How Much Ammo Do You Need?

By: Yukon Mike

Photo by: Ken

A common question is; how much ammo should I store for SHTF?

First, several questions need to be asked.

1. Exactly what are you storing it for? For the Survivalist, it is food gathering (hunting) and home or self-defense.

2. How long will the situation causing the need last? Let’s assume TSHTF and commonsense says it will be 5 years. So for a baseline let’s use a five (5) year SHTF time frame.

3. Could buying and storing ammo be a legitimate investment like gold? Yes and very likely as a barter item for stuff you may need and can’t buy. In my case yes, it has because most was bought 8-10 years ago when .223’s were $125/1,000.

Let’s look at the food gathering ammo needed for five (5) years.

Hunting Large Game

Using a centerfire rifle or a shotgun using slugs: (stock 180 rounds)

Your centerfire hunting rifle or the very capable shotgun really doesn’t need a large amount of cartridges if used for larger animal food gathering. If you live in a game rich area and depending on the size of your family or group, you may take 2-6 deer or similar sized game per year. Another point about large game harvesting. To make it last you must have refrigeration or be skilled at preserving it with other means like salting or canning.

Let’s assume you know how to hunt game and the worst case is 3 shots for the kill or three rounds per animal. At the kill/ammo rate mentioned that’s 18 cartridges a year for six animals. For five years of hunting that’s only 90 rounds!

Now let’s say Murphy’s Law is around so things aren’t going to be perfect and the kill shot attempts are many due to long distances and misses are likely. Or something you really didn’t plan on, relatives who didn’t prep move in and now you have to feed them also. So for a backup amount my preference would be to store 2x the perfect amount (90) or 180 rounds for the five years.

Hunting Small Game

Using a shotgun with #6 shot: (stock 3,000 rounds of #6 shot)

Shotguns are the ultimate and most productive food gathering tool. From rabbits and squirrels to birds and deer you just can’t beat this gun. With a shotgun you may have to hunt 2-3 times per week or about 150 hunts per year. If you use 2 rounds per hunting day, that’s 300 rounds per year or for five years 1,500 rounds!

My preferred shot size is #6 for small game and birds because the bb’s are large enough to kill quickly and there are fewer of them so you tend not to destroy the meat with many smaller hits. I don’t try and stock specific shot sizes for specific game, it will add considerably to the cost of your stock and is basically a waste of your money.

Using my 2x rule that comes to 600 shot shells per year or for 5 years is 3,000 rounds to store. Kind of a surprising amount isn’t it!

Hunting Small Game

Using a 22 rimfire: (stock 3,000 rounds)

The 22 is a great small game rifle. Accurate out to 75 yards they are the most inexpensive food gathering tools you can own and use.
Using the same hunting scenario as the shot gun, 150 hunts per year, you need to store 3,000 rounds for a five year period.

Personal Defense, Concealed Carry Hand Guns

For your primary pistol caliber: (stock 1,000 rounds)

Hand guns are necessary during SHTF. They are for concealed carry for immediate protection or to get you safely back to your home or to suitable defense weapons. Calibers can be any of the most common like the 38 special, 9mm, 40 cal and 45 cal. Because these are so common they have good prices on this ammo so it’s easy and cheap to stock up on enough to meet your needs.

It is difficult to come up with an amount to stock because the hand gun is mainly for defense so it shouldn’t be used much if at all. So for some target practice I would think 200 rounds per year would be good or 1,000 rounds for five years.

Home Defense

Centerfire Rifles, Carbines or Shotguns: (stock the amount that gives you comfort)

Let’s hope this need never materializes, but it can. Remember Watts, New Orleans after Katrina and other cities that the so called underprivileged or unprepared go nuts! If you are counting on the overpaid and incompetent police force to help you during this time forget it, they will be nowhere to be found and you’re on your own!

This is a situation that you must thoughtfully review multiple scenarios of attacks against your home and how you would counter them.

Here where I live, we average a murder every two days, some are drive-bys firing through the walls of a house and killing kids in their beds. My point here is the walls of your home don’t stop bullets so what would you do for cover? Think about it!

So how much ammo should you stock form home defense? Hard to say but the amount chosen for each weapon you have should give you comfort.


  1. Here where I live, we average a murder every two days, some are drive-bys firing through the walls of a house and killing kids in their beds. My point here is the walls of your home don’t stop bullets so what would you do for cover? Think about it!

    Good Lord, Yukon Mike, what the heck are you doing there? Where I live, we haven’t had a murder in the entire county since 2001.

    So far as ammo requirements for hunting, I stock more rifle, less shotgun, also more .22lr than you recommend. I also stock a lot of .177 cal pellets for the 2 airguns I own. And some slugs and buck shot for deer hunting, and #4s for ducks and geese(which are real plentiful).

    Requirements differ depending on where one lives, I can’t imagine an urban dweller being able to do a lot of hunting with a firearm. I would turn more to an airgun, and snares and traps in that environment, though traps are effective in my rural area, also.

    For self-defense, that’s about right for me. The other, better listen to canyonman. He’s my adviser on that number.

  2. Get good base supply of ammo for all guns and store it … Then buy as available if possible to practice or add to supply…unless you reload the ammo supply will eventually dry up or sale of ammo stopped by executive order.. It can be done and only the courts can reverse the order…the stuff does not go bad if kept dry……

  3. Very quickly the only game left will be small game like pigeons and rats. Big game will move up and far away and you will have neither time nor calories to go get them and then drag the meat back. Until disease in high density urban areas kicks in, you may be forced to thin the 2 legged heard with a bit of lead poisoning, for your own preservation. As it is often said you can never have too much ammo. Remember it will be more valuable than money. Spend it wisely.

  4. +1 about ammo passing thru walls. When I lived in a little apartment in town about 10 years ago somebody shot a 22 at the building. It went thru the outside wall, then thru a inside sheetrock wall, then thru the shower door and stopped somewhere in between the shower stall and wall.

    • Canyonman says:

      Amen, brother. And it’s one of the reasons the ‘burbs can and will be a very bad place when SHTF. Check out this site – all fact, no opinion, to see how “bulletproof” things actually are:

      • Nice link, thank you. Ya it was a real eye opener. Some people have to learn the hard way cities are gonna be a CF. I scrimped and saved and lived in a little travel trailer for 2 years with no water or elec. I learned a long time ago I don’t need much. I am spoiled now though…solar….running hot/cold water. People take 2 things more than anything for granted….hot showers and ice cubes IMO 🙂

    • Enzo Pamrona says:

      I was at an apartment one night with some missionaries having a religious discussion with the occupant. We wre all sitting around the living room when we heard a “thunk” and a hole appeared in the wall not 6″ from one of the deler’s heads. On investigation, an occupant of the adjoining apartment had fired a Crossman CO2 BB gun in the living room and it penetrated three walls to get to where we were sitting. Just a plain ol’ BB! We said an extra prayer of thanks when we left.

  5. Armed GrandPappy says:

    The problem in using up your ammo for invaders is that it also lets everyone for 2 miles know you have ammo. Invest in and train with a compound or cross bow. Silent but deadly and the bolts can be reused forever. Even if you get the cheap broadheads they are always worth the money. Stock op on plenty of bolts and broadheads as hitting a large bone can bend a bolt and make it useless. Also, learn to make your own bolts/arrows. It’s not hard and the materiels can be found just about anywhere in nature. The North American Native used arrows for centuries to hunt and defend with. Make sure to have extra bow parts and string on hand.

    • Love the stealth factor. Effective without broadcasting ur location.

    • Enzo Pamrona says:

      Problem with bows, even the super-modern compounds, is limited range. 40 yards for an average practitioner is a challenge. Shoot one arrow and miss and the bad guy knows where you are. And bolts degrade with time. Very limited use in my opinion.

  6. While I can agree that there is no such thing as to much ammo I don’t necessarily agree with stocking thousands of rounds for every weapon you have. I do stock thousands of rounds but not thousands for every gun if that makes sense. Along with Wolfman I also stock large amounts of pellets for my air rifles. If in a defensive position and you have sent thousands of rounds out then common sense says thousands of rounds have come in also. In a case such as that you most likely aren’t going to survive anyway. I would focus more on the hunting rounds then the defensive rounds and spend extra money on food,water and medicine.

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      I agree with those thoughts, if someone is shooting at you, it is only a matter of time where a well aimed / lucky / richochet will hit and hurt you. Given very little medical care, your lifetime will be much shorter than you think and you are only supplying someone else (hopefully, your crew’s survivors). The term ‘bullets and band-aids’ is said with a reason.

      I think trapping and foraging will be more efficient than hunting for bringing in something edible.

      Stock up as much as possible, if ‘Ammogeddon’ taught us anything, its is that the supply can dry up at any time, and what you have is all you are going to have.

  7. Because I like to shoot, and I hate depending upon the store having what I want when I want it, once we bought a house, I started stocking up on ammo when it went on sale.

    What a question: How much is enough. That, to me, is like how much is too much money saved. Or too much food stored (I can always give away what is about to go bad).

    I probably have “enough”. But the last 4 years have convinced me that may not be true. I have enough for me, but what about those I care about. Many don’t have the resources I have. Their focus is on putting up food and getting out of debt. So I can support their future needs by having a “little” extra put up.

    I still buy on sale. The same with the reloading powders I use, I buy a bit when it becomes available. I also work a lot of local gun shows, so I can sell some of my “surplus” when supply is down.

    I made a good trade with ammo. Got a 1st generation Ruger Single Six (22 LR only) valued at a minimum of $200 for a 300 round 5.56×45 “battle pack” that I paid $40 for. The other guy initiated the trade was just tickled. I had a hard time keeping a neutral expression on my face. I’m also still shooting 9mm and 40 that I bought at $5.66 and $6.99 a box!

    Bottom line, enough will be different for each of us. Based upon your available resources and perceived needs. I look at SHTF as “no resupply”; if I’ll need it, I better have it. I know there will be things I miss, but it won’t be ammo.

  8. Canyonman says:

    It is indeed the $64,000 question. My answer is the same as several others – you can’t have too much, and you better have more than the bad guys, and you never want to be rationing your ammo when the chips are down. Barring an assault from armored cars and helicopters, which we wouldn’t survive anyway, I plan to always have more ammo than anyone trying to do wrong to me and mine, or you and yours. And I’ll absolutely outgun any gangs of Ransacking Looters/Trespassing Kidnappers/Violating Rapscallions (see ‘Conflicted’) who are stupid enough to roll up in my bitniz.

    A few years ago I shot several boxes of .303 and .45 ACP that a relative found in the back of his closet. He forgot it was there, and said he had probably purchased it in the 1960s. Every round fired, and he lived on the Gulf Coast. Point is, a lot of ‘experts’ agree that most ammo stored indoors will be fine for decades.

    Ammo is one of those items that is still fairly easy to come by, and it’s wise to do so. We can purify water, we can fry a squirrel and dig up a tater – but ammo? I don’t intend to be sitting with an empty gun(s), thinking to myself, “We really didn’t need that 84″ TV. I should’ve bought more ammo.”

    p.s. Buy more ammo.

    • Better too much than not enough!!! Like gold, it’ll never be worth zero.

      • Canyonman says:

        Roger that. Some don’t agree, and that’s fine, but I still think ammo will have an excellent bartering value when the time comes.

        Sorry, Yukon Mike, my original reply got truncated somehow. Very nice job breaking down the usage/needs by category, should get a lot of folks thinking!

        For that magic number of home defense, I suggest the following simple exercise, since not everyone can afford one of the premier shooting courses. Get to a dump or someone’s property where you can set up multiple targets and ‘rapid fire’. Take five melons and put them on broom handles, and stick those in the ground, at head height. Cardboard body silhouettes would be great, stapled to the broom handles. Stand 50′ back.

        You’ve got five very bad guys in your yard, and you’re all that stands between them and your family. Now see how fast you can shoot all five melons, and imagine they’re shooting back. Shoot as fast as you can. You don’t need to quick draw, start with gun in hand. You’re shooting to kill and also laying down suppressive fire. Just you and your one firearm.

        See how many rounds it takes to hit all five melons, and also see how FAST you can shoot 50 rounds. Do it again while advancing quickly on the melons – this will get your adrenaline up a bit, and simulate them moving on YOU.

        Then go out and buy more ammo.

        • Canyonman says:

          Dang, reading through the above, I didn’t finish it.

          The point of such an exercise is to see how much ammo it can take to hit five bad guys, and how quickly ammo is expended. A box of 50 rounds does not equal 50 dead dudes on the lawn. An even better way to do this is to run in place for a minute or two, THEN start shooting.

        • Canyonman,
          Why are you shooting at the melons? Center mass is nearly always more effective. Drills like El Presidente consider center mass a good hit; although double taps are preferred.

  9. You know you have enough ammo when you have to shore up the foundation of the house to support it.

    • 1 Man + God=A Majority says:

      a Man after me own heart, tommy2rs!

      It’s like a rich person buying am expensive yacht–if you have to ask a salesman about the price–you shouldn’t be buying it.

      Same with ammo–if you have to count it or inventory it, you just don’t have enough!

      You know in the depths of your soul when you have enough. and THAT will be plenty!


    • When someone tells you that you have enough ammo to start a war, it’s time to get more so you can finish that war… (noted from my brother)

  10. Home Defense section sounds like my county. Even tho we live a few miles outside any of the towns, we’re still close enough & we live on a well-known county road. So far, only the burglars have wandered into our neighborhood.

  11. Canyonman says:

    BTW, I’d love to have some input here from those of you who reload. I thought about getting into that many years ago, and decided against it. My understanding was that by the time one buys all the equipment, it will takes years to recoup just that OOP cost, and the rounds don’t end up being any cheaper than factory-made. What’s the cost comparison? What’s the post=SHTF benefit, to having stores of powder/primer/bullets/brass versus just buying the ammo?

    • CAnyonman:

      Now take into account that I’ve been at this a few years, so the costs have been spread over a long time.

      You need to look at your why. I got an expensive progressive press when I started shooting Cowboy action. 200+ rounds a week of 45 Colt at $25/box. They are now closer to $50. I still have 95% of my brass.

      I don’t reload 9mm due to the price of factory. The same with bulk 308 and 223. But I do try to save the brass in case things change.

      How much do you shoot, how often, is what you are using relatively cheap from the factory? As prices go up for ammo, saved components bought on sale, begin to make more sense. But for most people, if you have a group of shooters, support one person who is interested and have them do it for the group.

      In a way it’s like solar power. I’ve heard for many years that “it will take years to recoup the cost, if ever,” True, but what if the commercial version is no longer available? What is the cost comparison now?

      For “casual’ reloaders, a “turret” press, scale, and dies are a minimal investment over time. Make a list and shop shows and garage sales. Brass is your highest cost component, so I’m always looking for good deals on “once-fired” brass. Bulk bullets, or that special one you hunting rifle really likes do go on sale from time to time.

      Kind of a long answer for a simple question, but like I started out with – it depends on your why. Why are you thinking of reloading. Once you have that down, the rest is sort of a natural process.

      • Reloading is also an enjoyable activity in and of itself. There’s something very satisfying about a box of 50 or 100 rounds that was a mix of stuff just an hour before.

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        The choke point in reloading is the primers, they were in short supply the last several years. And they can not be made at home. I have a LOT (70,000+ primers) so I don’t worry about buying them.

        But coming into reloading today I’m not too sure it’s worth it for a new to reloading person. If you just want a lot of ammo on hand don’t get into reloading. It is time-consuming and expensive to start out.

        But if you want to shoot for accuracy, and want to really do more then a factory round can give you then reloading may be the way to go. But be prepared to spend some serious money before you turn out your first box of ammo.

        If you have most of your other prepping well advance I would say it’s OK to think about reloading, but don’t think it will save you money because it will actually cost more. But then you will have a new skill also.

        And if you get into casting your own bullets you can add another big expense.

        Bottom line for most people it’s not a good use for their ammo budget to reload today. In the past I would have said it was, but not today.

        • Chuck Findlay says:

          have a LOT (70,000+ primers) so I don’t worry about buying them.

          Correction: I don’t know how I typed a 7 when it should have been a 4

          Must be a defective computer keyboard…

        • Hi Chuck, “the choke point in reloading is the primers… they can not be made at home. ”

          While primers cannot be readily made from scratch at home, they can be reloaded. I have seen in the tribal zone along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, east of Kabul, the gun smiths and ammunition dealers re-making primers. They pop the primer out of the case, use a tiny punch from the inside to flatten the dimple from the firing pin, and put in new chemicals.

          I have no idea how reliable those primers are, though it likely varies with the craftsmanship, but it can be done, and is reliable enough for the people who cannot afford better.

          I agree completely that store boughten are greatly to be preferred, but primers can be reused if there are no alternatives.

          40,000 in reserve does seem about right. Who would prefer reused primers?

    • much more accurate,extra level of appeal ,and added fun to shooting,if you cant find ammo but have supplies ,one can always melt lead and make projectiles,and if you already have brass yes its WAY cheaper,the larger the caliber the cheaper it is

    • 1 Man + God=A Majority says:

      dear Canyonman, I am nearing my 70 year and 40th year of metallic cartridge reloading. some tips: crawl before you walk; walk before you run; in short, start out with the basics. go with a “single stage” press, powder measure, dies, calipers, etc.

      My motto: “Retail is for suckers.”

      get these all “pre-owned” that is to say “gently used.” you can usually get these for about 50% off retail price, even more at garage sales. I have.

      start out small in price, viz. buy all of your equipment “second hand” or “pre-owned” since a lot of reloaders use stuff once and quit it. use craigslist and other websites. I bought a top-of-the-line indestructible cast iron single stage press for pennies (the shipping cross-country is what cost me!) and it works like the day it was purchased new! I paid 1/4 of the new price! It’s cast iron, you can’t kill it; built like a tank.

      NEVER, and I repeat: NEVER buy powder or primers “second-hand” since you do not know what you are getting.

      Bargains can be had for bullets on “overruns” or even bullet blems. they are very reasonable in cost.

      You can recoup these kinds of minimal costs beucoup quick, PLUS you will have an extremely enjoyable hobby, GAIN knowledge, get PRIDE in making super-accurate rounds, and be SELF-SUFFICIENT!

    • C-Man

      Like everything it all depends on how much you want to spend. progressive loaders are upwards of 650-900 bucks. they pump out a loaded round every time you pull the handle down. I went with 2 single stage presses and though slower they get the job done just fine. I have my fellow preppers come over a night every couple weeks and we pump out several hundred rds and have a good time of it discussing topics pertinent to our survival interests.

      I have done some time cost analysis and you still save at least 30% on the low end and about 50-60% on the high end over factory! UNLESS we are talking about loading 7.62×39 for AK/SKS type rifles. factory ball ammo from the former ComBloc countries can be found for .25-30 cents per round. Cannot reload that for that amount. And factory ball .223/5.56 can often be found at .35 rd. That is very close to reloads, but of course the more you reload the brass the greater your cost savings per round. The bitch is you have to full length size all brass for any auto loader to insure reliable clambering. With bolt guns you can neck size the cases, a process that is easier on the brass, less effort, and less trimming of the case.

      So as far as an answer on your question as with all such questions there are variables and considerations that one must make and determine if this is right for you. It is a fairly handy survival skill though, and one that could make you fairly popular in a SHTF long term situation. That alone should be incentive to get into this fine hobby.

  12. Canyonman says:

    Most excellent answer, JP.

  13. For me it depends on usage.

    I own 9mm’s, .22’s, AR rifles chambered in .223/5.56 and a hunting rifle chambered in 30-06.

    I do a lot of tactical shooting practice with the 9mm and AR’s so I try to keep a few thousand rounds of ammo available on hand for those not only for preparedness of a SHTF situation being primary defense weapons but also as we’ve seen before panic ammo buying. This ensures me that I can at least on a smaller scale continue to practice with these weapons despite ammo being out of stock at local sporting good stores.

    The .22 allows you to store lots of ammo at a much lower cost to other defensive calibers so acquiring 10k rounds of .22LR over a long period of time doesn’t exactly break the bank for me. Not to mention my wife & kids use these rifles for excessive plinking and the caliber could be easily used long term for hunting smaller game.

    Now the 30-06 is totally different for me, I only use this rifle during the hunting season and to check the zero of it’s scope so I generally shoot less than 40 rounds a year through this rifle. In my supplies of ammo I generally have between 160-200 rounds of 30-06 ammo despite having 1000s in the other calibers I mentioned.

    • This is the same conclusion I came to. I can’t imagine keeping more than a few hundred rounds of 30-06.

  14. grandma Rosie says:

    Haha! This could go along with Bambam’s article “You may be a prepper if” I was having a tire replaced & when the guy started looking for the right lead weight for it my first thought was “Bullets!!” I dont even know anyone that reloads!!

  15. Good article. My only gripe is that shotguns are only really essential for birds IMO. And for the size of birds that make the amount of powder and lead worthwhile, relatively speaking, to put downrage, you’re looking at ducks and geese primarily. If so, you need different/larger shot than #6.

    For smaller game, a .410 would suffice… Less powder, lead, weight, and volume to store. BUT most of this game can be taken with a 22lr weapon. Get a decent scope if you need to, but 100 rounds of 12ga vs 100 rounds of 22lr is night and day in price/resources, volume, and waste. Yes, you can reload shotgun shells easier, but would need to stock raw components which are much more likely to spoil than raw ammo.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      A box of 25 12 ga shells is $6.00, a box of 25 410 is $9.00. 410s are not practical from a price point of view.

      • Speaking from a reloading components cost perspective, as well as the amount of ammo you’re able to carry…

        Same thought would apply to 20 or 28 gauge, and their prices are less than .410, though would be more expensive if you reload…

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      The .410 does have some benefits. Wing shooting will become much less common and ‘pot shots’ (shooting at standing game) will be much more common. In that scenario, the smaller shot load of th3 .410 is an advantage. Reloaded shot goes much further, I think the average .410 shot load is about a 1/3 the average 12 gauge, or thereabouts – it might be more.

      And it of course recoils much less. For the elderly or arthritic, easier to shoot. A .410 buckshot shell (3 ball) sounds like a pretty good house defense load. I know a lot of farmers preferred the .410 as a nightime ‘henhouse’ defense gun – less chance of hitting something valuable.

      Factory .410 is outrageously priced, but for the reloader, has less cost. I own several .410 single shots, two of them 10″ T/C Contender barrels which do have a fair amount of recoil. Very handy to carry though – I consider it a ‘pocket shotgun’. :^)

    • RSR,
      Here in Ohio, at least pre-SHTF, you may only hunt deer with a shotgun (slug) or certain handgun cartridges; although, this upcoming season will allow rifles with those same handgun cartridges. They’re also good for Pheasant and some small game. 410 can however be used in that shotgun slug for deer hunting.

  16. JAQUEBAUER says:

    Keep minimum of 1000 rnds on hand for each caliber gun that you own.

  17. Insofar as my stocking, full caliber/full power rifle rounds are the least of my worries.

    My primary role for shotguns is as a mobile claymore w/ a duckbill attached and #4 buck (no, I don’t anticipate a need for this but it’s a tool in the chest and a good force equalizer).

    Most small game hunting I’m relying on 22lr.
    Mid sized game .223/5.56.
    Larger game like hogs, including deer with 154gr soft points, 7.62×39.
    Longer shots only are full caliber full power rifle.

    Self defense: Handguns and pistol carbines in 9mm (rifles indoors are more than you need)
    Primary carbine: 7.62×39
    DMR rifle: .223/5.56
    Long range: 7.5 Swiss, but .308 is probably more a appropriate for most

    My goals for on hand are (both recreation and necessity uses):
    500 rounds 12ga buck
    500 rounds 12ga birdshot (7.5)
    500 rounds 12ga birdshot (BB-2)
    20k rounds 22lr
    5k rounds 9mm
    7.5k rounds 7.62×39
    7.5k rounds 5.56
    1k rounds 7.5 swiss

  18. Books on bookshelves are excellent for stopping bullets in residences.

    And replacing some of your drywall with a layer or two of 3/4″ drywall is a good call too.

    Exteriors, for a lot of reasons (mass included), brick or stone is ideal.

    • Hi RSR: “Books on bookshelves are excellent for stopping bullets”

      Yep. Also, filling planters under the windows with cinders or gravel can give a lot of protection for those without brick or stone facades. Or what the heck, make the begonias happy and use dirt. Maybe a little bit more of it.

      Making things better isn’t an all or nothing exercise: incremental improvement are just that: improvements.

  19. *Fences and landscaping can be designed and constructed with mass that provides additional protections as well.

  20. *I forgot air rifles but they’re a great investment as well if needing to take birds/squirrels/small game…

    I don’t necessarily buy the “no noise means your neighbors won’t know you have food argument” — when starving, people’s sense of smell related to food and cooking is incredible — but allowing you to get food and get back to a more secure location is definitely an asset. And a lot of 22lr vs air rifle use is interchangeable.

    Related to 22lr — forgot to mention — but a big part of it’s use in my system in a defensive role is for covering fire. I would prefer to use more expensive and powerful rounds for shots that have a higher degree of hitting targets…

  21. Chuck Findlay says:

    Stock 3,000 22 Lr rounds, Heck I probably have 40 or 50 times that in 22 ammo. I don’t really count any more, I know I have enough for my needs many times over.

    I also bought over the years a lot of .177 pellets for small game hunting. I have upwards of 30,000 to 40,000 of them. I see the air rifle as a very good somewhat quiet game getter.

    I have a mix of common and not-so-common firearms I shoot. So I have always has a good supply of ammo on hand just because I shoot odd calibers and I like to shoot the guns I have.

    But during the recent shortage (last several years) I noticed common ammo that all prepper experts say is best to have because you will always be able to find it (Maybe the experts are not such an expert after all. I never blindly trusted them) when in fact common caliber ammo was in very short supply and most times not in stores at all. But the odd calibers I shoot were in stores. I shoot 41-Mag, 32-Mag, 22-250, 30-30, 7 TCU (last 2 in a handgun handgun) and all these were sitting on store shelves. I almost always saw 32-Mag ammo at Gander Mountain, yea it was in the 20-round over priced box, but it was there. But I haven’t bought any ammo for close to 15-years so it all seems expensive to me.

    I reload and have lots of components to continue to do so for a long long time. I also have dies to reload a lot of other rounds I don’t even have the guns to shoot.

    Magazines are a good barter item to save. Back in the 1980s I sold 2 HK P-7 magazines when they stopped making the P-7 handgun and I made a house payment with what the mags sold for. I can only imagine ammo, firearms and magazines getting more valuable if we get hard times. But I’m not sure ammo and firearms are a good barter item unless it’s a person you know and trust. For the last 30-years I’ve bartered firearms back & forth with guys I know from the gun clubs and the gun shop. But an unknown person, I don’t think so…

    • Hi Chuck, “during the recent shortage…common caliber ammo was in very short supply and most times not in stores at all.”

      I agree with you: the so-called common stuff disappeared. I think that stuff one has to stock. In Hawaii most of it still isn’t available, maybe Winchester .45 ACP hardball aside, but even that was gone for a long time. The 32 Mag, .270, the .488 Belchfire Magnum, those will be around. Still, I wouldn’t count on being able to buy them.

  22. I know he’s not a popular man on this particular site, and I’ve no desire to start a “he sucks” “no he doesn’t suck” back and forth, I simply want to attribute quotes properly:

    “When times are bad, and bad folks are shooting at you, what, exactly, is…’extra’ ammo? There’s no such thing.”

    Buy enough to get you through your version of WWIII/Civil War II or whatever you like. Then double that. After that, pick up some more….

    • Sorry, the quote is attributed to JWR in his novel “Survivors”. I felt it an appropriate summation of “enough” ammo 🙂

      • Or my own personal take:

        “If your floors not sagging, your stockpile is lagging!”

        Made that up just now 🙂

  23. I was recently told that the best way to store ammo long term is by vacuum-sealing it w/ something to absorb moisture in the air. Anyone else have a good way to store it long term?

    • 1 Man + God=A Majority says:

      Hey, man! Don’t go overboard!

      A good GI army ammo can in .30 cal or .50 cal with a good rubber seal in fine. If you want, first store them in a freezer quality ziplock plastic bag and then pop the bag in the army ammo can with the seal.

      The BIG SECRET: keep all ammo stored out of wide-ranged temperature swings–a steady temp is all you need. A basement or root cellar is superb. Low humidity as well, but as long as you’re in a sealed ammo can you’re good to go. Store ALL ammo cans off cement or dirt floors (condensation issues.)

      FACT: I was at a local gun range and an old timer there was shooting his .30/06 bolt-action ’03 Springfield. Old as that ancient guy was, he was picking off the ground hogs 150-200 yards off using only iron sights!

      He saw I was using an M1 Garand. “Nice rifle,” he told me and gave me a handful of rounds. “Try these,” he said. All worked fine! Their headstamp: 1918. YES–1918–almost 100 yeard old AND who could ever tell where they had been stored (Pacific Theater, European Theater, frozen,Korea, Camp Perry? who knows?)

      But each an every one went K-B and were on target! This really opened up my eyes; moderate ammo storage is all you need. No fancy-pants vacuum packed or freeze dried stuff.

      Army ammo can with a good seal–good for Uncle Sam–good for you and me.


      Believe me–ammo stored like this will outlast you!

      • Hi 1 Man + God=A Majority, I think you are right on that. A lot of the WWII surplus 30-06 got shot up by machine gun collectors in the late ’90s and early ’00s. It worked fine, and they used it because it was cheap.

        Way back when I chatted with a retired Pakistani Army major who had married the daughter of a minor hereditary ruler from way up north in the mountains, and he told me about checking out his father-in-law’s ancestral arsenal one time. There were cases of I think it was Martini-Henry rifles in their original cases, and original cases of ammo. Stuff had been untouched since the 1890s, and the ammo worked just fine. That was probably in the 1950s or sixties, as I talked with him in the mid-1970s.

        Under fairly stable temperatures and humidity, ammo works fine for a long time. Just don’t leave it sitting in the sun in Jordan for 5-6 years, as some was. That stuff is rumored to be less reliable.

    • Canyonman says:

      Dunno why I didn’t think to mention this previously. I also use GI ammo cans. I have some terrific WW2 (latch/hinge on the side) .50 cal cans that are in fantastic shape, purchased in the 1960s. The others (.50 and .30) are “modern” (latch/hinge on the end). But – I also throw in some dessicant packets. If you search “dessicant” on eBay right now, you can find 100 packets for $5. They’re about the size of a salt packet at a burger joint. I throw a few in the gun safes, gun cabinets, etc. plus the ammo cans. They cost nothing, and it sure can’t hurt, and I live in a very dry climate.

      Remember to follow the instructions, and do not eat them. 🙂

  24. Chuck Findlay says:

    Military ammo boxes.

    Modern ammo has an unlimited shelf life. Back in the early 90s I helped clean out my grandmothers house. There was an open top can of 22 ammo in a garage that had been there since the 1940 by the look of the box it was in. This garage had an open side for all the years I was old enough to remember as a kid we use to sneak in there to explore. I took this ammo to the range and shot and grouped. It worked as well as new ammo and just as good a group at 25-yards.

    If it worked OK, I’m sure almost any way we store it will be good. Just keep it dry.

    • 1 Man + God=A Majority says:

      Yup! Chuck Findlay speaks TRUTH.

      Keep your ammo dry and in a constant temperature range. You’ll be able to give it to your kids and grand-kids AND it will still fire!

      P.S. Chuck,
      You ain’t the self-same “Chuck Findlay” trumpet virtuoso who played with Doc Severinsen’s band on Johnny Carson’s show are you? Born and bred in NE Ohio? If so, yours truly is also a MH Mustang grad of ’65. I’m the “Polack” kid from Fleet Street, played tight end in football, oh, lo those many centuries ago!

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        (Yup! Chuck Findlay speaks TRUTH.) Was that ever in question???

        (You ain’t the self-same “Chuck Findlay” trumpet virtuoso who played with Doc Severinsen’s band on Johnny Carson’s show are you? )

        Nope! My name is not Chuck, I took that name from Bruce Campbell’s Alter-ego from the USA TV show Burn Notice.

        It just seemed to fit.

        But I am form and live in Northern Ohio.

  25. Juan Morething says:

    I don’t see any ammo allocated to practice, sighting in, training new shooters, or recreation.

    However, a decent air gun and a coffee tin full of pellets is a lifetime supply that will never spoil. Store some spare parts for the gun (piston rings, o-rings, whatever) and it will last two lifetimes.

  26. 30 rounds for my crossbow, and i can make all the ammo i want, plus i keep spare strings and parts. 5000 rounds for my .177 crack barrel pellet rifle, with spare parts, many woodchucks and crows have been taken with head shots. both are nice and quiet, ammo is cheap and plentiful, take deer with the bow and small game with the pellets. a friend of mine on the Rez hunts canada geese with the same kind of pellet gun, he shoots them with head shots, the others don’t fly away because there is no loud noise, he just reloads and shoots more.

    shotguns are also really easy to reload, modify a nail, some wood blocks wax, etc and you can reload a used shell. not ideal but it homemade powders can extend the ammo for it if everything else is used up. a shotgun is far more forgiving when using homemade ammo.

  27. TPSnodgrass says:

    One can NEVER have “enough ammo”. The exception, unless you are trying to to swim.
    When we lived in a west coast metropolitan area, I always was concerned with our ammunition “supply”, knowing, it was never enough. After the Rodney King Loot-Scoot-N-Shoot Festival, I tripled our amounts. When we moved out of my native state, I moved ALL of the ammunition myself to avoid prying eyes and to maintain OPSEC. Have increased the supply even further, especially the air rifle pellets and spare parts. Years ago, I bought more than 30,000 rounds of .22LR and kept adding to the stockpile of .22LR, and haven’t fretted about “not finding any” during the recent ammo-drought. Always keep up your ammunition re-supply, there will come a day, when we can no longer get factory ammo, components, or brass, powder, etc.

  28. You know I was looking for his site when I found this one and I’ve been happy that I found this one. Can’t say B.C. been happy about it ( I look at B.C. as the big brother I never had . ) : )

  29. Had an idiot ask once how many shotshells to have for SHTF for dove hunting….He said he figures he misses one for every one he kills….I told the fool dump grain on the ground and kill several with one shot….He said…but thats not sporting!

    Whadda dipstick!

    I can see him now running out of shells with a hungry family at home because…it aint sporting!

  30. The E.P.A has deemed lead as hazardous material.
    The proper paperwork for the storage and transfer
    Are required for large quantitys.
    The second amendant covers Arms not ammo!
    Look it up.
    All lead bullets are made outside the U.S.
    The importation of ammo is therefor controlled by the
    U.S. Customs and Border Control.

  31. Too much ammo? Only if you’re on fire. Or fall into 7 feet of water.

  32. Canyonman says:

    Speaking of which, as winner of this month’s Speak & Spell essay contest, I received my order from Lucky Gunner. Great folks, a real pleasure to deal with.

    Since I don’t own any guns, and because they’re very very bad and kill people and stuff, I got ten camouflaged Snuggies, some thermal socks, a new thermos, a satin Hello Kitty jacket, and the ten-bottle set of massage oils.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      Did you loose your guns in a boating accident? There is a lot of this going around.

      I took all my guns for a leisurely boat ride and the darn boat sank on me. I hate it when that happens…

      • Canyonman says:

        No, that was someone else.

        I’ve never owned any guns. Besides, the condo HOA here in Miami, where I live with my two other Chinese lesbian roommates, won’t let us have guns.

      • I own guns, they are in my house. No shame in my game…

        Come and take them!

  33. Chuck Findlay says:

    How many of us have traps, my guess not too many.

    But I do, I found them at a garage sale years ago.

    An easy trap for small game that is, inexpensive and available almost anyplace is a rat trap. Drill a few holes in it so you can screw it to a tree, or a board leaning against a tree. Bait and set it and wait for squirrels to show up.

    Traps are great in that they are force multipliers. You can set several of them, once set they work without you having to monitor them all the time. And they are working while you are doing other things. All you need to do is check them at a reasonable interval to see if you have dinner waiting for you.

    • +1 – For what one can control, survival is/will be about resource optimization and maximization, with a little not doing dumb stuff and hurting yourself thrown in…

      Traps are excellent for that. And little to no damaged meat!

  34. Just like most answers, it depends on the person and their individual requirements. I believe as a baseline one should have 1000 rounds per caliber, per weapon. So if you have 5 AR15’s, that’s 5k rounds of 5.56/223. At least that’s a good starting point.

    Many people have mentioned reloading and I too reload, although I don’t do it for the bulk stuff that I shoot (I have a job and just can’t keep up). I try to average 500 to 1000 rounds of pistol fired per month for training, you’d be amazed at how quickly one can burn through it. Rifles are a different story, ARs / bolt action / larger (7.62) stuff.

    I suppose if you stockpile ONLY to stockpile and never train that’s ok, to each his own. I like to have a constantly rotating cycle with a baseline # I never like to fall below. 10k rounds of a single caliber isn’t crazy, it’s pretty normal really. 🙂



  35. According to your estimates, I am good for 5 years hunting with my rifle, and being a good shot, I should have extra left over.

    I do carry different loads for my shotgun, depending on the game or protection. It is to my advantage which shot is more efficient and it is not a waste for me. I find the prices differ greatly on different types of shot, but my cheapest weapon for getting game is my old Shakespeare rod and Ambasador reel with 20 test line I invested in back in the 70’s which has lasted me 37 years so far to catch 1000’s of fish. I even hooked a few boyfriends, but so far they were best for catch and release 🙂

  36. When I was still working regularly, every payday I’d stop and buy at least one box of ammo, in one of the three calibers I keep (9mm, .22, 12 gauge, 5.56), no matter what. I’d have to do without sometimes because of it (one less beer isn’t gonna kill me), but over time I amassed a comfortable stockpile, of which I’m not gonna reveal here.

    I’m kicking myself for not replacing my air rifle when it seized up (don’t use petroleum-based lubricants in them), but that’s on my wishlist. I also want to get another recurve bow (I don’t trust compounds-too many potential points of failure) and a passel of arrows and heads. And my slingshot with seven spare bands is always there as well.

    As for ammo, back in the late eighties, when I was working with a pawn shop owner who didn’t know much about guns, he gave me a box of .45 Long Colt, G.I. issue, dated 1891. The box was crumbling into dust, but the shells were in good shape except that the lube was dried up. A quick wipe and a dip in melted wax solved that, and I borrowed a Ruger Blackhawk and fired 30 of the worst ones (ten of the best went for sale to collectors), and they all fired perfectly despite being stored in less-than-ideal conditions. Not bad for 97 year old ammo made by the lowest bidder, huh?

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