Zombie Bullets: They May Be Closer Than You Think
By Will Dabbs, MD

If you are a passionate shooter you stockpile ammo. The Leftists will never understand but we just don’t want to feel like we have to run to the store before we go to the range. That works fine for milk but not so much with bullets.

Most of us don’t seriously think we will need a zillion rounds of home defense ammunition for the day when the zombies come. However, I shoot a lot and I am always keeping a sharp eye out for good deals on bulk ammo. I recently stumbled across the most remarkable ammo find in the most unexpected of places.

Walmart is an American icon. Sam Walton epitomized the American dream. A man of humble beginnings with big ideas, Sam started a retail revolution that overtook the planet. Right, wrong, or otherwise, Walmart is the department store standard by which all others are judged. In my little Southern town our Walmart even has a medical clinic, bank, and hair salon to go along with the groceries, hardware, clothing, electronics, and housewares. If they would hire a mortician an American could live out his entire life without ever leaving the building. Gradually and surreptitiously, the most fascinating thing has been happening to the sporting goods section lately.

Quietly and without fanfare, at least in Walmarts down here in the South, the sporting goods sections have begun to stock fun guns and accessories. I went for years without looking at the gun selection at Walmart. I have owned a Mini-14 or two and that was the only thing in the case that ever looked even remotely interesting. Nowadays, however, they stock M4 clones and SIG black rifles. While that is great, the ammunition selection is greater.

Something for Everybody

Our Walmart stocks Russian-made blasting ammo in large quantities at prices that are comparable to mail order. Marketed under the moniker Tulammo, this stuff is steel cased, berdan-primed, and non-corrosive. It sports a bimetal jacketed steel bullet and, while reliable, is fairly filthy. As such, weapons must be cleaned a bit more frequently with this ammo than with the more expensive brass-cased domestic loads.

The locally available calibers include .223, 7.62x39mm, .380, 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. With this selection everything in your collection from .380 pocket pistols to your service handgun to your M4 and AK can remain well-fed and happy. The .223 loading sports a 55 grain bullet yielding ballistics comparable to the old M-193 round the military used years ago.

State-of-the-Art Mil-Spec from Your Local Department Store

What is really extraordinary, however, is the brass-cased XM-855 loading from Federal. This stuff comes packed on Mil-Spec 10-round stripper clips along with a GI stripper clip charger in a standard OD steel .30 caliber ammunition can. There are 420 rounds in each 16-pound can. The can is sealed at the store with a black plastic zip tie. In my testing these XM-855 loads push out of a Mil-Spec 14.5-inch M4 barrel at 2,940 fps. The 55-grain Tulammo loads averaged about 40 fps slower from the same barrel.

The can is the classic GI-issue M19A1 ammunition can that we all use to store everything from ammunition to tools to gun parts to snacks. It is robust and waterproof thanks to a rubber gasket incorporated into the lid. It includes a heavy steel latch, thick enamel paint, and a folding carrying handle that lies flat so that multiple cans may be stacked evenly. In one slightly modified form or another, this can has toted ammunition for the U.S. military since World War II.

The cartridges themselves are essentially standard-issue green-tipped 62-grain ball loads. They are packed three 10-round strippers to a cardboard sleeve just like the stuff they use in Afghanistan. The cans incorporate foam spacers to keep the rounds from sliding around in transit. By removing the spacers and rearranging the sleeves one can just barely squeeze a pair of standard 30-round magazines into the can along with the ammo. A little fourth grade math shows that one can will fill fourteen thirty-round magazines.

Quick, Easy, and Painless

Loading magazines using the strippers and charger is simple and intuitive. The charger works on all GI-issue magazines as well as Magpul P-Mags. The charger slips down over the spine of the magazine from the top. The stripper is then inserted into the top of the charger and all ten rounds pressed into place with the thumb. Loading magazines is subsequently fast and painless.

The M-855 loading replaced the older M-193 round with the advent of the product-improved M-16A2 back in the late eighties. The newer load is 7 grains heavier and incorporates a hardened penetrator in the core of the bullet to improve penetration at longer ranges. The bullet is still unstable in flesh and most of its effectiveness stems from its propensity to tumble when passing into dense targets. While there are even heavier loads being used by some elements of SOCOM in combat today, the M-855 is the military standard throughout the services. The XM-855 ammunition released to the public does not undergo the same gauging processes that the military-issue M-855 rounds do but is still for all practical purposes interchangeable. I find it simply amazing that we can buy this stuff at Walmart along with our toilet paper, fish food and diapers. Additionally, the price has to be seen to be believed. While not as reasonably-priced as the Russian-made blasting ammo, the Mil-Spec Federal product is well within the reach of even frugal shooters. A quick check of online sources showed no markedly better deals on similar ammunition anywhere.

At our local store, this stuff moves very fast. They generally stock it three or four cases at a time and it rarely stays on the shelves more than a few days. Fortunately, there are easily a dozen Walmart stores within an hour of my house so finding it in stock is not that big a challenge.

Of course, in addition to all this splendid new tactical ammunition, there is still the standard bevy of hunting and plinking loads. .22 in a variety of flavors, good quality expanding hunting and home defense ammo in a variety of centerfire calibers, shotshells of all flavors, and the much beloved bulk packed Winchester White Box handgun ammo are all there as well.

So, it turns out that the local Walmart will likely be carrying all the ammunition you might need to feed even the most robust scary black gun collection. From cheap high volume range fodder to quality zombie bullets packaged to enjoy a shelf life that stretches beyond my lifetime, Walmart is now my one-stop shopping source for most all of my tactical ammunition needs. Whoever would have thought?

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review SAW (August 2012)
and was posted online on June 29, 2012


Comments have not been generated for this article.