Ammunition Blues

It’s getting very hard to find practice ammo to use with some of my firearms. All the common calibers are in short supply. While I have reasonable quantities of 20 ga., .38 Special, .45 ACP, and 7.62 x 51 mm rounds on hand, I’ve deleted my stocks to the point that I’m now using other calibers for practice, .243 Win, .30 Carbine, .and .45 Colt, but mostly .22 LR. If the .22 stash runs low, I have a couple of bricks of .22 Short ammo and an old High Standard target pistol chambered for it. I may be using my 16 ga. for hunting this fall.

Which brings me to the point of this post: If you’re buying a firearm, also buy several hundred rounds of practice ammunition at the same time, and use that ammo to familiarize yourself with the new gun and verify that it functions properly. (And cleaning the gun after using it will help you understand how it works, so buy a cleaning kit too.) If you can’t buy enough ammunition for that introductory practice, you probably should buy a different gun.

If it’s your first gun or if it’s been a long time since you handled firearms, get training in safe gun handling. I recommend the NRA’s Home Firearm Safety Course or you state’s Hunter Safety Course. The online version of these courses will give you good information, but proper hands-on instruction will give you a better opportunity to practice safe handling skills.

Finally, make sure you have what is necessary (slings, holsters, storage boxes, or lockers) to safely carry and store your firearm.

9 thoughts on “Ammunition Blues

  1. It also helps if you reload. The individual components are available, and you can make some Really Accurate Loads for your firearms.
    It’s also good to reload if the ammo that you shoot is expensive. Out here in Hawaii, 6.5 Creedmore is >$1 per round and I reload for about $0.45/round and my .338 Lapua Magnum runs >$5 per round and I can reload for about $1.35.

    • Most new shooters probably shouldn’t also try to learn reloading at the same time.

      I’ve never gotten into reloading for myself because I’ve never had enough time to devote to reloading with simple tools and never had quite enough volume of shooting going to get a decent return on investment in a high-end progressive setup. YMMV.

      • I agree, new shooters shouldn’t try to learn reloading while learning to safely shoot (1 problem at a time).

        I just run a single stage.
        Press, electronic scale, case trimmer, dial calipers and case tumbler with media, dies and case holder should cost less than $500.
        For me, I broke even at 1000 rounds of 6.5 Creedmore, and will more than pay for itself with the .338 Lapua, which I save $3.65 per round.

  2. Reloading is a great skill to have. But in the normal world, it never made economic sense for pistol calibers in small quantities. Of course, it’s not a normal world now. But reloading supplies are also in short supply and the tools aren’t cheap.

    • It is a good skill to have. I’ve don’t a bit of it using other people’s equipment, and I’m seriously considering taking it up when I finally retire.

  3. I was recently at a well known outdoor store. They had 6.5 Creedmore and .17 stuff. Everything else? GONE

    • I’ve seen .17 Hornet and .17 HMR, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen any .17 Remington. I’m glad I’ve got several boxes stashed away for my Contender. It’s a good round for groundhogs.

  4. The most popular gun store near me was limiting purchases to two boxes of ammo per day, and during the “peak” of the pandemic, you couldn’t find most calibers anyways. They were holding back some of the most popular calibers so they could sell you two boxes when you purchased a gun of that caliber. Their stocks are slowly rebuilding, but they still limit you to three boxes of ammo a day.

    I also swung by the local mom & pop RV dealer the other day to use their dump station – I thought they had gone out of business at first because they had such a limited stock of RVs in the yard – there were less than a dozen available. The store was equally low on some items – they had moved some things around just so there weren’t empty shelves in parts of the store.

    And on a third note – we feed our dogs raw chicken necks as their primary source of protein. We buy them in 40 lb cases from the local butchers – we use to get them right from the processing plant, but it is 20+ miles away and a bit of a hassle to deal with. But the butchers are having a hard time getting them for us, and have since the pandemic started. People are still eating chicken, so I don’t understand this shortage, but there it is.

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