How Much Ammo Is Enough Ammo

I was chatting with a gun-friendly coworker and mentioned that I was going to be picking up 10K rounds of pistol ammo that weekend and did they want to meet up for lunch. He looked at me a with just a little incredulity. As if to say, “Wow, that’s quite a lot.” but without saying it. I caught the look and noted that that wasn’t really much for me. I normally keep that much .22lr bulk ammo on hand and a similar amount of various rifle ammo as well as several hundred rounds of various shotgun ammo. When you shoot competitively and for recreation and serve as a shooting teacher for whomever asks for a little basic training you can burn ammo with astonishing rapidity.

For high power metallic silhouette competition I need enough match ammo to shoot 12 matches a year plus practice. Each match is about 100 rounds between shots for record and sighters and warm-ups. For practice outside of match days I need probably 250 rounds of my chicken load and 250 rounds of my ram load per year. For rimfire metallic silhouette I need enough match ammo to shoot 15 matches a year at 100 rounds per match plus closer to 2,000 rounds of match ammo for non-match practice. For precision rifle matches I need enough heavy bullet match ammo to shoot 6x 50rd matches and a couple 100rd matches each for my .223 and .308 rifles and closer to 500 rounds for horsing around and re-zero’ing. I shoot trap on average 3 times a month and I burn 100 rounds on each trip. I like to take a defensive pistol class every year if possible to keep the skills fresh which burns an easy 500 rounds of factory ammo by itself and then there’s the 2,000 or so rounds of reloads I burn doing dueling tree exercises with my silhouette coach. That’s just the ammo I basically have committed to having on hand at the appropriate time of year.

Like many competitive shooters, for me the winter is a little slender on matches so I spend a lot of time in the winter reloading to rebuild my ammo stocks which had been depleted during the match seasons. 1700 7mm BR + 3500 .22lr + 1300 PRS + 3600 12ga + 500 new pistol + 2000 reload pistol. We’re at over 12K rounds spoken for and that doesn’t cover things like load development, unplanned recreational shooting, taking friends that ask out for lessons or hunting and it doesn’t count anything at all for F-class or ELR, both of which are highly irregularly attended.

For me to have 12K rounds on hand is to be basically out of ammo. Picking up 10K pistol rounds (and all new factory loads) as a gimme from a buddy is a big win. There’s at least a couple years worth of pistol ammo there without loading a lick. I’m a little more conservative about burning my factory ammo though so that’s looking like a good number of years of training courses are done paid for. That also saves me the money I’d a burned on that factory ammo which I can use to pull in projectiles, powder and primers for my match reloading.

Given the stuff I’m picking up and my usual back stock I’ll have probably 25K rounds in the ammo safe by late winter and I’ll still consider myself to be nearly out of ammo because everything in there is pretty well spoken for. Thankfully I don’t have time to shoot any more than that so it’s not that big a deal. If I wanted to go out and have a hoot and just burn some powder off schedule then I’d just have to load some more to replace it.

My coach has probably closer to 100K rounds loaded and supplies for around that much. He shoots a lot more and has been doing it for a lot longer so it’s no surprise he has more just laying around. Some of them he doesn’t even shoot anymore.

So how much ammo do you actually burn in a year? Have you ever actually added it up? Betcha you will be surprised if you do.

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