At the beginning of December, my ammo supply was starting to run low. I usually buy 5.56 ammo in 1,000 round increments and I was down to my last handful of stripper clips. I could actually see the bottom of the ammo can. I figured that I’d wait until after the Christmas and post-Christmas buying spree had died down before I headed off to Cabela’s and grabbed a crate of ammo. Unfortunately, that plan quickly went down the drain . . .
Let me just preface this by saying that yes, I know there’s other ammo out there. Walmart usually has some ammo in stock and there are other sites that are offering various other flavors of 5.56. But through my own personal testing, I have found that M193 ammunition provides the best compromise between cost and consistency. Plus, I’ve used it in competitions for so long that I intuitively know how the round performs at distance. So you could say that I’ve become rather picky about my ammunition choice.
Throughout January, there was none of my favorite ammo to be had. Niente. Anywhere. At all. Not a single solitary round of 5.56 ammo to be found. Every time I went to the local gun stores, the “ammo zombies” were out in force, combing the shelves and trying to search out that last box that no one had been keen enough to spot all week. And they were coming away empty handed, too.
Until recently, this had merely been a minor inconvenience. I’ve got enough ready-made 300 AAC Blackout ammo on hand (and more than enough powder, primers and bullets) that I could switch to my hunting rifle for 3-gun competitions while the ammo shortage continued.
Unfortunately, recent events have pushed the need to re-stock some 5.56 ammunition from “when I get around to it” to “emergency” levels. And while I’m sure I could eventually pester some PR reps into sending me some ammo to use, I’m not ready to gamble the success of a rather large project on the generosity of a company that’s making money hand over fist in civilian sales at the moment.
So I was browsing Reddit last night when I stumbled across a link to Freedom Munitions. They had 5.56 ammo in stock and at a somewhat reasonable price – 500 rounds for $300. In other words nearly double what the exact same ammo was selling for before it became scarce. But even at that price it was still less than other sites were advertising (like $990/1,000 rounds). I figured “what the hell” and pulled the trigger on a case. I needed the ammo and while prices were slightly better other places, none of them had ammo in stock.
I happened to stumble across the link five minutes after it was posted. I ordered the ammo five minutes later. Five minutes after that, they were sold out again. I ordered at 9:00 PM CST, and by 11:00 CST I had a tracking number for my order.
There has to be an end to this ammo shortage at some point. The last time it was this bad it took nearly a year to get everything settled and back to “normal,” but I’m hoping that the severity of this shortage means that people will run out of money rather soon and things will start to stabilize. Because I really don’t look forward to having a 15 minute window to order ammo before it’s out of stock again. Or, I suppose I could follow Jerry and get a cement mixer.