Why we stockpile ammo

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Why do we (and by we, I mean me and those that think like me) stockpile large amounts of ammo when history has shown that in the average crisis the armed civilian seldom fires more than a few rounds?

Economy – One box of ammo is more expensive per box than 100 boxes of ammo. Im on a tight budget so if I can get my ammo for 30% less than what it normally costs you can bet Im going to do just that.

Readiness – Once I have those cases of ammo socked away I am done with my purchasing and can move on to other things. If I see on the news that trouble is approaching I can focus on other things instead of standing in line at the gun shop trying to buy ammo.

Logistical support – If, for whatever reason, my close friends need ammo I’m in a position to help them which equates with helping myself. If my friends are as well off as I am then we’re in a good position to help each other as needed. And if, through some bizarre circumstance, I need ammo I know they have enough to help me out and get me taken care of.

Availability – Good luck buying ammo an hour after the disaster starts. Even when there’s no disaster brewing you can sometimes have a hell of a time getting ammo. The current market situation is such that when you can find ammo in the calibers you want its rather expensive. And that’s when there’s no law restricting your purchasing. Factor in the possibility of some new law prohibiting or restricting purchases and you can see that it’s a good idea to have as much as you can as early as you can.

Pre-positioning/staging – Take my word for it, 10,000 rounds of ammo takes up a bit of space and is bloody heavy…you might be able to carry a case of 1000 in each hand but won’t go far and you won’t go fast. If you’re plan is to leave Point A and head to Point B when the wheels fly off of civilization you’d probably want to keep half your stash at each location. Why half? Because a lot of times things don’t go the way we’d like and you may be stuck at Point A for a good while…in which case you’ll probably want the ammo.

Barter – This comes up and creates friction when it does. Some people argue that given the uncertain and possibly violent intent of strangers why would you give them ammo? Theres a bit of logic to that. If the Hells Angels wanted to trade me MRE’s for .45 ACP ammo I’d probably say ‘sorry, all gone’. If the guy I recognize as the checker from the local supermarket asked for a box of 9mms in exchange for a case of cereal, then yeah, it’ll work.

Profit – This is an angle I do not pursue because I don’t store preparedness items with an eye towards reselling them later. (Although maybe I should start.) However, if you have the money to lay in a pallet worth of cheap 7.62 ammo then maybe in a few years you can sell some at a high markup to finance other preparedness purchases. I don’t have enough money to buy ‘enough’ ammo so buying ‘investment’ ammo is not in the cards for me…but maybe it is for you. Good luck.

.22 ammo – Ammo for the .22 (or really, any rimfire ammo) is virtually impossible to reload. (Yes, it can be done but it requires huge amounts of time and technique as well as amateur chemistry.) Fortunately, twenty bucks will get you about a thousand rounds at most WalMarts. And since pretty much everyone has a .22, if you decide that bartering ammo is possible you’ll get your broadest customer base in the .22 shooters.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, theres the inclination to label someone as a ‘whacko’ or ‘paranoid freak’ when it’s discovered that they had 20,000 rounds of ammo stashed away in the garage or basement. And maybe it’s the fear of being labeled as an ‘extremist’ that prevents some of us from doing the smart thing and stocking up on ammo. “Why do you need 10,000 rounds of ammo?” is the refrain we’re most likely to hear. So, as listed above, theres your reasons. As you can see, its not unreasonable to have quantities of ammo that’s measured by the thousand.

That ammo is totally worthless, by the way, if you just stick it somewhere and five years later you find the cardboard boxes damp, musty, rodent-chewed, and green stuff growing on the brass cases and oxidized lead forming on the bullets. If you’re going to spend resources on acquiring ammo, store it properly. The best container is, surprise, surprise, the military ammo can. These things come in several sizes and I guarantee that if you cant find the size you need you simply haven’t looked hard enough. The most common are the “.30 cal” and “.50 cal” cans. A .50 can will hold a little less than 1000 rounds of Wolf 7.62×39 in 20 rd. boxes (actually it’ll hold around 880 rounds). These ammo cans are the best way to store your ammo. It keeps the ammo dry, protected, and makes it man-portable. You can grab an ammo can, throw it in the back of the truck and go with no concern about the ammo getting snowed or rained on.

If you’re like me, you reload your own ammo to supplement your stash. Loosepacked ammo lets you stuff more in an ammo can but its awkward for distributing or grabbing a small amount. Spend the money and get yourself some 50 or 100 round plastic ammo boxes and package your reloads in them. Bought in quantity they are less than a buck each and they are reusable. They’ll stack nicely in a .50 can and then you can just crack the can open, grab one or two boxes, close it up, and be good to go.

4 thoughts on “Why we stockpile ammo

  1. nitpick

    Cmdr 0 said;
    “A .50 can will hold a little less than 1000 rounds of Wolf 7.62×39 in 20 rd. boxes (actually it’ll hold around 880 rounds).”

    I reply;
    I have no trouble getting 1020 rounds in a 50cal can. 3 stacks of seventeen boxes each. It’s a tight enough fit that the boxes don’t shift during transport but enough extra room to get my fingers around a box and yank it out.

    keep up the great site.


  2. extra ammo

    is always a plus, no ammo is a bummer. 22’s and 12 gauge may find more trade in barter than other sizes. good to stock up on primers for reloading could be done with homemade powder, primers tend to be more exotic for most home chemistry. be wary of trading ammo to those whom need it to shoot you. Wildflower 07

  3. Thank you. I just wanted to tell you that I read this entire article out loud to my darling husband B., who needed to hear that I’m not the ONLY one who thinks you can never have too much ammo. You’ve helped marital relations enormously. 🙂

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