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YoKoolAid's avatar

If we stopped making bullets today, how long until we run out?

Asked by YoKoolAid (2424points) March 31st, 2010

Even if bullets went away we’d still have grenades, claymores, RPG’s, IED’s, rockets, missles and nukes to worry about, but let’s entertain this idea for a minute.

what sparks this question is the various articles and movies i see about civil war, insurgency, child soldiers and ethnic cleansing and i think: what if they didn’t have anymore bullets where are they getting all the bullets? I’m not naive enough to think: “hey no more bullets, i guess we’ll stop fighting each other”... because where there’s a will there’s a way. Nation x probably has bullet producing factories and if not it probably imports ammo from other countries. Basically… much ammo do we have stockpiled?

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31 Answers

slick44's avatar

Not soon enough! stop the killing of inoccent people

ucme's avatar

Good question.I’m thinking a long time,it almost seems like they have limitless ammo.

CMaz's avatar

We are still using surplus ammo from WWII.

ganti_x89's avatar


YoBob's avatar

Do you honestly think that if bullets went away humanity would suddenly undergo some cosmic fundamental change that would prevent them from doing harm to one another?

NEWSFLASH: If there are no more bullets, people will use arrows instead, and if there are no more arrows people will use spears, and if there were no more spears people would start using pointy sticks, and if there were no more pointy sticks people would use clubs, and if there were no more clubs people would use rocks, and if there were no more rocks people would use their fists.

Armaments are not the problem, lust for power and control is.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Even if ammunition was no longer commercially produced, it could still be available. It’s not very difficult to personally re-load a bullet (or shell) after it has been fired.

TexasDude's avatar

Remember the good old days when people were shot with arrows, speared with lances, hacked with swords and axes, clubbed with maces, sticks, rocks, fists, etc.?

Cartridges magically disappearing would not do a thing to stop the tide of human killing, as you have and others have stated. Like @jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities, says, cartridges are easily reloaded. We probably have enough ammunition to last at least 200+ years, and that’s not even counting private collections. Hell, I’ve got around 5,000 rounds of ammo on hand before you freak out, I’m a competitive marksman and shooting enthusiast who shoots high volumes of ammo regularly

SeventhSense's avatar

Until the Chinese could make more. Next Tuesday latest.

ucme's avatar

Good vision.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Not in my lifetime. I have enough bar lead and bullet molds to supply my black powder firearms until I die.

JLeslie's avatar

@YoBob But there is a difference between killing someone with your hands (or even a knife) and killing someone at a distance with a gun. I guess the bow and arrow is similar to a gun, although it is not an automatic weapon, and it takes some time to load up your next arrow. I think some of the gang killings would be gone if there were no bullets and guns. No more drive by shootings.

WestRiverrat's avatar

As long as there is a market for bullets, there will be someone, somewhere that will manufacture them.

Cmneir's avatar

Oh we have enough bullets to last us.

YoBob's avatar

@JLeslie I’m afraid the facts are against you on this one. There are more people killed each year from assaults using any number of items ranging from crowbars to raw fists than their are by firearms.

It would be great if we could point to a particular item and blame it for all the ills of humanity, but the reality is that a firearm is not a mystical death machine, it is simply a tool that is designed to fling a projectile at a fairly high speed over a fairly long distance with a fairly high degree of accuracy. Whether or not that capability is used for good or ill is up to the person holding it.

In the US there are vast amounts of privately owned firearms. Of all of those less than 2% are ever used in a crime, and even less are used in murder. Compare that with other chunks of machinery, automobiles, for example. Cars are involved in far more deaths each year than firearms. Cars are used in far more crimes each year than firearms.

Just like cars, the vast majority of privately owned firearms are used regularly without harm to or infringement of the rights of anyone else.

mrentropy's avatar

Is this with or without a zombie apocalypse?

YoKoolAid's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities is it really that easy? I didn’t know that. So you can take some gunpowder put it in a casing and add a projectile and it will work in your gun? Is gunpowder that easy to make?

@mrentropy I always wondered that in post apocalyptic movies- where are they getting all the ammo from? and why do they use it as if there’s an unlimited supply? It’s not realistic

@YoBob I don’t think you read my details

WestRiverrat's avatar

Many countries still have bullets from WW2 in their military stockpiles.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@YoKoolAid You don’t make the gunpowder (well, at least I don’t), you can buy it and the other necessary components separately, and save cartridges or shell casings after they have been fired. But yes, it’s quite easy. I do it all the time, because it’s much cheaper than buying brand new cases of ammunition.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Gunpowder is not that hard to make if you have the knowledge, the will and the resources available.

I have the knowledge, I can get the resources, but as long as someone else can make it cheaper and more safely than I can I don’t have the will.

Factotum's avatar

Blackpowder, the gunpowder of the 1800s, is easier to make than modern gunpowder and gets the job done well enough.

JLeslie's avatar

@YoBob You make it sounds like I am against guns, if that is what you think you are wrong.

filmfann's avatar

After the Obama election, many gun shops and sporting goods outlets ran out of ammunition, because the pro-gunners bought it all, in fear that Obama would soon outlaw it. Many shops are still low on inventory.

SeventhSense's avatar

WTF is 9000?
Apparently I have to get the nerd newsletter. I never subscribed.

DeanV's avatar

We’d just find some other, probably more brutal way to kill ourselves and others.

TexasDude's avatar

Minor terminology alert: bullets are the lead projectile fired from the brass casing which is ejected upon firing. Bullets that are seated in casings with gunpowder as a propellant and a fulminate cap are referred to as cartridges.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

^ stole my thunder. Bullets are so low tech that we’ll never run out. Primers and cases take a bit more effort. Smokeless or black powder are simple to make also. I reload shells for a .500 Nitro Express using casings that are 75 years old. If worse comes to worse, I can down a deer or moose with a muzzle-loader than only requires a lead ball, a cloth patch and about 90 grains of black powder. I can even make flints for it with the right kind of rock, a hammer and a pair of flat-nosed pliers (the Foxfire 5 book got me interested in that about 35 years ago).

TexasDude's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land ;^)
Foxfire is a great series. I just finished reading #2. I didn’t even consider flintlock or percussion mechanisms when answering this question. Props for bringing that up. The world will never be without projectiles.

WestRiverrat's avatar


Heck the Lakota used to chip bullets out of rocks when they ran out of lead. Not quite as accurate or stable, but they did the job at short range.

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