So Wal-Mart doesn’t want me stocking up my zombie safehouse with their ammo? That’s fine by me. Wal-Mart and other brick-and-mortar retailers are hardly my first choice for ammo purchases; I buy most of my ammo online and at gun shows. Regardless of my personal shopping habits, I don’t think Wal-Mart’s retail policies are any indication that we’re entering the second phase of a ‘Double-Dip’ ammo shortage, and here’s why…

Ammo prices and selection are lower than they’ve been in three years, because all sorts of new competitors have jumped into the market. I wrote about the end of the ‘Great Obama Ammunition Drought’ a year ago last week, and things have only gotten better since then.  The .380 hollowpoints that were $23 last year are $20 now, and plinking-grade .22s are edging back down toward $15 for a brick of 500.  (You gotta be careful, though: some sneaky bastards sell ‘bricks’ of only 300 to 350 rounds.)

Ten years ago we had few choices other than the big American manufacturers, unless you were shooting surplus NATO or Warsaw-pact ammo. Now, however, we’ve got Tulammo and Wolf and other foreign makers spewing out all kinds of purely civilian calibers.  Steel-cased ammo might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I credit it for holding prices so low that it’s hardly worth handloading 9mm or 5.56 (or even .308) for routine practice.

The last ammo drought was triggered by the election of a Democratic president, and a slight dip in supplies of NATO-caliber surplus ammunition.  Our fighting men and women were firing millions of rounds of them at Iraqi and Afghan insurgents four years ago, but now?  Not so much.

And neither has Barack Obama shown himself to be the energetic gun-grabber that some feared.  Maybe this is because he personally doesn’t think it’s an issue, or maybe because he knows that gun control is an issue the Democratic Party cannot win.  Either way, the only concrete step he’s taken against gun rights is his foolish and diversionary registration of multiple ‘assault rifle’ purchases along our Southern border.

Whatever happens next November, let’s remember our choices: pro-gun Republicans (except for the guy from Massachusetts) or a Democrat who’s barely taken gun control out of the fridge, let alone put it on the back burner.  We’re not looking at a Romney-Clinton showdown, right?

I’m sure somebody can dream up a Chicken Little scenario involving secret Executive Orders and black UN helicopters to deprive us of our cheap ammo, but you need to think carefully before you shout ‘Ammo Shortage!’ in a crowded shooting range.  Shouting it loudly enough might just make it happen.

Commodities panics, real estate bubbles, and bank runs are all caused by vicious circles of consumer behavior. Fear of a (nonexistent, but imaginable) shortage leads to over-purchasing and hoarding, which then creates a *real* shortage which then creates even more fear of a (now very real, if irrational) shortage. And on it goes; once it gets going it can take months to stop and years to return to normal.

After two or three years, we’re almost back to normal. Let’s just leave it that way, m’kay?

34 Responses to ‘Ammo Shortage’ Counterpoint: Let The Good Times Roll

  1. Ammo manufacturers diverted a lot of production capacity toward military ammo. With fewer troops in the field to supply, and most of our forces due to leave Iraq, I expect that the manufacturers will be transitioning back to producing more civilian ammo. There should be plenty available, and prices should fall.

  2. I agree. However, the worst case scenario if you don’t have enough ammo is terrifying. The worst case scenario if you buy too much? Meh….

    With that in mind, I think we should remain cautiously optimistic about the ammo market.

  3. I remember paying almost $18 a box for .40 2 years ago and now I’m feeding my .45 for less than that. I’m not going to get my undies in a twist over ammo prices anytime soon. If only we could get gas prices to go the way of ammo.

    • A lead ban is the single most credible threat to ammo supplies. I love Barnes bullets but I can’t do very much shooting at $1 a round.

  4. my only real concern going forward is not elected officials, it’s beaureacrats who would prohibit lead in ammo . EPA, CPSD, OSHA etc. it would cause a serious rise in prices.
    although I do miss the $8.99 /box of 50 blazer 9mm jhp.

  5. After two or three years, we’re almost back to normal. Let’s just leave it that way, m’kay?

    Oh, sure, you’d like that, wouldn’t you? Then you could buy all the ammo for yourself and leave us with nothing when the gun confiscation/zombie army rolls in!

    [/tinfoil hat mode]

    Heh heh. Just kidding.

    Isn’t it interesting how changes in the market can affect expectations. The recent cornucopia of ammo has changed the meaning of “enough.” Back in the 80’s if I had a hundred rounds for each of my centerfire guns, and maybe a ‘brick’ (500 rounds) for my rimfires, I felt perfectly content.

    But now that bulk ammo has become so common, I start to sweat when my ammo count falls into the three digit range. I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

    Speaking of ammo, here’s a funny thing story that shows how much times have changed: Back in the mid-80’s I acquired an SKS Carbine. Not a recent Chinese import, this was about 3 or 4 years before that – mine was a genuine Vietnam War “Trophy” that a GI brought back – I even had the “war trophy” paperwork to go with it.

    I owned that SKS for about a year and then sold it without ever firing a shot. Why? Because back during the waning days of the Cold War, before we started our bulk imports of ComBloc (especially Chinese) guns and ammo, it was too expensive to shoot! The only 7.62×39 ammo available was from Norma and cost $1 a round (a fortune to a guy making $6.00/hr.) If I’d known how cheap 7.62×39 would become in just a few years, I’d have kept it, but at the time I didn’t see the point in owning a “wall hanger”, matter how good the story.

    • “I start to sweat when my ammo count falls into the three digit range.”

      When I bought my first pistol, I thought 500 rounds was a decent stock; now that doesn’t even load my magazines twice for the same gun. At this point, my ammo stocks are somewhere north of 1500 rounds (full case of brass, plus a partial case each of brass and steel) for that gun, and that’s nowhere near enough. At this point, I’m looking to have at least 3,000 rounds on hand.

      It’s not even all paranoia — I enjoy shooting, and I when I get to the range it isn’t uncommon for me to go through 300-500+ rounds in a single trip. Given all manner of factors, I find it more cost effective (time, money, and aggrivation) to stock up every few months when I find deals on whole cases of ammo. Given how infrequent the shows are, I buy when I can.

  6. I’m glad someone actually realized Obama isn’t this huge gun control nut everyone thought he’d be. The real gun-grabbers actually seem to be state and local governments.

    • Obama isn’t this huge gun control nut everyone thought he’d be.

      Sure he is. It’s just that he wanted to hose us with Obamacare first, and he used a lot of political capital to do it. Wait until his second term.

      • “Sure he is. It’s just that he wanted to hose us with Obamacare first…”

        And, as all men have limited political capital (most more limited than some), he had to ration it, much like care will be rationed under Obamacare, assuming it ever gets into the active care phase…

    • Riiiiiight, go check his “non gun controlling record”, you sheeple never cease to amaze me. Start with his SCOTUS appointees.

      • Great point-Sotomayor and that foul POS Kagan are gun grabbers from the get go.
        I don’t think they can overturn Heller AND Mc Donald though-two precedent decisions are hard to mess with.

  7. Dick’s has plenty of ammo and if you wait for the sales it’s the cheapest retailer around. I can get 45 ACP UMC for about $17/box when they do their buy 1 get 50% off deals.

  8. “And neither has Barack Obama shown himself to be the energetic gun-grabber that some feared.”

    Stay tuned. The show ain’t over folks.

  9. I saw rationing of sorts at my local Walmart. I know the ladies very well and the only reason they did it was so one or two guys couldn’t buy it all up at once and leave everyone else out in the cold (which happened many times). To make things worse they were only getting in about half of what they ordered each week. The ladies had a lot of regulars who would pop in for a box or two on their weekly trip to the range and they took care of them. They never flat out denied a sale or lied about anything, just simply explained they had only limited amounts to last the week. For months after the election a Mini-14’s life span on the floor was measured in hours. 870’s flew out the door too. The bane of my existence at the time was primers of any sort were hoarded and going for almost double the price IF you could even find anyone willing to sell them. I usually keep 2,000 of any given type on hand and when I finished a box I’d pick up another reserve box but had to seriously cut in to my reserves back then.

  10. I think you are forgetting the m1 rifles obama blocked the importation of.and janet napalitino declaring all gun owners as terrorist which is especially scary considering the obama administration has made a habit of assasinating u.s. Citizens that they deem terrorists.

  11. Obongo not out there being anti-gun? Right. He keeps his mouth shut, and his goons are working every anti-gun wrinkle they can. Fast and Furious? Courtesy of his appointee, Holder. Designed to flood Mexico with guns from American gun stores, all at the behest of the ATF, and then point to all those guns and wring their hands and screech for more “sensible gun laws”, and ” assault gun bans”. Have a sudden memory hole about Obongos’ “under the radar” statement? How about having Hillary and the State Dept. carry his water with their work to bring home the gun treaties from the UN, and their refusal to allow the import of a lot of guns from overseas? Been to a guns show in the last, oh, 3yrs and seen any SKS parts for sale, other than bayonets and slings? They used to be plentiful. Notice that at damn near every gun show now, there’s a table for the ATF? WTF. I never saw one till the mighty kenyan was in office. Every time some jackass freakazoid goes Islam, and kills a bunch of innocents, Obongo and co. are racing for the microphone to denounce the “easy availability of guns, and their proliferation in every strata of our society”. He and his buddies know they can’t work an outright ban, or a confiscation, so they work the UN,( Hey, I’m just signing what the Senate passed) and the in-bed media, ( I didn’t know anything about guns being walked to Mexico.) Wanna know the bottom line? Stock up as much as you can afford to on ammo, and reloading supplies and guns, spare parts, etc. When the economy implodes, which it will soon, supplies will be gone, and what you have will be what you get.

  12. Besides the general “Don’t do this to us!” of a lot of Evil Party politicians, I think a big reason Obama hasn’t openly pushed the bans/restrictions/licensing schemes he’s so fond of is that he used up a HUGE amount of his political capital in getting Obamacare shoved through; that did damage they’re still dealing with. I’m guessing that even his most hoplophobic friends/associates aren’t willing to open this can of monkeys. At least not now.

    He looks like losing the election, watch for him to try executive orders or ‘regulatory changes’ to get what he wants.

  13. The one good thing that came out of the last ammo shortage was my purchase of quality reloading equipment and components. Now I can generate quality ammo faster than I can shoot it. Since I keep my eyes attuned to online bargains, more components keep coming in all the time, to both my wife’s and my UPS man’s amusement!

    Regarding the borderline cost effectiveness of reloading smaller caliber rounds, for me its not so much about saving money, but about producing safe, accurate, and tailored loads for my firearm(s) at (or slightly below) market cost, on my own schedule, and to meet my own specific needs. At this point I could outlast an ammo shortage lasting several years, at least for my handguns.

    Its really about being self-sufficient, something liberals don’t have the means to understand.

  14. “The last ammo drought was triggered by the election of a Democratic president, and a slight dip in supplies of NATO-caliber surplus ammunition.”

    True. But another contributing factor is that more people are buying guns and shooting them. NICS checks and Pittman-Robertson excise tax receipts have been steadily increasing for ten years. Now we have the Gallup Poll confirming it.

    “And neither has Barack Obama shown himself to be the energetic gun-grabber that some feared. Maybe this is because he personally doesn’t think it’s an issue, or maybe because he knows that gun control is an issue the Democratic Party cannot win.”

    Or maybe it’s because those swing-state Democrats that gave him a majority in Congress are all pro-gun.

  15. Then again, a “lame duck” second term president Obama may not be so concerned about any re-election that he would invoke his executive powers win or lose right after the next election. For example he could scribble executive orders that impact foreign trade in firerms and ammo. Not to mention the use of regulatory powers and restriction of access to and use of public lands through various agencies such as the EPA, DOI, etc. It is apparent that the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal was an attempt to villify gunowners and gun vendors to get an emotional reaction in support of more draconian gun laws.

    Then again, I have stockpiled milsurp ammo with the goal of “two lifetime” supplies for shooting and hunting purposes. I don’t worry about shortages – I just negate the effect of shortages should they happen by stocking up. Worrying is forother people. I figure I have saved a lot of money buying cases upon cases over the last few years. I buy insurance not because I expect to get in an accident, get sick, burn down my house, or die. I buy insurance in case I need it. Same with ammo. Hopefully it will always be cheap and available – but just in case…

    – “Buy it Cheap and Stack in Deep” –

    Everyone else can take their chances…

  16. Just remember folks-Obama is the one who suggested a “civilian security force”as well equipped as the armed forces.IOW a paramilitary militia like in every dictatorship in history loyal to a person and not a country.
    He pulled back fast on it,but the evil SOB hasn’t changed-you can see it in his devil eyes.
    In a second term he will feel no restraint in using his unAmerican cohorts like Napolitano and Holder to totally ruin this country.
    And don’t think Hillary is any better(ok,maybe no paramilitary,but still).
    It’s not like Romney is a friend of gun owners,but he’s better than they are.He can be kept in check by a Republican congress.

  17. Speak what you say, lawyer lie, politicians all speak with two forks.
    Count the wholes on shelf. Better today? Prices up, package size down.
    Guess what a 30 per cent price rise looks like.
    Today February 2012 , worst than four years ago.
    Militia of none, no ammo, no rifle. 42 thousand convicts released in
    Komicalifornia, how will they feed the family out of work, no jobs, no money.
    Citizens of Ciudad Juarez, lay out on ground with round holes in body, 47 daily.
    Hilter, Mao, Stalin all wipe out their own people. Obummer must be diff.
    No ammo on shelf, can not buy rifles or pistols you want, guess WHY ?
    Militia of none, komifornia February 2012.

  18. Paranoia may destroy ya’. You’ll be just as bad-off with Romney at the controls – perhaps even worse. Obama hasn’t taken my guns yet, you silly fools.

  19. Ok fellow despite all of your observations you made one near fatal error near the beginning of your message! It is one being indoctrinated into America’s mind by the far left controlled media. Ok I must tell you ans everyone out there so that this terrible mistake won’t be perpetuated by honest Americans. First and foremost abakma is not a democratic anything!!! He’s a democrat affiliated politician who’s anti America agenda has many angles and leftist twists. He practices anti america(n) acts in nearly everything he does! His political beliefs are more closely on the communist side than America’s. watch his actions and follow the trend you will see what I’m referring to . All of his unethical scandals we know about are only the tip of the iceberg .

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