How to Choose the Right Ammo for Your Guns

Guest Post by Jeff from Ammunition Depot

Choosing the right ammo for your guns does not have to be difficult. Of course, there are few considerations to take before selecting which ammo to buy, but once you know what each ammo is best suited for, what round is illegal, and which bullet fits your gun, you’ll be able to instinctively pick the best one that suits you.

If you’re in the market to buy some ammo, you first need to know these things:

Know the Size, Caliber, or Gauge of Your Gun

Caliber is the size of the bullet, and bullets are always named after their size/caliber. For example, a 9mm is nine millimeters in diameter, a .38 is 38/100 of an inch in diameter, and so on and so forth.

Some ammo are labelled by “gauges.” Those are usually for shotguns, as gauge is the diameter of a shotgun bore. The number is equal to the number of lead balls equal in size to that diameter that add up to one pound in weight. A lead ball that weighs one-twelfth of a pound is a 12 gauge.

A gun is chambered for a certain caliber or gauge (some guns can use multiple calibers). An incorrect size can damage a gun and injure the shooter. Knowing the caliber or gauge is easy. Just inspect your gun; its caliber is usually stamped on its side.

Select Ammo Based on Your Purpose

Different ammo are suited for different scenarios. Your intended use will help you choose the proper design and strength and how much money to budget for ammo.

There are three main purposes for firearms:

Target Shooting

If your goal is to have fun with your gun, then you don’t need powerful or expensive ammo. Expensive ammo means less shooting, and powerful bullets mean harsh recoil, which can ruin the fun. Shoot more and have more fun with a low cost-per-round and low-recoil cartridge. Consider buying .22 LR rounds. It has less recoil than most bullets, and bulk .22 LR ammo is inexpensive.

For target shooting with rifles or handguns, FMJ (full metal jacket) bullets are ideal. FMJ bullets are made from soft lead and covered (jacketed), with metal (usually copper). They are easy to make, which is why they do not cost much to buy.

For target shooting with a shotgun, a lightweight target load is ideal.


For protection, you need a load that stops threats as quickly as possible by causing the most possible damage.

For handguns and rifles, use hollow point bullets (named for the cavity in the bullet’s tip). They expand on contact, making a larger wound and preventing over penetration (when the bullet passes through the target, which can endanger or harm others).

For shotguns, use buckshot rounds. The pellets are larger than birdshot so they can cause more damage. They are smaller than slugs so they do not have a tendency to over penetrate.


Use projectiles that kill quickly and humanely.

You can hunt big game with rifles or handguns (using bullets) or shotguns (using slugs).

Avoid FMJ projectiles. Use hollow point or soft point projectiles that will expand upon impact, causing bigger wounds. A less powerful cartridge may wound an animal, causing it to suffer and, in the case of dangerous game, such as bears, may endanger the hunter. Err on the side of more power.

If you hunt birds or small game with a shotgun, use birdshot rounds. These cartridges contain several small pellets that scatter around the target, increasing the possibility of hitting the target. That makes them great for hitting small and agile creatures.

To Summarize

Know the caliber or gauge of your gun. And decide its intended use. For hunting big game, use a large-caliber handgun or rifle or a shotgun with slugs. For hunting small game and birds, use birdshot. For protection, use hollow point ammo or buckshot. For target shooting, choose a cartridge with little recoil (.22 LR is a good choice) and a low per-round cost (bulk 22 LR ammo is inexpensive).

Once you learn all that, you’re now ready to buy bulk ammo. Always buy from a trusted retailer to avoid any defective bullets which can blow up on your face. That said, happy shopping!

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Ammunition Depot is an online retailer of high quality ammunition based in Florida. It is our goal and our promise to provide customers with consistent access to high-quality ammunition at the lowest possible price with the best customer service.

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Leave a Comment:

Ellen Hughes says June 20, 2018

I agree that you should choose a load that can stop threats to you as quickly as possible in order to make sure that you will be able to defend and protect yourself. My husband is interested in buying an ammo for his new gun. He intends to use his new gun for self-defense, so he’s looking for an ammo that can effectively cause more damage to other people when needed. Thanks!

Charles Sipe says March 7, 2019

Well written post.

Florence Welch says May 10, 2019

It sure is helpful when you said that picking the right ammo to serve a specific purpose would be best to maximize its efficiency, strength and design. I’m planning on going to a pistol shooting class. That is why I am on the lookout for a small and lightweight gun. I’ll be sure to ask around on the local gun stores in my area if they sell these types of pistols for beginners. Thanks for your tips on choosing the right ammo guns!

CharlesSipe says May 13, 2019

Choosing right ammo is really very important. I am agree with you that we must know about the Size, Caliber, or Gauge of your gun before buying ammo.

Matthewe Gordon says May 20, 2019

Useful information……..

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