6 Cartridges For Which There Is No Point At All
Some cartridges and/or calibers are incredibly useful. Others are not.
We can define “useful” as “having a practical purpose besides ‘why not?'” and otherwise not being duplicated or rendered by something else.
For instance, you can drive a Ford Model T, but thousands of other models of car exist that are easier to drive. That have more horsepower, and far better brakes. Heck, some don’t even need gas. If you get in a wreck, a Model T is liable to kill you. So why would you?
So, we’re going to name the 6 most useless calibers/cartridges that are literally a waste of money and time. This is going to make some people mad, and we don’t care! Consult your cardiologist, because this one’s going to be salty…
Outside of its use in militaries in anti-materiel, anti-aircraft and anti-personnel roles (at which it excels) there is no practical purpose to having a .50 BMG at all. The only point is to say you do, or maybe you can make watermelons or bowling balls blow up.
Everyone knows it, too. A few people use it for extreme long-range shooting, but a lot of people in long-range silhouette shooting also don’t, and don’t appear to suffer for it.
The rifles are enormous and enormously expensive. The ammunition is enormous and enormously expensive.
Like yours? Fine! Love blowing up watermelons? Fine! That’s awesome. But stop pretending like it’s anything other than just expensive fun. Just the Eargesplittenloudenboomer…there’s basically no practical point to it outside of a war zone.
But then again…who cares? Not everything has to be practical. Making stuff go boom is fun.
Something something something the Secret Service blah blah blah.
If you go to Sig Sauer’s website, you can filter production pistols by caliber. What you’ll notice is that the number of them chambered in .357 Sig. That number?
NONE. Goose egg. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nary a one. It is bereft of .357 Sig pistols. Devoid of them. Completely lacking. AND THEY INVENTED IT.
That right there is what we call a “clue.” Sure, it has more zing than 9mm, but beats up the gun and the shooter so much (and is so expensive to buy) that anyone in their right mind starts asking what the heck the point is, and the answer is there isn’t any.
Sure, it makes Major…but so do .38 Super and .40 S&W, which are made in higher volume. There is literally nothing it does that justifies its existence anymore.
In theory, 16 gauge provides a middle ground between 12 and 20 gauge shells in terms of recoil and handiness.
The hitch is heavier 16-gauge loadings produce virtually identical recoil energy to 12-gauge loads if shot weight and velocity are proportional and/or equal. In other words, you basically only get the benefits with birdshot.
And that is actually what has sold most 16-gauge shotguns: a lighter, handier gun than a 12 with close-to-12-gauge power for pheasants, grouse and so on. “Carries like a 20, hits like a 12” is the mantra, but since a 20 gauge is just fine for upland birds and a 12 gauge does all that and more…what’s the point?
While a small cadre of dedicated 16-gauge shotgunners holds on, and holds onto hope for a revival…it’s the most pointless shotgun bore.
There’s a reason .41 Magnum didn’t get more popular. It’s pointless.
The .41 Magnum was supposed to be a happy middle ground between the .44 Magnum and the .357 Magnum in terms of recoil and power. It isn’t. Heavy .41 Magnum loads are basically identical to .44 Magnum loads, and recoil energy is basically identical too.
It was supposed to be followed with a .41 Special variant for personal defense and police service. It wasn’t. The 10mm and .40 S&W eventually came, but decades later.
The police of the day weren’t stupid. The medium-frame magnums were finally becoming available when the .41 Magnum came out, and they saw no reason to switch to a big gun that kicked like a mule, especially since .357 Magnum worked too well to discard.
The hunting and outdoor community likewise found that .41 Magnum offered no compelling benefits over .44 Magnum. While some people love it…it’s a pointless cartridge.
Cue the comments section squawking about body armor.
Look, 5.7x28mm has been on the market for more than 20 years. It’s only been adopted by a small handful of law enforcement agencies and militaries, and is only used for small-scale, niche applications.
That right there is what we call “a clue.”
When people test it alongside 9mm, comparing what it does in test mediums vs what 9mm does in test mediums (one of the few ways you can get that information outside of autopsies) it doesn’t really do anything spectacular or better than typical self-defense ammunition.
That right there is what we call “a clue.”
In other words, what real-world information we have indicates it’s rarely used and isn’t so awesome that it demands widespread adoption. However, fans of it seem practically froth at the mouth if you doubt their tacticalness, BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL THE TACTICALS!!!!!
It’s a .22 Magnum wearing football pads, and everyone knows it. Unless you just can’t deal with the recoil of a 9mm…it’s basically pointless.
Short And Super Short Magnums
The gun community latches on to certain ideas for reasons that are often INCREDIBLY STUPID. The gun industry then creates cartridges and guns to sell them, which they proceed to buy and thus, the eternal cycle of separating morons from their money continues.
One such group of morons led to the creation of the Short and Super Short Magnums. Not that they don’t work or aren’t accurate or anything like that. It’s that the reason for their existence is based on the gun-buying public’s idiotic belief that a short action matters.
Okay, so to explain that.
Long-action or standard-action cartridges (like .30-06) have a maximum length of 3.34 inches. Short-action cartridges (like .308/7.62mm NATO) have a maximum length of 2.8 inches, a difference of about 0.5 inches.
Short action rifles are believed to be more compact by people who can’t read a spec sheet. When barrel lengths are equal, a short action rifle is usually about ¼” shorter.
Now, given the case dimensions, many of the short and super short magnums can’t be used in an AR-10 without extensive (and expensive!) modification, meaning their primary application is in bolt-action rifles.
With a standard-length barrel, the advantage is almost nonexistent. Since 7mm Remington, .300 Winchester and .338 Winchester Magnums are standard-length cartridges…the shorter case does you no good, except if you hate having money.
In a compact rifle with a shorter barrel (say 18 or 20 inches) the magnum loading is almost negated by the loss of velocity due to the shorter barrel length and – ultimately – you’re just wasting money on ammo AND on the barrels that you’ll need to replace more often.
In other words, they DO put a magnum loading in a shorter case…but there aren’t any tangible benefits from doing so.
Thus, the short- and super-short magnums can be safely said to be pointless.