Sunday, June 25, 2017

ammo first


March 22, 2012 on the James M Dakin bog, I wisely proclaimed that the steel case ammo you all loved and hugged and stroked in a sexual manner, being a mere 22cents each, made the Russian Mossin-Nagant bolt gun the bestest ever bolt gun in the history of ever in your eyes, was a flawed strategy in that interrupted shipping could see your survival guns suddenly without affordable ammunition.  History has of course vindicated me.  Yes, I was wrong that we would run out of oil and hence be unable to ship ammunition overseas.  Rather, it was Supreme Douchebag Of The Universe Obama and his retarded foreign politics that caused Russia to cease exporting the rifles and ammunition and saw the prices explode.  A Mosin-Nagant, beat to crap as one Uzbekistan peasant after another was shot by Nazi’s, fell dead, tossing the rifle against the rocks just as a Siberian peasant lunged for the gun as he hadn’t been issued one yet, went from $50 to $350.  And ammo went from 22 cents to 62 cents ( mostly supplied by former Eastern Bloc commie nations desperate for currency to buy heating oil with ).


I never hide my displeasure of the Mosin-Nagant rifles.  They were ill designed as they had no gas bleed safety.  Old timey ammo was less safe than the modern stuff and it wasn’t unheard of for primers or cases to rupture, which is why both the Mauser’s and the Enfield’s had the safeties.  Not only that, but older guns were designed to use an expanding brass case to seal the chamber as they weren’t built with such fine tolerances as is normal today.  By using a steel case round, you didn’t get the seal.  The firing safety on the rifles sucked, as did the sites, as did the bolt.  They might have been tough guns to break, and they were damn skippy cheap with insanely cheap ammunition, but by all other metrics they blew chunks.  They were great for the truly poor prepper that bought one rifle with one case of ammunition and planned to liberate a better rifle with it, and that was about it.  Once the price went up they because future collector worthy and not much else. 


The article wasn’t yet another raspberry against the Russian gun, however.  It basically said that you should plan your rifle purchase based on its ammunition ( it also should establish to you that when I panic about something I’m usually right.  Of course, I panic about everything, so there is that ).  All guns are worthless without ammunition, so ammo first and gun a distant second.  I don’t care if a Rugar 10/22 is thought to be the best survivalist gun of all time.  It just might be.  What I care about is rimfire ammo costs ten cents each and 9mm costs a nickel for reloads.  So I’d prefer the less reliable, lower quality 9mm carbine ( but the same price, at least ).  Now, of course, yes, you could reload rimfire.  At half the price of 9mm.  Not that I would then use the Rugar.  I’d stick with a revolver and a bolt or single shot.  You need those cases for reloading ( unfortunately 9mm is all in semi, as far as I‘m aware-so factor in lost cases ).  But that isn’t the point.  The point is you think about your ammunition first and foremost.  The gun isn’t nearly as important because like the 7.62x54r suddenly tripling in price, Black Swans take to the skies all the time.


When you saw the price of steel case ammo, you WERE planning around ammunition considerations, but unfortunately you were only focused on price rather than future availability.  If you can stockpile ALL your ammo in one purchase ( or, a reasonable number of purchases one after another ), then price is a consideration.  But if it will take some time to buy all the ammo you need, will it be available to you?  I was never in a big enough hurry to buy my ammo, which was a huge mistake.  I could have stocked up on brass war surplus a quarter a round.  When that dried up I went with PPU brand for 75 cents a round ( not so bad for reloadable, modern, thirty cal ammo ), but, again, it was imported.  Then when I finally decided to stock the rest of what I needed, all reloading components were in severe shortage.  I resorted to that 25 cent Russian ammo for the bullets and powder ( I already had enough primers, bought previously ), which wasn’t optimal but it got the job done.  Lesson learned?  I was all over the place logistically for my rifles, as I had bought the rifle despite the ammo then screwed around stockpiling the ammunition ( which proves I’m right on some things, prophetically, and some things only in hindsight.  Which gives me a mixed record, but at least I can admit my mistakes and hopefully provide a cautionary fable for you ).


I could make excuses and pretend I didn’t think I’d ever need more than a few hundred rounds per rifle, but since I’d already gone with five years food storage that would be a lie.  I kept making the mistake that ammo was too expensive even when it wasn’t or even when it was but was still going to get worse, and I never said, hey, dumbass, you can’t time the apocalypse.  I panicked early on stockpiling rimfire, but neglected center fire ( rifle, not pistol ), and all because I was focused just on price.  It was easy to panic buy a lifetimes supply of 22’s when that cost you $200.  But when you need at least $1200 for the rifle it is easy to shrug it off, to postpone and make excuses.  Until the day you can’t and you finally just keep overpaying until you are stockpiled and then you can forget it forever.  Which is a preferable outcome to not being able to buy at any price.  Which is what you should be concerned about.  I put the cart before the horse ( rifle before ammo )-don’t make the same bonehead move.


Now, I can already hear you thinking, hey, dude, that just means we should arm up on current military ammunition.  Let’s ignore that the commie SKS became quite popular by a mass acceptance of a brand new-to the USA-cartridge.  Let’s ignore that the Mosin-Nagant did the same thing.  When I hear the “stock military standard” argument, I know that is an argument to buy a plastic carbine.  The argument has its merits, but mainly it is another form of Price Only argument ( the 223 and 9mm is cheap since they sell so much of it ).  You can’t REALLY argue that the argument is for salvage, because the military on full auto, or full retard spray and pray semi-auto, is going to go through their ammo supply in days after the last resupply shipment.  Assuming you’ll be able to resupply from their corpses assumes they’ll have enough left.  They won’t.  Most ammunition in the military is in centralized storage.  Centralization is what those guys do.  What they have on hand is pathetic.  And what they have in storage will be fiercely fought over, so don’t join that suckers game.  In an era of twenty-five cent ammo, it might have made sense to choose 308 for your thirty cal long range rifle.  Now that most thirty is at the seventy-five cent mark, even oddball ammo like the 303 British or 8mm, why must you stay with 308?  Unless it is an excuse to drop two grand on an M14.


If you reload, your cost is pretty much the same no matter what you shoot.  Your choice of gun becomes even less important.  Some firearms, yes, the gun itself is important.  If I found a revolver of war surplus for $100, using bizarre ammo, I would buy that over a $300 modern wheel gun shooting 38 or 357.  You don’t need to stock all that much ammo for a sidearm.  They just aren’t important enough.  But when you need thousands upon thousands of rounds, ammo is primary.  I never considered buying the Swiss WWII bolt even on sale since the ammo-even just cases-was so outrageous and rare.  The rifle was said to be the best quality and most accurate of all.  But what good is it if the ammunition is $2 a round?  How much could you stock, even for reloading?  I know I keep coming back around to price even after I told you it isn’t as big of a consideration as logistics.  That of course refers to initial stockpiling.  But it is a trick to separate cost from consideration.  You can’t buy just because the rifle is cheap, or just because the ammo is cheap.  It is a balancing act.  So just keep in mind that when all is said and done, whatever is in your price range you had better just have enough on hand ready for the apocalypse, price total be damned.  The “having what you need, which is ammo rather than gun”. 


Too much focus is on the gun.  That is practical to a degree.  I could buy a single shot 223, my preference, rather than an AR, but there will be so many AR’s around in the future spare parts shouldn’t be a concern.  Not so with the single shots.  But I would also plan, with the AR, on crimping the gas tube and filling the end with molten lead, to turn that into a bolt action, because of the ammo supply.  From your own supply, not from enemy corpses.  You need to factor in spare parts, initial cost and other aspects when buying a gun.  But first, know you can secure its ammo supply.  Don’t save all your money, buy an AR, then not have enough for ammunition.  It is tempting to assume the historical tactic of enemy salvage.  That is how guerrillas resupplied.  But you need to keep in mind that historically, the factories were still running.  Even during bombing or nearing defeat.  Can you assume the same will be true in the near future?  What you have might be all you get.


Like everything else, too much is now getting really complicated.  It used to be simple. You work, spend less that you make, take the surplus and buy your prep supplies, and then like magic you could keep going back for more as long as you had money.  Money was 100% of your problem.  But now, the money making aspect is breaking down ( mass unemployment ) and the resupply part is breaking down ( resource shortages and credit shortages for businesses are introducing both insane levels of quality contraction and supply availability ).  It is becoming a lot harder to get the equation right.  Prepping during the collapse is a bitch, ain’t it?


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  1. Well it was about time ! I thought you would never make another firearms article, you got to stick to your readership, mate !

    Your post sounds a lot like a weapons acquisition program, which is something I like a lot. We can fantasize about the ideal survivalist weapon (I know there has been a lot of wet dreams about .300 Blackout / Whisper but it seems it has lost a lot of steam recently) but in reality we have to focus on what already exists and make our choices from that.

    Like in weapons acquisitions, establishing the limitations gets us quickly to simple choices.
    So it has to be cheap to procure and cheap to feed. I'll also add my own specifications with the Zero-Skill Approach and the BIC approach.

    From the Zero-Skill Approach we can eliminate everything semi-auto. Still in that approach, we have to eliminate everything that has too much recoil, like .44 Magnum (more about rifles below) or .12 Ga, because the women and children, and your sick/wounded self still want to use the weapon.

    From a cost perspective, the ammunition would have to be extremely common, so as to find it easily, as well as its components. As a bonus, it is also easier to find / hear about special offers, and I include in this the possibility to get somebody's reloading dies or redundant ammo.

    This quickly leaves us with two choices, namely .38 Special and .22LR

    .22LR has a lot of merits, in my Zero-Skill Approach I still find it leads to waste because you have to fire a lot of them to be useful in terms of terminal effectiveness (I'll consider shots in center of mass). This is very debatable so I'll leave it at that and carry on.

    You can find a lot of .38 Special weapons at cheap prices, and also you can get them second-hand in pawn shops and gun shows etc. (internet knowledge - last time I was in the USA was 1988 and US women were gorgeous back then – but I disgress).

    This ties in well with the BIC approach, in that the weapon must be inexpensive but still rugged enough to do the job. So I'm not talking about Smith & Wesson darlings here but more in the ball park of (very) old Colt 1917 / Police or nasty little Saturday Night Specials (the former would be better recoil-wise for the frailer people, the other has more merits in terms of concealement and weight)

    Since money is an issue, we could be happy with 50 rounds of Wadcutter rounds per revolver (they are lighter in recoil and also the cheapest variant). If I weren't a reloader I would leave it at that and be happy.

    (Re)Loading brass would be an alternative. The price difference between buying bulk and purchasing the reloading equipment and the testing expediture would have to be justified.

    The only justification I can find is if one wants to prepare in phases (= pay in phases). First you collect the spent brass at the range (which is why it is important that the caliber should be very common). Then you can buy, in order of post-collapse rarity, primers and powder (both hard to get) and then lead bullets (not jacketed). .38 Special is frugal in powder, you get the best of energy density when stockpiling powder for this caliber.

    As a final touch, if finances allow, you could get something like a Rossi Puma lever-action to reach out at 150m ( very light weapon yet very recoil-friendly) and if you're poor-rich, you can get a bullet mould from eBay or something.

    (Would it be interesting to make this an article ? Just a thought)

    1. I'm thinking I should cover Popular Calibers. Not just to say, don't do it, but to present good AND bad points of going either way. More nuanced. Good idea-thanks

    2. was that your brother?

    3. He ain't my brother, I'm heavy.

  2. Yes listen to lord bison again boys and girls. I worked major gun store for years and enjoyed the show thru obummer administration. Some calibers disappeared for a period of time (reliant on suppliers and distributors) or became cost prohibitive to purchase or consider at the time. My advise to waffling buyers of the guns, accessories, or AMMUNITION was just buy it "whatever you pay now, will be cheaper than later" (inflation-demand) ammo has no expiration dates stamped on it. Store it 'properly' and securely in a good rathole and it will be there as an important commodity for you or your tribes uses for long, long time. The last window of opportunity is open now but as us old timers know can close quick (yugoslavia, 1860s confederacy, etc) happy shopping!!!!!!!!

    1. A shame it takes twenty years of missed opportunities to see the trend. But the trend is a lot quicker now. Exponential collapse, anyone?

    2. OH?! Really? cheaper than later?

      Three years ago the gun show scalpers were charging $50.00 for a brick of 22lr.

      Now Wal mart is selling bricks for $22.00 (just there).

    3. Jim,

      You are really stepping on your crank.

      +/- two days ago I posted that 22lr was going for under 4.5 cents a round.

      Now in this post you are informing your readers that it is 10 cents a round.

      It is seeming the only difference between you and those other lying "SURVIVAL EXPERTS" is that they are smart enough to make some bucks off of their lies.

      I was just at Walmart today. They got cases and cases of ammo sitting on the floor and NO ROOM in the display case to put it!

      Many items are on sale, they got boxes of nines selling for $7.00.

      BTW...the ammo for the Swiss rifle was 50 cents a round and it was MATCH grade. It was also widely available.

      Go ahead, roll yourself another big one.

      You Know Who
      Mean Minion

    4. Having a .308 I was surprised during Obama's ammo shortages that the local Walmart always had .243 on the shelves.
      Also, I reloaded some .38 special back in the 1970's that was stored in a metal ammo can. It still shoots fine.
      What's your take on the Indian 7.62 Lee-Enfields?

    5. 454-cheap prices are a current abnormality, not a trend.
      MM-as you might recall, I write two weeks in advance. Also, as you might recall, I get my prices out of Shotgun News and Sportsmens Guide, which I only check periodically. I'm not going to be 24 hours close on gun and ammo prices, more like three to six months. Try not to be a dick, that is my job.
      749-the Indian Enfields are converted no.1's, which I had in the 303. The sites blow chunks. I don't care for the Indian's because of the sites, even if the ammo thing is good. Although, you used to be able to get a no.1 scope mount, I haven't seen them lately. If you can scope, then sure. Otherwise, no.

  3. 9mm revolvers...
    I have this one and like it. It's not for +P, as it's on the same frame as their .357 model and 9mm +P is higher pressure than .357. You can hit at 100 yards if you have the trigger control. It has a short barrel, but with the cylinder length, it has the same velocity as a 3" semi-auto barrel. You shouldn't use 115 grain loads unless their crimped. 124 grain and higher. The recoil actually pulls the remaining bullets in the cylinder forward out of their cases, so the last one in the cylinder could actually fall out of the case. It uses moon clips which are the fastest possible reload, but they can get bent if you're rough with them.
    I've almost bought this one several times but never did. It's heavy enough that it won't have any crimp jumping in the case, and you can get away with sloppier reloads. Also in longer barrels and stainless steel. Heirloom quality.
    Peace out

    1. "Heirloom quality" means that you're going to obsess about preserving that gun, and thus you will not always carry it, and not abuse it when necessary, and be very upset when it ends up lost or stolen.

      Go the BIC way and take something inexpsenvie you don't like but only use as a tool, like a Taurus or something. I guess you think nothing special about your hammer yet chances are you're using it much more often than your revolver.

      I'm sorry to be pushy here on this BIC stuff but yeah, it's all about the mind and the peace of mind.

    2. "sorry to be pushy". Why? Everyone here is a bit pushy. This stuff is perceived as life and death, so passions will run high. As long as we are civil enough.

  4. The reason why 7.62 NATO / .308 Winchester is a favorite of mine is because it can be shot in both my Garand and deer rifle(s). I was stocking it before I stumbled in survival thoughts.

    1. I'm confused. I thought the Garand was 30-06. Did you mean the M14?

    2. Not 4:26 Jim, but I recall that there were 2 versions of the M1, and my friend had both. The standard M1 was indeed a 30-06. But there was another version that he referred to as an “M1 sniper” (I don’t know if that was the official name for it or not?) that was in .308.

      I fired his 30-06 one time, and it was a joy to shoot; practically no recoil, and easy to stay on target, unlike most 30-06 guns that kick like a mule on steroids. But of course there is a trade off. It weighed a ton!

    3. Well no wonder I was confused-I don't believe I've ever encountered that info before. Thank you.

  5. The twist rate on the 223 becomes an issue when buying your black guns. If you want accuracy you need to find the ammo that works best with yours. However, if you buy the bolt action Savage (or presumably any other full length barrel 223) the twist rate is no longer important. It fires it all well. And as the 223 is something of a varmint round, its pretty accurate. Better ballistic coefficient than 308.

    So imo, agreeing with you, if you want to keep your toe in with the popular military round, bolt action would be the way to go.

    black cat dude aka Russell1200

    1. I was just writing an article this morning on common calibers. I have to be really careful writing on guns as I'm only average knowledge. Glad to see you've confirmed my rate twist info. I don't even know why I'm writing it, other than to give everyone a break from my usual. Glad you're still a minion.