Smart Buying: Stock Up With Ammunition Value Packs

It wasn’t very long ago that folks could not find toilet paper or hand sanitizer on the shelves of their local stores. In the land of plenty, we had a glimpse of everyday life as experienced in communist countries. Price increases were rampant on the local level. Folks who were happy to buy a gun and the occasional box of ammunition became hoarders.

Panic buying is never rational. Two to four guns and 10 boxes of ammunition was a new normal. My friends who fired a box of 9mm a week for practice, and didn’t worry about putting up a stock of ammo, were hit hardest. After all, the indoor range previously always had a wide selection. Folks showing up at the box stores and purchasing everything on the shelf, hurt the shooters among us.

Remington 22 Golden Bullet, BUcket O' Bullets
That’s 1,400 rounds of the famously accurate and reliable Golden Bullet.

I know some things. For example, I know which plants are suitable substitutes for toilet paper in the bush. I know the cheapest illumination — even better than candles — are rushlights.

I even know what horsebread is. Fortunately, I’ve never been so bad off that I had to collect split peas and make the hard bread to survive. As for ammo however, I stood in line like everyone else. After all, I had a class every other Saturday with 20–40 students firing at least 50 rounds each. No one had enough ammunition.

I don’t wish to become a hoarder but like folks who have had financial distress, I was ‘burned’ by the shortage. I won’t let it happen again. I keep a sufficient stock to see me though, and try to obtain ammunition far ahead of my needs. Not sinful hoarding but smart accumulation.

I was once an ammunition gourmet, making my own and using the finest components. Unfortunately, today I’m a gourmand grabbing everything I can — a glutton for cheap ammunition, I suppose.

Planning Ahead

Let’s properly prepare for potential future shortages. I think we all know what we store, fire, and use on a yearly basis. As an example, I probably fire 10 rounds of 9mm for any other pistol caliber, and 100 rounds of .223 for every 12-gauge buckshot shell. One month however, I happily spent a ton on .22 caliber ammunition and fired quite bit for the pure enjoyment of shooting.

bulk pack of CCI and Federal .22 LR ammunition
50- and 100-round boxes of specialty rimfire ammunition is fine, but bulk ammunition is a better deal for practice loads.

For fun, targets, personal defense, and training, the .223 and 9mm are my Dynamic Duo. In times of shortage, ammunition makers retool the big machines and churn out additional 9mm and .223 cartridges. Other calibers are neglected. They only run calibers such as .25 ACP or .270 Winchester for short periods at certain times of the year. It really pays to get started on your ammunition supply when you can. Now is that time.

I am in high spirits today, because it seems that ammunition supply has stabilized. With the pending elections, who knows? I won’t try to influence your vote. We have one fellow who is one of us for certain and the other seems hellbent on upending our rights and everything else American (in my opinion).

Likewise, I won’t try to tell you how to predict the highs and lows of a market-driven economy. I woke up one day with Covid and a week later watched my retirement account drop 40 percent. (I am blessed among men, thank God. This loss put things in perspective.) I was so sick on day 14 that my dog lay beside me and began howling like a wolf in a B movie.

Federal Premium Practice and Defend 100-round combo pack
Among the combinations the author stores away is this 9mm combo with 147-grain Syntech and 147-grain HST 9mm. The Practice and Defend lineup is a good choice for training and carry.

I got over it, but ammunition wasn’t high on the list for a few weeks. However, the experience reinforced the lesson. Funds are a limiting factor, so plan ahead and purchase ammunition ahead of time. A box or two of ammunition a week adds up. Likewise, periodically purchasing bulk ammunition will accomplish the goal and save money. Watch for the sales!

In an emergency, you will need other commodities — food, clothing, material to make a fire, and tools — but ammunition is also important. I don’t like to dip into the emergency munition’s locker. This is the ammunition (usually 200 rounds in reserve) that I refer to as my carry load. It might be Federal HST across the board in the handguns and Federal Fusion in the rifle, with Federal Flite Wad 12 gauge put up.

Buy It Now or Scrounge It Later…

Brand loyalty takes a hit in a shortage, unless you stocked up ahead of time (when you could afford to be choosey). Otherwise, you’ll take what you can find. Speer Gold Dot is a good choice for personal defense, and I would gladly load Old Ugly up with .45 ACP Gold Dot ammunition.

Mossberg M2C2 handgun atop a yellow Birchwood Casey Dirty Bird target with a box of Speer Gold Dot Carry Gun ammunition
This group, shot from 12-yards with Gold Dot’s new Carry Gun 135-grain ammo, was typical of the MC2C’s accuracy.

In the rifles, Remington ammunition is good. Remington’s Managed Recoil 12 gauge is in many ways in a class by itself. Some of the other stuff, Pacific Rim or of unknown origin, is OK for practice (in my opinion). As any trainer will tell you, we saw more case head separations and failures to fire during and after the pandemic than we had in the previous 10 years combined. It was due to the ammunition shortage and failures with what I consider to be off-brand ammunition.

I like quality and continually try to look ahead. I’ve had poor experience with low bid, training ammunition in police service. I’ve suffered from revolvers caked with lead after training with a too-soft alloy bullet. My preferences are not prejudices, but conclusions.

If you wish to put up a good bit of training ammunition, .22 Long Rifle is thankfully available in bulk. You should have a good number of .22 rimfire rifles and pistols for training and recreation. You may be able to feed yourself with these firearms. A .22 LR is good and may be pressed into defense use as well.

The .223 is the king of survival calibers in America’s rifle. I like American Eagle. If you hoard steel-cased ammunition, be certain to store it carefully. Steel-cased loads are much more susceptible to the elements than brass-cased loads.

In this caliber, you don’t really need JSP loads. The 55-grain FMJ is plenty effective for area defense, with the JSP loads better suited to taking game. In 9mm, FMJ loads are good for practice, not so great for wound potential. A good program for defense and recreation is to pair a 9mm carbine with a 9mm handgun. A pair that uses the same magazines would be wise.

50 + 50

A tip for those wishing to get the most bang! for their buck. Federal offers a value pack with 50 rounds of training ammunition and 50 rounds of HST (available in 9mm and other calibers). Since the training ammunition is the same weight, this makes for real utility in training.

Federal Premium .40 S&W Practice and Defend 100-round combo pack of ammunition
The .40 Smith & Wesson is a formidable cartridge. This Train and Defend combination makes a lot of sense.

Another choice without compromise is your defense ammunition. Law enforcement selects ammunition choices based on real world needs. In one year, Federal law enforcement reported that more than half of its shooting incidents involved assailants behind cover. A bonded core bullet, placing more emphasis on penetration, was needed. The balance of expansion and penetration in these combinations can be very good. Federal HST, Federal Hydra-Shok, and Speer Gold Dot all feature excellent projectiles.

However, there are alternatives. As an example, Federal Punch is a less expensive loading, yet a well-designed load. Remington offers 100-round boxes of FMJ ammunition at a fair price. Even better are its bulk hollow point offerings. I’ve tested the 9mm 115-grain JHP and Remington’s .45 ACP 230-grain JHP. These loads use a conventional hollow point bullet. Feed reliability is excellent.

Remington has always enjoyed a good reputation for reliability. These loads offer good expansion — more than most bonded core designs. For personal and home defense, they are good choices. Choosing these loads allows the shooter to put up more ammunition for a fixed expense.

two Remington 100-round Value Pack ammunition boxes of .45 Automatic 230-grain JHP
Buying practice and duty ammunition in the same weight is easy with Remington Value Pack pricing. This is .45 FMJ and .45 ACP hollow point, both in 230 grain.

Your choice of caliber is important. .223/5.56 and 9mm are presently available in good quantity. Some calibers are difficult to obtain and expensive in bulk. As an example, I recently obtained a .327 Federal revolver. It is interesting and offers excellent performance for a small bore. However, 10 boxes of ammunition cost about as much as the revolver. Yikes!

.38 Special loads are more expensive than 9mm Luger, but they remain the most affordable, centerfire revolver caliber. .357 Magnum is still pricey, but Federal offers a 50-round box, and Remington offers a 100-round box of 125-grain.

Another combination that should not be overlooked for Taurus Judge and Smith & Wesson Governor fans is Federal’s .45 LC/.410 combo pack. This package combines 50 rounds of .45 Colt with 20 .410 buckshot shells. That is a lot of shooting in those big bore cannons.


Take an appraisal of your needs, buy smart, and choose quality. The savings are good, and the ability to ride out storms and shortages is satisfying.

What is your favorite bulk ammo? How much do you keep on hand? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

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