How Much Ammo is Enough For SHTF?

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If you have ever spent any time at all on a survival or firearm forum, you are bound to come across the phrase “Buy it cheap, and stack it deep”.  This phrase is, of course, referring to the amount of ammunition one should have if disaster strikes. After years in the shooting community, I have heard many reasons people stockpile ammunition for emergencies.  There are really only a few loons out there who prepare for impossible and downright foolish reasons.  One guy, I met really believed in an alien invasion followed by an Illuminati takeover.

By Zach Dunn a Contributing Author

Sure, there are always a few crazies, but there are many normal people who do have a fear of what could happen in our increasingly volatile world.  Like it or not, we have to admit that this is not the 1990s anymore and we are seeing an increase in danger daily. The economy can be compared to a savage ocean. ISIS is rampaging through the Middle East and their sympathizers are attacking innocent people in the USA, Europe, and Canada. Iran’s nuclear program.  The riots following Trump’s election.  I could go on.

In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the question, “how many rounds should I have on hand in case something happens?”   If you read the forums and even some articles, a lot of armchair generals and self-described “experts” say you need to amass 100,000 rounds per caliber, minimal.  And while 100,000 rounds is an impressive amount of ammunition, enough to fight a small war, it is completely insane to think you will ever need that much ammunition. Well, if you are going to invade a small Caribbean nation, go ahead and pursue your 100,000 rounds.  With the price of ammunition today, you’ll go broke.

Related: Surviving Alone

In all truth, it is impossible to see the future and know how much ammunition you will need.  My crystal ball stopped working a long time ago.  But I doubt you will be engaging in a firefight after firefight with gangsters or looters every day in a survival situation.  Even if you did, what are the odds of you surviving dozens of gunfights?  I have done my best to put together a realistic minimal goal for ammunition needs during a survival situation.  The focus here is of course hunting and defense.  

.22LR

A .22 is about the most versatile firearm when it comes to food procurement you can own.  From squirrel to a feral cat, a .22 can put meat on the table for you and your loved ones during hard times.  I strongly suggest everyone have at least one reliable .22 for emergencies.  The bare minimal I believe you should have is around 1000 rounds of .22 ammunition.  Ideally, 2-5,000 rounds are best.  Buy .22 in bulk, in tubs of at least 500 rounds to purchase cheaply.

The Shotgun

A .12 gauge or .20 gauge should be something every gun owner owns in addition to a .22 long rifle.  A shotgun can be used to kill waterfowl, turkey, game birds, and with a slug or 00 buck loads can be used to kill the larger game and be used in home or self-defense.  I strongly recommend pump action guns as they are by far some of the most reliable. To be wise, I would say one should have 2 barrels for each shotgun unless the shotgun is a dedicated home defense weapon.  If it is a hunting shotgun, you should have a longer “bird barrel” for shooting bird shot, and a smoothbore “slug barrel” for shooting slugs and 00 buck loads. I suggest at least 300 rounds of game loads such as number 6s or 7s, 50 turkey loads, 200 slugs and 200 rounds of 00 Buck.

The Big Game Rifle

If in addition to a shotgun and .22, you are blessed to own a game rifle, this can be a real tool in keeping your family fed.  If it all goes downhill, a game rifle can, of course, be used to hunt game, and it can also be used to hunt feral cattle, pigs and other such domesticated animals that tend to go feral in dark times. For every game rifle I own, I like to have at least 100-200 rounds of game loads. More if you can afford it.  If your rifle is properly sighted in, 100 rounds can last you years of procuring larger animals for food.

The Semi Auto Sporting Rifle

In the USA, this includes AR-15s, AK-47s, AK-74s, and so much more.  These are not the true assault weapon. In Canada, these usually mean the SKS, M1A/M-14, M1 Garand, and maybe an AR-15 kept for target and competition shooting.   A true assault weapon by the true definition is a rifle chambered in an intermediate cartridge that has the ability to switch between semi-automatic and full automatic gunfire.  In truth, the inner-workings of these firearms are no different than a semi-automatic hunting rifle.

These rifles are highly versatile and can fill the role of both home defense firearm, personal defense weapon, game rifle and varmint rifle.  If you only have 1 gun, one of these are your best options.  If you have a rifle with a detachable magazine, be sure you have at least 12 magazines.  That is my minimum. If the firearm you have is an SKS, M1a, Garand, or any other semi auto that uses at least a 5 round magazine, you probably have noticed they are bullet eaters.  In fact, a semi auto can eat more ammunition than a college kid eats pizza.

Photos Courtesy of:

Brett
momsquared
John Woods
Joshua Engler

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