.308 vs. .223 for SHTF

Discussion in 'Survival Gear' started by animalspooker, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. animalspooker

    animalspooker G&G Regular

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    I'm getting an AR. Don't know which one though. I am a born and bred, thru-and-thru .308 guy. Every bolt action, long range rifle I own is in .308 (one 260 rem on its way). My question is this: I plan on shooting this gun quite a bit. I know the .308 has longer range, more knockdown and so on and so on. But what about the price of rounds. Does that counter the advantages of the .308 enough to justify going with a .223? Plus, the gun is cheaper. I don't think I'd ever use it over 200 yards. Another key point...I reload but would like to buy a lot of cheap (good/fairly accurate) . What do you all think?

    Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse with this post.
  2. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    If you are staying under 200 yards, over 16" barrel, the 5.56 (there's a difference in pressure) has plenty of punch to put a man down. The wound channel of the 5.56NATO FMJ, under about 200 yards, is actually more impressive than that of the 7.62NATO FMJ. Of course, when you are talking about commercial hollow points, the 5.56 doesn't even compare to the .308.

    My knee jerk, under 200 yards is to say 5.56, it's smaller, lighter, cheaper, less recoil, but the power of the .308 makes the weapon more useful for deer hunting as well.
  3. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    I'd say trade in the AR for something like a CETME, G3, FN-FAL, Saiga 308, M1A or other 7.62/.308 caliber rifle. First, you don't have to ass another caliber to your collection. Second, I don't care what the Army says, the Stoner AR action is not to be relied upon when you need it. Get a REAL rifle, not a Poodle Shooter.
  4. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Newbie

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    As one who actually owns and shoots both calibers in bolt action and AR style rifles, I will say that it depends on how much you like to shoot AR rifles.

    If you intend to shoot a LOT of ammo (several thousand rounds a year), at 100 yards or less, the AR15 will be the better choice.

    If you intend to shoot less, but for longer distances, you will probably find the AR10 more gratifying.

    Reloading for either caliber is pretty much the same process. It just costs more for the .308, obviously. I don't mind. I still shoot five times as many .308s as .223s.

    Since you are already a dedicated .308 man, it seems pretty obvious to me which one you should get. LOL

    By the way, the ORIGINAL AR style rifle was designed and produced in .308. All the trouble the Army had with AR style rifles was due to their OWN meddling with the original design.

    I have shot all the rifles Cyrano listed, and I still prefer the AR10B.

    I have never had ANY malfunctions with my Armalite AR10Bs, under any field conditions.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  5. kansascoyote

    kansascoyote G&G Newbie

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    Neither I would buy a 6.8 . But of the two I say 308 .
  6. cjleete

    cjleete G&G Enthusiast

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    I have yet to find a plausible SHTF scenario on this forum. The closest thing this nation has ever experienced is the Great Depression, which was notably absent of the kind of civil disorder that people here have been playing out, short of the Bonus Marcher incident, and crime-related mayhem.
  7. pico

    pico G&G Newbie

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    If I was choosing the 2, I would go with a MBR that handles the .308. I have been buying my ammo in battle packs, and get 200 rounds of German DAG FMJ for under $100 with shipping fees included. While a little below $0.50 per round, it is not that bad. It isn't like I bring my H&K 91 to the range and shoot off hundreds of rounds at a time. You need to think about what you expect to be able to do with your setup. I want to be able to hunt larger game easily, but also be able to defend myself. The .308 or 7.62 Nato will handle both of those rolls better than a 5.56 nato.
  8. pico

    pico G&G Newbie

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    I should add that I have a Saiga .308 carbine, a pair of H&K 91 prebans, an original MARS CETME, a Smith Enterprises M14, as well as a Chinese NDM 86 in .308. Of all of these rifles, for a SHTF scenario, I would want the Saiga or the H&K91/CETME. These are the most rugged firearms I own, besides an AK 47 and the SKS. The .308 can reach out well past 600 meters, where the smaller .22 cal rounds just fall off. The H&K rifles I have are more carbines than rifles, but are still fine with iron sights out to 500 meters without too much skill involved. With optics, the farthest I have been able to shoot is out to 600 yards with german surp illuminated scope. My M14 is far more accurate, but it is much heavier. The Chinese NDM 86 is even more accurate, but this is a safe queen.

    The main thing you need to think about is range and jobs to perform. Once you determine that, the rest will be much easier to determine.
  9. Deersniper

    Deersniper G&G Newbie

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    . 308 vs the .223 for SHTF

    One for urban combat the .223. One for rural combat and hunting, the .308 I own both.

    Attached Files:

  10. Doc Jones

    Doc Jones G&G Newbie

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    I often ask myself the same question. I own a lot of .308 semi-autos and bolts.
    For carbines I'm pretty sold on the 7.62x39 as the best of both worlds between .223 and .308. It has better penetration of cover than .223 and I like the AK platform. I do have one Mini-14 for .223.

    But we were talking about ARs...

    I'm sure .223 is adequate for defense. Thousands of dead North Vietnamese, North Koreans, Chinese and Iraqis can't all be wrong.

    If you have good distance rifles (sounds like you have lots) you'd probably be smarter to get a carbine now. Later, when you get more dough, you can get a semi-auto .308.

    If you like the AR platform, a 7.62x39 piston-drive AR would be the best of all worlds to my way of thinking. :)

    Doc
  11. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    +1

    Direct impingement will never stand up to the neglect that a piston driven rifle will, BUT it's good enough, lightweight, and accurate as hell!
  12. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    EOTWAWKI aside, which is improbable but not impossible, (every society that has every been has collapsed, and had some sort of violent revolution, lawlessness and savagery usually ensue)

    LA Riots? Various other riots? Looting and shootings around Katrina and other natural disasters? I dip into my SHTF supplies every spring and fall during tornado season. I always lose power for a couple of days and have to break out stored food and heat/cooking supplies. It's like insurance. Pray to God you never need it, but it's best to keep it around.

    History has consistently shown that there's a every so often something bad happens, whether it be lawless riots or natural disasters, and having a little food and ammo set back can keep you from skipping a beat on the small stuff (like tornado season) and help you make it through the big stuff (like quakes, riots, hurricanes, depressions). Preparedness is cheap next to the cost of unpreparedness. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

    If you don't like our discussions, think we are silly, don't have something positive to contribute, keep to the other forums!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  13. animalspooker

    animalspooker G&G Regular

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    You read my mind BH. I wanted to say something, but my momma always told me........

    Thanks for the help guys...it's really appreciated.
  14. BarryHalls

    BarryHalls G&G Enthusiast

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    Well, momma always said "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," but she had the good sense to say that much quite a bit, to a lot of different people, lol.

    Reading your OP again, I'm thinking the 5.56 would be good for you. It's cheaper to pink, and it sounds like you have all the .308 rifles you need.

    For up close real combat. . . I wouldn't want to go up against either, but I'd rather have the 5.56 in my hands.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  15. DudeInMT

    DudeInMT G&G Newbie

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    I would say .308 if you do your own reloading for your .308's already. But if you're buying ammo retail, might as well go with something different.
  16. arvetus

    arvetus G&G Enthusiast Forum Contributor

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    Which one should you get?
    Then answer to that is "yes."
  17. Doc Jones

    Doc Jones G&G Newbie

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    Been thinking a bit about this question a bit more.

    As I said above, I'm quite sold on 7.62x39 and love the AK platform (though if I had the dough I'd sure get an AR piston in that caliber for fun).

    But to the original question of either .223 or .308....

    I only own one .223 (a mini-14 for ammo scrounging). The reason is that I don't really think the .223 is a "one shot" round. I wouldn't consider it a great deer round so I ask myself "If I'm not willing to count on it for a deer, should I count on it for two-legged predators?"

    The point of the military issuing .223 to infantrymen is that the guns are light and handy and the ammo is likewise light so they can carry a lot of rounds. The guns are accurate and allow quick follow-up shots. This all sounds great but consider what the average GI has going for him.

    - lots of other guys shooting .223 with him
    - others in the group with a machine gun or heavy caliber rifle
    - air support
    - artillery support
    - tanks

    Someone with military experience correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the primary role of the .223 in battle is to lay down suppressive fire to pin down the enemy until someone with a bigger weapon can come along and kill them effectively (mortar, grenade, bomb, 50 cal machine gun...).

    Now, as I consider a SHTF scenario, I don't see myself having any of the support mentioned above. I see myself defending home and hearth with a few companions against adversaries behind cover. In other words I and my sons are the whole show. There aren't going to be any F-16s flying in to save my bacon as I laze the target.

    In that scenario it seems to me that the .308 has some real advantages.

    The major advantage in any area is the power of the round to turn cover into concealment and decidedly damage anyone it hits. It's reach is also a real advantage (in my area) but is probably completely irrelevant in most areas.

    In battle (again correct me if I'm wrong military guys) when a soldier gets hit, his response is to yell "Medic!" and withdraw. He's done, he gets to get off the line for awhile and maybe go home. He doesn't have to press on. There are plenty to replace him.

    Will this be the case with really determined attackers in SHTF? Or will they take a shot of .223 and keep fighting? I don't know. I do know that veteran acquaintances of mine have said that it often takes 2-3 rounds of .223 to put a man down. Again, this is fine for a GI where the whole platoon is sending lead at the attackers.

    I don't mean to disparage the .223. As I've said, it is what it is and is well-suited to its military role. But the SHTF role is different. If the primary consideration is quantity of ammo one can carry, then one must ask "Can I do with 3 rounds of .223 what I could do with 1 round of .308?"

    "Kill a bad guy with no cover?" Absolutely.
    "Kill a bad guy behind good cover?" Nope. Not unless he leaves the cover.
    "Kill a bad guy that can't reach me with his carbine?" Nope. (I realize this is irrelevant for almost everyone that doesn't live where I live but it's relevant here.)

    So, if the question is "Should I get a .223 to compliment my .308s?" I'd say sure, why not. They have a lot going for them and women, kids and newbies can effectively shoot them. But if the question is "What caliber should I choose if I can only carry one rifle?" .223 isn't even on my list. I want to be able to end a fight even if the other guy is behind a tree or car.

    As I said, 7.62x39 is a pretty good compromise between .308 and .223 and I'd be comfortable just having that as well. But a semi-auto .308 is a must-have IMO.

    If all you have are bolt .308s, I'd get a semi-auto .308 and/or a semi-auto 7.62x39 before I got a .223 and when I did get a .223, it would be for varmints and plinking...but then, I have a .22LR for that.

    Anyway...just thinkin'.

    Doc
  18. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Newbie

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    That was an EXCELLENT summation of why I own AR10Bs, Doc!

    I could not have said it any better.

    We own AR15s, and AR10s. The wife can shoot either, but prefers to practice with the AR15, due to recoil and noise considerations.

    I practice with the AR10, because I firmly believe in practicing with what I intend to use, and I am constantly testing and gathering data on different ammunition, distances, and ballistics of the .308 loads I make.

    To my mind, the 7.62x39 caliber is very similar to the 40 S&W caliber. It is better than the .223, but not as good as the .308, the same way the .40 is better than the 9MM, but not as good as the .45ACP, for SHTF purposes.

    If I was so concerned about the durability of my gun that I insisted on an AK style action, I would get a SAIGA .308, and convert it to the original AK47 configuration. I shot a bunch of rounds through one that had NOT been converted, and it was not pleasant to shoot. It also would not feed SAAMI spec reloads, because the bore was too tight. Only factory rounds would feed, because they were .002" smaller in diameter.

    I sold my AK47s, and all the ammo during July. I didn't see much sense in maintaining THREE different battle rifle combinations.

    I will probably buy one SAIGA .308, and convert it, just to match my SAIGA 12, and also as a long term "back up" gun for my AR10s.

    All but three of the AR15s are going to be sold off, as well.

    I think a lot of guys are going to find themselves wishing they had heavier caliber guns for LONG term survival, IF we ever get into that situation.
  19. larmus

    larmus G&G Newbie

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    i just parussed everything and if this was already mentioned then i would just like to second it...

    if you buy the ar15, m4gery or the likeness thereof, make sure you get one that can fire both the .223rnd and the 5.56rnd. there should be a stamp on the lower or upper receiver. as mentioned above the head spacing is different between the 2 rnds. .223 can be shot out of 556 but not the other way around. for a common example everyone knows that 38special can be fired from a 357 but you cannot fire 357 out of a 38.
  20. Doc Jones

    Doc Jones G&G Newbie

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    Thanks for the kind words Ten Man. I'm dipping my toe into the "AR" pool for the first time tonight. Going over to Boise to pick up an AR-10 from a guy. He has an Armalite and a Rock River LAR-8. Don't know which I'll come home with...probably the RR because I have FAL mags for it.

    My son-in-law-in-training was here yesterday. He's an Iraq vet. He brought his AR-15 but I didn't get to shoot it (Danged dogs!). I did clean it with him when he brought it back from the desert though. Lots of "bits and bobs" but pretty straight forward for all that. I'd be bit nervous to do it in the tall grass though. LOL

    I'd keep an AR-15 in the safe for ammo scrounging if I already had one. But then, I'd have kept the AKs too. :)

    We'll see how the AR-10 competes with the other .308 semi-autos living in my safe. I'm sort of afraid I'll like it and have to eat some crow. :)

    Doc
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