Chance favors the prepared!

What you need to know about stockpiling ammo

ammoPreviously, I discussed how to protect your ammo storage long-term. If you missed it, be sure to check it out by clicking here.

Now, I want to discuss building your stockpile of ammo. Maybe I should have written this first, but regardless, here it is. 🙂

I’ll look at the reasons why you should stockpile, I’ll dispel some myths about stockpiling ammo, and I’ll give you some hints and tips on how to do it. So let’s jump right in!

Why should I stockpile ammo?

Let me say this right off the bat. If you stockpile thousands of rounds of ammunition because you anticipate a WROL (Without Rule Of Law) event where you will be engaging in dozens of gun battles, you might want to reconsider your plans.

First, the chances of a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) event are slim. I’m not saying that it can’t or won’t happen someday. But keep in mind that the more extreme an event, the less likely it is to occur. The complete collapse of society as we know it is at the FAR end of the “possibility spectrum”.

Second, even if there is a WROL event, you must remember that the more often you engage in armed conflict, the greater your chances of being hit/killed by return fire. As I have stated before:

“an over eagerness to engage in conflict runs the risks of unintended collateral damage, injury and/or death to you and loved ones. It also leads to the potential destruction of vital gear and equipment.

Your primary goal is to avoid conflict. Guns are the back-up plan!”

Rambo is Hollywood fiction, and bullets do not discriminate. The more often you get into gun battles, the greater your risk of being injured or killed. And the greater the risk you put those close to you.

In a true WROL/SHTF event, you should be trying to avoid conflicts and running gun battles. You do this by practicing OpSec and having a plan for it. If you practice OpSec, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of having to engage in gun battles. And remember, bullets SUCK at OpSec!

Third, the majority of gun fights (outside of protracted military engagements) do not last that long, nor do they have that many rounds fired. In reality, most gun battles last between 3-10 seconds and less than 10 rounds are fired.
One of America’s most famous gun fight, the Shootout at the Ok Corral, lasted about 30 seconds and had 31 rounds fired by the 9 people involved. None of them were carrying hundreds of rounds of ammo, and the Earps knew they were headed to a potential gun fight!

So if you are anticipating dozens of gun battles in SHTF, ask yourself why? Why are you not practicing better OpSec? Why are you not trying to avoid gun fights? What can you do to make yourself more invisible and unnoticeable? How long do you think your gun battles will last? If you plan on them lasting for hundreds of rounds, ask yourself why? Why are you not disengaging and bugging out?

Free shipping on 10 or more boxes

“Well then, why do YOU stockpile ammo?” you might ask.

Actually, there are two reasons for this.

The first is that ammo, when stored correctly, can last for at least a generation or more. And ammo will hold its value. The price of ammo has only gone up, and I do not see that changing anytime in the future. So someday I can pass this along to my children, and it will retain and even gain in value.

Secondly, the anti-gun zealots have begun to attack our 2nd amendment rights by going after ammunition. Seattle has already passed a gun and ammo tax. And California is passing laws requiring a background check (and a permit and fee) to purchase ammunition. Don’t think for a second that it will stop there!

I think for some anti gun politicians and media, their goal is to drive the price of ammo up so high that common, everyday law-abiding citizens will no longer be able to afford to shoot. So having the ammo now will help to protect you from that goal.

How much ammo should I stockpile?

This is a much debated question among preppers, and I have been asked that question a few times myself. I always answer the same way. You should stockpile enough ammunition that you feel comfortable with, and that you can safely and securely store. Be that 5 boxes or 5000 rounds, there really is no right or wrong answer.

I subscribe to the theory of having AT LEAST 1000 rounds per caliber of firearm that you own. (In most cases.) Some folks believe it should be 1000 rounds per gun. For some, they want even more than that. Either way, those are the numbers that many folks feel comfortable with.

Click the pic to get your ammo cans here

In addition to my 1000 rounds per caliber, I have begun buying “shooting ammo”. This is the ammo I take to the range to kill paper targets and metal plates. In the past, I didn’t stock up on this, I just bought it when I needed it. But with the increasingly draconian gun laws that some states are trying to enact, and the subsequent panic buying that follows, I have begun to buy my “shooting ammo” in bulk.

This allows me to have plenty of ammo on hand to shoot, without having to break into my stockpile.

In the end, the decision of how much you need is up to you, based upon your situation and plans. As I stated before, all ammo that you buy should be stored correctly and safely. If you missed the link at the top of the page about storing ammo long-term, here it is again.

Hint and Tips on Ammo Stockpiling

An abundant ammo stockpile represents a sizable investment. If you are like me, you most likely cannot afford to do that all at once. Instead you will probably have to do it “piece meal”. Much like slowly increasing your food stores, you can purchase a box or two of ammo whenever you go to a place like Wal-Mart. Over time, your stock will begin to grow.

Next, there are a lot of great places on the internet that sell ammo. Websites like:

have good deals almost daily. I check there often.

Those sites I just listed will many times have sales on bulk ammo, ie hundreds of rounds or more. Selling it by bulk makes it cheaper (price per round) than buying just a single box.

If you don’t have the money for a bulk purchase, you might go in with some friends, co-workers, etc and pool your money. My friends and I split the cost of the bulk ammo and shipping, and then split the ammo. That way we get ammo we need at the cheaper, bulk price without spending a fortune to do it.

When ammo supplies are scarce at the big box stores like Wal-Mart or Academy, you can still sometimes find ammo tucked away at small stores like gun shops and military surplus stores. During the last big ammo drought, I was able to buy several boxes of .22 at a local military surplus store. It wasn’t on display, but when I asked the clerk, he said he would sell me a few boxes out of the back. So don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t see it on the shelf.

Be sure to have something to store your ammo in. You can find surplus ammo cans at military surplus stores, gun shows, etc.

Silicon gel packs also help keep the moisture out of your ammo supplies.


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Keep in mind that you will need some magazines. Thousands of rounds of ammo won’t do you much good with only one or two magazines to load them into.

So how many magazines should you have? Same answer as with the ammo. But at the bottom of the page I have included a video (not my video) talking about how many magazines you should have on hand.

To read about how much ammo you should pack in your Bug Out/Get Home bag, click the link here.

Stay safe out there!

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18 Responses to What you need to know about stockpiling ammo

  • Thanks for the interesting read on stockpiling ammo. As a person who doesn’t have a gun, I actually didn’t know that a lot of people think that they should have 1000 rounds per gun. That seems like a lot of ammo to me. I’m a bit interested to learn more about some different tricks that some people use to store them.

  • Honestly, a 1000 rounds isn’t a lot if you practice frequently. I typically run 150 to 200 rounds through any given gun on any given outing to the range. That’s just by myself, if friends or family members join me, it’s easily a 500+ round shooting range visit (and that’s if it’s only one gun, usually take multiple guns so everyone can shoot at the same time and then round-robin). Do that only once or twice a month, and you will easily use around 5000+ rounds per year.

    I’ve bought many different amounts of ammo online and at stores, in many different states over the years, so I’m already on whatever lists are out there. Might as well keep ordering online. One thing the story didn’t mention is that Massachusetts also requires you to go through the entire process of getting a permit in order to buy ammo in any store in the state, and you can not order online or ship said online ammo within the state. So glad I moved from there.

    Also note, some states do have a “limit” that you can store, and it may technically “be against the law” to store too much. In addition, some states require that you lock up your ammo, so just learn what your state requires and stay legal if you feel that is important (not that an officer will ever be in your closet looking to see if you are breaking the law, at least you hope they are not).

    • Thanks for the insight Sean. I am fortunate in that my state does not have any limits on ammo amounts. I am assuming it must be states like California and Connecticut that might have restrictions. You mentioned Mass. requiring a permit, and California is now passing similar laws.

      As for practice ammo, like I mentioned, I have now started purchasing “shooting ammo” in bulk for my range days. (I’m also lucky in that my Dept issues us plenty of practice ammo for the range. Getting paid to shoot their ammo at their targets is living the dream!)

  • Good point about the OK Corral. Most readers here will never have occasion to use 1000 rounds of anything.
    Another thought: do you want your name/ID on a list of those who order by mail?

    • I cannot speak for other people, but as a police officer, I am already on a billion Govt. lists. Between all my background checks (including Federal Govt background checks), fingerprinted half a dozen times, etc, I figure if the US Govt wants to find me, they won’t have to look very hard or far. LOL

  • I found/stole this from somewhere, I can’t remember now ..

    You may have heard on the news about a Southern California man who was put under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found he owned 100 guns and allegedly had 100,000 rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also featured a secret escape tunnel. By Southern California standards, someone owning 100,000 rounds is considered “mentally unstable.”

    In Arizona, he’d be called “an avid gun collector.”

    In Arkansas, he’d be called “a novice gun collector.”

    In Utah, he’d be called “moderately well prepared,” but they’d probably reserve judgment until they made sure that he had a corresponding quantity of stored food.”

    In Kansas, he’d be “A guy down the road you would want to have for a friend.”

    In Montana, he’d be called “The neighborhood ‘Go-To’ guy.”

    In Alabama, he’d be called “a likely gubernatorial candidate.”

    In Georgia, he’d be called “an eligible bachelor.”

    In North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina he would be called “a deer hunting buddy.”

    And in Texas he’d just be “Bubba, who’s a little short on ammo.”

  • If you are serious about preserving your ammunition store it in ammo cans with good gaskets in the lid. Fill the can and close the lid nearly sealed, about 1/4 inch open, and fill it with nitrogen. Place a lit fireplace lighter in the gap and when it goes out the can has filled and you can seal it. No it won’t explode, nitrogen is a very stable gas and is not flammable. Of course you have to have a nitrogen bottle and a regulator. There is $200 onetime fee to purchase the bottle and gauges are another $50-70. A refill is around $25-30. This also works well with food. The primary agent in the oxidation of food and metals is oxygen. Oxygen absorbers work to some degree but you have to have enough in whatever is being store to absorb all the oxygen in the container. The larger the container the more oxygen that needs to be absorbed. If the absorber is saturated before all the oxygen is removed there will still be some oxidation.

  • Back in the 90’s the military tested 75 year old 30-06 that was manufactured during WW 1. The ammo was stored in cool / dry conditions. The military determined that the ammo had only degraded by 10%. Ammo can last a very long time if properly cared for.

  • I have a question about moisture. I have my ammo stored in my basement in my safe and a couple of large Pelican cases All the ammo is also stored in ammo cans. I have a de-humidifier that I keep emptied when it fills. Do I need still need silicon gel packs?

  • Buying ammo in quantity is a hedge, like buying extra food or kit. You do your reader a disservice telling them to purchase what you feel safe with. im amused , coming from the same career field as you, as a young Cub Scout, and then a boy scout, I’ve always lived with the motto” Be Prepared” . If a 1000 rounds is prepared good on you.

    Models coming out of South America suggest more food, when you think you have enough, double that amount. I’d ask that everybody simply extend that model to ammo on the shelf as well.


    • I’m not sure how it is a disservice, seeing as how everyone’s situation will be different than yours or mine. I stated AT LEAST 1000 rounds…implying that I have more than that.

      Having been though some SHTF events myself, I have stated numerous times how things like food, water, etc came into play. Firearms did not however. So for me, I tend to put more importance on things like food and water.

      If you feel the need to have much more ammo than what I listed, then by all means more power to you. But to each his own…

  • I’m surprised there is no mention of reloading. A good press is $300 +/- and primers. powder and projectiles run about 1/3 of the cost of off the shelf ammunition. This can turn your 1000 rounds into 10,000 and in the unlikely event of a SHTF event empty rounds will probably be available for the picking.

    • I’ll be honest. I have no experience with reloading. However, I have some friends who do and are supposed to start teaching me this fall. 🙂

  • Fresh Step brand crystal cat litter is 100% silica gel …. approx $11 for a 8 pound bag – that’s a lifetime supply for an old fart …. wrap a small handful in a paper coffee filter to protect a large container – an ammo box only needs a tea bag size …

  • The odds of an end of the world as we know it are exactly 100%. The remainder of your article is right on course and thank you for setting the record straight that people should be avoiding gunfights at all costs. The last thing I or anyone else needs after teotwawki is a sucking chest wound. Any veteran knows what I’m talking about. Thanks again and best wishes.

    • Yes I agree about avoiding gun fights but I will surely be prepared with guns and ammo should I have no other choice. With the rising price for ammo due to the government constantly trying to take guns the ammo manufacturers are going to gouge as much as they can while they can so stockpiling now is a good idea.

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