Has your 401K tanked? T-Bills not looking so good? Wishing you had not sunk all that money into Enron stock? I have the answer for you!
A non-perishable asset that has only increased in value over the last 50 years, ammo might be as good as gold (literally) if things go bad.
Reasons for price increases in ammo-
Ammunition, like any commodity, is affected by supply and demand. In the last few years, scarcity of raw materials such as brass, lead and steel have led to price increases in almost any type of ammunition. In addition, the use of ammunition by the US military for the Global War on Terror has depleted stockpiles of surplus ammo and uses practically all new production of certain calibers. With raw materials growing more scarce, conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere continuing, and the fluctuation cost of fuel for transporting ammo, the value should continue to increase in the coming years.
Not just for TEOTWAWKI-
In the event of a world changing catastrophe, ammo will become excellent bartering material, but you don't need global or national disaster to profit from ammunition sales. Purchasing ammunition now and holding it for 4 or 5 years, then selling it on the open market should yield a profit. Who would buy your ammo? Lots of people. Other Survivalists, collectors, active shooters and hunters. Putting an ad in your local paper, or on Craigslist, or better yet, putting a note on the bulletin board of your local sporting goods store should yield interested local buyers. A post to one of many Internet forums can also yield a buyer, but you may have to deal with the cost and trouble of shipping.
What should I buy?
Common calibers that can be bought in bulk are 9mm, .45 ACP, .223/5.56mm, 7.62x39mm, .308/7.62x51mm and .22 Rimfire. Any of these are excellent for resale (keep in mind that your return on investment for .22 Rimfire will not be as large as the other calibers, cost of manufacture is still pretty low). Also consider some of the typical American hunting calibers such as .30/06, .243, .270. 7mm and .30/30. American handgun calibers such as .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .40, and .380 are also options.
How much do I get?
Well, as much as you can afford and store safely. Ammo is typically sold by the box (50 rounds for pistol ammo or 20 rounds for rifle), but this is an expensive way to buy it. Look for a wholesaler such as Cheaper Than Dirt which can provide quantities of 500 or 1000 rounds. Expect to spend $100-$250 for 500 rounds of any given caliber and $200 to $500 for 1000. Price depends on caliber and manufacturer. Lower cost brands such as Wolf offer steel cases instead of brass, butting down on initial cost, but these rounds may not sell as well as brass cased rounds. 500 rounds of Wolf steel cased .223 is running around $150 right now, while 200 rounds of Remington UMC brass cased is about $115. That makes the Wolf .30 cents a round and the Winchester .58 cents a round. When you look at buying in quantity, that price can make a huge difference!
Here are a few examples of pricing:
9mm Luger, Wolf Military Classic, 115-Grain Full Metal Jacket Bullet, 1130 fps, 1000 Rounds $189.16
9mm Luger Magtech Sport Shooting Handgun Cartridge, 115-Grain FMJ Bullet, 1135 fps, 250 Rounds $58.99
.223 Remington, Wolf, 55 Grain Copper Full Metal Jacket, 3,241 fps, 1000 rounds $267.92
.223 Remington, Remington UMC, 45 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point, 3,550 fps, 200 rounds $114.80
Will my wife let me stack it in the dining room?
No. Probably not. As with any bulky Survival type item, storage is always an issue. Here are my suggestions for storing large quantities of ammo:
1. Keep in dry.
This means storing it climate controlled if possible. Your garage, an unused closet or storage room are your best bets. If you store it in n out door shed, I suggest using sealable military ammo cans for storage and adding a moisture absorbing desiccant pack. Also, Keep it off the ground as much as possible. I use small pieces of 1x2 placed under the ammo cans to keep it off the floor. Check the exterior of your storage cans regularly for any signs of trouble, and once yearly, open the can, check the contents, clean any rust or corrosion and replace the desiccant pack.
2. Keep it in the original container.
It will be important for resale to be able to show what caliber and type the ammo is and who made it. In addition, some of the storage containers that come from the factory are perfect for long term storage. Eastern European ammo frequently comes in a "Sardine Can", which is a sealed container that can keep ammo dry and clean for years. I have personally fired Yugoslavian 8mm ammo from the 1950's that was stored in this type of can with a 0% failure to fire rate.
3. Be aware of the risk of fire.
If you have a house fire and the fire department arrives to the sight of 1000 rounds of .308 ammo cooking off, they will withdraw to a safe distance and watch quietly as your house burns to the ground. Keep your ammo stacked against an exterior wall, away from any sources of heat. And, of course, take the proper fire prevention measures in your home including alarms and fire extinguishers. In addition, take special care in storing any tracer or incendiary ammo, as it can degrade over time and become unstable.
Be a Smart Shopper!
Don't buy the first stuff you come across. Do your homework, after all, what better use is there for the Internet. Break everything down into Price Per Round. Make sure you know before hand if the ammo is brass or steel cased, who made it, and when. Factor in the cost of shipping to your Price Per Round. Ask around and find out what everyone is shooting so you can sell your stock at some point. And, as with anything, Caveat Emptor!