Someone on my facebook friends list posted a picture of 4 survival firearms – pistol, Ruger 10/22, Remington 870 and AR-15.
22 Long Rifle VS 223 Remington
When you look at the two calibers, the 22 long rifle bullet is not much smaller then the 223 Remington. If your shots are less then 100 yards, the 22 long rifle loaded with high grade bullets can get close to 223 Remington. Lets be honest, there is no way the 22 Long Rifle can match the ballistics of the 223 Remington.
22 long rifle, CCI mini-mag hollow points, 36 grain bullet, bullet diameter .222 inch (5.6 mm)
223 Remington, 55 grain bullet full metal jacket, bullet diameter .224 inch (5.7 mm)
There is not “that” much difference between the 22 long rifle bullet and the 223 Remington bullet. Keep in mind we are talking about bullet diameter and bullet weight, and not the cartridge length.
Is there a difference between the 22 long rifle and the 223 Remington? Of course there is. But if I were shooting less then say 75 yards, I would take either the 22 long rifle or the 223 Remington.
If I was hunting small game, I would use the 22 long rifle;
if I needed to ask a trespasser what he was doing in my field, I would bring my AR-15;
if I was going deer hunting I would bring either the Marlin 336 in 30-30, Remington 700 in 280 Remington or the FN/FAL in 308 Winchester.
If I had to bring my Ruger 10/22 loaded with mini-mag hollow points to confront that trespasser, I would not feel under-gunned;
if I had to bring my FN/FAL to confront a trespasser, I would not feel under-gunned;
if I had to bring my AR-15 deer hunting, I would feel under-gunned.
Back to the conversation on facebook, because the 22 long rifle and the 223 Remington are so close together in bullet diameter, I suggested the AR-15 be replaced by either an AK-47 or a 308 Winchester bolt action rifle. If you wanted to take it one step further, replace the AR-15 with a semi-auto 308, maybe something like the M1A, PTR-91 or FN/FAL.
223 Remington / 5.56mm is a niche cartridge
This is probably going to offend a lot of people, but here goes – in my opinion, the 223 Remington is a niche cartridge. It was designed for the military, and the M-16. The 223 / 5.56mm was designed for the military, and not for sporting purposes.
Some people may say, if it was designed for the military, then its fine for hunting, and that is not entirely true. When we shoot an animal, we need to make sure the animal is taken in a humane manner so the animal dies a quick death.
Even though some people use the 223 to hunt deer, I feel there are better options out there. Some states prohibit deer hunting with a caliber smaller then the 6mm or 243 Winchester. There are reasons why those laws are in place.
The 223 Remington was designed to be used in combat. Sure it makes a great caliber for groundhogs, coyotes and bobcats, but its still relegated to a defensive round, or for hunting small game.
Upgrade the AR-15
The picture posted on facebook showed the Ruger 10/22, Remington 870 and AR-15. For all intents and purposes, all three of those do the same thing. The 223 Remington can reach further then the Ruger 10/22 and the Remington 870. But does that reach count for anything? Do you want to use a 223 Remington to shoot deer or hogs at ranges greater then 100 yards?
If you say “yea, I will shoot a deer at 150 yards with a 223”, can you tell me straight up that its going to be a humane kill? Or will the shoulder and ribs of the deer stop that 55 grain bullet?
My policy is, if you shoot something, always use enough gun. Why use something on the low end of the scale, when AK-47s and 308 rifles can be found all over the place?
Lets say we replaced the AR-15 with an FN/FAL – so we have 22 long rifle (small game), Remington 870 (small and medium game) and a rifle chambered in 308 Winchester. Now we have a rifle shotgun combination that is capable of taking just about anything in North America.
By replacing the 223 Remington with a 308 Winchester, now we have a diversity of firearms.
6.5 and 300 Blackout AR-15 Uppers
Most survivalist have some kind of AR-15 in their stockpile. Instead of buying a whole new rifle, why not just buy an upper receiver?
I see it as half-dozen of one and six of the other. Do you want to buy a rifle in something like the 308 Winchester, or buy an AR-15 upper receiver in 6.5 or 300 Blackout?
If something happened to the 223 Remington AR-15 upper receiver, at the very least the 6.5 and 300 Blackout would provide a backup. The person using the AR would not have to be retrained. Just swap out the upper receiver, swap out the ammunition, and you are good to go.
From what I hear, the 6.4 and 300 Blackout are effective on hogs and deer, so that is an added bonus.
Another benefit of the 300 Blackout is that it can be suppressed. This can provide a strategic advantage during a post-SHTF, post-TEOTWAWKI situation. Take a deer that was grazing in the garden? Someone a mile away is not going to hear the shot.
The rifles that needs no introduction, fires the 7.62×39, has seen combat all over the world.
I make no qualms or excuses, the AK-47 is my favorite long term SHTF survival rifle. Just my claim is the 223 Remington is a niche cartridge, so is my opinion the 7.62×39 is well suited for deer and hog sized game.
After a few upgrades, such as an improved sling and a new pistol grip, the AK really shines.
Another light cartridge that a lot of people use on deer.
The one thing that holds the 243 Winchester back from being towards the top of my list, is the lack of military grade rifles. What can the 243 do that the 223, 7.62×39, 6.5, 300 Blackout and 308 Winchester can not do?
The Remington model 750 woodsmaster is chambered in 243. But when push comes to shove, do you want military grade or civilian grade equipment?
Why go with the 243, when there is the 6.5 on an AR-15 platform?
Effective on just about everything in north America besides dangerous game, flat shooting, manageable recoil, available in a wide range of commercial and military grade rifles.
A couple of the drawback to the 308 Winchester is the cost of the military grade rifles, cost and weight of the ammunition. As I post this article, Remington core-lokt is around $18.99 for a box of 20 rounds. While at the same time Remington core-lokt for 30-30 Winchester is $14.99 for 20 rounds, and American Eagle 223 Remington is $6.97 for 20 rounds.
The 308 Winchester is one of the few cartridges that is well suited for hunting and for protecting your property, and is widely available in military grade rifles.
270, 280 and 30-06
All three are outstanding calibers that are very effective on deer.
As with the 243 Winchester, there is a lack of military grade rifles available in the 270 and 280.
The 30-06 has the M1 Garand, and some commercial grade rifles such as the Remington 750 woodsmaster.
In my opinion, when we get out to the 270, 280 and 30-06, we are getting to the edge of what most people can shoot comfortably. Studies have shown that the 30-06 is the largest caliber the majority of people can shoot.