by Zeke Corder
Most shooters have experienced a phenomenon over the last few years wherein ammunition is virtually unavailable. Explanations run the gamut from Homeland Security (or other government agencies) are taking it all – to hoarders are buying it all up to resell at a profit.
Let’s look at the problem a little closer. First Obama was elected President. A cry went out that he would be coming for your guns, and that “assault” weapons would be unavailable within months. Of course that did not happen, however, every modern semi-auto version of military rifles became the hottest item on nearly any market.
Next, certain ammunition began disappearing. .223 and .308, the ammo used most by the military, began to become somewhat difficult to find. We had a couple of wars going on, we had a Patriot Act, we have controversy over border difficulties, it wasn’t too difficult to believe that this ammo was going to government agencies leaving little for the public.
Next if hit even the rimfire market. Military organizations don’t fire a lot of .22LR. The common answer has been that the rate of production can’t keep up with the increased demand. However, ammunition is still difficult to obtain. Some rifle and handgun ammo is coming on the market, prices are higher, quantities are limited, but some is available. However, good-old .22 ammo is still not available in quantity. When even Walmart, the world’s largest retail monopoly, gets a shipment they limit sales and are bought out in one or two days. Again, we hear it is the hoarders causing this.
I worked at a large, local sporting goods retailer in about 2006. We ordered rimfire ammo in by the pallet load, each week. During the spring, when ground-squirrel hunting gobbled up large quantities of .22, and the weather began making it possible to go out plinking, we would have full pallets of various brands of .22 ammo out in the middle of the hunting dept. floor, selling for $10/500 round brick and higher, depending on brand.
People came in and bought full cases of .22 ammo at sale prices. It seemed that nearly every customer bought a brick or two. Within days our stock would be down to a few cases, so we would order more pallet loads from various manufacturers. It would arrive the next week and we would sell that. When things settled down, we kept several cases of each brand in stock.
What happened to those quantities? There were often cases and cases of Federal, Remington, CCI, and Winchester .22 on sale.
I am just having trouble swallowing this hoarder excuse. I don’t believe that the quantities one retailer sold in the spring a few years ago is nowhere available now. Anytime I’ve seen .22LR available in the past few years there have been limits on sale quantities. Maybe someone is buying direct from the factories to hoard for huge profit, but why aren’t they reselling it? Any hoarder with the money should have semi loads of rimfire ammunition saved up by now; what for? If the factories were capable of delivering many cases of .22 to just one retailer in Meridian in about 2006, why can’t they deliver more than a case or two to Walmart now?
The whole affair remains without sufficient explanation to satisfy me.