Where Has All the Ammo Gone?

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January 28, 2013
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January 30, 2013

Anyone who has tried to purchase up any ammunition in the past month has discovered that the shelves are bare and the pickings are mighty slim.  Folks have asked me “Why?” and here is the short answer: “Everybody is buying it like there is no tomorrow”.

Bare Ammunition Shelves This Month – signs declaring rationing rules.

Every time there is a gun control threat, a “gun and ammo scare buy” happens.  It happened election season of 2008 and ammo was in short supply for several months.  It happened again after the re-election catastrophe of 2012.  But it never was as crazy as what is happening after the gun-control war drums started beating in the wake of December 14th.

You can’t find ammo simply because it’s already been sold.  There are shipments arriving regularly at stores, but it is out the door immediately after the store opens.  Here is a picture of the line at Academy in Lufkin, TX 8am on January 29th:

Ammo Line at 8AM outside of an Academy Sport’s and Outdoors

I remember in 2008 being told that at times the discount stores wouldn’t even get the ammunition pallet inside, but smaller shop owners would be waiting in the parking lot in the middle of the night, trailer in tow,  and purchase the entire pallet off of the delivery truck and haul away.

I can’t say that the “scare” is unfounded.  As we speak Senate Bill S35 has just been introduced attempting to:

Require face to face purchases of ammunition (banning online sales), to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition. (https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/s35)

At the SHOT show this year I spoke with Federal begging for a source of rimfire ammunition for our Youth Marksmanship Camps.  They informed me that they just suspended their youth discount program and I was out of luck.  I heard Federal ATK took over $2,000,000,000 (yes, billion) in orders and it manufacturing 24/7 and on backorder until 2015.

.22LR on Backorder for Months

I received 3 emails last week announcing 5.56 and 7.62 ammunition in stock and clicked on them immediately.  On all three attempts the supplier’s web servers had crashed from all the instant traffic (Aimsurplus, Natchez, and Primary Arms).

There are rumors of Walmart “blocking” ammo sales of certain calibers, and while I don’t doubt this in a time of politically correct pansyness, there is no confirmation of Walmart blocking ammo sales – yet.

Unconfirmed Walmart Blocked Ammo Sign

Then you also have the “opportunists” who are purchasing all the ammo they can and reselling it to fools online.  In November a case of Federal 725 .22LR was going for $169 shipped.  I saw auctions today at Gunbroker.com where cases were going for over $500.

Some folks have suggested getting into reloading, but you need to purchase four components for that endeavor.  I placed a few orders late December for competition bullets only to be called a few weeks later telling me they were completely out of stock with no estimated time of arrival for the next supply.  Even at out local gun shop, Evans Brothers Guns, there were only a few pounds of powder and very few rare style primers:

Low Reloading Supplies and Rationing for Defense of the Customers

This shortage is affecting competition shooters, young marksman courses, training and even our law enforcement.  I’ve seen several competition announcements of lessening round counts and training courses now accepting .22LR substitute rifles and pistols.

The reason why there is no ammo is simply because we are buying it all.  It may be for fear of it not being available later, the government imposing restrictive taxes on ammunition, banning bulk purchases and online sales, and even fear of civil unrest and war.  Either way, I predict this won’t go away soon.  Whatever ammunition you have in your closet now if probably all you will have for the next few months.  Even if we escape legislation the market won’t recover for quite some time.

Gun Range Sign Posted Out Front


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