Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Effectiveness Of Your Caliber

Whether its for self defense or the hunt of a lifetime there is an expert or an “expert” who will tell you your choice of caliber is wrong. Some rounds are definitely better than others for different applications. A .338 Lapua Magnum is excessively expense to bushwhack a gopher in your back yard when he pops his head up from destroying your lawn, and a .22 LR isn’t likely to drop an Elk on the other side of the valley. Those are extremes, but they are true.

A flat shooting high velocity round is often used for prairie dog management. A critter about the same size as a gopher or a little smaller is often eradicated with 22-250 or .223 at long range. Is it the best round? Maybe if you are trying to make pink mist at 300 yards or more, but if you just want to eradicate them a .22LR will work just fine under 75 yards out of a gun that isn’t shot out. If your gun is shot out… well get closer.

I’ve had one hunter (and one of my handful of friends) sneer down his nose at 30-06. I get the impression he considers anything less them a 7mm magnum to be under powered. If you do a little asking around there are old guys who will tell you that you can take any big game in North America with a 30-06, but you might want to have a little more umph if taking grizzly bear, moose, or elk. If you have a 30-06 and can’t afford both your hunt and a new rifle, then spend some of the difference at the range. Dial in your skills, and practice. Spend some time learning to stalk, or scout for a better vantage if you are a sit and wait hunter. A 30-06 will kill an Elk or Moose with a well placed shot. Sure it might be easier at longer range with a faster round, and you might get some compensation for a less than perfect shot if you dump more energy into the target, but good shot placement trumps a miss any day.

How about self defense. Well, a .22LR or .25acp out of a pocket gun might be minimally effective, but if its all you have its better than a brick. I know of two instances where a person successfully ended the threat and defended them self with a tiny little pocket gun like that. One I know personally. Is that my choice? No, but I’m not going to sneer down my nose at them either. They used the tool they had effectively. If you have the money I wouldn’t recommend you go out and buy a mouse gun, but if you already have a mouse gun and its legal for you to have it where you need it, then have it. Some “experts” will tell you a 9mm is the minimum self defense round, and others will grudgingly say a .380 acp is the bottom limit. At one time some law enforcement agencies in America carried a 32 long. Then you have to consider your own limitations. Do you flinch? Are your hands strong or maybe not so much? Those are things YOU need to consider for yourself.

I’m not saying you “should” settle for the least that “might” work for hunting or self defense. I’m saying spend a little time becoming knowlegable, and make your own decisions. Its your life and/or its your hunt.

No matter your choice of arm for a hunt or a daily carry the only two things I think approach being absolutes are:

1. Learn to safely load, unload, handle, clean, and maintain what you have.
2. Practice to the point that you can use what you have to its best effectiveness or at least your best effectiveness.