FIREARMS WEEK: How much ammunition should be stored?

As much as you can afford.


– – – Rourke


The above is really how I’d like to end this post. I guess that wouldn’t be very entertaining and for those that seriously want an answer it ¬†would be a disservice. Come to think of it my answer would be the same regardless – as much as you can afford.

Over the years my idea of an “ideal” ammo stockpile has changed. The recent shortages really woke me up to my realizing that what I felt was enough was just a start. I still have not attained my own ammunition storage levels but it is a work in progress. I think that to come up with a magic number that fits everyone for every conceivable situation is not realistic. With that said all I reference is me.

Here are my ammunition storage level goals:

.223 Rem/5.56mm (10,000 rds.)

9mm (3500 rds.)

.22LR (15,000 rds.)

12 gauge – birdshot (1000 rds.)

12 gauge – 00 Buck (400 rds.)

12 gauge – slug (150 rds.)

30-30 Winchester (100 rds.)


That’s it – at least for now. I do not have a long range centerfire such as a .308 or .30-06 right now. Once I get one then that caliber will be added to the list. If I were to pick up a .380 or 45ACP then the same would apply.

Every week or so I pick up a box or two to add to the mix. It is amazing that over time those small purchases really add up.

This is what works for me. Will it change? It sure will. Economic conditions, political storms and global events may create a need to boost my storage levels.

So – how much is enough for you?




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11 thoughts on “FIREARMS WEEK: How much ammunition should be stored?”

  1. The first answer is correct “As much as you can afford” with preference to bugout arms.

    The suggestion to stock up according to a budget is the right procedure. The key is to practice.

    Anything more than what you can carry in an emergency is too much[ Any excess must be destroyed in a bugout situation!

    There was/is a magazine that was published in Manchester, Connecticut, The Tactical Rifle? that had the maxim that “A pistol is only a means to acquire a rifle”.

    For a stable situation keep what’s comfortable. For a bugout, I use an AR-15 in 223/5.56 and switch my upper to a 2O” with a Shepherd 3-10 scope. I use a 1911 side arm, cocked and locked, with 2-10 rd mags in pouches. Anyone with me, I add a 12g and/or a 22lr bolt gun …. and a 1911 and ammo.

    Most impressive, though, was a rare exhibition of literacy not shared by most commentators, editors, blogists, anyone who speaks or writes! You used a possessive pronoun before a gerund.

    You made my day!

    • I do what I can barebones. Glad I could make your day.

      You are 100% correct that in most every self-defense situation a pistol is a last resort option IF a long gun is available.

      I think that the premise of anything more than you can carry is a bit misleading in that bugging out may not be what is done. Practice rounds should be considered. Bartering possibly- though I am against bartering ammo. I would have to say if looking truly at a bare bones minimum on how much to store it would be that which you would contain in your LBE.

      Appreciate your thoughts.

  2. Once upon a time I read somewhere that’s you should have 5000 rounds of each caliber gun that you have. I don’t know where that number came from, but it gave me a goal to shoot for. I am trying to acquire and maintain 5000 rounds per gun. My wife and I both shoot three gun so we have to work on the “maintain” part. We both shoot 5.56 (5 guns), 7.62×51 (2 guns), .45 (5 guns), and 12 gauge (2 guns). We also have a .380, 30-30, .22, and mini 30. We are at @goal for 3 3 ARs, 1 7.62 x 51, and 3 .45s. Still a ways to go. You are right though, every little bit helps. So does sale pricing at Natchez and reloading your own. $.25 per round to reload beats $.50-.70 per round to purchase loaded rounds.

  3. ok. i’m asking this because i really don’t know. don’t need a bunch of people getting pissed at me. the question. why the heavy reliance on “fighting rifles”? i’ve been studying societies that have collapsed (trying to get in a future writing contest here), some nations that have been war torn, and even the outlaw areas of africa and the one thing that i keep rotating to is that unless you’re a marauder your work will be simply survival.

    getting stuff done around your homestead, farming, maintaining hygiene etc…trying to get chores done around the house while carrying a long gun will be difficult at best. additionally i noticed that in most of those situations you have areas of bandit country, then semi-rule of law and then full rule of law in others.

    i said all that to say that maybe the pistol may be underestimated in its importance in the future.

    • solomon – Appreciate your commenting.

      The heavy reliance on the “fighting rifle” is just that – it is made for fighting, or saving your own life. Imagine defending yourself and family with a Glock 9mm against someone with an AK-47. That would likely not lead to a positive outcome. Same goes for using a shotgun against someone with an AR sitting outward of 100 yards. The shotgun has its limitations, as well as the pistol. The fighting rifle either helps to even the playing field – or hopefully sway the odds and advantages to your side.

  4. Yes, it never hurts to have plenty of ammo, just as it would most certainly pay to lay up as much food & water that one can. This assumes that you will be sheltering in place rather than bugging out. Of course, a true survivalist must be prepared for all scenarios, including scavaging from the dead. After a confontation, there would be arms and ammo amongst the corpses and one cannot be timid about taking advantage of this. To the victor go the spoils.

  5. I’m curious, why the .30-30? Of course it is a ubiquitous cartridge in the US. For trade perhaps?

    I have several yellow 30 some gallon barrels placarded ORM-D and labeled M80 A1. We shoot quite a bit and I find that it is easy to go through one of these barrels of ammo in a year. How much ammo one stores is often a function of how much one shoots. Over the decades I standardized on .22LR .45acp, 7.62×51 Nato, and 5.56×45 Nato. Of course I have some 9mm, .357Mag, .300WinMag., 12.7×99 Nato, and .44Mag (for the bear pistols), but 90% of my stored ammo is in the aforementioned standards. We have several shotguns, most of the 870 variety but I do not concentrate on storing much surplus ammo for the 12 ga. The reason is that this ammunition is heavy, is short range, and not waterproof. For survival game hunting purposes one is better equipped with a .22 pistol or rifle.

    Solomon, I commend your studies. it has been well said that a pistol will protect your person and a rifle your freedom. We carry handguns in flapped holsters while working around the ranch as a matter of routine for protection against predators big and small (such as bears, mountain lion, coyotes, and snakes). I authored a previous post regarding flapped holsters that may be of interest. There is always a rifle such as the M1A Socom in our work trucks and side by sides against the chance of seeing a potential horse or cattle killing predator at longer range. This is a way of life in the back country.

    I’ve been in several countries where ROL was weak or nonexistent. Work for survival is indeed tireless and suffers greatly from the strong preying on the weak. In successful interpretations, the toiling survivors will often have a sniper on overwatch and that sniper usually has a military rifle. In those war torn countries, weapons and ammunition often come from the oppressors, hence de facto standardization on whatever the oppressor has to offer. The handgun like its sword antecedent, will always have a place for personal protection. For those of us who shoot quite a bit, handguns properly wielded can project antipersonnel force well in excess of 200 yards.

    The well prepared will have stores of comestibles and the means to protect those stores. Beyond immediate survival, the well equipped will also have freedom and the means to protect that freedom.



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