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Old August 25, 2008, 03:54 PM   #1
threegun
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Pros and Cons for the 223 vs 308

I periodically rethink my self defense weaponry from the ground up. My handgun and shotgun are good to go however I'm questioning (in my head) my AR-15's in 223/5.56MM. Not the platform, as I'm very satisfied with the weapon itself, but the caliber.

I'm seriously thinking of adding the AR in 308 to my stable with intentions that it replace the 223 as my primary go to rifle. I would like your opinions pro and con on why I should or shouldn't switch.

Thanks
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Old August 25, 2008, 04:23 PM   #2
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What are you defending yourself against? How Many? Where at? For how long? At what range?
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Old August 25, 2008, 04:25 PM   #3
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If you don't know the answers to the above just get one (or more) of each.
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Old August 25, 2008, 04:26 PM   #4
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I would say that for self-defense, an AR chambered for .223 is a better choice for CQB (ala "self-defense") than one chambered for the .308. The 308 to me is more of a "reach out an touch someone" kind of cartridge, whereas the 223 is an "in your face" kind of round. I may be the last of the Mohicans for thinking and saying this, but I consider the 223 to be just fine for CQB and short-medium range engagements. I consider the .308 better suited for medium to long range engagements, which in my opinion are NOT self-defense distances.
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Old August 25, 2008, 04:39 PM   #5
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I agree with creature. Adding a 308 won't replace your 223. They are 2 different cartridges for 2 different purposes. Look to the military and see the number of guns deployed in each caliber, the 223 far outweighes any other caliber in the number of guns issued.

If you feel the need for a 308 (as I do) then add it to your system, I'm sure you will be glad you did. Only you will be able to determin if it will replace the 223 as your goto caliber.
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Old August 25, 2008, 04:41 PM   #6
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I would lean toward the .223 because ammo and magazines are cheaper than .308 ammo and AR-10 mags. The AR10 will get expensive fast, as mags go for $30-$50. In addition, cheap 7.62nato surplus is drying up fast (all surplus is drying up fast). If you're going to reload (which is fun in and of itself), both can be affordable, but the .223 will be pretty cheap in comparison.

As far as application of force, your follow-ups can be faster with the .223. The .308 will obviously open up a bigger hole in your foe, and do it at longer ranges. However, on the civilian side (meaning not stuck with M855 ball ammo), the .223 can be loaded up with bullets like the Vmax and others that expand faster and should cause more catastrophic wounds than a standard ball round. Also, a .308, if used in a home defense situation, stands more of a chance of WAY over-penetrating (though more frangible rounds are available) and going through the BG, the wall, the exterior, down the street, etc. The .223 shouldn't over-penetrate as much.

Really, it comes down to the intended use. Short-med range, I'd go with .223. Med-long, .308 win. Another consideration is how much money you want to spend. Either round is pretty versatile.
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Old August 25, 2008, 04:54 PM   #7
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Ask me a few years ago I'd said the 308, having shot my M1A and have gone through and tought snipers schools using the M21.

However of late, I'd have to vote for the 223. Its beat all the 308 highpower records, even beating the 308 in Service Rifle 1000 yard matches.

The 223 is cheaper to shoot, both in factory and reloaded ammo. A good match AR is about a third the cost of a Heavy Match M1A and easier to shoot.

The 223 has allowed younger shooters and ladies to compete with us old folks.

At a small additional cost you can get an extra upper for shooting Mulit and3 gun matches without burning out your Match rifle.

If you want it for home defence you can get the shorter barrel of the M4 configeration.

You want a varment gun you can get 50 grn bullets, you want a long range gun you can get 80 grn bullets. You dont have that versatility with the M1A.

Thats why its called AMERICA'S RIFLE.

And this is from a fan of the M1A/M14
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Old August 25, 2008, 05:27 PM   #8
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Seems there are more Mohicans still around than I thought!
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Old August 25, 2008, 06:53 PM   #9
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And if the bullet prices continue to rise, eventually the Bullet swager that allows you to make .224 cal bullets from 22 lr brass and lead wire may eventually make sense.. Ya can't do that with a .308
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Old August 25, 2008, 06:56 PM   #10
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In an urban setting, . . . or close suburbia, . . . I'd go .223 and never look back for many of the reasons mentioned above.

In my setting or similar: nearest inhabited dwellings, 4, nearest 2 at 800 ft, others at 2000 ft, . . . complete free fire zone from ESE all the way around West to full straight north (the most likely zone for shooting also), . . . and LEO on a 15 to 45 minute ride here, only after leaving our county, trespassing in another county, to get where I live, . . . I would opt for the M1A instead of the AR in .308.

My need would be against looters (in a civilization breakdown) or home invaders.

Just my $.02, . . .

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Old August 25, 2008, 08:14 PM   #11
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The area you need to defend is a big factor -500 yrds .308 +500 yrds .223.

but then again I'm a relatively young city boy. the smallest place I've ever lived is 85,000 people.

T
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Old August 25, 2008, 09:42 PM   #12
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Good thread and many of us have both, so which do we grab?
I have an M-1 Carbine wifht soft point bullets ready.
An M-4 carbine with Aimpoint and Winchester Silvertip's in my Den.
A SOCOM16 in a Tactical bag loaded and ready with a quick zip.

It doesn't matter what we want to use unless we have early warning, dog, lights, etc.
My plan and we've worked on this is , Dog going nuts, hidden motion lights on, I grab my Det Spec and get oriented which includes putting pants on. Then Carbine to me, Hand Det Spec to wife. We don't use flashlights until we determine where the noise is from, at the same time dialling 911.
If time allows I will decide what the threat is and decide if I will switch rifles.
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Old August 25, 2008, 10:20 PM   #13
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I have both .308 and 5.56, but if you want real stopping power close range get a level action in .444. Each caliber has strong and weak points in 7.62x51 I perfer a fnfal instead of an a-10 2nd would be a g-3.
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Old August 25, 2008, 10:23 PM   #14
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Here's my zero cents (it's the internet,my opinion is not worth two cents) :

.223/5.56 is an extremely versatile round,and can be loaded with any and all types of bullets. Low recoil in a lightweight weapon make it excellent for CQB situations. Based on my observations of the layout of the town where I live and tales from friends and family who have seen combat in the Middle East,in any type of urban situation you will very likely not be making shots past 200 yards,where the 5.56 round is plenty 'nuff. But that's already been discussed,moving on...

For me,even with a sling on the rifle the .308 is much harder to take faster follow-up shots. The recoil is harder unless you go to a heavier weapon,which to me defeats the purpose of a light-'n-handy battle rifle. I really wouldn't want to run around with a full-size M1A,and the SOCOM 16 puts that big ol' thunderboomer pretty close to the face,I didn't care for it,and I didn't shoot well with it.

Now a good, heavy, accurate .308 seems to me would be great from a fairly secure position where you can take good clear shots,and you know you're good for 100 yards on out. In that instance,bigger is better.

Just my zero cents.
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Old August 25, 2008, 11:33 PM   #15
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a .308 is a bit much for home defense
it will shoot threw a crook then 2 cinder block walls into your neighbor's home
id stick with a .223 AR15 with frangable ammo or 7.62x39mm
i own a G3 clone but i would use 1 of my AKs or my AR15 for home defense

my dream HD rifle would be a saiga .410 converted .460S&W mag or a
.50 beowulf AR15
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Old August 25, 2008, 11:43 PM   #16
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I agree with the crowd that says have both 223 & 308, I have both for all the good reasons already stated. Envisioning your SD scenario, you wont be alone, right?

So the guys with the .223's give the guy(s) with the .308's time to work.
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Old August 26, 2008, 12:05 AM   #17
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Does no one make a .243 conversion? To me it seems better for killin' people than either 223 (too small) or 308 (overkill).
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Old August 26, 2008, 06:28 AM   #18
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My original reasons for opting for the 223 was faster followups and the quantity of ammo that can be carried for the same weight. These at the sacrifice of penetration.

If the poop ever hits the fan via riot or other civil unrest I don't see myself being as mobile as when I was younger. I also suspect that the bad guys are not going to stand out in the open to be shot so penetration of a vehicle or building material might come in more handy than raw speed.

I can own both but that still doesn't tell me which one to choose at the moment of need. If I grab the 223 and the BG's are using cover. If I grab the 308 and BG's overwhelm me quickly. Dang I hate this torment. I am leaning toward them hiding behind or otherwise using cover.
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Old August 26, 2008, 07:41 AM   #19
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Looks to me like you already had your mind made up...

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=308036
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Old August 26, 2008, 08:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Does no one make a .243 conversion? To me it seems better for killin' people than either 223 (too small) or 308 (overkill).
Yes they do, however; if you are in a SD situation there is no such thing as “overkill”.

If you are worried about over penetration the shotgun can’t be beat and at CQB ranges it is much more devastating shot for shot, if loaded correctly.
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Old August 26, 2008, 08:48 AM   #21
Frankyoz
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6.8 SPC fills the gap nicely between the two. I was torn between the same dilema. This rounds fills both needs nicely and comes in the AR platform.
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Old August 26, 2008, 09:50 AM   #22
threegun
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Creature,

Quote:
Looks to me like you already had your mind made up...
With respect to getting an AR in 308 I have.............as long as reports come in that they are reliable, accurate, and durable. I am undecided on it becoming my go to rifle.......which is currently the AR in 223.

While I try to think of everything in advance it seems I always learn something from you guys.
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Old August 26, 2008, 11:00 AM   #23
David Armstrong
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I've used a .308, I've used a .223. Based on that I chose a .223 as my main fighting rifle caliber, not a .308.
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Old August 26, 2008, 11:23 AM   #24
threegun
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DA, Based on what?????? What made you choose the 223 over the 308?
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Old August 26, 2008, 12:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Yes they do, however; if you are in a SD situation there is no such thing as “overkill”.
My main thoughts were the significant velocity increase you can get with a .243. Factory ammo in some weights can run 3400fps+ in soft points, whereas .308 is more along the lines of 2800fps. I am thinking (in rifles to be specific) a lighter bullet at higher velocity would result in less penetration but a better permanent cavity in a human adversary?

Also 1/2 the recoil with the .243, but that's not got anything to do with wounding ability.
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