Here we are approaching the half-way mark of the year (we are not there yet), and the ammunition shortage is showing no signs of letting up.
22 Long Rifle – I have not seen 22 long rifle in about 6 or 7 months. The last time I can remember seeing 22 long rifle in stock was back around November,,, maybe even October 2012.
Even before Sandy Hook 22 long rifle was difficult to find.
223 Remington – Is hit sand miss. Places like Palmetto State Armory have been getting bulk 223 Remington in stock, but my local wal-mart has not.
I have not seen American Eagle or Federal at my local wal-mart in months. The local wal-mart here in Jasper Texas has been getting Tula in every few weeks, so that is what I have been buying. In this type of situation you buy what you can find.
Online stores that are lucky enough to 223/5.56mm in stock are sold out in a matter of minutes.
As I was stacking a new box of 30-30 Winchester (Remington core-lokt 150 grain) and a box of 12 gauge slugs on the shelf, I started thinking about having a well rounded ammunition stockpile.
When talking about ammunition, we need to realize that there is no perfect answer. I live and hunt in southeast Texas, my longest shots are in the 125 yard range. 200 yards is a long shot for this area. The only place we get to see 200 yards, much less shoot that far is either on a pipeline or a highline.
In New Mexico, west Texas, Arizona, Colorado,,, 200 yards might be a short shot.
Someone in the south with dense timber will probably do just fine with a 30-30 or 308. Someone making 200 and 300 yard shots may need a 25-06, 7mm magnum, 300 Winchester magnum, 30-06,,,. Someone in Alaska where grizzly is an everyday threat, maybe something like a 338 Winchester Magnum, 375 H&H or 12 gauge slug.
Lets use this article as a generalization, rather then an exact science.
To kick off the discussion, lets start with the two boxes I bought today:
Just in case you have not been paying attention, here lately certain types of ammunition is getting difficult to find. Just about all of the surplus ammo has dried up and a lot of the bulk stuff is sold out.
My local walmart here in Jasper Texas barely gets any American Eagle 223 in stock, and rarely gets Federal 308 Winchester. Remington Core-Lokt in 308 Winchester is right at $19.96. Its pretty sick when 308 is $1 a pop. My dad has some boxes of 30-06 at the camp that has a price tag of $13.96. I wish I would have bought a truck load of ammo back when it was cheap.
Over the past few years I have been buying cheap and stacking deep. The problem with buying cheap, you get steel cased ammo. This means a lot of my 223 and 7.62×39 is steel cased. The time has come to move past the steel cased ammo. So I have started buying American Eagle 223 and Federal bulk packs of 223.
One of the problems with owning firearms of various calibers, the more calibers you have, you have to stockpiling various types of ammunition.
My wife and I are going to Nacogdoches Texas on June 11, 2012. On the way we are going to pass through Lufkin. While in Lufkin we are going to stop at the academy sports and outdoors. At Academy I will be looking for Monarch 223 and Monarch 7.62×39.
The walmart website says the Lufkin store is sold out of Federal 308 and American Eagle 223, so I see no use in stopping at walmart. But then again, the walmart website says the Woodville store has American Eagle 223 in stock. But when I called the Woodville store, the lady told me they were out of stock. I guess the walmart website is hit and miss on its inventory system. My wife and I might stop at the Lufkin walmart store just to be sure.
Stockpiling food and ammunition for long term SHTF situation
The walmart website says the Nacogdoches store has both Federal 308 and American Eagle in stock.
Here we are looking at hitting 3 different stores for just 3 types of ammo. Academy sports and outdoors is the only place I get 7.62×39 from. If you take 7.62×39 out of the equation, we are looking at hitting 3 different stores for only 223 and 308.
We have not even talked about 30-06, 30-30, 270 Winchester or 280 Remington / 7mm Express.
30-06 and 280 Remington has gotten outrageously expensive. 280 / 7mm express has been expensive for a long time, with a price of around $25 a box for 20 rounds of Remington Core-Lokt.
It was the last weekend of regular deer season, saturday night. A long time member of the deer lease drives up to the camp, and backs his truck up to the scales. That is usually a sure sign that there is a deer in the back of the truck. They get the doe weighed and are stringing it up to skin when I walk out there.
As the skinning of the deer proceeds, there are a few of us standing around helping and watching. The topic turns to the cost of ammunition and bullet performance.
Like a lot of hunters, I tend to buy the cheapest ammo on the shelf – and that is usually Remington Core-Lokt. Over the past 14,,,, 15+ years Core-Lokt is about all that I have bought and shot deer with. During that time I have had no complaints. There is usually a hole going in and a larger hole going out.
The guy who shot the doe goes on to talk about Remington Core-Lokt and how he has since switched to Winchester softpoints. The rifle the guy used was a 270,,,, I do not remember the exact make or model. After talking for a little while, the person who shot the whitetail deer said that he has not been happy with the performance of the Remington Core-Lokt lately and that he felt it may not be expanding like it should. So he switched to the Winchester softpoints.
Whitetail deer taken with 270 remington
I can say one thing about the doe that was being skinned, there was a massive amount of bruising, bleeding and tissue damage. It was like the whole area where the bullet went through had residual damage to the surrendering tissue.
Doing a mental comparison of the deer that was shot with a 270 and Winchester softpoints, and the deer that my son took a couple of years ago with a Marlin 30-30 and Remington Core-Lokt – the 270 caused more tissue damage – both rifles were shooting 150 grain bullet. The 270 travels at a higher velocity then the 30-30, but the 30-30 is a larger in diameter bullet.
A couple of days ago my kids and I made a trip to the camp to drop off some Remington 30-30 Core-Lokt 150 grain and Remington 308 Core-Lokt 150 grain. While I was in the closet, I thought, “lets just stack all of the calibers together to see what we have.”
The 30-30, and 22 long rifle was probably the worst. The 30-30 had 3 different brand names and 2 different bullet weights, and the 22 long rifle had 3 different brand names.
This may not seem like a big deal, but its starting a disturbing trend. When a shooter switches brand names or bullet weights, its recommended that a few rounds are fired off to see if the rifle needs to be re-zeroed. If the Remington 150 grain has a different zero then the Federal 150 grain, then the shooter may fire off several rounds of ammo to re-zero the rifle. In a long term SHTF situation, the idea is to conserve ammo. The more ammunition that is fired sighting in the rifle, that is less food on the table.
The ideal situation would be to find out what brand / weight of hunting ammunition shoots best in your rifle, and stockpile just that one type of ammo.
The problem with stockpiling 1 type of hunting ammo – it can get a little “expensive”. A buddy of mine likes to shoot a certain brand name through his Remington 308 bolt action rifle. A box of 20 cost somewhere around $35 – $40. Going to the range for an hour or 2 could cost $120 – $160 + gas + targets,,,,. By this time, its probably going to cost close to $200 just to go to the range and fire off 80 rounds.
To offset the cost of shooting expensive hunting ammo, a lot of people stockpile cheap military surplus ball ammunition. Ball ammo might be cheaper then hunting grade ammo, but ball ammo is less effective for harvesting wild meat.
Instead of stockpiling military ball or expensive hunting grade ammo, some people stockpile imported ammunition that is sold as sporting / hunting ammo. As long as its not steel cased, this cheaper imported ammunition might be a viable option – but only if performance is up to par.
For defensive ammo such as 223 or 7.62X39, stockpiling hunting ammo or ball should not be a big deal. Just buy what gives the best performance and go from there.
For 22 long rifle, stockpiling survival ammo might be a little tricky. One type of 22 long rifle might work well in one rifle but jam in another. If your bug out location has 2 or 3 different brands of 22 rifles, it might be a little difficult finding the 1 or 2 brands of ammo that will reliably function in all of your rifles.
As for stockpiling ammo for a SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, I don’t have a perfect solution. Some people will stockpile cheap ball ammo for target shooting and hunting, some people will stockpile only expensive top of the line hunting grade ammo, while other will stockpile a combination of all of them.
Personally, I like to stockpile stuff like Remington Core-Lokt for my hunting rifles and whatever I can get for the AR15 and AK47. While the Core-Lokt might not be considered “top of the line” by some – it definitely gets the job done.
Last week my buddy and I were talking about stockpiling ammo for a survival situation – this is when something happens to cause society to break down. Examples are civil unrest, some new disease, climate change,,,,,, something that causes the fabric of mankind to unravel. In general we talked about stockpiling 308, 223, 7.62×39, 22 long rifle and shotgun shells.
My buddy stockpiles 2 different types of ammo for his 308 rifle – ball and hunting ammo.
Ball ammo – is your target round and urban defense round. When my buddy goes to the shooting range, he will shoot ball and most of his magazines are loaded with ball ammo. The plus side of ball ammo, its cheap when compared to the more expensive hunting ammo.
Hunting ammo – this is the ammo your going to be using to hunt deer, moose, elk, wild hogs,,,,, whatever goes in your neck of the woods. Currently my buddy stocks some kind of expensive Hornady ammo that cost something like $35 – $40 for a box of 20.
Instead of stockpiling 2 different types of ammo for my DS Arms FAL, I’am thinking of stockpiling 1 type. This would be something good for hunting, but does not cost a small fortune. My current deer hunting round is a Remington Core-Lokt in either 30-30 or 7mm express / 280 Remington. Over the years I dont know how many deer I have taken with the Remington Core-Lokt. On thin skinned game like the whitetail deer, its very effective.
This deer season my son took a nice East Texas Whitetail 8 point that weighed in at 156 pounds.
Last year my dad took a nice 6 pound that weighed around 125 – 130 pounds.
2 years ago my son harvested a doe. She dropped where she stood when that 15 grain 30-30 Remington Core-Lokt hit her.
3 years ago my son harvested a 6 point. He ran about 20 feet after that Remington Core-Lokt hit him.
4 and 5 years ago I harvested 2 – 8 points.
3 years ago I got a nice 9 point East Texas Whitetail.