Reader Davis Watts writes:

Back when all the ammo buying frenzy started, I ordered .223 ammo from Cabela’s. It was not in stock but they permitted me to back-order it. I received periodic updates indicating that it was still not in stock and would be fulfilled when it arrived. Since they were repeatedly promising to fulfill my order when stock eventually did arrive – I did not pursue other sources. I had confidence in their promises . . .

Yesterday I received an email from Cabela’s stating that the order would be canceled unless I responded to their email. I replied that I wanted to keep the back-order in place. I can wait.

Then I received an email, saying the first email was an error, and that my order has been canceled. I’ve fussed back and forth with their customer service reps, but to no avail. I’ve requested they reinstate the order. They’ve refused.

I’ve now written to their CEO. We’ll see if he replies. If they don’t make this right, they’ll lose all my future business.

The issue here is not a delay. I’m happy with a delay. The issue is, they took an order, the promised to fulfill the order, and now they cancel the order without regard for the trust we put in them. Naturally, if I try to order it now – it will be much, much higher in price.

Was this a case of canceling orders in order to not have to fulfill orders made at a lower price?

Pitiful.

62 Responses to Cabela’s: Yes, We Have No More Ammo

  1. Can’t say I’ve done any business other than the M1891/30 I bought from the Hamburg store, but this would be a pretty underhanded move if true.

  2. Davis,

    literally the exact same thing happened to me. Not more than a few days after i had to confirm i still wanted it i got an email saying it was cancelled. can you post the email you sent their CEO?

    Michael

    • The same thing happened to me also. I ordered PMC X Tac green tips, 12 gauge buckshot, and Remington UMC 55 grain .223. I received the buckshot and 5.56 late. I got a cancellation notice, and I replied to keep my order. My order was subsequently cancelled without my permission. I’m not happy.

      • I ordered a Lee reloader on Amazon, that went two months over- and got an email from both Lee and Amazon asking if I wanted to keep it on backorder- I replied yes, to both, and then got a cancelled (anyway) from Amazon.

        I dont think theres a big conspiracy out there- I think theres just a massive order backlog and the fulfillment people everywhere are doing their best, but probably being told by managers in general in some places to cancel until they can catchup.

        Occams Razor.

      • Add me to the list. I was offered a $20 giftcard, but they “absolutely can’t” reinstate the backorder and “don’t know” why it was cancelled automatically.

        I was given corporate’s # to call, will try Monday and report back. I’m glad I grabbed 1k from Sportsman’s Guide the other day, hopefully it ships soon!

  3. Am I the only one who smells a dirty rat regarding this “ammo shortage”? When orders increase dramatically, isn’t it normal business practice to increase production proportionally, by hiring extra shift workers and materials?

    Has the Obamament secretly intimidated ammo manufacturers into DECREASING production?

    Watch this space.

    • No.
      Herd mentality has done what Feinstein could never legally accomplish.
      FYI, I know of a small shop I can get .223 from which is in stock and isn’t expensive.

    • I always assumed that the gigantic purchases of ammo by DHS was intended primarily to dry up the civilian market, seeing as how LEO’s are higher in the production pecking order. The factories could be running flat out but can’t keep up due to the FED’s billion round orders.

      • That DHS contract is about 1 months worth of the US ammo manufacturers production spread out over 5 years. It is not contributing to the shortage in any significant way.

    • William: I have had the same suspicion. I am convinced the firearm and ammo companies have Obama on retainer. Since 2008. Every time he opens his mouth, they sell million of guns and billions of bullets.

      Reminds me of Johnson plus his band of war criminals and crooks during Vietnam.

    • Yeah… This is what it is. It is a short term boost in sales, not a permanent boost in sales. Machines can only run at a certain capacity, haven’t you seen the statements saying that ammo companies have added 3rd shifts? 24 hours a day ammo is made non stop, so more people does nothing, more components does nothing. The only way they can continue to increase production is to build more machines to make that ammo. New machines mean either a complete shut down of a factory, or a partial shutdown, because machines are big, heavy, complicated things that must be placed and wired properly, and the fact that having gunpowder in the air as big metal machines are being moved around and having wiring and testing done on said big metal machines is just a bad idea. So, to increase production for a short term buying increase, they would have to reduce production in order to increase it. The other option is to buy new property, get new permits for that property, get new machines for that property, get new people to run that property, and then set up that new property, which could take years in itself is just not a fiscally responsible thing to do for what is a short term buying spree.

      Also think of the geopolitical state of the world right now. Mali went hot a while ago, Syria is in the middle of a war, ammo is being bought by both sides from foreign and possibly domestic companies. Russian ammo is probably going towards the Syrian government forces. Asian ammo is probably going towards both sides. European ammo is probably being bought up by both sides. We aren’t getting the same import amount as we normally do. Add in a few hundred million being bought by DHS, and every single round of military ammo being made that was probably quickly acquired within the last few days or weeks due to the budget cut backs, and you have a perfect storm of no more ammo.

      And before you go A-HA! DHS is buying ammo! A few hundred million rounds isn’t much compared to what civilians buy each year. Even the ammo the military could get their hands on in the last few weeks only amounts to a few million probably. American civilians have billions stock piled, and buy 10 billion+ each year. So even if they are buying 5 or 6 billion rounds, we still buy more than that every year. Also, from what I understand with the DHS ammo buying, they aren’t buying the amount we think they are buying, I forgot where I read it but if I find it, ill link it under this post.

      People buy lots of ammo. Ammo becomes scarce. More people look for ammo, and snatch up any ammo they find. That causes ammo to be more scarce, which causes more people to hunt for ammo and buy anything and everything they can. This perpetuates until all ammo being made, and all ammo about to be made, is spoken for. The backlogs increase until stuff like the above happens. Ammo ordered days or weeks ago cannot be mailed because either there is no ammo, of more money could be made through canceling orders and reselling them.

      Gun owners as a whole need to keep their heads and not look to fan the flames. Cabela’s might loose a large portion of it’s sales due to new gun control laws, so they may be just trying to get rid of old stock at a higher price. Or simply they cannot get a hold of the ordered ammo and are cancelling orders because of that fact. We shouldn’t boycott or hate on any companies until we learn everything about them.

      Just look at the recent Magpul articles on TTAG in the last few days, and the comments under them. First Magpul puts an express line in for CO residents who may no longer be allowed to buy their magazines anymore, so everyone supported them. Next few days an article comes up saying “OMG MAGPUL DOES WHAT IT ALWAYS DID!!! Never buy from them!!!!” and everyone says they hate Magpul, Magpul is evil, Magpul eats puppies and murders babies, blah blah blah, everyone is being drama queens and we can’t do that. It has the potential to screw us in the future when companies DON’T support us because we got pissy the last time.

      Just…. Think things through before you try and burn a company or blame an ammo shortage on a conspiracy by Obama. Think through things
      logically.

      TL:DR notes: Machines = expensive. No more production increase. Don’t blame companies without good reason.

        • Good job- this started at Alex Jones I think, and I remember it got spread around in emails after that-

          having spent time as a govt employee in a large org, I would observe that a person can sometimes give the gobmint TOO much credit thats not deserved for intelligence…

          And I notice the “not a conspiracy” meme doesnt sell as well, on survival or political websites, but its good to get the facts and spread them, here at the Armed Intelligentsia.

      • Wish we had a like button here . this makes perfect sense to me . I haven’t fed into this panic enough to run out trying to scrounge every available round . I already had enough on hand to enable me to resupply from what ever op force we face if SHTF . What more do you need ?

      • David W: stop making sense. You’re making it hard for people to get worked up into a spittle-spraying frenzy.

      • This is one of the most intelligent comments on the ammo shortage I’ve seen so far. Kudos to you, sir.

      • Then it sounds like it is time to get in the ammo manufacturing business. If you can sell everything you make as soon as it hits the shelf, what business wouldn’t want that? All these excuses “takes time”, “start up costs”, etc. sound like pessimists to me. Where is the American innovation these days? Most of these ammo companies were started in a time when there was not near this demand. They did alright. I think it is time for some true “go getters to get in the business.

  4. Every interaction I’ve had in the past with Cabela’s customer service has been fantastic. I expect they will make this right for you.

  5. I think there is a FTC rule if a product on backorder is not fulfilled they have to send a notice. If that notice is not replied to they are obligated to cancel the order. I have been getting these from Sportsmansguide.com on a lot of my backordered products. Re-read your emails and see if they quote the FTC rules and regulations.

    • But he says he replied to the e-mail right away (with a “yes”) when they asked him if he wanted to keep it on backorder. It was, therefore, cancelled by Cabella’s by choice.

      • I actually had a weirder experience with OpticsPlanet last week. They sent me an email saying the EOTech I’d ordered Jan 1 was ie. “Reply if you still want it.” I replied “Yes. Send it.” Then I got an email saying “We were mistaken. We have no EXPS3’s. We expect more in 4 weeks.” Translation: I got bumped for a government order.

    • There is an FTC Notify law that dictates how Cabela’s has to handle this. My guess is they do not run into many issues with perpetual backlogs very often and frontline CSRs are not trained in the law or it verbiage. Still a bad experience for the customer, but if they will never be able to fill the order they have no choice but to cancel it.

    • You are correct about FTC regs

      http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus02-business-guide-mail-and-telephone-order-merchandise-rule

      The Rule requires that when you advertise merchandise, you must have a reasonable basis for stating or implying that you can ship within a certain time. If you make no shipment statement, you must have a reasonable basis for believing that you can ship within 30 days. That is why direct marketers sometimes call this the “30-day Rule.”

      If, after taking the customer’s order, you learn that you cannot ship within the time you stated or within 30 days, you must seek the customer’s consent to the delayed shipment. If you cannot obtain the customer’s consent to the delay — either because it is not a situation in which you are permitted to treat the customer’s silence as consent and the customer has not expressly consented to the delay, or because the customer has expressly refused to consent — you must, without being asked, promptly refund all the money the customer paid you for the unshipped merchandise.

      Cabelas is perhaps a bit conservative, but if you’ve been browsing retailers (real stores not the internet) you will have observed that those receiving ammo resupplies are getting very limited amounts and sold in minutes. So how would you forecast/promise (legally binding) a delivery date on a customers 556 or 308 ammo? I have picked up twice in the last month store limit of 10 box of Israeli 5.56 ball at my local Cabelas at $11/box. Great outfit.

      Get of your sofa, or out of moms basement, and off the internet and go to a local gun store. Note you’re not likely to find anything at Walmart. T they apparently and rightfully look to be are WAY down the customer priority list for gun/ammo mfg. But you may find what you want at local ag/farm store.

  6. I must be lucky. My local Wally World and Academy Sporting Goods are on a daily call list. They have told me when their trucks come in. I call. They tell me what is on truck. I go over and pick up what I need ( limit 3 boxes, or I box of each cal). Prices at my Wal Mart are the same as early December. Academy too. In a normal week, pick up 9 to 12 boxes. 22LR, 9MM, 30-30, 308, 223. are my needs. 223 has been the hardest to get. I have plenty, but am limiting use of 223.

    Cabela’s has always been too pricey. I do not shop there for ammo.

  7. Ammo companies are probably charging more for their product and Cabelas cannot make money selling at their previous price. Cabelas is not a charity. But I can understand how this will piss people off and they may lose customers..

  8. Wow, I feel like I wrote this article. This is the exact email I received from them followed by a cancel order…after waiting with it for 2+ months on backorder. Obviously I will not be doing business with them again.

  9. i called yesterday to see if they could look up a pistol and see if any of their vendors have it. they said, “no, you have to go to the store” WTF? Inventory moving too fast apparently.

    Picked up a used Vbob today, FTW. so no more gun purchases for at least a week.

  10. I decided to stop giving them my business in late dec after they said they would not be doing anymore special orders on firearms that are considered “tactical”, the hardcore evil tactical weapon I was trying to get…… A mossberg mvp! When I asked them why it is considered a “tactical” firearm they said it was because it has the ability to accept detachable magazines!!!!!. Good to know that if any attempt to ban “assault weapons” fail Cabelas has given a new term for them to go after all those evil guns, this time it includes bolt action hunting rifles!

  11. I received a similar email but i contacted them and they did not cancel….but mine was for a magazine…FYI you may notice that cabelas no longer lists .223 or 7.62×39 ammo on there website and if you do reach the old listing it says out of stock and no option to back order.
    I get the feeling that cabelas no longer stock “assault weapon” ammo anymore. on a Monday i went in to buy some AK ammo and they had about 500 boxes of ammo on a shelf….went back Tuesday with my paycheck and it was all gone.

  12. Was this a case of canceling orders in order to not have to fulfill orders made at a lower price?
    Maybe. Or maybe Cabelas doesn’t keep back orders open for extended periods, which has a cost. Or maybe there’s a volume limit on fixed back order prices? Cabelas has to protect themselves against possible large volume ammo speculators (who often bail on their orders if prices don’t go up).
    It sounds like Cabelas is being boneheaded over a small amount. The difference between the filling the back order NOW and the previous ‘back order’ price would be nice to know.

  13. Never bought ammo from them, but I can say that the local shooting range here is now selling remanufactured .223 for $350x500rounds. Unbelievable. Not cool at all.

    If people are saving up for a war of some sorts, do they really think hoarding ammo is going to be a worth wile action? Absolutely not. If one were to subscribe to the “Second American Civil War” theory, that war wont be fought and won by an army of 5, 10, 20, or even 500 people.

    The ammo wont be banned, they’ve already tried that. So why ammo? Why?

    When will they run out of money?

    Why wont stores at the very least, provide opportunities for all their customers to purchase. I understand the pure economics behind the mater, but take the range near me for example. They limited .223 sales to 2×500 round cans PER PERSON. Thus preventing people from coming through and buying entire pallets of ammo and screwing everyone else over. Those are probably the same people selling ammo online at places like GunBroker.

  14. I was just at Cabela’s this past week in a far off Western state where normal people are allowed to carry weapons on their person. Strangely enough, there wasn’t a shootout in the parking lot. Somehow, I think Tiny Dancer is lying to me. Such is life outside of the Progressive Curtain.

    Anyway, this particular Cabela’s was more or less cleaned out. Or as the gun counter guy said, “the cupboards are bare”. There was zero 9mm, .22 or .223 to be had. There was a little .40, a good amount of 7.62×39 (steel Russian variety) and tons of 12/20ga.

    Firearms-wise, there were plenty of shotguns and hunting rifles, a dozen or so .45s and .22 handguns and zero anything 9mm, .40 or assault rifle-ish. Magazines were all gone and even the holsters were heavily picked over.

    All told, I found it to be rather depressing.

    Illustrating Chicagoland Idiocy, Mayhem and Stupidity at heyjackass.com

    • in Missouri, there is plenty of .357, .40 s&w, 10mm and .500 and some .38 at cabelas. you can find .45 on occaision, but forget about 9mm. I stop by almost every day to look. it is depressing but at least there is stock starting to come back.

  15. 2 questions:
    Is a similar run on ammo happening in Canada right now?
    And is it possible to bring ammo purchased in Canada through a port of entry in your car?

  16. to purchase in canada you have to have a gun owners license. I ran into that issue trying to get some rather rare ammo from there.

  17. I can understand the authors frustration but I think he is taking this a bit too personal. He doesn’t know the reasons why it was cancelled. Perhaps they assumed they would get regular shipments to fill back orders and that just isn’t happening for them. That’s not a reason to boycott them.

  18. Same thing happened to me. I ordered because when I did it was “in stock”. I then find out that it is actually not in stock, but on back order and only like a week out. Then an update that it would still ship, but was a few more weeks out. I got the same cancelation letter yesterday. This is roughly a six weeks after the original order.

    My preference would have been to keep on back order or offer up a substitution at the very least. All I can say is that I better not see any .223 in stock at Cabelas for months and months and months. If they do restock this soon, but at a much higher price, I will make sure everyone knows.

    I understand that prices from distributors might go up. A simple letter from Cabelas management explaining the issue would be better.

    These are unique times, and clearly these businesses do not have systems to deal with this, but there are several ways to deal with it. Old fashioned customer service and better communication is key.

  19. I find this almost shocking and sadly disappointing. With the nearest Cabela’s almost 3 hours drive, I have ordered thousands of $s worth of merchandise from them on line. I consider them a paragon of on line retailing. The few problems I’ve had were minor and always satisfied beyond my expectations.

  20. I have never really cared for Cabelas. Their prices are high and I have had very few good experiences with their customer service. The few times recently I have gone into the store I seem to get the condescending jerkwod of an associate. I have had just to many bad experiences with them to give them any of my money.

  21. That sounds like a verbal contract to me. They offered the item & Davis accepted the price. I would give them notice of intent to bring a small claims action against them. Even if you don’t want to follow through it might rattle their cage. I can assure you Cabelas does not want the publicity of a lawsuit. Small claims is only about $75.00, Randy

  22. I’m so happy I stocked up on 10k+ rounds of 7,62×39(even though it’s back in stock in many online stores now) and mostly only shoot 80-90 grain .223 in my two ARs which of course are single hand fed and quite easy to find. I can find basic 55 grain all over my area in WI privately but of course the prices people want for .223 77 grain and under are ridiculous. I can still buy Hornady .223 40, 43, 55 and 75 grain for 175 per 200 rounds. And Black Hills .223 in 40, 69 and 77 grain for 725-875 per 1,000 rounds with added shipping costs of course but I no longer shoot short range with my .223 now so even when things go back to normal I will be investing in reloading supplies for mostly heavy grain long range as that’s where the fun is for me. I can shoot mag after mag from my AK all day for short and mid-range, just not feasible or fun anymore to do that from the AR.

  23. Happened to me with some 5.7 ammo; my order was at the beginning of December. I know who I will never do business with again.

  24. had this happen to me some years back with another company, and while i don’t like to assume such theories, i suspect it’s done to knock out back-orders based on lower prices.

  25. Its funny that Cabelas is on the bad list today. I stopped in the Wichita KS store this morning on my way home to OKC. I saw some black rifles on display – mostly .22 Mossbergs so maybe they don’t count. They had a reasonable amount of ammunition, lots of steel case 7.62×39,a BIG stack of plastic AR magazines of uncertain pedigree and a pretty good collection of handguns, mostly revolvers and 1911’s. They also had some reloading components – lots of brass in the non tactical calibers like .45 LC, .25-06, .243, even a little .38 special. I didn’t see any .223, .45ACP, or 9mm brass or bullets. Sorry I don’t remember looking for .40 since I don’t own one. They also had powder but no rifle or handgun primers. In rimfire no .22 but lots of .17HMR.

    They had a 10 box limit on ammunition and I believe a 2 pound limit on powder. I found some Pritzi 7.5mm Swiss soft point and grabbed a couple of boxes of that. I don’t have 7.5 Swiss dies. That’s on the want list now that I’ve got some brass.

    I walked out out of the store happy with my 7.5 ammo. Momma hit the sale rack and found some clothes so we had a fairly decent day. I know that this post doesn’t really address the back order issue but it does say that a guy can still find a few things in the stores. And it also says that I might want to think about a .17 so I can shoot little holes in somethimng.

  26. You know what is great about America, you do not have to shop at only one store. Go somewhere else and stop the complaining. My LGS shop was selling Russian 9mm ammo for $25 a box. Normally, $15. So, you know what I did…I walked out and went to another store and they had Federal 9mm for under $20. Also, you can blame all the gun owners who are hoarding the ammo. I noticed one guy online stating that he purchased 3000 rounds of 9mm ammo. Why? Buy 1000…let others get the ammo. I would rather have 3 law abiding citizens with 1000 rds of ammo instead of 1 person in case the SHTF . When a local LGS has two cases of 9mm ammo, I do not purchase all of it. I get a box or two.

  27. My local Cabela’s actually took out the shelves from the space where they once had 9mm and 380. About the only ammo they have in stock is some boutique 7.62×39. Of course they’ve got all the shot shells you could want.

    • Yeah, I was able to place an order for 1000 rounds of .223 a few days ago and it’s already shipped. Go to the “Conolidated thread for the discussion and availability of pricing of ammo” on AR15.com (start at page 399) to see how. I think that may answer where your ammo is going.

  28. first world problems gentlemen, first world problems.

    stick to shooting a 38 special revolver and a shotgun. birdshot is plentiful and cheap (for practice), so is buckshot and slug.

  29. In the past Cabelas has always treated me well – so it’s surprising to hear that they are canceling orders for no reason. To me this says that either 1) they have been told that there is NO ammo in the pipe for the far future or 2) they have such a backlog of ammo on order that it’s not worth the costs of keeping the back orders and fulfilling them. Probably a bean-counter decision.

    Either way – by promising back orders they “took that customer off the market” and tied up their cash flow. A complete cancellation like this should be accompanied by some sort of compensation if they want to keep their customers.

  30. Had a backorder into Cabelas for 9mm, got a recent email stating the same “let us know if you still want the order in 10 days or we’ll cancel it”. I sent a email to Customer Service asking them to renew the backorder. They responded immediately that they would renew the backorder, no argument.

  31. Cabelas screwed me too, with the same backorder huff on a already overpriced Ultra super High Capacity magazine (17rnd) . I told’em to cancel the mag, took their $20 off $150″cabelas Buck” rebate/ (think of it as a Cabela’s Peso!) I’m happy I scored their gouge $400 MT050 BiBs for about $90 American Pesos.
    They cancel my wish list ammo componets every day after add’em.
    I’ve heard they hold ammo back, then let the shevles empty within minutes of the few Blazer 45’s they put, out and repeat the process throughout the day. Keep it! It Might as well be a Bass Pro, since they have implemented their bait and switch tactics (~1 item from a sale ad, who a lil’ ol lady just bought 2 minutes ago. ) I try to buy local, but a guy has to buy it at a reasonable “sensible” price these days…if ya can find it.

    FWIW I’ve read a local guys post. that claims he works @ Wal-Mart’s warehouse distribution center in MO. he says that they are not shipping any less ammo, to the stores. He says that, it’s just all of the jackoffs, that see it or hear about it, buy it! Before it even hits the glass case. And then of course double the price of sale @www.upthewazoo.com

  32. Today is April 15, 2013. I ordered Remington UMC ammunition from Cabelas at the end of December. As far as I know, my order is still on backorder. Someone from Cabelas had told me that they were not receiving the ammo from Remington. I ordered the ammo almost 4 months ago! Why hit or miss can you buy ammo at Walmart but Cabelas can’t ship out orders in 4 months? In a time where Mayors like Rahm Emanuel are trying to influence things outside the law like pushing banks not to do business with gun companies. Is NY’s mayor Bloomberg influencing NY based Remington company to not ship out orders? In a time that gun companies are leaving states that have passed anti 2nd amendment laws. Remington has chosen to stay in NY and has received a 80 million dollar contract for $16,000. rifles. What rifle costs $16,000.?

  33. not only did I have the same thing happen to me, but today, 5 months afterwards, I have the money for the order taken out of my bank account. I call Cabelas to see if it is dhipping, and am told no, that it is still not available. now 3 hours and 10 phone calls later, no help from Cabela’s. I will never buy from them again!!!!

  34. I’m going through the same thing with a “backorderable” order I placed in December. The only difference is when I received the notice to reply if I wanted to keep the order I called customer service instead of replying to the email. Still no ammo yet and it is very frustrating. I will wait patiently but in the mean time I’m not spending ANY more of my money at Cabelas untill they come thru with their part of the deal.

  35. I was told by several places that tax laws require back orders to be cancelled after 365 days if not fulfilled. Not sure how true this is, but Midway has a notice posted about it on their website now.

    Personally, I don’t like, or do, backorders.

  36. I have a drinking buddy that works in the shipping and receiving department of a major gun and ammunition (and “outdoor stuff”) company here in the DFW Metroplex. His company does a huge amount of online sales. He said he has figured out the reason why they are out of ammunition virtually as soon as it arrives. The company is keeping it secret but they have some purchasers that are showing up at the receiving docks and taking all of the most popular calibers right then & there. This usually takes place in the early morning hours. For years he’s experienced that they do not know when the delivery trucks will arrive until shortly before. So someone there must be calling these people. He suspects someone in the management for none of his sticker coworkers get that “heads up” call that a truck is inbound. He doesn’t know who the people picking it up are or how much they are paying. The most believed rumor is these people represent the local gun ranges. In a scratch my back I will scratch yours deal his company helps keep them stocked. The end result is the company knows it will have none of the ammo to sell online or off the shelves. Do they cancel all the back orders.

  37. Seems the Ammo companies are making rounds for their pet guns, {6.5} {300} that most people don’t want or won’t use, better yet if you are a re-loader try too find components for a non company pet caliber! It seems that the bigger distributor’s are purposely with holding or stockpiling so as to create an artificial ammo shortage to jack up their profit margin?

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