Intermediate distances are those distances that are between set or known distances. It is a vague term that many shooters take to mean 50 through 500 yards. Obviously, this is something that can vary based on the situation or person applying the term. For the sake of this article, the definition is quite simple. Intermediate distance is 50 through 500 yards, for those individuals in other countries, use a meter instead of a yard. The difference will shift a bit, however, not enough to change the definition for the sake of this article.
On the internet there is a large disparity between what people say they can do and what they actually can do. It is my and many other shooters experience that there are many who say they can or have or do, when it comes to shooting. However, there are but a few who actually take the time necessary to train and become truly good at it regardless their chosen tools. For the large majority of shooters out there hitting a barn at 100 yards is difficult when under pressure. Of course, if they sandbag their firearms or place them in shooting sleds they can post 3 shot groups all day that look sexy.
An intermediate range firearm is designed to allow a shooter to hit combat groups at distances between 50 and 500 yards. Either standing, seated or prone if one can reliably hit a target from 50 through 500 yards they have a solid intermediate firearm. An additional requirement is that it be in a caliber that is ballistically capable of incapacitating animal or man depending on need at the time.
Currently the calibers that are most popular and fit these requirements include but are not limited too the following;
- .223 remington or 5.56×45 nato (they are able to be used alternatively in rifles chambered for 5.56×45.
- The com bloc version is 5.45×39, a ballistically superior round for incapacitation with solid loads though not all will agree with me.
- 7.62×39 a com bloc round that is very similar to the next round on the list,
- 30-30 winchester a popular american deer hunting round.
- .300 blackout a newer addition to the pool of intermediate cartridges but quite popular as well.
- Lastly for the sake of the article, the .243 winchester should be included.
Obviously there are many other wildcat and standard cartridges depending on where you live however, the ones listed are currently among the most popular in use in the United States and with many militaries and police around the world. This means that they are readily available.
So lets answer the question, why have a rifle in an intermediate caliber? The simple answer is this, most shooters are incapable of utilizing the benefits of large caliber rifles. So for the sake of weight, accuracy and ability it is most beneficial for the average shooter to stick with one of the above calibers versus spending far too much on a caliber or rifle/ scope combination that will be very expensive, heavy to carry and in the end without real benefit for the user.
Unless you plan on really putting in the time to gain the benefits of a large caliber rifle, buy a carbine and practice with that. You will quickly find that it will work quite well in most cases and for most sizes of game in the United States, remembering of course that it is where you hit that matters far more than with what in most instances.
Free the mind and the body will follow