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View Full Version : Why 5.45x39 is the best SHTF cartridge


Dhena81
05-26-2011, 2:12 PM
Why is it the best (so far)

1. Cheap
2. Good barrier penetration
3. Good terminal ballistics even after hitting a barrier
4. Lightweight
5. Not as sensitive to barrel length like 5.56x45

I don't prefer AK's but it seems to me they are the best offerings of reliability weight of ammo and real world accuracy especially when its built right. Its hard for me to admit but the past few days I've been reading a lot about problems especially for civilians to find a good cartridge option in .223/5.56 Nato that you can use as an all around SHTF/zombie/defense cartridge.


Hornady TAP 75 grain and MK262 Mod 1/0 have good accuracy, SMK has variable terminal ballistics (the 77 grain serria match king was designed for range work) and both have poor barrier penetration.


M855 has good barrier penetration but poor terminal ballistics and is sensitive to velocity to fragment M855A1 is new to the game not for civilian sale and exhibits some of the problems of M855 which as of now is based on hersay on the internet and limited real world testing.


I don't know much about XM193 but if they developed M855 it must be as a result of it having poor barrier penetration.


Your best bet for a 5.56 cartridge seems to be a bonded type bullet like the Speer or Federal tactical 64 grain bonded bullet I can't seem to find them online right now I'm not sure if they sell just the bullets to civilians. It has much better barrier penetration and terminal ballistics in both cases. This isn't a boat tail round like the sierra matchking so long range accuracy isn't as good.


Note I'm mostly talking about shooting these rounds from a 14.5"/16" AR from what I know most of these loads perform almost night and day different in a 20" barrel AR which was what they were designed to work in not the M4.


The 5.45 doesn't seem to have any of these problems I've watched tons of videos (ya I know its on the internet and tons of variables) of the 74 penetrating almost as good as the 47 in cynder blocks and BA and having wicked wound channels in Gelitain before and after barriers.


My choice as of now would be an SGL31 AK-74 set up as close to an AR ergonomics as I can attain without getting yelled at by the Kalashnikov purest fan boys which will probably end up looking like Travis Haleys AK.


So with my limited knowledge on this subject can someone logically add to or dispute some of this info I provided I don't know yet I'm still learning about this subject.

atsaubrey
05-26-2011, 3:08 PM
I gotta think your right. I will let you know Saturday after I get my SGL31 out of gun jail tomorrow and hit the range the next morning. :-)

rattlesnake_nm
05-26-2011, 3:15 PM
I have stacks of 7n6 tins. I know if shtf i am good for a long long time. Make sure to pick up a s&w 5.45x39 upper to go with your aks. An adams or osprey gas piston kit wouldn't hurt either.

MasterYong
05-26-2011, 3:18 PM
If we're thinking true SHTF (like in all the paranoid "EMP has hit, grid is down, and the streets are in chaos" threads) then I'm going to have to disagree.

While you have good points, you missed a big one: availability. In this fantasy SHTF scenario, you'd need to be able to scavenge from all the alleged dead LEOs, soldiers, and citizens that will surely be laying all over the place. Oh, and the sporting goods stores that for some reason wont already be totally out of stock before the real problems begin. 5.45x39 isn't in common use anymore, so it's a no-go.

9mm, .308/7.62NATO, 7.72x39(less so), .45ACP, etc are the way to go because all the bodies that will of course be ripe for the picking will have it.

/lulz

luckystrike
05-26-2011, 3:35 PM
I agree and disagree. I like 545 aswell but 1 is the availability of 545 in terms of US Mil/NATO/US LEAs. 556 far is more common in the US. 2 is in a real SHTF situation there is a good chance you will have to be mobile and not have time or access to properly clean the horribly corrosive 545 surplus.

Federalist
05-26-2011, 3:37 PM
. . . availability . . .

= 5.56x45

Winner

lineman66
05-26-2011, 3:40 PM
If you're picking up .223/5.56 ammo off of people won't there be guns in that caliber nearby as well?

AirborneStranger
05-26-2011, 3:41 PM
5.56x45 is the winner, period

M1A Rifleman
05-26-2011, 3:41 PM
Uhm, good luck with that.

I didn't see too many boxes of those on the shelfs a year or so ago during the big gun and ammo scare. For that matter, I didn't see much 223 either or 7.62X39. Calibers like 30-30, 270, 30-06, 308 win, 338 Mag, and others were stocked on the shelves I checked.

MrPlink
05-26-2011, 3:49 PM
availability? 22lr is the winner!

lineman66
05-26-2011, 3:51 PM
availability? 22lr is the winner!

Seriously :D

MrPlink
05-26-2011, 3:59 PM
Seriously :D

a little actually. There is tons of it out there, you can carry several thousand without problem. Its very easy to use, so while it lacks "stopping power" achieving good shot placement is far easier. Do you really think you are going to be taking shots at a person 400yds away in a SHTF fantasy (thats right, I said fantasy) ? In oher words, at practical ranges, with good placement it can and will stop a man, or similar sized target. If in your SHTF fantasy you anticipate fighting off squads of well armed troops with body armor at a few hundred yards, realistically you are SOL anyways, assault type rifle or not.
Its also relatively very quite, about as loud as your average suppressed rifle.

lineman66
05-26-2011, 4:02 PM
oh man I was agreeing with you in my previous post (bad use of emoticon maybe?), yes I think .22s are way underrated, cheap and available.

MrPlink
05-26-2011, 4:03 PM
oh man I was agreeing with you in my previous post (bad use of emoticon maybe?), yes I think .22s are way underrated, cheap and available.

Ah, for some dumb reason I interpreted a question mark in there.

lineman66
05-26-2011, 4:06 PM
no worries man, and really the best "SHTF" cartridge is what you have on hand ;)

Josh3239
05-26-2011, 4:07 PM
People on this board way over think twist rate. You'd think by being on this board that if you use a light bullet with a faster spinning twist or vice versa that you cannot hit the broad side of a barn. If your looking to win competitions and squeeze every bit of accuracy you can get out of your rifle, sure worry about twist rate. If you're looking to put holes in things, just shoot your rifle. If it is zero'd there is no reason you shouldn't hit it.

rexbo47
05-26-2011, 4:08 PM
Yeah, like there'll be tons 5.45x39 just lying around waiting for you to pick it up and stuff it in your vest.

comblock
05-26-2011, 4:11 PM
Its the cheapest battle cartridge out there. For under 3 grand you can buy 20000 rounds.

toby
05-26-2011, 4:12 PM
Wrist Rocket! there are plenty of rock's

Bizcuits
05-26-2011, 4:15 PM
I'd say .223 / 5.56 is the best SHTF ammo.

Why?

Because they will be plenty of it laying around when you really need it. :)

RAMCHARGER
05-26-2011, 4:20 PM
i HAVE A POINTED STICK :o)

woods
05-26-2011, 4:24 PM
Where do you buy 20k rounds for 3000$ sounds like a good deal for a plinker at the range. I might look into this but not for shtf just lhtp (lead hit the paper)

Sent from my SPH-M910 using Tapatalk

r6raff
05-26-2011, 4:26 PM
The main issue with 5.56 fragmentation out of a 11.5-16" barrel occurs at longer ranges, pretty much the shorter barrel the closer the target needs to be to achieve effective fragmentation for a more fatal shot. Against soft bodies I think 5.56 in its effective range is one of the best, it will make softball sized craters in a mans torso if fragmentation is achieved.

You are right though, there isnt that magic round that will simultaneously penetrate a brick wall while also fragmenting 8" of penetration, but really, there arent many rounds that will do anything like that. Personally I stock pile m193 and 855, between those two rounds I will be fit to fight against unarmored and lightly armored personnel within ~300 meters effectively with a 16" barrel.

I like the 5.45 round, but as others have said it is not as common and 5.56x45 or 7.62x39. Granted as some have pointed out, you can always commandeer the recently deceased ammo as well as their weapon, but I would rather keep my own weapon and just worry about ammo, and I would prefer to have a more common round so I will stick with 5.56, 7.62, 9mm, .45 and 12g.

Lets hope this is never an issue though, I hope to die an old man with a **** ton of stockpiled ammo :D

CHS
05-26-2011, 4:28 PM
The best SHTF cartridge is the cartridge that you have ANY amount of.

I'd rather have a brick of .22 in a SHTF situation than only 1 round of anything else.

r6raff
05-26-2011, 4:31 PM
Its the cheapest battle cartridge out there. For under 3 grand you can buy 20000 rounds.

20k rounds would be nice, but if you need to bugout and would have to rely on scavenging ammo I would go with a different round.

9mm side arm and a 9mm AR upper for the win. Also get a 18" AR in 5.56 and an AR pistol. 2 common rounds, 4 effective platforms, hell all you need to do is have 1 lower with spare parts and you would have yourself a pretty light load out and can carry plenty of .223 and 9mm

Stone
05-26-2011, 4:40 PM
5. Not as sensitive to barrel length like 5.56x45

By not as sensitive, you mean that it cannot be counted on to fragment from any barrel length, in comparison to the 5.56 which can reliably fragment out of sufficient barrel lengths...thereby making it "sensitive"? If the 5.56 doesn't fragment you'll just get performance on par with the 5.45...

23 Blast
05-26-2011, 4:50 PM
Wrist Rocket! there are plenty of rock's

Yes, but you have to realize that in CA, we have an overabundance of igneous-origin rocks which, while having greater sectional density than most sedimentary rock, is prone to irregularities and differences in density (even within a small projectile), which renders accuracy iffy at best. Plus you have to deal with the fact that most rocks are shaped inoptimally for flight. Their basic aerodynamics makes a Mini 14 look like a tack driver by comparison.

What you ought to do is go to the local Toys-R-Us, and buy up all the marbles you can get your hands on. Yesterday I bought every damn marble in their store. Not only does it not ring alarm bells at BATFE, the marbles have myriad other uses, including toys for your children (when SHTF, all those PS3's, XboXes, and Nintendo DS will quickly become nothing more than plastic junk), they can also be used as booby-traps in your bunker, a-la Home Alone, and lastly, can be used as a nasty load in your shotgun!


:D

toby
05-26-2011, 4:52 PM
^^^^^^^^^^There you have it.....:D

Lead Waster
05-26-2011, 4:56 PM
I'd say .223 / 5.56 is the best SHTF ammo.

Why?

Because they will be plenty of it laying around when you really need it. :)

Well, that's what other people will say to when they find our corpses clutching our expensive ARs!

r6raff
05-26-2011, 5:09 PM
Well, that's what other people will say to when they find our corpses clutching our expensive ARs!

hahaha, I am more optimistic than you are, where do you live? and do you have a good stockpile? :chris:

23 Blast
05-26-2011, 5:10 PM
^nah, the looters will be looking at our mangled corpses, toting our $3500 tricked out ARs, and laughing as they sling their $200 Mavericks over their shoulders and stuff their Hi-Points in their waistbands. Then they'll say,

"Man, all we wanted was some food and water!"
"Yeah, he'd have been alright if not for that bullet button!"
"Dang - look, he ain't got any food or water, but he's got enough ammo for the Army!"
"Wanna take his gun?"
"Nah - we been killin' plenty folks with the sheeyit we got, let's go."

BoonieGhost
05-26-2011, 5:15 PM
Yes, but you have to realize that in CA, we have an overabundance of igneous-origin rocks which, while having greater sectional density than most sedimentary rock, is prone to irregularities and differences in density (even within a small projectile), which renders accuracy iffy at best. Plus you have to deal with the fact that most rocks are shaped inoptimally for flight. Their basic aerodynamics makes a Mini 14 look like a tack driver by comparison.

What you ought to do is go to the local Toys-R-Us, and buy up all the marbles you can get your hands on. Yesterday I bought every damn marble in their store. Not only does it not ring alarm bells at BATFE, the marbles have myriad other uses, including toys for your children (when SHTF, all those PS3's, XboXes, and Nintendo DS will quickly become nothing more than plastic junk), they can also be used as booby-traps in your bunker, a-la Home Alone, and lastly, can be used as a nasty load in your shotgun!


:D

VERY wise & resourceful man...this is one of the best post responses I have ever read! SERIOUSLY!

defplayr
05-26-2011, 5:26 PM
By not as sensitive, you mean that it cannot be counted on to fragment from any barrel length, in comparison to the 5.56 which can reliably fragment out of sufficient barrel lengths...thereby making it "sensitive"? If the 5.56 doesn't fragment you'll just get performance on par with the 5.45...

This might stem from the idea that the 5.45x39mm was designed to tumble, not fragment. Thus OP's assertion that the effectiveness of the 5.45 round is not dependent on velocity (barrel length) for its intended effect.

FWIW Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.45x39mm) states that the tumbling is not as effective in wounding as previously believed, so who can really say?

r6raff
05-26-2011, 5:28 PM
^nah, the looters will be looking at our mangled corpses, toting our $3500 tricked out ARs, and laughing as they sling their $200 Mavericks over their shoulders and stuff their Hi-Points in their waistbands. Then they'll say,

"Man, all we wanted was some food and water!"
"Yeah, he'd have been alright if not for that bullet button!"
"Dang - look, he ain't got any food or water, but he's got enough ammo for the Army!"
"Wanna take his gun?"
"Nah - we been killin' plenty folks with the sheeyit we got, let's go."

If this is the scenario that is playing out, any idiot still rocking a BB will deserve to get his mangled corpse looted, I for one will twist that little screw on my raddlock, after all in this scenario apparently all civility is lost and the only authority that exists will be enforced from one end of the barrel.

disclaimer: I do not condone creating illegal AWs, this is a fantasy scenario never likely to come to be. Everything short of the apocalypse Book of Eli style, you must always obey the laws, however ridiculous they may be.

r6raff
05-26-2011, 5:33 PM
This might stem from the idea that the 5.45x39mm was designed to tumble, not fragment. Thus OP's assertion that the effectiveness of the 5.45 round is not dependent on velocity (barrel length) for its intended effect.

FWIW Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.45x39mm) states that the tumbling is not as effective in wounding as previously believed, so who can really say?

from a physical stand point a tumbling projectile has the potential to inflict more damage to vital organs assuming they are hit, where is a fragmentation round has the potential to do more widespread damage again assuming it fragments correctly and shot placement is half decent. I have no information to back this up, this just whats seems logical in my brain pan. The major downside to 5.56 is that the projectile itself is small, so if fragmentation isnt achieved the entrance and exit wound may not be substantial enough to be fatal, but if fragmentation is achieved... that's a bad day for it's target.

magsnubby
05-26-2011, 6:22 PM
...9mm,.308/7.62NATO, 7.72x39(less so), .45ACP, etc are the way to go because all the bodies that will of course be ripe for the picking will have it.

/lulz

What he said.

lineman66
05-26-2011, 6:26 PM
If this is the scenario that is playing out, any idiot still rocking a BB will deserve to get his mangled corpse looted, I for one will twist that little screw on my raddlock, after all in this scenario apparently all civility is lost and the only authority that exists will be enforced from one end of the barrel.

disclaimer: I do not condone creating illegal AWs, this is a fantasy scenario never likely to come to be. Everything short of the apocalypse Book of Eli style, you must always obey the laws, however ridiculous they may be.

If the apocalypse is anything like the Book of Eli, I'm stocking up on soap before I get more ammo :D

Edit: or those nifty KFC wet naps!

WTSGDYBBR
05-26-2011, 6:27 PM
I love how people talk about horribly corrosive ammo. A ak47 can handle it. I never clean my AK's they love corrosive ammo .

Secret
05-26-2011, 6:28 PM
Just buy those 100 birdshot/$25 federal boxes and cast the shot into slugs. Now you have 100 slugs for 25 bucks :)

derwiking
05-26-2011, 6:29 PM
Field manuals written by various active duty and retired military personnel on the Militia issue have all suggested that using calibers currently in use by law enforcement and military organizations are what you want to go with 100%. Like others have said, there will be plenty of ammunition available in those particular calibers in stock piles nearby. IF you happen to be lucky enough to be the first one to arrive to your local National Guard armory (provided it is abandoned. Tough luck.) what do you you think they will have sitting on their shelves?

comblock
05-26-2011, 6:44 PM
A couple dudes from san diego bought a pallet worth of 5.45 back in dec 10. I think theyre trying to sell them still.

Yeah. Its my main plinker. You dont feel so bad after bumpfiring a couple hundred rounds.

elSquid
05-26-2011, 7:50 PM
So with my limited knowledge on this subject can someone logically add to or dispute some of this info I provided I don't know yet I'm still learning about this subject.

1) Buy a rifle that you like and want to shoot.
2) Buy a few hundred rounds of a decent softpoint/HP. Shoot most of it. Keep a couple of boxes for a rainy day.
3) Buy gobs of cheap FMJ and do most of your shooting with that. Don't forget to have fun!

That's really all you need to do. For SHTF ( Katrina/big quake/riot ) you are quite unlikely to get into extended gunfights ( or any gunfights at all ) so a couple boxes of expanders is more than you need.

If it's TEOTWAWKI, all of us living in the big, urban areas are pretty well hooped...and ammo and rifle choice won't be in your top 10 list of things to worry about. On the positive side, the chance of a zombie apocalypse is virtually nil, so I wouldn't lose any sleep about it.

:shrug:

-- Michael

NYY
05-26-2011, 8:06 PM
Wrist Rocket! there are plenty of rock's

hahaha literally just laughed out loud..

cmace22
05-26-2011, 8:23 PM
If you are under the impression that any ammo will be sitting on the shelves during a hypothetical SHTF scenario I think you are mistaken.

Its fair to assume that any ammo you find will be on any poor sole you just shot down and readily available for your taking. At this point you are at the mercy of whatever caliber they have chosen or forced to deploy. They may have picked it off the last person they came across as well.

Stocking up for any given caliber only works if you will not be mobile or have a safe house to return to during your scavenging exploits.

If your are displaced from your home, the best caliber is one that you can carry the most of that gets the job done. 22 is plenty big to ruin anyone day.

RobGR
05-26-2011, 8:28 PM
availability? 22lr is the winner!

Ha, yes, agree there.

Or 12 gauge.

Hand catapult, there are stones everywhere!

Rock_Islander
05-26-2011, 9:43 PM
Realistically (in this fantasy scenario lol) it's 5.56 (M855 SS109) for me. I think it's a proven manstopping caliber.

Just don't expect it to have that "one shot stop" type of luck beyond 120 yards or so. You may have to follow up with two or three shots, but like someone mentioned earlier, you can carry a lot without getting weighed down too hard and most of all it will "DO the job".

Free float your barrel like many do, train properly with it, stock up on ammo, stay fit and stay fast and alert both mentally and physically, and you will send them bullets to where your mind tells them to.

That's what should prevent you from becoming the dead guy on the ground getting his equipment ransacked after a hot lead exchange.

pyro3k2
05-26-2011, 11:41 PM
I like my 74 more than my AR, but my Saiga 12 ownes them both.

Colt-45
05-26-2011, 11:51 PM
When SHTF hit's and you run out of 5.45, good luck finding another batch. Remember, if SHTF there will be no internet orders. The internet might still be up, you can place your order but no one to receive and ship your order.

For SHTF go with the more popular rounds. No matter how powerful or innovative a foreign or new recent cartridge is, remember, you will eventually run out of it and it will be difficult to replenish.

imarangemaster
05-27-2011, 4:06 AM
I have 3 5.56x45mm weapons. I use Israeli or Lake City M-193 ball ammo. 315ofps from my two 16" barrels and 3300 fps from my 20" 603/Xm16E1 clone. Accurate, comes apart in soft tissue past 2600 FPS in soft tissue. I save my brass, and plan to reload. I have several thousand rounds on hand.

pyro3k2
05-27-2011, 10:35 AM
I have 3 5.56x45mm weapons. I use Israeli or Lake City M-193 ball ammo. 315ofps from my two 16" barrels and 3300 fps from my 20" 603/Xm16E1 clone. Accurate, comes apart in soft tissue past 2600 FPS in soft tissue. I save my brass, and plan to reload. I have several thousand rounds on hand.

but can it do the same out of an 8 inch barrel like the 5.45x39 can?