Skip to comments.Ammunition Availability, Shortages, and .22 Production
Posted on 03/07/2014 10:05:16 AM PST by marktwain
The first time I heard about a shortage of ammunition was from my father, who talked about how ammunition was impossible to get during World War II. As I now own the .22 rifle that had kept much of the neighborhood in venison during the depression (he told me that it had accounted for about 200 deer over the decades, as it was loaned out to neighbors), I made the mental note that I would not be caught short in a future conflict.
As a young adult I noticed a special on Remington .22 ammunition under the Peters brand at the local Farm and Fleet. I bought 10,000 rounds. So did my brother. I finally used the last of that reserve quite a few years later, after burning through multiples of the amount in target practice, informal plinking, training of new shooters, competition, and a little for hunting.
The next notice was in the early 1980's. I had picked up a "sporterized" Enfield MK IV (.303 British, of course) as a truck gun. I had seen the prices on surplus .303 in Shotgun News at very reasonable rates, not six months previous, and figured that I could buy a few hundred rounds inexpensively. I was wrong. Surplus .303 had disappeared! It took me a couple of weeks to figure it out. The Russians had invaded Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan had been elected. Surplus .303 disappeared off of the world market.
Afghans love Enfield rifles, and even make copies of their own, in relatively primitive shops. They make AK copies, now, as well. The CIA or proxies, were buying up the entire available surplus .303 on the world market, and sending it to the Afghans who were fighting the Russians. I remember an astute friend, who taught me much about power politics, warning that we needed to be very careful about arming Islamics. Prescience noted, 20 years later. Surplus .303 would be not be available again for many years. I sold the Enfield and did not buy another for two decades.
There were golden years during the 1990's when surplus ammunition was cheap, and I stocked up. I ended up selling most of it at a profit, at prices that seem ridiculously inexpensive today.
Everyone who has bought ammunition in the past few years has noted that there have been of shortages. We are in the middle of one for .22 rimfire ammunition and to a lesser extent, centerfire. As with earlier shortages, they are caused by politics. I do not credit the various conspiracy theories when the simple, obvious mechanism of supply and demand explains the process easily.
Machinery for manufacturing new (not reloaded) ammunition is very expensive, has a very long life, and is a major capital expenditure. Manufacturers are reluctant to make major capital expenditures for momentary spikes in demand, and for good reason. A company does not stay in business very long if they are imprudent with capital expenditures of this type. Winchester nearly went bankrupt after WWI because it had borrowed too much for capital, and passed out of family ownership in 1919.
The demand for ammunition stems from a fairly new awareness of multitudes of the American public about what my father passed on to me about 1960. Ammunition shortages happen, and it is a good idea to have a stockpile. The uncertainty of the Obama administration, the attack on second amendment rights, and world wide conflicts escalating with the current administration channeling a combination of Neville Chamberlain and the Muslim Brotherhood make it hard for any but the most obstinately polyannish to be unconcerned.
There are about 80-100 million American gun owners. Millions of them are new, thanks to the Obama administration. A Majority of them own a .22. Rimfire ammunition is not practically reloadable (yes, there were a few kits sold in the 1980's). Most people did not buy 5,000 rounds as a strategic reserve. Most probably had less than a box on hand. Suddenly, tens of Millions of people became aware and thought that a thousand rounds of .22 would be nice to have. Maybe a couple of thousand. Demand for .22 has historically run under 4 billion rounds a year in the United States, which is by far the largest market in the world. My friend Alan Korwin reports that the U.S. manufacturing capacity is 4.2 billion rounds a year.
Suppose 50 million Americans decided that they would like to have 1,000 rounds of .22 on hand for a rainy day, rather like I did in the 1970s. That is 50 billion cartridges, or about 12 times the annual manufacturing capacity for .22 ammunition in the United States. My observations show me that virtually every .22 manufacturing plant around the world is running flat out making .22 ammunition for the American market, and it all gets snapped up as soon as it becomes available, at prices about three times the rate of even a year and a half ago.
Basic economics: when demand outstrips supply, prices go up until the demand drops to supply levels. This puts money in the hands of suppliers, who then ramp up production to increase supply. It is happening, but it will take a while.
Now with the Ukrainian crises, Mike Vanderboegh is forecasting an importation cut off Russian ammunition by the Obama administraiton. If that occurs, there are a few months supply in the pipeline, but panic buys will empty the domestic stockpile and drive up prices. There seems to be plenty available at the moment, in spite of rumors of a cut off by the Russians instead of our government.
Aren't you glad that we live in such interesting times? (Chinese curse reference)
I am going to look for another gun show to give away some more .22 ammunition as a promotion, but I have to replenish my supply of business cards that go with the ammo.
I learned foresight from my father. I predict a rising popularity of air guns for target practice, pest control, and small game hunting ( I have a couple, and thousands of pellets). Integral suppressors included on air rifles are common, legal, and cheap, making a mild report even quieter.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch
Most of the ammo that is in short supply in my WalMart is 22LR and the harder to find 22WMR. Other rounds like 9mm and 40 S&W are usually found. 38, 38+P and 357 Mag are scarcer and infrequent on the shelves. 45 ACP is a little better. You see Winchester Super X 45 LC sometimes, too.
Rifle calibers, 7.62X39, 223 and 5.65 are pretty well stocked along with many other calibers primarily used for hunting.
Crap and dang! I hadn’t even thought about how 0 would turn this Ukraine thing into scheme to drive up ammo prices. Just when they started going down too. I’ve been getting some here and there, but nowhere near how much I should have.
Look for Wolf and Tula to start getting sparse.
I saw on FR last night that Putin has cut us off.
Can’t be true because he is smarter than that.
He is committed to supporting many rogue nations and other groups around the world, most of whom run AK-47’s.
So some slick operator in one of those Russian puppet countries will order 7.62 x 39 by the container load and re-ship it to the US, for a price of course.
As well as ammo for the AK-74 and other weapons.
Russia is so infected with corruption that it will be almost impossible to prevent it.
So no need to panic.
My two local Wal-Marts have ample supplies of shotgun shells and odd ball rifle cartridges, just the opposite of what is normal.
No rimfire ammo at all. No 9mm, no other pistol ammo that I have noticed.
A very good stock of AR style rifles. More than I ever recall.
One of my best friends works at the Remington Arms plant in Lonoke, AR. He affirms that they are running 24/7 as much ammo as they can put out the door in every line. Some extremely staggering numbers - and the plant is also undergoing a major expansion to add several new production lines.
And for those curious - .22 LR ammo is being produced at well over 6 million rounds per day... at just this one plant.
I plan on buying a 10/22 from a friend this summer and concernd about ammo avaialbility (still ?)...
I hope I can procure some . . .
In s.w. Virginia you cannot find .22 ammo at Walmart. Had to go to the local gun and pawn shop and paid out $49 for 500 rounds. OUCH! We used to love and shoot our .22 rifles for fun/target practice every weekend. Now we are simply trying to hoard some up.
Right now is the time to stock up on 5.56 and 7.62x39. Both are readily available. I have a few thousand rounds of .22, so I’m good there, but I never shoot it, because I’m afraid that it wont be easily replaced. I also have around 15k of good 5.56(for long term storage) that I never touch. Also have a thousand or two of this, and a thousand or two of that.
Never thought I’d see the day when 5.56 could be fired without giving it a 2nd thought, with .22LR being the one to conserve. It’s tough to find cheap .308(7.62 NATO)for ‘plinking’. If there IS a such thing as plinking with a .308. My shoulder tends to REALLY not like much more than a 20rnd mag of it in a short amount of time. Unless you own an M60, or shoot alot, a couple thousand rounds of .308 will keep you set for a LONG time.
After trying to do my part the last few months by NOT buying any ammo, I stopped by the local Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Ga. this morning.
Found 2 boxes of CCI Mini Mag 22, one at $.17 and the other at $.10/round. Trying to figure which outlandish price is the correct one.
Plenty of handgun ammo available.
I’m also in SW VA. You practically have to personally know someone that works in the Sporting Goods department to score any .22 ammo from a Walmart.
Luckily, I do! hehe (still limited to 2 or 3 boxes purchase per day though)
Lucky you! Where r u? I’m in Pulaski co.
The author is correct with respect to his assessment that air rifles will become the default .22. Much quieter and yet effective as a protein getter. I am looking for a good air rifle under $200 for small game, squirrels, doves, and rabbits. I would like to get Freeper’s views on models, caliber preference, power sources, etc.
” I predict a rising popularity of air guns for target practice, pest control, and small game hunting ( I have a couple, and thousands of pellets). Integral suppressors included on air rifles are common, legal, and cheap, making a mild report even quieter.”
That has been happening for a while here in Californicator land. Big 5’s ads each week offer deals on .177 caliber high end one pump pellet guns.
One of our younger neighbors has set up a minnie firing range for pellet rifles and pistols.
He let me use his blue Beretta style pellet pistol that is a repeater. It feels like a real Beretta and is a cheap way to practice to keep up your skills. It uses a CO2 cartridge and a cylinder to put the pellets in.
Carroll. Not far from ya! lol
I’m in mountains not far from Parkway/NC border.
I have a heavy-barrel .308 I could shoot all day. I usually quit at 40 rounds because that’s where it starts getting expensive, I worry about my barrel heating up too much, and the wife will start to miss me after about 2 hours.
I can see where a lighter gun would wear out your shoulder with that caliber, though.
I love shooting, but this ammo situation for the last 6 years has really taken a lot of the fun out of it.
You can find .22LR here and there from time to time, but the cost is usually 3 to 4 times what it was before Sandy Hook. It’s still quite a bit cheaper than most centerfire ammo, so people will still be buying it despite the high prices.
I’ve more or less given up on just walking into Walmart and picking up .22LR any time I want. I’m now just hoarding what I’ve got and hoping to get lucky when I look for .22LR rounds.
For range time, I bought a high end .22 cal. gas piston air rifle. It’s nearly as good as my .22LR rifle, and although it cost more than my 10/22, the muzzle velocity is actually higher and I can get 500 .22 pellets for about $10. It’s loud too; as loud as my 10/22.
There a a number of versions with integral suppressors, as noted in the article.
I have a PTR91(an American HK91 variant). They have some weight to them, but will still put a hurtin’ on ya.
I reckon I could put on some weight. lol
Regardless of the shoulder taking a beating, you’re right about it being to expensive shooting the .308. At $0.75-$1.25 per shot, after a mag or two, that starts getting into ‘real money’ going down range to hit non-threatening/inedible targets.
“The author is correct with respect to his assessment that air rifles will become the default .22. Much quieter and yet effective as a protein getter. I am looking for a good air rifle under $200 for small game, squirrels, doves, and rabbits. I would like to get Freepers views on models, caliber preference, power sources, etc.”
The ones which come with a scope and pump for the power are reasonably accurate. I like the ones that shot bbs and pellets,
One of our younger relatives has a couple of the Gamo higher end air rifles with a scope and can be shot by a left or right eyed individual. He has one in the 22 caliber and one in the 177 caliber. If he is hunting small game or varmits he prefers the 22 caliber lead pellet.
Don’t buy a 22 caliber pellet rifle unless you can buy a good supply of 22 pellets before you buy it. There has been a shortage of 22 caliber pellets for a few years here.
Here in central VA our Walmart has dropped the purchase restrictions on everything except 22LR.
Mine’s a bolt with super-soft butt pad, which helps a ton. Having to cycle the bolt helps me slow down, which extends my range time.
The real problem with guns is that there are so many of them that you always find another you have to have!
At our local Friends of NRA banquet they raffled off among other things a S&W 22 plastic target pistol & a brick of ammo. The announcer joked that the ammo was worth more than the pistol.
Benjamin Trail NP Nitro Piston® All Weather Air Rifle With Scope- .22 Cal $209.95
Oh, that's SO true! You have to put a stop to buying guns at least for a while, once you reach a certain point. You have to 'catch up' with your gun purchases in buying ammo for them, a safe, and whatever accessories you'll need. Especially with AR type rifles. With the railing system, you can easily spend more in accessories than the original gun, after attaching lights, lasers, scopes, can opener, marine air horn, grenade launcher type shotgun, and hat rack.
PS: I’ve been wanting to get a good heavy barrel bolt gun. Still unsure which way to go with caliber. I’ve been thinking 30-06, .308, or .300 WinMag. I’ve always heard great things about the .300WMs, and every time I’ve fired one, I’ve been very pleased.
Yep, I am part of the problem. is 10K a min or max? I figure its a start.
Like stocks in a rising market, accumulate!
Lewis and Clark had an air rifle on their trip north west. I think it was a 46 caliber that had an air pump with it that took something 1300 pumps to fill the tank but could shoot many times after that.
Ammo shortage is not much of a pain when you reload.
I have a Diana (RWS) model 48 which is both powerful and accurate. It shoots 1200 fps and that is with standard pellets not the super light ones most companies use to rate theirs.
It is a side cocker and ratcheted so if you lose your grip, it will not fly back. It came with a Tasco air gun scope, a 4X12X44 with RWS mounts. Springers must have a scope made for airguns or the gun will destroy them quickly.
Probably the cheapest quality gun you can buy is the Daisy model 880. It is pretty much all plastic but has a good rifled barrel. It is a pumper and with 12 pumps will shoot over 700fps. It is also accurate and comes with a really cheap scope but the little scope, as poor as it is, does work.
Price? $44 at Wal-Mart the last time I looked.
Just walked in about 1 hour ago and picked up a case of Tula 7.62x39 FMJ at the shop I work in part time, no one here knows about the crisis yet, but I did let the owner know a few days ago and he has a bunch of cases on the way to put away just in case. Thankfully I have an insane amount of ammo stashed away myself lol in all my calibers, but I figured adding a case of plinking ammo for the AKs was a good idea right now since we get it at cost as long as we dont abuse it.
Get the 10/22 anyway. Buy ammo as you can, but that rifle is a “must have”.
I plan on getting anyways,, a large box of ammo (625?) will come in the deal.
Here’s a suggestion - get the 10/22 and the box of ammo with it, and put it away for when you need it.
Then buy a Crosman 1077, an extra magazine, a case of pellets and a case of CO2 cartridges.
The 1077 is a 10/22 clone. It is a 12 shot repeater. You’ll get about 36-40 shots out of a CO2 cartridge.
I need something like this. Can you tell me the make and model?
Check out Beeman
You can kiss Tula, Wolf and Bear ammo goodbye thanks to the Ukraine thing.
Another large air gun retailer, in fact very large, is Pyramyd Air. Their prices are OK and they do have specials regularly.
Ditto on the Pyramyd endorsement.
I saw an ad for .22lr online yesterday. $17.95 for 50 rounds.
That is insane.
I have a hard time finding 44 mag for a reasonable price
Russian manufactured calibers in stock now, and at AIM Surplus's
always low low prices! While they last...
Anti-gun article against 2nd Amendment and firearm makers. March 8, 2014 By Catey Hill, MarketWatch
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