The argument over how much ammo to buy and store is one of the most widely contested subjects on the Survival/Militia internet forums today. Many feel that only 500 rounds total is necessary while others suggest amounts that would require heavy trucking to move about.
All things considered, the amount of ammo you need to store is directly tied to what your perception of TSHTF will consist of and how you go about preparing for it. The amount of ammo required by a homeowner protecting the contents of his home after a natural disaster is considerably less than the Survivalist preparing for a multi-generational economic collapse/NWO takeover/Government suspension of civil rights scenario.
In one you may have to protect yourself and property for several months while in the other your succeeding generations (if there are any) will have to rely on what you stored up for them. So where does this put you? Since this relies on your personal beliefs, no one can tell you what will suit your needs. You must evaluate what may possibly happen during your SHTF period and purchase accordingly.
Do you feel that you will have to fight off the ravening hordes of un-prepared sheeple?
Do you plan on supplementing your stored food with small game?
How good of shot are you? Can you do one shot kills on an attacking feral dog pack?
If you like to shoot as a hobby you may already have reloading equipment and lots of supplies. It is a worthwhile hobby to take up as it can cut the cost of ammo for your favorite non-common caliber, whether it is a wildcat load or an obsolete military caliber, and it is also fun. But how much is enough?
Perhaps the best way to approach this is to set up a purchasing plan. Work out on paper (or computer) the most likely scenario to happen in your area sooner than later. If you do not have supplies to get you thru 72 hours of your favorite SHTF, that is your primary concern. If you don’t have one, buy your primary weapon for your arsenal and several hundred rounds to go with it. Next purchase a weeks worth of storage food. Then purchase water purifying supplies that will clean 50 or more gallons. Alternate your purchases each month building on what you had before until you have reached a level at which you are comfortable.
Once you have done this, plan for the next most likely scenario. Using this technique you can slowly build up a supply of food, water, gear and ammo without sacrificing one group of items for the sake of another. You will also be able to add gear for the least likely scenario without sacrificing for the most likely to happen.
Now that you have met your most dire needs and prepared for those what ifs, you can begin to stock-up on ammo.
But what do I buy?
First thing to understand is that in a natural disaster, life will go on outside of the affected zone. This means that ammo will continue to be produced by the respective manufacturers and what you have accumulated through your purchasing plan should be sufficient for your needs.
If we were to experience an economic breakdown, with riots and such, martial law would most likely be imposed, some people disarmed (most likely the wrong ones), and no ammo available for the foreseeable future, if ever again. Let the experiences of those who suffered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes be a lesson to you.
You can be forcibly removed from your home for “your own good”! In a future disaster, your food and supplies may be seized and redistributed to the sheeple.
You will be disarmed for the general good. You may be shot if you do not co-operate willingly. You may never see your firearms again.
The government is inept at responding to disasters of this scope.
Those with the guns make the rules.
Those with extensive reloading supplies (hidden away) will be in a fairly good position, but you can not reload .22lr!
The barrel life of most average modern (WWI and up) military firearms is up to 100,000 rounds fired with proper cleaning techniques.
This is also true of most .22lr’s.
So now we reach the answer for a multi-generational firearm. Buy for the life of the barrel. Unless you own a Ruger 10/22 and a select few other makes, the ability to replace the barrel will exceed the skill of most users, especially after TSHTF. The 10/22 has an easily removable barrel and a spare can be stockpiled along with other spare parts needed to keep your rifle humming.
100,000 rounds of .22lr = $2000.00+ in today’s money. This is a large, forbidding outlay of cash for a lot of us, so the answer is to continue to purchase over time, and storing in metal ammo boxes.
But what do I need with all that ammo?
YOU don’t need all that ammo. But your children and grandchildren may. If a MG-SHTF (multi-generational) happens it is likely .22lr will never in the foreseeable future be manufactured again!
Therefore, what you have put aside will be more valuable than gold. Literally. Where someone may sneer at your Krugerand they may jump at the chance to barter for a handful of .22lr.
Don’t forget, a certain amount will be spent in training new hunters and will not contribute anything to the stew pot! Also, prices will continue to climb and eventually, the Government may ban ammo sales altogether.
Ok, now what about the other calibers?
The same goes for the other calibers of your arsenal. You may want to buy some of each caliber at the same time or rotate it like you did with your gear. I would not buy 100,000 rounds of anything unless I had a secure area to store it in, away from confiscation and looting, in an area you feel secure in caching it, or at your secure retreat. Also, do not neglect other aspects of survival just to buy ammo.
Stockpiling large amounts of ammo is not for everyone. I do not advocate it if you have little or no disposable income to prepare with. But for those thinking of buying gold or silver for TEOTWAWKI, I would recommend that you first consider ammo. For barter purposes, stocking up on some of the less common calibers might give you the leverage you need to get that one item you want and need which nothing else will budge. Reloading dies in these calibers will insure a steady customer for your trade goods.
A lot of people say that bartering ammo is a bad idea as it may be used against you (me included), but I think that once the situation has stabilized to the point that community bartering is occurring on a regular organized basis, this danger may be past. Bartering at an established trading post will help alleviate some of this danger once they have been created (and they will).
So, do you have any more recommendations?
Yes. Buy a black powder flintlock rifle and learn how to make your own black powder. Store extra flints as well as barrels, lock mechanisms and lead. You may well then truly have the ultimate rifle for civilizations end.