Racer88 writes:

Over the last few years, I’ve managed to accumulate a fair amount of ammo. [Storage method not shown.] I’m actually running low on space in my walk-in closet. I regularly check out the various online ammo dealers, the LGS, and even Walmart for deals. Even if there’s not a special deal / sale, I’ll buy some here and some there, whether I “need” it or not. I see it as sort of a “dollar-cost averaging” approach to buying ammo. Sure, it’s a bit of a strained metaphor, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it . . .

Why do I buy it and “stack it deep?” A few reasons come to mind. My first thought is that it probably won’t get much cheaper. Secondly, it doesn’t really “go bad.” Ammo stored in an air-conditioned house, in sealed ammo cans, with desiccant in each can… should be good for my lifetime and then some. Thirdly, a little voice in my head sometimes worries that there could be a future shortage (or worse).

I’ve not really followed any rhyme or reason when purchasing FMJ vs premium SD ammo. I do buy the FMJ with the intent to eventually use it for practice. However, I have bought quite a bit of premium SD and just keep stacking it.

Again, a little part of me wonders if some of the premium ammo will be scarce or even non-existent in the future. So, is there a ratio of FMJ / range ammo to premium / HP / SD ammo that you subscribe to? If so, why?

P.S. I’m NOT interested in reloading.

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57 Responses to Question of the Day: What Kind of Ammo Should You Store?

  1. I store about 75% FMJ and 25% non-FMJ (not all hollow point) across all calibers, both rifle and pistol. My reasoning is simple: I shoot FMJ a lot more, and it’s cheaper.

  2. I’ve been trying to accumulate 5.56x45mm ammo, the 420 round cans of m855 on stripper clips seem like a great solution.

  3. The ammunition I stock the most of is .22 LR. I figure my .22 rifle is the most useful firearm in my safe in a SHTF scenario.

    I also keep a lot of 45 acp and .308.

    I don’t do anything special to store ammo, other than making sure I keep a box of desiccant in my safe.

  4. I try to store for the future with much of the same reasoning. As the weather finally gets out of the “monsoon season” know as spring time in the great lakes i find it hard to resist the friday impulse of hay lets go the range!

  5. I stockpile ammo in calibers I dont even own a gun for. Trade is useful. And then if one of my customers comes in, needing ammo for his .22 Remington Jet, I have some I can sell him. Money in my pocket, and it makes the shop look good, too.

    I figure on having about 250 rounds of ammo per secondary weapon (Pistols, shotguns) and 1000 rounds per primary (Long guns)…per month, on top of 500 rounds per .22 a month.

    I’m currently o.k for that out to about two months. My goal is to have about a years worth of ammo stored up.

  6. It’s going to cost more and become harder to find in certain calibers. I would consider reloading equipment and supplies for hard to find stuff and generally keep a few years worth of anything you shoot regular.
    I’ve considered trimming down to 3 or 4 calibers and buying guns in those gauges as a way to simplify things.

    • I’ve kept my different calibers to a minimum as well. I believe in the KISS principle.

      22LR: Ruger 10/22 & Sig Mosquito
      9mm: Ruger P95 & High Point 995TS
      12ga: Mossberg 500 & Remington 870
      30-06: Remington 740 WoodMaster

  7. The little voice in your head should be saying that if you’re really concerned, don’t close the door on the option of reloading.

    • I also look for the Ammo that comes in spam cans, all types , next, shop military surplus all types,and than lots anything that is on sale all types, and last i reload and every time i shoot at range collect my brass and every ones used brass cases and the boxes and reload all that, shoot it and reload it again , so my stash just keeps growing and get used G.I. ammo cans fill that and fill all my old coffee cans with ammo in plastic bags inside can…

  8. Outside of 22 LR one of the best stockpiling deals out there is 7.62x54R. Sure, the cheap stuff is corrosive, but it will stay packed away in the spam cans till I need it, and if I need to use it, at that time corrosive wont matter. I have 3 Mosins at the moment, and I figure a crate of 880 ($160 per crate) per rifle is sufficient to cover my needs and two others. Some of mine is steel core, which I have yet to find something it cannot penetrate.

  9. Some good responses so far. I won’t say that I’ll never reload. It’s just not practical for me at this time. I don’t have a workspace amenable to that activity. When I am able to build my ultimate air-conditioned “man cave” on the back lot, I’ll reconsider. 🙂

    • Buying factory 45 Colt for CAS was too expensive so I started reloading with a Lee hand press and my computer desk top. It is a bit tedious but doable.

    • You don’t need all that much room to very comfortably reload – I’ve recently completed my fourth (or is it 5th?) reloading setup based on my experience and real world needs. The “bench” part measures 11 inches by 3 foot long and it looks like a book case.

      You truly do not need bigger. E-mail me and I’ll send pictures …

    • I set up my little Dillon progressive press twenty years ago on a bench measuring approximately 24″x42″ which I assembled in an underused walk-in closet in my apartment. That was more than enough work-space.

  10. What ammo should you stockpile? If you ask and answer another more basic question, then you will know the answer to the first question. You need to know WHY you are stockpiling ammo. Based on your words above, it appears you have never answered this question.
    – Is it to ensure you will have enough to survive a long-term SHTF situation?
    — How long-term – a few days or a few months?
    – Is it to save money by buying in bulk and when the price is right?
    – Is it to prevent running out during shortage times?
    – Is there some other reason I haven’t thought of, but you have?

    Once you know the answers to these questions (and you could answer yes to more than one question), then you need to decide which reason(s) is/are most important, and which reasons are actually just nice side-effects of your true reason for stockpiling.

    When you truly know why you are stockpiling, then it will be much more obvious what ammo (and what quantities) you need to stockpile to fulfill that goal. As your question is present right now in this article, we can’t answer it for you because we do not know why you want to stockpile. Any answer someone gives/has given you so far is actually based on his reasons, not yours.

    • – Is it to ensure you will have enough to survive a long-term SHTF situation?
      — How long-term – a few days or a few months?
      – Is it to save money by buying in bulk and when the price is right?
      – Is it to prevent running out during shortage times?

      Yes to all the above. 🙂 How long? No particular time frame, honestly. Obviously, the bigger the stockpile, the longer you can go.

    • As far as stockpiling goes, if you cover the SHTF, then you’ve covered it all. Shortage: it hit the fan. Worldwide power grid failure: it hit the fan. Food shortages and deer season becomes permanent: it still hit the fan.

      My ammo stockpile is seriously lacking as I’m still poor and young. However, I did purposely buy guns in the most popular military calibers, 9mm: two pistols and a Kel-Tec sub 2000 to take one pistol’s magazines, 5.56: still building it – needs an upper, 7.62×39, 7.62x54R, 12GA, and a .22lr on the side.
      Possibly a 7.62×51 in the future. That way “spare” military ammo I find can have a use for me.

  11. Being relatively new to being a homeowner with an option to keep a stockpile, I find it personally hard to financially ‘stock up’ on ammo. I have a few different specialty hollow points, about 200 reg. hollow points, and 300 rounds of FMJ for my 9mm. I also have a box of .22 that I haven’t used with one of my friend’s AR toy shooter. I intend on getting more in the future (and more firearms) but for now I am not able to sacrifice my money towards ammunition. If I did however, I’d probably go with the 75% FMJ and 25% others as stated above. Hollow point would always be more Defensively ideal, but FMJ’s are always cheaper and would work just fine too

  12. I stock up on ammo in the calibers related to which guns I have in mind for SHTF situations vs all other uses. SHTF, and regular carry guns have the highest reserves. I shoot hem more.More for rifles than pistols or shotguns. I only own and shoot mostly common calibers. so 5.56, 7.62×51, 7.62×39, 9mm, .45acp, and .22LR get the lions share of the round count.
    In the middle are .38 spl, .357 mag, 3006, 12GA, and 40S&W. On the bottom are 30-30win, .303, 44mag, 44 spl, and 45LC.

    With the exception of the occasional case lot to build a base quantity, I tend to accumulate ammo slowly, but steadily. Ever time I go the the fun store, I pick up a box or two, or replace what I shot recently plus a box or two. Sort of like a pack of gum at the checkout counter. Unless I’m looking for a particular defense load, I rarely make a trip for ammo alone, unless there is a real deal on and I have some loose cash. But a fair price plus free shipping has been known to get my attention as far as internet stores.

    But I have found the slow accumulation process to be less painful and a reliable way to build up good sized reserves over time.

    • That’s pretty much what I’ve done, Steve… bought over time… with a majority of it bought online. Even though I may not save a lot of money in some cases, I like the convenience of it showing up at my front door. But, in most cases, it’s cheaper online.

  13. I buy double the amount I shoot each week and have a considerable amount of stored ammunition of all calibers I own. All nice and tidy in Mil Surplus ammo cans, labeled and stored in 3 easy (for us) to get to locations.

  14. Love me some .22. That will be my caliber of choice, all day long. Why?

    Quantity, quantity, quantity.

  15. I stock vast quantities of .22lr ammo as I have 4 guns in that caliber. I have quite a bit of 12 gauge ammo as well as I have 3 guns in that caliber.
    It takes a lot of money to stockpile centerfire rounds although it seems 5.56mm and 9 mm are cheaper.

  16. I only store the ammo that I shoot or fire frequently such as .50 cal, 20mm, 30mm, 105mm, 120mm, 125mm, and a few others.

  17. Cheaper than dirt has good prices I usually buy a few boxes at a time I don’t keep ammo in the house

    • That question sounds suspiciously like the next (or next to be written) Ask Foghorn.

      “What’s the proper method of storing large amounts of ammo for long-term storage”

      • If you throw a desiccant pack in the lid, yes…

        Those bottles seal up very well, so sealed + desiccant == Good ammo storage.

    • Don’t hold your breath, the moneycrat party isn’t going anywhere without a bloody fight..

      • You’re missing the point. An armed population isn’t meant to go toe-to-toe with the government’s army. It’s meant to make the potential cost of imposing serious repression higher than the government is willing or (maybe) able to swing. It’s the classic approach to asymmetric warfare, and it works more often than not. The limits of the more powerful actor’s options become constrained by the willingness of the less powerful actor to tolerate them, because even moderate armed resistance is incredibly expensive to defeat. Oppressors are always working from a cost-benefit analysis. On the other hand, you can do anything you want to people who have no means to resist.

        To be absolutely clear, the above is a blunt instrument and Tim McNabb is right that the place to make a firm stand is at the ballot box, before it comes to that.

    • Folks, watch the dessicant. Factory ammo is lodead at 30% humidity to keep the primer cake from crumbling. Too dry isn’t all that good either. Primarily, keep it at something resembling constant temperature. My cellar, down low and a few inches from the wall, stays close to 55-58 degrees all year long. No condensation that way, and everything is in .50 cal G.I. ammo cans. I also had a lesson in what old ammo can do a few years ago. Eric Timrud, Gary Petersen and I were doing some 800 meter shooting on the abandoned railroad track in North Granby. Sadly, the track was ripped up a while back, and the embankment turned into a yuppie bike path. Sic Semper something or other. Anyway, we counted off 100 rail sections and set up our targets. That’s 10 meters each, not 10 yards, as the rail was supplied by Krupp in exchange for half the railroad right-of-way. To this day you’ll find more German names on one side of the tracks in the lower midwest, and mostly British names on the opposite side. Cute factoid. Okay, I settles down with the scope sighted Schmidt-Rubin 1911, and proceeds to put twelve shots into six and three quarter inches at half a mile. Yes, I was feeling rather smug. Eric had found a bunch of old 7mm Mauser, headstamped Remington 1900 and UMC 1902, and tried them out in his immaculate 1895 Chilean. Some went bang. Some waited a few seconds and went bang, some hissed or did nothing at all. The ones that fired split their necks and shoulders. Undaunted, the Nookschottishe Norske pulled all the long 175 grain roundnoses, dumped the funny looking doughnut shaped powder granules, popped out the more or less dead primers, and annealed the case necks and shoulders by oiling them and holding them in a pot of molten lead 5 or 6 seconds each, then dropping them into cold water. Reloaded with a factory equivalent charge of 4895 and fresh primers, the bugger settled down into prone with sling and proceeded to turn in multiple groups almost as good as my Schimdt-Rubin (8 to 9 inches typical). At half a mile. With the issue iron sights. Read an amazing book called Rags of Glory by a South African named Cloejte to understand what it was like to be a British soldier facing Boers armed with that same rifle and ammunition. Old ammo can suprise you, even stuff that has passed it’s practical life expectancy. During World War One, Paul von Lettow-Vorbecke manufactured fresh powder and primers in the middle of the African veldt, then used it to rejuvenate Mauser rifle ammo that had been salvaged from sunken German ships. An amazing general, and evidently a pretty fair chemical engineer. And for those who don’t reload, start! The Lyman 30 caliber 173 grain Loverin bullet, cast hard (linotype) over 22 grains of 4895, shoots point of aim at 100 yards in my Schmidt-Rubins, with inch groups out of the 1911 rifle and 2 inches from the 1911 carbine and K31. With 3 more grains of powder it will do the same in a 30-06, all with M-1 carbine noise and recoil, at less than a dime a shot.

  18. The RepubliCONs keep you scared, and keep reaping the profits. The sky is truly falling if you make it fall……..

    • Too young to have experienced the Carter years, eh? You are gonna love 17% inflation and interest rates. It’s no boogie man son, it’s what’s coming…

  19. I defer to a couple of “folks” that mentioned this.

    “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”
    George Washington

    “I hear that small arms ammunition in South Africa has practically disappeared from the store shelves. Either people are wisely stocking up, or some arm of the government has decided to cut off the supply. In that regard, I advise you to keep your own stocks in good shape. Our enemies may not be able to abrogate the constitution just yet, but there are economic and political means by which they may dry up our ammunition supply.”
    Jeff Cooper

    Jus’ Sayin’

    • If you don’t mind, I’d like to pose a question…what’s the best way to store ammo for intdtmeeiare periods? I’m thinking on the order of 5 to 10 years.My assumption is that keeping it dry (duh) is the first and primary concern. I’ve got a bunch of surplus .50-cal ammo cans with good rubber seals; they’re essentially water-tight.But is it better for it to be cool, sometimes verging on freezing, or warm, verging on really frickin’ hot? Kind of like the difference between basement and attic? I couldn’t find much on reliability in sub-zero temperatures, but there’s a fair amount of data out there on high-temperatures (over 150F) significantly affecting function.Right now we’re using our old supply of S&B .45 ball from 1997, which I got for something like $6.99 a box of 50 (less than half the price now). I do a first-in, first-out inventory control on the ammo, and always try to burn up the oldest stuff first. It’s always gone “bang” for me.I’m just wondering how long stuff stored from 10 years ago will still be as reliable as it was when new.

  20. I try to find a happy middle ground. I try to purchase white box HP for both self defense and plinking. This way I shoot what I plan to shoot in a worse case scenario. I also buy FMJ whitebox, because of our harsh winters. Between the months of October and early February, its my standard load. If I do encounter a bad guy, he is likely going to be well padded and insulated; the FMJ being better for penetrating that ol North Face Jacket..even if just barely.

    I know everyone swears by the pricey SD stuff. But quite frankly, I don’t think an expensive HP is going to be distinguishable from my Whitebox HP either way.

  21. Incidentally, another reason I’m not enamored with the idea of reloading (at least for now) is that NONE of my local ranges allow reloads. They require factory new ammo to be used on their ranges. So it goes.

  22. I had some .45 ACP that I bought in the early ’70s that was sreotd indoors at room temp in a cabinet. It was Remington silvertip as I remember. The whole box went boom with no problem. I had also hand loaded an odd lot back then. They all worked as designed too. All of my current Ammo is new or reloaded since 2000. I trust it. I still buy factory for personal defense…Fresh Ammo never hurts.If you are willing to buy on-line, Sportsman’s Guide gets frequent deliverys in of a lot of calibers. Some of it is getting pretty old and some will be Corrosive. Others are new or reloaded on once fired cases. They tell you. Large round lots come in Ammo cans, and I add the small desiccant bag just to be sure.I bought up a lot of Ammo in the late ’90s, so I am fixed for a while. Cottage Industry: A band of hand loaders with Dillon’s and Lee’s (and others) loaders joining up and processing all of that fired brass and selling into a hungry market. Well, in these times it is an Idea. My old gun dealer reloaded and supplied me with many a box of .357 Mag

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