Nest Eggs: Ammo vs. Retirement

Reader Thundervoice writes:

I recently passed through the local Wally World in the middle of a weekday to pick up a couple of items. As always, strolled by the ammo cabinet. Yippee, jackpot! I found a 1,000 round box of M-22 and several boxes of 333 Winchester white box .22 so I bought one of each. Like most things, there is good and bad in this. The good is that I got them for a hair over five cents a round. The bad is that when I got them home, I found that I had to clean up the storage area to find a place to put them.

The bad led to more good, however, in that it forced me to organize my .22 ammo. Before I started reloading, I bought .22 ammo whenever I saw it at a “reasonable” inflated price. But once I started reloading, I began shooting other calibers more and .22 less. But I never stopped the .22 ammo habit.

When I cleaned out the closet, I realized I have a lot of .22 ammo. Not three figures, not four figures. I realized I’ve accumulated over five figures worth of .22 rounds. It seemed like a lot, at least until I started thinking (always a dangerous thing).

I asked myself, “How often would I have to shoot in order to use up my 22 ammo during the remaining years of my shooting life?” That’s a lot like asking how much money I need to retire, except for some major differences, like:

– The ammo nest egg doesn’t grow with time, the retirement nest egg does (as long as I don’t spend the principle).

– If I use up all of my ammo nest egg, I can buy more (maybe, if it is available). If I use up my retirement nest egg, it would be hard for me to go back to reestablish a professional life with a decent income at a ripe old age.

– Both nest eggs require a sense of timing in predicting how to use it up. For the ammo, the question is at what age will I get to a point where I can’t shoot anymore? For retirement, it is how long will I live? And yes, I know that some will say the age at which you can’t shoot anymore is when your life ends.

– Will there be a catastrophic event that will require me to use a significant part of either nest egg? For the ammo, it’s the SHTF scenario where 22 ammo could be worth its weight in gold. For the savings, it is likely a catastrophic illness.

– There is a lot of unpredictability in the future for both. Although 22 ammo is becoming available again at decent prices, there is no guarantee that today’s situation will continue. And while the stock market is doing reasonably well now, I can’t count on that to continue to the end of my life.

I decided to assume that by the time I reach the age of 80, my shooting days will be mostly over. When I run the math, I realized that my ammo nest egg isn’t much better off than my retirement nest egg. I’d have to limit myself to about 600 rounds per year to make the ammo nest egg last until I reach 80.

Shoot, I’ve had months where I shoot more than 600 rounds of .22, so 600 rounds a year isn’t really realistic. The bottom line is that both nest eggs need more. I will keep putting money into my retirement nest egg and I’ll keep buying .22 ammo when I see it at a good price.

For me, that price is five to seven cents per round, depending upon the quality of the ammo. I need to double or triple my .22 ammo stash before I quit buying. I’m thinking the same holds true for my retirement stash as well. You can never have too much money for retirement or too much ammo. What say ye about my approach?

 

comments

  1. avatar Joe R. says:

    Speak with your Ammo Retirement Advisor before making any investment decisions. Past performance does not dictate future success, your results may vary.

    BUY AMMO

    There is only one precious metal, and it comes bored and chambered in your favorite caliber. Gold takes a crappy edge and makes a lousy shovel, and when SHTF a whole dumptruck worth of Gold might not get you a can of beans.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      / (semi) sarc

      1. avatar Clive says:

        None of us know what the future holds. That is why we should have a variety of investments. Have some cash, some stocks, some real estate, some gold and silver, some guns, some ammo, some tools, some food storage, etc.

        Your comment about a truckload of gold being worth a can of beans is just plain silly. That may be one remotely possible option. On the other hand, in Weimar Germany, a little gold would have been a nice thing to have. Zimbabwe, Venezuela also show the value of PMs.

        The Federal Reserve can’t just print ammo, gold, real estate, or food, like they do FRN’s

        It is foolish to have a mountain of .22 ammo, and nothing else. It is foolish to have a mountain of gold and nothing else. It is foolish to have all your money tied up in the stock market. It is foolish to have all your money in canned beans.

        1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

          Like the gremlin said, “I advise investing in canned food and shotguns.”

        2. avatar beefeater says:

          I’m pretty leveraged in my waffle portfolio…
          https://youtu.be/JGstHASo1t4

        3. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Your comment about a truckload of gold being worth a can of beans is just plain silly.”

          Damn straight, brother.

          Gold will make an excellent fishing weight, and a truck-load of fishing weights is worth *way* more than a can of beans.

          Being malleable, should also be good for bright spoons for cast-fishing.

          And being dense, it oughtta make a perfectly serviceable metal for casting bullets as well…

  2. avatar Accur81 says:

    Well, I’ve got less retirement money in my 401 K, 457 K, and in silver bullion since I’ve spent so much on ammo. Should a catastrophic event occur, ammo will be rationed on an as-needed basis. So will water and survival food.

    It isn’t terribly hard to amass 5 and 6 figure ammo counts when you factor $.05 .22 LR into the equation. Expensive, maybe, and you’d better have an understanding (or blissfully unaware) wife. 10K of .22 LR could be had for about $500 back in the good ‘ol days. Now is a good time to buy guns and ammo.

  3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    My math in my comment was wrong. Please see next comment.

  4. avatar Specialist38 says:

    My price point is 5-6 cents a round. I travel a good bit and stop at a lot of Walmarts stores.

    When I see bulk boxes in my price range, I buy it.

    My target is 5000 rounds, so I add as I shoot it up.

    I did this because I had some Thunderbolts that I bought when Sam’s Club was getting out of the 22 business. (early 90s). It was wrapped in cellophane in 2-brick bundles. My last 1000 is being shot now, only for fun.

    You can hear the difference in power with each shot. In some case you can see the bullet when it leaves the barrel. 22 ammo will go bad.

    So I will maintain at around 5000 rounds of stock. If it’s cheap enough.

    1. avatar Lupinsea says:

      If you’re looking to get ammo with long-term storage in mind, it’s probably not a bad idea to write the date of purchase down somewhere on the ammo boxes. As you get new ammo, shoot the oldest stock first.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Yup. I do.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Unless your storage environment/conditions were horrendous, I really question whether your .22 LR ammunition has degraded in just 25 years. I have some Remington Viper (hyper-velocity) .22 LR from the mid 80s that shoots just fine (consistent).

      1. avatar Jay Dunn says:

        I still have half a dozen boxes of Remington .22LR my father bought in 1955. I last shot some a year ago and it worked just fine.

      2. avatar RH says:

        Yep, it’s all about storage. I’ve got a couple boxes of Peters 22 Short that I’ve used over the years for quiet pest control. Who knows how old those things are, but they’ve always been kept dry, and I’ve yet to have a misfire.

    3. avatar Grant says:

      22 ammo will not “go bad”, Thunderbolts are know for being wildly inconsistent. Everything from the lead to not being hard enough to inconsistent powder charges. Likely explain the problems that you have, not that the 22 ammo will “go bad”

      1. avatar NineShooter says:

        Agree. Even when that ammo was new, it had “gone bad”. Absolute crap, in most cases.

        1. avatar unknown says:

          Disagree on two things. Ammo stored in high heat & humidity or damp places like basements, etc. will go bad. I also shoot a huge number of Thunderbolts (and others) and almost never have bad round; maybe one every 8K+. Your experience may differ.

  5. avatar Bob Jones says:

    You need to buy a couple of American 180 rifles.
    They will help you eat that ammo.

  6. avatar Son of Alan says:

    This also doubly sucks for people in California, effective Jan 2018 ammunition licensing will be happening. I really need to stock up on for the next 5 years at least until I move.

    1. avatar TIm says:

      Might have better luck in North Korea.

    2. avatar JR says:

      Well the way things going here in Hellinois we might be looking at that same thing soon.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    From what I can see in your photo, it looks like you have something like 12,000 rounds of .22 LR. Let’s call that a nice buffer. From this point forward, I recommend that you simply replace as you shoot.

    Looking at retirement, suppose you retire at age 63 and want to have enough .22 LR to shoot until you reach age 80 (without purchasing any more after retirement). A buffer of 12,000 rounds of .22 LR means you could shoot about 700 rounds per year until you run out.

    Of course hardly anyone ever knows decades in advance when they will die. Thus, you really have no idea how much ammo to bank to sustain you until you die. Personally, I would maintain your buffer until retirement and then plan to still spend some money on ammo. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to adjust your plan if you are burning through your ammo too fast.

  8. avatar RCC says:

    I’ve been in 3 Walmarts and 3 gun shops this week. No .22 in Walmart and the one shop that had .22 wanted $7.50 for 50 round box, no discount for bulk buying. This being in Albuquerque area.

    I pay $37.00 for 500 back home in Australia (or about $27.00 in USD). Amazing how pricey .22 is here.

    1. avatar Rimfire says:

      Does Winchester still load ammo in Australia? I have some older Aussie ammo and Super Speed .22 stuff and love it. The Aussie Power points are really accurate.

      1. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

        This is barely on topic, but Winchester Australia makes the baddest .22 round on the planet.

        The Winchester “Power Point Max” is a high velocity, 42 grain hollow point .22 LR load. For a short while you could get it in the US, and it was great ammo in my experience. I haven’t seen it for sale in a long time.

        I would however love to try out the new(er) M-22 Subsonics. The idea of a 45 grain subsonic load is pretty intriguing. It seems like a good way to utilize as much of the power of a .22 load as you can, without breaking the sound barrier.

  9. avatar Kendahl says:

    When to retire is a question of balance. The longer you work, the bigger your retirement nest egg will be. On the other hand, there is no point in scrimping and saving if you never give yourself time to enjoy your savings. It isn’t an easy decision. The people in the worst predicament are those who won’t have to make that decision because they have never saved anything.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “When to retire is a question of balance.”

      There is a great truth in that.

      To me, having something to do that keeps what little is left of my brain that’s left engaged is vitally important.

      I’ve seen it my family. One uncle retired at 60 and parked his ass on the livingroom couch and drank beer and smoked cigarettes. He was dead in 3 years.

      My pop is 84 and is up and at it daily. Building Habitat for Humanity houses, regularly scheduled golf games, traveling to see the grandkids, active in his church, etc.

      Having something to do is what keeps you going, and alive…

  10. avatar H says:

    There are some 80 year olds at the range, making us look bad. 🙂

  11. avatar Whoreson Beast says:

    Gander Mountain and Cabelas are (unfortunately) offering one time ammo annuities.

  12. avatar jwm says:

    The secret to financial success is to die the day before you go broke.

    The secret to ammo success is to be killed in the blast when your ammo stash goes up and it registers on seismographs 2 states away. The day before you go broke.

    1. avatar anaxis says:

      My grandparents had an old neighbor on the two farms over back in the 50’s who kept all his dynamite (and who knows what else) in his basement. This house also had a coal furnace.
      One fall day he was filling his coal bunker and the house evaporated, along with the farmer & the truck he was shovelling coal from. A lot of people lost windows, and an axle landed in my grandmother’s garden, where it still sits as far as I know. From what I’ve heard & read (they still have an old newspaper clipping), the blast was heard in three counties; the crater is now a fairly deep duck pond.
      But what wasn’t in the paper is that the house & farm was going to be taken by the bank, and the old man wasn’t broke. He had a LOT of gold someplace else which he somehow entrusted/willed to his kin (out of the bank’s reach), and without a house the bank had nothing. My family was good friends with the guy, and to this day they applaud him being able to shaft the bank in such style.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        When it’s your time to go it’s good to go in such a fashion as to be talked about generations later.

        1. avatar anaxis says:

          Right? Even as a little kid, I knew that I could only hope to go out like Ol’ Farmer ‘Ski.

          Other folks in the area still talk about the “idiot Polak who tried to dry out dynamite in his furnace (or light his furnace with a blasting cap, etc)”, but we know the man was far more clever than that. My Great Grandparents knew him back in Poland as a gunsmith/tinkerer.

          Methinks along with the coal dust & dynamite, he probably also had quite a stash of ammunition too. Now I kinda want to go over the old property with a metal detector…..

  13. avatar MiamiC70 says:

    Hoarders like this ass clown are the reason ammo prices go through the roof and availability plummets.
    Go shoot it or leave it for someone to buy it that is.

    1. avatar Enzo Baldwin says:

      Exactly this, if you want the thrill of rimfire, shoot an air gun while you’ve still the strength to pump a cylinder and save what .22 you have. In the meantime the rest of us buy and shoot and try and keep supply and demand level.
      I laugh when the hoarders try and sell .22LR on Backpage for .10c a round when younger shooters savvy shooters just have it delivered to their front door cheaper.

    2. avatar Hank says:

      Wrong. You horde when prices are low and availability is high, like now, and for as long a Trump/GOP controls Washington. That will eventually change again, one day. The democrats will be back, and the panic will be back. If your smart, you’ve stocked up during the good times to out last the bad.

    3. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

      That’s what I thought, until I managed to get some of my friends into shooting.

      In a few weekends at the range we burned through thousands of rounds of .22 LR. Since it’s still not usually available in bulk packs around here, I’m still in the habit of stocking up more than I need when it’s available, so we can have a fun weekend at the range even when it isn’t.

  14. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

    Less than .06 is my price point.

    My dad says he hasn’t bought ammo in a long time because he doesn’t get out to shoot to often anymore.

    My grandfather on the other side had more ammo than he could shoot, and he died well before I was born but before his time. Unfortunately my grandmother stored it in the un-airconditioned attic south of I-10 in Louisiana.

  15. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    The only time you can have too much ammo is if you are on fire or swimming.

    1. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

      And there are times that isn’t true. I mean, if your only a little on fire …

      1. avatar jwm says:

        And there’s shallow water nearby to flop into….

  16. avatar unknown says:

    I use an average of 2K 22’s per year and a few hundred center fires of various calibers; have 13 + year’s worth on hand.

  17. avatar RCC says:

    Hoplop
    Yes Winchester still has factory in Australia
    They had interview with local manager a couple of months ago in shooting magazine at home. They are running 6 or 7 days loading .22, 12 gauge etc.

    I use their Bushmaster brand for hunting and target but don’t think they export that one. Nearly all their products go overseas

    I need to find local source as I’ve used 400 rounds already this week

  18. avatar Jim Macklin says:

    The ultimate reason to stockpile .22 LR ammo is survival hunting. 600 rounds a year is a lot of rabbit dinners, lots of rats that won’t be eating your corn and beans in your cache.
    But lots of 80 year old s prefer .22 LR because it doesn’t hurt their arthritic bodies.

  19. avatar ozzallos says:

    Um, your ammo nest egg probably outperformed gold percentage-wise during the obama years. It did appreciate. Massively. Which is why you were squealing like a schoolgirl when you found it in stock and reasonably priced.

  20. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    President Trump has at most 8 years in office. Some day a democrat will become president again. My wife keeps asks me to learn reloading. I have been thinking about it. Nobody thought the Ammo scare of 2012 would ever happen. Over two years without hand gun ammunition. Unless you own a .25 or 32 caliber weapon???

    You can put caliber adapters in a Taurus Judge and S&W governor revolver. Just like a break action shot gun. Gage mate advertises caliber adapters for semi auto shot guns!! You can cycle hand gun ammo in your 12 gage. Unfortunately the .410 adapters are smooth bore only.
    “A gun is better than no gun”

  21. avatar LHW says:

    Being young, I need to start stockpiling both.

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