Pistol Caliber Carbines

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Logansdad, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. Logansdad

    Logansdad Guest

    Every United States Marine, regardless of his ultimate job, is trained as a rifleman. Similarly, as a Militia member your mission is to serve your community in time of need as a light infantry rifleman and your primary Militia weapon should be a military type semiautomatic rifle, preferably in a standard U.S. military caliber. With proper training and technique, a full-power battle rifle chambered for 7.62mm NATO (.308 Winchester) or .30-06 will allow you to dominate the ground out to a range of 500 yards. The U.S. armed forces claim the same maximum effective range for the M-16 assault rifle, but in truth the 5.56mm NATO (.223 Remington) quickly loses stopping power beyond about 200 yards and few people can consistently hit a target with it beyond about 300 yards. The same is true for rifles chambered for the intermediate-powered 7.62x39mm Russian, like the SKS and Kalashnikov types. If your primary Militia weapon should be a military type rifle, why should you consider also owning a pistol caliber carbine?


    Law Enforcement Use. One mission of the Militia is to assist local law enforcement and help maintain order during civil disturbances. In an urban environment your full-power battle rifle, capable of shooting through two or three houses, might not be welcome. Law enforcement officers carry handguns as defensive weapons that will always be instantly available, but most officers can't consistently hit a man with a handgun beyond about 25 yards, although a good shot with an accurate handgun can extend this range to about 50 yards. When they know they are going into a shooting situation, most law enforcement officers rely upon their riot shotgun or call out a SWAT team armed with rifles or submachine guns. Up close there is no more devastating defensive weapon than a buckshot loaded shotgun, but effective patterns and adequate stopping power are limited to about 25 yards. In a roadblock situation, buckshot has very little chance of getting inside a vehicle unless the perpetrator rolls down his window or opens his door and invites it in. 5.56mm rifles also lack sufficient penetration against vehicles. While solid slugs extend the range of a shotgun to about 50 yards and can penetrate most vehicles, they dangerously over-penetrate both suspects and building walls, endangering innocent bystanders. Hollowpoint pistol bullets tend to break up rather than ricochet and also penetrate less building materials than high power rifle bullets, presenting less danger to bystanders. A carbine is defined as a light rifle with a short barrel (usually 20" or less). A pistol caliber carbine offers a compromise between the excessive power of the military rifle or shotgun slug and the short range of the police handgun and shotgun. Many law enforcement agencies have equipped their squad cars with submachine guns or carbines as a replacement for or supplement to their traditional shotguns. As a civilian in the State of Washington you are prohibited from owning a submachine gun, so further discussion will be limited to carbines.


    Advantages of Carbines. Most U.S. law enforcement agencies use either the the 9mm pistol or .38/.357 revolvers. If your Militia mission is to assist law enforcement, having a carbine that can fire their ammunition is a logistical advantage. The cowboy or frontier lawman who carried a six shooter and a lever action saddle carbine chambered for the same round knew about the advantage of having only one type of ammunition for both arms. Carrying this convenience one step further, the Marlin 9mm Camp Carbine can use any double column Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol magazine and the Marlin .45 ACP Camp Carbine uses the same magazine as the Colt Government Model pistol. An advantage carbines have over handguns is increased range and accuracy. It is generally much easier to shoot a rifle more accurately than a handgun. When fired at targets with the same cartridge, 75 or even 100 yard carbine groups are usually about the same size as 25 yard handgun groups. Pistol caliber carbines have a maximum effective range against a man-sized target of about 125 to 150 yards. Low recoil (except for the .44 Magnum) and light weight of pistol caliber carbines makes them easier for a novice to learn to shoot and easier for persons of small stature to handle than a heavy recoiling ten pound battle rifle or twelve gauge shotgun. In an defensive emergency, you may have a need to arm a trusted friend or neighbor or a responsible adolescent family member. You can show any reasonably intelligent and coordinated person how to load and operate a lever action carbine in a few minutes and they will probably be able to hit a man at a range of at least 25 yards. Having another person capable of pulling a trigger watching your back adds to your own security and allows them to provide for their own protection. If you are defending your home or another building and have to fire a high power rifle or magnum handgun, the walls, ceiling and floor all reflect and magnify the deafening muzzle blast. When firing a rifle or magnum handgun defensively, people have been known to cease firing after the first shot or even drop their weapon thinking that it has blown up. This can get you killed. A pistol caliber carbine has less muzzle blast than a handgun that fires the same cartridge and much less muzzle blast than a high power rifle. Most pistol rounds will also gain additional velocity and power when they have a longer barrel in which to burn their propellant powder. The velocity gain is more pronounced with higher pressure rounds. Low pressure rounds like the .38 Special, .44 Special or .45 ACP gain little or no extra velocity, but higher pressure +P versions of these cartridges or "hot" handloads will pick up about 100 to 200 feet per second. Standard velocity 9mm rounds gain an average of about 250 feet per second which moves them up to roughly the same stopping power level as a 9mm +P+ or .357 Magnum handgun (which is very good). When .357 and .44 Magnum rounds are fired from carbines, they gain about 500 to 600 feet per second. The increased power of pistol rounds when fired from carbines allows them to penetrate vehicles better than the same round from a handgun. They also penetrate light brush with less deflection than 5.56mm rifle bullets.


    Ammunition Selection. The significant velocity gain of carbines with magnum rounds means that you must carefully select ammunition for them. Not surprisingly, hollowpoint handgun bullets are designed to expand properly at handgun velocity. When fired much faster, they will often over-expand and virtually disintegrate on target before the bullet has sufficiently penetrated. This can create a severe surface wound that may not incapacitate. While this is bad for hunting, it is much worse when your target is shooting back at you. Factory loads for the .357 or .44 Magnum which are labeled "Medium Velocity" equal the power of high velocity loads fired from handguns and make excellent carbine loads. While the .357 Magnum 125 grain jacketed hollowpoint has the best record for stopping power from handguns, hollowpoint ammo for .357 Magnum carbines used defensively or for big game should not be lighter than 158 grains. If you want to use the same .357 Magnum load for both a handgun and a carbine, a compromise to consider would be the Winchester 145 grain Silvertip or the El Dorado 150 grain Starfire. Be aware, however, that these rounds will give less than the best performance from your handgun and might over-expand from your carbine. If the only .357 Magnum ammunition available is a light 110 or 125 grain hollowpoint, it would be better instead to use a high velocity .38 Special +P load (any weight) in your .357 Magnum carbine. Hollowpoint .44 Magnum big game or defense loads should be limited to 240 grains or heavier. For better penetration against vehicles at roadblocks, full metal jacket rounds should be used in semiautomatics and magnum cartridges should be either jacketed softpoint or heavy jacketed hollowpoint loads (i.e. 180 grain .357 Magnum or 300 grain .44 Magnum). To avoid excessive barrel leading and fouling, lead bullets should not be used in 9mm or magnum caliber carbines. Lead bullets may be used in .38 Special, .44 Special and .45 ACP cartridges or light magnum caliber handloads as long as velocity is kept below 1000 feet per second for soft lead bullets and below 1200 feet per second with hard lead alloy bullets. To prevent chain firing in lever action carbines with tubular magazines, you must use only flat point bullets. If all you have are cartridges with pointed bullets, in a pinch you can convert your lever action carbine into a two-shot repeater by loading a single cartridge directly into the chamber and then placing only one round into the otherwise empty magazine.
  2. Logansdad

    Logansdad Guest

    Selecting a Carbine. There are basically three types of pistol caliber carbines currently available; military type semiautomatics, the Marlin Camp Carbines and lever actions. Military type carbines are simply civilian legal versions of submachine guns with barrels at least 16" long and without the full auto function. The most commonly available carbines of this type are the Auto Ordnance .45 caliber Thompson, the 9mm AR-15, the Heckler & Koch HK-94 and the Uzi. While not technically chambered for pistol ammunition, the M-1 carbine also fits into this class of weapon. However M-1 carbines lack sufficient stopping power unless softpoint or hollowpoint ammo is used, which many M-1 carbines will not reliably feed. Military type carbines generally feature rugged reliability, ease of maintenance, large magazine capacity and non-glare surfaces. However, since most submachine guns are designed to operate with military specification full metal jacket roundnose ammunition, semiautomatic carbines derived from them may not reliably feed hollowpoints. The federal ban on so-called "assault weapons" prohibits the manufacture of firearms with two or more military type features, such as pistol grips, flash suppressors and folding stocks. The ban also prohibits further manufacture of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. This has frozen the available supply of military type carbines and high capacity magazines, so be prepared for a severe case of sticker shock when you check the price of one of these fine defensive and utility firearms. You are also likely to have a hard time finding a sufficient quantity of high capacity magazines. The Marlin Camp Carbines sell for only about $300, but are designed to operate with lower pressure U.S. commercial factory loads and are not reliable with heavy loads. Mil-Spec 9mm NATO rounds, 9mm +P+ or "hot" handloads will jam the hammer back and render the weapon inoperable until it is completely disassembled with a screwdriver and pin punch. Magazine capacities are currently limited to 7 rounds for the Model 45 and 10 rounds for the Model 9, but higher capacity extended magazines are available if you can locate them and are willing to pay the inflated price caused by the "assault weapons" ban. Marlin, Winchester and Rossi all make .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum lever action carbines which, like the Marlin Camp Carbines, sell for about $300. The Marlin Camp Carbines and the lever actions can all benefit from the addition of large aperture peep sights or low-power (3X or less magnification) telescopic sights. The standard iron sights on most military type carbines are usually adequate and most can be fitted with low-power scopes. Another useful accessory is a sling, which can help you shoot more accurately.


    Survival Considerations. In a long term survival situation following a breakdown of the social order, pistol ammunition will likely be more commonly available than the .378 Eargeschplitten-Loudenboomer Magnum that might be your favorite elk rifle. In preparation for long term survival, pistol ammunition is much cheaper than rifle ammunition, allowing you to stockpile a greater quantity. Inexpensive pistol ammunition will also allow you to practice more now before you have to depend on your carbine to protect yourself or feed your family. The increased accuracy and power of pistol ammunition when fired from carbines allows you to squeeze the most potential from every last round. A .357 Magnum carbine can also fire .38 Specials and a .44 Magnum carbine can fire .44 Specials. This versatility adds to the tasks which can be performed by utilizing different power level cartridges for different jobs. Farm pests and varmints that feed on your crops, grain storage or livestock steal food from your family's table and are therefore life threatening. While varmints like groundhogs and coyotes are not commonly eaten, they are not inedible; most people now are just not hungry enough. If you cast your own bullets, you can make about a half dozen .38 Special reloads for about the same cost and the same weight of powder as one .22 centerfire varmint load and you will destroy less meat (although your effective range will only be about 50 to 75 yards). For small game hunting, a .38 Special or 9mm with non-hollowpoint bullets will drop a rabbit or squirrel with more authority than any .22 rimfire and will not destroy significantly more meat. The .357 Magnum is considered a marginal round for handgun deer hunting and jacketed softpoint bullets rarely expand at handgun velocities. Fired from a carbine, high quality .357 Magnum 158 grain jacketed hollowpoints (like the Hornady XTP or the Speer Gold Dot), 158 grain jacketed softpoints and 180 grain jacketed hollowpoints have sufficient expansion, penetration and accuracy out to about 100 yards for deer and possibly even elk. Note that this applies to a survival emergency only; the .357 Magnum is not allowed for big game hunting by Washington State fish and game regulations. A .44 Magnum carbine will put down a deer as well as or better than a .30-30 using about half as much powder. If you should be confronted by a pack of wild dogs who think you look like dinner, a quick handling carbine will afford you better protection than a bolt action hunting rifle. While not a replacement for a military type semiautomatic rifle for defense against two legged predators, a pistol caliber carbine can be pressed into such service in an emergency. If you are in a fixed defensive position with a lever action carbine and a footlocker full of ammo, you can shoot one round and then load one round into the magazine every four or five seconds all day long. By the way, this equals the sustained rate of fire for the M-16 rifle, or the rate which can be maintained indefinitely without seriously overheating, which is 12 to 15 rounds per minute. This rate of fire would be the envy of any 18th century Militia member who won our freedom with his Brown Bess musket.


    Pistol caliber carbines offer great utility for use in home defense, law enforcement and survival situations and can be used for fulfilling the Militia role of protecting life, liberty and property. There are many worse ways to spend your money and few better.
  3. Logansdad

    Logansdad Guest

  4. ducktapehero

    ducktapehero G&G Newbie

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    Although I should have a 308 semi auto battle rifle I have decided that my rifle of choice is going to be a 357 lever gun. I understand that I won't be able to engage targets at 500 yards but with my eyes I wouldn't be able to with what ever I buy.

    I spent almost 3 years in the Army with some of the the most modern weapons but have spent the other 30 years of my life around Marlins and Winchesters. I like them for the same reasons I like revolvers. Extremely reliable, rugged, safe, and easy to learn. They don't require the maintenance and TLC that some "modern fireams" need. Keep 'em oiled, throw them into your closet or sock drawer and six weeks(months, years, decades)later they'll work.

    I'm not going to say that a revolver and the lever action is the best gun for anything but they're, by far, the best for me.
  5. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 Retired Moderator

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    I would recommend a 308 semi not only for long range accuracy but for ballistics. Far better on hard targets than 357 Rem Mag. While a 357 levergun may be a fine manstopper, it won't stop a truck driven by a terrorist. Also, 357 costs more. Lower powered rounds like the 223 and 7.62x39mm are even less expensive and a good compromise between manageability and ballistics.

    But I certainly wouldn't downplay your 357 levergun. :right:
  6. ducktapehero

    ducktapehero G&G Newbie

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    There are two other things I must consider. I have had 3 surgeries on my shoulder and I am now a little sensitive to recoil. D*mn nerve damage. 308's are a little much for me. Which makes me mad as I used to own and love hard kickin guns. A personal favorite was my 1895 Marlin in 45-70. Nice little shoulder thumper but no way in hell I could shoot it now.

    In a combat situation, I must also consider the fact that because of my ankle, back and knees I simply won't be able to fight in any offensive operation because of my lack of movement.

    I'm sure you think I'm an old broken down old man but I'm actually only 33 years old. Looking at me you'd never suspect that I have physical problems but I know that I just could not endure day to day combat. I was in the Infantry so I know how hard that kind of life can be. Basically I'm like an antique gun. I'm just as deadly as a new gun, until something breaks.

    Whatever happens I will be in the boonies on defense. I live in rural Missouri. I've got plenty of kin who have long range weapons. I'll only be needed if they get close. :rolleyes: I picked the 357 levergun because it's so simple to keep loaded in a gunfight. Shoot once, load one. Shoot 3 times load 3 times. I also picked it because I believe in having similar actions in my house. What I'm trying to say is I want every rifle to basically function the same way. I want every handgun to function the same way.

    I figure if I stock up on leverguns and double action revolvers I only have to teach my family 2 manual of arms. My wife isn't exactly a gun person but wants to know how to shoot everything I have.

    Besides, my Daisy lever action was enough to keep me alive fighting the Yankees, Nazi's, commies, aliens, Imperial stormtroopers, Cylons and all other foes.
  7. BattleRifleG3

    BattleRifleG3 Retired Moderator

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    I'm really sorry to hear about your injuries and hardships. Certainly makes sense to use what you're most capable with.

    Though I tend to think an AR-15 would probably be easier to handle. I also think in such a situation there could be some progress made in recoil reduction devices for special needs.
  8. ducktapehero

    ducktapehero G&G Newbie

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    I've thought about an AR but I doubt my wife would let me spend that much money on a rifle I couldn't hunt deer with. :fuss:
  9. Rave

    Rave G&G Enthusiast

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    That's a really nice write up there LD,I found it very interesting and informative,I am partial to 9mm carbines for self defense,especially around the old homestead,not too much muss and fuss for adequate power with minimum noise and flash. :nod:
  10. Logansdad

    Logansdad Guest

    thanks..I didn't write it though :)
  11. G Hollingsworth

    G Hollingsworth G&G Newbie

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    Good read except,and this is not and opinion.There is no shotgun slug,even if it were steel would penertrate further than a 223. In fact if you take a piece of seel plate ,1/4 or 3/8 in and fire both at it you will see. I did a test and took a 7MM mag with 139 hornady aprox.3400 fps and a 22/250 53 gr serria hpat 3700 fps.on a piece of 3/8 steel plate. Only the 22 cut a hole. 180 gr sp in 06 put a big dent and that it
  12. Rave

    Rave G&G Enthusiast

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    Good point G,that's why the Ruskies are going to a long,thin slug at high speed,to penetrate armour,and out of balance to tumble in flesh,nasty! :assult:
  13. Apollyon67

    Apollyon67 G&G Newbie

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    DT I know where you are coming from here. I enjoy the speed, acuracy, general ease of operation, magazine capacity , and low recoil of the .357 levergun. I wonder if they make a decent auto handgun that will feed .357 ammo?I also used a Daisy replica of a Winchester 94 saddle ring carbine to dispatch hordes of evil-doers. I miss those days.
  14. ducktapehero

    ducktapehero G&G Newbie

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    About the only 357 Mag auto's I can think of are the Desert Eagle and the Coonan. The Desert Eagle is a huge heavy handgun and the Coonan is rare. I also wonder how these would function with 38 specials. The 357 Mag is a rimmed cartridge so it is not the best round for semi-auto's.
  15. Apollyon67

    Apollyon67 G&G Newbie

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    Thanks, I hadn't known there were two. I see its called a Baby Eagle. It looks big and bulky. Is the Coonan as large? I can't find any info on it at all.
  16. stangman

    stangman G&G Newbie

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    the 357 mag. is the desert eagle, it is big and heavy. The baby eagle is a normal sized semi auto in .45, 9mm, & .40 cal. While being normal sized they are very heavy, my .45 is 3.7 lbs empty and w/ a mag of 10 rnds + 1 in the pipe, well it lets you know its there.
  17. troylaplante

    troylaplante G&G Newbie

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    I did check out the web site. You may also want to look at http://www.constitutionparty.com/
  18. Apollyon67

    Apollyon67 G&G Newbie

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    Thanks for setting me straight on the differance. I take it the recoil is minimal with that heavy a handgun.
  19. stangman

    stangman G&G Newbie

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    Never shot the desert eagles, but the baby eagles are sweet!!! easy on the recoil, smooth trigger pull, not too heavy and easy second shot single action pull.
  20. Uncle Red

    Uncle Red G&G Newbie

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    The Coonan was/is a 1911 copy if I remember correctly. I also think they had quite a hefty price tag. -UR
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