One of the favorite tactics of “gun control” organizations when demonizing AR-15s, AK-47-pattern rifles, and other “assault weapons”* is to decry them as being “high-powered” rifles unsuitable for civilian use.
As with so many things those organizations proclaim, that is simply not true.
The following graphic was built with numbers provided by the respective calibers’ Wikipedia pages, with the exception of 12 gauge, where the numbers came from Winchester Ammunition‘s line of 1 ounce slugs. These numbers should be considered approximate averages, given the differences generated by barrel lengths, powder loading, bullet weight, and so forth, but the data will be sufficient for the point I am making.
It is worth noting that the .223 / 5.56 were developed in 1963, the 7.62×39 in 1944, the .30-06 in 1906, the 7mm Remington Magnum in 1962, and the .300 Winchester Magnum in 1963. It is difficult to truly date the 12 gauge caliber, but the concept of a shotgun has been around since at least 1728.
It is also worth noting that the AR-15, by dint of its modular nature, can support a wide variety of other calibers; however, even the most energetic (.50 Beowulf, I believe) still falls a few hundred foot-pounds short of the venerable .30-06. Additionally, it is the niche product of a niche market; in other words, you are unlikely to see one, ever.
So, no, neither AR-15s nor AK-pattern rifles nor pretty much any other form of “assault weapons” could be considered “high-powered” rifles when compared against the rifles that millions of American hunters take into the forests every year, many of which are chambered in calibers developed decades before the AR/AK’s.
As usual, if the “gun control” organizations did not lie, they would have nothing to say.
(* – The arbitrary, capricious, and ultimately meaningless definition of “assault weapon” will be addressed in a later post.)