Thursday, October 23, 2008

How Much Ammunition is Enough?

In a comment to the post, "What to Buy Right Now!", dw asks "... what would one consider to be enough ammo and/or magazines to have on hand?"

That is a question that has been bantered about the gun forums, gun shops, gun ranges and pretty much anywhere gunnies have gathered ever since the first gunnie said his hellos to the second gunnie. I'll bet this is a conversation flint knappers held as they were plying their trade. The answer is pretty subjective. I am comfortable maintaining an inventory of a thousand rounds or more per caliber. Todd Jarret's comfort level is in the hundreds of thousands of rounds in inventory (and components to make a few more hundreds of thousands of rounds on hand). Others are happy with one extra box of ammo.

The minimum level of ammunition in my inventory to keep me comfortable may be more or less than what comforts you, so just use this as a general idea of where you can start. Your comfort level will probably be determined by expense and threat. How much can you afford to spend building up your inventory and why are you building an inventory. Are you stocking up on a commodity before the prices rise? Or are you preparing for a short term SHTF situation, or maybe even TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it)?

This is what I prefer to keep on hand, it makes me comfortable. I rotate my ammunition similar to rotating food stores. The quantities listed are in sealed boxes/ammo cans. Before opening a new case/box/ammo can, I purchase it's replacement (that is the intent anyway).

1. I like to keep 5000 rounds of .22 lr on hand. If I need it for trade, I have it. If ammo prices skyrocket, I have a nice supply of .22 to keep me sharp. If our local food supply is temporarily interrupted, the .22 is a great small game harvesting round.

2. I keep 1000 rounds of each caliber of a firearm that I shoot often and own for defensive purposes. That is pretty much all my firearms that I own except 1. Remember this is boxed ammo. This does not include the ammo I have in magazines.

3. I keep 200 rounds of 30-30 to feed my Grandfather's Model '94.

I know many people that keep much more ammunition than this on hand.

As to how many magazines to have on hand for each semi auto firearm, I'm still working that out. If a bill such as H.R. 1022 passes, you will never be able to purchase a new standard capacity magazine for your firearm. I would recommend, as a minimum, 5 magazines for your pistol and 10 for your rifle.

I hope that some of you folks reading this jump in and offer up some advice for dw here. Like I mentioned, I keep what makes me comfortable. At this place and time, these are the quantities that make me comfortable.


"Zack" said...

I highly respect your opinions and it feels good that I'm pretty close to your thinking on this. Some ammo I stock up on in anticipation of it not being readily available forever, i.e. the manufacturer dropping it from their line, such as the erstwhile Federal Nyclad .38 special. Some ammo I stock up on when I find a sale.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the feedback jr. seems like i am pretty much in line with your ammo stock. of course it sure does worry the wife having such quantities on hand in the house. i surely need to stock up on the magazines and i think i will do a little shopping right now. on a sidebar, i keep a spreadsheet of all my weapons, type, caliber, purchase price, serial numbers and so on. i do the same with my ammo. makes it easier to take a quick look when i am shopping. keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

14.6 million rounds combined for all firearms that one owns is a good start...:)

Thirdpower said...

I keep my stock at about 50% of yours. 2-3K of .22 and about 500 rounds of each other caliber.

Skullz said...

I agree with a lot of what you wrote. However, I tend to keep more pistols caliber ammo (9mm specifically) because I intentionally bought a 9mm carbine and my "high cap" handguns are all 9mm. So, I keep around 8k rounds of 9mm, but only 2k rounds of 45ACP - even though my daily carry and game guns are 1911s in 45ACP.

I keep 10k rounds of 22 for all the reasons you stated. 200 rounds of 7mm Rem Mag for the same reasons as your 30-06.

I also buy whatever caliber I own if it's on sale - like last night; Dick's sporting good was still selling 9mm UMC ammo for $79 for 500 rounds and 00 Buck for $2 after rebate (5 rounds) and 7mm Rem for $15 after a $10 rebate.

B Smith said...

Man, I would never post what ammunition I keep 'squirreled away' (if any, so there). It's no more anyone's business than my valuable figurine collection or my unhealthy eating habits.
In the event of unfavorable, near-future legislation, you make yourself a target for the federal ninja squad (and their local groupie wannabes). In the event that the shit really DOES hit the fan, you make yourself a target for 'zombies', thieves, and every other form of lowlife scum left on the planet.
For the insatiably curious, as well as whatever lowlife scum may now be reading this, I'll tell you this: I have enough to be well-armed and highly MOBILE. Ammunition is nice, but it's only a small part of my defense. you'll have to find (and catch) me, and along the way I will try my damndest to ensure it's not worth the chase.

John R said...

b - I purchase my bulk ammo online and I use either a debit or a credit card. The "federal ninja squad" already has my number. As a matter of fact, they probably think I have more ammo on hand than I do since they do not track my shooting habits.

As for the local goblins, I guess I'll just have to handle that situation as it arises.

Unknown said...

What to do when you can't afford enough?

The following is what I believe I should have. Sadly, I do not have the $$$ to be anywhere close to this? So what do you do?

Any advice is much appreciated....


I'm of the opinion for the following for firearms

- Handguns (4-6 magazines for most, 6 for a carry is better. Two should be "lower capacity magazines - you need something to hand over when they come to collect).

- Revolvers (2+ speed loaders if available)

- BUGS (2-3 magazines, these are usually less used firearms. They are secondary units.)

- Primary Rifles ( at least 4 hi-cap, 6-10 is probably useful for primary rifles.)

- Aux. Rifles (2 magazines, if magazines are used).



Carry Gun: 5,000 minimum (Wish: 25K)

Handguns: 1,500 minimum (Wish: 5K)

Revolvers: 3,500 minimum (because if ammo becomes unavailable, and you wind up having to reload. Revolvers are much more tolerant of poor load quality.) (Wish: 10K)

Primary Rifles: 5,000+ (Wish: 50K)

Aux. Rifles: 500 minimum (Wish: 2,500K)

.22 LR: 10K minimum (Wish: 50K)

- N.U.G.U.N.

John R said...


Unless you come into a lot of $, you can not reach your wish list over night. Hit your minimums first, a little each pay day. Watch for deals on the gun boards, have a yard sale to build up your ammo fund, maybe streamline your selection of firearms a bit to reduce the number of calibers needed to inventory.


Just remember that ammo is not your only priority. Food stores and the like should also be considered.

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