AMMO CRISIS: What is Driving the Shortages of Ammunition?


AMMO CRISIS: What is Driving the Shortages of Ammunition?

That’s correct. You are not seeing things or dreaming. Check out the photo once again. The price tag on that 38 Special +P+ ammunition is $110 a box of 50 rounds. Outrageous. This is just one example of current pricing of ammo at a recent arms show due to the ammo crisis.

At a recent gun show, I recently saw packages of 100 rounds of 22 LR ammo selling for $40 — and that was a good buy.

Ammo at inflated prices? That 22 rimfire ammo mentioned above only 9 months ago was selling for $15 a box. The ironic part is that any available ammo was flying off the tables once buyers got over the sticker shock and pried their wallets out of their pockets. Some buyers came by the tables two or three times before they bought. It took a while for the high-priced reality to settle in.

What’s the deal? To be honest, no one really seems to know. Dealer after dealer told me their suppliers and distributors were simply “out” of ammunition — and they were not accepting any back orders. Many felt like some suppliers were withholding stock to keep the prices high so they could cash in while the getting was good. We’ve seen that before as well.

There were no indications of when ammo supplies might be fulfilled in the future. Smaller dealers said they believed that ammo supplies were being allocated to their biggest dealers and the little guys were just left with nothing. It’s getting to be a dire situation if you are really in need of even just a few boxes of ammo. It’s getting to be the same with guns. One dealer told me he would be out of business in six months if firearms supplies did not open up.

Even common everyday hunting loads for the 30-06 Sprg, 270 Winchester, 30-30 Winchester, or the 243 Winchester were non-existent at this gun show. Deer hunting season is still open here and hunters were frantically searching for even one last box to close out the season. There was almost none to be had, and what was available was triple the price it would have cost twelve months ago.

The ammo crisis is hard to understand, given manufacturers’ reports that ammo production is at top capacity. There have been local news reports of the Winchester rimfire factory in Oxford, MS running full blast. If so, where in the heck is all the ammo going? Even the big box stores are out of ammo, too, including Walmart and Bass Pro Shops here locally.

What to do? All you can do is to keep searching every ammo outlet you know of. Search the internet suppliers, too, but many of them have been out like everybody else.

Avatar Author ID 67 - 780634323

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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