Question of the Day: Is the AR Drought Done?

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I wandered by my local gun store (LGS) yesterday. Surprisingly, there was a parking space right in front of the store. The scrum inside was intense, rather than frightening. Lo and behold! There on the wall o’ rifles were . . . rifles. Modern sporting ones. Where before a couple of over-priced MSRs made the LGS’s “assault rifle rack” look like a Cold War Polish department store, a farrago of firearms made my heart go all aflutter. Yes, there is that: price. My LGS is not in the gouging business, but discounts are obvious by their absence. Anyway, does this mean the AR drought is done? If so, prices should be dropping. Which makes Daniel E’s $13,289 bid on a Colt Model LT6720 at budsgunshop.com is a joke of some sort. So why am I not laughing? And no, they didn’t have any ammo, save .40s and some 00 buck.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

65 Responses to Question of the Day: Is the AR Drought Done?

  1. avatarSteve Case says:

    One of the larger dealers in central Ohio, Vances in Columbus, looks much the same. Rifles are back! Let freedom ring.

  2. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    I think Daniel fat-fingered a decimal point.

    Then again, maybe not.

  3. avatarIdahoPete says:

    There may indeed be some relief to the ARdrought-stricken country! My friendly LGS has now several ARs in stock, including a nice little DPMS 5.56mm flat-top for $999. And it may even still be there today!

    Now all I need is for them to get in a Kel-Tec SU16 for me, but that is a manufacturing drought that is much longer-standing than the mere AR drought.

  4. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    I’m looking to buy a hunting oriented 6.8SPC AR and everyone still seems to be a few months out on those, but it doesn’t matter if there’s no ammo to buy. I’ll hang on to my cash and hopefully in 2 or 3 months both will be available.

  5. avatarNS says:

    still no ammo at Walmart

    • avatarEd Ranger says:

      I saw a picture on line this week of a big box store in Canada that had cases and cases of .22lr stacked up. Altho it was on the internet so it must be true, I checked further and googled “Canada ammo” and came up with several on line retailers located to our north who seemed to have plenty of .22lr and pistol calibers most of us have just dreamed about lately.

      So my question to all is this: Since in the photo I saw, the cases-big ol’ cases- of .22lr had names such as Winchester and Federal and CCI stamped on them, I assume they are the products of the same companies that used to fill my Wally World with boxes of .22. And if they are, is that ammo made in Canada and solely for Canadians, perhaps by some regulation it is unable to be shipped south and sold? And if so, why can’t these manufacturers shift some raw product to the States? Rather than have it collect dust in the middle of some aisles in store in our neighboring country, why not bring it down here to satisfy the demand?

      It is the fact that Canada seems to have a plethora of ammo that makes me think that something else is going on here. I have no problem with someone getting to the store before me and purchasing the items I crave, but if its not even making it across the shipping room floor despite all of the manufacturers saying that they are running wide open, then something is askew…..

      • avatarBlaxsun says:

        Yes, we have no ammo shortages in Canada whatsoever. This is for 3 reasons:
        1. Due to the additional importation requirements, Canadian distributors have placed orders years in-advance (and often packaging requires both French and English). So there is a steady supply.
        2. We also import ammunition from Europe and a lot of the cheaper/bulk stuff from Russia, Eastern Europe and China (which tends to be the most popular).
        3. We’re not hoarding.

    • avatarWyatt says:

      The staff at my Walmart buy everything the moment it gets off the truck. Nothing in .22LR, or bulk 9MM / 5.56×45 / 7.62×39 hits the shelves.

      That said, my LGS has a few Stag Arms lowers in now. Maybe I can find some upper parts and actually get an AR finished…

      • avatarRobert M says:

        Last week me, my wife and mother were shopping at Wal-Mart and we bought 1 555 round box of Winchester white box and 8 boxes of 225 Remington Golden. The week before me and my mother were able to buy 6 boxes of 225 Remington Golden. So Wal-Mart is getting some in but not allot. In the case of last weeks shipment they got 10 boxes of Winchester White box 555 and 20 boxes of 225 Remington that I saw. All the 5.56 / .223 were all sold out before I got there. People were waiting for hours for them to come off the truck to buy them. But lets face it many Wal-Mart stores had trouble keeping some ammo on the shelf before Newton so it will be one of the last places to have ammo on the shelves for more then a few min at time.

        Thanks
        Robert

  6. avatarKeithF says:

    My LGS has had a steady stream of MSRs at MSRP (which is still above normal, but not insane) for awhile, the draught lasted about 6 weeks, now demand leveled out (people outta money and talk of an AWB getting passed keeps leaning farther toward the no) But interest is still way up and they still sell well, just you can see stuff instock now

  7. avatarSwarf says:

    .40 is the only thing that’s easy to find around here (Seattle area), too, even though it’s what the cops use. Why is that?

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      It’s indeed odd that .40 is on the shelves at all. Our loving DHS bought about a billion of those. It should be the LEAST available cartridge.

      Although those were hollowpoints for “target practice” (we being the target!); has anyone seen .40JHP?

      • avatarRegis Simmons says:

        I found this video yesterday from “VurrwapenBlog” on Youtube. I watch his channel often. He does firearms reviews.
        -
        He did his own research then goes on to explain that the reports of “billions of rounds and thousands of MRAPs” are a twisted truth from “INFOWARS” and other various websites.
        -
        Hope you find this video helpful in finding the truth
        -

        • I’m more concerned that DHS is expecting some manner of large civil disturbance and not telling anyone else about it. I’m not sure if IDIQ contracts normally have a ceiling ten times the amount actually purchased, so take it with a grain of salt.

          It’s kind of like companies moving assets out of Cyprus and the Eurozone two months ahead of the confiscation of Cypriot deposits. These “six-sigma” events that are happening every three to five years are not wholly unanticipated, but they seem that way because we, the peons, are not getting all the information.

  8. avatarChuck in IL says:

    The Scheels store in Springfield IL had an embarrassing surplus of 30 round mags, (though no magpul) and even a few AR’s at reasonable prices. No ammo though. The only 22LR to be had was Federal Gold Medal at an insane 19.99 per 50.

    • avatarChuck in IL says:

      When you see that many unsold mags laying around, you figure out pretty quick the guys buying them for $90 a pop are looking pretty foolish. When people realize that more ammo is on the way and it doesn’t make much sense to pay Guido the ammo hoarder a premium for it, sanity will return. Unless something terrible and unforeseen happens. That’s what scares me the most. The enemies of the gun owners of America know what greases the wheels of public opinion. Hundreds of dead Mexicans didn’t seem to bother them much. What’s a few more dead kids if it means they can get over that hump. We’ve already seen how they can act when they get right to the cusp. Take Obamacare times ten. Or ten thousand.

  9. avatarMike S says:

    Despite not being a fan, I may have to get a .40 just because it always seems to be the last ammo on the shelf.

  10. avatarBen says:

    My LGS never seemed to be out of stock of AR’s or AK’s, but prices were pretty high on them.

    • avatarPat says:

      I ordered a Colt LE 6920 at the end of Dec (thinking the order would come through a half year later….if AT ALL, and that the price of the gun would be way higher, as the salesman said the price was subject to increase). Less than a month later I got a call and picked up the gun for under $1,100. There are people who got skinned alive paying three to four times that much for lesser brands in the panic buying frenzy!
      Barry Obummer is the greatest firearm salesman in history!

  11. avatarCCDWGuy says:

    It appears .223 ammo is more available also. On gunbot.com and ammoseek.com there is a lot more availability and there is actually some available for .75/rd. That is the lowest I have seen in awhile.

    • avatarcraig says:

      My recommendation to people down south who cant find .223 or 5.56 is to look online up here in Alaska. I have been finding it all over, even at Walmart for $ .40/ round, and on craigslist for about the same or a tiny bit more. A lot of people up here own AR’s, its just that not many people are buying and hoarding it, because short of defending your home and predator hunting, theres not much up here that you can use it for.

  12. avatarTaurus609 says:

    RF, I have actually posted here twice in the last two weeks or so about the local Cabela’s near me (Hazelwood MO) has had ARs back on the rack and for near normal prices. Plus they had plenty of off brand 30 RD mags for ARs. And they are starting to get back in powder and small rifle and pistol primers. And yes, still no ammo! But hopefully, those that are hoarding or trying to make a profit off of the rest of us, will see that their scheme to take advantage of this drought, might need to unload their stuff soon, or be sitting on a a$$load of over priced ammo they can’t sell!

  13. avatarWatchmen lewis says:

    seen ar’s m4′s but its ammo

  14. avatarSlab Rankle says:

    Based on my observations in last week’s Harrisburg gun show, the AR15 and AK47 drought is not over. Very few ARs, and WASR10s going for $1200. However, ammo is starting to come down to earth, both in price and availability, especially availability. Not so at Wal-Mart, however.

    It’s a strange world where FALs are cheaper and more plentiful than ARs.

  15. avatarSteve says:

    Here in Northern New England I am seeing plenty of AR’s. Just starting to see magazines too but 5.56 and 9mm ammo are still in very short supply.
    I am seeing more powder on the shelves but not many primers.

  16. avatarno2gunctrl says:

    Just got back from my LGS, and yes, that is a smile on my face :). Prices were high, but they had everything I was looking for except powder.
    Winchester White Box .45FMJ $29.99 per 50/box, limit 5
    Federal .22 lr high velocity $34.95 brick, limit 1
    Federal 9 mm ball, $19.99 per 50/ box, limit 1
    And the holy grail CCI 550 small pistol primers $39.00 per 1000 limit 1

    They had tons of .40, .380, and .38 special…

    The gun racks and cases were as full as I have seen them this year including MSRs, 10/22s, 9mm Glocks, and every Sig in the book. All price were pushing full retail.

    • avatarShenandoah says:

      You lucky SOB, care to make some ammo runs for the rest of us!? I would’ve returned in an assortment of disguises to keep walking out with more 9 mm heh heh.

  17. I don’t think people like 40′s because every store I’ve been to has plenty of 40′s, but no regular ammo except for shotgun shells. I don’t hate 40′s but I only have one shooting buddy who even owns any type of 40 cal.

    • avatarAnon in CT says:

      It looks like production is catching up. I’m seeing USGI mags for only $5 above pre-Newtown.

      • avatarcloaked in mystery says:

        yep, ive bought 10 packs twice this week at under $14 per mag.
        now if the 20 rounders I prefer will start coming back in stock i will be happy.

        keep the pressure on congresscritters, and may this beast stay dead for another 10 years

        • avatarPat says:

          I like the 20 rounders as well. I bet the mag banners could have gotten a ban through if they just went with 20 as a limit. Most pistols carry less than twenty and you are mainly covered in an offensive/defensive situation with 20 on tap (then you do a reload) with rifles and pistols.
          I still like 30 and have many of them, however and think going after mags is insane.

  18. avatarborekfk says:

    Ammo is getting slightly easier to find where I live, but the most popular LGS where near where I live in Philadelphia has semi-auto rifles and ARs on their shelves. Which hasn’t been that way for many months. Heck I picked up a DPMS Oracle for $699 there today. They had new WASRs for $750. Never thought I’d see the day where a WASR is more than any AR.

  19. avatarExMonk says:

    My local LGS/range (Oklahoma City) has had ARs back in stock for a few weeks. Started with some pricey Christensen’s, but now includes Sigs, Colts, Bushmasters, M&Ps, etc. No more than about 5-10 at a time (they’d usually have 30+ on display), but the prices are right. They never jacked the prices up on the stock they had, or have now.

    Ammo is starting to be obtainable again. They’ve done well at keeping stock without jacking prices, but resorted to rationing. I’m even able to buy 22LR and .223/5.56 now.

    They got a decent shipment of powder this week and have been getting primers and bullets also.

    From my vantage point, things are starting to make sense again. It’s not the easy pickings we’d like to see, but we’re on the right track, at least from the view around here.

  20. avatarDave says:

    So, which States will pass an AWB this year? Is Rhode Island among them?

    • avatarSD3 says:

      Probably. But the good news is, if you take about 4 steps in any direction, you’ll find yourself outside the jurisdiction of rhode island’s totalitarian, commie-pinko reach.

  21. avatarCoryJ says:

    My LGS has cases of ammo for everything but the high-demand stuff (9mm, 5.56mm, etc.).

    They have several boxes each of the high demand stuff but they’re limiting it to 2 boxes per person/day.

    They had 8-12 MSR’s and a couple AK style rifles (including a nice under folder).

  22. avatarjwm says:

    A lot of people shot their tax checks and maxed out their credit cards in panic buying are going to have a long time to suffer buyer’s remorse.

    I saw a Savage over under .22 lr and 20 ga. at the lgs yesterday for 200 bucks. If it’s still there in a couple of days I might just have to find a home for it in my trunk.

  23. avatarRobert M says:

    My LGS is still pretty barren but stuff is starting to come in. I talked to my LGS and he told me that getting new stuff in is slow and generally stuff that comes in is sold pretty fast but fast as in a few days not a few hours like it was in Dec. Still little to no ammo out there but like the guns the shipments are coming in more frequently but it is still selling out as fast as it comes in but at some point the supply will out strip demand but how long that will take is anyone’s guess.

    Thanks
    Robert

  24. avatarLance says:

    The drought might subside soon as soon as the GOP kills Obama’s gun ban pack in the Senate then I can say it will end soon. Ammo is what im annoyed about more though.

  25. avatarBlindKyle says:

    Went to my local gun show today, there were ARs and AKs aplenty. Still slightly over-priced but the $700 ARs that were $1500 two months ago at the same gun show are now $999. . . and no one was buying them. Methinks the prices are about to bottom out in my neck of the woods.

  26. avatarmike says:

    Anyone with a little foresight and common sense would’ve deduced that ammo was THE item to pay attention to. While the herd bought every AR and mag in sight within weeks (for several thousand $$), normal ammo prices were available for a few months before the shortage. But I admit, the 22LR shortage caught me by surprise too.

    You can only hoard so many guns/AR/mags before it becomes impractical and redundant. But ammo is expendable and replaceable, and cheaper to stock. It’s like fuel for cars. Which person is better off: a) the guy with 20 guns and 2 boxes of ammo or b) the guy with 2 guns and 20 cases of ammo? Following the herd will never get you ahead.

    • avatarjmk says:

      umm…not true at all.

      ammo is a consumable. you can’t “invest” in a consumable.

      ammo was always the thing that we’d be able to get in the future. assault weapons and mags, the durable items, were what was at risk.

  27. avatarAharon says:

    ARs are so yesterday. If you own one it is now obsolete. To be gun hip you need a Bullpup.

    • avatarPat says:

      I would hate to have to rely on the iron sights of a Bullpup. Those new ones coming out sure look pretty, though, and there is alot of barrel for the length of gun.

  28. Maybe some places. I’m still looking for a 6724.

  29. avatarDon says:

    My LGS got 6 new ones in his shop today from his wholesalers. First time he’s been able to get them in a while. They sold by the afternoon. Ammo is still pretty well dried up though. He’s still worried about being able to get stock to sell.

  30. avatarEd S says:

    My local LGS and Range has no shortage of ARs judging by today’s visit. Plenty of ARs on the shelves with prices about $300 over retail which is high but slowly going down.

    The 100yd range was pretty stacked as well, with 10 lanes and I counted 15 ARs of various types and one gentlemen in his 60′s trying out his latest build – a 300 AAC Blackout while meticulously scribing notes into his notebook on effects of his variety of loads.

    There seemed to be no shortage of ammo on the lanes either and there wasn’t a mad scramble to police brass with the exception of that gentleman because he said it was a tedious process to tool his own casings from other people’s spent brass so he wanted to collect as much of what he came with as he could. Understandably so.

    Perhaps in my neck of the woods we were all just ahead of the game with our personal ammo reserves before all the dark cloud hit? Either way I’m anxiously awaiting the ammo prices to drop so I can get back to a more comfortable level.

  31. avatarKelly in GA says:

    Here in GA, most local stores have been full with PMAGs but light on guns and ammo. Did find polymer lowers for 89.99 next to Noveske for $400!

  32. avatarMark Horning says:

    I am seeing a few AR’s at local shops for reasonable prices. Lowers, uppers, and Bolt carrier groups still seem to be unobtainable though.

  33. avatarSGC says:

    LGS down here in GA is pretty well stocked back up on guns, ammo is still a drought though. The guns are still a little higher than pre panic, but that will drop a bit when the hoarders and flippers let loose their “gunz to get rich quick” guns and can’t get three times what they are worth…:)

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