Whether you are a twice-a-year plinker or an avid hunter who’s firing weapons every single weekend, you have one thing in common: the need for ammunition. Determining your budget and your needs is vital before purchasing ammunition, no matter the caliber, and part of that is having some familiarity with how the ammunition is sold.
Across all types of ammo, there are generally 20 rounds in a box for the larger calibers and 50 rounds for the smaller ones. There are typically 20 to 25 boxes per case. The exception is the .22LR has 100 boxes per case and .762 has 50 boxes per case. A brick is almost always a group of 10 boxes.
Of course, the number of rounds of ammunition in a box varies according to caliber. Below is a quick list of the most common types of ammo. I will provide a more detailed chart later in the article.
Number of rounds per box and case for common ammo types:
- .22LR: 50 rounds per box, 100 boxes per case
- 9mm: 50 rounds per box, 20 boxes per case
- 5.56: 20 rounds per box, 25 boxes per case
- .308: 20 rounds per box, 25 boxes per case
- .223: 20 rounds per box, 25 boxes per case
- 12 ga: 25 rounds per box, 20 boxes per case
- .762: 20 rounds per box, 50 boxes per case
But knowing the caliber of weapon you are planning to put cartridges in is the only starting place. In this article, you will learn that sometimes, according to different manufacturers, the count in a box may not be the same for every brand of the caliber you need.
I will make some assumptions and some blanket statements, and where there are glaring discrepancies, they’ll be mentioned. Otherwise, this page should be the beginning of your research, not the be-all and end-all.
How Many Rounds of Ammo Are in a Box?
If you’re shopping for ammunition for your 9mm pistol, you will almost always find it packaged in boxes of 50 rounds. As this is a very popular caliber and a considerable number of manufacturers produce their own brand of 9mm cartridge, they all seem to have settled on a uniform number. However, there are varieties of counts in other calibers.
Like the 12-gauge shotgun shell, larger ammo units generally come packaged in boxes of 20, but you can find them in 25 and even 40-packs. Still larger ones like the .30-06 usually come in quantities of 20 or 50.
What if I Need More Than a Box?
When we get into larger quantities, we stop considering boxes and pay attention to bricks, flats, and cases. These terms have their logic, but not everyone will be on the same page without specific information.
- Boxes – Depending on the size of the ammunition, there will be from 20 to 50 or so rounds per box. This is what you find on the shelf in sporting goods stores or general merchandise places.
- Bricks – A brick of ammunition is almost always a group of ten boxes. Once you stop buying by the box and start with bricks or more, you begin to get some bulk pricing discounts. A ten-box brick is shaped like an actual brick, hence the name.
- Flats – A flat is usually half of a case of shotgun shells. Since a case of shotgun shells usually holds 20 boxes, a flat contains ten.
- Cases – A case of ammunition contains anywhere between 20 and 50 boxes of ammunition. In a case (and with flats and blocks), you are buying multiple units of the same brand and caliber. If you find a case with multiple calibers, you are looking at something someone has put together for a promotion or a private sale.
The rounds-per-box and boxes-per-case figures are very rarely uniform across all manufacturers, but below is a chart of general averages. Exceptions can be found for every single number in the chart, but where a number appears, it is a number that has recurred often in the research.
|Caliber||Rounds per box||Boxes per case|
The Right Choices for Your Ammo Budget
Most people—rich or poor—pay attention to costs, and when you’re talking about ammunition, this can be an even bigger consideration than normal since you may be procuring large quantities. Finding the right amount of rounds at the right price is a task that can take some time. While brands have different models, below is a general idea of costs for some of the more popular calibers.
|Monarch||$15.99 for 50 rounds||$159.99 for 800 rounds|
|Remington||$17.49 for 50 rounds||$349.99 for 1,000 rounds|
|Federal||$24.99 for 20 rounds||$174.99 for 500 rounds|
|Remington||$11.99 for 100 rounds||$99.99 for 1,400 rounds|
|CCI||$8.99 for 50 rounds||$399.99 for 5,000 rounds|
|Aguila||$7.99 for 50 rounds||$40.49 for 500 rounds|
|CCI||$32.99 for 20 shells||$579.99 for 1,000 rounds|
|Winchester||$48.95 for 50 rounds||$183.76 for 500 rounds|
|American Eagle||$29.99 for 50 rounds||$589.99 for 1,000 rounds|
|Federal||$23.99 for 20 rounds||239.90 for 200 rounds|
|Remington||$21.99 for 20 rounds||219.90 for 200 rounds|
|Winchester||$26.99 for 20 rounds||181.49 for 100 rounds|
How To Properly Store Your Ammunition
Once you’ve bought your ammunition, if you’re not planning on shooting all in one session, or if you’re laying up supplies, you may need to look into storage options. The simplest solution is to leave your ammo in the box, case, or brick in which you bought it. But some want to fire hundreds of shots at the range and don’t want to have to stop every 20 or so shots to unwrap and open a box.
Gun accessory manufacturers offer several kinds of cases to hold various sizes and quantities of cartridges. Trays like my recommended one (Amazon listing) are dedicated to holding the ammo as you put it together at your reloading station.
Metal Ammo Can
Many gun owners have co-opted ammunition cans which the military uses to store very large bullets. Specifically, the .50-caliber and .30-caliber ammo cans are quite popular, and actual military boxes can be purchased at army surplus stores. There are many models in all sorts of configurations in new conditions, such as this quality one that I recommend, is available in more than one size.
Having boxes, cases, or ammo cans allows you to store your ammunition, which is good since ammunition that is properly stored should remain functional for decades. However, there do seem to be recurring questions about how much ammunition gun owners can have.
Stockpiling is something many people do regularly, whether it’s for hunting or preparing for the end times. People also lay up ammunition stores due to the supply shortages that seem to come and go pretty regularly. In the wake of COVID-19, ammunition became very difficult to acquire, so generally, when people found bullets, they bought all they could.
When it comes to having ammunition on hand, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that you should keep a minimum of 1,000 rounds per weapon you have. Multiple calibers and multiple weapons mean more bullets, so this practice can get expensive. Many people adopt the method of picking up a few boxes every time they go to the sporting goods store rather than trying to buy 19,000 rounds on a Saturday afternoon.
Purchasing ammunition is a necessary part of gun ownership and use. If you and your extended family plan on spending all of Thanksgiving shooting targets, cans, and rodents, you need more than a box or two since a box will not have more than 50 rounds in it.
Buying a case of rounds will get you 1,000 or so rounds, incur lower per-unit costs, and offer storage solutions if you’re not planning on using it all at once. The good news is that there are ammunition quantities available for nearly every gun owner, no matter their shooting schedule.
Thanks for reading! For more, don’t miss Ammo Weight Chart | How Much 100 Rounds Weigh by Type.
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