Best way to get ammo count?

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pbwalker
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Best way to get ammo count?

Postby pbwalker » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:17 pm

So, I've reached the point of not knowing / remembering how much ammo I have. Manually counting it is out of the question...there's just too much. I've combined boxes and boxes in to ammo cans, and was real good about keeping count, but after a while I just kept adding and not keeping count. So here I am...staring at stacks and stacks of ammo cans with little to no idea how many rounds I have.

What would be the best way to get a count? Weigh 50 / 100 rounds of a specific caliber and do the math for the aggregate weight? Is manual counting really the best way to approach it? As much as I dread the idea, I'll take a day off from work and knock it out if I have to. Any tips / secrets that could help would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby SQLGeek » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:39 pm

Weighing is probably the way to do it.

I suppose you could shoot it and keep tallies? Then you'll know how much you did have. :D
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby TreyHouston » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:43 pm

Ill buy some! That will help! And yes, count by weight...
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby C-dub » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:54 pm

Having several full or even partially full cans only creates the problem of what's the tare weight of the cans. You'll have to empty at least one to find that out.

I have 5-6-7, or is it 8-9 of the large ammo cans with various calibers in each. The only way I can be sure is to do it by hand. I've weighed a couple of the cans before and they are in the 90 lb. area and not easy to maneuver. I also lost count of how many rounds of what except for a few less common calibers. At some point I just stopped worrying about it. That was until after a year or more of not buying any 12 gauge and wanting to go shoot a 5-stand match and realizing I only had about 200 rounds left. Sure, 50 rounds is enough, but I didn't realize I had gotten so low and had a mild panic attack. :biggrinjester: Then I bought 400 more rounds on the way to get over that. :thumbs2:
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby flechero » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:08 am

You have to do it manually.

And then after you lose a day of your life documenting how much ammo you have, put away how ever many thousand you consider a safe stash or next election run insurance or whatever. Then you'll know you have X thousand in the back closet and 1k or so in the "working area". Replace the ammo you shoot, as you do, and you'll always have an accurate count.


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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby Soccerdad1995 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:25 am

The correct answer is the same correct answer to approximately 98.6% of all the questions in the world. That answer is, of course, "it depends".

First ask yourself why you want to know how much ammo you have. After all, as long as you are not running low, you don't need to plan any purchases in the near term. If it is just so you have a general idea of how much ammo you have, then empty one ammo can, and weigh it. Weigh one round, then weigh your full ammo cans and do some math.

But if you are the type of person who really needs to know your round count with precision, then manual counting is the only way to know for sure. This is much easier if you have factory ammo that is still in the original boxes, of course. But it is also possible for bulk packed ammo. For instance, I once ordered 1,000 rounds of bulk packed 5.56 tracer rounds, but they only shipped me 976. It only took me the better part of an hour to count it, and then recount to verify.

Also, if you are a nit for details, you can keep a spreadsheet with rounds fired for each gun, and put your inventory on a separate sheet with links to the rounds fired sheet so you have an accurate running total forever more (also include a column for future purchases, of course). All this makes me think there might be a reason why I chose to be an accountant.
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby bmwrdr » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:11 am

I wouldn't worry about the count until yoi get to the point where counting isn't a big deal anymore.
More important to me would be to use the older ammo first like last in last out in warehousing.

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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby The Annoyed Man » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:58 am

A long time ago, I created an .XLS file and offered it in a thread here for people to use, and the general consensus was - nah, too much trouble. After a while, I quit using it too. I’m in the same boat as C-dub. I know this much: over the past several years, I have been purchasing ammo at a much greater rate than I am consuming it. At some point, probably 6 or 7 years ago, I began purchasing it in 1,000 round lots for 5.56 and 9mm, and 500 round lots for .308 and .45 ACP. At some point, I had so much on hand that I stopped keeping track of the number of rounds fired in a range session. I arrived with more than I needed, didn’t shoot anywhere near that amount, went home with a lot of unfired ammo, and then bought another 1,000 rounds a little while later. The lone exception to that has been my handloaded rifle rounds - almost entirely in .308 - simply because I have a single stage press, and so I have never loaded more than 200 or so rounds at a time.....and they might consist of different powder charges and bullet types/weights in a batch in the eternal quest for the perfect target or hunting round for a given rifle. I seldom buy match grade ammo anymore because I can usually improve on the results with my own load.

The problem has recently been augmented because my son and I recently sold both of our homes and bought one much larger house together and moved both of our families under one roof. In our “gun room”, we’ve combined both his and my ammo on one shelf of a large steel storage shelving unit I bought a while back for that purpose. We sorted it by caliber rather than by whose it was prior to this, and we truly no longer have any idea of how much we have. I had a rough idea of how much I had.....probably pessimistic....and my son had a similar rough estimate. But between us, we have no idea. What’s mine is his, and vice versa. (“His” and “mine” are only theoretical distinctions as I’m most likely going to die before he does, and all of it will be his some day anyway - including two left-handed bolt actions for which he has no use, but which I’d like to think he’d keep anyway as mementos of his dad.)

[off-topic]
But, I do think it is important to know. Here’s why: I didn’t just buy bulk ammo to make going to the range easier; I bought in bulk for fear that some day I might have to use it in bulk. Better to have thousands of rounds on hand that you’ll hopefully never need to expend in a violent way, than to need thousands of rounds and not have them......or be able to get them. Do not forget that during the Obama administration, there was an attempt to force ATF to reclassify M855 green tip as non-sporting and have it removed from the commercial market. Almost instantly, hoarders (actually wisely) snapped it all up, and it disappeared from the shelves. You couldn’t find it anywhere. I was able to find smaller lots of maybe a few hundred at a time of SS109 - which has the same bullet, but which I do not know if it has the same ballistics - but that was it. Even M193 started getting harder to find.

All of that could happen again, as long as our ability buy ANY kind of ammunition is subject to the whims of the executive branch. You get a democrat majority in Congress with a democrat president, and some other fool shoots up a movie theater or a school, in the ensuing outrage, politicians won’t have to ban your rifles. Congressional democrats know from long experience that any kind of black rifle ban is deeply unpopular with voters on a national level. It is our misfortune that the 2nd Amendment includes no phrasing along the lines of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and the ammunition for those arms, shall not be infringed.” So that’s what the deep state will do...... it could very easily mandate a limit on size of ammo purchases in any one purchase. It could very easily require the registration of ammo purchases. It could very easily remove certain kinds of ammo from the commercial market by executive fiat........JUST as it has already recently attempted with M855 and was almost successful. It could very easily restrict the purchase of various reloading components, either by regulating the quantities you can purchase, or banning what you can purchase. Consider a simple regulatory change to make it almost impossible for people of average means to afford to buy and store ANY primers without the same kind of licensing, taxes, and paperwork required to buy and store dynamite....... You could buy all the bullets and powder you want, but if you can’t get primers, you can’t reload. If you can’t reload, you can’t bypass the state’s efforts to limit or ban your access to ammunition.

Those are all reasons, but not necessarily all of the available reasons, for why I buy ammo in bulk, and you should too. It doesn’t matter what kind of weapon you shoot, or what kind of ammo you put in it. If you can’t feed it, it’s just a brick of metals and plastics.

So my son and I need to set aside a Saturday just to get as accurate a count as possible of how much we have on hand of all calibers right now. Then we need to keep our rule of thumb of always buying in greater amounts than we shoot. At least we’ll have a baseline, and then we do an annual recount to update the baseline; but we’ll never have any less than that baseline on hand. It may or may not be useful to record those updates in some manner or other, but OTH, I’ve become a believer in not digitally recording anything you wouldn’t want the govt to know about you. Anything other than an encrypted piece of paper with the tally, kept in your wallet, would be information easily accessible to the gov’t if they wanted to either hack your cloud storage, or hack into any computers you own.....unless you keep it in a file on a computer that is airgapped 100% of the time. And even then, a search of your home would eventually reveal that information.

Paranoid? Maybe. Hindsight is 20/20, but I am not possessed of foresight. I can only observe past history, the current trends, and make some educated guesses about the future. The result of those guesses is that I no longer have any hope that, absent some kind of MAJOR (and hopefully non-violent) changes in the way we govern ourselves, the future has a place for a Constitutional republic that defends the liberties of the individual. That prospect has nearly evaporated.
[/off-topic]

I agree that the best way to get a round count is to get the weight of the empty ammo can, the weight of one of the rounds it contiains, the weight of the can with all the rounds in it, and then do the math. It may not be 100% accurate, but it will not be off by more than a few rounds at most.
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby Bitter Clinger » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:42 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:A long time ago, I created an .XLS file and offered it in a thread here for people to use, and the general consensus was - nah, too much trouble. After a while, I quit using it too. I’m in the same boat as C-dub. I know this much: over the past several years, I have been purchasing ammo at a much greater rate than I am consuming it. At some point, probably 6 or 7 years ago, I began purchasing it in 1,000 round lots for 5.56 and 9mm, and 500 round lots for .308 and .45 ACP. At some point, I had so much on hand that I stopped keeping track of the number of rounds fired in a range session. I arrived with more than I needed, didn’t shoot anywhere near that amount, went home with a lot of unfired ammo, and then bought another 1,000 rounds a little while later.

But, I do think it is important to know. Here’s why: I didn’t just buy bulk ammo to make going to the range easier; I bought in bulk for fear that some day I might have to use it in bulk. Better to have thousands of rounds on hand that you’ll hopefully never need to expend in a violent way, than to need thousands of rounds and not have them......or be able to get them. Do not forget that during the Obama administration, there was an attempt to force ATF to reclassify M855 green tip as non-sporting and have it removed from the commercial market. Almost instantly, hoarders (actually wisely) snapped it all up, and it disappeared from the shelves. You couldn’t find it anywhere. I was able to find smaller lots of maybe a few hundred at a time of SS109 - which has the same bullet, but which I do not know if it has the same ballistics - but that was it. Even M193 started getting harder to find.


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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby pbwalker » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:07 pm

Thanks for the input folks! My story closely resembles TAMs, and my OCD is starting to twitch due to the fact that I don't know how many rounds. :lol:
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby bblhd672 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:43 pm

A while back I had similar question, but mine was "can I fully load every pistol and rifle magazine that I own?" I ended up pulling all my ammo and various containers out. Over the course of several evenings I counted and cataloged in a notebook what I had on hand. Then I counted up all my various magazines and compared mag capacity against on hand ammo.
I now know that I have a full load of ammo to fill up every mag, along with enough ammo to reload a few mags. Now I need more magazines and more ammo.
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby pbwalker » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:55 pm

bblhd672 wrote:Now I need more magazines and more ammo.


Don't we all...

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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby MrMcCullster » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:18 pm

I just recently got my ammo storage situated at home, and before I bought any bulk ammo, felt I needed to have a good system in place to keep up with it. This is just what I do and I've actually got comments from some range officers about how "tidy" my system is. Sometimes I feel like Phil Hartman's OCD cooking show skit on SNL, where he would pour flour into a bowl to bake a cake, and then would spend 2 minutes vacuuming up the spilt flour, putting it into a folded paper bag, labeling it, and then placing it the trash for compost.

Now, I'll preface this by saying that I probably don't have nearly as much ammo as you guys do, but this system works for me.

Prerequisites:
1. I don't have as much ammo and don't buy in bulk.
2. I mostly buy reloads without boxes or any sort of storage container. The reloads I do get come in branded ziplock bags to cut down on cost.
3. Rifle ammo is a whole other beast.

In my rabbit whole viewing of YouTube on how to store rounds, I ran across a video illustrating how much different caliber rounds would weigh when put into a .30 cal, .50 cal, and the fat .50 ammo can. The criteria for this storage solution was also for a bug-out situation, and how far would you carry those ammo cans? Just to the truck? Around the block? A mile? More? Just for storage?

I personally felt like 50-60 lbs was enough weight to carry for a jaunt around the block or through the woods. Loose rounds piled to the brim of a .50 cal ammo can is just crazy heavy, approaching the 100 lb mark.

So I got .50 cal ammo cans, and bought 100 round MTM CaseGuard storage cases for all of the loose rounds. I don't particularly care about pistol ammo manufacturers if it's just for plinking at the range, so I mix and match if I need to. I do however distinguish between FMJ and defensive rounds by having blue for FMJ and red for defensive ammo. I have them labeled accordingly and if I feel so inclined will label the manufacturer, bullet weight, and bullet type, and when I purchased them. That's what the range officer saw when I had to do an ammo check.

For 9mm, I can keep 8 - 100 round MTM cases inside a .50 cal can = 800 rounds
For 40 S&W, I can keep 7 - 100 round cases = 700 rounds
For .38 Special/.357 Magnum, I can keep 6 - 100 round cases = 600 rounds

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If I have 2 ammo cans for each caliber I can keep 1,600, 1,400, and 1,200 rounds on hand respectively. To me, that is perfect for my needs and what I want to keep around.

The MTM cases are clear, so I can easily glance inside the can and count the full containers to get my numbers. You get the idea.

Again, Rifle ammo is a whole other beast, and I have a feeling I'll cross that bridge when I get heavily into storing rifle rounds. If I did buy pistol ammo in bulk, I'd probably fill up my .50 cal cans and then not worry about my numbers above the 2 can mark I set. But, to each his own. People want to keep more or less.

I also do a "check out" on a spreadsheet when I go to the range. I'll pull 200 - 9mm, 200 - .40, etc. from my numbers, and shoot what I shoot. If I have any left over, I'll add them back. Get a new shipment of rounds? Add them and update my numbers. Maybe even get a label or something to indicate a .50 cal is full and hasn't been touched.

Again, it's all about how in depth you want to go with your system, or if you just say F it and spend your time focusing on other stuff.

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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby DocV » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:07 pm

If you are going to manually count, try decimation. By that I mean count groups of ten placing nine of the ten rounds in a container (ammo can) and retain the 10th round elsewhere. Then count how many 10th rounds you have. Set a meaningful group count, such as 500 rounds, to make the task easier.
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Re: Best way to get ammo count?

Postby MechAg94 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:55 pm

All I can suggest is to sort by caliber and count boxes. Each caliber typically comes in boxes of a fixed amount though there are exceptions.


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