My journey began July last year when one of best friends died and left me a Smith & Wesson Governor. When I picked it up it came with six boxes of ammo. I thought at the time Ron was preparing for the end of the world with that much ammo. Now my friends look at me funny when I tell them I order 1000-5000 rounds at a time. When I had to buy more ammo for the Governor I found out it could use moon half clips and using 45acp to save money. I was ordering on line with Bulk Ammo, great staff good prices. Then I brought a Sig 340 and was using Russian steel case ammo never a problem even with my Sig 365 (5,000) rounds. Then I started using Steel case 45acp with my Governor easy to load but a pain to eject. When I called Bulk Ammo I found out that casings expand and then contract with use steel casing does not contact the same as brass. I understand now why I see some negative reviews on that type of ammo. I brought 5,000 rounds of Remington 22lr but at about 12-24 rounds the primmer did not work. Bulk Ammo offered to take back the ammo full refund but I kept it and had a brass rod to clear my gun, 22lr was getting hard to get. Aguila ammo is good copper plated or lead round nose but I have to watch the velocity as 750fps will not cycle my gun it needs at least 1,000fps to work. I but now using Ammo Seek as Bulk Ammo is short of ammo. I buy ammo that I know or recommended. Also I will not buy from a dealer that has not a high rating. One time I was at the range a man just got a expansive 22lr target pistol (Browning?) and was using CCI ammo lead round nose, The gun would not work and I gave him some CCI copper plated round nose and it worked perfectly. He had just got 5,000 rounds for it, never found out his solution. I do buy at the range when they have a deal. One time they had 1,000 rounds of 9mm that came in a ammo box. The ammo was lead free, the bullet was made from some composite material (nobody to die from lead). The handle broke on the ammo box on the way back to the car and two bullets snapped in half while firing they could not take the pressure feeding into the barrel. Definitely not ammo to depend on with my life. I learned that you need good ammo, clean your gun, train and use safety otherwise you have a expansive paperweight.
My journey is quite a bit different than yours. I grew up in a shooting household. Actually, not just a shooting household, but my dad was a small bore shooter. Serious enough that he started a shooting club. So, the numbers people throw around as “large” I kind of laugh at. From a very early age, as early as I can remember, my dad would buy .22 match ammo by the case. Not just the case, but my dad would buy 5-10 cases at a time with matching lot numbers. We shot all types of firearms. With me and my two brothers plus my dad, two cases of shot shells could be used up with minimal effort. So, that meant we also reloaded. As such, with my background, I take a very different approach. I shoot mostly my reloads. My defense ammo is all factory, but the vast majority of my ammo that I shoot, and I shoot at least once a week, are my reloads. Many of my hunting rifle have never had a factory loaded round through them. If I am shooting factory, it is usually because I am running low on brass for that caliber or didn’t have time to load that caliber and wasn’t going to put off a range trip due to not having loaded ammo. As such, I buy ammo with the thought of the brass for reloading, so I steer clear of many brands of ammo and I have never shot steel or aluminum cases ammo. Nothing wrong with it, and if you shoot it great, as long as you are shooting. My ammo journey is not typical, but is shaped by how I grew up and what I expect out of my ammo today.
How my journey began: I learnt from other’s mistakes and own observations.
Good, branded ammo ONLY. Fiocchi, Sellier&Bellot, CCi. Brass or Alu casing ONLY.
Then I wanted to go cheap: That was my mistake. Bulk of reloaded ammo…which ended up with biggest malfunction drill performance of my life. Over 200 rounds were bad… really bad.
I shoot 9mm and 22LR only and found these to be the best for me:
9mm - Fiocchi, Sellier&Bellot, CCi, Herter’s Premium
22LR - CCi, Aguila (both high velocity)
As @Fred30 said:
First of all, my condolences on the loss of a good friend. Thats rough. Hope you and his family have worked through that ok.
I will just state some of my experiences. I get different results from different ammo (what a surprise huh?)
I have found S&B to be “hot” ammo. Even though the ballistics are impressive the accuracy is not optimal in my couple of guns, so beware of just going by labels.
My time is limited and valuable so for most of my life while working I just purchased over the counter ammo. I had an epiphany trying to sight in my Dads .308 Win. I tried all sorts of brands and configurations, prices for $7.00 a box of 20 to $50.00 a box of 20. I found the good old Remington Green Box was the most consistent of the lot.
I repeated this experience with a Remington 700 in 7mm mag. Expensive dosent me it is the best for your application. In the end I found again the Remington Green Box was one of two types that gave me the best groups. In this case it was Hornady HP Match that also gave me good results.
I wish I had been wise enough to have save all the thousands of rounds of brass, but I did not. Now I reload, but only large expensive rifle rounds. I still find it cheaper to buy pistol ammo. Of course, now with ammo being scarce if not totally unavailable I have started to load some of my spent cartridges. But again, I only will reload small calibers (9mm and .45ACP) with high end defense bullets. It take the same amount of time almost to load for precision as practice. If I am going to put my time into it I will make the return on product to be that what is expensive to buy. I also will spend time bracketing through each gun to find the best load for each, which is not always the hottest load. I will still buy cheap factory ammo, brass case only for target practice with the idea it will be reloaded into highly measured defense loads later. I am VERY ANAL about my reloads. Takes me a good 20 minutes per round to re-load. I will even cut grains of powder in 1/2 to get my exact weight and measure it 2 to 4 times to be sure.
Right now with ALL AMMO AND RELOADING supplies virtually gone, I still will not reload without my preferred components. When I cant find them I just resort to .22LR of which I have plenty until I can get what I want for reloading.
So my trip began with factory ammo only, then only reloading the best of the best. That is where I am now. I can shoot .22LR at will without hesitation. Larger calibers I will only shoot after I have the components on hand to reload. AND, as stated, if I reload it will be for critical defense or hunting, not for practice.
I mainly used the firearms for target practice and only kept around 500 rounds of each caliber I use. Firearms were kept in the safe unloaded. About 10 years ago, I started keeping a home defense pistol loaded and handy. Also started going to the range more to improve my skills since it was no longer just for sport. At that point, I started making sure I had at least 1000 rounds of each caliber.
During the shortage of 2012, I made a decision to keep more ammo around when supplies became available. I also decided to sell some firearms and replace them with only those that use 9mm or 22lr. This way, I only had a couple of calibers to stock and can have larger quantities of each always on hand.
A couple of years ago, I got my CWL and started carrying on my person. This again increased my range time and how much ammo I keep around.
This summer when ammo became scarce and prices started to rise , I bought a used reloading press and started making my own 9mm rounds. Even with today’s component prices, I can make FMJs at around 22 cents per round. This cost is probably double compared to people who have been reloading longer and have the stock, but I’m ok with that. I took the reloading journey slowly, making 50-100 rounds at a time until I got the specs dialed in so they work reliably on all my firearms. I’ve since made about 4,000 rounds and have the components to make a lot more. If needed, I can comfortably make 1,000-2,000 a day without sacrificing quality.
Growing up in Texas starting about 5 with a Roy Rogers cap gun I’ve been on a long journey. In a couple of days I will be 64.
As kids the 3 boys received our first 22 rifles for Christmas along with a 500 rd. box of ammo.
We weren’t a big hunting family, mostly birds and rabbits. By the time my older brother came back from Vietnam I was in high school. This is the start of the quest fo cheaper ammo.
I saved for my first pistol and Dad thought a revolver would be best. So I got a used S&W model 10 38 special.
That is when it happened add a couple of more guns ammo is expensive. There was a army surplus that sold some by the round mostly 30 carbine, 06, 45 ACP. So I started reloading. By 20 I was casting my own bullets.
During Clinton’s term that’s the first shortage I remember, and big price hike. I could load and shoot 38’s & 45colt cheaper than buying 22’s
The casting really helped price wise with the wife.
It’s not really cheaper you just get to shoot WAY more for the same price.
When I started buying firearms of my own, my goal was to have at least 1000 rounds on hand, for every gun I own. With storage space becoming limited, and the current panic buying situations, that has become more difficult. Suffice to say, I have more than I could carry if I had to abandon my home. But, there would be a lot of empty brass, if it got bad enough I decided I had to abandon my home.