Smart Buying: Stock Up With Ammunition Value Packs

Remington 9mm Luger Range Bucket of ammunition

It wasn’t very long ago that folks could not find toilet paper or hand sanitizer on the shelves of their local stores. In the land of plenty, we had a glimpse of everyday life as experienced in communist countries. Price increases were rampant on the local level. Folks who were happy to buy a gun and the occasional box of ammunition became hoarders.

Panic buying is never rational. Two to four guns and 10 boxes of ammunition was a new normal. My friends who fired a box of 9mm a week for practice, and didn’t worry about putting up a stock of ammo, were hit hardest. After all, the indoor range previously always had a wide selection. Folks showing up at the box stores and purchasing everything on the shelf, hurt the shooters among us.

Remington 22 Golden Bullet, BUcket O' Bullets
That’s 1,400 rounds of the famously accurate and reliable Golden Bullet.

I know some things. For example, I know which plants are suitable substitutes for toilet paper in the bush. I know the cheapest illumination — even better than candles — are rushlights.

I even know what horsebread is. Fortunately, I’ve never been so bad off that I had to collect split peas and make the hard bread to survive. As for ammo however, I stood in line like everyone else. After all, I had a class every other Saturday with 20–40 students firing at least 50 rounds each. No one had enough ammunition.

I don’t wish to become a hoarder but like folks who have had financial distress, I was ‘burned’ by the shortage. I won’t let it happen again. I keep a sufficient stock to see me though, and try to obtain ammunition far ahead of my needs. Not sinful hoarding but smart accumulation.

I was once an ammunition gourmet, making my own and using the finest components. Unfortunately, today I’m a gourmand grabbing everything I can — a glutton for cheap ammunition, I suppose.

Planning Ahead

Let’s properly prepare for potential future shortages. I think we all know what we store, fire, and use on a yearly basis. As an example, I probably fire 10 rounds of 9mm for any other pistol caliber, and 100 rounds of .223 for every 12-gauge buckshot shell. One month however, I happily spent a ton on .22 caliber ammunition and fired quite bit for the pure enjoyment of shooting.

bulk pack of CCI and Federal .22 LR ammunition
50- and 100-round boxes of specialty rimfire ammunition is fine, but bulk ammunition is a better deal for practice loads.

For fun, targets, personal defense, and training, the .223 and 9mm are my Dynamic Duo. In times of shortage, ammunition makers retool the big machines and churn out additional 9mm and .223 cartridges. Other calibers are neglected. They only run calibers such as .25 ACP or .270 Winchester for short periods at certain times of the year. It really pays to get started on your ammunition supply when you can. Now is that time.

I am in high spirits today, because it seems that ammunition supply has stabilized. With the pending elections, who knows? I won’t try to influence your vote. We have one fellow who is one of us for certain and the other seems hellbent on upending our rights and everything else American (in my opinion).

Likewise, I won’t try to tell you how to predict the highs and lows of a market-driven economy. I woke up one day with Covid and a week later watched my retirement account drop 40 percent. (I am blessed among men, thank God. This loss put things in perspective.) I was so sick on day 14 that my dog lay beside me and began howling like a wolf in a B movie.

Federal Premium Practice and Defend 100-round combo pack
Among the combinations the author stores away is this 9mm combo with 147-grain Syntech and 147-grain HST 9mm. The Practice and Defend lineup is a good choice for training and carry.

I got over it, but ammunition wasn’t high on the list for a few weeks. However, the experience reinforced the lesson. Funds are a limiting factor, so plan ahead and purchase ammunition ahead of time. A box or two of ammunition a week adds up. Likewise, periodically purchasing bulk ammunition will accomplish the goal and save money. Watch for the sales!

In an emergency, you will need other commodities — food, clothing, material to make a fire, and tools — but ammunition is also important. I don’t like to dip into the emergency munition’s locker. This is the ammunition (usually 200 rounds in reserve) that I refer to as my carry load. It might be Federal HST across the board in the handguns and Federal Fusion in the rifle, with Federal Flite Wad 12 gauge put up.

Buy It Now or Scrounge It Later…

Brand loyalty takes a hit in a shortage, unless you stocked up ahead of time (when you could afford to be choosey). Otherwise, you’ll take what you can find. Speer Gold Dot is a good choice for personal defense, and I would gladly load Old Ugly up with .45 ACP Gold Dot ammunition.

Mossberg M2C2 handgun atop a yellow Birchwood Casey Dirty Bird target with a box of Speer Gold Dot Carry Gun ammunition
This group, shot from 12-yards with Gold Dot’s new Carry Gun 135-grain ammo, was typical of the MC2C’s accuracy.

In the rifles, Remington ammunition is good. Remington’s Managed Recoil 12 gauge is in many ways in a class by itself. Some of the other stuff, Pacific Rim or of unknown origin, is OK for practice (in my opinion). As any trainer will tell you, we saw more case head separations and failures to fire during and after the pandemic than we had in the previous 10 years combined. It was due to the ammunition shortage and failures with what I consider to be off-brand ammunition.

I like quality and continually try to look ahead. I’ve had poor experience with low bid, training ammunition in police service. I’ve suffered from revolvers caked with lead after training with a too-soft alloy bullet. My preferences are not prejudices, but conclusions.

If you wish to put up a good bit of training ammunition, .22 Long Rifle is thankfully available in bulk. You should have a good number of .22 rimfire rifles and pistols for training and recreation. You may be able to feed yourself with these firearms. A .22 LR is good and may be pressed into defense use as well.

The .223 is the king of survival calibers in America’s rifle. I like American Eagle. If you hoard steel-cased ammunition, be certain to store it carefully. Steel-cased loads are much more susceptible to the elements than brass-cased loads.

In this caliber, you don’t really need JSP loads. The 55-grain FMJ is plenty effective for area defense, with the JSP loads better suited to taking game. In 9mm, FMJ loads are good for practice, not so great for wound potential. A good program for defense and recreation is to pair a 9mm carbine with a 9mm handgun. A pair that uses the same magazines would be wise.

50 + 50

A tip for those wishing to get the most bang! for their buck. Federal offers a value pack with 50 rounds of training ammunition and 50 rounds of HST (available in 9mm and other calibers). Since the training ammunition is the same weight, this makes for real utility in training.

Federal Premium .40 S&W Practice and Defend 100-round combo pack of ammunition
The .40 Smith & Wesson is a formidable cartridge. This Train and Defend combination makes a lot of sense.

Another choice without compromise is your defense ammunition. Law enforcement selects ammunition choices based on real world needs. In one year, Federal law enforcement reported that more than half of its shooting incidents involved assailants behind cover. A bonded core bullet, placing more emphasis on penetration, was needed. The balance of expansion and penetration in these combinations can be very good. Federal HST, Federal Hydra-Shok, and Speer Gold Dot all feature excellent projectiles.

However, there are alternatives. As an example, Federal Punch is a less expensive loading, yet a well-designed load. Remington offers 100-round boxes of FMJ ammunition at a fair price. Even better are its bulk hollow point offerings. I’ve tested the 9mm 115-grain JHP and Remington’s .45 ACP 230-grain JHP. These loads use a conventional hollow point bullet. Feed reliability is excellent.

Remington has always enjoyed a good reputation for reliability. These loads offer good expansion — more than most bonded core designs. For personal and home defense, they are good choices. Choosing these loads allows the shooter to put up more ammunition for a fixed expense.

two Remington 100-round Value Pack ammunition boxes of .45 Automatic 230-grain JHP
Buying practice and duty ammunition in the same weight is easy with Remington Value Pack pricing. This is .45 FMJ and .45 ACP hollow point, both in 230 grain.

Your choice of caliber is important. .223/5.56 and 9mm are presently available in good quantity. Some calibers are difficult to obtain and expensive in bulk. As an example, I recently obtained a .327 Federal revolver. It is interesting and offers excellent performance for a small bore. However, 10 boxes of ammunition cost about as much as the revolver. Yikes!

.38 Special loads are more expensive than 9mm Luger, but they remain the most affordable, centerfire revolver caliber. .357 Magnum is still pricey, but Federal offers a 50-round box, and Remington offers a 100-round box of 125-grain.

Another combination that should not be overlooked for Taurus Judge and Smith & Wesson Governor fans is Federal’s .45 LC/.410 combo pack. This package combines 50 rounds of .45 Colt with 20 .410 buckshot shells. That is a lot of shooting in those big bore cannons.


Take an appraisal of your needs, buy smart, and choose quality. The savings are good, and the ability to ride out storms and shortages is satisfying.

What is your favorite bulk ammo? How much do you keep on hand? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

  • two Remington 100-round Value Pack ammunition boxes of .45 Automatic 230-grain JHP
  • Federal BYOB 450-round ammunition 36 grain
  • Federal .22 LR 525-Round value pack
  • Federal Premium .40 S&W Practice and Defend 100-round combo pack of ammunition
  • Remington .380 Auto Range Bucket 300 UMC centerfire pistol and revolver cartridges
  • Remington 22 Golden Bullet, BUcket O' Bullets
  • bulk pack of CCI and Federal .22 LR ammunition
  • Remington 9mm Luger Range Bucket of ammunition
  • Federal Premium Practice and Defend 100-round combo pack
  • AR-15 and SIG P365 With two bulk packs of Remington ammunition
  • Remington .300 AAC Blackout Freedom Bucket of ammunition
  • .22 WMR 250-round bottles from Federal ammunition
  • open bottle of Federal .22 LR BYOB ammunition

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. Steve
    Thanks for reading!

    A good .22 goes a long way.

    I practice at home, carefully, with a triple checked unloaded firearm for the drills.

  2. It must be nice to be able to buy all the guns and ammo you write about. Living on a fixed income and factoring in inflation it’s hard to go to the range any more. My defense rounds are the same as I practice with, which is the least expensive I can find. It will have to do. And to do some of the drills CTD writes about is impossible also. At my range you’re not able to draw from a holster and you can only fire one shot per second. But I still enjoy all the articles, keep em coming.

  3. COVID taught most of us valuable lessons in all areas of our lives, including shooting. I NEVER worried about ammo. Choice and quantity were always assumed, or put another way, not even a conscious thought. It was just always there.

    I had stocked up before the pandemic, so I didn’t have to shop for ammo until late 2021/early 2022. I made the cardinal sin of shooting my inventory dry. I only had what was in my handguns and mags. After a few weeks of observing ‘Out of Stock’ on my go-to websites and noticing the prices of otherwise common ammo spiking, even my dumb a$$ figured it out. I paid a heavy premium to restock.

    I only use three calibers: 9mm, 10mm, and .45 ACP + 16-gauge shotgun shells (that’s a story for another day). I now buy 1000-round cases of handgun ammo and a few boxes of shotgun shells at a time. I put together an order when I get down to 200-250 rounds of a given caliber. At “normal” prices, this is affordable. I primarily learned two lessons: Don’t ever shoot your stock of ammo dry; Integrate the purchase of ammo into your regular budget, just like groceries and utilities.

  4. Thanks again Bob for another information and thought provoking article. Over the past many years I have squirreled away a sizable inventory of small arms ammunition, taking special care to store it all in a stable, protected environment so as to avoid any degradation due to exposure to moisture or temperature extremes. Also conducting regular “Test Firings” to ensure their Viability for future duty.
    While a good deal of my stores are Factory rounds devoted to Personal Defense the majority of the rest consists of Handloads, and when I first began reloading some 40 years ago I made it a specific point that each box or parcel bore printed labels detailing Caliber, Bullet Weight, Style and Brand, Propellant Weight, Brand and Lot No., Primer Type and Brand, Cartridge Case Band and Trim Length. Cartridge OAL and Special Finishing such as Bullet or Primer Sealant and of supreme importance the Date they were loaded to aid in Ammo Rotation for Inventory replenishment.
    Since I enlist my Desktop in printing the labels it is that much easier top keep a personal record of quantities and their age on a Thumbdrive that isn’t accessible to anyone online.

  5. 410? I haven’t seen any on the local store shelves in two years or more. Even my distributors have very little on hand. I just checked one of them and of the 111 different loads they offer, only ten are available – all 3″ turkey rounds made of tungsten or bismuth. Prices vary from $2 to over $7 per round. Your experience may be different.

  6. During times when primers are non-existent, and powder finds are rare, it seemed like bullets and brass were at bargain prices, thus a good time to stock up on those items (also keeping them in business, and wait to find the primers and powder to be available and affordable.

  7. I don’t have nearly enough ammo for my firearms (but who does, really). I have to admit I loved it when CTD had their retail outlet in Ft. Worth. I (along with a lot of other people) was sorry to see it go.

    Now, there is a website that allows you to set a budget and what calibers you want, and you accrue ammo until you want them to ship it to you. It’s a great way to accrue ammo without having your wife complain about all the ammo in the house.

    I like to buy in bulk for range ammo that I will shoot right away. Besides that, I’m picky about what I buy for self-defense ammo.

  8. Don’t forget that most Nitrocellulose used to make modern gunpowder comes from CHINA. Recently, CHINA has stopped selling Nitrocellulose to anyone other than countries like Russia or Iran. Likewise, much of the Nitrocellulose made in other countries is not supported by various government programs, like done by CHINA, and have a much higher cost, and are of limited availability. As a reloader, seen powder double in price recently, and wonder how much higher prices will go. Without powder, there is no ammo.

  9. Bo,
    If they come for our guns and ammo it will be door to door no worry about paperwork.

    In Israel the brits disarmed Jewish settlements leaving them at the mercy of Arab gangs.

    Much the same the Irish

    In America the Dems have often sought to disarm the elderly in housing developments

    What a shame.

  10. Twenty some years ago, I had a small business on the side that took me to Fort Worth frequently. Back then, CTD had a store on the southwest corner of the I-35W and I-820 intersection. I bought a fair amount of ammo there, always paying cash. Even then, I was not that keen on there being any records of any ammo purchases in my name that might find their way into the hands of people like the ATF, etc. I still do my best to buy ammo that way but there are times that that is not a viable option. That store appears to have moved due to all the highway construction and the only time I think about it is on those occasions I go back to Fort Worth. Stopping there was frequently a highlight of those trips. Since I am talking about it now, does anyone there know where their store is located now?

    That being said, I have probably 700 -900 rounds in each of the following, .223, 7.62×39, and .45 ACP currently in my ammo cabinet. I have FMJ to use for practice and JHP, et al, for hunting, etc. I also have maybe 100-200 rounds in .270 and 6.5×55 each in rounds for deer hunting, and around the same number in .30-06 (for my M1 Garand, about half in FMJ and the rest for deer hunting, should that be the only rifle available to me for deer). I also have a couple of bricks of .22 LR. I have been considering whether or not I need to buy more to increase said stockpile. I should reassess the need after my next trip to the range.

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