PDA

View Full Version : .308 vs. 5.56 for self-defense. Please help.


Blackthunder
July 3, 2012, 03:36 PM
Hello,

What is your preferred caliber for home defense. .308Win/7.62Nato vs. less powerful calibers such as 223REM, 5.54*39, 5.56Nato Etc.

My Situation is that I live on a ranch and will be reaching out to 300 meters max but of course most engagements will take place at much closer ranges.

Please take in mind that is for civilian self-defense NOT for military offense.

1. Unlike the Military I do not go on long patrols with tons of gear. The weight of the .308 is therefore not too much of a concern.

2. Unlike the Military I can use modern expanding ammo.

3. In the Army wounding an opponent is often seen as better than killing him. Because the wounded opponent takes up resources that the dead one does not.

4. I of course do not have access to burst fire / fully automatic firearms.

5. I will most likely operate alone not as part of a team.

So what is your choice; the power of the .308 with modern expanding bullets? Or do you prefer something lighter with a higher magazine capacity and with faster follow up shots?

Do any of you any real life experience with these rounds that you are willing to share?

Thank you for your replies.

ScottRiqui
July 3, 2012, 03:45 PM
I suspect you're going to have a hard time justifying a "defensive" shooting at any distance where a .308 is going to have a significant advantage over a 5.56, so I'd personally go with the lighter rifle/more ammo combination.

Crow Hunter
July 3, 2012, 04:07 PM
So what is your choice; the power of the .308 with modern expanding bullets? Or do you prefer something lighter with a higher magazine capacity and with faster follow up shots?

Short answer after asking myself and others the same thing and much other research, as well as buying and selling rifles and accessories. ($:()

5.56 in AR format with a good light, sling and an Aimpoint RDS attached.

Longer answer:

1. Unlike the Military I do not go on long patrols with tons of gear. The weight of the .308 is therefore not too much of a concern.

Try carrying 6 magazines of .308 versus 6 magazines of 5.56. It is a BIG difference. Especially if you are hoofing it on foot. I have tried both. 5.56 is MUCH easier to carry, plus you will have 180 rounds on tap versus 120. Even just walking through the woods can be quite tiring carrying that much ammo and a rifle.

2. Unlike the Military I can use modern expanding ammo.

Make sure that the ammo you are speaking about will feed and won't damage the rifle you are thinking about getting. Some .308 rifles (like the M1A) are very specific in the pressure/weight of the rounds that you can safely shoot without damaging the firearm unless you change out specific parts. You will also need to buy enough rounds to check for functioning and feeding in all your magazines. (200 rounds plus)

3. In the Army wounding an opponent is often seen as better than killing him. Because the wounded opponent takes up resources that the dead one does not.

This is a myth. The 5.56 in both the M193 and M855 is actually more lethal than the M80 within the 300 yard enevelope, particularly at close range. Past 300 yards is where the M80 jumps ahead of the 5.56.

4. I of course do not have access to burst fire / fully automatic firearms.

Most of us are in the same boat.:D

Having played with them a lot, they have very limited real world use. (They are loads of fun though, especially when you are shooting someone else's ammo.:D)

5. I will most likely operate alone not as part of a team.

Chances are you will die if faced with multiple attackers using well coordinated tactics against you no matter what type of weapon that you have. You can't see or shoot or cover 360 degrees. Your mindset, tactics, and skill will be more important that the rifle you are using.

Buying a rifle that you can afford to shoot often and train with is very an important factor that many people forget. Training helps develop your tactics and skill. Ammo cost is a VERY important part of this, unless you have A LOT of money to spend.

Another alternative that I like to use is a .22 caliber training rifle that is identical to the "real" rifle so that you can use the same manual of arms and sights. I use a M&P 15-22 but others use .22 caliber conversions or whole .22 caliber uppers. These aren't available for all types of rifles out there.

Do any of you any real life experience with these rounds that you are willing to share?

I don't, but I know where to go look for people who shoot smelly bearded men in man dresses for a living.;)

Get an account at Lightfighter.net and see what they have to say. (DON'T ask this question there, just search and read.)

Skans
July 3, 2012, 04:08 PM
Personally, I'd choose the .308 for man-sized targets. 20 round capacity should be more than sufficient. If you really need more, then invest in one of those new 50 round .308 drums....or an extra couple of 20 round magazines. I could never justify 5.56 over .308 in a semi-auto carbine/rifle where weight isn't a huge concern.

FrosSsT
July 3, 2012, 04:10 PM
Scott has a good point, but I would strongly recommend using a shotgun for defense. Neither the 5.56 or the 7.62x51 are made for "defending". They were made more for offense. It is hard to beat a shotgun with an 18.5" barrel loaded with 00 buck. I would chose a pistol or a carbine if I was dead set on something other than a shotgun for self defense.

FrosSsT
July 3, 2012, 04:13 PM
Personally, I'd choose the .308 for man-sized targets. 20 round capacity should be more than sufficient. If you really need more, then invest in one of those new 50 round .308 drums....or an extra couple of 20 round magazines. I could never justify 5.56 over .308 in a semi-auto carbine/rifle where weight isn't a huge concern.

20+ rounds of .308 for self defense against a man sized target...are we talking about if ironman breaks down the door?

tomlincoln
July 3, 2012, 04:17 PM
What are we really talking about here? I mean really, the only situation where a rifle is used for defense is when you are fending off a combat unit. However, if you are talking about a SHTF situation then a rifle could come in handy. You could also just want a fun gun. In either case I would say get the 5.56, Primarily because the ammo is less expensive so you can shoot it more. But personally, if you really want a defense weapon, I still say a shotgun pistol combo is the best route. Kel-tek's ksg would be a great choice, it has two separate internal mags which would allow you to switch between rifled slugs for range and buck shot for up close quickly.

Edward429451
July 3, 2012, 04:18 PM
Out to 300 yards for your use, it's preference. The 308 has more penetration which could be useful dependant on cicumstances, however, the 223 would generally serve you well with the plethora of good projectiles for it.

Personally, I chose the 223 for this role. If you were to go beyond that distance to any significant degree the 308 starts to make better sense.

My theory is three 223s for every 308. The 223s provide security for the DM with the 308 and give him time to work.:D

SIGSHR
July 3, 2012, 04:37 PM
IMHO it depends on how and against what you want to defend. The 308 is more of an all around cartridge IMHO, good against 2 legged threats, 4 legged ones, vehicles, some barricades and covered positions, the 5.56 OK against 2 legged threats, iffy againsy many 4 legged ones, not against vehicles, etc.
Both will do as far as neutralizing a threat. A self defense situation versus a social breakdown situation calls for different tactics. If you are in a static situation-defending your home, e.g.-the weight of the firearms and ammunition is not that much of a consideration.

sholling
July 3, 2012, 06:12 PM
It's personal preference and it might behoove you to have a selection but also be aware of limitations. An M1a as someone pointed out is limited to military level loadings which generally means mild 150gr loadings. AR15s are reportedly not fond of soft point ammo but I haven't personally tested that rumor. A Mini-14 reliable 2-3MOA rifle that will eat SP all day rifle and is a decent choice with iron sights or when paired with a good quality very-low powered optic (http://www.natchezss.com/product.cfm?contentID=productDetail&prodID=WE849400&src=exrbSrch). A 12ga is great at 20 feet but less so when the guy shooting at you is 100yds away and 00 buck is heavy.

Another consideration is cost. You need to train and the cost of mil-spec 308 has gone through the roof ($700+/1000rds) when you can find it. On the other hand you can substitute a Mini-14 for drills and take advantage of cheaper 5.56 ammo ($400/1000rds for FMJ, $1/rd for SP). A 10/22 can stand in for a Mini, and likewise an M&P15-22 can stand-in for an AR15, especially if you use similar sights. After all you'll have a tough time explaining shooting an attacker that's much over 50yds away much less shooting someone 100yds away, and at 300yds you'd best have lots of bullet holes in the house from the attacker's incoming rounds to point to as why you had to shoot.

For what's it's worth I keep all of the above handy. :D

Doc Intrepid
July 3, 2012, 06:39 PM
Unless you sold out some organized criminal group to the FBI, or ran off with some mobster's girlfriend, or in some other way identified yourself for "special treatment" by some gruesome individual, I could never get behind the idea of rifles for home defense.

The reason why is simple. Try carrying a rifle with you around your house, everywhere you go, everything you do, for one full day. Make coffee in the AM, work in the garage, hit the bathroom, do a little yard work, all wearing a slung rifle.

90% of the time, a rifle in a home defense mode is going to be leaning against a wall "over there" somewhere.

It ISN'T going to be on your person, or even in your immediate vicinity most of the time, because toting a rifle around with you everywhere you go is a PITA. (Guys in the infantry learn this really well.) If the day ever comes that you need it, it's going to be leaning against a wall somewhere you aren't - upstairs if you're downstairs, or out in the garage if you're in the kitchen.

What you'll have with you when the moment comes is a pistol.....

And as was said above, you'd have a hard time explaining to the gendarmes why you initiated deadly force in self defense from 300 yards....

That said, if you're absolutely focused on toting a rifle around for home defense, I'd go with the lightest rifle and the most rounds available. A 5.56mm rifle, preferably a SBR if they are legal where you live, is a good weapon to resolve interpersonal disagreements, its fairly lightweight, and it offers 30 rounds or so of a relatively well-proven round.

I love .308s for other scenarios, but for totin' around the ranch day in and day out, something short, lightweight, and handy is probably a better selection.

Just MHO. YMMV.

jmr40
July 3, 2012, 07:10 PM
A 308 will generate about 15-16 ft lbs of recoil. A 5.56 around 3.5 ft lbs of recoil. At ranges inside 100 yards no human you ever shoot will know the difference. The 5.56/223 has proven to be very effective when used within it's limitations. If you plan on shooting at 500+ yards then the 308 offers an advantage.

arizona98tj
July 3, 2012, 08:35 PM
I see no reason to single out and dwell on any one specific caliber, unless you are budget bound or the significant other restricts the count of how many you can have (boy, that would stink) If they made a rifle that was perfect for every situation, we would all already have it. ;)

For the folks that think a rifle for a defensive situation is not "doable", take a practical rifle course (typically done with an AR-15 or AK-45 or similar due to ammo cost but not always) from a good instructor....then state that a rifle for defense isn't a good choice. If the instructor delivers the training you paid for, you'll be training from bad-breath distance out to what ever the range supports...hopefully a minimum of 200 yds. While your rifle (or shotgun) may not be where you need it, which would be a problem, that is still no reason to shun it as a defensive weapon. Since you wear a handgun, use it while you navigate/fight your way back to your long gun. Some of us live at the end of long driveways.....hearing/seeing someone approaching doesn't have to be surprise. A good dog worth his keep will make certain of that....a really good dog will fetch it for you. :D

I hope I never find myself in a situation where I have for the above to be a concern. But if I do, I'll not be running around with just a handgun hoping I had something a lot bigger.

That being said, I have two favorite semi-auto rifles.....and I get to pick which one for what. :D

FNH FNAR (7.62x51) 10 or 20 round mags
http://www.stu-offroad.com/firearms/fnh/fnar/fnar-2.jpg

M&P15 (5.56x45)
http://www.stu-offroad.com/firearms/mp15/mp15-15.jpg

buckhorn_cortez
July 3, 2012, 09:20 PM
I have a couple of comments and observations. Shooting 300 yards is not a trivial task. I shoot tactical precision rifle and a 300 yard prone shot is relatively easy with a bipod, same from a bench. When you get into standing, kneeling, sitting, or from a rooftop (we have several at the range) - that's a whole different problem.

I've done 400 yard shots with a .223 - in a gusty cross wind with a bipod. However, to be competetive, you have to shoot .308, Creedmor, 6.8 SPC etc.

But, I would question a 300 yard shot as "self defense" - unless it includes zombies. Long range shooting is premeditated as you really have to work at the shot to make it happen - that's an offensive shot, not defensive. So unless the drug cartel is coming to collect, or drug deals are being done regularly on your property with armed participants - I really have to question the need to make an over 50 foot shot, much less 300 yards.

I also agree with the use of pistol first, and if you want a rifle - my suggestion is a .223. Unless your .308 is heavy and has a muzzle brake, follow up shots are not quick. My .308 weighs 14.5 pounds with a magazine and scope - my .223 weighs 8.5 pounds with a magazine and scope. Which one do you think is easier to hand hold, or shoot from a less than optimal position? Never mind carrying it around WITH loaded magazines.

Jimro
July 3, 2012, 09:28 PM
If the wind is going to push a 75 hpbt out of the way it is going to push a 175 hpbt out of the way. Shooting in the wind is more about skill than caliber.

Jimro

zxcvbob
July 3, 2012, 09:32 PM
But, I would question a 300 yard shot as "self defense" - unless it includes zombies. Long range shooting is premeditated as you really have to work at the shot to make it happen - that's an offensive shot, not defensive. So unless the drug cartel is coming to collect, or drug deals are being done regularly on your property with armed participants - I really have to question the need to make an over 50 foot shot, much less 300 yards.


If someone is shooting at you from 300 yards away, shooting back is defense. Where I live there is no 300 yard shot in any direction but up, but you may live out in the country where the treeline is a quarter mile or more from the house. (My parents live a couple of hundred yards back from the road.)

trg42wraglefragle
July 3, 2012, 11:26 PM
Good luck defending in court that you shot a man in self defense at 300yards.

Even if you do find yourself in that situation, the gunman isn't going to wait for you to go inside and get your SD rifle so you have a fighting chance.

And to think that you want a rifle that's going to kill not just wound,
I don't think a gunman is going to continue shooting at you if he has just been shot, so that's not really worth considering.

Plus 223 is going to do the job out to 300yards just fine when compared to 308, and it will be less likely to over penetrate and kill your family if they are inside your house.

If you want a SHTF rifle then 223 will do the job fine too, in what survival situation are you going to need to shoot people at over 300yards.

Buzzcook
July 3, 2012, 11:49 PM
Within self defense distances there isn't much difference between any centerfire cartridge. Heck 204ruger at 20yds would put serious holes in someone.
I'd opt for a shotgun.

ripnbst
July 4, 2012, 12:32 AM
Forget defending your life, you're going to have a heck of a time defending your freedom if you are shooting people at over 300 yards away in the CONUS. It would be pretty hard to articulate how your life was in danger when the threat was 3 foot ball fields away unless they had similar artillery with CLEAR intentions.

Doc Maker
July 4, 2012, 01:09 AM
Why choose? Get a Colt 901.

LockedBreech
July 4, 2012, 01:23 AM
I like .223/5.56. - very easy to control and still devastating compared to almost any handgun round. Oh, and you get 30 rounds, and 30 more with a quick swap.

ben_raines
July 4, 2012, 01:31 AM
I think it all depends on where you live, that you need to defend. I live in a medium size town in Texas, single family homes, wood siding and sheetrock walls. I wouldnt want some one in the neighborhood 'defending' their home with something as powerful as a .308 in the short ranges encountered in most neighborhoods, and I wouldnt do the same either.

Now, my wife suffers with rheumatoid arthritis and therefore cannot handle a large pistol or rifle very well as a result. After a lot of consideration and thought, I pulled my fathers old CMP M1 carbine out of the stash and taught her how to use it. Even with a loaded 15 rd mag, it is not too heavy for her, nor is the recoil unacceptable. Penetration of 110gr semi jacketed round nose is not great enough to seriously worry about outside the walls of my home, but would be plenty sufficient at 'indoor, household' range against an intruder. And with either the 15 or 30 round magazine, a first round miss or light wound is really not a problem as there are more 'on the way' just behind it.

Just my 2cents

BR

BIG P
July 4, 2012, 04:05 AM
Own them & like them both 20'' 556 AR & 16'' AK 308.the 308 is alittle harded to control in shooting fast, but not bad with some practice.

NWCP
July 4, 2012, 04:44 AM
I solved that problem by having more than one rifle in each caliber. My .308s are ideal for long range shots at critters to feed the family. The AR15s are much better at close up work and use in situations that I'm concerned about over penetration. I have both bolt action and semi autos in both calibers.

madcratebuilder
July 4, 2012, 05:59 AM
What is your preferred caliber for home defense. .308Win/7.62Nato vs. less powerful calibers such as 223REM, 5.54*39, 5.56Nato Etc.

A shot gun, preferably a 12ga with at least a six to eight round capacity.

If I had to use a rifle for home defense I would use my 10" AR in 5.56.

StuntManMike
July 4, 2012, 07:39 AM
This seems like a no brainer for an AR10. With 110gr TAP out of a 18" or longer barrel, over penetration is not a problem. When you need to shoot through a barrier there are the heavier 168/175gr TAP loads.

SR420
July 4, 2012, 08:03 AM
The 7.62 turns cover into concealment, something the 5.56 rarely does.

My homeland defense weapons are 7.62, but I do own one 5.56

Old Grump
July 4, 2012, 09:10 AM
Then there is the dinosaur vote. I reserve my .223 for water filled pop bottles, my .308 for deer. In house my first gun is my Dan Wesson ,357 and when my feet hit the floor it gets traded for a Mossberg 500C or a Winchester 1200. If in the unlikely case I have to stick my head out the door and shoot at something more than 30 yards away my back up gun is My 32 Win Spcl. However for in yard and driveway distance the shotgun will more than suffice. If I had to pare down to one gun I would keep the 32 spcl. Big hole, 150 yards of range and it packs a punch without the recoil of my more powerful rifles. You might want to think about 30-30 if you haven't already bought the gun you want to use.

Striker1
July 4, 2012, 09:19 AM
The 7.62 turns cover into concealment, something the 5.56 rarely does.

My homeland defense weapons are 7.62, but I do own one 5.56

While I agree 7.62 penetrates barriers well...what parts of a modern home will stop a 5.56mm or even a pistol round for that matter?

buckhorn_cortez
July 4, 2012, 09:40 AM
If someone is shooting at you from 300 yards away, shooting back is defense. Where I live there is no 300 yard shot in any direction but up, but you may live out in the country where the treeline is a quarter mile or more from the house. (My parents live a couple of hundred yards back from the road.)

Uhhh...huh. I live in New Mexico. From one piece of property that I own, if I look south, I can see Mexico. I still question the reason for making a 300 yard shot.

I really have to hear the rationalization behind this. I'm easily entertained. Without getting into over-the-top fantasy scenarios (aliens from outer space, zombies, jack booted government troopers, SHTF, etc.) - give me the tactical situation surrounding the outside assualt from 300 yards.

Even in Southern NM with the drug running problem, the encounters are close up and personal - not from an extended distance. If I'm in an area with known drug running problems, I carry a .45 with two extra magazines on my person and keep an FN SLP in my truck. On some occasions I will take the AR15 with me. I NEVER take my AR style .308 - too big, too slow.

One of the tradeoffs not addressed so far is the setup of the rifle sights. On the AR15, I have: 1-4x scope with illuminated reticle, a mini red dot sight on top of the scope, and Dueck Defense 45 degree iron sights. So, the .223 is setup to shoot from 10 feet to 200 yards easily and with some work 400 yards at 4x.

The AR style .308 is setup for long range as some of the shots in competition are 800 meters and the "close" ones are 200 meters. This requires a completely different approach. The sight system is a 3.8 - 22x scope with a front focal plain Mil reticle for calculated drop / windage hold overs.

Yes, you could setup the .308 with the red dot and 45 degree sights - but, that ignores the fact that it's big, relatively difficult to handle quickly, and generally not good for close, rapid target aquisition.

I'm all for getting whatever makes you feel safe - but, I really have to hear the 300 yard shot rationale other than the simplistic, "Someone shooting at you from 300 yards."

tahunua001
July 4, 2012, 11:43 AM
I would rather take a 223/5.56 over a 308/7.62 for home defense. for me it's a matter of economics and practicality.
1. cost of ammo
unlike the military, you are forced to flip the bill for your own ammo stockpiles. you are not afraid to buy soft tip/ballistic tip ammo which greatly improves the 5.56s ability to take medium sized game and human targets. from a cost effective point of view, you can buy federal powershoks(or comparable hunting loads) in 223 for the same price(or cheaper in some cases) as 308 full metal jackets. therefore it is a fiscally better option to go with 5.56/223.

2. cost per rifle
obviously as opposed to the military, you are forced to provide your own rifle. a decent, reliable, no frills AR 15 can be had for for around $600. a comparable AR10 type rifle is going to cost you nearly(or many cases more than) double that meaning that with the $600+ that you saved on your rifle choice you could stockpile over 1000 rounds of quality ammo while with the 308 option you only get the rifle.. therefore the AR15(or comparably priced semi auto, though the list is getting short these days) is a a more fiscally responsable rifle choice.

3. storage
both rifle options are going to take up a similar amount of space in the closet/gunsafe but once you start getting into the convenient storage spots(behind the seat of your truck, under the sofa etc) you end up seeing that there is a major difference in size. the ammo and spare mags however is where you start to feel the pinch. 1000 rounds of 223/5.56 can be kept in a shoebox and a dozen spare mags can be stored in a similar sized space while 1000 rounds of 308 with a dozen spare mags is going to take up a much larger portion of the closet/safe, more than double. depending on the size of stockpile you feel comfortable with you may end up having to dedicate a significantly larger portion of your storage facilities to 308 compared to 223.

for me these hard truths are what has stopped me from buying an AR10 time and time again, the 5.56 for home defense/self defense/hunting/survival/plinking/varminting is just a way better option once you take into account that for most people, money is an option.

Basement-Gunsmith-Z
July 4, 2012, 02:13 PM
Im just gonna say it.... 6.8spc. 6.8spc is designed for ranges out to 300 yards.

sholling
July 4, 2012, 03:01 PM
I'll jump back in to comment. As the saying goes a handgun is something that you use to fight your way to a long gun. It's something that's handy in the house but in an emergency situation you'll want your rifle along as well.

Also as someone else pointed out the 6.8SPC is a great tweener between a 5.56 and a 308 with more stopping power than a 5.56 out to 300m - that's why it was developed. The problems are cost at $1/rd and poor availability. Civilians aren't limited to ball ammo and a .223 SP is going to accomplish the same thing at the same $1/rd but with cheaper ($0.40/rd) practice ammo - if your weapon can feed SP. I have ARs in .556 and 6.8 and an M1a but I keep a loaded 12ga Benelli M1 S90 and a nice light and handy Mini-14 with a half dozen ready to go mags full of 55gr SP for at home self defense in addition to one of my 45s. But if I lived in the country and could only have one rifle it would be my 18.5" M1a Squad Scout.

tobnpr
July 4, 2012, 03:34 PM
Since you did not indicate that the rifle will be used for anything other than self-defense (no target, no hunting) I assume that it will be used very little (other than SD practice) so ammo cost is not a concern.

I'd go with the weapon that makes the bigger hole, although there is certainly the argument for a lightweight, quick handling 5.56 for SD purposes.

My choice if funds weren't an object would be a lightweight, AR-10, SBR build.

SR420
July 4, 2012, 05:58 PM
I'm planning to build a light weight M14 in a Blackfeather RS (http://www.athenswater.com/Review_Blackfeather_RS.html), it should come in @ about 8.5 lbs. unloaded.
The cost of ammo is not a concern as I purchased many cases back when it was $135.00 per 1000.

My HK/Benelli M1S90 will be kept within reach if when the time comes

PH/CIB
July 5, 2012, 11:50 PM
I am guessing you are asking is everything goes south, way south.

First get some help, family or friends a perimeter is a 360 degree circle,,,at least three people better yet four guarding 90 degrees of that circle...since people have to eat and sleep and go to the bathroom now you are looking at eight people or better yet even more to split up 24/7 guard duty on a perimenter and you will need more people on the perimeter at night.

556 AR's and 762x39 AK's are great short range night time weapons with red dots or low powered variable scopes 1x4 for example set at 1x and shotguns with buckshot, where I would put the 308 rifles out would be during the day with higher magnification variable scopes when you can see farther, especially if you live in open country where someone could snipe at you from 500 to 1000 yards.

That is where my 338 Lapua rifle comes in for anti sniping work against those throwing rounds into the perimeter with their 308 and 3006 rifles and similar caliber rifles from long range.

Since you said weight is not a problem go with the 308 it is a much more flexible caliber,,,if you were carrying a pack around and living out of a pack for weeks or months at a time,,,now the lighter 556 rifle and ammo makes more sense.

Eghad
July 6, 2012, 12:39 AM
For home defense a 12 gauge is what I use.

Art Eatman
July 6, 2012, 09:21 AM
First thing, think about probable "defense" scenarios. Just because a possibly-hostile person can be seen at 300 yards does not mean that they are indeed hostile. Actual defense is up close and personal, as seen by the usual rational and prudent members of a jury.

By and large, IMO any semi-auto rifle which is not heavy and bulky should work. Even an SKS (or equivalent) would be effective on a person out beyond a hundred yards. Bench rest group size is irrelevant to the issue.

If one twenty-round magazine is insufficient, the issue goes way beyond ammo and mags. The problem is the shortage of folks on your side of the argument. If it is obvious that a mag's worth is not enough, the answer is to kick that slow-moving jackrabbit out of your way. Practice being elsewhere, at a very rapid rate.

zxcvbob
July 6, 2012, 10:20 AM
If someone if shooting at me or my family, I intend to return fire if at all possible. No other qualifiers on that. I don't have a .308, but might use the Garand .30-06 with military FMJ ammo if I think they have armor or good cover, but hopefully the 5.56 green-tips will be enough.

I don't think the situation will ever come up, but if it does I DON'T CARE if some prosecutor who wasn't even there thinks it's self defense -- it'll be an accomplishment to make it that far.

Doc Maker
July 6, 2012, 10:59 AM
I'm going to have to agree with some of the other posters that the kind of shot being discussed is an offensive shot. Or at the very least pre-emptive. Neither of which are defensible in court under any rational circumstance.

That being said, a 300m .308 shot could be used against vehicles and equipment. But it would have to be a very unique situation.

Nanuk
July 6, 2012, 11:17 AM
The other issue, is what are you defending against? I live in a rural area with acreage and horses, similar to the OP. We rarely have mountain lions and bears, when we do it is at night and it is very dark. My HD main gun is my 870 loaded with slugs, and whichever pistol I am toting. My 223 AR is set up with low power optics and a very bright laser/light for things that go bump in the night. I have been thinking about 300 blackout for a while.

What about magnum caliber lever guns? I have Marlins in 357 and 44, the rounds are very effective and the total package is handy and easy to control.

A battle rifle is just that, a 308 battle rifle is not an easy thing to lug around with the support gear. I would leave that as my heavy artillery, like the 30-06 Bolt gun.

Baba Louie
July 6, 2012, 03:47 PM
It may be you live near our southern border in a well trafficked zone. I do not. You know your self defense situation better than I and while I concur with the majority that 300 yds SD is an iffy proposition where I live, I'll opine this; You've got incoming zips and zings flying overhead... you sir, are going to need cover, concealment and the ability to move, because once you let off that first round, your position is compromised and I doubt if your attacker is alone in his quest to conquer your domecile and/or turf.

Having said that, I'd opt for a lighter load out with more rounds, and have my space/land/acerage set up with several defensible positions with outlying areas being cleared off and known distances to hidey holes where bad guys might lurk memorized.

I'd also want friends with other long guns near me or immediately accessible. I understand that a good 5.56 with glass atop it can reach out beyond 500 yds if and as need be. So that'd be my answer. Unless, of course, you have the need to drill through trees behind which lurk the baddies. That is another situation calling for a bit more ooomph IMO. Let us hope and pray you never need to find out. ;)

and of course, this advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. Nada. :D

armoredman
July 6, 2012, 06:24 PM
I live near the drug corridor "ceded" to the cartels by fed.gov. I don't carry a rifle everywhere, not yet. I also don't live in a remote location, and have many neighbors which could complicate things for cartel members by being potential witnesses. They tend to avoid actions in built up areas unless it's police style home invasion raids, WHICH HAVE HAPPENED IN PHOENIX. No "fantasy" here, that's truth. Still very rare, statistically speaking, and they tend to be concentrating on homes that include rival drug dealers or stash houses. I'd certainly hate to be misidentified as such!
If I did live in the down south boonies, I probably would carry a rifle. I would also carry two things potentially as valuable, a fully charged cell/satellite phone and a first aid kit capable of treating a non-complicated bullet wound. Due to our civilian "rules of engagement" they will VERY likely get the first shot - as said, you're not likely to "preemptively" fire on a person at 300 yards who has not CONCLUSIVELY fired on you. I can't see muzzle flashes that far out, unless the guy is using a Mosin M-38, that is. :) If I can't identify the person as the individual who is trying to use deadly physical force on me, I probably will not fire. Obviously, seeing them point a rifle in my direction and the ZIP of a bullet passing by me would meet that criteria!:p
So, by that train of thought, I may be the first person in this little shebang catching a bullet, so I need a way to try to save my own life, quickly. Military 1st Aid kits probably would be a great idea for that, kinda guessing here.
Phone - get behind cover if you can, (as pointed out above, remember the difference between cover and concealment. One stops bullets, the other just stops vision.), and call it in. If nothing else, there should be a 911 recording of what happened so they might have a place to begin looking for your killers. Dark thought, ain't it?
If I have to carry a rifle, I want it to be two major things, accurate and reliable. Light is good, semi-auto is good, caliber that can reach out and touch is great. I can easily hit a 1/2 scale IDPA target gong at 100 yards from a standing position. I can hit the same target at 200 yards braced or kneeling. Note two things - I am NOT a great rifleman by any means, and I have done these things WITHOUT incoming fire trying to part my hair. If I have to shoot in self defense with a rifle at over 100 yards, the wheels have truly come all the way off the wagon, and the shoe leather express may indeed be the absolute best hope for personal survival.
By the way, all I hear is AR this and AR that - you DO know there are more choices in 5.56mm then that, right? :D This one works well for me.;)

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b13/armoredman/vz%2058%205%2056mm/vz58ad.jpg


Also don't discount other calibers, as pointed out here, anything in a rifle from 22lr on up could be used with some degree of effectiveness, unless they drove a narcotank across the border. THAT'S so unlikely as to be the realm of fiction at this point...but so was Fast and Furious a couple of years ago.

Amsdorf
July 6, 2012, 06:26 PM
For self-defense:

12 Guage 00 Buckshot.

'nuff said.

hudson69
July 11, 2012, 05:44 PM
For the sake of versatility I would go with the 5.56 with good ammo.

Edward429451
July 11, 2012, 06:28 PM
Wouldn't the 308 actually be more versatile because it has much more power and penetration? Not to discount the 223 much though because its cheap to feed and hi cap and will get them off ya for sure. ARs are a logistical dream because the military uses them. Ammo, brass & bullets, Mags, and parts are everywhere.

Justice06RR
July 11, 2012, 07:22 PM
The OP hasn't chimed back in this thread, and arguing whether a 300m SD shot is overkill or not is irrelevant. The OP asked for a simple question - .308/7.62 vs 5.56/.223 or any variant of that caliber.

Hello,

What is your preferred caliber for home defense. .308Win/7.62Nato vs. less powerful calibers such as 223REM, 5.54*39, 5.56Nato Etc.

My Situation is that I live on a ranch and will be reaching out to 300 meters max but of course most engagements will take place at much closer ranges.

Please take in mind that is for civilian self-defense NOT for military offense.



We do not know your exact situation, whether you are a high-priority type target or maybe you have some enemies that would realistically go after you. Maybe your property is fenced in all around with "No Trespassing" signs and anyone who trespasses is automatically considered a threat. We don't know, but we have to consider those factors. In that case its really your choice; 5.56 and .308 will do the job just as effectively at that range.

IMO a 5.56/.223 AR15 rifle should suffice, but you should also have a pistol or shotgun as a close-range SD/HD weapon readily available (if not on your person) at all times. Only if you also use it for hunting med-large game would I suggest the .308. Just my 2cents

Ignition Override
July 13, 2012, 11:57 PM
Some of us have watched "The Road Warrior" so many times that (many years ago) it might have portrayed in our subconscious what "SHTF" could look like, for people in the desert/high plains.

There have been dozens of other movies (many on HBO, Cinemax etc) which copied this post-nuclear, or Soviet invasion theme. "Red Dawn" also came years later.

Nobody would ever sit 100(+) yards from my house and start shooting at it, and come to think of it, there is no possible reason that anybody would, even from 50 feet.
My house has no large quantities of stored gasoline to attract bikers with mohawks.

armoredman: The various vz-58 rifles have attracted a huge following, and the Czechs for many years have built excellent weapons.

Baylorattorney
July 14, 2012, 04:21 AM
You hit a man with a .308 he's going to go down and not get back up. 5.56mm you better hit him more than once.

jason41987
July 14, 2012, 07:39 AM
how about going with an AR15, but with a cartridge intermediate between 5.56 and .308, like the 6.8 SPC for added power in a short, light rifle?

Art Eatman
July 14, 2012, 09:01 AM
Since Blackthunder hasn't been back in ten days and there is plenty of food for thought, I'll close this now and he can re-start as he deems appropriate, for any further questions.