Skip to comments.How Much Ammo Do You Need?
Posted on 03/07/2009 1:12:42 AM PST by marktwain
This is my ammo stock. Most of it was acquired 8-10 years ago when ammo compared to todays prices was very cheap. I have stocked here; .177 pellets and BBs, 22 rimfire, 38 special, 9mm, .223, .308 and 12 gauge.
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? Lets assume TSHTF and commonsense says it will be 5 years. So for a baseline lets 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 cant buy. In my case yes, it has because most was bought 8-10 years ago when .223s were $125/1,000.
Lets 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 doesnt 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.
Lets 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 thats 18 cartridges a year for six animals. For five years of hunting thats only 90 rounds!
Now lets say Murphys Law is around so things arent going to be perfect and the kill shot attempts are many due to long distances and misses are likely. Or something you really didnt plan on, relatives who didnt 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 cant 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, thats 300 rounds per year or for five years 1,500 rounds!
My preferred shot size is #6 for small game and birds because the bbs 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 dont 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 isnt 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 its 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 shouldnt 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)
Lets 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 youre 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 dont 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.
Need is such a 90’s word. I think “require” is much better.
“How Much Ammo Do You Need?”
Answer: It depends if you can hit the target on the first try or the 100th try.
Also, a good manual reloader (I cheaped out - I have a Lee Loadmaster) cuts those requirements WAY down. You can cut the actual ammo needed by 4; you reuse your brass. Primers, bullets, and gunpowder stores VERY compactly! You can fit the supplies to redo 300 rounds of 223 in something not much bigger than a can of Coke, if you reuse your brass.
Heck, lead will be easy to get, too - a small mold for making your own bullets and a supply of used wheel weights and you’re set for a LONG time.
After all, if the SHTF, there won’t be an TV to occupy the nights, so you might as well spend the time reloading!
I'm curious, at just how long does the author think game will abound with millions of people trying to sustain themselves on the stock?
This is assuming a survivalist scenario. Some I don't think it much matters how many guns you have, if you expect to feed yourself through hunting because if the country is thrown back into a stone age, you will probably join tens of millions who die of cold, hunger and disease.
Guns are not of much use against cold, hunger, and disease although they might protect your family against the mob for a while. You might be able to commandeer some shelter, some petroleum, and some foodstuffs but those will probably go to those with arms who are better organized. In any event, guns will not buy you much time.
In the 21st century, with the government possessed of firepower and logistics which we cannot even conceive of, with a potential 300 million people starving and rootless, I don't think our guns will avail us much for long.
Yes we need guns against random acts of violence, against the mob, and even in a desperate last stand against their own government. Beyond this, they offer no solution except perhaps to make the likes of liberals with unfettered power stop and think for half a heartbeat.
If we are worried about saving our families we should look to do it now while there is still something to salvage and before the man on horseback takes everything. We should participate in the system now while there is yet something that can be done. Survivalism is fantasyland which can breed detachment as it encourages a psychic withdrawal causing the very chaos it fears.
If society breaks down to the point where one is expecting to have to kill many people in self-defense, the city/suburbs seems like the worst place to be.
If my plan is to stake a claim somewhere in Wyoming, for example, where I thought encountering zombies would be rare, then my survival plan is probably going to look a lot like what people do every day in rural America.
Anyone serious about survival in truly trying times or complete civil/economic breakdown is researching or has researched sustainable self-sufficiency on a technological level of say, 1900, if not 1940, including food production, not just scavenging.
In the event one has not stored suitable quantities of fuel, it is likely draft animals will be required, at least until trade in motor fuels resumes.
For a while, at any rate, there will be considerable numbers of scavengers to deter, educate and convert, or in extremis, eliminate.
A suitable supply of arms and ammunition will facillitate that.
Anyone who lives in an area with (using the math the writer provided) a population of deer not exceeding six times the human population in density is unlikely to be able to hunt for sufficient food. Even the pigeons will disappear from urban landscapes, not to mention pets.
Only problem is that every self sufficient suspecting survivalist I’ve met has the same idea about Wyoming/Idaho areas. I would fully expect those areas to quickly become city/suburbs in population after the outbreak of anarchy, with everybody there armed to the teeth feeling threatened by any other outsider armed to the teeth.
“Only problem is that every self sufficient suspecting survivalist Ive met has the same idea about Wyoming/Idaho areas.”
That’s exactly why it was the first thing to come to mind.
I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last few weeks reading the memoirs of folks who survived the meltdown in the USSR in the late 80s early 90s, and those who lived in Buenos Aires during the meltdown in 2001.
The prevailing and common theme is that you are much better off with a high-capacity semi-automatic pistol for self protection as the author notes above. Preferably a high caliber with 15-19 rounds.
Many of them make fun of the Rambo types with sniper rifles and camaflouge fatigues. They make a good point, when someone comes to take your goods or hurt your family, they are not going to start shooting from 200 meters. They will approach you as if though they are a non-threatening party, and next you thing you know you have a gun in your face.
They also talk a lot about transportation. One fellow from Buenos Aires quipped about how he used to slow down when people were in the road waving him down, but now he speeds up and aims for them because its probably bandidos. These authors suggest having a 4x4 or a motorcycle because roads will become impassible after a little while.
Interesting stuff. As for ammo. Figure out how much you think you will need, and then triple it.
My county has just over 5,000 population. A lot more cattle than people.
Counties near by have as little as 1,200 population.
It is quiet here, most of the time.
If you look at the lawless areas in Africa, you can get a picture of what all will be up against. Roving groups of heavily armed and motorized “tribes” preying on the weak. One family holed up in a remote cabin somewhere wont have a chance. Nightmare scenario for sure.
I have lived in one area of that open space, and there is a reason the population is so low. The climate can be very unhospitable in a lot of places. I called Southeast New Mexico home for a few years. Unless you have a means to get water, forget it. It only rains nine inches per year and you don't want to be there those two days. I'll stay here in rural East Tennessee, thank you.
I once read of a study done in the 1990s concerning Phoenix, Arizona and it was postuated that if not for air conditioning, the Phoenix population would be less than 500,000.
As I was saying on another gun thread, my son and I sat down early last summer, and decided against buying so many different calibers of firearms, and subsequently, different ammos. Instead, we made a list of what would probably be hard to get, and compared it to what we like, and what we would probably be most likely to use, and then bulk purchased those calibers, and then tried to limit our firearm purchases to meet those calibers. At the top of our list: 7.62x39, .223, .45 auto, 7.62x54, and, of course, 12 gauge and .22 rimfires...
After the first winter you'll be outta there come spring. Pick you place carefully nature can be just as vicious and any deranged psychopath. ,
N.W. Kansas would be my destination. I've already seen that they don't need anything from the outside world to survive, they can do it all on their own. From fixing, welding their own farm equipment to growing their own food with an over abundance of game animals........
I have more than I need, but less than I want.
Our forefathers killed off the passenger pigeon with cap-and-ball muzzle loading shotguns, and almost drove the buffalo and wild turkey to extinction too, and that was when there was 10-20% of the population we have now. It took decades of scientific game management for the wild fauna to recover.
Even when I was a child, growing up in the northern Arizona backwoods in the 60s and 70s, I remember how rare it was to see a turkey or deer. They are now as common as squirrels used to be, but that wouldn't last long in a true SHTF scenario.
We maintain large-scale agriculture, or hundreds of millions of people starve to death, it's that simple.
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