Best defensive caliber for an AR15?

Best defensive caliber for an AR15?

This is a discussion on Best defensive caliber for an AR15? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I know that .223/5.56 is the norm, but I see .308, 6.65, 6.68 and 7.62. I've seen many say that the .223/5.56 doesn't have enough ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Trade_Sniper's Avatar
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    Question Best defensive caliber for an AR15?

    I know that .223/5.56 is the norm, but I see .308, 6.65, 6.68 and 7.62.

    I've seen many say that the .223/5.56 doesn't have enough stopping power.

    I know the .223/5.56 is fairly cheap ammo, so a person could practice a lot more.

    I really like the POF/DSA Z4-GTC (depends on price, haven't seen any yet). I'm trying to select my first AR to go with my .45 and 12g auto-shotty. I do plan to shoot/practice with it a lot, possibly compete in 3 gun matches with it. I just want to make sure that I select the right caliber for when it is actually 'needed'.

    The .223/5.56 may be fine, but I want to hear from those of you with experience. I'm sure, like a pistol, that shot placement is key.

    I know that ar15.com has lots of info, but I can't post there as I don't have a non-anonymous email address yet. Besides that, I just like you guys.

    What are your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Member Array Trade_Sniper's Avatar
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    I just looked on DSA's site, ouch, $1675 for the Z4-GTC. Is it worth twice the price of a RRA 1291? I know its got the gas trap and more chrome parts, but damn! thats a big difference in price. I REALLY like the POF/DSA but thats hard to justify.
    *** IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, DIAL - 1911 ***

    Dan Wesson / CZ: Pointman 7, Stainless .45 ACP
    LaserMax, Carbon Fiber Ultra-thin Grips, Milt Sparks VM2, Milt Sparks 1.5" Tapered Gun Belt, Nickel Buckle, Galco Dual Magazine Carrier

    Charles Daly: Field Hunter VR-MC, Semi-Auto 12g

  3. #3
    Member Array Brian45's Avatar
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    I like the .223 because it is pretty cheap to reload.

    You might take a look at the 6.8mm Rem SPC or a .308.

    If more power is the goal and you want something different you could start with a AR-10 and choose any cartridge based on the 308 the .243, .260, 7mm-08, and a few more. I think it would only be a barrel change.

    If I was looking to get a larger caliber AR I think the .260 Rem would be a great choice. The .260 has very tame recoil and plenty of power.
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  4. #4
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    Well, if absolute stoping power is your goal, try the .50 Beowulf

    http://www.alexanderarms.com/beowulf.htm

    A 325 grain JHP at 1950 fps out of the pipe ought to deliver the kind of stopping power you are looking for.

    Matt

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array KenpoTex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson
    Well, if absolute stoping power is your goal, try the .50 Beowulf
    Those are cool...I want one

    I also seem to remember some guy that does custom AR's in .454 Casull and a couple of other magnum-pistol calibers. Unfortunately I can't remember the guy's name.

    My pick for an AR would be one chambered for 7.62x39 if I didn't get that, I'd move up to a G3/FAL/Cetme in .308 but that's just me.
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  6. #6
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    The military only uses FMJ, therefore no expansion of the bullet. A .223 /5.56mm should perform much better with HP's or the lke . I have yet to personally test some TAP ammo or similar. You can also buy AR's in pistol calibers for short range/defensive work.

  7. #7
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    Certainly .223 is the economy option but for the power/range factor I do like the .308.

    That said - my FAL platforms suit that best and doubt somehow an AR platform will do any better. Thus - if going that route more than likely would stick to the .223/5.56. Pretty much the design cal really.
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  8. #8
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    Ditto Chris

    The ammo is cheap & available.

    Just get a picture in your mind (a mental picture) of rolled up Dollar Bills exiting the muzzle every single time you pull the trigger.

    That should help steer you toward .223/5.56

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trade_Sniper
    I know that .223/5.56 is the norm, but I see .308, 6.65, 6.68 and 7.62.

    I've seen many say that the .223/5.56 doesn't have enough stopping power.

    I know the .223/5.56 is fairly cheap ammo, so a person could practice a lot more.

    I really like the POF/DSA Z4-GTC (depends on price, haven't seen any yet). I'm trying to select my first AR to go with my .45 and 12g auto-shotty. I do plan to shoot/practice with it a lot, possibly compete in 3 gun matches with it. I just want to make sure that I select the right caliber for when it is actually 'needed'.

    The .223/5.56 may be fine, but I want to hear from those of you with experience. I'm sure, like a pistol, that shot placement is key.

    I know that ar15.com has lots of info, but I can't post there as I don't have a non-anonymous email address yet. Besides that, I just like you guys.

    What are your thoughts?
    I debated this myself. I'm of the school of thought that "real" rifle calibers start with a "3", yet I went with the 5.56 chambering.

    You hear all the time that our soldiers don't like their 5.56 chambered rifles, and that .22 diameter bullets will just magically bounce off of enemies.

    Yet in the course of my investigation I talked to my good friend who is currently serving in the sandbox again right now, and he expressed nothing but admiration for it. I also happened to have the good fortune to talk to a local veteran who served in Vietnam right after the Tet Offensive in the 82nd Airborne as a mortar sargeant. This man killed his enemies with the M16A1 back when they had to underload the 20 round magazines. He had the unrefined, buggy version of the platform and caliber and forked over an M14 for it gladly. His particular rifle was outfitted with the Starlight scope and a suppressor, and he used it to great effect at night, and when I asked him he said he wishes he still had it because it's the best weapon he's ever had.

    So while it's not as widespread, there's some anecdotal evidence that the end users like it as much as they hate it, FWIW.

    Now that the second hand testimony is over with, I looked at it objectively and discovered that the terminal ballistics of 5.56 NATO are actually impressive. I count 7.62x39 as a good antipersonnel round, and against a human target 5.56NATO performs similarly, and if you're in fragmentation range, sometimes better.

    If you think about it, and really think about it hard, it makes sense even without all the number crunching. The round is a light, easy to carry easy to fire antipersonnel cartridge. It's not meant for hunting moose, it's meant for goblin control.

    Other chamberings are perhaps more attractive from a versatility or pure power standpoint, but when I evaluated what I really wanted to do with my AR15 (learn how to use it...), I decided the 5.56 chambering was best for me.

    Do your homework. Consider the length of barrel your rifle will have and its rate of twist. Not all 5.56 loads are the same. And remember that as a civilian, you actually are better off in the aspect of getting to choose better ammunition.

    And like you said, shot placement shot placement shot placement. I've always been more accurate at any range with a rifle vs. a pistol. The way I look at it, I'm perfectly content to protect myself with 5 rounds of .38 Special coming out of a tiny barrel at times. Thirty rounds of 5.56 coming out of a rifle is worlds, no, galaxies better.

  10. #10
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    Ditto Euclidean

    Everything Euc Said.

    Kudos Euclidean Great "Down To Earth" reply.

  11. #11
    Member Array d2thomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trade_Sniper
    I know the .223/5.56 is fairly cheap ammo, so a person could practice a lot more.
    I can tell you this, if inexpensive ammo is important to you, consider a ar15 chambered in 7.62X39 [soviet]. The ammo is not quite as cheap as 5.56 but almost! One can usually get 1,000 rnds for about 100 bucks. Balastically speaking, the 7.62 Soviet round is about equivilant to a 30-30. I hope this helps!
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  12. #12
    Ex Member Array BigEd63's Avatar
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    For a AR-15 variant,not an AR-10, I'd stick with .223/5.56.

    Find you a good load with a 55gr or heavier expanding bullet, either SP, HP or BT, that the rifle functions and shoots good with for defense use. Then use a FMJ load for training.

  13. #13
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    A lot of dead VC would tell ya the 5.56 works (well, if they could )
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    I'd go with the 5.56, it is just easier to get magazines, low cost ammo, barrels, etc., than any of the more exotic rounds (including the 7.62x39).

    There are better platforms for both 7.62x39 (AK's) and .308 (take your pick).

    I think the consensus over at the ammo oracle (from the AR15.com site) is that the 75 - 77 hollowpoint rounds are the most effective 5.56 anti-personnel rounds available. They retain speed better than the lighter rounds and fragment at lower speeds (which is how the 5.56 really works). They won't stabilized in the old 1 in 12 twist barrel, but the current standard is 1 in 9 or 1 in 8, which should stabilize them.

    Having said that, I wouldn't use 5.56 for hunting anything bigger than a coyote.

  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    I have a .50 Beowulf upper that I sit on top of a Bushmaster lower for hog hunting.I love this setup cuz I'm familiar with the lower working part of the weapon.(LOP,trigger,cut of stock,oversized safety,lowered slide release,oversized mag release) Would highly reccommend the AA muzzle brake. It really tames recoil. Factory ammo is plenteful and fairly cheep. I use the 300gr. Gold Dot. If you reload,you can use the 50cal.line of Powerbelt muzzle loader bullets. They are heavy and tough.(remove the plastic belt) AA puts out a 4 shot and a 7 shot mag. A GI 30 shot mag will hold 13rds. The steel mags(Pro Mag) are the easiest to convert to hold the Beowulf rd. Simply change the contour of the feed lips. The rd. hits hard. Remember it starts out at .500" and expands from there. This isn't for 3 gun matches or long range shootin'. But for puttin' massive doses of heavy bullets on fairly close range targets,this weapon will do it. --------

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