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Hoarding Ammo: How Much Should You Store?

Hoarding Ammo: How Much Is Too Much?

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As gun owners and advocates of defensive living, we’re constantly scrutinized for exercising our Second Amendment rights. I’m sure many readers have numerous firearms available to them. Good. But the long-term concern, at least in my estimation, is the ammunition to feed those firearms.

While we are enjoying the right to keep and bear arms, it’s worth pondering the possibility of having firearms, but not ammunition. Consider in just the last few years there have been attempts to restrict ammo purchases due to environmental or public safety concerns.

Let’s not forget the bare shelves of just a few years ago because of the political climate. .22 rimfire is just now becoming reasonably available again.

While many readers are surely prepared in the ammo supply arena, from conversations with students, I’d venture a guess that most aren’t. The question is not just for you, but perhaps generations to come. Teaching students on an ongoing basis, I find it not uncommon for folks to struggle to come up with a couple hundred rounds of handgun or carbine ammo to conduct even baseline training.

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Back to my original thought of: How much ammo? Well, it depends on what your primary, secondary or other uses may be. That, of course, varies from person to person.

So here ya go … my top five reasons to hoard ammunition.

1. Hunting. For most standard big-game considerations, I could probably get along for quite some time with a couple hundred rounds. But thinking down the road for many years, I would like to have 500 to 1,000 rounds per caliber of any hunting rifle. Small game means shotgun and rim fire; the round count here could increase exponentially.

2. Sport/Competition. If it’s USPSA, IDPA, 3Gun, Trap, Skeet, Silhouette or others, start thinking in the thousands of rounds or even higher for the long term.

3. Training. This is where things could get interesting. Shooting well is a perishable skill (yes, dry fire can take place of live fire to some extent). I shoot almost on a weekly basis, at least handgun. That may not be sustainable in tough times. I focus most of my weekly handgun shooting on 9mm to keep it economical. I like to keep a minimum of 5,000 rounds available if possible.

4. Defensive. I store several hundred rounds of good quality handgun, shotgun and rifle ammo that fits this category on hand … per caliber or gauge. A sub category here would be the battle rifle or fighting carbine, at which point there is no such thing as too much ammo.

5. Bartering. The sky’s the limit. All common calibers and rimfire ammunition is in high demand even now. Imagine ammunition over-the-counter availability being gone overnight! In really tough times or a run on the supply, ammunition will always retain a high trade value. So the question is, how much do you need to have for yourself and family versus how much you can afford to sell or barter with?

It goes without saying that the cost, storage and transportation of ammunition may require logistical planning. Ammunition is heavy! Storage can have its own challenges. Basically, prioritize cool, dry and durable storage when it comes to ammo. The military style 30- and 50-caliber ammo cans or the sealed spam cans of ammo make good long-term storage options.

Other than your local Walmart or hardware store, where might one find ammo today without breaking the bank? Some obvious choices may be your local gun shows (or similar events) and some online ammo sales sites (these sites have also been under fire in recent months). A few less obvious locations to find ammo at sometimes below wholesale prices are flea markets, estate sales and garage sales.

This may bring up the question: How long will ammo store? In my experience, if it has been stored properly and out of the elements, it can be good for decades. I have shot military surplus that was 50-plus years old, without issues. Not to disparage any hand loaders, but I stay away from reloaded ammo that I do not know the source of. I say this because you will run across such ammo at flea markets and garage/estate sales.

Someone once called ammo the precious metal of the future. I couldn’t agree more.

How much ammo would you store? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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One comment

  1. I reload center fire and shotgun, as for practice I have been using a good quality pellet rifle and pistol for years. the cost of pellets is still quite cheep. and there is little noise with using them. also they show ever finch you do. do not use a co2 type because of the cost of co2 cylinders

    cast my own bullets, shotgun slugs, buck shot and round balls for my muzzle loaders.

    in an emergency you can use tip of strike anywhere match heads as priming compound to reuse primers and chopped up match heads as powder. another reason to stock up on stick anywhere and paper matches. you can use bolts with the heads cut off and wrap paper around the threads (paper patch bullets).

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