what to do until ammunition returns to your dealer's shelves

 . . . well, since it may be 6 to 18 months for case lots of ammunition to come available again, what is a fellow to do with his dollar-cost-averaging in the meantime?

Let us suggest that you identify those parts that wear out the soonest on the blasters you own.  Anything semiauto can be rough on extractors and ejectors, and the springs that push them, if any.  If you don't know how to pull the ejector out of the bolt face of your AR, now is the time to figure that out.  MBRs with fixed ejectors (FAL) and pistols (1911) can still break theirs, replacing them might be a bit tougher. Have a set of all the springs on your platform, many parts houses will sell you every part in one bag. 

Unfortunately, I'm not the first to have this idea, and this is why even replacement parts for ARs are getting scarce.  And 1911s too.  

Don't neglect your non-patrol rifles either.  The Remington bolt rifle extractors are said to be weak and will leave you heartbroken when they break.  Brownell's will sell you a replacement, and the replacement includes instructions.  Broken cartridge case extractors for the rifle calibers would keep your MBR out of the junk pile. 

As you try these, or have a brother show you how to do them, you'll learn what tools you need.  So we next suggest the books and tools that make you self-sufficient in keeping your beloved blasters a-blasting.  Pin punches, including the roll-pin punches that you'll need to assemble an AR, and hollow-ground screwdriver bit sets.  FAL owners would do well to get gunplumbr's guide and skim it through.  Some blasters have parts that are meant to wear out, like the buffer on the Star PD. 

If you are willing to go hardcore, get a spare hammer, trigger, and sear for your platform.  Learn how to take them out and put them back without trashing the gun's finish, breaking tools, or seeing spring-loaded parts fly out a window. 

Next, if money is still burning a hole in the ammo bag and ammo is still not available, talk to your gunsmith about some improvements to be made to your existing blasters.  If you scored a spare HTS set and its connected springs, have the smith stone them together for a good trigger pull, then take them back out, mark them as a set, and wrap them for storage.  A muzzle brake on a rifle would enhance its position on Diane's List.  Remember, in the current unpleasantness, your gunsmiths might be worried about their livelihoods too, so support them now. Give them work. 

Okay, last and most unpleasant:  if this can happen to ammunition, it can happen to expendables like food too.  You didn't prepare when ammunition prices were slowly rising.  Will you be caught again, but worse this time?