Bulk Purchasing & Long Term Storage Of Ammo On A Budget

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Who can truly call himself or herself a prepper without a mass amount of ammo right? With the plethora of opportunities on calibers, frame sizes, etc., we must be able to have adequate ammo for the ever-lurking threat of war, famine, or disease. Having lived in South Mississippi all of my life until four years ago, I came to a sickening reality during Hurricane Katrina when Martial Law was declared and humans became “unruly”.

One could easily say that Katrina changed the life of my wife and I forever and we swore, from that point forward, that we would never allow ourselves to be victims to water shortage, food shortage and ammo shortage ever again. Bulking ammo is necessary but how do you store it long term to fortify the integrity of the ammunition components? I have stored my own ammo now for years and done it on a mass level with a minimal income because I learned how to store it myself easily and being budget conscious.

Steps to being an ammo hoarder

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The first step to becoming a good ammo hoarder is that you must first consolidate your ammo selections. This is a hard issue for some folks to come to terms with, but one of the worst situations to be in is to have dozens of different ammo types that are exotic rounds. It is important to remember that in a survival situation that crazy ammunition types like 7mm Mag or a 300 Ultra Mag isn’t going to be ammo in mass supply. Also the costs of large caliber rifle rounds are extremely expensive to purchase as well. So unless you’re a millionaire, the probability of being able to bulk on heavy caliber ammunitions is not feasible when on a tight budget.

We must bear in mind that it is necessary that we consolidate to ammunition calibers that are in mass supply and has a higher probability to be found in an apocalyptic scenario. Which is more probable to find: a 9mm Luger round or a 357 Sig round? 9mm would be much more probable to find because of its volume of production in the good ole US of A and the fact that it is a United Nations Peace Force caliber for their sidearm. I know this might seem to be a little out of the question for some, but ammo consolidation allows for bulking in a simpler means. I have personally chosen 5 major ammunitions that I bulk to consolidate expenditures while purchasing ammunition.

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5 Major Ammunitions that I store 

The 5 major ammunitions that I believe that every prepper should have are the following:

  1. .22lr
  2. 5.56mm Nato
  3. 9mm
  4. 12 gauge
  5. 30-06

Each of these calibers have been chosen due to several factors:

  • The availability of the ammo – Locally available, easy to find, common round to your neck of the woods
  • The use of the ammo – hunting round, self-defense, long range
  • The ability of the ammo – Distance, Projectile size, Velocity of Projectile

Now that consolidation has been covered, let us discuss

Ammunition Storage: 3 Simple Steps to Ammo Storage

  1. Ammo Can – Mil Spec
    1. First, when purchasing the ammo cans, be sure it’s not rusted on the outside or inside. If rusted, either search for better-shape cans or simply get a steel brush, prep surface, and paint inside of can with heat resistant paint. Paint assists in barrier process and prevents future corrosion, which can affect ammo stores.
    2. Second, verify that rubber ring that seals the lid and realm of the can is in good shape. It the rubber ring is hanging out, simply apply some Gorilla Glue to surface and put ring back in place. Then close the lid and lock it down for 30 minutes. When you return the lid is ready to roll. Also if the rubber facing of seal is cracked or a little worn, add a thin layer of Petroleum Jelly to the surface to moisten the rubber. The jelly will help to maintain a watertight seal against moisture and temperature change. ALWAYS store ammo cans in a cool, dry place such as a closet. I have personal friends that have gun safes specifically for their ammo stores with dehumidifiers. There again, it’s all about the size of your bank account.
  2. Material barrier placed between ammo and can wall
    1. You do not want the ammo touching the wall of ammo can if you can prohibit it. I use paper towels to make the barrier between the ammo and ammo can wall.
    2. You can also use old towels, t-shirt, paper towels, or heavy mil plastic i.e. trash bag
  3. Moisture absorbent – Cheap Or Expensive? That is the question…
    1. Rice – I, personally, use rice because it’s cheap, easy to find, and could be, in the worst-case scenario, a small food source. Again I reiterate a worst-case scenario situation . I was actually taught this by a friend of mine that was a Marine during Vietnam and he told me that they would toss a half a handful of rice in grenade and ammo cans to prohibit the monsoon seasons from ruining their dry stored ammo. Rice was definitely not a commodity during the Vietnam War that was in short supply. Simple!
    2. Silica Gel Packs can be bought on Amazon or some other website simply by use of Google but there is also a possible supply that may cost you nothing. All it may cost you is a phone call. Most large furniture stores have to buy their stock in bulk. The bulk boxes always have Silica Gel Packs in them to assist in moisture prevention so that the furniture will not warp while in storage. The packs are often discarded as trash so you would actually be doing them a favor and resolving your ammo storage needs that you may have. I know this to be a possible supply because my wife works at a furniture store and has been able to provide dozens of Silica Gel Packs for my ammo-storing endeavors. As the old saying goes, “ One man’s trash is another man’s ammo storage resolution”

About Reverend Prepper

Reverend Prepper, as he has dubbed himself, is a prepping pastor who believes in being not only spiritually prepared but physically prepared as well. He practices what he preaches in his preparations for what ever may come in the distant or near future. He has been happily married for 7 years, has two dogs, and is a seminary student as well as an avid hunter. He has truly spent countless hours developing his preps, formulating strategies for self preservation, and genuinely enjoys the prepping process. So to all you preppers out there… Prep on!

View all posts by Reverend Prepper

10 Responses to “Bulk Purchasing & Long Term Storage Of Ammo On A Budget”

  1. Kaleb Says:

    Instead of 30-06 why not stock up on .308 winchester? It is similar to that of the 30-06 but can be interchangeable with 7.62 rounds?


    • Reverend Prepper Says:

      Hey Kaleb! Thanks for the response! Yes, .308 ammunitions are a great round for sure. AK-47 and AR-10 are both great weapons and are great for personal defense. I encourage the 30-06 round due to the fact that I have the AR-15 platforms and the AR-15 uses the 5.56 munitions. It’s all about one’s personal likes. The 30-06 round is a great sniper round and well as a hunting round for larger wildlife such as deer or moose. It just packs a little more punch which could definitely come in handy! Prep On!


  2. Chuck Says:

    I’ve converted an old standup freezer into an ammo locker. It works well. I also use rice but wrap a handful in cheese cloth and put a small bag in each can. I have a bigger bag on each shelf.


    • Reverend Prepper Says:

      Hey Chuck! Thanks for the comment for sure. The refrigerator idea is awesome! I have never thought about that. I could definitely see how that would be a major benefit and easy application of an old fridge. Also, the cheese cloth idea is great! I will have to do that. How do you tie the cheese cloth up around the rice? Twist ties or string, etc? That’s a really neat idea. Thanks for the insight! Prep On!


  3. Scott Says:

    Agree with Kaleb on the .308, but would go either way between .308 and 30-06. .308 weighs a little less, so if you have to carry 50-100 rounds, it helps a little. Both calibers reload with the same components, with 30-06 using a little more powder. If you are reloading, it’s not a big deal. When you reload 7.62×51 brass, the dies form the brass into .308 brass.

    Make your own desiccant packs with Pet Pride Cat litter, which is silica gel. Wrap it up in a coffee filter for air/vapor flow, and close it up with a strip of tape, kinda like making a taco. $10-15 buys a metric boatload.

    Moving your ammo stash is a major issue. Ammo is heavy. Really heavy. A full 30 cal ammo can weighs 30-35 lbs. That is the biggest “container” I would recommend.


    • Reverend Prepper Says:

      Thanks for the comment Scott! You are definitely right that if you were to be hauling .308 vs. 30-06, that the .308 would be lighter for sure. Granted both rounds launch the same size projectile, the 30-06 has more impact behind it for sure. The reloading concept is dead on. The reloading equipment is identical for each round manufacturing. Reloading my own ammo is something I will eventually get into once the budget allows lol :)


    • TRipodXL Says:

      @Scott, No actually YOU make it .308 when you reload if you don’t use GO/NOGO gauges when you resize your brass. There is 0.013″ diff in shoulder setback (7.62 is longer) and you control it when you adjust your sizing die “depth” in the press. If you don’t understand that, perhaps you should study up on it more as there can be VERY BAD CONSEQUENCES of mixing .308 and 7.62 in CETME and H&K rifles. Same goes for 5.56 vs .223, but for diff reasons. You can wind up with case separations using .308 in 7.62 chambers. Using 5.56 in 223 weapons will/can blow barrels and URs up. Be Well.


  4. TRipodXL Says:

    @All; As far as the diff in reloading .308 vs 30-06 it does make a big diff in the amount of powder you use. If you look at the wikipedia pages on the .308 vs the 30-06 there is 90FPS difference in the same projectile. That doesn’t include the fact that you have to have a “long receiver” vs a “short receiver”, which is a heavier rifle, no matter how you slice it. Course, if that’s what you got then that’s what you got. As far as storage, got drafted in 72 and retired in 10, and was a weapons safety officer at various times. We keep the ammo cans in igloos (the big mounds of dirt in the ammo dump with the fences around them on post), on pallets. They don’t have any desiccants in them. Powder is supposed to have “some” amount of moisture in it to be “the way it was shipped from the depot”. Overly damp OR dry ammo is not correct. We inspect the ammo cans every 5 years, and put them back on the pallets. All the ammo is in the cardboard sleeves, but that’s it. The inside of the igloos is cool and there is always condensation there. I have shot 1930s .45ACP ammo in leg matches and LC 51 30-06 in my Garand, both in the last 15-20 years. All that rice does is attract moisture into an already adequate ammo can. As long as the seal is intact and it is kept in a relatively cool place (like igloos at Ft Bliss or Ft Polk, garden spots of the U.S. LOL) it will last for decades without all that fuss. I have ammo that I RELOADED from the 70s, that I have drug around with me for years, from PCS to PCS and it shoots fine. Just kept it in ammo cans. There is a reason we use 7.62x51mm for our sniper rifles…just sayin. Be Well.


  5. Daryl Coda Says:

    Ammo cans with dessicants will keep ammo fresh for many years:


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