By Jason Herbert

Recently while reading James Wesley Rawles book “Patriots” I got to thinking… about a lot of things. The book details in very realistic fiction how fragile the U.S. economy is, and how quickly it could collapse. At that point our paper currency as we know it is absolutely useless, and people are resorting to any means possible to survive. The book is a great read and I recommend any open minded person who cares about their family and their future to read it.

After assessing my self reliance skills, my family security plan, our bug out plan, and just about everything else that I could control without spending any money, I started to think about investing in ammunition. After a bit of research and some thinking, I realized that there are several reasons why well-prepared people should stockpile extra ammunition. Here are the reasons (or excuses) to continue to make ammunition part of your monthly budget.

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First and foremost of course ammunition is going to be important for security. In case of an emergency, I don’t want to have to use ammunition to defend my family and my home, but I have that right and will do so if necessary. I’m an avid sportsman and have quite a bit of ammunition for all of my hunting guns, which also double as my defense weapons. I mainly hunt with a 12 gauge for deer, turkeys, coyotes, and waterfowl, while using my .22 for small game such as squirrels and rabbits. However I mostly stockpile .22 ammunition for several reasons. One it is cheap, two it is once again becoming fairly easy to find, and three it is very versatile. A .22 can be used for hunting or for personal defense. I also stockpile quite a bit of buckshot, slugs, and bird shot for my shotguns. Also I keep plenty of pistol ammunition on hand- once again for self defense, I don’t do a lot of hunting with my pistol.

Although I do not own an “AR” style rifle… yet, many people do and they stock up on lots of ammunition for them for obvious reasons. If a personal defense rifle like that is purchased, be sure to have lots of ammunition for it. Otherwise like I said earlier, it becomes a very expensive paperweight.

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Another thing to consider in the case of emergency is how valuable ammunition is really going to become. Without ammunition, a gun is an over-sized paperweight or club at best. In an emergency situation people will want ammunition to protect themselves and also to harvest game meat.  Something as versatile as .22 ammunition will be in high demand if the economy tanks and paper money is useless. Just about every sportsman owns a .22 and the ammunition for it will be very useful as currency. Also equally important are other calibers of rifle ammunition, pistol ammunition, and shot shells. When stockpiling ammunition for currency, consider what the local people use. In my area of the country almost everyone deer hunts with a shotgun, so slugs will be a popular choice. However, out west where everyone uses flat shooting high powered rifles, a 12 gauge slug may not be in demand as much as a box of .270’s. Also, where I live a person can survive on rabbits, squirrels and birds – so shot shells with bird shot will be valuable. These same shot shells may not be such a prized possession in the desert where there aren’t as many small game animals to pursue.

Not only is regular shooting a fun hobby and pastime, its also very important. Any survival expert or shooting trainer recommends that people shoot often, at least once a month sometimes every other if they’re really strapped for time. While ammunition prices are coming down, it’s always a good idea to buy extra to continue the shooting training and time at the range. “Perfect practice makes perfect,” and we all know that in an emergency situation the last thing anyone needs to do is be fumbling for their weapon or forgetting how to shoot it. Like anything else, muscle memory can be developed into proper shooting form with enough practice. Be sure to buy plenty of ammunition so that there are no excuses to not get practice in at the range.

For a family like mine full of hungry young kids, who don’t have much extra money to spend, reloading is a very viable option. Not only is reloading ammunition a lot of fun, but people can control exactly what combination of powder and bullet they’re putting into their shells. In my case, I used to reload a lot of shotgun ammunition when I was younger and I really enjoyed it. Like tying fishing flies, I felt that reloading shotgun ammunition was a great way to relax and pass the time on a cold winter evening. Now as a parent of four children who is constantly worried about finances, reloading is a very cost effective way to keep plenty of shotgun ammunition on hand. Other people reload rifle and pistol cartridges. I do not, but it is certainly a possibility for those who plan on shooting a lot of that type of ammunition. Be sure to properly price out reloading supplies vs. store bought ammunition. Sometimes the factories do have it down to a science and the store bought ammunition is more cost effective than the reloading supplies.

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There are all sorts of reasons to continue to budget for and purchase extra ammunition. Hopefully we will never be in the situation where ammunition is required for defense, or that it is used as a currency. But if this type of situation does arise, I don’t want to be the one hawking all of my gold, silver, and firewood for a couple hundred .22 shells. I’d rather be on the other end that trading equation and benefiting from my preparedness.

How Much Ammo Is Enough?

Out of curiosity, I contacted the man himself, James Wesley Rawles through his website, www.survivalblog.com and asked him “how much ammo is enough?” Here’s what he had to say:

“It is important to maintain balance in your preparations. Food storage, first aid supplies, and heirloom seed storage should be priorities. But after those have been taken care of, it makes sense to stock up on ammunition. As long as you store your ammo in sealed military surplus cans, there is no risk in over-estimating your needs, since ammunition has a 50+ year storage life if protected from oil vapors and humidity. Consider any extra ammo the ideal barter item. The late Col. Jeff Cooper rightly called it “ballistic wampum.”

For your barter inventory, I recommend that you stick to the most common calibers:

For rifles: .22 Long Rifle, .223, .308, .30-06 (and in the British Commonwealth, .303 British.)

For handguns: 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.

For shotguns: 12 gauge and 20 gauge.

You might also buy a small quantity of the “regional favorite” deer cartridge for your area, as well as your local police or sheriff’s department standard calibers. (Ask at you local gun shop.)

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I consider the following figures minimums:

2,000 per battle rifle
500 per hunting rifle
800 per primary handgun
2,000 per .22 rimfire
500 per riotgun

If you can afford it, three times those figures would meet the “comfort level” of most survivalists. In an age of inflation, consider that supply better than money in the bank.”

I want to thank Mr. Rawles for his sage advice. Be sure to constantly check back to our online store as ammunition comes in each day. We can always put it on back order for you.

Preparing for an emergency isn’t on everyone’s priority list, but it should be. I personally find a lot of peace knowing that in an emergency my family wont be caught off guard. As always be safe, shoot straight and have fun.

Images two and four and thumb are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.