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Building a System of Similarly Chambered Guns and Exploring the Wildcat Cartridges

Guns are very powerful and can help you accomplish the things you need to when in an off-the-grid or emergency scenario. Guns, however, require ammunition, and without ammunition, can become a hindrance or worse. As ammo prices continue their upward climb, it is important to look for utility in your cartridges and plan for a time when ammunition won’t be available at ANY cost.

It’s important to understand how to build a set of similarly chambered guns to at least determine if this practice makes sense for your situation. It’s not for everyone, but it can be very useful for those willing to do a bit of research and really want to save some money, reduce their stress in a trying time, and gain more consolidation in their lifestyle.

There are many reasons to consider this ideology, but perhaps none is more important than the backbone of the off-the-grid lifestyle: sustainability.

With a system of similarly chambered weapons, you will be able to reuse and recycle brass, enhance ballistics for specific needs, and tailor your arsenal of hunting and self-defense weapons to your style of usage. Being able to use similar components in several firearms allows you to custom build a plan for your weapons and feel a greater peace of mind regarding cost, implementation, and efficiency.

What do you mean when you say “similarly chambered” weapons?

The author isn’t suggesting you use all the same calibers in your various rifles, pistols, and assault rifles; that type of thinking isn’t efficient, practical, or even possible in most cases. What the author is suggesting is to look at caliber ranges that can use similar reloading tools, ammunition components, add-ons, and cleaning equipment.

Being able to prepare across the board for 30 percent less money with the same usage potential and to have components that can be modified safely and easily in a pinch will give you a lot of extra mileage from your firearm and ammo dollars.

Why would you consider this setup?

Take for example the .300 Whisper cartridges that can use a necked-up cartridge casing from a .223 to house a 240+ grain bullet in a .308 diameter. What does that mean? It means you can use the same spent brass to reload for your assault and home-protection rifle as well as your deer-hunting rifle. If you are more utilitarian, you could use the same gun even (let’s say an AR-15) to hunt deer and protect your home, while using ONLY one extra component for reloading.

Why would you want to do this?

  • Saving money
  • Saving time
  • Working less in reloading your different calibers (assuming you have several)
  • Tailoring ballistics to match the task at hand
  • Adding versatility at minimal cost

What type of setup would I need to do this?

  • AR-15 lower receiver package
  • 1 AR-15 .223 upper receiver setup
  • 1 AR-15 .300 Whisper upper receiver setup
  • .223 ammo/brass/reloading components (bullets) or combination thereof
  • .308 bullets (projectiles)
  • 1 type of general-use powder
  • 1 type of primer
  • 1 set of dies and associated trimmers, chamfering tools, and necking tools for each caliber
  • Magazines for use with or modified to use the different cartridges (mark them to keep them separate and avoid incorrect usage in stressful situations)
  • One set of cleaning and maintenance tools and parts

Building an arsenal of similarly chambered weapons is not about beauty; it is about versatility, utility, and customization without excess work. For those who want a sustainable arsenal of weapons, it can provide the solution without breaking the bank, while allowing you to keep on hand less extra parts, reloading components, and more importantly, less live (expensive and space consuming) ammunition.

*As a side note, the AR-15, while it may not be for everyone, has an almost limitless amount of customization built into the system, with an almost “plug and play” ease of use. You could put a .22LR upper receiver and magazine onto your AR-15 lower receiver in seconds and use it for small game to conserve your more expensive ammunition, but you could also use it with a shortened barrel and pistol calibers to allow for better indoor usage and more mobility. A hunting rifle could be made out of such a weapon with the correct scope and upper receiver (take the .300 Whisper for example). It is not the author’s desire to convert you to an AR-15 fan, but simply to analyze all your options when looking for a versatile weapon or weapon system.

Another couple of rounds that may be useful are the Special-Forces-friendly and body-armor-penetrating 6.8mm SPC and the .400 CorBon. You may even include the .357 Sig round in that mix, but it may have seen its best days in the past.

The .400 CorBon is a round able to be fit into a 1911 or other .45 auto with a simple barrel swap (sometimes ALSO a magazine follower swap) that could produce 10mm-type ballistics without the frame breaking or very punishing recoil problems and which would save brass to be used again. The 10mm is widely accepted as having some of the best all-time ballistic characteristics in a pistol cartridge, but was torture on the shooter and the weapon due to the amount of powder, the incredible muzzle velocity, and the awkward bullet characteristics. The .400 CorBon was developed to allow these incredible ballistics to be used in a way that could negate some of the negative attributes and has therefore found a home amongst hardcore ballistics lovers. As a home-defense caliber, few cartridges have the stopping power of this round. Instantly you expand your capabilities of your weapon for a few hundred dollars (a new barrel and some reloading supplies). Using two different rounds only serves to allow you more flexibility and give you some extra room on your supplies.

Here is the bottom line: 180 grain bullets with a 1250 FPS speed for a .400 CorBon (suitable for small game, by the way) vs. the .45’s sub-1k FPS speed. You can expect to get between two and five inches more penetration in ballistic gelatin with the .400 CorBon, making it great for enhanced protection purposes. You can also use it at lower grain sizes for hunting (for example a 135-grain .400 CorBon can do 1450+ FPS).

The 6.8 mm SPC uses a .30 Remington case to split the difference in ballistic performance between a .223 and a .308, and can produce speeds of 3,000+ FPS (85 grain bullet) and 2,800+ FPS (115 grain). This is considered perfect for medium game (think deer) hunting and can penetrate ballistic vests and armored homes or vehicles in certain scenarios. This is more a specific wildcat ammo play, as it’s quite expensive to use .30 Rem casings unless you already own a .30 Rem-chambered rifle. But this ammunition is currently used in many Special Forces teams as a CQB (Close Quarter Battle) cartridge of choice, due to its lack of over penetration in building materials and the maximum penetration in soft tissue. It’s a real ballistic powerhouse, which deserves a look to increases you useful needs in a survival or off-the-grid situation.

The point of this article is to open your mind to the possibility of gaining a truly unique advantage over your situation through selective ballistic tailoring, as well as keeping you from spending too much money to buy extra weapons and expensive ammunition when you can plan to have these on hand at a much lower cost with a significantly higher value.

The systems described above are worth a look if this style of shooting or the mentality laid out makes some sense to you, but try to be thorough in your research and even more so in your planning, as you don’t want to be stuck in a bad situation through poor planning or understanding.

©2011 Off the Grid News

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