Well Rounded Ammunition Stockpile For SHTF

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.

Talking about stockpiling firearms and ammunition for a long term SHTF survival situation is like talking about trucks.  Do you need a truck to pull a boat down to the local boat launch, or do you need a tractor trailer rig to pull 60 tons?

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:

1 box – 30-30 Winchester (Remington core-lokt 150 grain).

1 box – 12 gauge 2 3/4 inch Winchester 1 ounce slug.

30-30 Winchester

The 30-30 Winchester combined with a lever action rifle has probably killed more deer in U.S. history then any other caliber.

The reliability of the lever action rifle, combined with the 308 diameter bullet, combined with a 150 or 170 grain bullet weight is very effective on deer sized game.  The 30-30 just works.  What is there is say?  The 30-30 works on deer and hog sized game within say 125 – 150 yards.

Whitetail deer taken with Marlin 336 30-30
Whitetail deer taken with Marlin 336 30-30

The limited magazine capacity, slow reload, and lever action makes the 30-30 inferior to rifles like the AK47, Ar15, M1A, FN/FAL and the PTr-91 for home defense.

A well rounded 30-30 ammunition stockpile would be 150 or 170 grain softpoints. There are people that will argue that you stockpile 125 grain sabot rounds for the 30-30.  If you want to shoot sabot loads out of your 30-30, go right ahead.

Over the past 4 years my son has taken 3 southeast Texas Whitetail Deer with his Marlin 336 30-30.  All three deer were taken with Remington core-lokt 150 grain, one round per deer.

Lets talk about price, a Marlin 336 gold trigger sells for around $400.  A basic 336 without the gold trigger or checkering on the stock sells for around $350 – $375.

30-30 Winchester ammunition cost less then other members of the 30 caliber family.  When this article was posted, a box of Remington core-lokt 30-30 cost around $15.97, and 308 Winchester cost $19.97.

Stockpiling shotgun ammunition for shtf12 gauge combined with either pump or semi-auto, the shotgun  is well suited for a long term SHTF survival situation.  There is probably no other firearm that is as flexible as the shotgun.  Whether its hunting birds, squirrels, rabbits, deer, hogs, or ducks, provided you have the right ammunition, a shotgun will get the job done.

One of the issues with a shotgun, you have to have the right ammunition for the job.

This is how my shotgun ammunition stockpile is setup – #4 shot, buckshot and slugs.

#4 shot is ideal for knocking squirrels out of the top of a pine tree (or oak tree), and for taking rabbits.

#6 shot looses its energy faster then #4 shot.  Thus #6 shot may not be able to break the ribs to enter the chest cavity.  A few years ago some of my buddies and I were walking through a grown over field to flush out some rabbits.  When a rabbit broke from the brush, several of us let loose with our shotguns.  Some of us were using #6 shot, some were using #4 shot.  As the rabbit was being skinned, we found the ribs of the rabbit had stopped the #6 shot.  The number #4 shot was able to break the ribs to deal a lethal blow.

Buckshot, the holy mother of GOD of survival ammunition.  Unlike a lot of other types of ammunition out there, buckshot works on 4 legged game and 2 legged vermin.

This is just my opinion, buckshot is one of the best types of ammunition a survivalist can stockpile.  Even though buckshot has a limited range, anything within that range is going to get the crap blasted out of it.

Slug, the second place holy mother of GOD SHTF ammunition.   Whether you need to shoot a hog, deer or car door, the almighty slug is going to take care of business.

When I head out to the woods during hunting season with my shotgun, a lot of times I will load the first round with a slug or buckshot, and the rest of the rounds will be #4 shot.  If I walk up on a deer, my first round will be well suited.  If I see a rabbit or squirrel, eject the slug or buckshot and a round of #4 shot will be in the chamber.

Stockpiling 22 Long Rifle

22 long rifle is the most popular caliber in the U.S, its cheap, has no recoil and it’s effective on small game.  Why should we care about stockpiling various types of ammunition for 22 long rifle?  Because we need to use the right type of ammunition for the job.

Some kind of long term survival situation happens, you and your buddies are hunting for small game.  The potatoes were pulled a few days ago and the ladies would like to make up a stew.  What you may not have taken into consideration, everytime you pull the trigger the report of your 22 rifle can be head for several hundred yards.  That is what you get for not stockpiling sub-sonic ammunition.

Survival rifle ammunition

You and your family head to the Bug Out Location.  A few days later some more of your family shows up with supplies.  Included in their supplies are some 22 rifles.  The first problem is, you stockpiled one brand of 22 long rifle ammunition.  The second problem, the rifles your family members brought do not work well with the one type of ammunition you stockpiled.

Related Article: Stockpiling Ammunition at the Bug Out Location

My personal stockpile of 22 long rifle ammunition includes Winchester, Remington and Federal. When my family and I go to the Bug Out Location, we will shoot 2 or 3 types of 22 ammunition out of 2 or 3 different rifles. This way I get an idea of type of ammunition works well in which rifle.

It’s tempting to stockpile only bulk 22 long rifle.  Why buy the expensive stuff when you can get 500 rounds for around $20?  Sometimes you get what you pay for.  Is the survival of your family worth buying some good quality 22 long rifle ammunition?

Whitetail doe taken with 308 bolt action rifle
Whitetail doe taken with 308 bolt action rifle

308 Winchester is in a class of its own.  Not only is it well suited for deer and hog sized game, not only is it accurate and flat shooting, not only is the recoil manageable, not only is it chambered in a wide variety of rifles, but there is a wide range of ammunition on the market.  The only rifle that can come close to touching the 308 is the 30-06 Springfield.

In my opinion, the 308 is one of the best options for a long term SHTF survival cartridge.  Want to stockpile ball ammo for 308, no problem.  Want a semi-auto rifle in 308, no problem.  Want a long range bolt action rifle in 308, no problem.  Want a cartridge with proven military experience, no problem,,, and the list goes on and on.

The wide selection of rifles makes the 308 well suited for either a defensive rifle or a hunting rifle.  Because the 308 works so well as a dual purpose rifle, we need to make sure that we stockpile at least 2 types of ammunition – ball for home / property defense and something like soft-points for hunting.

A few years ago my nephew took a whitetail doe with a bolt action rifle in 308 Winchester, the ammunition was Remington core-lokt 150 grain.  The blood trail looked like someone turned on a water hose full of blood.  The deer make it about 15 feet before it fell dead in its tracks.

If you want a semi-automatic rifle chambered in 308 Winchester, there is the Remington Woodsmaster, M1A, FN/FAL, PTR-91, Sig 716, AR-10,,, to name a few.

My personal stockpile of 308 ammunition includes, Monarch 308 FMJ (brass case), Remington core-lokt 150 grain, Federal power-shok 150 grain.  The majority of my 308 ammunition is Remington core-lokt.  Over the 15 years Remington core-lokt has proven to be very effective on deer sized game.  Whether its 270, 280, 30-30, 308 or 30-06, core-lokt is a proven performer.

The 308 Winchester is one of the few calibers that people working guard duty and the hunters in the field can use the same ammunition, and nobody is going to be underpowered.

Even though I stockpile Remington core-lokt for my FN/FAL, Hornady BTHP has given me the best accuracy.  Due to the cost of the Hornady BTHP, I can not afford to stockpile it.  I try to stockpile what gives good results, and is affordable.

Related Article300 Blackout for SHTF

270, 280 and 30-06

All three calibers are excellent for deer and hog sized game, are reliable and are available in a wide range of rifles.  As popular as the 270, 280 and ’06 may be, none of them are widely available in a rifle with a high capacity magazine.  If you want a military grade rifle in ’06, there is the M1 Garand.

It is perfectly fine to have a 270, 280 or ’06 in the SHTF firearm inventory, I just would not make any of them my primary rifle.

My personal opinion, any of those 3 calibers should be reserved for hunting.

Since I see the 270, 280 and ’06 as hunting rifles, all I stockpile is hunting grade ammunition, and that is mostly Remington core-lokt.

Whitetail deer taken with 223 Remington
Whitetail deer taken with 223 Remington

223 Remington, I am probably going to catch a lot of flack for this, but I do not consider the 223 adequate for deer sized game.

A couple of years ago there was a young lady and her dad who brought a spike into the deer camp. The young lady was probably no older then 10 or 12 years old, and she took her spike with her 223 rifle.

I know for a fact that 223 will take down a deer, as I took a picture of the young ladies deer.

My mindset on hunting, if I am going to sling a chunk of lead downrange, I want that chunk of lead to leave a gaping hole for a good blood trail. I want a good sized hole going in, and a larger hole going out.

If you want to use the 223/5.56mm for hunting, that is a personal decision and I can respect that.

Since I plan on using the 223 Remington in a defensive role, just about all I stockpile is FMJ.  It would not hurt to stockpile some softpoints, just in case you have to use 223 to hunt with.

7.62X39 For SHTF

The holy grail of SHTF survival cartridges.  I view the 7.62X39 as a dual purpose cartridge which is well suited for property defense and for hunting deer and hog sized game.

There are three rifles that I would consider for the 7.62X39 – the AK47, SKS and the Ruger Mini-30.

If you want a battle proven rifle that has been used all over the world, get an AK.

If you want a handout rifle that you do not have to worry about buying magazines for, get an SKS.

If you want a rifle with a sporting look so you do not attract attention, get a Ruger Mini-30.

I have owned all three rifles, and would feel comfortable with any of the three in my hands.


In all honestly, it would take a book to cover all of the small details. There are so many good calibers out there, and good types of ammunition, we have only scratched the surface.  To make a detailed article we would have to do all kinds of ballistics test and compare the results of various types of ammunition.

There is difference between test and real world experience.  Why do I stockpile Remington core-lokt?  Because I have been using core-loke for close to 2 decades and with good results.