Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ammo stockpiles: the what and why.

As a gun collector, I have to keep track of ammunition if ever I want to shoot my guns. As of last count, I have handguns in twenty-four different calibers, and long guns in another twenty-eight.

Most of those calibers, however, are ones for which I have no real need to stock up. For instance, I doubt I'm going to get the sudden urge to run out and shoot a thousand rounds through my Carcano carbine tomorrow, so the couple boxes of 6.5 Carcano I have are plenty. I have dies for it, too, so I'll make sure to save the brass.

Some military surplus calibers I've stocked up on more considerably; after all, when you come across good deals on surplus .30-'06, 8mm Mauser, or 7.62x54R, it's silly not to sock them away, especially if you have multiple guns in the caliber.

The commercial ammunition is almost all stored in the factory boxes or MTM Casegard containers, except for five ammo cans: These are full of loose .22LR, .38 Special, 9mm, .45 ACP, and 5.56 NATO for easy transport to the range. I need to add one more for .44 Special, and I'll have all my working calibers covered. (Note that that handily covers small, medium, and large bore calibers for both revolvers and semiautos, and my house gun.)

90% of my shooting is done with just those calibers, and pretty much 100% of my serious shooting is. I don't know exactly that it's an urge to simplify, like Xavier, but I will say that over time I've gotten a lot less enthralled with the search for the perfect caliber; these days a majority of the preening that goes on over caliber esoterica strikes me as folks who want to show how cool they are by how outside the mainstream their caliber choice is. Sure, 9x23 has impressive ballistics; of course it's a shame .41AE didn't catch on; yeah, I've got a 10mm handgun, too, but I can shoot my .45 a whole lot more...


Anonymous said...

"As of last count, I have handguns in twenty-four different calibers, and long guns in another twenty-eight."

I'm in awe.


rremington said...

22LR, 45ACP, 40S&W, 38 Special (for the Wife), and .308.
All those in mass quantities.

My hunting calibers maybe a 100 rounds each.

rremington said...

Oh, and .44 mag. LOTS of .44 mag

Murphy said...

"As of last count, I have handguns in twenty-four different calibers, and long guns in another twenty-eight."

Marry me?

Anonymous said...

Preening or no, I'm still sorely tempted to take up 6.5 Grendel.

Anonymous said...

But my 9x23 1911 is teh awesome!

Frank W. James said...

Pretty much agree, but being the knothead and odd-duck that I am you can just substitute a whole bunch of .41 Mag for a little bit of .40 S&W. I still absolutely wluv 10mm, but the brass is becoming ever more elusive. As for .40 S&W, I just don't like it anymore and that's after trying to learn to wluv it.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Anonymous said...

And I've recently thinking I should diversify. I've been stickin' strictly with .32, .38/.357, 45, and the rare 25.20

ajdshootist said...

Much preferred .41AE to 40SW and also .41 Avenger was great fun when we had handguns.

Ambulance Driver said...

You did that just to make me drool, right?

And ignore Murphy. Marry me instead.

I'll haul ammo cans, schlep you to gun shows, and cook rare steaks for you on demand.

I may even peel grapes and fan you with a frickin' palm frond, if you like.


Anonymous said...

I have handguns in 22lr, 32 S&W Long, 38spec, 357mag, 44mag. I keep large quantities of 22lr, 38, and 44mag on hand. I keep somewhat less 357mag and only 50-100 32 S&W Long (the only gun that shoots 32 is a 103yo S&W that gets shot rarely).

In rifle, I have 22lr, 223, and 6.5x55. I only have 1k 223 and 100 6.5x55, but the means to reload another 400 or so 6.5x55 if necessary.

I wouldn't mind picking up something larger than my 44mag (BFR's 475L for example), but I'm good on the CCW front (38 special) and my plinking needs are handled by the 22lr, 38, and my Trail Boss 44mag loads.

theirritablearchitect said...

Define "large quantities" for me, Miss Tam, and with respect to each caliber.

Being fully aware of the adage that one can never have too much ammo, I'd still like to see what someone else has to say about it.

I'd be much obliged if you'd give me your thoughts.

Others should feel free to chime in on this too.

Anonymous said...

I keep 7.5 Swiss, 7.5 MAS, .308, 30-30, .30 carbine, 30-06, 8mm Mauser, 7.7 Japanese, 8X56R Hungarian, 6.5 Swedish Mauser, 7.62X39, 7.62X54R, .303 British, .270 Winchester and a few other dogs and ponies on the shelf. The common military chamberings I keep fairly significant quantities of surplus on hand for. The more esoteric chamberings like the 7.5 Swiss, I keep a few hundred rounds of loaded ammo, and enough brass and bullets, powder and primer to keep me going. This is not so much for me, as to pass on to my son some day. Same with hand gun rounds. Reloading simplifies life, since I can reload everything except 7.62 Nagant pistol ammo. I bought the die set for that but just didn't feel comfortable with the recessed bullets and traded that gear away.

Anonymous said...

As a GS, I soon realized that folks buy very little oddball ammo. They have the guns but do not shoot them often. I sold off my guns, keeping only guns for which I could pickup ammo at any country store, hardware store & maybe (!) even WalMart. That means I stock &/or Re-load .22,.223,.308,30-06,7.62x39,.38,.45.9mm. 30-30 would be available about anywhere but I don't like the guns. I can hear the screeching now but forget the rest of the guns. No ammo means no fun!

I would plan to replenish my supply from the above places or from someone in the field who is no longer shooting it. I might also pickup a piece & appropriate ammo along with some Gov(not ours) goodies. I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Should I be called on to do so.

Prarie dogs & Cardboard Targets hate me now days.

Along with what was learned from the Minute Men & the Indians, I should be good to go!


Anonymous said...

I have also been simplifying. I took a more simple approach though.

I try to buy particular calibers.

Thus I load for 38 special, 357 mag, 357 Maximum, 38 Super and 357 Sig. Most of the same bullets can be used on several calibers as an example.

Anonymous said...

Your .44 Special is lame. Go .401 Herter's Powermag or go home.

Tam said...

I wuz gonna get a case from Gander Mtn., but they were slap out...

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah? the cartridge must be getting more popular. I need to find something a little more obscure so I can feel special again.

Anonymous said...

"As of last count, I have handguns in twenty-four different calibers, and long guns in another twenty-eight."

I am not worthy!
I am not worthy!
I am not worthy!

As a young, starting-out gun enthusiast, I looked at collecting guns in oddball calibers for the niche value, but the mainstream world kept catching up:
.38 Super - IPSC became big
.45 Colt - SASS matches and Cowboy Action Shooting
7.62x25 - the CZ52 began to be imported in significant quantities.

I'm seriously considering getting something in .41 rimfire

Gewehr98 said...

It's a good start, Tam.

Hopefully you got your 6.5x54 M-S dies. I found another small stash of brass in the G-98 reloading room that'll be heading to Indiana soon.

jeff said...

Just out of curiosity, how do you store your ammo?

Anonymous said...

The only odd calibers I own have more to do with who made the gun than plain old showmanship. They're awfully expensive to shoot, and I have yet to get dies for one of them. That's pretty much the way it goes: I get all excited about some gun in an odd caliber--then I think about a while--then I abandon the idea. At one point or another, I considered the fun factor of owning a .41 Mag, a .454 Casull, a .50AE and a .480 Ruger, but nothing grounds me like looking at the cost of the ammo--or reloading!

I have instead employed the method of buying a couple in each caliber, and purposely choosing a range of cartridges with a lot of crossover between components. (Especially with gun powders.) My collection isn't complete in any sense, but I'm happy with it, and it's nice to have a second choice in case the first is out of service. The 38s are still the cheapest to shoot--free brass, free lead and free powder beats .22 rimfire--but the 45s are the easiest to load (and reload), so they go to the range more often. (Those fat cartridges are definitely easier to work with when the fingers are cold, no?)

Tam said...

"Just out of curiosity, how do you store your ammo?"

Boxes stacked on shelves organized by caliber, just like the gun store.