Saturday, June 9, 2018

Combat Loads, Mags n Ammo Stashes

For a pretty long time I used the following as my standards:
Ammo
Fighting rifle- 3k
Fighting pistol- 1 k

Mags
Rifle- 20
Pistol- 10

A recent post at American Partisan got me to thinking about this topic.

In terms of magazines the numbers I gave above are kinda high by many peoples standards.

Basically they are 3x combat loads albeit rounded to even numbers. I figure one to be using, one to replace them and one for charity/ barter. So 3 combat loads of 3 magazines is 9 which I will round to 10 because its easy. 3 combat loads of 7 magazines is 21 which I round to 20. I round these type of things to get to an easy to remember number and maybe because I am a bit OCD.

Magazines are the weak link in the firearm chain in a couple ways. First that they wear out fairly often and honestly most failures in semi automatic weapons come from magazine issues followed shortly by lack of lubrication (particularly in the AR platform which needs to be lubricated heavier than most guns). Second magazines can and have been targeted successfully by anti gun types. I grew up as a gun owner during a magazine ban that made standard magazines very expensive. I remember  a buddy had ONE standard capacity factory Glock mag which he paid like $150 for (in 2002 dollars). Thankfully that ban passed. Once President Obama was elected I was concerned about gun bans and swore to myself I would do my best to avoid getting caught short. So I went long on magazines.

I figure 10 pistol mags is a good number. For rifle mags I stock, or try to stock, 20 per rifle.

If a person who is a bit less cautious about these things or shorter on resources said they were going to go with 2 combat loads instead of 3, so 6 pistol mags and 14 rifle mags, I wouldn't really have any issue with that.

Other guns: I would probably cut these numbers in half for non core weapons. The plinker .22, your hunting rifle, the baby .380 CCW gun, etc. 5 or so mags is probably plenty for these guns. Though I have gone considerably longer for my 10/22

In terms of ammo I have done some thinking over recent years. One issue about my previous planning I failed to consider was training ammo. Ammo to keep skills up, test fire guns, zero new optics, etc all. So I got to rethinking my ammo numbers. Here is what I am thinking now.

Emergency Ammo- Lives in a box with a glass door that says "Open in case of Emergency".

10 combat loads per gun albeit rounded to even numbers to make things easy. So that means 500 rounds of pistol ammo and 2,000 rounds of rifle ammo. PER GUN.

If a person said they were going to cut those numbers in half they would be fine in all but the darkest situations.

Other guns: I don't necessarily have a strong opinion here. I like lot of .22 ammo on hand. A couple hundred rounds of good defensive ammo is a decent situation for a shotgun but 500 is better. Several boxes of ammo for a hunting rifle (that you don't immediately rely on for defense IE you have an AR/AK and a hunting rifle) is decent but a 1-2 dozen boxes would be better.

Training ammo:
My goal is to have a years training ammo on hand. So if there was a shortage now I could train normally and replace it in 3/4/6/8 months when things go back to normal. Sandy Hook and that gun/ ammo crisis showed us it might take awhile for things to get back to normal.

In the last year I have probably shot 2,000 rounds of 9mm and 1,000 rounds of 5.56.

So what would this look like. Lets go through a hypothetical setup for one guy:
Pistols- 2
Emergency ammo-1,000 rounds (JHP)
Training ammo- 1,000 rounds (plinker FMJ)
Mags-20

Rifles- 2
Emergency ammo- 4,000 rounds
Training ammo- 1,000 rounds
Mags- 40

Various thoughts:
As I think about this my personal stockage goals have gone down a little bit per gun but I separated training ammo into a dedicated separate stash. So the total amount of ammo I would want to keep on hand really hasn't changed much.

For a person like me who stocks magazines fairly deep we need to consider not only the cost of a gun but the cost of magazines. The price difference between a Glock 19 and say a HK VP9 or Sig 320 might be negligible but their mags could easily be 2-3x as expensive. Ditto say an oddball rifle like a Galil or Valumet vs an AR/ AK.

Mag pouches, slings/ holsters, cleaning kits, etc are also important. Spare parts are also important. All of this would be a good post for another day as I am working through this topic.

Ammo that is not loaded into mags currently should be stored in airtight ammo cans. I'm a big fan of surplus military ammo cans.

I would really recommend people get a gun fully squared away before they get another one. Also if you happen to exceed or even double the ammo counts that would be just fine. Consider using caches for excess.

So that's what I am feeling on that topic today. You might disagree with me but I think you could use similar intentional thinking to get to numbers that suit your needs.

Thoughts?
 

5 comments:

Robert Kirk said...

I try to have on-hand weapons without magazines like SKS or M1 and revolvers instead of semi-autos. The volume of fire is lessened, but the trained quality should be better (vs "spray & pray"). Using weapons without magazines cuts down on "overhead" cost for mags, meaning you can spend more for ammo. It also means no mag issues like the ARs incompatibility or mag use damage. You might eventually, possibly, have a weapon that is only good for a doorstop in TEOTWAWKI. Not good.

Rucksack Rob said...

RK.
You do have a valid point...almost. I like revolvers a lot! They are dependable, spit out any ammo fed to them and are great for both novice and expert.
My disagreement with your statement is the M1 (Garand I'm assuming). The Garand was and still is one of the best rifles ever designed but let me ask you, how many enbloc clips do you have? When that rifle was standard issue, the military had unlimited clips pre-loaded as issued to the "Joe's" who carried it. Now again I ask you... how many do you have stashed away to reload w/ 8 rds. of 30-06 after said firefight? Did you stop to pick up the clips that were thrown 3-6 ft. away in the tall grass in the dark?
Yes 20-30rd magazines may be a slight logistical problem for some preppers / soldiers but it's much easier to stock up now on brand new mags (vs. surplus clips) which, during the heat of any type of battle would be easier to pick up off the ground at your feet or to perform a tactical reload and stuff the mag in a pouch or down your shirt than a clip that was thrown out to 'tim-buk-tu'
After 24 years in the Army, all in combat arms, I do have some working knowledge of combat rifles, both foreign and domestic and as stated earlier, the Garand is a fine rifle but because of the clips, is one that is slightly outdated for that one reason only. I do own one and love to shoot it but it would not be my first choice for a MBR in a SHTF scenario unless of course, it was the only one I had with me at the time...lol
I forget who said "Be cautious of the man with one gun, for he probably knows how to use it." and for all I know, that could fit you to a 'T'.

Theother Ryan said...

Robert, Your comment deserves a longer reply I can give in a comment. I’ll do a post later.

Matt LBS said...

As always, spot on thinking. Now to sit down and re-think my own numbers.

Meister said...

Magazines and ammo can be counted as a retirement savings at this point. We will never see them as cheap as they are now, ever again. Go long, like hail mary long. I sold off a bunch of my ammo during the Sandy Hook times. It was totally surplus and I was selling it for a 4-500% profit, so it was the right thing to do. I funded some serious PM purchases and paid off the last of my debt with it. It was old Radway Green ss109 that Midway would sell for 149/thou back in the day. During the last firearms crunch, you could sell a $650 Sporter AR for close to 2 grand. Everybody walked away happy. Pmags were going for 100 a pop. I traded 10 Pmags for 30 Center industries mags.... It was beyond belief. It will happen again. There are enough elitist RINOs and Collectivists to pass some legislation. It's just a matter of time.

Always hold a base level and refuse to sell past that point. Sell surplus, not contingency or emergency stock. I have been known to purchase mags for rifles and pistols I don't own. Just another form of PM.

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