6 Versatile Ammo Types You Need In Your Arsenal

When building a prepper ammunition stockpile, you are always going to be pressed for room and money.

As with other parts of your stockpile, you may be wondering if there is a way to choose guns and ammo so that you can get multiple uses for a single item. In this case, there are ammo types that can be used in different kinds of guns.

If you choose the following ammo types and build your weapons stockpile with them in mind, it will be easier to build up your ammo supply and have plenty for every gun that you have set aside for survival needs.

Remember the Purpose of Your Stockpile

As you read through interchangeable ammo types, some others may come to mind that aren’t listed here.  Do not forget that as a prepper, your primary goals will be survival related.  As such, you will be looking mostly for ammo  that can be used for hunting, home, and self defense.

Other ammo not mentioned in this article may not be as suitable for these purposes, or it may be too hard to get or to expensive to consider for a good sized stockpile.  It is also important to consider how available the ammo will be after a major crisis occurs.

Interchangeable ammo will be almost useless if it is not something popular enough that you can pick it up from some other place as needed.

Types of Ammunition that Have Multiple Uses

.22 Long Rifle

The .22 Long Rifle round has been in use for over a century and is still very popular.  This ammunition is actually very cheap when compared to the other ammo you may have or be planning to store for other weapons.  Even a 500 round brick can be a lifesaver in a long term survival situation.  Here are some ways you can use the .22 LR:

  • Can be fired from  .22 caliber pistols and rifles.  These weapons are also some of the best for survival needs.
  • This ammunition comes in many types from round nose to hollow points which means you can use it in a wide range of applications.
  • .22 ammunition is lightweight, which means you can carry more of it easily than other types.
  • It is an excellent bullet to use in small game hunting.  It will also kill deer and other deer size animals at close range with good shot placement.  If you have nothing else, it can be used for protection against other people with multiple and well aimed shots to center mass or to the head.
  • It is the best ammunition to use for training and practice because of it’s low report and no recoil.

5.56 NATO/.223 Remington

The AR-15 rifles are the most popular rifles in the US today.  Because of this, there are large quantities of this ammunition in stock just about everywhere.

  • 56 NATO ammunition is used either by the US military or law enforcement in this country, which means it will never be completely banned or unavailable. You should be able to find it regardless of the situation.
  • Is a lightweight, light recoiling round that most semi-auto defensive rifles are commonly chambered in.
  • Comes in defensive, hunting, or standard ball loadings.
  • Has enough power for personal protection, can be used to hunt most commonly eaten game animals, and can be used on non-game animals such as wild pigs, coyotes, and feral dogs.
  • With the 5.56 NATO it’s possible to carry and store more ammunition than larger sized ammunition.
  • The rifles in 5.56 NATO are usually lighter in weight than the 7.62 NATO rifles.
  • If you are going to live in, or be traveling through areas that have bears or other large predators, it would be better, however to carry a semi-auto or bolt action rifle in 7.62 NATO.  Anything less could endanger your life.

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  • If your rifle barrel is stamped with 5.56 NATO, you can safely shoot .223 Remington ammunition in it. If the rifle barrel is stamped .223 Remington, don’t shoot 5.56 NATO ammunition in it because the rifle may explode. This can cause serious injury or death of the shooter or anyone nearby.

7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester

When you have to shoot at long ranges or through serious barriers this is the round to go to with. This round is the most common for medium to long range shooting.  There are also many rifles that use it.

  • Any gun labeled 7.62 NATO can accept .308 ammunition, but guns chambered for .308 should not fire 7.62 NATO ammunition.  To do this could cause death or serious injury to the shooter.
  • This ammunition is a good choice for scoped bolt action rifles.
  • 7.62 NATO/.308 ammunition is also used by the US military or law enforcement, which means it will be around and in production long after other bullet types are no longer available.
  • This ammunition comes in defensive, hunting, or standard ball loadings.
  • The 7.62 NATO/.308 rifles can shoot further and are more accurate than the 5.56 rifles.
  • When used in battle rifles, this ammunition can easily penetrate heavy underbrush, vehicle doors, stone, or wooden walls. These rounds can go through an engine block or defeat hard steel body armor.

9mm, .40 S&W and .45ACP

The 9mm round is possibly the all around best pistol round to carry because of it’s low cost and common usage.  It is also the cheapest of all the self-defense pistol calibers.

In today’s handgun market, all major handgun manufactures produce at least one 9mm pistol variant to keep them in the running.  9mm ammunition is an excellent choice to use for all individual body types, with it’s low recoil, and is easy to shoot with less training.

  • These are semi-auto pistol cartridges used by the US military and a lot of law enforcement agencies in this country.  As a result, there is a lot of this ammunition manufactured and stored each year to keep up with the high levels needed to supply the military and law enforcement  needs.
  • With the large quantities of 9mm that is stockpiled, it will be easy to scavenge ammunition  than for other calibers.
  • 9mm ammunition can be used in both 9mm semi-auto pistols and a pistol caliber carbines.  Because of the 9mm’s smaller size, it is possible for each of these weapons to use high capacity magazines that aren’t heavy when full.
  • Since the 9mm is more popular than the .45ACP today with the US and her allies, it would be to your advantage to use the 9mm handguns over the .40 S&W or the .45ACP. This in the end will have to be a personal choice on which handguns to use.
  • It is wise to equip each family member with a handgun chambered in the same calibers.  This will make it easy to share ammo among family members while limiting the need for storing multiple ammo types.
  • Although the .40 S&W was popular with some law enforcement agencies, many have gone back to using  9mm rounds.
  • 9 mm cartridges are not only used in semi-auto pistols. They will also work in AR-15 rifles, or in 9mm revolvers.

.357 Magnum

This revolver is an old and true work horse for law enforcement in this country until replaced by the semi-auto pistols in most departments.

  • For a revolver this is an excellent all purpose round for hunting and protection.  It will also shoot the lower power .38 Special ammunition.  This gives you a revolver that can shoot at two power levels. Since the .357 Magnum and the .38 Special are very popular, the ammo will also be around for a long time and remain in production as long as it is possible to make ammo.

Shotgun Ammunition

12 gauge ammunition is the easiest to locate and the most available type of ammunition in the world.  The 12 gauge shotguns and ammunition is the most versatile ammunition and firearms choices for survivalists.

It is also very powerful and has the ability to completely destroy the many different kinds of targets.  While handicapped people and beginners may do better with 20 gauge ammo, it is not as common, and may not be as easy to get in a time of need.

  • For a primary shotgun gauge, the 12 gauge would be my first choice.  There are vast quantities of 12 gauge ammo in reserves and in storage, which makes it easier and cheaper to buy at this time.
  • For generations, this was the only shotgun chambering in use with the US military and law enforcement.  As with other ammo used by the military and law enforcement, it should be easier to obtain fresh supplies after a major crisis occurs.
  • You can choose low recoil rounds if you have problems with the higher velocity rounds.
  • A 12 gauge shotgun can take game ranging from rabbits, squirrels, to bears by changing the load.
  • Do not forget there are many variations of the 12 gauge slugs.
  •  Getting to know the differences between bird shot, turkey shot, buck shot, and slugs will give you a better chance of choosing the ones that will be of most interest for your stockpile.  While having a few boxes of each will not hurt, you may still want to focus one over the others for the bulk of the 12 gauge part of your stockpile.
  • If you are traveling through or are going to live in an area that have large predator animals and you don’t have a .308 or larger rifle.  In an emergency a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs will get the job done.
  • In a defensive role the 00 buckshot can deliver 8 or 9 .33 caliber pellets in a standard 2 3/4” shotshell.  In a 3”magnum shotshell there are about 12 .33 caliber pellets.  When shooting in tight places like in home defense shooting distances, a tight cluster of .33 caliber lead balls at a speed of 1,000 FPS can be devastating. If the recoil of the standard or magnum buckshot loads are to much for you, try using reduce recoil buckshot loads.
  • It is my personal believe that shotgun slugs should only be used in hunting unless there is a defensive emergency and all you have is a shotgun loaded with slugs.
  • Even though you will get a lot of use from 12 gauge ammo, it is also quite heavy to carry around and can be expensive.  If you are going to store a lot of this ammo, it may be a good idea to store it in several caches instead of relying on carrying it from one place to another in a time of need.

What About Guns that Fire Multiple Ammo Types?

Aside from considering different kinds of ammo that can be exchanged for others, it never hurts to have at least one weapon that can fire many different kinds of ammo. In this case, I recommend the .327 Federal Magnum Revolver.

Even though they are relatively new on the market, they are gaining a lot of attention from a wide range of consumers. Among other things, they are designed for shooters that don’t what heavy recoil.

They are also good for back-up and hunting.

Insofar as performance, the .327 Federal Magnum is a very close second place to the .357 Magnum. On the other hand, the .327 Federal Magnum revolvers can also shoot  the .32 H&R Magnum, .32 S&W Long, .32 S&W Short, and .32ACP ammunition, which gives it better versatility.

When a time of natural disaster or civil unrest, there may be no avoiding the need to defend yourself with a gun.  Since guns require ammo, it will be to your advantage to consider rounds that can used in different weapons as well as ones that will be readily available.

As a related consideration for your stockpile, you should also consider guns such as the .327 Federal Magnum revolvers that can shoot a wider range of ammo than other guns.

by Fred Tyrell

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