Home Defense Rifle.
Trying to decide which makes the most sense considering the layout of my house. I have an AK-74 which fires 5.45x39mm tail heavy FMJs (with hollow nosecones). and I have a Daniel Defense M4.
I know better than to go "clear" the first floor of my house if I hear people break in. I've not done enough room clearing training, and "looking for trouble" isn't high on my list of priorities. Since all the bedrooms are upstairs. I've decided that the best move in case of break-in is to arm myself with a rifle, have my wife call 911, and take a defensive position at the top of the stairs.
This provides two big advantages for me.
1) My stairs have 3 steps, then a 90 degree right turn, followed by the following 13 steps. If I'm at the top with a rifle aimed down the steps I know exactly where any threats are going to approach from.
2) I am up high, with the rifle aimed in a downward angle. Beyond the wall is a water heater, and then a furnace, followed by an exterior wall. I own 20' of dirt beyond that wall. And the neighbor has an additional 18' of dirt before we get to the exterior of their home. Rounds fired from the top of the steps, towards the bottom are highly unlikely to even leave my home, much less carry lethal force to outside my home.
So my question is. Which would you use. The .223 with standard 55gr ball. or the 5.45mm. My level of training with both rifles is roughly equal. Or does it not really matter. :)
I suggest reading this (.223 & 5.56x45 duty loads) and this (Russian rifle caliber wound profiles) on the subject. To summarize very briefly, 5.56x45 is superior to the 5.45x39, and ball ammo should not be considered for home defense. Generally speaking, Hornady TAP is one of the best choices available right now.
I prefer the AR15. You should choose what you feel the most comfortable with.
Personally, I would never consider any rifle. They are easy to grab. I know you are waiting at the top of the stairs, but that's your plan. Plans change by unwanted people who go bump in the night, wandering around ones home. I feel better with a close quarter, close to the body handgun. Just my 2 cents.
Build an AR in a pistol caliber if you are worried about over penetration. I have a 9mm AR and it is an awesome rifle. If you absolutely need 30-32 rounds for a home defense scenario I would suggest you look at a PCC.
12 gauge. If that is totally off the table I would grab the rifle I was most familiar with.
9mm out of a carbine will have more overpenetration issues than .223; 9mm rounds keep punching though walls, while .223 will fragment...
Originally Posted by Siafu
And of the choices the OP has...I'd go with the .223.
My question is--why limit yourself to 55gr FMJ? Switch to a good soft or hollow point design bullet, and get much better performance...
BTW--my HD rifle is an AR loaded with 55gr Federal VitalShok (Barnes TSX).
If you have to have a rifle, pick one that uses pistol ammo that you can use in a handgun which you can also have at the ready.
Get one with a short barrel, a carbine, at least 16.5" and not more than 18.5".
Best choices in my opinion: Ruger PC9, PC40 (semiauto); Marlin 1894 in .357 or .44 (lever action). Or equivalent.
They also bang into door frames and refrigerators. It's hard to shoot one from flat on the floor behind the sofa, aiming around the corner. To shoot any long gun you pretty much have to make yourself an open target. If there's one assailant and he doesn't know where you are, and you're a good shot in adrenaline-pumping situations, perhaps that won't matter, because you'll do your "social work" with one pull of the trigger. But maybe not.
Originally Posted by Blue Jacket
Every situation requires a different tool. There are needs for handguns, rifles and shotguns (sometimes baseball bats). Have the tools you need and trust. Then train. There is no one right defensive gun.
.223 - preferably something in the Hornady TAP lineup.
That's what is in my HD carbine.
As for PCC, they're nice to shoot, but if you're going to have the weight and bulk of a rifle, to me it makes sense to get the power of a rifle with it. As noted above, .223 is actually less of an over-penetration threat than 9mm, and it delivers a whole lot more energy on target.
5.56, preferably something in the 75 grain category (I favor Hornady TAP rounds as well). I have read that the 5.45 FMJ has superior wounding potential than the 5.56 FMJ, but you have all the flavors of 5.56 to choose from, where the ammo choice for the 5.45 is much more limited.
As an aside, I love the fact that when people ask a general question, they get all these responses that want to know specifics, and when a specific question is asked, they get responses that go far afield from the specific question.
Noted, if I'm going to use the rifle. Get some Heavier Hornady rounds for it.
I like the Hornady 5.56 TAP 75gr-T2 round in my LMT M4 but that isn't the easist round to find. And a bit pricey but my family is worth the cost. I get 10 box cases for around $250 - $270 when I can find them.