnum 3.5 inch. I can only hunt game with a shotgun here and this sucker takes all 12 gauge ammo.


Everything else is just for fun.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by The Twizzler » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:47 pm

It isn't consumerism it's mesmerism. You remember in Gulliver's Travels the Houyhnhnms and the Yahoos . It's the same argument. :)



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raptor wrote:
Put my vote down for consolidation.

I think people who have an abundance of round diversity have an, 'ooo, shiny' mentality.

Capitalism is the greatest force for good in the history of the world, but needless consumerism is just stupid.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by JeeperCreeper » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:32 pm

Both. And neither.


I stock up on the defensive and practical calibers, but also have a few odds and ends that I like to shoot. Primarily, guns are a hobby/sport/passion/pastime to me. Secondarily, they are an investment. Thirdly they are defensive/hunting/protection tools. So I buy according to that, and not the fear of doom and gloom.

I can use one of my odd surplus or wildcat guns in the event of an Apoc of some sort in a limited capacity. But I can also use the more modern or plentiful stuff too. Basically, I shoot mostly 9mm, so I have plenty. But I also like to dabble in Japanese surplus, so I have a few of those too.

I think bartering is the only real way to get ammo for anything in any sort of Apoc world... and the argument can be made for rare or common ammo depending on the supply/demand of the area.

I still think planning on gathering ammo after it is late is like trying to buy home owners insurance after the house catches fire.
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by RonnyRonin » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:41 pm

I've tried to think fairly broadly about ways that one would happen upon ammo in a time when one would need it, if you have either ran low or been separated from your stash.

The first would be by barter or purchase. While the prepper trope is to assume that no one in their right mind would give up ammo, my study of bad times and human nature in general says that yes, there will always be something people will want more then bullets, and there will probably be plenty of factions that trust each other enough to trade ammo around. Depending on the situation, the price could be quite high, but everything is for sale. This is were I make the argument that the massive government stockpiles of military calibers is pertinent to the conversation. If the military/government is not a wholly functioning entity, I have a hard time believing that all that 5.56 will just languish in warehouses. Now, no one I associate with would ever be dumb enough to try and get their hands on said stockpiles, but I can't help but think that in anything but an all-out ongoing shooting war that stuff will eventually trickle down to all but the whitest of markets.

The second would be merging of clans/gangs/manpower. I have no intention of lone-wolfing it, and society as a whole seems to trend towards larger groups as resources allow. I think that as prudence dictates, many disparate groups would naturally come together and pool resources and form alliances for the greater good. While Serious Hunter A might have a dozen different big-game rifles in exotic calibers, and perhaps even the reloading tools to keep them fed for a while, I can't think he will really outweigh Slightly Paranoid Guy B who has an ammo can fort made out of either common NATO rounds, something Soviet bloc, or both. I have yet to meet the guy with an ammo can fort made out of 7mm, 270, and .30-.30. Also, even if communal kum-ba-yah sharing doesn't happen, trade will likely be pretty free within the group as you are giving bullets to the guy likely standing guard while you sleep. The Slightly Paranoid Guys that don't decide to throw in with a larger group and share the wealth might become food for point number three:

The third, touchier source is battlefield pickup, or resupply by victory. Assuming the traditional prepper protagonist has a well stocked BOL/BIL, or even better a well outfitted homestead, it is entirely plausible that one could attract the attention of brigands or bandits. Now, I have a hard time imagining many scenarios where the risk of marauders is as great as the conversation they generate, but I say it is still a plausible threat. I'm sure that they would start with whatever weapons they have on hand, but I can't help but assume that the longer a band has been marauding, or the more successful a band is, the more likely said band will have looted enough preppers/gun enthusiasts/police stations/former military installations (or simply the guy who ended up with a u-haul of stuff from a military base) to deduce what the easiest and smartest way to have caliber and gun inter-compatibility is; 9mm and 5.56. While I'd love to assume that my hypothetical potential brigands would be wielding .30-.30 lever actions and 12g shotguns, this seems frankly overly optimistic. If you did manage to successfully repel a band of land-pirates from your palisaded village, I'd bet dollars to donuts you will find the battlefield littered with AR mags and not bandoliers full of their grandpa's favorite hunting cartridges. I will agree with I assume the majority here in saying this last one is the most fanciful, and least preferred way of happening upon bullets, but it is at least on some people's radar or else there wouldn't be so many people with ammo can forts...
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by woodsghost » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:04 pm

Image

ALL THE AMMO!!!!
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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by emclean » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:29 am

I just went over my spread sheet of guns, I am apparently a big fan of diversity. I have 20 different calibers of guns.
oh, what, I am just a big fan of guns.

do what works for you. I like range toys, so I have a lot of diversity, many of which are not very suited to anything other than something to play with on the range (Charter Arms AR-7 pistol, not a good CC pistol)

I have several calibers for different levels of SHTF situations, for example I have a 357 lever gun, & old LEO revolver for a situation that I want to be armed, but want to pass for a good 'ol boy, not militant.

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Re: Caliber Consolidation vs Caliber Diversity

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:45 am

emclean wrote:I just went over my spread sheet of guns, I am apparently a big fan of diversity. I have 20 different calibers of guns.
oh, what, I am just a big fan of guns.

do what works for you. I like range toys, so I have a lot of diversity, many of which are not very suited to anything other than something to play with on the range (Charter Arms AR-7 pistol, not a good CC pistol)

I have several calibers for different levels of SHTF situations, for example I have a 357 lever gun, & old LEO revolver for a situation that I want to be armed, but want to pass for a good 'ol boy, not militant.

+1

A few years ago we were considering consolidating even further down to one round- .357 Magnum. What stopped us was the thousands upon thousands of dollars we had already invested in 9 NATO and 7.62 NATO.
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