Guns, ammo, and magazines……oh my!

Gun control! It’s all over the news and the Internet. There have been several recent mass shooting which are certainly fueling the fires for those who wish to take away 2nd Amendment rights or at a minimum restrict them greatly. I don’t know if great gun ownership restrictions will come to be or not. There isn’t much I can do about it.

I recently read an article which described the method by which the infamous Streetsweeper was banned – or at least restricted severely. I don’t want to get into all the intricate details, but it was a simple reclassification by the ATF under the direction of the White House.


If gun control measures could not get through Congress – fact is there are other ways our rights could be infringed upon. With that in mind – I am looking to pick up another AR – or at least a lower which to build upon. I do not have the funds to go buy a complete rifle. A slower, more affordable route is to buy the lower now, then pick up a complete upper later. Nothing written in stone – might change my mind.

I have seen a lot of talk and discussions on forums about how much ammunition should be stored. My opinion? As much as you can afford. Do you need 10,000 rounds of .22LR? Likely not. How about 30,000 rounds of 5.56mm or 7.62 x 39mm? Nice to have, great for barter, and certainly a good investment as I am sure prices will keep going up. BUT, do you expect to survive enough fire fights to expend 30,000 rounds?

I have some goals when it comes to ammo and I work on them a little bit at a times while still increasing food stores, medical, etc. Currently I am trying to reach 5,000 rounds for my AR in a combination of .223 and 5.56mm. Looking at 2,000 rounds for 9mm. What about .22LR? Goal is 5,000 rounds. Those are my main calibers.

How about magazines? I know I do not have enough for my pistols…..yet. I have 6 for my M&P 9mm. Looking to get that up to 10. I picked up a Springfield XD 9mm and have only 2. Again – hoping to get that up to 10 magazines. For my AR – over 30 PMAGs and several others. As far as what I look at as a good working minimum? Pistols – 5. With 5 you can have 1 in the gun and 4 to reload with. Semi-auto rifle like the AR? 10 is a good  number. 


Any thoughts? What do you consider logical goals for ammunition and magazines?

 – Rourke

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36 thoughts on “Guns, ammo, and magazines……oh my!”

  1. I go deeper on .22lr. It is cheap, common and useful. I don’t think 10k is too much.

    As to mags I like to do 10 pistol and 20 rifle for core guns. That is about 3x basic load. My thinking is 1 to use, 1 to replace a lost or worn out mag (obviously these can rotate too) and 1 more to trade, give away or use as a deeper replacement.

  2. I consider 10 to be the mim. number for a pistol, and have 30 for each rifle, although I only have 10 for my FAL.

    Magazines are the weak link in most semi auto systems, they wear out, they get damaged, and in fire fights can be lost.

    Right now considering everything magazines are cheap, for AR’s I’ve seen GI mags for $10, Pmags for as low as $11, if another ban comes along those prices will triple overnight.

    Recently have seen HK91 magazines selling from $1 to $2, but those could sky rocket, in fact the prices were so low it prompted me to buy a PTR91, and over 75 magazines, which is why I haven’t gotten more FAL magazines.

    Ammo if you are stocked up you can avoid some of the price surges, in 2009 when 223/5.56 peaked at $1000 a case I was still shooting stuff I paid $120 a case for. I still have several cases of that $120 ammo.

    Guns, ammo and magazines are like food, stock up when it is cheap and plentiful, or pay a price when it isn’t.

  3. A friend was telling me that China mart had some AR ‘s for under $600. I am going to try to check them out this weekend .
    Robert W

  4. I stock these along the same lines as I purchase PMs. A lil at a time. I shoot IDPA and maintain a collection of magazines to run the entire day with out reloads. Kinda gives em all equal abuse. I’m only short on spring kits for my toys… January budget items!!! Don’t ya love this kind of OPSEC. Had a quality 9mm lower built that will accept any… Glock Mag…. and I have a boat load of those. Commonality commonality commonality………

  5. I read a number of blogs and group sites which recommend 2, 3, and even 4 years of food storage. Very few take that long term planning process and applies it to their other preps – especially ammo.

    30,000 rounds doesn’t even get your ante on the table for our group’s planning purposes.

    I have between 14 and 20 folks who will in all probability make their way to my place in a SHTF situation – wife and I, 4 kids, 4 spouses, 3 grandkids, nephew and his lady, plus a few odds and sods who I have given permission to darken my door in times of dire need.

    Just because the unwashed masses have disappeared into whatever Nirvana the DHS has planned for them does not mean the landscape will be void of others – some of them may well covet what I have and feel themselves sufficiently capable to take my stuff. Hence, I would require my group to maintain some minimal amount of live fire practice to ensure they can dispose of said intruders if or when the time arrives. 20 rounds a month seems like a reasonable number (currently, we probably go through 100 to 200 rounds counting both pistol and rifle).

    Let’s use 15 as a middling number for the number of shooters I have to feed. 15 people x 20 rounds per month x 12 months per year x 5 years = 18,000 rounds. That’s just practice – no hunting, predator control, or fire fights included. Double that to include both rifles and pistols and I have to plan on 36,000 rounds just for practice. So far that only covers 5.56mm and 9mm/45ACP ammo. Add in the 3 of us who have 7.62mm battle rifles and my 4 really long range rifles brings that 36,000 rounds up to 44,400 rounds – again just for minimal monthly practice. And that only covers a 5 year period. Admittedly at 53 I am on the short end of the journey, but I have some serious hopes that I can continue to annoy my kids, spoil the grandaughters, and reduce the coyote population for a lot more than 5 years.

    I’m not sure there is ever a point where one has enough ammo. My recommendation is to use some basic math and project your needs for all of your expendables. 2 to 5 years is probably all anyone can reasonably afford.

    As for magazines, we carry 5 pistol (1 in the weapon and 4 in pouches) and 11 rifle (1 in the weapon and 10 in pouches) on our LBE’s. We keep 10 spare rifle mags loaded in bandoleers near our rifles. We keep 5 pistol and 20 rifle mags unloaded in our ancillary gear. This lets us rotate the loaded mags every 6 months to let the magazine springs rest and take some tension off the feed lips. I haven’t ever had a mag fail due to a compressed spring or metal fatigue on the lips, so the change out schedule seems to work.

    Rourke, if your environment doesn’t lend itself to many shots over 100 to 150 yards you could consider a Mini-14 as a slightly less expensive alternative to the AR system. Same ammo, though nothing else is interchangeable. The Mini-14 becomes iffy beyond 150 yards if you want tight groups. I’ve taken deer and coyotes out to 300+ yards with mine, but they weren’t shooting back and if I missed or didn’t get a clean kill it wasn’t the end of the world. If I had a hard target behind some decent cover and concealment with a small window of error I wouldn’t choose it. If I was trying to lay down 20 or 30 rounds of suppressive fire while my other rifle was being reloaded (grandaughters are actually pretty good at this trick) I wouldn’t hesitate to select a Mini-14.

    • Harry –

      As usual you look at things very logically. Just flat out makes sense.

      Well – I have my initial goals and will go from there.

      I used to have an older Mini-14 with Choate pistol grip stock and loved it. Looking at another AR due to the compatibility of parts. Though, that could change if I found a good deal on a Mini-14 or similar firearm.

      Thanks and take care –


  6. That’s a good question you ask. I think you answered it by saying what you can afford. As far as rounds of ammunition, unless you planned to stay where you are, (bug-In), how could you transport 30,000 rounds of one, 20,000, of another, etc. plus all the other survival gear everyone says you should have?
    I have never built a gun from scratch. Just buying the lower assembly now, and the rest at a latter date. Something to think about.

    • Johnsobo100 –

      Appreciate the info. Good point on bugging out. I am going to be pre-positioning some ammunition as well as a couple firearms at my bug out location – “just in case”. My continuing plan is to bug in unless it deemed necessary to leave.

      Thanks – Rourke

  7. Yours sound good to me. My calibers are .223, 9, & 12ga. My goals are 2,000 for the .223, 1,000 for the 9 and 1,000 for the 12ga.

    I guess it all depends on why you stock. I am not anticipating large fights, etc nor long, long term. I guess my thought is to spend the funds on food and water. To me, that’s what you need immediately if anything happens (from a 3 day ice storm to 3 month food shortage to 3 year collapse). Of course the ammo is for defense of that food and hunt for more food later. Who knows, right?!

  8. That log cabin is my dream cabin Rourke !!!I bought my husband his usual gun books for Christmas-Gun Digest and another Standard catalog of firearms. Rourke your message was exc. yesterday-my e mail didnt go through but yes we also value and cherish and depend upon the Lord in our daily lives -be in in the woods, church or at home.
    Have a Merry Christmas evetyone and God bless us -we need His blessings. Arlene and family

  9. Goals on ammo depend on $ and if your needing other prepping supplies. i can see that .22LR will be an amazing barter tool, everyone needs to eat and the lowly 22 can put food on the table. as for magazines, they are too expensive here in NZ to have more than 2 in case you lose one. $120 for a spare for my .223 and $80 for a ruger 10/22

  10. More is better. While you can’t plant for every contingency, you MUST (IMO) have a backup. Specifically, magazines misfeed, break, wear out – whatever. Now, I’m no expert but common sense would mandate that during a fire fight is not the ideal time to trouble shoot a magazine malfunction. You MUST eject the magazine, cycle the weapon, insert a FRESH magazine, charge and re-engage threat. That’s MY plan of attack. In a fire fight – you’ll have the rest of your life to make the right decisions. Think about it. As far as magazines – ideally, for me, at least 10 for each weapon. Ammunition…5K per caliber. You’ve got to factor in what your objective is: Home defense, hunting, Target practice…? Also, how many people will be operating weapons and for how long. Consider learning to reload, this would give you sustainability and opportunity to hone skills/weapon familiarity at a lower cost.

    • AJ –

      Good points.

      Knowing which mags work and which don’t is certainly important and they do eventually wear out.

      Thanks – Rourke

  11. I’d say you have a good start on magazines. I always prefer an absolute minimum of 6 pistol mags (3 practice mags, 3 carry mags). More is better, of course.

    Rifle mags I usually have a bare minimum of 10 per rifle.

    Ammunition is a tricky thing.

    First problem is that most people purchase quality JHP ammunition for their daily carry or self protection needs (if they’re not already doing this, then they have FAR more problems than a simple “how much ammo do I need”), but when they stock up on ammunition for the MBZ Hoardes they only stock up on practice “ball” ammunition. BIG MISTAKE! FMJ ammo is for practice (unless you’re in the military where they don’t want bullets to actually kill the enemy soldier) and JHP is for defensive purposes.

    I would say that if you’re at 300-2000 rds of defensive JHP pistol ammo, that you’re doing okay. Remember, carry ammunition should be regularly rotated at least every year or so or when exposed to water or solvents. So between the occasional expenditure of rounds and rotating carry rounds, 300 rounds is a good start and if you’re looking at serious long term, then 2000 is a better start.

    For semi auto rifles, I would say 500-5000 rds of JHP or SP ammunition is a good start for all the above same reasons.

    Lastly, let’s break the 10,000 rounds of ammunition is a lot of ammunition. It isn’t!
    Shooting skills are a perishable skill. While dry-firing and airsoft and lasers all have their place in practice, you eventually have to send lead down range in order to retain some shooting skills.

    For even a moderate duration SHTF event, how long will 10,000 rounds last?

    Let’s say that we’re talking about .223 rounds. 10,000 rounds is what you’ve decided to buy.
    Oops…. you have two .223 rifles, so now that’s down to 5,000 per rifle.
    Now let’s maintain our present skill level. An expenditure of 100 rounds a month would not be unreasonable in order to maintain your skill level (and that is low for some people). 100 rds x 12 months = 1200 rounds. Include a once a year serious practice session of 500 rds, we’re now at 1700 rounds. At 1700 rounds you are just under a 3 year supply of ammunition. And this doesn’t include using it for any major firefights or practice sessions or teaching a new shooter how to shoot. I can take the kids out and between the four of us easily go through 300-500 rounds of centerfire ammunition and sometimes a brick or two of .22 LR.

    Have fun. Stay safe!

    For serious prepping individuals who expect a long to moderate duration event, 10,000 is just a good start

    • andbbmo –

      Good to hear from you. Good point on the JHP versus FMJ. Also – right on with the practicing over time eating up your supplies.

      I have heard varying opinions on the need for JHP in .223. Points being the frangible nature of the .223/5.56 and its tendency to yaw upon impact on anything – and turn into a buzz saw.

      What are your thoughts on that?

      Thanks – Rourke

  12. Good food for thought. Thanks, Rourke.

    I’m probably a bit of a heretic – I go AK/SKS vs AR platform. 2 reasons: If I shoot something, I want to see it fall right over, not take a through and through and keep running, and in my home state of VA, if I pop a deer for food with a .223/5.56, I can be fined or do jail time in non-WROL times. Just the way it is, right here. 6 mags, and about 2K rounds – I need more. Also want to find some of the 5-round mags, to keep Game Wardens happy.

    A Ruger 10/22, 5 30-rd mags and 2 10 rd ones. About 5K rounds- DEFINITELY need a LOT more ammo, mags and at least 1 more backup 10/22. A Walther p-22 and 6 mags, need more or those too.

    A Taurus Millenium in .40.S&W and 4 mags, only 1K rounds. Probably going to sell it and get a Glock in .40 S&W. More expensive, but mags are a LOT easier to find. Need more Ammo too.

    After counting, only about 800 shells for the Maverick 12ga. – need more there too.

    If I got rich, I’d add a scoped Moisin-Nagant, a Saiga 12ga, and a Taurus Judge, just because I like .45 Colt, and occasionally run across copperheads. Of course, ammo for ’em.

    Just my opinions, worth exactly what you paid for ’em 🙂

    • Wyzyrd –

      Appreciate your sharing.

      I know you mentioned about selling your Taurus – but how have you liked it? I have looked at a 9mm version.

      Looks like we are both on the same path – MORE AMMO!

      Thanks – Rourke

  13. It’s not bad, not great, either, IMHO – (and thinking back, work has kept me away from the range for over a year – mea dang culpa)

    A couple hundred rounds or so through it, with no malfunctions yet (and I got it used, but in great shape). Decent, but not great ‘double tap’ trigger. Rear sight is ‘theoretically adjustable’ but not very (I got spoiled by the adjustable tritium sighs on the Walther P-22).

    Only REALLY BIG problem is finding mags for it – hard to find online and you basically have to ask every dealer at a gunshow “You got one of these, bro?”. 9mm MIGHT be easier to find, I haven’t checked.


  14. I’m working on –

    500 – .223/5.56, for a start

    500 – 9mm

    300 – 12 gauge

    5000 – 22lr

    200 – .38 special/357 Mag

    I would like more magazines for everything.

  15. Rourke,

    JHP for .223 is a (forgive the pun) Catch-22.
    Other than as a requirement for the military, ball ammunition is NOT a good stopper as it penetrates and passes through the object without the massive energy dump into the target. While FMJ ammunition is superior to JHP ammunition for barrier penetration, it still isn’t a very good barrier penetrator (even in the heavier specialty “barrier” rounds that some manufacturers produce. If you’re looking for barrier penetration, then you should be looking in another caliber (usually something starting in the .30 range).

    When you hear about the ineffectiveness of the 5.56 (or .223) round in combat situations, they are almost always referring to ball ammunition. Conversely, premium hollowpoint or softpoint ammunition in .223 is a very effective stopping round when employed on center of mass targets (yes it will not work every time, but neither will a .308 work every time.

    To me the frangible nature of the round is a good thing. It tends not to overpenetrate the target (body) and instead dumps more energy INTO the target. It also has less chance of penetrating through and hitting someone behind. In studies, they have found that it actually has less overpenetration than many pistol calibers when utilized indoors. And the light recoil allows for several fast followup shots with devastating effects.

    Only briefly wading into the .223 vs 7.62×39 vs .308 argument, the pros for the .223 are: less weight (more ammo), less recoil, good range and cheaper cost (compared to .308). The pros for 7.62×39 are: more knockdown, okay range, cheap ammunition, inexpensive guns, (historic reliability in those guns). The pros in the .308 are: excellent range, excellent penetration/knockdown.

    So to me caliber is determined by purpose and environment.
    Moving and traveling go with .223 where weight is king and you shouldn’t be looking for fights but avoiding them.

    Static positions or environments where you can see them coming for a long long way, and you have ample supplies that you don’t have to carry, then go .308 and keep your distance.

    7.62×39 is the “neither fish nor fowl” where the distances are shorter and penetration may be needed (think brush gun or wooded areas).

    My general preference for a small team would be .223’s all around with a designated marksman with a scoped .308 or .30-06, but no matter what, in all cases, you’re carrying JHP or SP ammunition, otherwise it’s just urinating in the wind.

  16. I don’t know how I missed this discussion. I hope it is not too late to jump in. I am under the belief that we are pending MAJOR NEW GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION! I anticipate the election results to be interpreted (by the victors) as though the American people have crowned a king. Anyway, I don’t believe that you can have too much ammo. Ammunition may be the new currency in a post-TEOTWAWKI environment. I stock in multiple calibers and several locations. To begin with, my goal was 1000 rounds per handgun and shotgun, 5000 rounds for assault rifles and 10,000 in .22 LR. I also think that you should have at least 2 platforms for each caliber. These are semi-costly plans. But, they will pay off dearly in a long term crisis. I don’t believe that the government is involved in ALL of these recent weapons tragedies. I am somewhat suspicious of the timing when there is a United Nations Small Arms Treaty in the works. Americans love their guns. The only way to convince the general population for tighter gun control regulations is to scare them. The people won’t go for it unless they feel the need for safety. How ironic that as I type this, there was another shooting incident at a school in Connecticut. A Fox News Alert is describing the details right now. I can hear the Twilight Zone music in the back of my head.

  17. When the end comes, and it will, it will also usher in a new beginning. Perhaps you think your alone in your belief that a return to the Constitution is required, your wrong. Maybe you believe it’s just you and a few others, again…. your wrong. It’s wide spread and running deep. Revolt is biding it’s time and “THAT” will be the time. I know, but what sounds insane now will sound down right crystal ball-ish when. Seems to me that “more than enough” will end up being “not nearly enough”. Figure out the number for -way to much-…. then triple it….

  18. And after today’s shooting in Connecticut I’ve just ordered 600 .223 rounds online. I’d like to get more but I’m not made out of money. At least I’ll have a decent amount of .223 before anything happens. Or maybe they will take that too?


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