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How Much Ammo Can You Buy at One Time? (Legal Limits)

Knowing how much ammo can be purchased and held at one time is a common question. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there, so I thought I would clear it up in this article.

You can buy as much ammo at one time as you want, though some licensed arms dealers have their own limits. There are no legal limits. You can also own as much ammunition and as many firearms as you like. People with criminal records often face ammo dealer issues, so they might not have the same opportunities.

Throughout this post, I’ll explain how much ammo you’re allowed to stockpile, whether your ammo will be traced back to you, and how you can get ammo online or in person.

Shelves with rifle and pistol ammo boxes at a gun shop

Is Stockpiling Ammo Illegal?

Stockpiling ammo is not illegal because every state government (and the federal government) does not have any laws against it. Furthermore, you can stockpile ammo of any caliber and any quantity. Many gun owners have well over 1,000 to 100,000 rounds of ammunition stockpiled at any given time.

Here’s what you should know about stockpiling ammo:

There are no legal restrictions

You can have as much ammo as you want as long as the ammo is legal in your state and local government. If there aren’t any laws against the type of ammo you want to stockpile, you can have as much as you can store. Keep in mind that storing too much ammo for too long can cost a lot of money because it can expire.

Owning and Carrying Are Not the Same Thing

Just because you can own as much ammo as you want doesn’t mean you can carry all of it at the same time. Check your local government to know how much ammo you’re allowed to have on you (and how much you can carry in your car). Many county and city governments require you to store ammo in your vehicle’s trunk.

Related Is It Safe to Carry Ammo in Your Car? | What You Should Know.

Check With Your Preferred Dealer

Some dealers limit how much ammo they’ll sell to one person. This isn’t based on state or federal government rules. You’ll have to call ahead of time if you’re worried about not being able to get as much ammo as you want. Many places allow you to buy more ammo weekly, but the purchases are tracked and logged.

Store it correctly

Handgun on Ziplock Bag Filled with Ammo

Your ammunition has to be stored in a safe location. Otherwise, you can be held liable for danger caused by your gun and ammo storage. You’re responsible for anything bad that happens to or from your ammunition and firearms once it gets to your home. Being a responsible owner matters just as much if you stockpile or if you only have a few rounds.

I recommend keeping your ammo in a humidity-controlled, temperature-controlled climate to prevent long-lasting rust and corrosion. Ammunition is made of metal, so it’s prone to all sorts of unwanted degradation. Your ammo should be in an airtight safe if possible.

Related Storing Ammo in Ziplock Bags | Should You Do It?

As you can see, there are a few rules you should abide by if you want to stockpile a lot of ammo. Not only do you have to ensure it’s kept in a safe location, but you also have to consider what the salesperson is willing to sell. Some firearm dealers don’t sell ammo on the same day of the purchase. You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to get the ammo.

Can I Buy Ammo Online and Have It Shipped To My House?

Purchased Ammo on Boxes

You can buy ammo online and have it shipped to your house. The ammunition will be linked to your identification, so it can be traced back to you (whether you bought it online or in person). Buying ammo online often includes a shipping fee that can be much greater than getting ammo at a store.

Here’s what you should know about buying ammo online:

  • Be sure to check multiple online retailers since there’s no set price on each type of ammo.
  • Buying ammo online can be more expensive than buying the same type from the same company in person.
  • Shipping and handling costs can add hefty fees to your online ammo purchases.
  • Getting ammunition online doesn’t void tracking data. It simply makes it a bit more convenient for those who want to buy ammo.
  • Online ammo shipping times can take a lot longer, especially if you live in a different state or you want to purchase from a small ammo shop.

My two preferred ammo dealers are and Palmetto State Armory.

All in all, buying ammo online is an excellent way to add to your stockpile. You can shop online if your go-to store is out of the ammo you want or if they have a weekly limit on how much ammo they’ll sell.

Always inspect the ammunition as soon as it arrives since many companies have extremely limited return policies. It’s better to solve the issue right away than add defective or incorrect ammo to your firearm stockpile.

Related How Much Does Ammo Cost? | Detailed Price Analysis.

Can Bullets Be Traced To Buyer?

Different Ammo Types with Boxes Behind

Bullets can be traced to the buyer because they are scanned and tagged to the person’s identification. If a bullet casing is found at a crime scene, it will be traced to the person who bought the ammo. Also, many bullets can be traced to the type of gun it was fired from based on barrel markings.

So, why are bullets allowed to be traced back to the owner? Here are the 5 main reasons:

  1. If the owner commits a crime, it’s very easy for the bullets to be traced back to them. Most law enforcement officers will trace the ammo back to the owner as one of the first parts of figuring out who committed the crime. If your ammo is at the scene, you’ll have some explaining to do.
  2. Selling ammo illegally allows law enforcement to find out who initially owned the ammo. Illegal ammo sales is a federal offense and can result in quite an extensive prison sentence (as well as loss of firearms, ammo, and other punishments). It gets traced to the dealer. Then they can find out who they sold it to.
  3. It allows ammo sales to be tracked, allowing federal and state governments to know how much ammo you own. This process raises suspicions if the person stockpiling ammo makes extreme posts on social media or rants about threats and other acts of violence. It’s a long-term way to prevent unwanted firearm usage.
  4. Tracing bullets prevents people from freely giving thousands of rounds to other people. While you might want to give your family member or friend some of your ammunition, it’s always better to document the transaction. It clears your name if anything goes wrong, but it also prevents unnecessary trouble with the law.
  5. If a shop sells the wrong ammunition, you can find out when and where you bought it. This is extremely rare but very helpful. You’ll be able to figure out how the mixup occurred and get the right kind of ammo you intended to purchase. Keep in mind that return policies vary between stores and dealers.

Many people see tracing bullets as an invasion of privacy. While it might seem overbearing, this law is extremely useful in solving crimes. In other words, if you don’t commit crimes, you don’t have to worry about your bullets being traced. 

Is Stockpiling Guns Illegal?

Stockpiling guns is not illegal in any state. You are allowed to have as many guns as you want as long as the gun is legal in your local government. If your state bans automatic rifles, you cannot have one, much less stockpile them. However, stockpiling legal guns is completely legal and acceptable.

But does this mean you can stockpile any gun you want? That depends on whether the guns you own are legal and whether you’re willing to deal with the hassle of having all those stockpiled firearms traced back to you. 

All Legal Guns Can Be Stockpiled

Anyone in the US with a clean record and age range can purchase and store as many guns as they want to. If you want to create a massive stockpile of guns and ammo, you’re more than welcome. Remember, sales and ownership are almost always tracked, so it’s worth considering how much of each gun you want to own.

Related How to Safely Store a Gun for Home Defense | Best Practices.

Illegal Firearms and Ammunition Can’t Be Stockpiled

It goes without saying that you’re not allowed to stockpile a type of gun, ammo, or any other weapon that’s illegal. Having multiple types of illegal guns can increase your punishment exponentially. It’s never worth trying, especially since there are so many legal firearms. The same goes for illegal firearm attachments.

Your Stockpiled Firearms Can Be Traced

It’s always good to keep in mind that all of your firearms and ammo will be tagged with your name. Remember this issue if you’re considering lending some ammo or a gun to a friend. You’ll be held partially responsible for anything they do with it, even if it’s an accident. In other words, keep your ammo and firearms to yourself as much as possible.

Parting Shot

Buying ammo in the United States can be tricky since there are so many regulations. However, the vast majority of regulations are placed by the arms dealer in question, not the federal government. Many states are cracking down on people with a criminal record, and others impose multiweek laws to prevent people from accessing guns the same day they purchase them.

I hope this article has been informative. Thanks for reading!