A guest post written by Eve Flanigan.
Today, as gun owners and advocates of defensive living, we’re constantly scrutinized for exercising our 2nd Amendment rights. I’m sure many readers have numerous firearms available to them. Good. But the long-term concern, at least in my estimation, is the ammunition to feed those firearms.
While we’re enjoying the right to own guns, it’s worth noting that Constitutional protection may not include ammo. Ponder, if you will, the prospect of having firearms, but not ammunition. While many readers are surely prepared in the ammo supply arena, from conversations with students, I’d venture a guess that most aren’t. The question is not just for you, but perhaps generations to come. Teaching students on an ongoing basis, I find it not uncommon for folks to struggle to come up with a couple hundred rounds of handgun or carbine ammo to conduct some baseline training. Given today’s political climate, ammunition is more aligned in the crosshairs than ever. Consider in just the last few years there have been attempts to control or restrict ammo via several rationales, including:
- Environmental — the claim that any lead-based projectiles will lead to the ultimate demise of endangered species by wildlife ingesting lead from hunters and shooters.
- Public Safety — the all-too recent attempt to eliminate 5.56 green tip ammo as a supposed fix for preventing penetration of law enforcement body armor. Never mind that any high velocity rifle round has this penetration ability.
- Leave your fingerprint — recent attempts in the land of fruit and nuts (CA) to have purchasers of ammunition have their fingerprint on file.
- Taxation — there’s already a tax on most ammo through the Pitman Robertson Act….now Seattle, Washington politicians have decided to tax its residents even more on ammo purchases in the name of funding anti-gun propaganda.
- Quantity restrictions — Numerous discussions lately by liberals on restricting ammunition sales to a minimal amount per week or month.
Let’s not forget the bare shelves of just two or three years ago because of the political climate. .22 LR rimfire is just now becoming reasonably available again. Prices have just settled in the last few months.
So, back to the original thought of how much ammo? Well, it depends on what your primary, secondary or beyond use of it may be. That of course varies from person to person. Aside from fact that many folks are very accomplished handloaders requiring a good supply of powder, primers, casings and bullets in their own right, many don’t have the time or inclination for handloading.
The need and use for ammo can probably be categorized into the following;
- Sport and competition
For most, standard, big game considerations I could probably get along for quite some time with a couple hundred rounds. But thinking down the road for many years, I would like to have 500 to 1,000 rounds per caliber of any hunting rifle. Small game means shotgun and rimfire, the round count here could increase exponentially.
If its USPSA, IDPA, 3Gun, Trap, Skeet, Silhouette or others, start thinking in the thousands of rounds or even higher for the long term.
This is where things could get interesting. Shooting well is a perishable skill (yes, dry fire can take place of live fire to some extent). I shoot almost on a weekly basis, at least handgun. That may not be sustainable in tough times. I focus most of my weekly handgun shooting on 9mm to keep it economical. I like to keep a minimum of 5,000 rounds available if possible.
I keep a few hundred rounds of good quality handgun, shotgun and rifle ammo that fits this category on hand….per caliber or gauge. A sub category here would be the battle rifle or fighting carbine, at which point there is no such thing as too much ammo.
The sky’s the limit. All common calibers and rimfire ammunition is in high demand. Imagine ammunition over-the-counter availability being gone overnight! In really tough times or a run on the supply, ammunition will always retain a high trade value. So the question is how much do you need to have for yourself and family versus how much you can afford to sell or barter with?
It goes without saying that the cost, storage and transportation of ammunition may require logistical planning. Ammunition is heavy. Storage can have its own challenges. Basically, prioritize cool, dry and durable storage when it comes to ammo. The military style .30- and .50-caliber ammo cans or the sealed spam cans of ammo make good long-term storage options.
Other than your local store, where might one find ammo today without breaking the bank? Some obvious choices may be your local gun shows (or similar events) and online ammo sales sites (these sites have also been under fire in recent months). A few less obvious locations to find ammo at sometimes below wholesale prices are flea markets, estate sales and garage sales. This may bring up the question, how long is ammo good for? In my experience if it has been stored properly and out of the elements it can be good for decades. I have shot military surplus that was 50-plus years old, without issues. Not to disparage any hand loaders, but I stay away from reloaded ammo that I do not know the source of. I say this because you will run across such ammo at flea markets and garage/estate sales.
Someone once called ammo the precious metal of the future. I agree.
Eve Flanigan is a firearms instructor and writer residing in the American Southwest. Flanigan provides instruction in safety, basic and defensive pistol, defensive scenarios and basic rifle as well as concealed carry. Flanigan’s work in the non-profit sector has provided opportunities for participation in law enforcement firearms and use of force training. Her instruction, as well as her reviews of guns and gear, center around safety and practicality for self-defense. Her development as an armed citizen and instructor is aided by a variety of firearms and self-defense instruction plus competitive shooting. Persons wishing to contact Flanigan for instruction or to offer materials for review may do so through www.about.me/eve.flanigan
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