View Full Version : How many hunts from a box of ammo?

December 28, 2008, 11:59 AM
Years ago I hunted Wyoming and ran across an older gentleman in his late 80's. He pulled out a worn 20 round box of 30-06 and loaded his rifle. He had six loaded rounds left in the box, rest were empty cases. All the younger guys were concerned whether they had packed "enough ammo" for the day. The old man laughed and said he only needed one round and still had enough for the next five years of deer hunting. That single box of ammo represented 14 animals and six more hunts.

I've often thought back on this and realized how inefficient we have become with our hunting. Here's a man who grew up during the depression and made the most of each round he had....that experience stayed with him the rest of his life.

Sometimes I wonder how many years we could hunt on a single box of ammo.....

December 28, 2008, 12:16 PM
I puchased a new Remington 700 7mm Ultra Mag this year,,with it I purchased 5 boxes of ammo,,I am positive this will be ample supply to finish out my hunting life,,,I'm 44 now,,,,sooooo maybe the next 20 or 25 years are taken care of,,,

December 28, 2008, 12:24 PM
Rifle ammo i always go through quick because i'm down at the range several times a year. Shotgun slugs are a different story. Since they are not to much fun to shoot, i picked up 2 boxes(10) rounds and was able to sight in with those. 2 more boxes of Rem coppersolids were purchased and they are still with me. Was 6 or 7 years ago. 5 deer down. 5 rounds left. :) J.R.

December 28, 2008, 12:33 PM
That brought a smile to my face and memories of grandfathers long passed sitting around the deer camp sharing the wisdom where I used to hunt.:) What I'd give to go back and ask the questions I was too inexperienced to have thought of yet.

Let me guess, he probably had an older rifle, the same one he shot for more years than I've been alive. Probably didn't need to practice, because he knew that weapon inside and out and could've tagged the X blindfolded.

For me, I go through a good amount of ammo because I like to punch paper/clays with my rifles/shotguns to gain that level of proficiency that older gentleman had. Then add on my kids who are hitting the range age and I see my ammo bill going up over the next few years!:D

December 28, 2008, 01:11 PM
Am I the only one that ever checks zero on a hunting rifle, let alone practices?

Maybe I'm the only one that's ever seen a rifle shift zero when it wasn't fired for a year.

I had one of those Grandpa's that used one or two rounds per year hunting. Even he would check his zero every year before he started. He would put a paper plate on a fence post and walk off 75 long steps. If he hit the plate with his first shot, then he was done.

For actual hunting I've only once had to shoot a deer a second time. Before my boys started getting old enough to hunt I used to shoot two or three deer a year, so in actual hunting I would fire two or three shots per year. However, I would use a bit more than that in preparation.

December 28, 2008, 01:36 PM
With my OLD .35 Rem, which I am very familiar with, I'd say I use a box to a box and a half a year. We have a long hunting season here in Fl., over two months for deer season, and we spend a good bit of time chasing hogs too, so we get the opportunity to use a few rounds in the woods. Even with that the vast majority of them go down range at paper.

I agree with the "check your zero" during the season policy. Better to be safe than sorry.

Now once we get into the hog only part of the season and have to use our shotguns I don't bother. Kind of hard for the old Mossberg to change where it tosses a load of buckshot. Even at that I do test one round before the season.

December 28, 2008, 01:54 PM
Great story, but not a reality for me, I end up with 3 or 4 tags a year to fill, i will also go check my zero every year befor season starts. (2 shots is good for this) I have also let a buddy use my rifle to shoot 3 deer in the last few years. I also did have a issue up elk hunting one time where i fell in a creek and bumped the scope pretty bad, it was dented, and the zero was off. so i needed a few rounds to get it back so i could continue hunting the rest of the trip. I was walking on the rocks to avoid getting wet, opps they were covered with the really thin slick ice that looks invisable... lesson learned.... Ill go though 1/2 to 3/4 of a box a year, unless i dont hunt with the rifle much. I dont wast my ammo however. Havent had to shoot more then once in the last several years to put what i was shooting at in the freezer, I pick the shot i want, and wait for the animal to turn or stand how i like for the shot, i dont just go take any shot to slow an animal down to get a good 2nd or 3rd shot like some guys ive seen......

December 28, 2008, 02:13 PM
A 20 round box is good for 18 shots on deer. 2 rounds to make sure I and the rifle are both worthy to attempt a hunt. So with a conservative 3 rounds given up as misses then 15 rounds should result in 15 dead deer.
How many seasons depends on how many freezers I have available to fill and how many deer I see moving.

December 28, 2008, 03:05 PM
I handload, so a 20rd box doesn't really apply, but I do load ammo in lots, and so it's similar. My zero does change from year to year, and I often change loads for applications. 150gr for bear and deer, 110gr for coyote, 180gr for elk - all .308 win.

Still, if I were to do it in a 20rd box, I'd think one shot to check zero on a cold bore/barrel, adjust, and I'm set, two at most. I'd think a 20rd box should last 4-8 years depending on how many of whatever I killed in a year...or how many times I had a stupid attack and dropped my rifle.

I have a hunting buddy who loves the Winchester Fail Safe even more than I do. I found two boxes, bought them and sent them to him. He shot them all zeroing, practicing and doing some long range shooting for fun - he also dropped a monster bull with one. To each his own.


Art Eatman
December 28, 2008, 03:42 PM
Most of my Texas hunting has been for whitetail, during the years of a two-buck limit. By and large, the actual hunting-shooting has predominantly been two shots a year.

Since shooting has long been an avocation, and handloading has been part of my deal, I do a lot more shooting than just during the hunting season. Benchrest in the back yard (now on the front porch) and all that.

Brian Pfleuger
December 28, 2008, 05:13 PM
90% of the time a 5 round pack of 12ga slugs gets me 5 deer. Might be 3 occasions but generally 1 shot/1 kill.

December 28, 2008, 05:57 PM
a box of hunting ammo would last me a long time. i do, however shoot my rifle year round to stay sharp & perfect the little things that make a better shooter. there are less expensive rounds to use for this. but as others have said, check your zero annually with the ammo you are going to hunt with.

December 28, 2008, 06:03 PM
The difference between only mediocre shooting skills and proficient shootings skills is hours of practice with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of shots. Which are you satisfied with?

December 28, 2008, 06:09 PM
I have not purchased a box of ammo for my last 3 hunting rifles. Handloads only from day one. I shoot all year long including targets and varmints. At the start of each hunt I take the neccesary ammo out of a MTM 100 box and fill an Uncle Mikes belt carrier. That said, in a five week season this year I fired 4 shots from three different hunting rifles and have 4 clean kills to show for it. I'm pretty happy about that even if I'm not very efficient.:D

December 28, 2008, 06:33 PM
I had an older friend growing up that was a full bird colonel in WW11. He killed 16 deer with sixteen shots using a pre-war Model 70 in 30/06 with peep sights. Myself, I'm not quite that good.:)

December 28, 2008, 07:59 PM
The spooky/sad about this story is that by the time this old gent is done with his 6 rounds, he will probably truely be moving on to the happy hunting grounds. I guess at that age 6 rounds is all anyone really has... More power to senior guys hunting, though. I knew a guy who hunted deer still at age 86 - crack shot too (did Camp Perry several times) with his Garand, iron sights. Came in from hunting one cold winter day, went to untie his boot laces and fell over dead. That's the way I'd like to go - doing what I love!!!!;)

December 28, 2008, 08:54 PM
There is a difference between hunting and shooting.
I like to shoot.
I'll shoot a rock on a hill,or a puffball gone to spores.200 rounds is not enough ammo to make it through a year of shooting with my hunting rifles.
As I am a glassbed and freefloat kind of guy,often my sight in is one round.But I always check my sight in before season.
I have gone hunting with only 5 0r 6 rounds of ammo,but I usually carry 10 plus a magazine full.The idea of shooting a 3 shot trouble signal can be useful.

Now,if ammo gets real scarce,Not only will I shoot less,I'll rely more on a .22 or even a muzzleloader.Comes down to it,there is a lot to be said for a flintlock. Charcoal,"night soil" or bat guano,and sulphur,recover the ball and recast it.Dig out your Foxfire Books!! Good info on making whiskey,too!

BTW,hunting pheasants and such,some folks like to shoot,and so will shoot when they know a kill is unlikely.The Lucky BB shot.I figure,if I put pellets in a bird,he'll likely die sooner or later.If a limit of birds is 3,a guy might want to think about it if he shoots a box of shells in a day.He might have killed 10 birds to get 2.PheasantsForever !! I sometimes only take 10 shells.

December 28, 2008, 08:58 PM
I enjoy building rifles and of course shooting them. I will go through a 1000 rnds or more each year. I also enjoy reloading. All of which keeps me busy with my favorite hobby....gunsports.

Before heading out on a hunting trip, I will choose 2 rifles, take them out and check zero, and pack them away with 20 rounds for each because the box holds 20.

I always take 2 rifles. Just in case one has a problem or someone else does. I take special care of all my firearms and have never had to use my "back up" but have had a few friends that were glad that I did bring one when they had something go wrong with theirs.

December 28, 2008, 09:13 PM
I have shotgun shells that I've had for years. I know what they are because of individual size. The writing has worn off. The fact that I still have them doesn't have anything to do with me being an outstanding shot/effecient hunter. It has more to do with the fact that I don't do a lot of shotgun hunting or shooting. Can't say the same about rifle ammo. Rounds last long enough for me to get to the range and then I load more.

December 29, 2008, 09:25 AM
Where I live, I take 5 deer every year and fill the freezers. 5 hunting shots per year. I hand load so sometimes I don't even load 20. I play around with different bullets and loads for most of the rifles I hunt different things with different conditions . I can honestly say that I only have two rifles that live with the exact load every year, but I shoot em too off season. Plus I am a shooter plain and simple. Have my own range now and I get a whim.....walk outside. I'm with sc928porsche, almost to the tee, this sport is addicting.

December 29, 2008, 10:48 AM
I bought 10 rounds of 12ga sabots 4 years ago. I shot 2 deer and ive still got 2 left. That includes the rounds I shot to sight the scope in.

I just hate shooting ammo that costs 3 bucks a pop.

December 29, 2008, 03:01 PM
I always re-zero my rifles every year just to make sure they are still on. All told, I fired 19 rounds this hunting season in two different rifles.

I fired 6 rounds in my 45-70 Ruger No. 1 and the scope did not need any adjustment.

I fired 12 rounds in 7mm Rem Mag Savage. I "wanged" the scope pretty good the previous year and it needed a little adjustment.

As far as shooting at game, I took a nice 6 pointer at 55 yards with 1 shot from my Savage making that my 19th, and last, hunting related shot of the year.

I figure with rifle zeroing at the beginning of each season, a box of shells usually lasts me 2 to 3 seasons.

December 29, 2008, 04:28 PM
Duck hunting and dove hunting can often be measured in boxes per half day.

I often co-host duck hunting excursions on green timber hunts with as many as 15-20 VIP hunters. Even when there are half a dozen times when flocks of 50 or more ducks come in tight it is not unusual for out of say 15 hunters for only 3 to be able to actually shoot well enough to kill a duck. With a limit of say 6 ducks per hunter, the shooters can take down about 30 each. Of course, they always remember to say to each "once a year" hunter in their blind "nice shooting" after each flurry of shots. I usually carry two boxes of shells, and usually bring back about 1/2 a box; no one gets them all.

I specifically remember one morning when we only had three known shooters in 18 hunters in a green timber "hole" where 35 yards is a long shot. About 200+ mallards came in and all lighted on the water; when the first few nervous ducks started to get up someone yelled "get 'em" and it sounded like WWIII had started; when the shooting stopped, there wasn't a single duck down. I had been working on an old, lighter fluid type hand warmer, and didn't even pick up my gun, the mid-hole shooter had slipped out of the hole behind a tree to relieve himself and had his waders half down and the third shooter was in a big box blind trying to light a propane heater.

I got 3 out of the next wad to come in.

December 29, 2008, 08:05 PM
If you just count rounds that went into deer then I'm still on my second box, But like most people I shoot for the fun of it to. I shoot between 50 and 200 rounds a year out of my deer rifle depending on how many I load.

The old guys are good shots, but they probably put a lot of lead through targets to get that way.

December 29, 2008, 08:12 PM
It's a very rare big game season when I shoot more than a cartridge or two at game.

That said, I still manage to shoot my share of ammo. Various seasons, hunting various critters, as well as some practice time shooting jackrabbits and such can use up a bit of ammo.

Using one cartridge a year is all good and fine, but I enjoy shooting a lot of different stuff with a lot of different rifles and ammo.

All this said, I usually hunt with just the cartridges in the magazine and chamber. For a big game hunt with a limit of one animal, that's more than I'll need.


Ranger Al
December 31, 2008, 01:32 AM
I have the 7 mm Rem Mag and have 3 boxes of ammo. I've shot it once and downed a nice deer a few years ago. Although, I took a box with me every year. It is seem that I have friend who would like to shoot the big gun at a target.

December 31, 2008, 01:39 PM
HMMM. Since I handload almost all of my ammo and put it in 50 round boxes, I get 2.5 times the amount of hunting per box that those who use 20 rounders do. I never really thought about how many hunts I get per box; I shot 8 deer with 8 shots north of here once, and still had 42 rounds left. That was over 3 years time frame, and I figured I could fill the freezer for the next 15 years at that rate. At 6 rounds per year (3 for sight check and 3 at game), I should have enough ammo to last until 3003. I just bought 100 rounds of slug ammo for the picky arse A5 I own, and that should last 20 years at least. How many hunts I get from those 100 rounds depends on how many I use for sight in, and how far away the deer are while I'm hunting. I see deer that are way out of range for the slug gun, and I add them to the tally but I don't shoot at them so the number of hunts per box is greater. Anyone have a TI-54 calculator I can borrow? I'm confident there is a mathematical equation or function to determine the answer to this.

December 31, 2008, 01:48 PM
I cant imagine just shooting when you hunt. I Have more fun , well, as much fun as hunting when we go target shooting. It keeps you sharp for when you need to hit the game under demanding circumstances.
Id say it is likely i can burn through 50 rounds of 223 ammo in a week, very vey easily, hunting and shooting prior to.

December 31, 2008, 01:52 PM

I load my ammo, and store it in 100 round boxes.

There was a time when I'd shoot up several of those 100 round boxes per month during the winter predator calling season, but I don't go through as much now.

I shot an awful lot of predator type critters in those days, and wore out the barrel on a Remington rifle in .243 by the time I was about 16 years old.


December 31, 2008, 03:18 PM
50 plus if you suck at finding game!:p

December 31, 2008, 03:27 PM



December 31, 2008, 05:46 PM
What a wonderful story and a reflection of how it "used to be".
My first shotgun was a single shot. My first .22 was a single shot. My dad's
feeling was make your first shot your only shot.
I realize that their is more to being a gun owner than just hunting. Today, most everyone I know that owns firearms has hundreds if not thousands of rounds for each gun they own.
Still, that story was a piece of American history (depression era mind set).

December 31, 2008, 06:08 PM
Now I have purchased several boxes. Not sure why, except that I felt I wanted to stock up on them. I have several boxes for each of my main hunting rifles (.243, .270, and 30-06). However, they are still collecting dust.

I bought my first box for my .243 when I bought her three years ago to replace my 30-06 for the smaller deer here in Oregon. Even with sighting her in the initial year and once last year, I still have rounds remaining and I have taken my deer every year.

All I can boast is one round/deer per year. At this rate, I have enough to hold me out until the Good Lord comes or I die. I have even resorted to shooting the odd coyote and bear to use up some of the 30-06 shells that remain from a box purchased before they started putting internet addresses on the boxes.

So from my point of view (my .243 only holds four, if you have one in the chamber), six rounds is more than enough for a hunt. If you haven't made the kill in six shots, you may want to go back to the firing range for some more practice.:D

January 1, 2009, 07:18 AM
If all I did was hunt 20 rounds would take 20 deer. No brag, just fact. I'm 52 years old and been deer hunting since I was 12. Haven't missed a deer with a cartridge rifle since I was 15 or so(knock on wood). One shot, one kill.

January 1, 2009, 10:32 AM
when i was much younger and hunted whitetail i always took around ten rds for a days hunt... now i use either .308 or 7mm and take three rds .. usually only taking one per deer