American Rifeman / Where's the Ammo?


TGT Addict
Dec 23, 2012
The NRA is regularly inundated with letters from members requesting an explanation of the nationwide ammo shortage. Some folks merely vent their frustration over the amount of ammo they are able to acquire for range sessions. Some complain about the jump in prices; they insist it can’t all be explained by supply and demand. Others are sure the government is buying up all the ammo so average Americans can’t get their hands on it. Everyone wants to know if we have any inside information.
Whatever you believe to be the cause for the shortage, the fact is ammo continues to be difficult to find. Store shelves are empty. If you’re lucky enough to find a few boxes, chances are either you or the person behind you in line will buy all that either of you can carry and stash it away like Private Pyle hides a jelly doughnut. So, is this the future of ammunition, or is there an end to the madness? I did my homework, and while my conclusions may not be the answers you’re looking for, they are at least based on fact.


American Rifleman - Where's the Ammo?


Omnipotent Potentate for hire.
Lifetime Member
Oct 4, 2013
Gunz are icky.
I think it is a combination of several factors.

1.) Total ammo production is a relatively fixed tonnage of rounds per year.
The ammo makers haven't really done anything to truly increase production. They might have thrown on a graveyard shift but they haven't dramatically increased tonnage by building new production facilities. Sure they may be running at full capacity but that capacity hasn't been increased. Take 22LR for example: the demand is greater now than any time in history. Where the heck IS all the 22LR going? Its because production hasn't increased at all. The plants that make it are running at "capacity" but no company has built new production. Also companies that produce ammo have a limit on what resources go where in production. They only have so many tons of brass, lead, copper, etc. to convert into ammo.
See item #2 for further explanation.

2.) The .gov (LE and .mil) does indeed get theirs first. As in BILLIONS and BILLIONS and BILLIONS of rounds.
A lot more than you'd think goes overseas never to be seen again.
Add in .gov's demand gets larger every year.

3.) What production does get out to us civvies is snarfed up by an insatiable market.
Fudd types, who in previous times might purchase 40 rounds a year are now buying all they see every time they hit the Wal-Mart.
Add in all the new shooters coming into gun ownership. Literally 100'000's of thousands of them.
Let's not forget the Ammo whores with 150,000rd ammo forts and still aren't satisfied it is enough.

The New Normal is grab everything you can RFN because it may not be there tomorrow.


TGT Addict
Jan 24, 2011
Grid 0409
It is too simple to explain: We have far more buyers than domestic manufacturers and raw material suppliers.

In the grand scheme of things, hoarders and flippers don't really affect the market except at gun shows and other secondary markets.

If a buyer agrees to pay $100 for 500 rounds of crappy .22LR ammo, good for him.

When the Arabs cut off oil to the USA after the Israelis beat the ever living, ever loving hell out of their Arab foes in 1973, we had long lines of people in cars waiting for their even/odd numbered gas ration.

They wanted regular gas, which was in short supply. There was lots of high octane gas available for only ten cents more.

I never ran short of gasoline because I was happy to pay the premium.

Just this past week, I bought some high octane .22LR (RWS, Norma, and Eley) from Midway USA. The prices were appropriate for the product, and the premium I paid was for shipping and convenience.

In the last year, I have given away far more "Golden Bullets" and inexpensive "333's" than I have replaced with higher quality ammo.

The shortage of .22LR was an annoyance, but never kept me from shooting that caliber.

You are looking for love in all the wrong places if you can't find .22LR.


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