My wife and I enjoy your web site immensely. I do have one question for you. I know we are targeting how much food/water supply we need for long-term survive but how much ammo do you think the average family should strive to purchase/store? Thanks, – David K.
It is important to maintain balance in your preparations. Food storage, first aid supplies, and heirloom seed storage should be priorities. But after those have been taken acre of, it makes sense to stock up on ammunition. As long as you store your ammo in sealed military surplus cans, there is no risk in over-estimating your needs, since ammunition has a 50+ year storage life if protected from oil vapors and humidity. Consider any extra ammo the ideal barter item. The late Col. Jeff Cooper rightly called it “ballistic wampum.”
For your barter inventory, I recommend that you stick to the most common calibers: For rifles: .22 Long Rifle, .223, .308, .30-06 (and in the British Commonwealth, .303 British.) For handguns: 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. For shotguns, 12 gauge and 20 gauge. As I’ve previously mentioned, you might also buy a small quantity of the “regional favorite” deer cartridge for your area, as well as your local police or sheriff’s department standard calibers. (Ask at you local gun shop.)
I consider the following figures minimums:
2,000 per battle rifle
500 per hunting rifle
800 per primary handgun
2,000 per .22 rimfire
500 per riotgun
If you can afford it, three times those figures would meet the “comfort level” of most survivalists. In an age of inflation, consider that supply better than money in the bank.
Ammo prices have recently been galloping, so do some comparison pricing before you buy. Bring photocopies and “print screen” print-outs with you when you shop, as bargaining tools. Typically, the larger gun shows each have several large ammunition vendors.
Some Internet ammunition vendors that I recommend are: AIM Surplus, Cheaper Than Dirt, Dan’s Ammo, J&G Sales, Midway, AmmoMan.com, Natchez Shooter Supply, and The Sportsman’s Guide. Both to save money and to maximize your privacy–since umpteen heavy crates being unloaded from the back of a UPS truck is pretty obvious–I recommend that you be willing to drive a distance take delivery in person from a regional vendor. Ammo is best bought by the 3/4 ton pickup load! Also, keep in mind that by buying in large quantities all at once from a big vendor, you will typically get ammo for each caliber all from the same lots, which will result in more consistent accuracy.