March 30, 2011
How Much Ammo Is Enough?
By David E. Petzal
“The best lack all conviction; the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”—Sarah Palin
In the post of March 18th, Johnnycanuck asked how many different types of ammo it is reasonable to try to see if your rifle shoots one of them well. He also asked how much ammo it’s sensible to buy at one fell swoop. Good questions, eh?
By “types,” I assume you mean different types of bullets—soft, mushy ones, hard, tough ones, etc. First, don’t set your heart on minute-of-angle groups. You may get them, but you don’t need them. An inch and a half will do fine. I’d say if you don’t find something that will give you this kind of accuracy within three boxes, it’s time for a trip to the gunsmith to see if your rifle is ailing.
What I would do is, figure out the biggest, toughest critter you plan to hunt and buy loads that will handle that particular beast. This same ammo will do nicely for anything else. For example, in my .270 these days, the only thing I shoot is 150-grain Swift A-Frames, which will slay almost anything, and I don’t have to go switching back and forth and spending money.
As for quantity, I think a lot of people buy too much and then regret it. Unless you know you’re going to shoot the hell out of that particular rifle, I’d buy no more than 5 boxes—100 rounds—at a time. If you find a bargain, of course, buy more, but don’t go nuts. I think the only caliber for which it always makes sense to buy in bulk is the .22 rimfire. A case of 5,000 Long Rifles is a good thing to have.