Why are there so many gun models using the same calibre? Doesn’t the bullet determine most of the lethality and range, while the gun is just the vehicle that fires it?

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Why are there so many gun models using the same calibre? Doesn’t the bullet determine most of the lethality and range, while the gun is just the vehicle that fires it?

In: Physics

The cartridge itself is the main factor in terminal ballistics, but barrel length is also important – a longer barrel gives the bullet more distance to accelerate, to a certain degree.

That aside, there’s also plenty of other factors in a gun. Ergonomics, rate of fire, price, the action and lock type, materials, safety, other features to improve reliability or ease of use, the list goes on. Also, some models may be updated versions of older designs, direct competition to a similar model or just an improved but more expensive luxury version.

Think of it like there being lots of models of cars that use the same fuel.

Caliber is only a measure of bullet diameter, and there are a lot of other factors to consider when deciding what gun is right for the job. .30 Carbine and .30-06, for example, are the same caliber (more or less) but wildly different cartridges.

Even guns in the same cartridge may have many different uses. An AR pattern rifle in 5.56mm/.223 with a 12″ barrel is a nice thing to have if you’re fighting from an armored vehicle, but isn’t a good choice for taking White Tail deer.

It’s sort of an idea that there are well established calibers out there like 9mm, 7.62, 5.56, 45, etc. If you want consumers to buy your firearms you need to make firearms in the caliber most people own. Then you get a piece of that market.

If the shooter isn’t comfortable, they’re not going to shoot straight.

If the machinery of the gun rattles around during operation, it’s going to affect machinery.

Longer barrels = more time in the compression chamber = faster/straighter bullet. Mosin Nagant rifles were extra long so they could double as a spear/pike line against cavalry charges while being accurate out to 2km.

Shorter barrels = more concealment/portability so you can force march 20 miles and sneak it into the meeting.

Heavier weapons are nice because they don’t recoil as much (accuracy), plus if you run out of ammunition you can just hit somebody with it.

Light triggers make for accurate shooters – and accidental firings with stupid shooters.

Plus, guns that look cool sell better than guns that don’t.

It’s like all guitars using the same string sizes. They all do the same thing, but theres a big difference between a $50 no name starter pack guitar and a $3000 dollar custom shop guitar from a major manufacturer. And to the experienced player theres preferences to take into account even in the same tiers of quality and budget. Same with guns.