How much ammo is enough?

I had written about this before back in December of last year and my opinion have changed substantially. I think the recent ammunition and magazine shortages woke me up to the realization that someday you may be faced with the situation that what you have – is all you have – forever. Consider that for a moment. If, for whatever reason, your current supply becomes all you will ever have – no ability to resupply. Do you have enough?

Not only do you need to have ammunition and magazines for defensive purposes, but you need to be able to practice and train. What you have right now may need to last the next 5, 10, maybe 20 years. Puts things in perspective doesn’t it.

ammo on store shelf

Well, back in December I said –

 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.

As stated – my beliefs have changed – as well as my calibers. Based on recent events and thinking – my goals are as follows:

  • .223/5.56 for AR – 10,000 rounds
  • .22LR – 20,000 rounds
  • 9mm – 5,000 rounds
  • .45ACP – 3,000 rounds
  • .30-30 Winchester – 400 rounds
  • .30 Carbine – 2000 rounds
  • 12 gauge – 00 Buck – 1000 rounds
  • 12 gauge  – bird shot – 1000 rounds

These numbers and calibers may change again as my armament changes. I have made some good strides toward my new goals even during the shortages. These numbers represent supply for me and my family – and a few friends using several firearms.

Magazines? I still feel that a minimum of 10 magazines should be had for each magazine-fed weapon. I have made strides here as well but not yet where I want to be. For a main “battle” rifle like the AR or AK – many more than 10 magazines should be in supply. Magazines can wear out, be damaged, lost during use – and having plenty of filled magazines when they are truly needed is a Godsend.

 So, how much ammunition is enough? What do you think?


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23 thoughts on “How much ammo is enough?”

  1. I have similar GOALS, just a few more calibers:
    .223REM/5.56mm-10,000, .22LR-15,000, .45ACP/.45LC /.357MAG-2000 EACH, .38SPL-1000 .380 AUTO-5000, .12&.20GA-1000 BUCKSHOT, 500 BIRDSHOT & 400 SLUGS, .410GA-1000 MIXED SHOT (PDX, #00 or #000 BUCK & #4)

    I expect ammo to be a form of currency in an economic collapse scenario. Secure storage and rotating silica moisture absorbers can be an issue. Also, you need ample fire extinguishers!

  2. I re-posted below, my comments from the earlier December posting as a comparison.

    In re-reading it, I would not change much……EXCEPT….
    Due to the recent shortages, I too have been re-examining ammunition requirements.
    My comments regarding “carry” ammunition I believe are still correct (depending on your situation and perceived needs). If I am preparing for a medium duration (6mo to 2 years) event, the below comments should be fine. For a longer event (2 years to 20 years to forever??)I would double or triple the amount. For a lifetime supply of practice ammo… I’d say 10,000 is a starting point and 50K or 100k is a lifetime goal….per firearm.

    The biggest change I would make in regards to the amounts below would be in .22LR. The recent shortages have made me realize how grossly underestimated I was. Not only taking into account my own (and family’s) personal needs, but in possible friends, neighbors, etc. The .22LR is the single most common round in the U.S. The likely hood of someone having a small supply of firearms available to them and one of them NOT being a .22LR is remote.
    In addition, while my heart is still recovering from “sticker shock,” watching the price of a brick of .22LR go from $17 all the way up to $280 (AND watching people pay the $280 for it!!!!!) was enlightening. The trade value that I had always assigned to .22LR was no where in reality what it was for even a “bump” of a shortage, much less a TEOTWAWKI shortage.
    My new goal is in the 50K to 100K range for .22LR.
    Hopefully, that will be obtainable in the near future.

    (Original December posting)
    December 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    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 stuff. I am glad to see I am not the only one that changes his outlook on stuff like this – and recent events were a big reason why.


  3. Geezez… Whats a boy to do? I maintain a load close to that you listed… plus or minus 500 cause you gotta practice right… a growing set of zippered bags with magazines for each cal… and a shrinking list of gauges and cals. to make it This post just makes me wonder when to stop……….

  4. Not a bad start, but I too would consider adding at least 25-50% more and I see you have 30-30 which is probably the most common and least expensive (.30 cal) round on the market (with the exception of 7.62×39) but where is your 30-06 and .38spl (to accompany your .357?)
    You do own a 30-06 dont you? if not…why? Then go to W-Mart and get a Savage w/ Accutrigger for $400.00 and next year cough up $250.00 and replace the China Burris scope with an (American made) Redfield scope, you will then have a good inexpensive long-range rifle thats capable of taking anything on four (or two) legs in No. America. AND THAT’S A FACT! (incl. Griz, Moose, Elk, etc.)
    (During the recent ammo shortage / hoarding, every Mart store and sporting good store in my area of the Great Lakes had plenty of 30-30, .30-06 , and some .38 / 357. so I stocked up on plenty of each. If nothing else, there’s plenty of barter ammo)

  5. I have as a back up, cap and ball pistol with a spare cylinder and a muzzle loading rifle, they may not be fast but by the time I have to resort to there use hopefully the worst will be over. A supply of 2ffg black powder and caps are all thats really needed, cleaning gear should be the norm for any firearm, 2ffg is good for 45 caliber and above. I have a unit called Tap a Cap from Dixie Gun Works that forms a cap from a stip of beer can and uses caps from a kids cap gun to ignite the power so stock up on thm as well.

  6. I standardized to .22LR, 9mm, 12Ga., 40Cal.,5.56 and 7.62×51 back in 2006 with the exception of 9mm. The 9mm I just started to integrate into my system in 2009, but since the G17 and G34 fit the same holsters as my G22 and G27 all I really needed to buy were the guns and magazines. Also if you can’t afford the gun Lone Wolf makes some great conversion barrels. I have some but they are for a last resort so I’ve never used them.

    I only have 5000 per weapon but I have 2 of each I own. As for the .22LR just keep buying you’ll never have enough. .22LR’s are cheap, quiet, great for training and will be worth they’re weight in gold for barter.

  7. I like “Johns” fall back position. I beleive the amount of ammo is what each persons “min/max criteria is. Ones mission and ones capability. I agree also that it will become some sort of barting item. The numbers post by “Rourke and Irish-7 are more then reasonable. My policy that I practice is what I think I need, I add 20%. I keep my training supply completely separate from my “go to” stuff. Also learning to reloading is paramount. Having a bench press at base and a lee hand loader in the field or vehicle will give resupply when time/space allow. During the Rhodesian fighting some of the “ZAPO/ZANU units were hand loading in the field. It was a stop gap, until they could obtain full rounds. Iraqiveteran8888, shows you how to make wax/slug rounds.

  8. Rourke and shooters-My husbands goal was 1,000 rounds for every gun he owns.He bought a lot pre- shortages and we try to still accumulate more when the prices are right for our adult children.
    This question depends on ones age also.(a young or middle age person needs more than an older couple- due to the years we may be alive.)
    My question- have more of you learned to re-load since the shortages or are those supplies also cost-pro hibitive? Arlene

    • Arlene –

      For myself – the cost for reloading equipment was out of reach. I will look at it again at a later date.


  9. Not sure how much ammo is enough but, I know you can never have too much. Unless, of course, you have so much that you run out of storage space.

  10. Thanks for the linkage!!! I do not know how many guns per caliber you have but those seem like some fine goals. Could probably add a few boxes for the 30-30. I set my standard for that rifle at 500.

    When things get back to normal in terms of ammo prices I definitely have some buying to do. A couple cases of .223, a couple of 7.62×39, another of 9mm, more 12 gauge and a whole bunch of .22lr.

    Anyway thanks again for the linkage!!!

  11. I’m fairly sure I warned you before… The NSA is watching this site like a cartoon hobo watches a pie cool on a window sill, drool and all….. When the REAL 1st responders are activated…. guess who’s door they will be splintering first.

  12. Rourke:
    Per your stated goals,at going prices,I figure in excess of $15K
    Investing a few hundred bucks in reloading gear would allow you to achieve that goal for about $5K. So I question your statement that reloading is outside your financial realm. Spend a little now to save a lot later. The ONLY way I would attempt a 100k round stash would be with a Dillon 1000RL. Regards D.

    • D. Most of my ammo has been purchased below current pricing. Looking onto reloading equipment- including a Dillon – I found that the cost of the components were excessive. Now – that was a few months ago when components were very high. I should recheck my math based on current costs for brass and bullets.

      Thanks – Rourke

  13. I’m nowhere near those numbers, but scrounging up what I can, when I can.
    Roughly 2000 rds of 223/556 & 40S&W…1000 rds 9mm….200 rds 12ga….500rds 22lr


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