Minimum Quantity Of Ammo To Have On Hand

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by neil-v1, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. neil-v1

    neil-v1 Old Member

    I was wondering what everyones idea of a minimum quantity of ammo to have on hand is? I know probably as much as can be afforded, but I am trying to reach a level to where I can relax a bit on the ammo but I am curious as to what others think. Thanks for your ideas.
  2. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    A lot will depend upon what you expect to be dealing with. I recommended to our kids that they have 1,000 rounds minimum for their MBR (main battle rifle -- or shotgun) and 500 rounds for their defensive handgun(s) and at least 200 rounds for other firearms. The exception is 22 rimfire ammo. There should be a minimum of 1,000 rounds with 5,000 rounds an even better number. These are minimums. I'd like for them to have about twice that amount eventually.

    Many will disagree with these numbers and want to store much more ammo. I don't anticipate endless battles. Combat isn't like a Rambo movie. You don't usually survive those kinds of multiple encounters. Gun battles will be avoided if at all possible but if they must be fought get the advantage any way you can. Our group is composed of family members and NONE of them are expendable.

  3. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    For hunting? A years supply would be equal to what you shoot for pratice and sighting in as well as for hunting. For me, that means having 100 rounds for my rifle for a year.

    Wildmist has her "varmit" rifle and currently has around 1,000 rounds for it. Two boxes of 525 rounds for $40 each box. Nothing spectacular, just .22LR "varmit-specials". Cheap, cheap, cheap.

    If the SHTF I would probably want to have 5 years supply of hunting shells for my rifle, so, 500 rounds would do the trick. The reason for that is my rifle is bolt-action with a 5-round magazine. Can't have any more than that for hunting in Canada. I don't know if I would want to have more than 5-rounds in the magazine either - the amount of pain my shoulder would be in after doing 10-rounds is more than enough :gaah:

    I don't imagine that I would be shooting at people - I eat what I kill. :dunno:
  4. goose

    goose Active Member

    Well, I'm not going to disagree, because I mostly agree.

    I'd always thought about 2000 for MBR, maybe 1000 for each handgun. But what I wanted more than that is the ability to make more. I reload, so I've laid in a supply of powder, primer, and bullets.

    But the numbers seem right to me.

    To me, it's more of a long-term supply than enough to fight a battle--you're right, you don't tend to survive those things. I never want to shoot my weapons in anger, as it means I have failed to prevent that kind of scenario from unfolding.

    It reminds me of poker--when you go "all-in," you've put it all on the line. Seems to me the goal in a survival situation is to never have to go all-in, and any time you're in a gunfight, you've just done that.
  5. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer


    Har, har, har! Made me smile! :D
  6. saintsfanbrian

    saintsfanbrian Liberty or Death!!!!

    It depends on the situation. If you are preparing for the SHTF scenario of a government take over then you need a lot more than 1000 rounds per MBR. If you are preparing for a collapse of the government for a period of time then the numbers mentioned above sound about right.

    I have enough for buth my MBR and BBR that I can survive for a while without having to reload though I am looking into getting reloading equipment for my MBR and BBR. Personal defense handgun has enough to be effective. Remember this should only be used to get you to your MBR or when your MBR is out completely.

    The short answer is - as much as I can get.
  7. NotSoFast

    NotSoFast Member

    10,000 rounds of battle rifle ammo, 5,000 round of hunting ammo for each weapon.

    While you may never use it all, it will definitely be one of the big things wanted in barter.

    And think on this. When I am practicing like I should, I use up ammo at the rate of 5,000 to 10,000 rounds a year. Now I admit that in a real life survival situation we are going to conserve ammo. But at the same time we will need to practice to keep our skills honed. So these numbers aren't that far off of what some experts have recommended.

    Oh, and as many .22lr as you can stash and probably 500 rounds of mixed shotgun ammo.
  8. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    I've always wondered about the large amounts of ammo burned up for practice. In the past when people used muzzleloaders I doubt if they used 5,000 rounds in a lifetime yet they tended to be excellent shots. Why do we need so many just to saty in "shooting shape?" I have nothing against burning through pounds of gunpowder but I do question whether it is necessary to do so.
  9. NotSoFast

    NotSoFast Member

    Maybe because we refuse to ask experts for help. Also, our weapons seem to be more complicated with more things to learn.

    For example, I must have gone through 500 rounds figuring out the best position for my trigger finger on my pistol...and it's not the same for my revolver. :mad:

    Besides, I like to make and hear things go *BANG* :D
  10. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    IMHO, mosquitomountainman has the right idea but if you have the means to buy and store, obviously get more.

    I'd like to throw out a multiplier though. Instead of these numbers be per household (assumed in the discussion), I like these numbers "per weapon", or at minimum, "per person". E.g. If you have (2) .223's, you'll want 2000 rounds or more. If you have a family of 4, you may want to have 4000 rounds. Each member needs to practice.

    For now, it's against my better judgment to barter ammo away. I guess it's a mental philosophy of "whomever has the last bullet, wins". Depending on the level of SHTF, if it gets real bad, the ammo will disappear before the weapons do. If that's the case, people may trade their ammo-less firearms for food. If you have the ammo for it, it's back in service to your benefit.
  11. saintsfanbrian

    saintsfanbrian Liberty or Death!!!!

    It takes a few rounds to get a rifle sighted in. Once in you should not have to spend those same rounds unless something happens.

    Also - remember that .22. The rounds are cheap and you can learn marksmanship with it that should carry over to other rifles/pistols. The mechanics are the same regardless of what you are shooting. Should you train with all of your weapons? Of course. This is also why I tend to use common rounds in my rifles and pistols.
  12. HarleyRider

    HarleyRider Comic Relief Member

    The minimum amount of ammo to have on hand can easily be computed according to the following formula:

    a + b = c , where:

    a = the amount of ammo you currently have on hand.
    b = the amount of ammo you currently can afford to buy.
    c = your new amount of ammo, which now equals "a".

    Now repeat this formula over and over and over and over.... :D:D:D
  13. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

    I wrote this a couple of years ago. But it seems worth sharing again, even if the prices quoted below have already doubled!

    How much ammo should I have?

    First and foremost I am a firm believer in “Buy it cheap and stack it deep.” I mean – c’mon, what other useful yet consumable item has 100+ year shelf life? Can you ever have too much ammo? Answer – of course not! And yet there are practical considerations. Most of us do not have the funds to buy ammo by the pallet for every cartridge we wish to keep on hand. Therefore, we must prioritize. Part of doing that is deciding how much of any given caliber (i.e. cartridge) is “enough” even if it is just “enough for now.” The basis for deciding how much is enough hinges on three questions:

    * What is the intended use?
    * How many people are you stocking ammo for?
    * How long before you expect to resupply?

    If you can answer these questions, then how much ammo to acquire and store will be obvious. Let’s eliminate the last question first. How long before resupply? Question: Do you think that an ammunition shortage or significant price appreciation is likely at any time in the future? I do. There is no political will to stop an ammunition manufacturing tax, or ammunition import tariff. I will leave that statement to stand on its own merits because I hesitate to give the gun grabbers any more confidence than they already have. Suffice to say that we shooters would vote the incumbents out of office during the next election. But even if we did so, governments are revenue sucking machines. No such tariff would ever be likely to be repealed. The domestic supply of cheap ammunition will evaporate over night just as it did for the steel core ammunition banned from import by executive order in the 1980s. Those cartridges which sold for 10 cents per round then, are now worth $1 each if you can find them.

    Is it already too late? Popular 7.62x39 is already back ordered for up to six months at most suppliers. This backlog has been in place for months. I have not yet heard a reasonable explanation. If you agree that buying when a product costs less is better than buying at a higher price, or if you agree that a future ammunition shortage is likely - you probably want to store enough ammunition to last you at least a decade.
    How many people are you stocking ammo for? Let’s start with yourself as the primary shooter and you can double the amount if you have a spouse who is an active shooter, triple if you have a child, etc. But for now, let’s consider just one shooter and let the rest of the math follow along in multiples of our one shooter calculations.
    Now, what is the intended use? If you are the kind of hunter who fires only one or two shots a year, you probably aren’t concerned with storing ammunition anyway. If you are a recreational shooter (backyard plinker or competitive sportsman) you can calculate your usual usage based on how much shooting you typically do. Fifty cartridges per weekend might be considered a reasonable amount. Competitive shooters will easily burn through ten times that, but Jr. who goes through a box of 22 cartridges in an afternoon of tin can punching, or Joe who throws 50 shells on the skeet range is probably more typical. Some of us shoot more than that in one sitting (especially with high capacity magazines) but we may only shoot once per month. 200 cartridges one weekend per month works out to the same monthly total as 50 cartridges per weekend. So we’ll go with that estimate and you can modify the conclusion to reflect your own habits.
    Fifty per weekend = 2,600 cartridges per year. A mere decade’s supply would be an unbelievable TWENTY SIX THOUSAND CARTRIDGES!!! But don’t be scared by the sticker shock when you start thinking about the investment required to put up 26,000 factory loaded cartridges for your 300 Win Mag. Chances are good that most of those cartridges will be pistol loads or 22 rim fire. In addition, reloading ammunition represents a huge potential cost savings. About half my shooting is done with 22 rimfire ammo. My son and I fire about 100 cartridges per month in one or two sittings. The total monthly cost for this is a mere $2 per month. I ask you – what provides more father/son entertainment per dollar? At a rate of one 550 round “brick” of ammo per paycheck it would take me less than a year to stockpile a full ten year supply of 13,000 cartridges. Let me say that again, if I bought just one brick of 22 ammunition per paycheck, I’d have a ten year supply of 22 ammo on hand before a year was up. As of this writing my local Wal-Mart has the best local price on 22LR ammunition. They offer both Federal and Remington brand hollow point, copper washed, loose packed cartridges in boxes of 550 for less than nine dollars per box including the sales tax. The grand total for a ten year supply would be $212 for twenty three 550 round boxes. That’s not a huge investment but you might get some unwanted attention if you take home that much ammunition at once. I’d recommend picking up one or two bricks per month and rotating your purchases between three or four stores. The remainder of my shooting is mostly centerfire rifle ammunition. For simplicity’s sake let’s assume that they are all 308 cartridges. If I buy in 500 round cases of full metal jacket (FMJ) ammunition or reload soft point hunting loads the cost is less than 20 cents per cartridge ($20 per month). The current price for FMJ 308 ammunition is $100 per 500 cartridges. Buying in multi-case lots or reloading may lower your cost to nearly half that. Buying a case per month is an option, or even twice a year. If you buy a thousand round case above your daily use twice per year it would take six years to collect a ten year supply. If you have the financial resources to buy thirteen cases at once then you can be geared up immediately.

    Before we leave the topic of intended use, consider that if (God forbid) your family needs to defend your retreat from armed attackers, you may exhaust an enormous amount of ammunition very, very quickly.

    When can you expect resupply? In the case of continued price hikes, never at a better price. In the case of a ban, never at any price. There will never be a better time to buy.

    Conclusions: If you can answer the three questions of: what use? how many? and how long before resupply? You can tweak the above examples to match your own objectives. They key concept is that stocking up now, to take advantage of a buyers’ market is prudent. The first step is recognizing that you have a need to store ammunition. The second is recognizing that this is the time to buy. The third is deciding how much you need.

    What should we do? There is only one answer. Buy now. Buy for the ammo you plan to expend in backyard plinking. Buy for the ammo you plan to shoot or reload next year. Buy for the hunting loads that you plan to expend in the next few years to practice with for each season. Buy what you feel is prudent for self defense. Buy today, because tomorrow may be too late. If you don’t, who will arm the next generation of shooters – or for that matter the hunters coming of age in the next decade? We owe it to our children. If the sort shortage that I am talking about occurs, you will have invested in a commodity that has a hundred year shelf life at a fraction of the replacement value.
    Reality check: Let’s take a moment to double check the reasonableness of my conclusions. Is a ten year supply of ammo really necessary? Is it worth the financial investment? Yes, if God forbid, you need that ammunition to feed or defend your family, you would gladly have paid ten times the cost in retrospect. But what if I’m wrong? What if I am running in circles yelling that the sky is falling? What if no ban or price hike happens in the next five or ten or twenty years? Will you lose anything at all by buying a commodity that you will use later? Quite to the contrary – if no change in the supply or demand for ammunition occurs, but inflation continues unabated (let’s assume just 2% inflation per year to be conservative) your investment appreciates 10% in monetary value in just five years. You probably would not earn 2% interest on funds in a savings account. If your salary did not go up every year you would be losing purchasing power. So even by this conservative estimate, you have nothing to lose. At the very worst, you invest money in a hobby that you love and retain the ability to defend those you care about. That sounds like money well spent to me – even if nothing happens.
  14. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    GM - you have some excellent points. My only concern on the ammo issue is that people maintain a balance in their preps. In other words, don't spend all of your available funds on ammo then not have enough food. We use a graduated approach, buying ammo and reloading supplies as part of the overall picture. A year's worth of ammo, a year's worth of food, etc. then add to the supplies in the same proportions. Once you've reacehed your goals to meet your overall needs for a year, two years or whatever your goal is met then work on acquiring extras for trade/barter or just investments.

    The thing is, you need to have all of your needs met. Starving with no food but 50,000 rounds of ammo isn't real bright! On the other hand, if your have ten years of food on hand and no means to defend/keep it you are in an equally bad situation.

    As for using guns to take food from others???? (As some plan to do.) A person with this mentality won't last long either. There's no doubt in my mind that the people with the foresight to stock up on food have probably made plans to keep it.

    At our camp, if someone wanders in who has killed another person, family or group to steal their food, I will shoot them myself. I just don't want people like that in my neighborhood.
  15. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    MMM - I think that you have the right idea - everything in moderation! Need to have a balance between food, clothing, shelter(s), hunting-gear, fishing gear, etc. Too much of one particular type of preparation limits another type (unless you are so rich that money doesn't matter anymore) ... :wave: