We are well-advised to maintain a reasonable supply of ammunition and magazines. But how do you reconcile the two? You probably have, or should have, questions like:
I have X number of magazines. Do I have enough ammo for them? How many times can they be reloaded, given the available ammo supply?
I have X number of rounds. Do I have enough magazines? Or, How many magazines can I fill?
These are reasonable questions. So, lets address them. You’ll feel a lot better when this simple exercise is finished, and it might even point out “soft spots” (inconsistencies) in your inventory of ammo and/or magazines that may need to be resolved.
Let’s look at ammo first. In JWR’s nonfiction book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It (page 237), as well as other authors, suggest the following minimums:
- 2,000 rounds per battle rifle
- 800 rounds per primary handgun
- 2,000 rimfire rounds
- 500 rounds per riot gun
All you have to do is sort, count, package, record, and store each type of ammo. Very straightforward.
But Then There’s Magazines
Magazines can be a bit more complicated, especially if you have several different weapons with several different capacity magazines. Having a magazine-fed weapon without enough magazines or without the time to reload them (in the midst of a fray) can render your firearm useless. In several recent SurvivalBlog articles as well as others, the suggested a minimum number of magazines is 10 magazines per weapon, but capacities are not listed. Recently, acquiring the desired minimum has been difficult because of several states imposing arbitrary bans on certain capacity magazines.
Being optimistic, let’s assume you acted quickly and were fortunate to obtain enough magazines to meet the suggested minimums, but you had to take what the dealers had available. (Desperate people do desperate things.) Others have acquired their magazines as finances permitted. So, for whatever reasons, you have ended up with an assortment of different capacity magazines. And as time goes on, you are likely going to acquire more, but they might not be similar. Further, you have several different magazine-fed weapons. How are you going keep track of the magazines and the required ammunition?
I was faced with the same questions, so I developed a spreadsheet to sort things out. The spread sheet below allows you to track not only the number of magazines you have for each weapon, their capacity, and the number of required rounds needed to fill and/or reload them.
The first column is for the caliber and the kind of rifle, pistol, or shotgun. Several of my tactical shotguns are detachable magazine fed. The second column identifies the manufacturer of the magazine. (Not all magazines are created equal.) The capacity is straight forward and needed for computing. Because of the urgency in a stress situation and perhaps other people in your Mutual Assistance Group (MAG) needing to handle the weapons and magazines, I have marked my magazines with a metallic silver fine-tip marker for easy match-up.
The quantity on hand is the number of magazines. The last column is a line total of the number of rounds in the magazines on hand. Using the spreadsheet to compute the line totals of Quantity on Hand and Number of Rounds, as well as the column total of Caliber/Weapon categories quickly lets you know what you have on hand and perhaps what will need to fill-in those soft spots in ammo or magazines.
|Brand||Capacity||Marking||Quant. on Hand||Number of Rounds|
Feel free to re organize or redesign the sheet to suit your needs. I keep the inventory in a 3-ring binder with the List of Lists under “Security, Self-Defense – Firearms.”
Incidentally, I do not keep my magazines loaded out of concern for the springs weakening. Optimistically, I hope for enough advance notice to be able to load the magazines in time. If you feel you are not going to have enough time and want loaded magazines “at the ready,” but you are also concerned about spring fatigue, you can serial number each magazine, load several, and rotate the loaded ones. Keeping accurate records is a must. Perhaps loading odd-numbered magazines for odd-numbered months or years and then alternating with the even numbered ones for the same period might solve your rotation problems.
Now you have a simple way to reconcile your both ammunition and magazines to let you know just what you have on hand as well as to point out possible deficiencies. Also, when you your do your rotational Month-by Month audit of each preparedness category you’ll know your status instantly. (You do a rotational review to verify your inventory on several of the lists each month, don’t you?)