Friday, May 15, 2009

Ammo Shortage Doesn't Add Up

There's something strange going on with the nationwide ammunition shortage. It just doesn't add up. Sure, lots of folks are stockpiling ammunition, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's probably a pretty good idea.

I'm pretty sure that's NOT what's causing the shortage. Here's why. The manufacturers are making ammunition as fast as they can, producing more than they did last year. The consumers are buying everything that shows up on the retailers shelves. The fishy part, though, is that none of the retailers are able to get anywhere near the amount of inventory they were getting last year.

In short, the manufacturers are building lots of ammo, but the retailers aren't getting it. It appears to be disappearing BEFORE it gets to the stores. It's getting pushed into the pipeline at one end, but it's not coming out the other. It appears there is a "leak" in the pipeline. In most cases, between the manufacturer and the retailer is a distributor, a warehouse that buys from the manufacturers and sells to the retailers, often called the "Middle Man". Some of the big outfits, like Walmart, do their own distribution. I've talked to the guys in my local Walmart and they tell me they can't get anything. Ace hardware, the same story. Sportsman's Warehouse? Cabela's? Pretty much the same story. No ammo, no powder, no primers. Just about everything is unavailable.

It looks like somebody, somewhere, is sitting in the middle and soaking up most of the production. The military? Why would they be stocking up on calibers that they don't use? Law enforcement? Not likely.

I have no idea what's going on, but it just isn't adding up. I do know that if you want to disarm a country and you haven't been able to ban their guns, if you can dry up the ammunition and reloading supplies, you have essentially disarmed them, even if they DO still have their guns...........


At Friday, May 15, 2009 10:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. It is weird. But it has to go somewhere. Disarming by buying all the ammunition would be far to expensive.

My theory is that there is a lot of stockpiling going on by everyone in the chain from manufacturers to the middle men to the stores to end-users.

Everyone above the end user is stocking up to profit, and the shortage is causing the end user to stock up.

In this case supply has decreased and demand has increased.

At Saturday, May 16, 2009 5:11:00 AM, Blogger TrueBlueSam said...

Last week the Fairfield, Il WalMart got in a couple boxes of .25 auto and .32 auto, one box of .44 mag, and a display box of CCI MiniMags. The Mt. Vernon WM had one WWB of 100 .38 Spec, and FOUR! boxes of WWB .45 Auto, plus some CCI CB caps. Scheels in Coralville, IA had two boxes of 333 Winchester .22s. Mom bought both of those. It appears only small amounts are trickling through, which is very strange. I still have primers I stocked up on when Wm Clinton was elected, but need to refresh my stock.

Mr. , I hope you ad KeeWee have a great trip. You will represent the gun blogging community very well. Have a good time!

At Saturday, May 16, 2009 7:42:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

Too expensive? Not when you are printing money.

However, I think that it is simply the size of the market and unexpected simultaneous demand.

At Saturday, May 16, 2009 8:10:00 AM, Blogger Ian said...

Too Many Secrets. The supply chain isn't that large, and the factories know who they're selling to, and the stores know who they're buying from.

The factories are getting paid for what they ship out the door; or they couldn't afford to run the lines flat-out. What do you think the reaction would be if it came out that the .gov was *secretly* buying up ammo and stockpiling it? Not just from the gunnies (and apparently the current admin and congress is at least wary of the gun vote); but from the anti's when they here the .gov is enriching the merchants of death?

At Saturday, May 16, 2009 8:11:00 AM, Blogger Ian said...

(Follow-up since I forgot)

"3 can keep a secret, if 2 are dead". Also, where's the line item in the budget? Or are the distributors sucking it up for the good of the country?

At Saturday, May 16, 2009 9:11:00 AM, Anonymous Wolfwood said...

I think Steve's probably right. First, you have near-panic buying going on right now. I was in Bass Pro a few weeks ago and they had probably 200 boxes of 9mm WWB that had just come in. A week later and every single box was gone, along with all the UMC and all of the defensive 9mm.

I suspect that the suppliers along the chain either purged their stocks in October/November and figured they'd just get more later or are warehousing right now in anticipation of profits and/or shortages.

I do think distributors are trying. I'd never seen Prvi Partizan in "normal" calibers being stocked, but there it was in 9mm and .38spl in my local shops a few days ago (and gone by yesterday!).

As to calibers like .380acp, I think Tam was onto something: those may be "limited run" calibers that are only made for a little while each year before production is shifted to another caliber for the remainder of the year.

Eventually the warehouses will become full. Right now it's like being in a traffic jam where as soon as you pass the accident, the freeway's clear and you can speed up to 65mph immediately.

At Monday, May 18, 2009 6:58:00 AM, Anonymous ExurbanKevin said...

Vastly increased demand, inflexible supply chain.

No conspiracy needed. Just a whole bunch of people buying a whole bunch of ammo.

And if it was a conspiracy, somebody at some point would let something slip. 60,00 gun nuts, errr, I mean shooting sports enthusiasts descended on the Winchester, Remington, Hornady, etc booths this weekend at the NRA show, grilling the factory reps about what was going on, and yet the answer is still the same.

Myth busted, as my fav TV show hosts like to say. :)

At Monday, May 18, 2009 7:05:00 AM, Blogger ZerCool said...

No conspiracy - just people with too much money beating folks to the punch.

I went to my pusher a few weeks back to pick up a new pistol and shoot the breeze. He mentioned that he had called his distributor to order some .223 that morning. I perked up, thinking I might score a case.


He called his distributor mid-morning to order ten or fifteen cases of .223... only to find out that they were bought out of .223, entirely, by one buyer. That morning. Guy called up and said, "How much do you have? ... How much? ... Ok, check's on the way." $140,000 worth of .223 to one buyer, leaving the distributor empty 'til the next semi from Federal showed up.

(By my real rough numbers, $140k of .223 at wholesale is probably around 500,000 rounds.)

At Monday, May 18, 2009 9:26:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Like I said in the post, there's something odd going on, I just don't know what. It's clearly NOT retail purchasers buying up all the ammunition. Sure, they are buying up everything that shows up in the stores, but the stores aren't getting anywhere close to their regular supply, in fact, far less. There's a giant hole in the pipeline somewhere after the manufacturers but before it gets to the retail sellers. My suspicion is that there are speculators buying at wholesale prices directly from the manufacturers or distributors in large quantities. I just wish the manufacturers and distributors would sell their products to the traditional places first, and then sell any extra to the speculators, rather than the other way around.

.... Mr. C.

At Monday, May 18, 2009 10:53:00 AM, Anonymous Kristopher said...

No hole in the ozone.

None of the manufacturers are making limited runs of civilian-only calibres, like .380 ACP or .270 huntin' ammo.

It's all dot-mil and dot-gov, and it all gets bought up by the ton.

.223 in brown milspec wrappers with a UPC sticker slapped on it gets bought up by the first two customers to hit the local Bi-Mart ... all of it gone in the first half-hour it gets shelved in.

They could sell it in wrapped in wax paper and it would still fly out the door.

Ammo makers are not going to make .22lr and civilian stuff if the .223 and .308 and police cals just fly off the shelves.

At Monday, May 18, 2009 5:30:00 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Also, something to consider, especially at the larger stores:

Employees are seeing the stuff WAY before you do.

What YOU see left on a shelf is only what the employees couldn't afford to buy themselves.

(PS. I just bought some brass-cased 5.56 for $0.34/round)

At Monday, May 18, 2009 9:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is easily determined - simply call any three gun stores in your area and ask them if they have sold more ammunition since November than they had the previous year.

I know they can't get as much as they want to stock, but have they been getting as much as they got last year?

If they have, then there is no mystery. If they have not been getting as much, then it may be time to keep a lookout for black helicopters.

To enlarge the point made by Adam above, the friends of the employees probably get second notice on any new arrivals, then friends of friends, etc.

At Tuesday, May 19, 2009 7:15:00 AM, Anonymous EmmaPeel said...

I've talked with the manager of our local big blue box and have been told that you have to be there when the truck is unloaded to get any. One guy is there every time buying all the .45acp they get in. Just this week they started limiting your purchase to six boxes per visit. Still nothing on the shelf.

At Tuesday, May 19, 2009 1:52:00 PM, Blogger Robohobo said...

If there is someone in the pipeline buying all of the .mil calibers up, that would be the government. Are they stockpiling for something they know we don't?

All I can find is odd calibers and a little of the popular ones - 9mm just a little, .40S&W, .357 SIG, but no .223REM, .45ACP, .380ACP, even 8mm Mauser is not findable.

It is odd. The Russian sources must be working overtime but where is the ammo?

I suppose it is that everyone is stockpiling. I have seen ads in the local classified section offering .223REM & .45ACP & .380ACP for HIGH prices.

At Friday, May 22, 2009 12:09:00 PM, Blogger David said...

I think that in addition to people simply stocking up there are a whole lot of investor wannabe's out there buying up what they can and expecting to cash in on it. Funds are limited for these folks and when they all have ammo up to their eyeballs and no more surplus cash they will stop buying. When that happens everything will reverse for a short while. Then things will be normal...ish.

If there is some sinister government plot or George Soros is buying all this stuff....whoh! problem!!

At Thursday, June 18, 2009 10:52:00 AM, Blogger JimmyInTN said...

I've been told by a gun shop owner that his suppliers are claiming the government is buying it up and destroying it. Anyone know if that's true?

At Friday, June 19, 2009 11:30:00 AM, Blogger jetstream said...

"No conspiracy needed. Just a whole bunch of people buying a whole bunch of ammo."

I'd have to disagree. The statement presupposes that a whole bunch of people are buying. The fact of the matter is no one, at least at the consumer level, is buying because there's nothing available to buy either from brick and mortar retailers or internet vendors. So we're back to square one scratching our heads and wondering why, if manufactures are ramped up for 24/7 production, nothing is in the pipeline. As Mr. Completely says, "it's not adding up!"

At Sunday, July 05, 2009 9:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

its the gov wake up!!!

At Sunday, July 05, 2009 2:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the last week i have seen 38, 357, 44 mag, 32, 25, 40, and yes 9mm in stores like meijer and gander mountain . as soon as people stop going wild you will find it again oh ya and buffalo ammo has 380

At Sunday, August 23, 2009 1:34:00 PM, Blogger balin' said...

Something is fishy here. There has to me something diverting the supply. No primers, no powder, it just doesent add up. Why was there plenty before November 08 and empty shelves now. They are coming to take the iron away next boys and girls, you can count on it.

At Monday, October 05, 2009 5:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When a country stands on feet which began and have been supported by its "right" to have guns there is only one conclusion, cut off the legs attached to those feet. Now who would want to do that and the money and resources to accomplish it. We took away their ability to strike from the air and they cannot bring their own weapons, or get them here, so.....a gun without ammo is a paperweight.

At Friday, February 19, 2010 8:42:00 PM, Anonymous Miodrag Delmic said...

I dont think that is it fishy at all. simply put...there is a high demand. According to Winchester and Remington and some of the other big will take a year to two years before the consumer needs are met.

Why is there such a high demand?

Several factors combined working at the same time.

1. Obama Administration
2. Ammo Taxation
3. Price increases
4. Social Fear
5. 2012
6. Guns sold record high
7. Economy
.........the list is end list.

Just my input from what our clients and customers have told us over the past 2 years.


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