SHTF Carbine: 5.56㎜ versus .30 Carbine

5.56㎜ versus .30 Carbine

  • .30 Carbine; kick it old school.

    Votes: 7 6.5%
  • 5.56㎜ NATO for me.

    Votes: 85 78.7%
  • Neither.

    Votes: 10 9.3%
  • Being prepared isn't important and guns are scary.

    Votes: 6 5.6%
  • Eh ... (burp) wut? Lost ma train of thought.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
It would be difficult to find spare parts for the war babies as much respect and love as I have for the carbines, not to mention the ammo. I would expect in the SHTF that you would be running across more spare parts and ammo for the 5.56.
That's why you buy a spring and pins kit now, and a new firing pin now. Just in case.
Well, it really depends on what flavor your SHTT is, doesn't it? Are you talking movie SHTT or real life SHTT? If you are talking movie SHTT then you might as well go for the chain gun since it is pretend anyway. If you are talking real life SHTT then start by defining your SHTT.

Wild fire, earth quake, flood, other disaster that forces me from my home: Neither, I will stick with my XD mod 2 3.3" .45acp. Open carrying a rifle, especially a "scary" military rifle is just going to make you a target... where as I can have my subcompact .45 in my coat pocket, with my finger on the trigger guard and have a bead on a trouble maker without attracting attention and without the trouble maker even knowing I have it until he has a hole in him. If I am in a vehicle then a pistol is a heck of a lot more maneuverable than any carbine. Being an anonymous face in the crowd is MUCH better than being that guy packing a carbine that everyone is looking at!

If you want to talk Red Dawn movie "Wolverines" type SHTT then I would still probably select the concealable pistol first. There is just so much advantage to the element of surprise it really outweighs any fire power arguments "FOR ME". Having a gun when your opponent doesn't know you have a gun is one heck of a nice tactical advantage! BUT if I have to select a carbine it would be an AK, maybe a mini Draco like configuration for maneuverability. I have a lot more respect for the universality of the 7.62x39 over the 5.56 x 45 cartridge. I wouldn't think twice about harvesting a deer with the 7.62x39. In a food for my family so they don't go hungry scenario I would even take an elk with a 7.62 x 39. Using a 5.56 x 45 on either of these two animals is going to be pretty iffy and most likely a very long hike following a blood trail. For 2 legged creatures 7.62 x 39 is plenty deadly and much more likely to provide a single shot stop than a 5.56.

Now that Springfield has just released the XDm in 10mm with a 3.8" barrel I might consider it a superior SHTF gun than my .45 acp sub compact. More power, more rounds, and plausible on deer sized game for food.

I have owned my .30 carbine for over 30 years now and it is a wonderful light weight maneuverable weapon but I don't think it is as tactically appealing in a SHTF situation as a high capacity .45acp.

Now if your SHTF scenario involves protecting the homestead then I have a whole arsenal of weapons better suited than a .30 carbine or 5.56 for home protection. Stuff that will reach out farther and touch someone harder than a varmint cartridge. For in the home type home intruder protection I would still opt for the maneuverability and concealability of a pistol over a carbine.

10mm over .45acp is definitely giving me pause to consider the new Springfield XDm subcompact 10mm! 10mm seems to me to be a more universal cartridge, better fit to more situations than the beloved .45 acp.
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How big is the pile of sh*t and the fan?
M1 Carbine makes a fabulous home defense option. Many many Japanese were killed by them. It was the favorite souvenir choice by German soldiers.
Reminds me of a picture I came across today. German troops in The Netherlands circa late 1944. The individual with the Panzerfaust appears to be carrying a captured M1 Carbine.

Lots of different scenarios, lots of different factors. Lots to love about both for different reasons. For the hypothetical:

I'm going to have to be mobile, a lot.
I'm old, so weight of what I carry matters.

So that plus being able to scrounge commonly held calibers puts me on 5.56mm. I can carry it, carry a lot more ammo on weight, and everyone and their mother likely has a box or two stashed around the house.

If I shelter in place? I'll fall back to 5.56 after I run out of ammo for everything above it in caliber/size, which ain't gonna be for a long, long time.
5.56 is great for walking long distances. Light weight. However, for urban issues (SHTF, Watts Riots ) nothing would beat a mag fed Semi Auto Shotgun.
Given the weight, bulk and limited capacity alone I'd argue otherwise. There are other factors but without even going there I'll stick with a solid AR.


Echoing what others have said, AR in 5.56 everyone owns one (which is great)
Even now with a price hike and extreme demand I can find 5.56.. Im not so sure I can find 30c. YMMV..

30c is a good round, but with the scenario given, Ill go with 5.56

AK’s were getting there, and with the new PSA steel ammo move, that’ll put 7.62x39 into enough circulation that it too will be just as prevalent, if it isn't already.

On a tangent ...

  • If one voted for .30 Carbine, what loads would you recommend for social purposes? How about varmints and such?
  • Or for the 5.56x45㎜ NATO fans, the same question, but with the .22 Pew.
  • For those that not being prepared is a good idea and guns are scary; how's the therapy going?
Inquiring minds, well, one wacky one, want to know. :s0155:
I really have had good results with the 55 grain and 62 grain FMJ loads...for the 5.56.
( With various M16A1's , M16A2's , CAR-15's , M4 Carbines...I know the above loads work , 'cause I am here to tell the tale )

115 FMJ for the .30 Carbine , worked well in WWII , Korea , Vietnam.

For my choice...
170 Remington Core-Lokt .30-30 Hollow points.
( Simply 'cause they were what were available at the time..and they shoot well out of my 94 Carbine. )



On a tangent ...

  • If one voted for .30 Carbine, what loads would you recommend for social purposes? How about varmints and such?
  • Or for the 5.56x45㎜ NATO fans, the same question, but with the .22 Pew.
  • For those that not being prepared is a good idea and guns are scary; how's the therapy going?
Inquiring minds, well, one wacky one, want to know. :s0155:
I like both rounds greatly, but for the purposes of SHTF between them I'm a 5.56 fanboy. That said for a general all around social, antisocial, and varmint duty good old XM193 gets the job done and it's comparatively cheap and easy to find.

For antisocial and hunting purposes I like the 64 gr Nosler Bonded Performance as it's barrier blind and on the hunting side expands nicely and hold together as opposed to fragmenting. 77 grain OTPs are pretty nifty at longer distances and fill the other bills nicely as well.

Another thing the 5.56 can do is via adapter fire 22 LR. When you are down to squirrels a much better and cheaper option than either 5.56 NATO or 30 cal for that type of small game. Also a fair amount of deer have fallen to 22LR with careful shot placement. When I was a kid a local farmer (went to school with his daughter) used to poach deer at night with a 22 to help feed the migrant workers. Plus if you are down to just 22 your main rifle is still in business this way.
My set-up for LMT AR15 W/ Ballistic Advantage 16 in. barrel .223 Wylde - Geissele SSA-E trigger

For accuracy: Nosler 69gr. Custom Competition HPBT with 23.2gr. of H335
Or: Hornady 73gr. ELD Match with same load.
For defense: Hornady 60gr. V-Max with same load.

M1 Carbine: for defense - Sierra #2100 JSP with 14.8 gr. W-296/H110
Or. - over the counter PPU SPRN ammo


I have some 55gr HP in .223 REM, but I've never used it. I figure i'd mostly stick to M855 for SHTF, but I want some M855 A1.
For hunting, I'd like some 62gr HP, but I'll relent to .357MAG in my Rossi 92 until that happens.



On a tangent ...

  • If one voted for .30 Carbine, what loads would you recommend for social purposes? How about varmints and such?
I don't recall which way I voted, but to answer your question, I'd go with either the standard load topped with a soft point 110 gr. bullet...OR...load something about the same as the Buffalo Bore round that pushes a 125 gr. bullet out of the barrel @ 1940 MV.
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