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Thread: "Drawing a line" on how much to keep on hand. (re: Ammo & Reloading supplies)

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Goodhue County, SE Minnesota

    "Drawing a line" on how much to keep on hand. (re: Ammo & Reloading supplies)

    The other day I was trying to re-organize ammunition & reloading supplies and it occurred to me that perhaps I was going a bit overboard in how much I kept on hand for myself & my families current & future usage of such things. As I pondered this, I was curious as to the castboolits memberships views on how much everyone else thinks is the "line" on how much to have on hand when keeping their stock of ammunition & reloading supplies stocked.

    I realize that some folks shoot more than others due to their location, competition shooting,etc.. So, those folks who are using more would need more. The ones who just go out every month or two & shoot would likely need less on hand.

    I also realize that some folks want to keep such info to themselves due to "OpSec"(Operational Security), but if you are willing to share the info, even if not an exact, but a "ballpark" description just for the sake of discussion & sharing your thoughts here.

    So... In regard to me & my storing of such items for myself & family right now, I think as far as loaded ammunition goes, I try to keep a minimum of 2-300 rounds per pistol, 100-150 rounds per centerfire, +/- 1-2K in .22 rimfire, & as far as shotguns, around 1-200 rounds of various shot/slugs per each gauge. I feel that covers our "reserve" for each year based on current usage.

    Now since I reload for everything I own, with the exception of .22rimfire, I also keep a stock of reloading supplies reserved on hand, to replenish those ammo supplies & I try to keep enough supplies on hand to be able to shoot pistol monthly/bi-monthly, center fire rifle every couple months & shotguns off & on year round, but more in the Hunting seasons. I do not shoot "Competitively" on a regular basis like some folks do, but do shoot for fun competitively with friends & family on occasion. Like for who buys the refreshments & such. LOL

    (Note: I just replenish .22rimfire as it gets used, by buying factory rounds to replace when I can find some at a decent price, so no reloading supplies there.)
    So, I would venture to guess that I keep enough reloading supplies on hand to last a year based on current usage.

    Right now I feel that those amounts of ammo & reloading supplies is adequate for our current usage, there are some folks that keep more on hand for future "prep" in case of some sort of a SHTF/TEOTWAWKI/Whatever..., but I do not know how much that "line" would be "for us" right now.
    [ One of the reasons I am posting & asking about this subject. ]

    I know there will be some who just post things like, " Not enough.", "No ones business but mine." and other such vague posts, but it would be nice if folks shared a bit more than that, and pass on some reasons for folks to determine where to "Draw the Line" on what they might keep on hand for Ammunition & reloading supplies, if just for the sake of sharing & helping others.

    So, if you would like to share, help out & discuss this subject, please do!

    Where do you "Draw the Line" on your ammo & reloading supplies?
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "A man ought ta do what he thinks is best" - "Hondo" Lane.(John Wayne)

    "If ya don't like my gate, ya don't have to swing on the hinges..." - L. Ackerman ( RIP)

    Enforce the Immigration laws & deport the illegal aliens. Quit fooling around!

    ~~ WWG1WGA ~~

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    dragon813gt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Somewhere in SE PA
    When you think you have enough that means you don't. When you think you have to much you're almost there. When you think you have way to much you have enough......possibly

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    DerekP Houston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Houston, Texas
    When ordering factory ammo I always ordered by the 1k case. So I'm probably a bit on the high side for pistol ammo. Rifle rounds for 223 are similar but 308/3006 I rarely shoot (cause I'm a wuss) and 200-300 rounds was plenty. Those came in 200 rnd cases. My main reason for ordering bulk is price per round, and the fact that once I get a load dialed in I want as few variables as possible. Same batch, same brand, etc. YMMV. This was all before I started reloading as well, so most of it is still in the closet just awaiting usage.

    When my wife or friends go shooting I'll take them some factory ammo and use my reloads myself. Not that I don't trust them, I just don't want an odd squib sneaking past and since they won't know what to listen for I'd rather to the risk myself.
    My feedback page if you feel inclined to add:

    Thanks Yall!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Well, first of all I admit I probably have too much. Ammo and components. After going through several shortages in the past, I try to keep 2 election cycles of powder, primers and jacketed bullets on hand, for the estimated amount of shooting that I plan to do. I have more brass than I'll ever shoot and I'm pretty sure I have enough lead to last my lifetime. The powder, primers and bullets were purchased whenever the opportunity to buy at sale prices presented itself. The brass and lead just accumulated over time. Ammo wise, I'll keep a few thousand 22's on hand. I load for everything else. I load in large batches for most of my pistols, usually 2000-2500 rounds at a time and use them until they are gone. Same for 223's and 308's. Others usually get loaded 100 at a time. I have bullet molds for all of my pistols and a few of my rifles, although I'm not much on casting for rifles, except for things like 45-70.

    Doing it this way, I did not have to pay inflated prices or quit shooting during the Obama years. Or during the Clinton years either. But I did get caught short at one time and I learned from that.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    May 2015
    easternshore of va.
    I'm going to take inventory .

  6. #6
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Fargo ND
    JB I think you and I are probably pretty close on this subject.

    My rule for sleeping well at night is 300 rounds of loaded ammo, in MTM boxes, on the table for each caliber. Now there are a few exceptions.

    I do not have 300 rounds loaded for .444marlin, I have one, a single shot. I highly suspect I will never need to stop a whole herd of buffalo. Probably have close to 150 rounds.

    I have 3 9mm firearms, and my buddy used to have a Beretta 92FS which he recently sold. A hipoint pistol, a hipoint 9mm carbine, and a single shot barrel.

    Currently on the table are 500 rounds of my loaded ammo, 500 rounds of inexpensive Federal FMJ's. Plus in the Carbine case is a 100 round box, same for the pistol, and the single shot barrel. Loads differ so load is written on the box.

    I have the most ammo for .223 rem and 7.62x39. Yeah I love my SKS.

    Also in a SHTF scenario I figure the AR and AK boys are going to run through their ammo supply in the first week. So I figure it might be nice to have some trading material to hand.

    12 ga shotgun is also a bit heavy on the table, but a wide variety of ammo makes that girl so very versatile. Most of what I have loaded is slugs or #1 buckshot. Plenty of cheap federal game loads around for birds, and a fair amount of left over steel in common sizes.

    Only caliber for me that is really what I would consider short is .30-30. I have the brass, the mold, just been lazy. It would not take me long to double my current stock bringing me up to the 300 mark. Just have not felt much ambition to do it.

    Getting old and fat and lazy.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    mold maker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Piedmont (Conover) NC
    As the safe size shrank over the years, so did the amount of loaded ammo for each. I no longer store much loaded, but rather have components for each ready to load. I try to keep lots of prepared brass and cast boolits. Since the shortages, I rely on having primers and powder stored at the ready.
    As range time diminishes so does the need for loaded rounds, and when the time comes I don't want to leave a large burden of pulling down loaded ammo. Raw components are more valuable than taking chances with reloads from somebody else.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    I think it would vary a lot as you state as every one is different in their needs.

    After having gone though a number of "shortages" over the years, I feel comfortable in keeping enough supplies foray 3 years for the amount of shooting I do. I try to keep several different powders on hand that can be used for a variety of the cartridges I load. Red Dot, which seems to work well in most of mine is a "must". Primers? Again, depends on how much you load and shoot.

    I don't "hoard" - i.e. I don't go overboard on purchases. But I do keep a quantity of things on hand. In most cases, those items are not going to g down in price but they will go up.

    I and others can remember when certain brass were hard to get. At this time, there seems to be a good supply. I can remember when something like 45 Colt was kind of hard to come by as Starline was out. The same with 32-20 (32 WCF). I haven't gone overboard but I have accumulated brass in different calibers that I load when I could get it at a good price. Stored in totes, it isn't going anywhere. I look at it this way, what I've accumulated, and it isn't taking up a large amount of space, can always be traded, etc. during a shortage if it happens again - and it could very well depending on how the political winds blow - and we all know that.

    As far as loaded rounds on hand - I think you and I pretty much think the same way JB. And I don't consider keeping that much ahead to be overdoing it. If I keep 300 rounds of 38 special loaded up, at a good range session I could easily go through half of that in an afternoon of shooting my SA and DA revolvers. I don't shoot as often as I'd like but if I'm putzing mourned, I may load up a box or two of a caliber so the amount ahead can certainly vary at times.

    It is a shame that we have come to the point that such things as shortages and other things have to be considered. I have always shot BP - been doing it for for 55 years. When the last shortage hit - I found myself shooting my muzzleloaders more and conserving my cartridge supplies. I haven't shot 22s since the last shortage - still have a K or so of them but I sold most of my 22s and will probably never buy another one.

    One of the biggest things I see in regards to having a decent supply on hand to meet your needs is the proper storage of it so it will be in good shape. I store all my primers and percussion caps in the airtight ammo containers. My powder (smokeless) is stored in a cool dry place in the factory container which I then put in a "cooler" and seal.

    Since I have always cast - I try and keep a quantity of lead on hand - usually a 100 - 200 pounds - soft lead and "range lead" - I'm a pretty low tech caster. Since my wife and I moved, I have have had to "downsize" things and I have way too many molds and as a result, way too many boolits of different designs/weights cast up and stored in plastic peanut jars. I'm trying to downsize to maybe just two designs/weights per caliber. There is one thing about it though - they can always be melted down and re-cast in to something I was short on. Lead is one thing that you can still scrounge around and find if really needed - maybe not the content you want but still shootable.

    I'm in my "sunset" years - but I have often thought and am still thinking that a good quality "air rifle" might be a good thing to have. When we were kids there were the Sheridan and the Benjamans (sp?) that worked pretty well with a lead pellet. I am not well versed on what is out there today but thee seems to be some pretty decent ones. If reloading supplies, etc. started to dry up again, one would still allow a person to at least target shoot and plink and I'm thinking that the velocity out of some would certainly take care of small critters, etc.

    Just my humble thoughts!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master opos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Living in the land of fruits and nuts...California...our perspective has changed just a bit...we are in for a little "change" come January 1....the voters here in fruitville decided no more on line ammo allowed in California unless it get shipped to a licensed FFL and for a fee he will receive it...no more "private sales" between any people unless they have a state issued card and go to a FFL to do the exchange (of course for a fee) like a transfer of a firearm....and so the rush is on...also lots of "friendships" springing up between shooters, etc...all the morons in the Statehouse and the libtard voters have done is drive a thriving and tax revenue generating business underground and make criminals out of sportsmen and women that are just enjoying a sport...lace panty libtards have not made a move on components but everyone I know is buying up whatever they can get their hands on....probably going to be a regular "underground" of "traveling salesmen" and "tourists" going to Arizona and Nevada on a regular basis....of course the illegals and the gang bangers don't worry about this..they just steal it.

    So we'll see how well this all works out for the State...I'd predict the net effect will be a huge loss of tax revenue on ammo and eventually on components....

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Don't discount the Korean 9mm .45 & .50 caliber pre charged pneumatic rifles. They will take anything up to whitetail.

    I like to keep 250 to 500 factory loads for each caliber I own. Then I start reloading.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy

    HABCAN's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    East Central Alberta, Kanada
    FWIW, my $0.02.........There's NEVER 'Enough', 20 is 'Some', 10 is 'a Tolerable Amount', 5 is 'a Few', 2 is 'One', and 1 is 'None'. That can be translated to thousands of primers, pounds of powder, boxes of ammo, groceries......whatever suits YOUR 'needs'.
    Life Member NRA.
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    Founder: Guns of the Golden West (Show group).
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    Retired from Instructing, and just about everything else!

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

    Hamish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Edge of The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
    Ten years worth of yearly ammo on hand is a good minimum wage to start,,,
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    Last of the old style Group Buy Honcho's.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    gardners pa.
    this brings to mind the youtube video I watched where this guy was trying to say the .223 was better then the 7.62x39 because of resupplying in an emergency. well in a emergency there is no resupply. so can you go the rest of your life with out buying another round of ammo ?

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Reddirt62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Oklahoma City
    I want enough to survive several presidential elections.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
    therealhitman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by JBinMN View Post
    ...I think as far as loaded ammunition goes, I try to keep a minimum of 2-300 rounds per pistol, 100-150 rounds per centerfire, +/- 1-2K in .22 rimfire, & as far as shotguns, around 1-200 rounds of various shot/slugs per each gauge.
    You mean in your glove compartment? Not sure I follow...

    Quote Originally Posted by bob208 View Post
    ...well in a emergency there is no resupply. so can you go the rest of your life with out buying another round of ammo ?
    Wise man. Stack it deep as ya can. Appropriate storage space becomes the issue. I produce waaaay more than I shoot since I enjoy casting/loading and do something on that bench almost every day, so preparedness (or ridiculous ammo hoarding as SWMBO calls it) needs square footage.

    Obligatory meme:

    I showed this pic with the text cropped to the missus and told her it was one of you guys. Just to make her feel better. Totally worked.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Michigan Thumb Area
    As the saying goes...if you have a doubt if you have enough, you probably don`t have enough! You just have to recall the .22 ammo fisaco of only a few years ago to try and prevent that happening to you again.Robert

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy NoAngel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    I had to draw a line recently, the floor in my shop started to buckle. I had to diversify my storage decisions. Now properly dispersed my "LINE" has once again been blurred and the cast/loading continues.
    When dealing with islam one should always ask themselves: "What would Leonidas do?"

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Alturas, California...where the west still lives!
    You guys reminded me........I need to inventory my primers. I had a "pile" of primers through the Obama years (thank God) but I've been shooting and didn't restock like I should have. Yep.....time to really check out what my reserves are like.

    As to the original subject, you can never have "enough".

  19. #19
    Vendor Sponsor
    Handloader109's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    NW Arkansas
    Quote Originally Posted by NoAngel View Post
    I had to draw a line recently, the floor in my shop started to buckle. I had to diversify my storage decisions. Now properly dispersed my "LINE" has once again been blurred and the cast/loading continues.
    Now that's funny. I've got concrete floor so unless the building starts to sink, (which is probably not possible up here in the mountains) I'll just keep piling on as a find a few dollars to spend.
    Actually have a couple of decades of supplies except for Primers. Got to stock more Primers.......
    And I can mine the lead.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Phenix City, Alabama
    My ammo cabinet broke a shelf. Looks like another is going to. I don't have the shelf ( a huge book case ) that I had in Eufaula, and the one I bought wasn't as strong. I have about 500 rounds of everything that I load for. When I feel good I'll go cast boolits until I get tired and fill up steel ammo cans. I have one full of 9mm and one of .45 and don't have a .45. I gotta stop that. I have a bunch of .357 boolits as well as a large multitude of 148 gr. WC. It's relaxing, and I enjoy going and puttering, until I run out of brass. Then I gotta go to the range and unload a few.
    I have enough 9mm and .45 acp brass to win the zombie apocalypse single handedly........
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check