View Full Version : How much surplus ammo per caliber to store?

Ignition Override
January 21, 2010, 12:42 AM
My only two milsurps categories are LEs and the Yugo 48A (last weekend).
Already have enough surplus .303 as it is very scarce. I read all of the remarks about it on five websites, since last spring.

Let's say that you bought your first 8mm Mauser, read often about surplus prices (.30-.35/rd. : they all copy each other;
it is like management "pattern bargaining") and would like to buy it for a while. You spend money on no other hobbies.

A friend said that about a year ago, a large shipment of Yugo hit the US.
But, assuming that no more imports of surplus Rom. or Yugo (etc) hits the US, ever again:(, how much would you buy, or have you, knowing that it will eventually be like .303?
2,000, 3,000 rds. or more?

January 21, 2010, 01:01 AM
I think it depends on what purpose you are stock piling for ... is it for plinking, survival, target shooting, hunting? For my purposes ... stockpiling ammo of questionable accuracy and performance is not worth stockpiling, therefore I reload.


January 21, 2010, 01:11 AM
Stock up because the prices will go up.

Ignition Override
January 21, 2010, 01:42 AM

Although many people in the US can picture themselves in the near or distant future as the encircled fuel station group in "The Road Warrior" (check "SKSboards" and "shtf" topics elsewhere etc), my only other goal is to have a long-term affordable supply for LEs, Mausers etc, just for fun. My very large supply of 7.62x39 would lead some Sociology or Political 'Science' professors to jump to rash conclusions.

Learning reloading very, very slowly :o, and only for .303.

January 21, 2010, 03:10 AM

Once you learn to reload for one caliber every other caliber becomes possible ... it is well worth it. Once you see the difference in performance and accuracy possible from hand loading you will likely become a fast convert. I have the opportunity to purchase large quantities of 8mm Romanian and Russian 54r but would rather sink my money into quality components and powder for handloading.

That's just me though ... ;)


January 21, 2010, 08:11 AM
Get all you can. I consider 1,000 rounds to be a good start. A few thousand more would be comfortable.

Uncle Buck
January 21, 2010, 08:27 AM
to tell you how much more satisfying reloading is also. :rolleyes:

I have a little more than 1,000 rounds each of .45 colt and .38 special. 99% of it is reloaded. Do I have enough?

For what I use it for, yes, but I still reload because I enjoy it. I do not believe in the end of the world/ crap hitting the fan scenarios, etc... Just my opinion though. How are you going to carry all that ammo anyway?

If you believe the ammo you are getting is going to be scarce or non-existent in the future, I would think you have a few options.

1. Buy as much as you can now, but please do not neglect the family in order to do so.

2. Learn to reload what you have and save money in the long run.

3. Change to a caliber that is not as scarce.

January 21, 2010, 08:57 AM
to tell you how much more satisfying reloading is also.

I call it occupational therapy ...


January 21, 2010, 10:10 AM
It depends if you reload and what the ammo is for. I have much more brass for my semi autos than I do for my bolt guns.
I reload for eight calibers and have about 6k all together. Not all loaded normally.

January 21, 2010, 05:04 PM
Just keep in mind that milsurp stuff may or may not be Boxer primed.
Be sure of what you are buying if you intend to reload.

January 21, 2010, 10:48 PM
This answer may not help you much but what I've learned to do is to buy as much as I can afford based on price. For example right now 5.45 and 7.62X25 is pretty cheap, CIA had 5.45 on sale for $107 a can of 1080 last month and I popped for 15 cans....... The ammo is like the firearms, they'll come in waves, price with be high at the beginning of the wave and then drop at the end of the wave when all the wholesalers are cleaning out the last of their stock, then the price will climb back up.....seen it happen with Romanian 8mm, Yugo 8mm, 54R, etc.....and each wave will have it's own pricing point, one of the reasons stuff is so expensive now is becuase it comes from overseas and the dollar isn't worth crap....but once stuff get's over .15 or .20 a round then is more cost effective to reload, especially for rifle calibers.......

January 22, 2010, 12:59 AM
Put away at least 10,000 rds. of each calibre that you commonly shoot; This has no bearing on shtf situations or anything else. It just keeps you in relatively cheap ammo for a lot of years, unless you burn through thousands of rds. at a time.

To wit: I'm in my 60s now and realistically, with luck, I might live another 20 years or so, + or -.

So in the 90s, when Chinese and Russian surplus 9x18 Makarov ammo was less than $100.00 a case of 2560, I bought a case at a time whenever I was at J&G. I now have about 20k rds. of 9x18, which is one of my favorite calibres to shoot. That should last me for the next 20 years. Did the same thing with .303 British when the Remington 1980's stuff was available by the case from Ireland, and also the Greek stuff loaded in the 70s, etc..

(The only thing I didn't foresee was getting bit by the FA bug, and now I find myself with a dwindling supply of good quality 9mm Para.:D)

And that's how it works.;)

44 AMP
January 22, 2010, 02:29 PM
But remember that most of the surplus ammo for Milsurp guns is not reloadable with normal US tools.

Steel cased ammo is not reloadable (without wrecking standard dies), and besides, none of it is boxer primed. The overwhelming majority of European ammo is Berdan primed (no central flashhole in the case), which makes getting the old primer out a major hassle, and Berdan primers are difficult to get in the US, if not close to impossible. Special tools are needed, and for anything except the very rare calibers where no modern boxer primed brass is available, it isn't even close to cost effective.

Buying case lots of milsurp ammo is the way to go, when you can afford it, simply because (even with the price increases) its still the cheapest out there, and they aren't going to be getting any more of it much, in the future.

Rounds like the .303 British, 8mm or even the .30-06 haven't been the issue rounds for armies in decades, and the stockpiles of milsurp ammo are drying up. Add in the fact that the UN has been busy in recent years, working hard to reduce the "international trade in arms", and yes, that includes surplus ammo. Many countries are now destroying their surplus ammo, getting brownie points from the UN for doing so, rather than selling it on the open market. I believe that the cheap surplus ammo for anything not currently military issue around the world is going to go away within the next generation, if it takes that long.

The problem with surplus ammo, for plinking, is (besides the accuracy, which can vary greatly) is that for reloading, the fired cases are nothing but scrap metal (the exception is US GI surplus, which is quite reloadable). So, I recommend that for every case lot (or lesser amount) of milsurp ammo you buy, buy at least one box of new made commercial boxer primed ammo in that caliber. Save it for hunting, or whatever, but save the brass, no matter what. A box of Remington .303 British or 8mm Mauser, etc. will cost you as much as several boxes of milsurp, but when the milsurp is gone, its gone. When the Remington stuff is fired, you can reload the cases.

As to what you should keep on hand? I say at least 100rnds for each firearm. If you have the funds, and the storage space, thousands o rounds are fine. They keep, when correctly stored, longer than you or I will. But 100 rnds on hand, at all times gives you enough for a while, without seeming too excessive to most folks. Enough for a fine day at the range, unless you are shooting full auto, or like to rapid fire semis, in which case, you ought to lay in a larger supply. For rifles. For handguns, doubling the amount isn't too much, and might not be enough!:D

January 23, 2010, 08:17 PM
Steel cased ammo is not reloadable (without wrecking standard dies), and besides, none of it is boxer primed.

Unfortunately, some of the steel case IS Boxer primed, and there are some out there who insist on trying to reload it for reasons known only to themselves.

Ignition Override
January 24, 2010, 01:12 AM
Uncle Buck: Excellent points. Am only contemplating $600 more this year on surplus 8mm, but also want to save for my first CMP Garand.
My only kid is finishing college in one semester, but your perspectives are still a superb 'big picture' reminder.

Excellent points, by all of you guys.

Nobody seems to know whether more of it even exists in southeastern Europe, that is, in countries willing to export it (versus being paid by the UN and Brit/Euro groups to destroy it)?
Maybe future dollar exchange rates will be the main factor determining whether US wholesalers would even try to order it
(if available at all?).