Author Topic: How Much Ammo Is Enough?  (Read 56223 times)

Offline Heavy G

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How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« on: January 11, 2009, 11:15:29 AM »
I want to be prepared but resources are limited so I need to put them to the best use.  

I have some ammo but wonder if I should try to get more now (at the ridiculous prices) or see if ammo prices fall.  My idea is to focus on food and other preps while the ammo prices (and availability) gets better.  But, if I need a lot more ammo, then I'll get more.  I have a set amount each month to spend on prepping so it's either ammo or other preps (or a combo).

Even though I use a screen name, I still don't want to blab on the internet about the guns and ammo I have.  Therefore, I will provide a list of my guns that's not quite accurate and I won't say how much ammo I have; I want you guys to post with the amount you think is essential and then the amount that's ideal.

I have added a few guns to the list that I don't own and omitted a couple that I do own.  Besides, if I add a made-up gun to my list then (and you have that gun) then the responses to that will help you too.  OK, here goes.

Battle rifles

- AR-15 (.223/5.56)
- AK-47 (7.62x39)
- FN FAL (.308)

Shotgun

- 12 gauge pump (tactical set up)

Side arms

- .40 XDM
- 9mm Baretta

Hunting/Long Range Rifle

- 30-06 (scoped)
- .308 (scoped)

Pocket Pistol

- .380

.22s

- 10/22 rifle
- P22

P.S.  Allow me to anticipate some of your questions and answer them:

- No need to say I should standardize calibers.  Remember, I added some made-up guns to this list.  I am all over the standardized calibers.

- I have plenty of magazines (10 for battle rifles, 5 for pistols) and a spare parts kit (like firing pins and gas rings) for most of the battle rifles.

- Reloading is not an option for me.  Mrs. Heavy G doesn't know a thing about this so I can't exactly put a reloading operation in the garage.  Plus I doubt I would have the quality time to devote to it.  I don't want to get distracted and accidentally add twice the powder to a cartridge. 
 
« Last Edit: January 11, 2009, 11:33:42 AM by Heavy G »

Greenjeans

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2009, 03:28:42 PM »
Heavy G, good question, afterall a firearm, as a tool, is all but useless without ammo.  I have friends who have stored over 10,000 rounds of .223 and are still buying.   It's not that he thinks, as some do, that he is Rambo, and will win all his skirmishes.  But he knows that it would be difficult for a corrupt government to take away the millions of guns in our country, but easy to choke off the ammo, through taxes and fees.  How much is a pack of cigarettes now compared to 25 years ago? 

My goal is, a couple cases of fodder for each defensive system:
Keltec 16,
Glock 23 & 27, 
Savage .308 scout rifle (on my birthday list)

870 12 ga.  1,000 rds various 00, slug, bird.

For my .22 lr tools 20 bricks:
10/22
 AR 7   
Advantage Arms Glock conversion, (Father's day?)

I was plugging along slowly...now on advice from my friend at the gun shop, I have accelerated the plan.




Offline Dirt Rider 3006

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2009, 04:04:05 PM »
Never have enough..... Seriously, if you have some stocked now and are lacking somewhere else, spend it there. If all else is covered, buy some more...

Offline HYRYSC

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 05:52:32 PM »
I agree with dirtrider 3006.  Ammo is important, but certainly no more than adequate stores of food and water, so if you need some, get more of that as there are many scenario's that could play out that you would need that, much fewer scenario's that you would need a large supply of ammunition.

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2009, 08:12:43 PM »
Enough for what?  Enough for how long?

Quantity is easy enough.  If you shoot 4 rounds of skeet 50 weeks a year for 30 years, then you need 150,000 rounds.  If you are in one defensive gun use in your life, and use the average 2.3 rounds, then 3 rounds is enough.

Without any additional purchases, I would bet most people have what they "need."  The guy with a revolver in his night stand and a box of 50 cartridges will be able to fulfill the purpose (largely peace of mind) that that revolver is intended.  The guy shooting prairie dogs by the hundreds probably has several thousand rounds already on the shelf.  The prairie dog population may enjoy a modest come back but they won't be entirely safe for some time.

Just my opinion, but the guys buying 1,000s of rounds envisioning massive human wave assaults up their driveways are kidding themselves.  If we get to that point, ammo resupply is only the nearest baby blue beret away. 

Also, keep in mind the government's power to regulate "hoarding."  Executive Order 6102 limited gold ownership.  The US government may take a page from some foreign countries and limit the number of rounds you can possess.  It looks like South Africa limits gun owners to 200 rounds per firearm.  If we do that here, you will need to deliver all ammo in excess of the authorized amount to the nearest public safety and reeducation center.

Duration is the other question.  During the "great primer shortage" of the early/mid 90's, we reloaded less, shot factory ammo more, and maybe did not shoot as much.  But a couple years later, there were all the primers you wanted.  So, one needs to consider for what reason ammunition will be unavailable and then consider for how long that is likely to last.  Y2K caused some shortages and price increases, but it all went away.

If we get to the point that ammo is being taxed extensively to reduce consumption, then loss of places to use ammo will follow.  As taxes on cigarettes increased, smokers watched airplanes, portions of restaurants, public places, etc. all become off limits.  You can have all the stored ammo you want, but if ranges are closed, competitions canceled, hunting seasons suspended, etc., what is the point?  I just do not foresee a program of federal and state taxation to put the price of ammo out of reach to shooters without also affecting other aspects of firearms ownership.  It won't matter that you can't afford ammo because the magazines to stuff it in are prohibited anyway.

What if you look at the question the other way around?  If you have a 1,000 rounds of 9mm, you can shoot an IDPA match each quarter for about the next five years.  Somewhere between now and then, get another case of ammo.

As some other posters already mentioned, there are higher priority survival preparations than stockpiling ammo.

Offline spartan

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2009, 08:41:59 PM »
For my needs it comes down to, per caliber:

1000rds for my semi-auto rifles.
200rds for my bolt actions rifles.
250rds for my shotgun.
500rds for my hand guns.
At least 2 bricks of 22 lr.

That is what I can regularly shoot in a quarter and re-stock without too much pain in to the pocket.  I can also reload this many rounds, minus the 22 and shotgun, in a month with some regular time at my reloading press.  It is also good for quite a few seasons in the field for big game, small game, and fowl. 

In a survival situation, I'm not worried about roving hordes or any kind of a shooting battle.  I'm worried about making sure there is enough food on the table, water to drink, and wood to heat my house.

Offline The Professor

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 11:45:22 AM »
Quote
P.S.  Allow me to anticipate some of your questions and answer them:

- No need to say I should standardize calibers.  Remember, I added some made-up guns to this list.  I am all over the standardized calibers.

- I have plenty of magazines (10 for battle rifles, 5 for pistols) and a spare parts kit (like firing pins and gas rings) for most of the battle rifles.
 

If I may. . .

While you state that you have "Plenty of magazines," I might still recommend you get a few more.

The AK mags are pretty solid, if you take care of them.  Ditto the FAL mags.

Depending upon what brand of AR mags you have, 10 may not be enough.  The magazine is the weakest point of the AR system, especially if you're using the military issue aluminum mags.  IF you can find them, I'd snag on a couple of the MagPul PMAGS.  I use my AR's almost every week and have gone through dozens of aluminum mags due to lip malformation, etc.

However, I have a good friend of mine who runs a gun shop with indoor range.  They rent full-auto weapons and have been using three PMAG's for several years now.  These magazines are loaded, fired and reloaded several times a day.

Plus, if magazines are banned tomorrow (or, more likely, on the 21st), you may never have the opportunity to get more.   You may have to think that those 10 mags you have will have to last you the rest of your life. . .and those of your kids, if you have any.   

As to the ammo question,

I generally recommend what Spartan has, but with a twist.

1000 rds per rifle, regardless of caliber/use
500 rds per handgun, regardless of caliber/use
1000 rds per shotgun (more because this is a working weapon, you can use it for hunting to gather food and, in a pinch, for defense)

Once this is established, what I recommend is to then just purchase a box of ammo whenever you get paid.   For almost 20 years, I've gone down to where I find the lowest price and purchased a single (or more) box of ammo.  One week it would be for a rifle, the next for a handgun, the next for a shotgun, etc.

I set these back and when I have enough to fill an ammo can, I pack them in, put in a dessicant and seal the can up with info on what's inside.

I also have a basic load of ammo and mags set aside for each firearm that includes the appropriate number of magazines and ammo to fill them completely.  This way, if I only have a few seconds, I can grab a firearm and throw the bag over my shoulder and have a full load ready to go.

Some will say that this is entirely too much ammo to have. 

Fine.  But keep in mind that ammo may not be easy to get in a particular survival scenario.   Some of your friends/acquaintances may not have enough on-hand, but you may be able to provide them with an appropriate amount. It is barterable (arguable with some people) and, if you store it properly, will last a very long time.

Ammo is like money. . .you can never have too much.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 04:51:54 PM »

IF you can find them, I'd snag on a couple of the MagPul PMAGS. 


I have 5 Magpul PMAGS and 6 Bushmaster aluminium mags. 

P.S.  Professor: You have the coolest frickin' avatar ever. 

Offline simpleguy

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2009, 09:38:02 PM »
I vote for:

2500 rounds/semi auto rifle
2000 rounds/handgun
5000 rounds/.22 firearm
500-1000 cases/shotgun

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2009, 08:21:29 AM »
“Enough for what?  Enough for how long?” 

It is absolutely a question of what scenario you are preparing for… TEOTWAWKI or just an economic hard landing.   Mike, I agree with your analysis of the issue of ammo and where our country would be if they taxed ammo for regulation.  And while I’m not a smoker, neither Grandfather nor my Father (who both had lung cancer) could ever have imagined that in their lifetime most buildings would be non smoking even restaurants and bars and that smokers would be huddled in small freezing groups outside. 

The shooting sports are at least challenged and on the decline in the many areas of the US.  No shooting areas (in my neck of the woods) are growing at an alarming rate. Public hunting has fallen sharply.   New outdoor ranges are all but halted here due to EPA regulations.  While shooting sports are far from being eliminated in the US, I wouldn’t want to be a complacent frog, in a not yet boiling pot. 

As with any preparation plan one has to prioritize.  Once your basic essentials are covered, owning the means of production is important, as we do with growing food.  While not for everyone, reloading can be a relaxing distraction. It is relaxing, because it does take your concentration…kind of like sailing.  Puts my mind away from day to day concerns yet requires focus or you could die. 

Offline AGreyMan

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2009, 06:21:20 PM »
The smart-alec response is "Unless you are swimming or on fire, there is no such thing as too much ammo!"

I like to keep a floor of 1000 rounds per rifle caliber and 500 per pistol caliber. That's the floor. When I get to the point that I have that little left, I tell myself I have "none left" and don't practice until I get more.

Some folks disparage the desire to stock up on ammunition, but I can invision a few scenarios in which you might be better off with a large supply. A 500% tax on ammunition, for example. A outright ban on the manufacture of ammunition for another. Not to mention a highly unlikely complete collapse of society.

Ammo doesn't go bad (very rapidly at least: I still have some WWII Surplus GI .45 ACP that goes bang every time), hardly ever gets cheaper, and has a great store of intrinsic value. If you have your other bases covered, why not stock up?

Stay Safe,
AGreyMan

Offline Heavy G

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2009, 09:16:35 PM »
(This thread has been selected as a “best of” thread by Heavy G.  You can search for “best of” threads by using that term in the search mode.  Everyone on the forum is encouraged to reply to a post they think is “best of” worthy so we can all search for them.  For more information on the “best of” thing, see http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=3423.0 )

Offline product85

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Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2009, 03:25:56 PM »
I haven't completely been influenced by the fear in the atmosphere since early november but as a regular shooter and reloader i have been looking for bulk components and better deals for years. I just recently took inventory of live cartridges on hand and personally feel that in a SHTF scenario that i have more than enough, and that is looking at most of it going to hunt to feed myself.

What do you consider to be an adequate ammunition stockpile? I have heard ranges from a couple hundred on up to 10,000 for each caliber or firearm.

What i found as good food for thought and experienced somewhat firsthand when just recently moved.. it just weighs too much so what is a reasonable qty?

Your thoughts?

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2009, 03:37:06 PM »
I keep one or two cases of the larger caliber (.223,.40 & 9mm, not that I'll probably ever shoot it all) and small caliber (22lr which is what I shoot the most of) I do keep allot of (don't ask because its allot). It just depends on what you want to purchase and store. I'd say "normal" people may have a few boxes of what ever caliber they shoot. I like to have a little more.

Offline wbo3

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2009, 03:53:06 PM »
I keep a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on caliber.  It stands to reason that you should not need as much handgun ammo in a SHTF situation, so I keep far less of it than my rifle calibers.  The overwhelming majority of what I keep on hand is .22 LR, because it can't be reloaded (I keep dies on hand for all my other calibers, components is a different story right now), and .22 is dirt cheap.  I am guessing that most, if not all, the hunting I will do in a post SHTF world can and will be done with one of my .22s.  I have over 10K of .22lr, and will buy more if I ever find any more.  Another reason for keeping so much .22 is for practice, it is nothing for me to go out and shoot 500-1000 rounds of .22 in a single afternoon, so while 10K seems like a lot, it is really only 10-20 range sessions.  Or one REALLY fun one.  ;D

Offline chrisdfw

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2009, 05:29:51 PM »
It really depends on how much you shoot in my mind.

I can easily go through 2000 rounds a month in a pistol when I could find it.
It also depends on your gun, I keep more for the belt fed 30-06 than for the single shot 50BMG.

Whatever you feel comfortable with is fine.

Myself, I like to shoot for 10,000 per centerfire caliber. I have only got there in a couple
of calibers but it is a goal, and I am over halfway there in just about everything I shoot
except 50bmg. Most of that is training and plain FMJ ammo.

For premium self defense ammo, I try to keep 1000 rounds in each caliber whether pistol or rifle and
rarely go through it except to verify a new gun.

If you can afford it, and find it reasonable, it really will hold its value, and you can shoot it later
avoiding future price increases or at least mitigating some of it. I believe the dollar will be devalued
so I spend my money now on things that will hold up. I am looking for real esate for some of the
same reasons.


Offline Klapton

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2009, 05:43:59 PM »
I don't think you can have too much.  I'm convinced that when TSHTF, bullets will be a very popular form of currency.  They are durable, you can shove a bunch in your pocket, you can "make change" for larger calibers with 22LR...

Offline cohutt

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2009, 07:53:41 PM »
Loaded ammo? 
Not more than a couple thousand in each semi auto caliber at any one time, plus a few hundred of 44 and 45-70.
Components?
Enough that I won't have to ever buy them again.  I'm 49 and shoot quite a bit. 

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2009, 08:21:21 PM »
This topic came up on a previous thread:  http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=2141.0 .

I encourage the discussion here, it's just that the previous thread has even more good info on it.

In fact, with all the new people we have on the forum (yeah!), a good discussion here, in a fresh thread, will get out to more new people. 

Fresh is good. 

Offline cohutt

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2009, 08:35:58 PM »
Having more than you "need" for the forseable future at worst allows you to wait out the spikes and shortages like we are seeing in a lot of caliibers right now.  If something sticks and price avaiilability issues remain or become permanent you won't be sorry.

If one is shooting less handgun as not to deplete modest reserves, skills to deteriorate rapidly.   I prefer to stock ahead and avoid "range rust". 


Offline chrisdfw

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2009, 08:36:12 PM »
Also, keep in mind the government's power to regulate "hoarding."  Executive Order 6102 limited gold ownership.  The US government may take a page from some foreign countries and limit the number of rounds you can possess.  It looks like South Africa limits gun owners to 200 rounds per firearm.  If we do that here, you will need to deliver all ammo in excess of the authorized amount to the nearest public safety and reeducation center.

Perhaps I can deliver the lead at high velocity, while using up the powder and primer and retaining the brass.

I will not be a slave. You may kill me, but I will not be reeducated. I will be free.

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2009, 08:43:17 PM »
I must say that the ammo shortage has changed my view on this.  Not because I'm hoarding or have gone nuts.  I just like knowing that if I shoot a brick of .22LR I won't be out for a few months and I won't have to drive around looking for ammo at various stores.


Offline product85

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2009, 02:12:43 PM »
I
I must say that the ammo shortage has changed my view on this.  Not because I'm hoarding or have gone nuts.  I just like knowing that if I shoot a brick of .22LR I won't be out for a few months and I won't have to drive around looking for ammo at various stores.

I hear that a lot

22LR is about the only thing i can think of that i would like to have a seemingly infinite supply of, as for now the goal i am reaching for will be 10,000 on hand but i too am one to empty a brick in a few hours from my revolver. one thing to slow me down in i don't have or shoot any semi auto 22s. Other calibers i try to have about 250 factory rounds on hand with the exception of one centerfire caliber i would like to have a 1:2 ratio up to 1500 in defensive and ball ammo. Mostly my intentions are to acquire a good supply of components, as a big reloader i used to feel OK with having enough to reload 1000 of each caliber on hand but in looking at the savings (and the scarcity of components) in bulk numbers like 5000 i would really like to maintain a personal inventory to load for this qty.

Even with my loaded cartridges i already have on hand i don't see any short term scenario where i would need to use all of them to get by. Even if it was a couple of months of just using ammo to hunt with i would have more than enough to suffice. I think from a savings standpoint qty is a great idea if purchases can be made in bulk as opposed to a box at a time, but in a survival SHTF and you gotta get up and go too much ammo could work against you just in the logistics of trying to transport. I would be willing to bet the best bet for this situation would be to have Bug out Ammo can stocked with the predetermined calibers that is enough to get up and go.  I think this would keep a lot of people grounded with the idea of what is really necessary. or atleast a can per person. I could be wrong but that is my current thought on the topic.

Offline liftsboxes

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2009, 02:22:13 PM »
I would say that you want to keep as much on hand as you would normally go through in a 3 to 6 month period.  How much is that?  I don't know.  Do you practice regularly?  How much of your plan involves hunting vs agriculture?  Do you live in an area that you are more likely to have to defend yourself against looters, or does your geo offer you defensive space.

Something to remember however, First In First Out.  Cycle through your ammo.

Buying in bulk does save money, but if what you need to do is pick up a 50 round box on payday to start putting some away then just do that little bit to start.

Offline Jimbo

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2009, 07:43:59 PM »
 No such thing as too much ammo... I rest easy when every .50 cal & 7.62  ammo can (s) designated for each caliber I own is filled with ammo ;D

Offline cohutt

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2009, 07:50:02 PM »
No such thing as too much ammo... I rest easy when every .50 cal & 7.62  ammo can (s) designated for each caliber I own is filled with ammo ;D

As long as it is loose and no space is wasted with boxes and packaging.

 ;D

Offline product85

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Re: Ammunition stockpile, how much is too much?
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2009, 03:33:53 PM »
No such thing as too much ammo... I rest easy when every .50 cal & 7.62  ammo can (s) designated for each caliber I own is filled with ammo ;D
As long as it is loose and no space is wasted with boxes and packaging.

 ;D

if you have any extras that just don't fit in their designated box you can make a misc can to fill up and i'll take her off your hands, i'll do my part to keep your stock pile neat and organized ;D

Offline punkndisorderly

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2009, 06:13:13 AM »
Such a simple question, but so complex to figure out. There's a lot of things to consider. Some that I've thought about when selecting my stock:

What firearms do I consider serious as opposed to range toys? There are firearms I own that I would never consider using othr than for some fun range time. There are others that I would likely rely on in a disaster scenario. For the "toys", I try to have enough on hand that I can go two months withouut runniong out. When I hit that 2 month level, I order more (which usually takes 1-2 months). For the "serious" I try to have at least 6 months. The "toys" get shot less than the "serious" ones, so I have about 200 rounds for the toys but about 1500-2000 rounds for my serious guns.

What do I intend to do with that ammo? A rifle that will be tasked solely with hunting large game will need much less ammo for it than a rifle to be tasked with defense. 100 rounds of .30/06 for your deer rifle will last a long time if taking deer and other large animals is all you'll use it for. If it's zero'ed and you don't intend on changing anything, that's a whole lot of deer. 100 rounds for defensive rifle can go quick. You might run through 100 rounds in one encounter.

How long could I honestly expect to survive over the course of multiple hostile encounters? I don't honestly expect to still be around to fire 10,000 rounds in anger. If the stituation ever got to the point that roving mobs were about, I'd probably end up dead before I ran out of ammo. If a fluke happened, and I made it through several firefights, there should be enough "battlefield pickups" to keep going. 

What kind of ammo do I need to stock? I try to have ~200 rounds of defensive ammo for any defensive firearm. That means good hollowpoints for my pistols and Hornady TAP for my AR's. For hunting, I try to have good hunting ammo. Yes, you can defend yourself with ball ammo and you can hunt with it too. However, if that shot means me eating or going hungry, I want to make sure that deer/hog/squirrel goes down. If that shot means the difference between a bad guy getting a shot at me or not, agian I want a round designed for optimal results. For a shotgun which will have multiple uses, multiple types of ammo will be needed. Slugs for deer, busck shot for defense, medium loads for geese, birgd shot for small birds.


Considering these questions will get you in the ball park to shoot for. However, you need to also consider your total state of preparedness. I'd rather have the full range of preparedness supplies and a small amount of ammo than 100 firearms and 100's of thousands of rounds of ammo and little else.If you feel differently, I hope you live far away as that makes you either a dead man or a looter should a survival situation ever happen.

Offline Darkwinter

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2009, 08:05:03 AM »
If your ammo will no longer fit in your home, you have too much ammo.

 ;D

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Re: How Much Ammo Is Enough?
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2009, 08:31:20 AM »
ok try this equation.

P+Y+F= :)

find P by adding up alll ammo used to practice in a month say 200 rounds X 12 months = 2400 rounds
find y, y is the amount of ammo you need for 2 years of practice  4800 rounds
find f, f is the amount of ammo you might want to use for trade i.e. trade ammo to a friend for engine repair (never trade ammo to a stranger unless you want to get shot with your own previousely owned ammo)  say 1000 rounds

P(2400)+Y(4800)+F(1000)= :) 8200 rounds 

this seems to be a safe amount of ammo for a regularly practicing MBR.  you DO PRACTICE right?  i personally only have about 2600 rounds for my MBR.  i was buying bulk ammo pretty regularly until "the giant liberal ammunition scare of 2009"  now i'll start buying ammo again and keep a look out for the super ammo deals that could be coming out late this year.