Home Ammo OMG! Arizona DPS Finds HUGE Stash of Rifle Ammunition! OMG!

OMG! Arizona DPS Finds HUGE Stash of Rifle Ammunition! OMG!

Smuggled ammo. Image courtesy AZ DPS.
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The Arizona Department of Public Safety announced a recent seizure of a small quantity of ammunition hidden inside some truck tires. Clearly the tires wouldn’t run very smoothly with a couple of thousand rifle rounds rolling around inside them. Yet judging by the mainstream media’s reporting of the DPS’ press release, you’d think they’d uncovered another Fast and Furious level smuggling operation.

They hyperventilated over a mere 5,800 rifle rounds — 800 of them “high caliber!” — less than many TTAG readers regularly keep on hand.

Here’s the breathless report from 13News . . .

According to the AZ Department of Public Safety, a trooper assigned to the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Task Force stopped a vehicle for multiple moving violations on Interstate 19 southbound between Tucson and Sahuarita on June 3.

During the stop, troopers observed indicators of criminal activity.

According to DPS, a subsequent vehicle search resulted in the seizure of 5,800 rounds of ammunition hidden inside two commercial vehicle tires, including 800 high-caliber rifle rounds.

Clearly the prospect of 800 rounds of “high-caliber” rifle ammo just floating around is a scary prospect. The uninitiated and uninformed probably view them as capable of punching holes in the ozone layer if fired at the proper angle.

Lord knows these ketchup container-sized cartridges are so incredibly powerful that the Australians wisely shut down air traffic over a military facility before test-firing a .50 caliber rifle for the media to generate buzz for another gun grab.

Someone has lost 800 rounds of .50 BMG cartridges in Arizona. But Arizonans can calm down. It’s not that big a deal. And as for those 5,000 rounds of what looks like steel-cased 5.56 or .223 ammo…maybe I’m a snob, but I won’t even run that stuff through my ARs.

And 5,000 rounds? That’s a respectable loadout for about five rifles. Maybe ten if you’re traveling light and not expecting to do much shooting.

Five cases of ammo isn’t exactly the mother lode. Your local PD should be running their patrol rifle users through a couple of hundred rounds each year just to help them retain their basic skill set.

Five thousand rounds? That’s enough for one good rifleman for a few years…assuming he’s doing a lot of dry fire practice.

Let’s cut to the chase here. A young man with 5,800 rounds of rifle ammo — even if 800 of those rounds are scary-sounding “high caliber” — isn’t even an eligible bachelor in most parts of Texas.

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  1. Likely headed to the cartels so a minor win there, although the officers were probably hoping to score a major money shipment back to the cartels.

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    • Uh… what law did they break?

      “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

      They going to get some “just compensation?”

      If I got a speeding ticket while transporting ammo, I wouldn’t be excited if they seized all my ammo.

  2. Keep them away from my “stash” or there will be a medical emergency when they suffer cardiac arrest… I won’t even stock steel-cased ammo let alone shoot it in any of my guns, even my AKs get a steady diet of brass with the exception of some silver bear and Golden Bear from time to time… If this stuff was headed to Mexico, I’ll give em an atta-boy, but 5000 rounds is probably a days supply for the Cartels where’s the rest…

    • Serious question MADD, Do you think plastic coated steel casings are bad? Would like to hear from those in the know.

      • I ran a box of Wolf through my mini-14 (I should say I TRIED to run that crap through my mini-14) about every third case split, I will NEVER trust my life with poly coated steel case ammo. I’ve watched guys go through hundreds even thousands of rounds in their AKs without issue but the closest I will come is zinc coated silver bear and golden bear which is a brass coated steel case… The Russians run on steel cased ammo so it must work for them, it’s just a personal thing I’ll pay more for brass for my AKs just for my own peace of mind… Other results/opinions may/will differ but I don’t care…

        • Thank you MADD, I truly appreciate your reply. Thanks again.
          And I will use up my 300blk Wolf ammo at the range and leave it at that.

        • I have several guns that choke on zinc but eat steel without a hitch. I like to run a box or 2 of steel through each “new” gun in my 500 round break in, but zinc caused so many problems I won’t buy it at all anymore. After the initial break in the only guns that get steel on the regular are the AK and SKS.

          Handguns, the P64, Maks, Toks do fine with steel. Beggers can’t be choosers with some of that, but thanks to Starline brass and some old wildcatter tricks you can usually get around that without spending an arm and a leg if you put some effort into it.

          The Spanish pistols are strictly brass. They are the most finicky pistols I have owned, but I love them.

          Glocks run anything, but I only feed them brass. Taurus won’t eat anything, so it doesn’t matter.

          Your mileage may vary, I am not a lawyer, I do not play one on TV, I did not stay at a Holiday inn Express last night.

        • I find it a little strange that you don’t even want to run steel cased ammo through Commie guns (AK, SKS, Mosin,. Makarov).
          I can see avoiding it in your AR or Mini.

        • I don’t use it in my Kommie guns because I also have ARs in 7.62×39 and find it too much trouble to keep all that crap separate, It’s called “personal” choice which is part of that “being an American” thing… I find it strange that you would find my personal preference strange, but it’s your right to question it…

      • If you can/do run the plastic or lacquer coated steel don’t leave a live round in the chamber if you have already fired off enough to get the chamber hot. Even if they don’t get stuck they will leave material on the chamber wall.

      • I have three rifles that use 7.62×39 ammo; an AK, an SKS and a Mini-30. All they eat is steel cased ammo; I don’t even have any brass x39 rounds.
        Never had an ammo-related stoppage after several thousand rounds fired.
        Maybe I just happened to get three exceptional rifles (although the AK and SKS are specifically designed to run on steel cased ammo).
        The 7.62×39 round is shaped very differently than 5.56/.223; the taper is much more pronounced, which makes extraction a *LOT* easier, so steel cases just don’t present much of a problem in that caliber.

        • Our 150 yd range spinners at 50 and 100 has so much steel case on the ground we have to rake it out or it gets like trying to walk on fresh gravel. We pick up as much of the brass as possible. Usually make the kids do it. They know it’s one of their jobs just like helping clean guns and loading range mags

  3. Sahuarita is about ~40 miles north of the Mexican border. If it was hidden, it was likely an attempt to smuggle it into Mexico, almost certainly for cartel use. Arizona DPS did a good thing intercepting it before it reached the cartels, they should be getting props, not mockery.

    • You might have a good point if not for the fact that so much weaponry and ammunition is being diverted from the Ukraine. It is likely that Javelin antitank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles have already been delivered to Mexican drug Lords. No doubt there was a kickback to “the big guy.” I would not be surprised if this measely cache isn’t the result of a repeat of the Obama administration’s fast and furious propaganda ploy.

      • Your going to have to write “President Biden is the best president America ever had or ever will have” 500 times for that Big Guy remark.

      • If this was some sort of government action to supply ammo south of the border, the popo wouldn’t have stopped it, nor would the ammo need to be hidden.

  4. weird how the focus is not on the “indicators of criminal activity.”
    nefarious activity and moving violations don’t mix.
    maybe the wheel felt unusually heavy.

    • I wondered about that too. The linked article just has hyperventilation over the ammo–nothing about any real criminal doings.

      Ammo in bags like that would squish around some at parking lot speeds, but once you hit the road, centrifugal force would push it tight to the tread. Probably a rough ride, though, and hard on the hubs and bearings. Just 1/4 ounce out of balance is noticeable in a passenger tire, probably half an ounce with those on a truck.

      • actually, once C force gets involved it will smoth out the ride.

        old truck driver trick to help balance out tires is a bag of shot wrapped up with duct tape in a tire.

        check out balance masters wheel balancers.

    • The article didn’t say the tires were mounted on the truck, just that the ammo was found inside them.
      They could have been part of the truck’s cargo.

  5. “5,800 rifle rounds”

    That’s it? That’s a tiny amount. Heck, I got millions of rounds stored away.

  6. “including 800 high-caliber rifle rounds” I guess they were mixed with weed and fentanyl.

  7. Exactly what in the Hell is “high caliber?”. Those appear to be .338 Winchester to me.

  8. 5,800 rounds?? That’s plinkin ammo for maybe a year to a shooting sports enthusiast. Good grief. You can bet that the tires weren’t ON the vehicle- the beating tires take on a hot highway would have destroyed the ammo by degrading the powder. 800 “high caliber” shells isn’t that much to a serious shooter or “prepper”, even. It’s interesting that they didnt define what they meant by “high caliber”, because deer rifles by law fire “high caliber” rounds, even the .30-30 is “high caliber”. Anything over the .22 long rifle is “high caliber”… and it’s not illegal to have an ammo stash or have and shoot .50 caliber rounds. Tho those large shells look like something more than .50 cal to me, and IF SO are illegal for civilian use, .50 cal being the limit as I understand it. Been awhile since I retired from shooting and hunting due to my age and health.
    Concerning the possibility that it may have been headed to “the cartels”, there was nothing in the article to suggest that. Anyway, with the apparent ease with which “the cartels” get automatic weapons from red China, one would think that ammo would be on their shopping lists just as readily. Why mess around with the small quantity stuff? There MUST BE MORE to the story we arent hearing…
    Note to self: Don’t stash your ammo in old tires!

  9. There’s no need to hide ammo in tires unless you’re trying to get around the law.

    • That’s similar to the logic the government uses when they confiscate your cash if they think you’re carrying too much. “Nobody needs that much cash unless they’re planning something illicit.” If I want to carry my ammo in my tires because I’m weird, that’s nobody’s business. It’s not a crime.

  10. Debbie? You out there? Here is my response from Clay.

    Hi *******,

    Thank you for reaching out! The NRA-ILA works closely with many other organizations, groups, and coalitions. Unfortunately, Governor Polis and the anti-gun legislature have passed several anti-Second Amendment Bills that we will continue to fight against. As per the lawsuit, I have attached a link that provides all current litigation the NRA is involved in.

    Current Litigation: NRA-ILA | Current Litigation (nraila.org)

    Yours in Freedom,
    Clay Kimberling


    I won’t cuss this time just for you.
    What have you done today to advance gun rights from being stomped upon by the powers that be talk a homeless person to death?

    I’m happy that Clay responded to me in 24 hours no less.

    • Today I have dealt with another f-bomb azzhat like you.. He too ceased with the f-bombs. As for the NRA which I am a voting life member and like so many a former high dollar contributor who has plowed the field. One of my admired mentors from years back was James Jay Baker, I do not know what he is up to today. I am glad you wrote, keep it up.

  11. I still have about 400 rounds of steel-cased 9mm from the beginning of the ‘Rona ammo panic in early 2020 in my stash.

    It’s actually American made, and the barrel of my CZ RAMI hates feeding that crap with a passion… 🙁

    (Maybe I’ll give it to little… Nah.)

  12. Thank God that they have not discovered my covert cache of thermonuclear hand grenades.

  13. Like everything else over the last 7 years of demoCrap…blame the ammo tires on POTUS DJT.

  14. BREAKING: New U.S. Supreme Court Decision Supports NYSRPA v. BRUEN and Gun Rights.

    • Wow, that’s an excellent video. An hour’s worth of information in 25 minutes! 😀

  15. High caliber co-mingling with Low caliber,,, wow. And brass is usually tumble cleaned prior to reloading, this is all mixed up.

  16. possessing ammo is now illegal or? Look at you police staters. I seriously hope you think that big cartels like Sinola aren’t getting petty 5000 round shipments at a time. They have the money to not only operate their own ammo plants, but also to start business and pay off the government to quasi legally import all the ammo they want to buy. This is small fries for small fish.

  17. Id bet well over half of the Arizona sheriffs and police have 2x that amount in their gun safes. Best not let Arizona DPS look into that, the media might just have a heart attack

  18. Pigs gonna pig. It is no wonder most Americans hate the police so much. Nobody ever wrote a major hit song called, “F the Fire Department.” This is ridiculous that these Karenpiggies are freaking out over one range day’s worth of ammo here What a pack of oinks.

    • Nikita, you sound like you have a problem with those in blue. Why don’t you air it all out?

  19. for your folks behind enemy lines in the Tyrannical State of Illinois…. When Your Governor Acts Like He’s King.

    Washington Gun Law President, William Kirk, heads back to Illinois again, as this time America’s most evil Governor and his cronies in the State Capitol have cooked up a perfect way to ensure that the scale will always be tipped in their favor. Worse yet, the scale we are referring to are the scales of justice. Learn what Illinois has done to all but ensure that no Constitutional challenge will ever be successful in that state again.

  20. 5800 rounds is a decent start for a stash. Excluding handgun and .22 LR ammo, of course.

  21. If the media and the disarmament crowd are panicking about that little stash, I would hate to see the reaction to my ammo cabinets. All nicely arraigned by caliber, bullet weights, powder charges, and use.
    Which reminds me, I need to make time to load some of the more obscure cartridges. Down to a couple hundred in the 50 Sharps shelf.

  22. So, is it illegal to carry ammo in your tires? I guess if you are heading to California it would be.

    • I-19 goes from Tucson to Mexico and nowhere else.
      I-19 = smuggling ammo into Mexico.

      Though I don’t see what that is DPS’s business.

      • I-19 also connects with I-10 in Tucson which runs from Santa Monica CA to Jacksonville FL… Just sayin…

  23. No kidding. I put new tires on my truck today. I wonder what ammo rolling around in them would have done for the balance.

  24. No mention which direction the truck was headed. I doubt it was headed south as the Cartels dont need ammo from the US as others have stated

    So if the truck was headed into the US, where might it be going and why ? To places where ammo sales are tracked perhaps ? Or maybe this is one of thousands of trucks hauling ammo to the Saboteurs that have already or will be crossing the border ?

    If drugs and people are infiltrating the US undetected so can arms, explosives, poisons and chemicals. And you can be sure such contraband is flowing in freely.

    It would be nice to know the headstamps in the .50 bmg.

    • JB
      You said the same thing I’ve been saying for 50 years. If we can’t stop some mule from carrying a bale of weed or back pack full of cocaine, what would stop the same man from carrying an ammo can and a couple rifles or handguns?
      And, as I have said for just as many years, if somehow the disarmament crowd could achieve their wildest dreams and get rid of ever non-governmentally held firearm in the country, some enterprising individual would be on the phone or internet figuring out how to bring in shipping containers of firearms or parts as machine parts, etc.

      • Oldman
        if they got their wildest dream of civilian gun confiscation it’s time for a shopping trip to the hardware store and the fillin’ station. Those that don’t know how to make their own ied’s, grenades etc. and at least a slam fire 12guage/.22 zip better start learning.

        • Got enough crap under my kitchen sink to build a lethal chemical IED and enough lawn “fertilizer” in the shed to level half the block (it’s a BIG shed), a 50 gallon drum of diesel, and the wife buys liquid laundry detergent by the case, don’t even need to leave the house…

        • never was a boy scout but always have believed in their motto.
          reminds me I need to refill the gasoline drum. really need a second one so it’s easier to rotate stock

    • The Border Patrol estimates they catch about 30% of what actually comes across the border illegally, and you can bet they’re over-estimating to make themselves look good.

  25. So I am still attempting to determine what law was broken. It’s not illegal to own ammo or conceal it. I don’t see any evidence of a crime?

    • I’m gonna have to guess that the press release was notable for what it didn’t say more than for what it did say.
      “During the stop, troopers observed indicators of criminal activity.” That could mean almost anything, from an empty beer can on the floorboard to stolen classified documents to a missing insurance card.

  26. So I guess the takeaway is that police happily will steal thousands of dollars worth of ammo from you if they deem your (fully legal) storage method to be suitably suspicious?

    • Red, “steal” ? I have to wonder if the 5800 round were on the bill of lading? Sounds like contraband to me. Even if those rounds are borderline useless.

  27. Driving anywhere near the MX border will get you serious attention from LE and BP especially in a truck or God forbid, a van. Years ago they detained a (Hispanic) former AZ governor on the side of the road for several hours in the summer heat before they confirmed his identity.

  28. Usually, when the media or politicians say “high caliber” they’re talking about small-caliber .223 rounds. They’re constantly talking about “high caliber AR-15 rifles.”
    I don’t know why they think small caliber is “high caliber,” but they do — or they’re just lying all the time.

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