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October 07, 2008

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Petzal: To Hoard or Not to Hoard

With doom on the horizon, I've heard all manner of talk this past weekend about hoarding ammunition, components, and guns against the time that President Obama outlaws all firearmss except Joe Biden's Beretta, and food riots break out in Beverly Hills. Some perspective was provided by a friend who dotes on old and obscure rifles, and who has, over the years, acquired a ton of ammo for them. Now all of a sudden he has to move, and is faced with the task of unloading hundreds  and hundreds of rounds of .280 Ross, 6.5x54, and stuff like that. At the least he will take a financial beating, and will probably end up having to take his stash with him.

Generally, it's not a good idea to buy huge amounts of anything unless a) you get a hell of a price on it and b) you shoot it up over the years. About a decade ago, a police-supply house near me went out of business, and I bought what I thought was an absurd number of primers for very little. Now they are just about used up, and I saved a bundle by making the purchase.

I also had a chance to buy powder dirt cheap, but I didn't because you don't want a lot of powder in your house. Very often there are local ordnances on how it must be stored, and if you ever have a fire and your
insurance carrier finds that you had 75 pounds of H4831 in the broom closet they will be thrilled not to pay. I limit both the types and amount of powder I keep around to just enough and no more.

So, if you have a chance to pick up a whole bunch of good ammo, cheap, and in a common caliber that you can sell off if you have to, by all means do so. And then proceed to shoot it. That's what ammunition is for. But do leave some in reserve. When the apocalypse comes, you may be able to trade it for food.

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Comments

Blue Ox

Trade ammo for food? No way.
I use ammo to kill food.
I could be wrong, but isn't that the idea?

Gregory Morris

Post-apocalypse, you use ammo to "acquire" food. One way or another. If it means killing an animal, trading it, or utilizing its persuasive qualities.

Duck Creek Dick

Dave:

Tell your friend I'll buy some of his .280 Ross ammo. Cheers!

Emmanuel

If the real goal is survival, as opposed to defense, it's good to remember that you can keep probably 10,000 rounds of .22LR inside a milk crate. It won't kill bears and it won't win a firefight, but it will go a long way toward keeping you fed if you're in a pinch!

Up the ante and acquire 10,000 rounds of .223. It wil kill bears (with enough hits) and has won many a fire fight....

WA Mtnhunter

Btw, a few years ago a frind of mine was moving to Arizona and had a couple of cases of Remington Express 180 gr Core Lokt's and he no longer owned a .30-06 to use them in. (I never said he was smart) He offered the 20+ boxes to me for $10 a box. I told him that new stuff at Wal-Mart was only $10.99 a box (true at the time) to which he replied, "Ok, how about $5.00 a box" About 18 of those boxes still reside in the ammo safe. Now that the same ammo is about $16.99 a box, it was quite the bargain. And my rifle shoots it as well as any other load.

jstreet

The economy will start to improve the day Obama wins the election.

Why you ask? Not because it should or because he will have done anything but simply because the media will report that it is.

Being the sheep that most of us are, we will begin spending money on things other than ammo and canned goods and the economy will begin to grow again.

If you don't believe me, see if the market hasn't improved substantially by January 2009 (if Obama wins).

Jim

Gary

I have an uncle who experienced the very situation Dave described when he mentioned a house fire.

About ten years ago the liner in his chimney failed and caught the framing around the chimney on fire. To make matters worse, he lives in a rural area, and the fire happened in the middle of a snow storm, both of which delayed the fire department's response time.

Needless to say, the house was destroyed. However, when the insurance inspector showed up he tried to claim it was arson because he said there was evidence of large quantities of accelerant in part of the house.

The acellerant in question turned out to be about eighty pounds of various types of powder he had accumulated over the years.

The insurance company finally honored the claim, after he convinced them there were no local ordinances forbidding keeping powder in the home, but they refused to write a policy on his new house.

YooperJack

If you decided to hoard ammo, what would you choose? 22LR or 22WMR is good because it takes little room and inexpensive. Shotguns areeasier to shoot and possibly more practical. Deer rifle ammo gets the job done but its most expensive. Maybe hoard someof each?
YooperJack

Jim

How about some .45 ACP to feed my 1911 when Tyrone is trying to break in and steal my stuff.

SilverArrow

First it should go without saying that you set aside a couple or three bricks of .22 LR. One of mine is the sub-sonic variety; in current times very quiet when dispatching vermin around the property (best yet it doesn't have a typical .22 sound signature), in some post apocalyptic life having a quiet pop versus an identifiable shot could mean you get to eat all of what you shoot!

You save your big stuff for any social situations that get seriously bad. Then if you win that round you have the other person's food, weapons and ammo (maybe even his woman...). If you lose then you have nothing further to worry about!

Hopefully all this gloom and doom talk is moot. We sure have work to do to get our USA back on track but we've been down before.
SA

I'm in school right now

Well do whatever you want with it as long as it's done by 2012. Apparently that is the apocolypse.

Nate

jeff4066

Interesting...

Decades ago, I went through this phase. A friend of mine and myself had, between us, some 40 firearms and approx 20,000 rds. I however, chose quality over quantity and had a bit less than him.

The problem with hoarding is that you don't know how long it would have to be stored. Same concept as a snowstorm. If you know exactly when something is going to happen, you can go out the day before and get everything you need. Right.

Of course, we've all at some point heard about the coming storm, stopped by Wal-Mart, and gotten into a kung-fu battle for the last gallon of milk. I imagine what would happen if the apocalypse was announced for next Wednesday.

Hmmm. Our local store says he can't keep 12-gauge pumps, AR-15 type rifles or .38 pistols in stock at all.

Mark-1

I stock piled components to save cash and to keep a supply of my favorite components available. I’m finicky.

I’m still using rifle powders, primers, and bullets I bought in bulk 15-years ago. I stored them in plastic freezer bags in a wooden GI ammo box. I’m using ammo I loaded 15-years ago, too. Done well by all accounts.

I fear post-apocalypse, sci-fi style desolation-type discussion sorta like small boys describing how to blow up a rat. Fun to listen to in my age, but I don’t take it seriously. Actually I think all of us would become backyard veggie gardeners and chicken/goat herders in such a climate. Local game would be shot out within 30-days.

Like all, I have a good 22 rifle with a couple of ammo bricks.

Besides, can you imagine lugging 1000-rounds of rifle ammo around one step ahead of the mob?

Dr. Ralph

So where do we draw the line between hoarding and having just enough? If some nameless person just happened to have twenty or forty rifles and/or shotguns lying around it wouldn't be prudent to have less than twenty or forty boxes of ammo, now would it? Especially if you have to have at least a dozen boxes of 12 ga. shells on hand just in case someone wants to shoot a few clay birds. I have acquaintances who believe a thousand rounds for every weapon is the minimum. I always have at least a thousand rounds of .22's simply because they come in boxes of 500 so as long as you're at Bass Pro why not buy three?

Whenever I buy a rifle I have to get a box of Federal, Remington, Winchester, Hornady etc. ammo in multiple bullet weights and styles just for fun errrr... I mean to find the most accurate load of course. Sometimes it only takes five shots to realize your rifle doesn't like that particular load and so you end up with fifteen or fifty half full boxes of bullets your gun hates gathering dust and waiting for the apocalypse. That's fifteen or fifty of each caliber obviously...

Dr. Ralph

Wrong link and I wanted to listen to this song while reading all the doom and gloom....

CC-80

jstreet:
You couldn't be more correct. My wife had to settle me down during the Palin-Biden debate when Biden attacked McCain's "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" comment. McCain has endured all sorts of ivory tower criticisms for that remark, and I think he's scared liberal media will pounce if he even thinks about explaining why he's right, so he keeps his mouth shut. Palin had the perfect opportunity in the debate to explain it, and instead she conceded some nonsense liberal talking points! I wanted to reach through my TV!

Of course, there are LOTS of people defaulting on their loans. Plenty of greed and ignorance got us into that mess. Yes, banks are having to write down billions of dollars of bad loans, and that's putting them in a tight spot. But do you know what's stopping them from getting the capital they need to keep their doors open? FEAR. That's it, that's all. It's not some issue with our nation's products, services, infrastructure, or workforce. It's the liberal media fear-mongering that has every person or company with a dime to their credit hoarding it for the coming "doomsday". Were it not for all the end of times predictions, these companies would take the hit for all the bad loans they made, they'd borrow a little working capital if they needed to, and the economy would churn on. It's infuriating to me that McCain could be so right and still too spineless to explain why.

So yes, you are sooo right. A week after the election, as the Messiah prepares to take his throne, the Dow will hit 13,000 and the whole world will suddenly unite in a blissful state of nirvana. My mind can't even begin to fathom the liberal bile the media will dream up to explain it.

R

If it comes to that, I'm pushing my jon boat out into the lake with a coleman camp stove, 10 propane canisters and all the fishing tackle I have plus my 870 pump for the birds I see. I'll let all of you dust each other with your AR-15s and 45 ACPs on land, then paddle back in when I run out of hooks and take my chances trying to pop squirrels with my .22LR

Hopefully the Chinese Army will begin handing out rations by then.

eyeball

It can't hurt to have a few thousand rounds of .22 LR around at any given time.

1. Everybody who has a gun has a .22. The ammo will always be salable. A brick of .22 LR would be pretty handy for barter if the money goes bad. Especially if you have twenty more bricks left in reserve.
2. You know you will eventually shoot it yourself whether the curtain falls or not. So you aren't really hoarding it; you are just buying it in advance.
3. For every round of .30-06 you let fly at a deer, you will shoot dozens of rounds at rabbits, rats, squirrels, crows, racoons, armadillos, possums, etc. just to keep them out of your garden if nothing else. If you are raising chickens or rabbits yourself, you will have small predators and feral cats to deal with. If people start starving, the deer will be the first thing to go. But pests we will always have with us, and you can eat those, too. And nothing is better for those at back yard or farmhouse-to-barn ranges than a .22.
4. Nobody wants to get shot with anything, not even a .22. If a mob of looters suddenly shows up in my cul-de-sac, you can be sure they'll be looking down the wrong end of a shotgun barrel. But a .22, as a lean-it-behind-the-door rifle, is still awful hard to beat for things that just come up. Mine is a Nylon 66 Rem. I leave my 10-22 Ruger in a safe place.

As much fun as handloading is, I think if I did hoard centerfire ammo, it would be loaded ammo, not components, for safety reasons Dave states and also because it is ready. Should God forbid I ever do need to load up the family and run, I'd rather pack a couple of hundred rounds of .30-o6 into the car with the luggage than a can of bullets, a cannister of powder, and a Lee Loader.

Mike Diehl

Alot depends on what sort of apocalypse you've got in mind. If we're talking global bird flu epidemic with 50+% casualties and you happen to be a lucky survivor, a muzzleloader will be useful because manufacturing black powder will be relatively "doable."

Bob

I work in the finance industry myself (commercial real estate finance) so I'm always interested in everyones comments about the economy. Here's my own(semi-informed) take on the matter:

Like most issues, I think McCain and Obama are both half right. McCain is right in that we have many of the fundamentals of a strong economy: Our factories didn't burn down or disappear all of a sudden. We still have the same skilled workers we had a couple years ago when the economy was (for the most part) humming along. We still have a strongly consumer-driven culture that keeps product demand high.

Obama is right though that despite these things, the economy still sucks. To use a computer analogy: "The problem isn't the hardware, it's the software." Financial institutions and instruments are falling apart at the seams and with them goes the ability to borrow money and resources that all that infrastructure has come to depend on to operate on a daily basis. All the infrastructure in the world doesn't do you any good if you don't have the resources to run it.

CC-80

Bob:
It's still all tied to the media frenzy. Unwise subprime lending practices finally came home to roost. This caused real financial distress to the home owners and the banks. To manage through that distress, the banks needed working capital. But through month after month of pervasive doom and gloom headlines, the media has convinced everyone on Wall Street that the end is near and it is imperative to "sit on the sidelines" with the cash the troubled banks so desparately need. So the banks go under and the media's self-fulfilling prophecy continues.

It's quite simple--with working capital the banks don't go under, and the media has nothing to hype.

OrangeNeckInNY

I don't know, Dave. Your posts are leaning more and more to the left. Why would I want to trade ammo for food when I could hunt my own, and then trade my food for other things I might need?

And I failed to make a comment on your doubts that a President Obama is going to take away all our guns.

I'm finding it harder and harder to read your blog anymore. Seems like you're falling in step with the same kind of faux pas that Jim Zumbo made about "black rifles."

Sorry, but you just lost another reader here.

Bob

CC-80,
There is absolutely a "mental aspect" to all of this (another thing that McCain was right about), but that doesn't diminish the fact that all of those variable rate mortgages that are going bad, and dragging the insurance companies and owners down with them) are very real.

eyeball

Orange Neck In NY;

If the curtain falls, you are not going to do much hunting, unless you happen to live outside Yellowstone Park. If times are desperate enough that we have to hunt to eat, the one place I want to be is home, protecting my wife and kids, not beating around what little brush remains looking for the last deer in the county... or are you the only guy who likes venison around your place? If things get nasty, you are going to do a lot of hunkering down and keeping an eye on your stuff. Bear in mind that in the New Millenium all it takes to set off mobs of looters is a is a power outage, and you'll know what I mean.

If conditions such as those arrive, and emergency services cease to exist for a time, your neighbor may well decide to give you a box of canned food in exchange for a brick (or even a handful) of .22s, or a box of 12 gauge shells. Under those conditions (and they never last long, just long enough to harm the unprepared), money has no value except as tinder.

Even Barak Obama will hesitate to order house-to-house searches for ammo. He may pass laws that keep you from getting much, however. So if you are in the mood to stock up, now is the time.




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