How much ammunition should someone stockpile for SHTF? If teotwawki happened tomorrow, how much ammo should I have? What types of ammo should I have for SHTF? How much ammo should I have for teotwawki?
Those are all questions that I see repeated on the forum over and over, time and time again. So lets talk about them just for a minute.
Lets break down ammo into 2 groups – personal defense and hunting.
How much pistol ammo do you “really” need? What will your pistol be used for? Will it be for personal defense or hunting? Are we talking 22 long rifle, 9mm, 45acp, 40S&W, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,, or something else?
From the price stand point, its going to be a lot cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 22 long rifle, then it is to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 357 magnum. Its going to be cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of round nose, then 5,000 rounds of hollow points. Do you “really” need to stock up on hollow points, or is it something that you just want to have?
Pistol Hunting Ammunition
Except for 22 long rifle, this is going to be your magnum calibers – 357 magnum, 41 magnum and 44 magnum. In this group I would put a number of at least 500 rounds. That 500 could be divided in half – 1/2 stored at your home, and 1/2 stored at your bug out location / remote camp. If you have to leave your home, and only have time to grab your pistol – this leaves you with 250 rounds once you reach your bug out location. Keep that 250 rounds in mind for later.
Pistol ammo for personal defense: This can be just about anything, (except the 22 long rifle, and 25acp) – 9mm, 40S&W, 45acp, 357sig, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,,,,,. For this group, I put a number closer to 1,000 rounds per caliber.
Dividing ammo between people in the group: Some kind of situation has developed – a new disease has broke out, china launched a nuclear strike against the major cities,,,,,, whatever has happened, you have enough time to grab some gear and get out of town. You and your family safely arrive at your bug out location, and a few days later your buddies show up. These are people that you made plans ahead of time. To streamline ammo purchases, everyone has bought a weapon that shoots the same caliber. For the sake of discussion, lets use 357 magnum.
Nobody had time to grab the ammo they had at their home, so all you have is the ammo at the bug out location. With the arrival of other people, that ammo is now divided up. Instead of having 250 rounds of 357 magnum, you now have less then 100 rounds for yourself.
Some people may do 3:1 ratio, with 75% being stored at home and 25% being stored at their bug out location. With that ratio, instead of having 250 rounds at your camp, you only have around 100 rounds. Then divide that 100 rounds by however many pistols are in your group. You could very easily end up with less then 30 rounds for yourself. So what started out as 500 rounds, has resulted in having just a fraction of that on hand.
Stockpiling Ammunition For SHTF
Lets say that there are 3 families that are going to be sharing the bug out location. With those 3 families, there are going to be 3 – 357 magnum pistols. Instead of saying your going to need 500 rounds, say your going to need 500 rounds per pistol. This increases the number to more like 1,500 rounds stored at the bug out location.
Instead of a 3:1 ratio, its a 1:3 ratio. But in fact, its more like 1:1×3. With you storing 1/2 your ammo at home, 1/2 at your bug out location, and 3 more people storing 1/2 of their ammo at the bug out location as well. This equals out to what “seems” like a large amount of ammo. And it is a large amount of ammo, but its going to be divided up between everyone there.
Stockpiling SHTF Rifle Ammunition
Just by design, your going to be able to shoot more ammo through a semi-auto then through a lever action or bolt action rifle.
For non-hunting rifles – I would say 1,000 rounds per rifle and per person stored at the bug out location. That means that I have 1,000 rounds of 223 and 1,000 rounds of 7.62×39, and John Doe has 1,000 rounds for his AR-15 as well.
For hunting rifles – maybe 500 rounds per rifle and per person. That means that my 30-30 should have around 500 rounds, and my buddies 30-30 should have around 500 rounds stored at the bug out location.
So far we have been discussing keeping ammo at your bug out location – because that is a worse case situation. If plan A fails, you want to make sure that plan B works, because their aint no plan C.
Now lets move up to plan A – how much ammo should you keep at your home. We have already discussed ratios, such as 1:1, or 3:1, 1:3,,,, and so on. What kind of ratio of ammo do you want to keep at your home and bug out location. Lets say that its 1:1 ratio – and you have 1,000 rounds of 9mm at the camp. So you need 1,000 rounds of 9mm at your home.
I like to use ratios, so things are easy to remember. If I go to the store and buy 2 boxes of 22 long rifle, with a 1:1 ratio – 1 box goes home and 1 box goes to the camp. If its a 2:1 ration – I need to buy 3 boxes, 2 boxes go home and 1 box goes to the camp.
Ok, so how much ammo do you need to stockpile for SHTF?
How many people are in your group?
How many firearms are we talking about?
What is the ammo going to be used for?
What ratio of ammo do you want to keep at your home and bug out location?
Worse case situation, how much ammo will you need at your bug out location?
Not bugging out? Going to stay at home?
1,000 rounds per pistol caliber, and 2,000 rounds per rifle caliber. For bolt action rifles, maybe go with 500 rounds per caliber.
A buddy of mine likes to use the 10,000 rounds per caliber rule, with 22 long rifle getting the grand number of close to 15,000 rounds.
Think about it for a minute, it would not be difficult to stockpile 15,000 rounds of 22 long rifle. That is 27.7 boxes of those 550 round bricks. The last time I was looking at 22 long rifle ammo, a brick of 550 cost around $20. Lets say we spend $100 – that gives us 5 bricks, for a total of 2,750 rounds of 22 long rifle.
For $200 you could have around 2,750 rounds of 22 long rifle at your home and at your bug out location. That 2,750 rounds could harvest a lot of rabbits and squirrels.
When you bugged out, if you had time and remembered to grab the ammo, you could have 5,500 rounds instead of 2,750.
Hunting After SHTF
What do you plan on hunting post shtf? Do you need to stockpile 22 long rifle, 7.62×39, 30-30, 308, 30-06, 300 winchester magnum, 338 winchester magnum,,,,, or something bigger? With the price of ammo going through the roof, its getting more and more difficult for people to stockpile ammo.
The last box of 308 I l0oked at was $25 for 20 rounds. With prices that high, its going to be almost impossible to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 308 Winchester. I would love to have 5,000 rounds – 2,500 rounds at my home and 2,500 rounds at the camp, but its not going to happen. Its just too expensive.
So what round is not going to be expensive to stockpile? The one real answer is 22 long rifle.
From time to time I hear of people buying these odd-ball calibers that cost $30, $35, or even $40 for a box of 20. That is just too expensive for my taste. If your going to pick a survival rifle, get one that not going to break the bank to buy ammo for.
Long term storage – keep the ammo in air tight boxes, and in a cool dry location. I like to throw some desiccant packs in with the ammo when the boxes are sealed.
I also like to use plastic ammo boxes over metal cans. I have the inside of those metal cans rust, or corrode and that corrosion get on the ammo.
Back for the Y2K scare, my buddies and I got together and re-loaded several thousand rounds of 9mm. The rounds where then stored in plastic ammo cans and moved to the bug out location. This was 12 years ago, and those 9mm reloads still shoot fine.