Update: As of late August 2013 I have seen the ammo situation improving slightly. If you are willing to go off the beaten path you can find ammo. However, it won’t be cheap. I was able to find plenty of .223, .308, and 9mm but the prices were pretty high. It seems we have a ways to go before the ammo shelf at Wal-Mart will stay stocked. The good news is that the hunting calibers seem readily available. Anything like buckshot, 30-06, .300 Win Mag, and 7mm all seem to be in stock at Wal-Mart. .22 long ammo still seems to be in very short supply though. Also, I am still unable to find any gunpowder. I have seen primers come back, but no powder yet.
As an avid shooter I have been growing increasingly frustrated with the current ammo shortage that seems to be dragging on much longer than everyone expected. With all the talk of background checks and gun bans after the Sandy Hook shooting, gun enthusiasts have been buying every box of ammo they can get their hands on.
With the shortage comes greater demand, which has given birth to opportunists with too much free time on their hands. These individuals will stake out at their local sporting goods stores and wait in line to buy ammo to then resell at gun shows and online forums. My local shooting range buys ammo from a local ammo company, and only allows for purchase of ammo if you intend to shoot it on the range that day.
Pretty much, it sucks. As someone who likes to go to the range regularly, I’ve been forced to cut back on shooting for fear that I will run low on ammo in the future. What makes it even worse is that nothing is being spared from this panic. Reloading components are in extremely short supply. From presses, to powder, to primers. Good luck getting your hands on any of that without a considerable search.
How Long Will The Ammo Shortage Last?
In my opinion, this will go on for as long as people are willing to pay ridiculous prices for ammo and reloading components. Simply put, as long as there is a demand. When everyone decides that they have enough ammo and are tired of waiting in line to make a few extra bucks, the supply will slowly increase. It’s supply and demand.
I’ve heard reports of gun powder being able to stay on the shelves at a local shop nearby, so that is a good sign. I wouldn’t really count on it though with the recent Boston bombers using gunpowder in their explosive devices. All it takes is a few media outlets to run a story and panic will be restored. Here is a great article with a lot of quotes from ammo manufacturers about the shortage. Here is a particularly disheartening quote.
“We absolutely are in uncharted territory,” said Larry Hyatt, whose family owns Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C.. “Our store is 53 years old, and we have never seen anything like this. We have had some spot shortages and busy gun times in the past. This is a level (of demand) never before seen.”
This panic can only last so long. Eventually people will calm down and stop hoarding ammo. Manufacturers will get caught up on backorders and things will slowly return to normal. I am staying optimistic. The first step will be ammo returning to shelves. The second step will be prices returning to normal. I think that will be the longest wait. As the shock waves of this panic subside, there will be after shocks when prices fall that will keep everything from immediately returning to the level it once was. I’m hoping by the end of the year things will be much closer to normal. That is unless some maniac goes on another shooting spree.