Monday, May 13, 2019

Ammo Stockpiling: Why it makes Sense

In a recent article on Ammoland, a case was presented as to why stockpiling of more than a few hundred rounds of ammunition was unnecessary.

It was an interesting take, but much too limited, in my experience. At the end, the authors put in a disclaimer: stockpile as much as you want.

The self-imposed limitations of the presentation were this: They only considered four reasons to stockpile ammunition. They limited the scenarios applicable to those reasons.

Here is a quick critique of the four reasons they listed:

1.Self-Defense - not unreasonable, in that a couple of hundred rounds fired in self defense, will likely mean you will eventually catch a round yourself.

2. Hunting - not unreasonable in most areas. In some areas, more will be needed, simply for pest control. It is not unreasonable for Australian pest controllers to fire hundreds of rounds a day.  Pest control may be very important if you need to protect your family food supply.

3. Militia actions - A completely unreasonable take on possible militia actions. The idea of a militia force *only* and *solely* fighting a full-up modern military force, is one of the least likely scenarios. Even in that case, lots of ammunition is much better than only a little ammunition.

4. Ammo barter - I completely disagree with the author(s) on this. Ammunition makes great barter material, especially commonly available rounds such as .22 LR and 12 gauge.  One of the reasons this is so in the United States is half the population has access to firearms already. There is more of a market in the United States, than in the vast majority of places around the world.  Nearly all of the 100 million or so firearm owners in the United States has a .22.  Nearly as many have a 12 gauge.

The self imposed limits on ammunition stockpiling failed to take into account the obvious: What do you use ammunition for today?

You will have the same needs/desires/requirements when ammunition becomes unavailable from conventional sources, which is where the utility of stockpiling shines.

Most gun owners use most of their ammunition today for three purposes:

Maintaining and improving their proficiency with firearms.

Training others to use firearms.

Having fun with their firearms.

Stockpiling ammunition allows firearms owners to continue these activities, even if ammunition becomes difficult to obtain through conventional channels.

In addition, there are other, excellent reasons to stockpile ammunition the previous article failed to take into account.

1. Cost savings. Buy cheap, in quantity. Stockpile the ammunition. Ammunition has a shelf life measured in decades, if not in hundreds of years. Stored in reasonable conditions, it will not go bad in your lifetime.

2. Rare and hard to find cartridges. Do you love your 6.5x55 Swedish sporter?  Your 7.62x54 Mosin Nagant? Your .303 British? How about your 5mm Remington Magnum Rimfire, or a .17 HMR?  Owners of those rounds already know to stockpile, because they are not always easily available in gun stores.

3. Specialty ammunition. Find a cartridge you like, which works well, and does wonders in your favorite gun? Stockpile it. It may not be around forever. Target shooters have been doing this for decades. Find a lot number that works well. Buy lots of that lot number.

4. Shortages for commercial reasons. We recently experienced several years where the most common of all cartridges, the .22 LR, was hard to come by at anywhere near reasonable prices. Those who stockpiled prior to the .22 bubble did well. Those who did not, tended to do without.

5. Deterrence. If hundreds of millions of firearms give the anti-Constitutional forces pause, billions of rounds of stockpiled ammunition reinforce the consideration. I believe the privately owned ammunition stockpiled in the united States is in the billions. One hundred rounds per firearm owner would be ten billion rounds of ammunition.

Conservatively, it is less than a trillion rounds, though I know of some enthusiasts who have over a hundred thousand rounds stockpiled. One thousand rounds of ammunition per firearm owner, on average, would be 100 billion rounds stockpiled.

Let's use a little imagination and expand on the militia reason mentioned in the previous article.   Very seldom are militias used solely against full-blown modern military machines. The reason is obvious: lightly armed militias cannot win a direct fight with a modern military.

Militias have numerous other purposes. Militias, in the United States spring up spontaneously when the need arises, such as to maintain order after a hurricane or during a  riot.  The Korean storekeepers during the Rodney King riot did not shoot many people. But they fired a fair number of "warning shots" to inform prospective looters of their presence. They were an example of a spontaneous militia.

Militias, in a time when the state and federal governments are unable to maintain order, will be called upon to maintain order in their neighborhoods, as has been their traditional role.

If order breaks down far enough, militias will be needed to deal with looting gangs, perhaps even those attempting to exert their own pseudo governmental authority.

As late as 1946, in the battle of Athens, Tennessee, an impromptu militia took an illegitimate county government out of office, and insisted on fair elections.  Then,  the core of the militia was military veterans. The same is likely true for future spontaneous militias.

A militia might be called upon to stop looting and see to the fair distribution of foodstocks in a prolonged electrical shortage, or be used to keep the roads open and hunt down and suppress bandits.

All of those things require ammunition. Ammunition to train; ammunition to issue to new militia recruits who are short; ammunition, if necessary, to fight bad guys and maintain order.

In a prolonged crises that might last for years, conventional military forces will burn through their stored supplies fairly quickly. That would do much to even the odds with local militias.

It would be an unusual situation to fight a modern military force. It is more likely local militias would supplement and work with the United States military to restore order, protect property, and save lives. That has been their traditional role.

Ammunition is similar to gold or cash. It is hard to have too much.

I join with my colleagues from the previous article. Stockpile as much as you want.

 ©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


mobius said...

Yeah, I didn't read far. Just silly.

Anonymous said...

If you know how much ammo you have, you don't have enough.

Anonymous said...

Important information to remember. My 17 G.I. ammo cans are not all completely full. Thank goodness I have a fairly complete personal ammo factory and can make all I want. Any one can make black power. Powder and primers will be the first to run short in difficult times. Modern smokeless powder will not work in antique firearms but Black powder works in everything. there is even a new system available to recondition used primers. Never forget it only takes one weapon and skill to upgrade the weapon you have. If I ever run out of bullets I have many weapons that don't use bullets. Just about every one has supplies in their kitchen or pantry to make explosives with if you know how. Magnesium automobile tire rims can be used to destroy armored vehicles if you know how. You would not believe how easy it is to make rocket fuel and mortars.

Anonymous said...

RE: the above commenter

I know exactly how much I have stockpiled. For years, I've written the year-of-purchase on the boxes/bags of ammo when acquired, then updated my spreadsheet so I know *what* ammo is located *where* (I have all guns and ammo split up between two addresses in case one is not accessible). This way, I can practice responsible FIFO management. It's really easy to maintain, once you go through the first time counting everything. You buy 200 rds?...add them to your list. You consumed 300 at the range?...remove them from the list.

It's not rocket science. Anyone who has any stockpile should absolutely know what they have. If you don't, you're questionable.

Anonymous said...

When I used to get paid on Fridays I would hit the local gun shop and pick up a couple of hundred rounds of ammo in various calibers. When Obama got elected in 2008, you could not find ammo for two years, and when you did, it was expensive. Meanwhile, my wife and kids and myself shot as much as we felt like, and also, made some pretty good trades to people who wanted ammo but couldn't find any to purchase. Stockpiling will always pay off one way or another!

Anonymous said...

An important note should include information about safe and effective storage. There are many variables to this, and not just temperature and humidity, but where it is stored in relation to other inflammable or explosive materials, whether it should be consolidated or split, that it is integrated into the fire protection plan, secure from burglary or easy seizure. Water leaks and flooding is also a consideration.

No storage is perfect, but it should have considerable planning involved.