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Old July 23, 2009, 12:48 PM   #1
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Matching Rifle and Pistol of Same Caliber

Does anyone else match a rifle with a pistol of the same caliber. Supposedly the cowboys use to do this, but how common today? Here's a few that I have.
To start out traditional, here's a Winchester 94 and Ruger Blackhawk, both in .357 Magnum.

More traditional caliber...

Here's an M1 Carbine and a Ruger Blackhawk, both in .30 Carbine. I bought the M1 then came accross the Blackhawk. The M1 is fun to shoot, but the Blackhawk puts out about two feet of flames.

How about the old .22LR. I carry these Ruger 10/22 and Single Six when I'm just hiking around in the woods.

Here's a couple of Ruger Vaqueros with a Marlin 1894 Cowboy in 45 Colt. The coach gun is extra.

I once bought a Marlin Camp Rifle in 9mm because it used the same magazines as the S&W 59 that I had. Just realized that I've got a Ruger Redhawk in 44 Magnum and no rifle to match. Never ends.
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Old July 23, 2009, 01:10 PM   #2
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Nice collection!
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Old July 23, 2009, 01:13 PM   #3
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Was very smart in the 19th Century as it was more about survival and logistics. Being out from town for weeks or months was easier if you just stocked one cartridge and used them in all your guns. 250 rounds of pistol ammo and 50 rounds of shotgun ammo was all a guy needed.

Nice guns.
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Old July 23, 2009, 01:59 PM   #4
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9mm px4 and cx4. not only do they share the same caliber, they share the same magazines!

"Some people think they can outsmart me. Maybe, maybe. I've yet to meet one that can outsmart bullet." -Heavy

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Old July 23, 2009, 10:22 PM   #5
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The down side...

Is that while your pistol caliber carbine is easier to hit with at longer range than the handgun (for most people anyway), and it hits a little harder than the handgun, it still isn't a rifle!

If you find yourself in a situation where you need a rifle, the pistol caliber carbine is not going to be a satisfactory substitute.

Balance this against the benefits of commonality of ammo.

They are neat, I have a couple of sets, .357 and .45acp, and I have had .44 mags. But if you need a rifle, for its range and power, the pistol round (even out of a carbine) just doesn't measure up.

If you don't need (or have a use) for true rifle power, the carbine/pistol combo is tough to beat.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old July 23, 2009, 10:30 PM   #6
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Remington Model 14 1/2 Carbine and Colt New Service, both in 38-40 caliber and both circa 1915-20

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Old July 23, 2009, 10:49 PM   #7
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I do not currently have any, but I am looking hard for a marlin 1894C in 357 I can get a good deal on b/c finish then hard chrome and for a keltec sub2k with Glock magwell. Not only ammo but mags also there. If I get one I might put that in my trunk.
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Old July 23, 2009, 10:55 PM   #8
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I started a thread a couple of years ago about going back in time 200 years and getting across the United States. The idea was to list the gear you would take with you- Quite a few mentioned a rifle and pistol combination with common ammo....
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Old July 23, 2009, 11:07 PM   #9
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I do ...

I have a Henry Repeating Arm Big Boy if 45 LC and Ruger Vaquero in 45 LC.

For exactly the reason of a saddle scabbard long rifle and pistol on the hip.

The old West cowboy standard.

Buy and hold is my method of gun ownership!
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Old July 23, 2009, 11:13 PM   #10
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As I shoot in Cowboy Action Shooting, I have several Colt Model Ps and replicas, three Vaqueros and two lever action rifles, Win Mod. 1873 and Win Mod 94, all in .45 Colt.

Funn stuff...go to to see what it's all about. BTW, Flatbush Harry is my alias.

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Old July 23, 2009, 11:42 PM   #11
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Going back in time 200 years-no problem with matching ammo, all muzzleloaders then.
Here's a combo for you:
Marlin Camp Carbine/S&W M-659, same ammo AND magazines.
Likewise Marlin Camp Carbine/M1911 .
Or Ruger Police Carbine/Ruger pistol.
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Old July 24, 2009, 12:05 AM   #12
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Same calibers

I do this alot it makes reloading easier.I also have several rifles in various 30 calibers so bullets can be used in more than one.Oh 357 mag and 9mm are what I have matched up.
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Old July 24, 2009, 03:04 AM   #13
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Ok Amp, I'll bite. What constitutes a rifle? I was always under the impression that it was the barrel length and stock that made a rifle not the caliber. What about the pistols that shoot something like say a 444 or 45-70 are those rifles?

BTW I have a 44-40 SAA and an 1892 Winchester in 44-40.
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Old July 24, 2009, 06:05 AM   #14
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I've got six and want more.

22 mag
30 cal. carbine

44/40 & 45lc are on my long list.
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Old July 24, 2009, 08:16 AM   #15
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the Contenders make 44's point mute as they shoot rifle calibers... albeit they are not revolvers or semi autos, but they are handguns... however now there are, for example, BFR revolvers in 444 Marlin, 30-30 & 45 -70, as well as semi auto 223 pistols, along with several others...

I have several that work in both rifles & handguns, but if you are loading for accuracy, most of my cartridges are specific to the gun they are shot in ( I list them in the load recipe I put on each box )... examples... I have a 30 carbine rifle, a blackhawk revolver, an Automag 3 & a Contender barrel that all fire 30 carbine rounds, 5-6 other cartridges from 5.7 X 28 to 45-70 that are the same ( I have 6-8 diferent configurations to fire 45-70 in )
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Old July 24, 2009, 08:51 AM   #16
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My combos: .357 and .44 mag levers/single actions and these also shooting .38s and .44 Specials of course.

I agree "rifle" is denoted by length, not caliber, especially in the lever world--and primarily of barrel length. In the levers, generally anything over 20"--but there are exceptions like the Win 1886 carbine @ 22", etc. "Short rifle" most often means carbine length but of octagonal construction vs a carbine's typical round profile. An example of a "pistol length" rifle would be my .44 Mag EMF (Rossi) 24" octagonal rifle--with its origins of yore the 1892 Winchester .44-40 (.38-40, .32-20, etc) of same configuration.

When cartridge/firearm combination of terms is discussed, it is generally accepted that a "rifle cartridge," like in a carbine, means--for example--a non pistol-length cartridge such as a .30-30. Note - I said "length" as there are those that will argue the purity of the .44-40, .32-20, .30 Carbine, etc., as all having their origins not as pistol but carbine/rifle rounds. Contenders, etc., aside, all these are cartridges that CAN be utilized in handguns--typically revolvers--and thus "pistol length" to distinguish from what are more traditionally thought of as strictly rifle rounds, e.g., .30-30.

Last edited by gak; July 24, 2009 at 09:50 AM.
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Old July 24, 2009, 02:21 PM   #17
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One of my worst gun decisions was to sell my tube fed Ruger 44 Carbine to go with my SBH. Today, I'd get a Marlin 1894.
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Old July 24, 2009, 02:37 PM   #18
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Do not underestimate either the power or accuracy of a 9mm carbine. Even a dressed up Hi-point
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Old July 24, 2009, 02:46 PM   #19
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yes, I've got 5 now
22 lr,357 mag,38/40,44mag and 45 Colt
still need a Thompson to go with the 1911s
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
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Old July 24, 2009, 02:59 PM   #20
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Marlin Camp 45 and 1911.

The 1911 in this pic is a Sig GSR, now gone... replaced by a Colt Commander.

.44amp has a point, though. I find myself very rarely using the Camp 45. It's as heavy as an M14, has less range and ammo capacity, and .45acp rounds weigh as much as .308.

Cool concept, but best realized in an old-timey format with sixguns and lever-rifles IMO.
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Old July 24, 2009, 05:01 PM   #21
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It all depends on how you want to look at it

Ok Amp, I'll bite. What constitutes a rifle?
You can use the technical definition of having a rifled barrel and a shoulder stock, and sticking with that, lots of things are rifles. And the technical definiton of a carbine is just a shorter than standard barreled rifle.

However, there is another definition one can use, a more variable one, based on the cartridge used, and not the gun shooting it. I call "rifles" firing pistol cartridges "carbines", as most are in short barrel configuration, and because they do not have the power of a full rifle round.

And for a "full" rifle round, I base my standards on those used during WWII (roughly). The standard infantry rifle rounds of that era, .30-06, .303British, 8mm Mauser, 7.62x54R, 7.7mm Jap class cartridges, are all easily capable of 300yd plus shots. The .45-70 is also, just not so easily. Its the power and range of the rounds that makes the difference for me.

Obviously there must be some flexability, as many traditional "rifle" rounds do not quite meet the power/range standards, however they do significantly exceed the standard pistol rounds of the same era.

Modern monster magnum pistols overlap the lower end of rifle rounds, and there are exceptions (such as the .30 carbine, normally considered a rifle round).

Here's where I generally draw the line, at the .30-30 and the .44Magnum. Rounds larger and more powerful would be "rifle" rounds, and those less so, "pistol" rounds. Yes, .454,.475, .480, etc. are more powerful than a .44mag, and there are less powerful "rifle rounds, but generally, case size, and the guns they are put in helps define where they ought to be classed.

So, a 9mm carbine doesn't fire what I consider a rifle round. And a T/C Contender in .45-70 doesn't shoot what I consider a pistol round.

I have a Marlin .357carbine, fine litle gun, but it isn't a rifle like a Browing BLR in .308 Win. My 1927A1 .45ACP Tommygun is a fine carbine (once you get past the weight), but it isn't a rifle like a Remington bolt gun in .243.

My Contender in .30-30 or .45-70 crosses the line, as it is a handgun, but those are not traditional handgun rounds.

My basic point was that a pistol caliber carbine is fine, if you don't need the range of larger cartridge rifles. But when you do, you do. A 300yd shot with a .357 or .44mag carbine is a lot tougher than a 300 yd shot with a .308! You can do it, it just takes practice. You can do it with the handgun too, againm, it just takes enough practice.

I can regularly hit 200-250yd gongs on the range with many handguns (offhand), and I do this for fun. To make the same shot on a game animal, I would not choose the handgun (or its carbine) if I could use a full size rifle round instead.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old July 24, 2009, 05:16 PM   #22
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For a traveling combo I've gone with a Marlin, a old model Vaquero, and a Redhawk in .45 Colt. In violation of the "one ammo" theory, I take three loadings: Cowboy lead round nose, Standard jacketed flat point, and "bear" loads, also jacketed flat nose. Sorry, no pics.
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Old July 24, 2009, 05:55 PM   #23
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Browning B92 lever action .44 mag along with a Ruger Super Blackhawk....
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Old July 25, 2009, 07:20 PM   #24
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I've got a Marlin 1894CS and Taurus revolvers both in .357 magnum, and I always take both the marlin and at least one of the revolvers with me when I go camping - especially on private property with the owners permission.

Loads of fun because you can plink with .38 specials with either for hours. And with 357's in them they're all good for personal/home defense and varmints.
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Old July 25, 2009, 10:10 PM   #25
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Own a 44 R Mag pistol and am considering a T/C Contender with a 20" barrel as a stalking rifle. Light weight and compact with plenty of punch, and a nice trajectory out to 150 yds. And with an overall length of a typical 16" carbine.
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