Prepper Diary February 3: Snowbound, Like the Rest of the Northeast

While half the country is snowed in with record amounts of snowfall, someone is buying up all the ammo and driving prices up.

We are snowbound, so it’s been a quiet few days.  I’ve done chores around the house and brought in firewood a few times, but except for the occasional gust of wind, it’s pretty silent out there.  I guess most of the North East and parts of the Mid-Atlantic are in the same situation.

I saw tiny footprints in the snow heading out from under our front porch.  Tiny as in chipmunk sized.  Not sure why some little creature ventured out and back; maybe he needed some firewood too. He was headed that direction.

We have not had any mice in the house for months, but I did catch five in the garage not long ago.  That must have eliminated them because the traps have been empty ever since and the cat no longer shows a strong desire to sneak through the garage door. 

Lead and Brass, the New Precious Metals

Spot Silver seems to have dropped back down to the trading range it was in before the Reddit silver short stories hit the news.  I am sure some people made money and others lost it.  Looks like the wind left those sails pretty quickly. Gold and Silver will probably continue to head upwards as people seek to get out of a dropping dollar and avoid the impact of inflation.

Brass and Lead (ammunition, that is) continue to head upwards.  I saw a brick (500) rounds of Remington 40 grain Thunderbolt .22LR for sale for $185.  This is just shockingly high!  I dug through my old cache of ammo and I found a brick of 500 thunderbolts that I bought in October of 1998—no doubt in the run up to Y2K—for the grand price of $10.99.  So back then basic .22LR was 2.2 cents per round and it is 37 cents each today.  Unfortunately, that price is consistent with the price I wrote about a few days ago. So much for cheap plinking.

Checking some online sources, I saw some 5.56 selling for $1.50 to $2 per round.  That’s far higher than the $1.20 per round I reported on the 29th. Of course, so many sellers are out of stock that the folks who have it can just keep raising prices.

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Ammo Price Inflation and Revisiting How Many Rounds You Should Store

Ammunition prices have jumped 300 to 500 percent in the past 18 or 24 months, making it harder to stock up. Here’s the best way for new preppers to proceed.

Basic 9mm ball ammo is currently selling for roughly $1 per round, or $45 to $50 a box on places like  But at least it’s available (or was at the time of this writing).  What hurts is that I used to buy bulk ammo for about a fourth of that, 28 cents per round, less when it was on sale.

Similarly, basic Winchester white box 5.56 is going for $1.20 a round, up fourfold from what I used to pay.  A couple years ago, it was easy to find a case of 1,000 rounds for about $300, or 30 cents per round.

Today, the tiny .22LR is selling more than that, about 36 cents per round.  I have receipts showing that I purchased the same ammo on sale for 6 cents a round.  In other words, a box of 325 rounds I bought in 2017 on sale for $19.95 is now $120.  That’s a six-fold increase.  And many of us remember when a brick of 500 rounds was $10 or $12, although that was around the turn of the century.

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The Storm Bloweth Over and Ammo Prices Continue to Rise

We’ve weathered he winter snow, now we have to deal with high ammo prices. It may be time to roll our own.

The winter storm has come and gone, but after snow two out of the three previous days, it has piled up and may well remain until we experience a melt up this weekend.  In fact, we now have the deepest snow we’ve had all winter and the longest cold spell yet.  Our wood stoves were struggling to keep up.  When we wake up it is 64 or 65 in the main rooms and the temps slowly rise to 70 or 71 if we are lucky.  We didn’t have any of those days like we had over Christmas when the indoor temperature reached 75. I expect part of the blame is due to the high winds, but I also blame the high moisture content of the wood.  It not only burns slower, we have to leave both dampers open wider and more heat goes up the chimney.

My big Fisher stove burns best with five or six pieces in it, so it chews threw wood at a rapid pace.  We are making frequent trips to the wood pile.

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