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?