Newbie question about Calibers

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by mmessuri, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. mmessuri

    mmessuri Guest

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    Ok I have a newbie style question about Calibers and the age old question is this weapon more powerful than that one: I currently own a .357 magnum, a .380 and a .45 now I thought that the higher the caliber the more powerful the weapon (i.e. out of my collection the .45 would be more powerful and thusly a better weapon to carry); however, when I went to the store to purchase ammo the clerk told me that I would be better off to carry my .357 (for both hunting and personal protection) than the .45 and this I do not understand as the .45 is a bigger bullet.

    So how does one judge the power of a weapon and what about like a 9mm pistol vs a .357 or a .38 or say a .40?

    What book would one read to better understand this issue?

    Thanks for your time.

    -- Michael --
     
  2. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    There really isn't an answer to this..... guys who earn their living testing ammunition for effectiveness can't agree on what constitutes the best "stopper". It's influenced by momentum, energy, frontal area, velocity, bullet shape, bullet construction..... add a few of your own.

    Some things are pretty obvious, though.... a .357 beats the snot out of a .380, for instance.

    One thing that's too often ignored in these "what's the best bullet/caliber" discussions, though, is the ability to put the bullet where it's needed when it counts. A hit with a .22 LR beats a miss with a .454 Casull every time - carry the weapon you can shoot the best.... and if you can't shoot worth squat, get out there and practice.

    I've seen it too many times... some guy discussing, at great length, the merits and drawbacks of various calibers/bullets, but when he gets to the range, you discover that he can't hit a boxcar at 5 paces.
     

  3. Dirigo

    Dirigo Guest

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    the power is the amount of kinetic energy a bullet has. 38 spec, 357 mag, and 9mm anything have the same bullet diameter (give or take a few thousandths of an inch. it is not only the diameter of the bullet that helps, it is the weight, style and velocity. HPs transfer their energy easier and more quickly than an FMJ.
     
  4. wired

    wired Guest

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    Clerks at stores can be some of the worst sources of info you can find. One of the guys at the local Wal-Mart is convinced there's no such thing as a .30-30 HP. I was tempted to buy some where they had it (even though I don't have a .30-30), just to make him look like an idiot. That's not even the worst of the stories for these guys.

    The size of the bullet does count, to a certain degree. So does the velocity. So does the type of bullet. The biggest part of it all is where it goes. If you can't shoot your .45 or your .357 well, but you shoot your .380 just fine..... guess which one you should pack. Most people that spend years testing and using guns can tell you that for defense, it's very hard to beat either the .357 or the .45, and most experts agree that one or the other is the "best", provided you can shoot them well (to be quite honest, even a .50 isn't "enough"). Use good bullets no matter what you're carrying, and be able to put them where you want them when and if the time comes. Years from now, nobody will remember the caliber, stance, or tactics. They'll just remember who lived and who died.

    For books, it's hard to beat the Speer reloading manual for a lot of info. Also, there are a few websites from devoted shooters, though you'll want to read up on various sources, as some of these sites are put up by the kinda guys in my first paragraph (and people who think the Desert Eagle is the coolest thing ever). Having said all that, the info on Chuck Hawk's website is pretty good.
     
  5. Maser

    Maser Super Member

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    well more powerful isnt allways better n that is true when it comes to defense guns cuz even tho a .357 mag is more powerful than a .45 a .357 will completly penetrate a human body whereas a .45 most likely will not
     
  6. mmessuri

    mmessuri Guest

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    Thank you all for your input as it has been very helpful. Based upon what I have read from all of you I am going to pick the weapon that I enjoy the most and of course the one I can shoot the best and stick with that and also really dig in on the practice.

    Have a great night!

    -- Michael --
     
  7. luv2safari

    luv2safari Moderator

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    As a carry personal defense gun, I feel that the 45 would be more effective. What you want is something that has immediate results, and it is hard to beat a big hole made by a big bullet...opinion... :)

    L2S
     
  8. wired

    wired Guest

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    Re: re: Newbie question about Calibers

    ....which is why I usually go for .45 myself, or sometimes my .40, depending on which sidearm I want on my hip. The .357 is also hard to beat for defense, but in a pistol suitable for carry (particularly CCW), it's not fun to shoot. I think the .45 is actually very tame to shoot. The .357 and the .40 seem to have a much sharper kick. Even the kick on a 9mm seems sharper. The .45 feels more like a push, and that makes recoil much more tolerable. I know a lot of women that prefer .45 for this reason. Also, staring down the barrel of a 5" stainless 1911 increases the "pucker factor" in a situation, lessening the chances of having to actually use it.
     
  9. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    Re: re: Newbie question about Calibers

    Again.... you can't make blanket statements like this; there are just too many variables to consider.

    As an example, I know from personal experience that Military .45 hardball almost ALWAYS completely passes through a human body, unless it hits something really heavy, like the pelvis. And, I've shot a few whitetails with a .357 loaded with 180 grain Hornady XTP's, and have yet to have an exit wound.
     
  10. wired

    wired Guest

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    wwb is right. Make a note on your calendars (just kidding, man). A .45 will most definately go through somebody in a lot of cases, and the .357mag might not. There are a lot of variables that will determine penetration and overpenetration. The type of bullet makes quite a bit of difference, but there is no guarantee that they will perform as advertised. What the person is wearing will make some difference (i.e. wearing a leather jacket vs wearing a t-shirt). The person's physical attributes (weight, build, etc) will make a big difference, especially depending on where you hit them. The velocity of the bullet, distance, angle, weather, and many other factors will make small differences, but it doesn't take much difference to change the penetration by 1".

    Anytime you make a blanket statement about anything regarding firearms, you have to add in an "all things being equal" kinda disclaimer. If we're talking about just ball ammo against the SAME target, the .357mag would most likely penetrate quite a bit deeper and possibly through.
     
  11. 1gsplover

    1gsplover Super Member

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    :) Not to hijack thread, but,WWB, can you recall the ranges at which you shot those whitetails w/.357 180gr slugs. I have some deer that come to the apple tree behind my barn, and I'm sure I can get a 30 yard shot from a rest. For me, that's about seven yards too far a .357 (shot by me), but right close for anything else. .22 Hornet in the eye? Tx for info...... ///olde 8) pharte///
     
  12. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    20 to 30 yards, give or take. With my Old Model Blackhawk, I'm good to between 40 and 50 yards if I can rest my wrist... 25 yards if not.

    Here's the poop.... 12.0 grains of 2400, CCI 500 primer, Hornady 180 grain XTP, and I prefer Winchester brass, but Remington, Federal, or Black Hills will perform about the same. It's the butt-kickin'est load you ever seen in a .357. All within SAAMI specs, but I wouldn't use 'em in a lighter frame like a Smith 19 or Ruger Security Six.

    Edited..... If you load some of these, you're gonna have to adjust the sight. They're going to hit a lot higher than a 158 gr.

    As a side note, if you can't stretch a wheelgun to 30 yards, it sounds like the perfect reason (excuse ??) to buy a nice little lever-action carbine in .357.
     
  13. mmessuri

    mmessuri Guest

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    Ok, so I have picked my weapon of choice (Im taking the .45 as I enjoy it the most, with the .357 as bapckup and perhaps the .380 as deep concelment) and now I have a new question:

    I have sighted in the pistols ad 7yrds at the moment and am wondering for a pistol what is the ideal range for sighting in (I am not using these wepons to hunt but as a side arm while hunting and as personal protection weapon (I have a ccw)).

    -- Michael --
     
  14. The_Cook

    The_Cook Guest

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    Well according to the LAPD SWAT, most all of thier encounters occur within 25yrds. Soo... with thier rifles and pistols they practice at that range. I say go out in front of your house, and measure the distance between the street side edge of your front lawn to the neighbors street side edge directly across from you. If you can hit a target out that far with your pistol you should be good to go. I'm thinking practical for LA. Of course, then again how often do you hear about people shooting it out in the streets for self defense? Legal issues will arise. Eh more practical will be taking a look at your house and figuering measuring distances in there i.e. distance from your bed to a bedroom window, bedroom door down the hallway, hallway from living room window, etc. you get the idea. Unless you live in a mansion with a really long main hallway on average you'll have alot of shots under 15yrds.

    From what I can gather from my lawyer friends, in LA if you shoot someone and you want selfdefense to stick.

    1.) NO WARNING SHOTS (discharging a weapon with intent to warn still counts as discharging a weapon at someone)
    2.) INTRUDER MUST BE INSIDE THE PROPERTY (if he falls out the window he tried to climb in from, drag him back inside)
    3.) Shoot to kill, but if the first volley of bullets leave the intruder alive and incapable of causing you further harm, you have a duty to call for medical assistance. You don't have to patch the guy up, but you do have to call an ambulance for him.