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Caliber Consolidation / Armament "Management" ?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by lupinsea, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. lupinsea

    lupinsea Seattle Area Member

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    How do you guys manage your collections with respect to different calibers? Do you just have whatever guns tickle your fancy or do you try to limit the number of different calibers to make ammo logistics just a little easier?

    I got to thinking about my own collection the other night which includes .22, .223/5.56, .32, .357, 40, .45, and 12 ga. Now, mostly I only take a couple firearms up with me to do some target shooting and it's invariably either the AR-15 or HK USC (.45 cal) for a rifle, and the Walther P99 .40 cal pistol and/or the S&W 22A .22 pistol.

    I'll be taking up the recently acquired HK MP5-22 probably more often / in addition to the AR/USC simply because it's a fun rifle but shoots relatively cheap ammo.


    Does it makes sense to hang on to firearms you don't fire that often anymore?

    Does it make sense to stick to a 2-3 calibers only to keep ammo purchases more streamlined? (not that I buy a lot of ammo)?

    Just curious on everyone's thoughts.
  2. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    There are several ways to look at this.

    Are you a collector? A shooter? Prepping for SHTF? Something else?

    If you are prepping there are 2 ways to look at it. First you have gun(s) that take common calibers so there are easier odds of "finding" those calibers in "hard time". But on the flip side that locks you into one caliber. Right now finding any of the "common" calibers is quite hard but there is lots of other calibers on the shelf.

    If you are a collector you might just have guns and enjoy looking at them like the art they are. Maybe occasionally shooting them or rubbing them fondly.

    Maybe you are a shooter and just enjoy the variety of shooting different guns.

    I have several guns that rarely get shot but I very much enjoy them. One example is my Trapdoor Springfield which is great. I only have about 50 loaded rounds for it and maybe about enough stuff to load another hundred (I cast my own). Then I have other guns that get shot frequently that I have generally have enough ammo to make it though the lean times like now.

    I load/shoot about 50 different calibers/loads.
  3. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Lots of labeled ammo cans and a sharpie. And damn-it, I just added another caliber today. But I subtracted one as well...
  4. clearconscience

    clearconscience Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I would agree it depends on what kind of gun guy/girl you are.

    I personally consolidated. I just have 9mm handguns and .223 rifles, and a couple .22 rifles.

    I can understand having more in a shtf senario. That way you can find ammo to use
  5. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    I try to consolidate...... Well, sort of.

    I have mostly .45 pistols, but one token 9mm just because. Rifle calibers are only .308 and .22lr. I like to keep it simple, so I don't have to stock too many calibers, but just enough variety so I am not locked into one.
    redmud and (deleted member) like this.
  6. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Or, if you have many calibers you can probably use what ever you can find in something!

    Sportsmans Warehouse in Vancouver has lots of .22-250 on the shelves, I just don't have anything to shoot it in!

    I'm "consolidating" on .45, but I have .380's, 9 mm's, .357 Sig, .40, .45, .223 or 5.56. and 12 GA. But none of the "exotics"

    Wow. I forgot the others I have!: .22 LR, .22 mag, 38 Special, .357 Mag., .44 Spec., 5.45X 39, and 7.62X39.
  7. Arkarayne

    Arkarayne Medford, OR Member

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    It's all preference.
    Multiple calibers can become a bit of a grind as a reloader.
    6 awesome guns that shoot 6 different calibers can be pricey.
    Or, 6 AR platforms that shoot those 6 calibers can be useful.
    "Having a good time" can be an investment of less than 200 bucks, so long as all you care about is something going bang.
    If your collection looks like the local PD's armory cage, having just those 3 or 4 calibers is all you might need.
    "Prepping" for the future's a crapshoot, a $100 gun and a $2000 gun equally become clubs once the bullets are gone.
    But, having enough variety to keep the lead flying is also a viable goal.

    Hunting, shooting the beer can your buddy just drank, Pro competition, Property defense, etc. Pick a purpose, then collect. You got multiple purposes? collect for all of them. If they overlap, bonus.

    (I have 5 calibers, may add 1 more, but probably will only reload 3 or 4 of them.)
  8. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Common caliber magnum lever rifles are fun/handy with compatible pistols. If you have mutilple weps that shoot the same rounds, it only makes sense to buy big cans of ammo as opposed to a couple boxes here and there. Sadly, switching to that concept this week is impossible as most of those calibers are absent from stores/gunshows. Most shooters who bought 500-1000 rounds 2-3 months ago are probably in better shape today than those who bought 20-50 for one odd gun.

    Haven't looked for oddball exotic stuff because I don't use any, but maybe strange calibers are still available?

    Some diversity in the gun locker has merits as well. While ammo for citizens is effectively cut off at the whim of out-of-control agenda-driven politicians, it's useful to own at least a few different calibers, improving the odd chances that you'll eventually find something you can shoot in at least one of your alternate go-to pieces. So while you can't get 5.56, maybe you can still feed the 30-06?

    Bi-Mart near my house had dust on their shelves the other day, but I did notice they had a couple dozen boxes of .38 special. Of course I already have plenty of that. But if I didn't, I'd be thinking right now about acquiring a weapon to shoot it.

    This is not intended to feed the frenzy. We're all feeling the pinch and hoping it will ease soon so we have options again. You know... that freedom-of-choice thing we don't hear much about lately.
  9. macdougall29

    macdougall29 Newberg, Oregon, United States Active Member

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    .22 Pistols/Rifle, 9mm pistols, 12gauge, 5.56/.223 AR's & looking to add a .308 bolt rifle.

    BUT you always want more ammo or just "one" more firearm...:thumbup:
    1 person likes this.
  10. Sun195

    Sun195 Pugetropolis, WA Well-Known Member

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    "Common calibers" seemed to be in short supply when I went to Cabelas recently. They had plenty of 10mm available, though. (which I recently added to my collection) I've typically been an advocate of having common-calibers, but if something bad happens (proposed legislation, Armageddon, super bowl - whatever) then you'll be competing for the same calibers with everyone else. Maybe it makes sense to have a few odd-balls in the mix?

    But, yeah, having a lot of calibers makes it hard to manage. If you want to have X amount on hand for each caliber, it makes it harder to have that for multiple calibers. I've started keeping a spreadsheet to track how much I have by caliber, and how much per/gun by caliber. That way, I can figure out what I need to grab when I go to the gun show or store.

    I keep it in ammo cans w/ masking tape labels to keep track of what's in there.
  11. Arkarayne

    Arkarayne Medford, OR Member

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    I'm accepting nowadays that, unless I'm just buying an extra box of rounds on the way to the range, to go big and buy cases or tins, when I can afford it.
  12. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Consolidating can also mean different things to reloaders. For instance, a bunch of my rifles are .30 caliber. They use the same primer, some use the same powder, most like the same bullets. All it takes is different brass...
  13. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    I reload so I try to minimize how many calibers just to make it easier to buy in bulk. That being said, I currently have 30.06, 308, 9 & 44 magnum. Will probably add 1-2 more calibers this year:bluelaugh:
  14. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well, this ammo here, (.40, .45, 5.56N, 7.62X39, 7.62N, 12ga) is defensive ammo! That ammo over there (.22, .380, .38spl, .357, .22K Hornet, .223soft point, 6mm Rem, .25-35 Win, .308soft point, .30-06, and 12ga bird shot is not! Really not that hard, of course there is some crossover. My collection is smaller these days but that's from life not consolidation. I enjoy shooting all these calibers, makes for a change too!

    An old military teaching point, should you commit the unpardonable sin of calling your rifle, your gun, can make a parallel here! "This is my rifle, this is my gun"! "This is (these are) for fighting"! "This is (these are) for fun"!
  15. just dan

    just dan PDX Active Member

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    Every single time i tell myself i am going to consolidate calibers, i end up with a new one.
    i actually like the idea... 9mm, .270 and a 12ga... and a .22lr... and really, that would take care of it. that's all i need.

    but... but what about a .45? ok. what about a .357 mag? ok. .44, that's a hoot! what about a... really, they're just all too fun. when i'm telling myself i'll consolidate calibers, it's just pillow talk.
    Grunwald and (deleted member) like this.
  16. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, lets see. .22 LR, .25ACP, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .44 Mag, .45ACP, .223, .257 Roberts AI, 7mm RemMag, 7.62x39, .308, .30-06, .300 Wby, .30-30, 8mm Mauser, and I might be missing some. Like I said, lots of ammo cans and a silver sharpie help keep things organized. I suppose I have gotten rid of a bunch of other guns in probably a dozen other calibers...
    Sgt Nambu and (deleted member) like this.
  17. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Ammo can trick is to use 2" masking tape on the latch. It is very easy to read using black sharpi and easy to change the label.
    titsonritz and (deleted member) like this.
  18. kaz440

    kaz440 Vancouver Wa Member

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    .22, .357, 9mm, .40, .45, .223, .308 and 12 gauge are my consolidated calibers, there are a few other stragglers, but I stock up on these, but the others I'm lucky if I have any.
  19. lupinsea

    lupinsea Seattle Area Member

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    Thanks for the input, guys.

    FWIW, I'm a little blend of everything in terms of:

    - I like going up and target shooting, particularly plinking, up in the mountains
    - I like the firearms themselves as beautiful machines so design / aesthetics are important to me
    - I like to have some firearms that have a defensive purpose to them

    That said, I don't "get out" all that much with anything, maybe once or twice a year if I were to stop and think about it (not enough time for all my interests). Yet it seemed that in times past when i'd head out shooting and I'm considering what to bring invariably there's a half or 1/4 box of ammo left so I "gotta pick up another box for that" and it just adds to the cost of an outing.

    Up to this point I've never bought ammo in bulk. Simply because dropping $15 / box for 3-4 50-rd boxes of ammo would keep me entertained for a day out shooting (obviously, I'm not of the spray 'n pray approach) and I never saw the point in ponying up a few hundred dollars on the front end if I was going to take me a few years to go through all that ammo.

    But now?

    Dang, ammo is expensive and hard to find.

    It has me thinking that next time I buy I should pony up a few hundred dollars on a bulk purchase of something.

    And if i'm doing that . . . having fewer different calibers makes it a little cheaper. Fewer bulk purchases to make.

    And why doesn't Costco sell ammo?

    Granted, i don't have to get bulk ammo for everything, maybe just the .223, .22 (since it's cheap enough) and, I dunno, maybe the .45. The rest I can still get single boxes whenever I take something out to the range.

    For giggles, this is what I have in my collection:

    .22 cal
    HK MP5-22
    Ruger 10/22 w/ optic
    Colt Diamondback revolver
    S&W 22A semi-auto pistol

    .223 / 5.56 cal
    Bushmaster AR-15 flat top V-Matc w/ Aimpoint
    Robinson Armament M96

    .32 cal
    Beretta Model 70

    .357 cal
    Colt Python revolver
    S&W Airlite 340 SCPD revolver

    Walther P99

    HK USC (really want to do a UMP conversion on this!!)

    12 ga
    Winchester Defender 90 shotgun

    In the future?

    I'm really wanting to do a UMP converion on the HK USC. Really badly. I got stoked about doing this after getting the MP5-22 to have an HK rifle with a bit more oomph. But it also got me thinking about usage and I mostly go plinking with my stuff. And did it make sense to sink the money into the USC (which i've had for ~10 years). But I still wanna do it.

    Beyond the UMP conversion I was kicking around the idea of picking up an HK USP in .45. It always seemed like it would make a nice companion to the HK USC / UMP.

    That, and my dad and I got my cousin a Beretta 92 F/S once as a birthday / christmas present. I got to shoot it a few times . . . and really liked it. If I were to ever pick one up I'd probably get the 96 F/S in .40 cal to match my Walther.
  20. ripcity

    ripcity Milwaukie Active Member

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    I try to consolidate but it's hard after you start buying firearms. I've been on the fence with .357 sig. I kinda want one, but then again it's one more caliber that I would have to stock for.