Thursday, March 7, 2013

Where Has All Our Ammo Gone?

Where Has All Our Ammo Gone?

I have looked directly into the eyes of the titans of the ammo industry as I ask the same question over and over again; “Where has all our ammo gone?” I am a good people reader and every single one of these folks had the same believable answer... “the people buying up all the ammo are NOT the people you think”.

Like most people, I have great concern over government socialist security putting in a three billion round order; what the flip, are they preparing for a zombie apocalypse? It was actually just under a billion rounds and was bloated by a few sources...but sill.
The reality though it that according to those industry folks in the know, the government order is not the reason we have an ammo shortage at this time, it is Larry, Kim, Kelly, and John’s fault. Damn them!! Well, before you go hunting down these rabble rousing ammo hoarders, know that I metaphorically mean these folks as general public as a whole.  Hornady for example noted that law enforcement and government orders represent less than 5% of their sales, it is the folks like us who are buying up all the ammo.

Just as we saw in the 1990s, but at a much larger scale, people are concerned that they will not be able to get firearms and the ammo required to turn those guns from paperweights into firearms. Politics, the state of the global economy, fear of EMPs, zombies, DHS purchases, and martian invasions all play into the moment we are standing in front of the ammo shelf and buy that extra box of ammo, primers, powder, or bullets.

Unfortunately, the next time around we notice there are even less boxes of ammo on the shelves so we buy two-three boxes... and then the snowball effect occurs and normal rational people who would normally buy one box are walking out with a case. This of course means the next 5, 10, or 20 folks now strolling into the store are now even more panicked about the ammo shortage and will buy two cases the next time they see it on the shelf. People find the concept hard to believe that they are not the only one to get caught up in a buying panic. Want proof? The US government does not purchase .22LR ammunition for an substantial purchase, but do you see any .22LR ammo on the shelves... nope. It is all us folks, so calm the flip down and we will all be able to get ammo again. 

At this point, if you have not already been reloading then you are kinda behind the curve a bit.  Reloading is not just sticking any old primer, with any primer, in an powder volume, in any brass with whatever grain bullet you find on a shelf. Reloading is like making a cake recipe except if you screw up the recipe, you could blow your head off... literally.  The reloading process itself is not particularly difficult, however it does take an attention to detail and a dedication to safety or things can go seriously wrong.

Reloading can pay for itself quickly, especially at today’s prices, however you should know that primers, powder, brass, and bullets are even harder to come by than factory loaded ammunition.  The reason for this is that component manufacturers consider the reloading market an overflow secondary market for extra product.  In this case we really don’t have any “extra” primers, bullets, brass, and powder so everything you would need to reload can actually be harder to find than factory ammo.  

What makes it even harder is that it seems you can find large rifle primers, but not the small pistol primers you need for that 9mm round, you can find powder for 9mm, but bullets are scarce, ...etc. It always seems for me that unless I have a cache to pull from, I am always one component short of being able to whip up a batch of this or that caliber.  Another issue at the moment is that almost every press manufacturer is sold out at this time, so also expect a 30-60 day backorder on almost any press you order.

If you have the patience to wait for a month or more for the right components, then reloading might be for you. I would recommend starting with a $30 Lee Loader (review here) or a simple single stage press kit. Knowing what I know now, I would never recommend anyone start with a progressive reloader without first having some basic reloading experience. My recommendation is to either load rounds as cheap as humanly possible or with the best components you can find. In either scenario you can pay for reloading within a couple hundred rounds.

I think everyone should take a deep breath on ammo hoarding. At the yearly SHOT Show, every single manufacturer I spoke with said that their ammo is not going to full mega government contracts, it is just going to fill basic everyday dealer and distributor orders.  Breath in and breath out, and this insane ammo shortage will be over soon.  The best advice the major retails I spoke with over the last month all suggested to just place the order, get in line, and be patient. Eventually your ammo, primers, bullet, powder, or brass will ship. I can attest this is true as a shipment I place nearly two months ago just arrived.

1 comment:

Cre3p said...

I see your point. I now buy 3 boxes instead of the usual 2. And several BO's pending too. I also pick ammo up and sell it at cost to my friends. Have to keep them fed. Otherwise I'd be shooting alone.