TFB Round Table: 10 Cartridges Still on Shelves After the Apocalypse


    Welcome back to another edition of the TFB Round Table sponsored by Ammunition To Go! For those who are first joining us, this is a multi-part series where TFB will discuss the characteristics of great ammunition for specific applications. This could vary from big game hunting, plinking, precision rifle matches, small game hunting, or even pistol competitions. Chances are there is someone here at TFB who can offer you advice on buying the right round for your task at hand. This week I am giving out my best guesses on ammunition that you would still find on the shelf after the end of the world. Prepper or not, listen up everyone! Let’s dive right into the 10 cartridges that will still be on shelves even after the apocalypse!

    TFB ROUND TABLE: Purpose of this round table?

    I was thinking the other day about how I could hopefully offer a distraction from the current events of the world out there. It is obviously hard to walk two inches in the current world we live in, virtual or not, without hearing about panic buying, paranoia, and all-around general hysteria. The overall feeling in the air is it is the end of the world as we know it, but it is not at the same time. I figured since we can not necessarily get away from the topic then maybe we could talk about it without actually talking about it. Put ourselves into a situation we keep hearing about and seeing what products we would still see on an old shelf after the end of the world. It should be noted that this is subject to change depending on the regions you live in or the popularity or better yet the unpopularity of certain cartridges found there.

    TFB ROUND TABLE: What is the situation?

    So it happened. The nukes dropped, a meteor collided with the earth, a silent plague crept upon us, or heck, somehow monkeys have taken over. The specifics of “how” don’t really matter. What matters now is not only seeking to find out how The Simpsons predicted all of it, but also what dusty old box of ammo will still be left on the shelf as you stumble into an abandoned sporting goods department.


    As I mentioned before in the last Round Table article this list is relatively fluid but grounded in reason. It is entirely dependant on region, ammunition availability/access, and popularity/unpopularity. I made it a point to keep an eye out as of late since panic buying has spread all over the US. I have seen some interesting things at local gunshops and department stores in terms of what is left over after a week-long rush and come to a list of 10 Cartridges left almost untouched. I have made it a point not to include anything too terribly oddball since the list would be endless. We are talking ammunition that would be on the shelf in the first place.

    • .17 HMR: By no means is it terribly unpopular or without its uses but years after the fall of civilization I can see this on a shelf long before I would ever find 22 LR. In most old school 22’s you could shoot short, long, and long rifle which is why I am omitting the first two from the list. Honorable or perhaps dishonorable mention to .17 MACH 2 which is not commonly stocked anyway.
    • 25 ACP: I like to think of 25ACP as the 380ACP of its day when put next to 32ACP. Obviously, 380ACP showed up fairly quickly after 32ACP and is still a popular and credible cartridge today. 25ACP was the next popular step down from 32ACP. A look at it from the more modern perspective and you will find that there are some 22LR that produce better ballistics going out of the same length of the barrel. By today’s standards, it is undesirable and considered fairly impotent.
    • 32ACP: The 9mm of its day! Sort of? I only say this in the same sense I referred to with 25ACP. It was the most common self-defense pistol caliber of its day when ignoring revolvers and military sized handguns. It took a long time for 9mm to completely kill 32ACP. Companies like Beretta mass-produced guns chambered in this up until fairly recently.
    • 40 S&W: Touchy subject I know. The majority of attitudes to 40S&W these days are either indifferent or against it. Modern 9mm and some other cartridges have expanded themselves enough to eclipse or even make 40 S&W redundant. The sheer number of guns chambered in it has locked it in place on shelves and even hearts for the foreseeable future though. That being said I believe it would still be left with mostly full cases on a pallet somewhere.
    • 357 SIG: Even though it is a neat cartridge in itself the low popularity and expensive price of this round have made it pretty undesirable as is without the world ending. It showed up riding on the coattails of 40S&W and failed to stick. A low amount of manufacturers even chamber 357 SIG these days.
    • 454 Casull: I decided to roll with the big-bore revolver cartridge over that of a cowboy one like 45 Long Colt because it is essentially the same story as 357 SIG in that its core current audience liked it when it hit the scene but have failed to upgrade to a more mainstream big-bore eff you kind of cartridges like 460 or 500 S&W. Should be mentioned those would probably be on a shelf too all things considered.
    • 30-30: Despite its popularity in most parts of the US and its comfortability as a brush gun cartridge, I don’t see it leaping off shelves. The cost is usually the same as most boxes of 20rds of hunting rifle ammo and that’s exactly its application. Some people do not hunt a day in their life or hold a desire to work a lever action on a rifle but are still avid shooters in more common/widely used cartridges.
    • 6.5 Creedmoor: Now now, before anyone freaks out I acknowledge the rising popularity of this cartridge. I decided to include this one for a few reasons. Its primary use seems to be that of a recreational one. To narrow that down further its real favor is drawn from long-range shooters and reloaders out there longing for that perfect load to be paired with their rifle to make them bullseye gods. A big bag of unprimed 6.5 Creedmoor brass in a store would leave more frequently than a box of factory loaded ammunition.
    • .303 British: This one you could probably say walks the tightrope between oddball and not if only for the reason it is an extremely common British military surplus rifle cartridge. You could exchange this one with something like 7.62x54R or even 8mm Mauser and 6.5×55 Swede. The long and short of it is a milsurp rifle cartridge and if anyone owns one they bulk bought cheap surplus ammunition long before they would buy some big-name manufacturers expensive hunting loads.
    • 45-70 Govt: This one is pretty much the same story as 30-30 albeit harder recoiling and more expensive than the average box of hunting ammo.
    • Honorable Shotgun Shell Mentions: Pretty much any that is not 12ga or 20ga.

    As always, thank you for reading TFB! Be safe out there, have fun while shooting, and we will see you next time for the TFB Round Table brought to you by Ammunition to Go! Also, let us know what you think in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.


    TFB Round Table

    Hornady 17 HMR 15.5 Grain NTX 50rd

    This 17 HMR round by Hornady features the old Nebraskan company’s 15.5 NTX projectile. The core of the NTX is made of frangible copper alloy, and because the rest of the bullet is similarly devoid of lead you’re free to enjoy it in the great state of California. The NTX further features a streamlined polymer tip which flattens its trajectory in flight substantially. That hard tip is perched on the rim of the NTX’s match grade AMP jacket, so upon impact it initiates rapid fragmentation that is wholly devastating to small varmints’ bodies.

    As a Hornady, this round additionally offers a select brass casing and propellant that is perfectly matched to deliver ideal performance for its caliber. This round’s still a tack driver even at 200 yards, so with it the odds are that if you can see a groundhog, you’ll be able send him along his merry way in an instant.

    Speer Gold Dot 25 Auto 35 Grain JHP 20rd

    20rds – 25 Auto Speer Gold Dot 35gr. JHP Ammo

    This cartridge by Speer features a Gold Dot projectile, the same bullet preferred by countless law enforcement professionals throughout the country. While you’re unlikely to spot a cop carrying a 25 Auto, at least as their primary weapon, this little round’s performance for self-defense is benefited greatly by its 35 grain Gold Dot projectile.

    The Gold Dot’s jacket is applied to its core via Speer’s electrochemical Uni-Cor process. As the jacket is created one single molecule at a time, it is thoroughly concentric to promote accurate flight, and as it’s furthermore virtually inseparable from its core the Gold Dot exhibits excellent weight retention. The Gold Dot’s hollow point nose cavity is formed over the course of a two stage process in order to ensure that it expands to the optimal width and at the optimal rate during penetration.

    This round’s bullet isn’t the sole source of its reliability. Its CCI primer is very responsive, and its brass casing is nickel plated to protect it from corrosion and facilitate feeding and ejection in your semi-automatic everyday carry.

    Federal Hydra-Shok 32 Auto 65 Grain HP 20rd

    20rds - 32 Auto Federal Hydra-Shok 65gr. HP Ammo

    This is 32 Auto Federal Hydra-Shok 65gr. Hollow Point Ammo. This ammo contains a post in the middle of the hollow point to give it rapid expansion and deep penetration. This ammo is also very suitable for short barreled weapons and female shooters, because it is a reduced recoil round. This ammo has proven stopping power.

    Speer Gold Dot 40 S&W 165 Grain JHP 20rd

    20rds – 40 S&W Speer Gold Dot 165gr. JHP Ammo

    Speer’s Gold Dot line of ammunition is designed to keep whomever would chamber it safe during whatever dangerous circumstances they might find themselves in. It is tested according to FBI protocol for service-class handgun cartridges which scrutinizes penetration, expansion, and weight retention through both bare and shielded targets.

    This 40 S&W cartridge features a 165 grain projectile. The bullet’s alloyed lead core has been electrochemically bonded to its highly concentric jacket, and as the result the two are practically inseparable as they penetrate a target. The bullet’s hollow cavity has been formed in two stages: the first to control width of expansion, and the second to control rate of expansion. Its profile is further optimized to assure smooth feeding in a semi-automatic handgun.

    This round offers additional value with its brass casing, which is plated in nickel. That plating not only protects the cartridge from corrosion, but further promotes reliable cycling and facilitates a chamber check when one must be performed in a darkened environment.

    Federal LE Tactical 357 SIG 125 Grain HST 50rd

    50rds - 357 Sig Federal LE Tactical HST 125gr. Hollow Point Ammo

    This is 357 Sig Federal LE Tactical 125gr. HST Hollow Point Ammo. This is the next generation in high performance Defense ammunition. The Tactical HST Hollow Point Ammo offers consistent expansion and optimum penetration for terminal performance. A specially designed hollow point tip won’t plug while passing through a variety of barriers and this bullet holds its jacket in the toughest conditions. The HST Hollow Point is engineered for 100% weight retention and extremely impressive expansion—it’s the ammunition you’ve been waiting for.  This ammo is extremely hard for us to get and we have limited supplies. This is current production ammo and it is packed in 50rd. boxes.

    Hornady Custom 454 Casull 240 Grain XTP 20rd

    20rds – 454 Casull Hornady Custom 240gr. XTP Mag Ammo

    This 454 Casull round from Hornady’s Custom line of ammunition features the 240 grain XTP Mag projectile. It’s able to withstand powerful magnum pressures without deforming, which along with its uniformly dense swaged lead core delivers the accuracy you want for hunting and absolutely need for self-defense. The XTP Mag is a hollow point with exact serrations that split it into symmetrical sections, enabling it to mushroom outward reliably even at lower velocities. Rate of expansion is further controlled via the XTP Mag’s jacket, which is drawn with varying thicknesses down its length.

    A Custom round is meant to give you performance like a carefully handloaded round would provide. With its select brass casing, propellant matched to deliver the best that a 454 Casull revolver is capable of accomplishing, and highly responsive primer, you’ll be able to confidently venture through bear country without worrying about anyone stealing your pic-a-nic basket.

    Federal 30-30 Power-Shok 150 Grain SP 200rd

    200rds – 30-30 Federal Power-Shok 150gr. Flat Nose SP Ammo

    This 200 round case of .30-30 Winchester will give you plenty of zeroing opportunities before the season starts as well as hunting ammo for many years to come. Federal constructs these rounds using reliably igniting, non-corrosive Boxer primers which are accompanied by sealant in order to protect the cartridges’ propellant from moisture. Each primer is affixed to a reloadable brass casing which is crimped to a 150 grain projectile at its toothed cannelure; this arrangement prevents setback or dislodging caused by loading and recoil in a tubular magazine or by repeated chambering and live ejection when clearing.

    The copper jacketed projectile used in this load has an exposed lead tip with a flat shape which prevents catastrophic accidents from occurring in the magazine tube of a lever-action rifle. 150 grains is a common middle weight for the .30-30 caliber. Hunters can expect deep penetration and appropriate expansion from the soft point load in order to take down deer and hogs with efficiency. Federal ammunition is American made and supported by the latest in technological innovation in order to give shooters the best quality possible at an affordable price.

    Hornady American Gunner 6.5 Creedmoor 140 Grain BTHP 200rd

    Say hello to your next summer afternoon range trip. This 200-round ammo case is filled with Hornady’s premium match caliber, the 6.5mm Creedmoor. The 140 grain boat tail hollow point (BTHP) projectile provides tight groupings at long ranges and a muzzle velocity of 2690 fps. You can extend the life of each factory fresh brass casing by reloading the Boxer-primed brass casings. This ammunition is non-corrosive and non-magnetic, so it’s great for pounding targets at long ranges. Take advantage of this incredible value by ordering your own 200-round ammo can of this 6.5mm Creedmoor range ammunition.

    Sellier & Bellot 303 British 180 Grain SP 20rd

    20rds – 303 British Sellier & Bellot 180gr. SP Ammo

    During the Great War, several Germans reported that their advances had been repelled by British machine gun fire when, in fact, the British did not have a machine gun with them. What they had instead were SMLE Mk III rifles chambered for 303 British.

    This 303 British round by Sellier & Bellot is certainly substantial enough to repel nearly any order of attack, although we should hope that you will enjoy it for hunting deer instead. Its 180 grain projectile is one of the heavier weights that its caliber is available in, and it is a soft point. Its exposed soft lead core permits it to widen devastatingly as it advances through a soft target, and its partial jacket serves to ensure that that expansion occurs in an orderly fashion.

    Sellier & Bellot’s ammunition always performs admirably, leaving nothing to chance once you’ve gotten a target in your sight. This round’s brass casing possesses highly uniform dimensions, and its sturdiness lends itself to repeated handloading. Its Boxer primer is non-corrosive, and its propellant delivers a highly consistent muzzle velocity.

    Federal 45-70 Govt Power-Shok 300 Grain SP 20rd

    20rds - 45-70 Govt. Federal Power-Shok 300gr. Soft Point Ammo

    This is .45-70 Govt. Federal Power-Shok 300gr. Speer Hot-Cor Soft Point Ammo. Power-Shok ammo is just what you need to take your trophy and have a few bucks left to haul it to the taxidermist. All of Federal’s “Classic” rifle options are now exclusively available under the Power-Shok name with the most popular big game cartridges featuring the Grand Slam soft point bullet from Speer. The unique jacket profile and fluted tip of the Grand Slam bullet ensures reliable expansion over a wide velocity range. Whatever your pursuit, Federal has you covered with Power-Shok Ammo. This ammo is packed in 20rd. boxes.



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    Old soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.