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Let's Talk About Ammunition

Published June 29th, 2022 by Cory Miller-House, Central Florida

So here we are, another week in the Florida heat. So, let’s talk about ammunition!

The Basics

There are the basics such as 9mm, .45ACP, .308 Winchester, 5.56, 12 gauge and 6.5 Creedmoo, and that is just naming a few. Now, if you have been involved in the shooting sports industry, defense industry, have military experience, or
you’re just the average enthusiast, like myself, you probably have a good idea of what these cartridges are, and what they are generally used for.

Used In shooting competitions like 3-Gun, law enforcement/military applications, and hunting, all have different requirements and different applications, sometimes utilizing the same cartridges. Today I figured I would touch briefly on my personal use of 9mm, and then also with me starting to gear up and prepare for hunting season, I decided to go over my chosen cartridge for hunting in the southeast.

A brief history of 9x19mm or 9mm parabellum

Designed in 1901 by an Austrian firearm designer, and originally derived from a preexisting cartridge the 7.65x21mm. The 9mm is a tapered, rimless cartridge that was developed for the Luger pistol. Quickly becoming considered one of the most popular chamberings for handguns and sub-guns, worldwide.

9mm is now the standard caliber for NATO, and a number of non-NATO countries have adopted it as their standard for military or law Enforcement as well.

For me personally, I enjoy shooting 9mm for its fantastic reliability, low recoil, and availability. These Days, it is safe to say that every major firearms manufacturer makes several options to choose from, giving the consumer more choices than ever before. A major advantage of this is that even
during some of the price hikes, and panic buying, I was still able to find 9mm for an impromptu range day. So, the ability to go to the range and stop at any local gun store or big box store and pick up a few boxes, when wanted or needed, keeps me coming back to 9mm.

Something that should not be understated, is the advantage for newer shooters to move up from something like .22LR to 9mm without scary amounts of recoil. My wife transitioned to 9mm and almost immediately fell in love with this mild mannered, effective cartridge. It has become her preference for the range as well as her personal carry, and with the wide availability of self-defense offerings, she can be as choosy as she prefers with what she carries in her 9mm and get plenty of practice!

Hunting Season Just Around The Corner

Now since this year’s hunting season is just around the corner, my wife and I have been dusting gear off, prepping stands and checking our bows and rifles. Both my wife and I chose to go with .308 after years of shooting and hunting, for several reasons. The reliability of .308 to make a clean, ethical kill on all game species in the southeast, the availability of diverse types of rounds for hunting and target shooting, and the mild recoil of this excellent cartridge have drawn us to rifle hunt exclusively with .308 Winchester.

Some back story on the .308 Winchester. Introduced to the market in 1952 by Winchester (duh), It was originally developed for the military. In 1954 the round was adopted, by the U.S. military, as the 7.62x51mm for use in the standard issue M14 rifle and M60 Light machine gun.

The .308 cartridge was developed from the Savage .300 cartridge and was originally intended to compare ballistically to the 30-06 with less velocity and slightly more bullet drop. The .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm use a short action and has a great barrel life.

There is a variety of this popular round manufactured for all types of shooting. From hunting, to hobby, to sport, and of course occupational. Military/law enforcement, competition shooters, casual shooters, first time shooters, and experienced shooters. A wide selection of rounds with different variants, such as grain, type of casing, type of point, primer, so on and so forth, that are used to obtain consistency for different variables in different environments.

Common bullet weights are 150gr, 165gr, and 180gr, however you can absolutely find almost any bullet weight for your specific application, it just depends on what you are looking for!

The .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm are remarkably similar, but it is important to note that they are not the same. The main differences are pressure and manufacturing tolerances, although the latter becomes less of an issue with advances in manufacturing technology.

The .308 for the commercial market is loaded with higher pressure than 7.62x51mm, however SAAMI does not consider it unsafe to fire .308 in a rifle chambered for 7.62x51mm, provided the rifle and ammunition are modern and in good condition. Due to 7.62x51mm being mass produced sometimes you can find
rounds that do not chamber as smoothly and do not have the consistently as the commercial .308. The .308 quickly gained popularity as a hunting cartridge and has remained extremely popular for such use since its adoption in the hunting community.

There are, however, certain drawbacks that a hunter may want to consider with the .308. Such as its lesser penetration and energy at extended ranges when used on large game such as elk or moose. Keeping in mind I would never use .308 on an elk sized animal or larger beyond two hundred yards, this, of course is my opinion and I am going off my hunting experiences and preferences.

I have had reports from other hunters, which use .308 for hunting elk, moose, bears, and other large game from ranges far beyond what I personally would feel comfortable with, shooting this particular cartridge. With that being said, I am a firm believer in forming one’s own opinions from one’s own experiences. YMMV and you should ascertain for yourself what your capability and comfort level is with .308.

As a hunting cartridge in the southeast, my wife and I have used .308 extensively to take whitetail and pigs without any problem, but with the shorter ranges that most hunting shots are taken from in this area, neither I nor my wife has ever had to consider if the shot was too far for our cartridge to be effective.

The fantastic versatility and adaptability of this cartridge in different platforms, from short barreled “brush guns” to longer barrel target rifles, and the ability to find almost any bullet weight and design you could think of, already produced from a well-known manufacturer, give this cartridge an amazing amount of flexibility.

Conclusion

All my ramblings aside, in conclusion I would say that both cartridges, the extremely popular 9x19mm Parabellum and the venerable .308 Winchester are wonderful cartridges that have a myriad of uses and a great following, and while my uses and opinions may vary from the next enthusiast or hunter, it is hard to ignore the prominence, effectiveness, and utility that these cartridges bring to the table.

As always, thanks for stopping by, get out and enjoy your hobby in a safe responsible manner, and lets continue to grow and promote safe, responsible, and educated gun ownership!


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