I'll take one of those and one of those . . . (courtesy butlersheetmetal.com)

“Cabela’s, the Sidney, Neb.-based hunting and outdoor outfitter, on Thursday reported that first-quarter sales at its stores open at least a year were down more than 20 percent, reflecting the steep decline in the sale of firearms and ammunition compared with the same period a year ago,” omaha.com reports. Mind you, last year’s sales – and the year before that, and the year before that – were on a trajectory familiar to followers of Space-X’s recent endeavors. Ammo suppliers are still working 24/7 to satisfy demand that just won’t quit. (How much .22 would you buy if you could?) Still . . .

Cabela’s and other firearms-friendly retailers aren’t exactly hurting; the company opened a dozen new stores in the last twelve months and plans 20 more in the next two years. If there’s another big confiscation scare – say CT or NY blows up – sales could head skywards. Again. Still.

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99 Responses to Guns and Ammo Sales Slump: Is the Party Over?

  1. If that’s true then maybe prices will come down to pre-panic levels. $14 for a box of 9mm is ridiculous now.

      • I’m only looking back 4 years, but here in the Northwest, brass-cased 9mm used to go for $11.99 and the Blazer aluminum-cased for $9.99 a box.

        • Used to be that you could find Remington UMC (FMJ) for $10.00 for a box of 50 if you looked around for it. I haven’t seen anything at that price since the ammo “shortage” started.

        • I was buying quality brass reman 9MM for less than $10/50… delivered. I usually buy 500 or 1,000 rounds which keeps the shipping cost per round down.

      • A few years ago, I used to be able to routinely get cases of S&B for $180, which works out to $9 a box. Man, do I miss those days…

      • Pre-panic .40 American Eagle was $14.00 in quantity. Cheapest at GunBot is now $18.00. It’s getting closer.

        • Before our current president took office, I was buying Federal .22LR at Walmart for $7.98 for 525rds.
          Now it is at least $30. for 500. I don’t expect to ever see $8 bricks again, but for $30., they can keep it.

      • Before the Sandy Hook-induced panic, I bought 9-mm for $10 – $12 / box. And, I bought a brick of .22 (Federal) for $20 – $21. Prices are still 40 – 50% higher than they were pre-panic. Fortunately, I bought it cheap and stacked it deep long before the SHTF.

        To answer the question, “how much would you buy?” Today? NONE! Not at the current silly prices.

        • I remember those $8 bricks, wish it would return. Used to buy a couple every time they went on sale, and the $2 box of slugs from Dick’s. Used to buy $5 coxes of 38 special reloads as well.
          Still waiting for .22 to return to the shelves.

  2. Well where is all the ammo , I still see bare ammo racks ???? have not seen 22 L.R. in 2 years , and the other ammo when you do get some, is a 3 box limit… and Who is going to buy new rifles and no ammo..?????????????

    • You must have an off market because the shelves are full here other than 22LR. Both Cabelas and Walmart have lifted their ammo limits, too (other than 22LR)

      • I’ve got no problem walking into the Field & Stream store here and buying whatever caliber I want–though there is still a 3 box limit (or 1 bulk and 1 regular box). Wal-Mart on the other hand? I can have anything I want except .22LR. They don’t carry it. They aren’t even TRYING. They have a sign on their shelf that says “WE DO NOT CARRY 22LR”. They gave up.

      • Supporting local owned business is never a bad thing, even for a few $ more. He’s your neighbor for crying out loud.

        • +1000, I’d rather give my LGS an extra $20 for a Colt 6920 or $1 extra for 9mm (actual prices) than Walmart. Plus I can bullsh!t with him about Harleys and guns. I doubt Walmart would take me out back to try out a new gun that they just got in, something the LGS owner has done a few times. Hell, his wife leaves cookies and muffins out for customers! You can truly get that family owned business feeling at the LGS. I can also get real gun parts like springs, hammers, buis, Pmags, bolts, and just about anything else. Ordering online is nice but dealing with someone face to face is hard to beat.

        • Agreed, as well. I’d rather give the money to a locally-owned store than a big box chain. That said, if the LGS doesn’t have what I need, I’m going to get it where I can find it.

        • Well, it certainly helps if the LGS isn’t run as a hobbyist clubhouse with hours that a banker would consider lazy.

          When I want ammo after I get back from work? Wallyworld, Academy, Cabela’s are all open. The LGS denizens have repaired to a watering hole, I guess.

      • New York made it illegal for a retailer to ship ammo directly to your house. It has to go though and FFL. The strange loophole is that private sales are okay, including shipping.

      • To buy ammo in Illinois you need to show your FOID card. To buy it online you have to send them a copy of it. Kind of a pain. And after shipping costs are figured, there isn’t a lot of savings. Apparently lead is kinda heavy.

        The ammo shelves I see are full – of shotgun shells. Rifle and pistol calibers hare hit or miss. No .22LR to be found. I have a mind to buy a Glock 42 but not until I can find a reliable supply of .380.

      • My local WM manager is a firearm enthusiasts…..my local gun shop thinks he can sell everything at list price.

        WM won’t ‘stiff me’ the next time there is a shooting that makes national headlines either.

      • Just because it isn’t illegal this state still doesn’t mean the state Attorney General won’t abuse their powers to prevent residents from buying ammo online.

        =(

        • My WM employs HUNDREDS of people. Gun shop supports maybe a dozen. I am a member of the range there and paid a rather HUGE price for CCL required training though it was less expensive elsewhere. I also purchase an average of one gun a year from them and various accessories. I support my hobby and my rights but my money is hard earned. NRA Endowment and ISRA Life Member….who’s a prick?

    • AMEN.I have 6 guns I’d get in a blink of an eye if I could find the ammo they use, what good is a gun with no ammo (B.O. plan, doesn’t his initials say it all), thank God shot gun ammo is in stock, bring on the buck shot!

    • Neither have I. The stores are getting it. But they’re selling out in no time at all.
      I stopped at Wallyworld a couple of weeks ago while waiting for another place to open, and got to shooting the breeze with the employee at the firearms counter. They’d gotten 3 cases of .22 LR that very morning. Even with a 3 box limit in place, they’d sold out in under 5 minutes.

  3. of course they are down. Lets see last year NO store could keep anything black and scary looking in stock at all. They really are comparing this years time period to a very abnormal time period due to the threat of bans.

    And i bet next quarters report will read about the same as well

    • Yeah, powder is hit and miss.

      Walked into an LGS last Sept or Oct and there were two 8 lb bottles of IMR 4350. I could not believe it. A week before, I placed an order on Lohman’s and it still has not been filled.

      • Powder’s my problem too, Once in a while I see some, usually something I already have, something I can’t use, or, I guess it’s time to buy a Big 50, plenty of 50 BMG.
        I’m just glad I still have a couple thousand rounds of 22 LR.

  4. Gun sales being off I can see, but ammo? If there is a slump in ammo sales it is because (a) no one can find any to buy, and/or (b) what is out there is over priced and no one will buy it at those prices.

    • It’s not really a slump. Yes compared to the high at this same time last year, at the height of the panic, the numbers are going to look down, but just like Apple, those periods of ridiculous growth rates can’t last forever. You can only sell so many iPhones or guns until demand slows allowing supply to catch up. As for prices, on firearms themselves, prices are dropping, especially on the AR rifles. Ammo on the other hand, the prices are dropping much more slowly because manufactures are cranking it out (esp 9mm & 22LR) to replenish inventories to a level pre-Newtown, but it will take more time.

      Despite what may be some blissfully ignorant glee by the main stream media, rest assured, Cabela’s bottom line should stay very healthy.

    • 22 LR aside, I don’t see any problem finding good ammo for good prices. Heck, I don’t recall such good deals on quality .223 (Wolf Gold – $340/1000rd with FREE shipping in some places!) even before Newtown.

  5. I’m trying to get started in reloading and I can’t find powder compatible with 9mm for love or money. Supplies are just DEAD everywhere. Unbelievable. Everything else is OK – CCI 500 primers, shells, projectiles, etc…but powder? Nope.

    • What powder you looking for? There are a LOT of 9mm powders.

      I recently got a bottle of HS-6, which I’d never used before (been handloading over 20 years). It’s working quite well.

  6. I think 10,000 rds. of .22 is enough, then rotate your storage. On you’re 12 ga.(500 .00, 500 #4s, 500 #6s and 500 #7.5s my preference) and your .223 or .308/30.06, 2,000 ea. pistols 2-3,000 rds. should cover your rear, this may float one way or another to your preference of weapons. I always believe in common calibers. Keep safe out there, watch your flank.

    • ive said it before and ill say it again.

      100k in 22lr. (mix and match subs and supers)

      10k in any caliber that i own a machine gun in.

      2k for any bolt rifle.

      the people who have stuck to this plan or attempted to have gone “what shortage?” since 2008.

  7. Around these parts, everything is in stock. You just have to know where and when to look.
    Powder, primers, projos and even .22. Just picked up another brick of cci mini-mags today.
    Hitting the big gun show tomorrow. Need to find some unusual ammo and just gawk.

    • Tom, I live in Oregon, very little powder in the Eugene area, where are you getting yours? I’d love to get some Vita N130, or N133

      • Sportsmans warehouse, fishermans marine, bimart.
        Big R in Redmond is very well stocked.
        And the prices aren’t jacked like the gun show.

    • Hey there’s a big gun show here tomorrow too! I’m gonna go see if I can find me a bargain on a 10/22. (Yeah, I know, fat chance but it’s worth a shot). Also to gawk at all the pretty shiny stuff I can’t afford. …Mostly to gawk and drool, if I’m honest.

  8. Hint: There’s a huge untapped market of potential gun owners behind the Iron Curtain (i.e., the Delaware Water Gap).

  9. Pre-Obama 2012 I was paying $ 9.00 per box of 9MM 50 count, S&B. About $10 for federal champion.

    Since that time 9MM has gone up between 40 and 50%, in TWO years. I am picking it up still when I can find 9MM on the cheap.
    Deals for 45 ACP are starting to show up and the 9MM 100 and 250 round value packs are starting to show up. Unless I am buying in bulk like that I am paying at least $14 or $15 a box, no matter what, thats as much as I used to pay for 40 S&W. Thats one hell of an expensive hobby.

    Something odd I have noticed though; I shot a box of 50 rounds, 9MM, 115gr Federal Champion about 2012 vintage the other day. Right after I fired a box of the exact same ammunition , purchased the previous day. The “new” ammo was noticeably hotter and dirtier/smokier than the older ammo. Not exactly sure why but I am guessing QC slipped in an effort to get the ammo out the door.

    • Most likely a different powder. I have heard, but cannot confirm that the manufacturers are having some difficulty in obtaining powders too. They may be having to adapt to what is available.

  10. I am still sitting on 14,669 rds of various calibers (7,351 rds 9mm FMJ, 318 rds 9mm HP, etc.) that I track. I haven’t bought ammo in months. Between work, business travel, church and other hobbies (ie, 10 days vacation), haven’t shot much. But don’t worry . . . . I have my eyes on a few goodies and a ton of cabelas points.

    • Dirk

      Hazelwood Cabela’s still is hit or miss for 9mm and I’m out there a couple of times a week
      Seems they always have 45’s
      and I haven’t seen .22 LR there in forever

      I always ask when the ammo shipments are supposed to arrive and get there early on those days.
      By the time I get in, the .22LR is gone and the 9mm seems to be ‘vaporware’ more times than not

      Handload all the 12 guage duck, rabbit and dove loads so no biggee there
      But if you are headed to Cabela’s for ammo…….. it still looks like you may be keeping those Cabela Points for future purchases

      Just sayin

      • you must not get out there much. . . . they are STOCKED with 9mm ($13.99-14.99/box), .40, and .45. They had .22LR a few days ago (Tuesday/wed) and were rationing bricks/boxes (approx. 300 rds). even the .380 is back.

        • Had a photo shoot for a client’s ponies at Fairmount Park Monday and had the truck in the shop the rest of the week.

          Glad to hear they have what I’m looking for– will head out there this afternoon.

          Thanks for the heads up

    • So you are one of those ammo spreadsheet nerds also? I keep track of how much ammo I have. When I was in MA they had a 5k round limit. While stupid I kept under that number. Now in a free state I just buy what I want.

      • So I guess your MAsshole politicians could point to a bunch of spree killers that shot 5K+ rounds for the brilliant reason of putting a 5K max law in place?

        Oh, never mind, it was probably based on the false theory that your stash will go KABOOM if it catches on fire like they saw on that ABC TV movie of the week a few decades ago.

      • I want two dozen bricks of 22LR- I figure that’ll be enough to tide me over through the next round of stupidity, even if I go through two bricks a month.

        But I’d settle for two. Been a long time since I’ve seen any bricks of 22LR at all.

    • The gun shows here have .22 LR bricks every time I go.

      The price, however, is not always what I am wiling to pay. Saw the cheap craptastic stuff last time for $75 per brick.

  11. Still nothing on shelves at Saginaw MI Cabelas and minimal on shelves at Bass Pro in Auburn Hills. As someone said above less people buying firearms when there is no ammo on the shelves.

  12. Looks like we have to approach shooting like a business cycle now: we have periods of calm (like right now) , which end within six months before and six months after POTUS election day. Given modern voting demographics, buying guns and ammo will soon be like buying stocks.

    “AR15s selling for $4500!!!” -‘Dayum, another election year run. Made some good money in the 2016 panic’…says the customer in the 2020 dealer.

  13. Cabelas sales are down because the prices are high, I was in two different stores last week and both had dpms 308 ar’s that I looked at on clearance, went home to check prices to find that they are marked down to the low low price of 50$ under m.s.r.p.

  14. Lots of ammunition at Cabelas in Hammond Indiana. No 22lr most days. Prices not too bad. Hey everything else is more expensive. Still lots of folks buying guns, especially since concealed carry came to Illinois. Several new gun ranges have also opened up locally, as well as at least 2 new gun shops. All it takes is one Newtown or similar BS crisis to ramp the craziness up.

  15. Maybe everyone has bought enough guns for the time being. Wait for the next big gun control bill in Congress, or the next big ObeyMe anti-gun speech.

    As for ammo, the government has nearly cornered the market on .40 and .223.

  16. There’s a slump because the guns are high compared to other stores and ammo and powder is MIA. In stores around here ammo is spotty and popular powder is hard to find.

  17. CCI hot 36/40 grain 22 LR, 5000 rounds at reasonable price
    Need test ammo and at this point it is either hard to find and or stupid expensive
    Have some, reluctant to use if hard to replace
    Upgrading 10/22, started with trigger

  18. If and when .22lr ever becomes available for < .04/round, I'll be picking up at least twenty 5k round cases. At this ridiculous point, I don't care what MA storage laws dictate. I'm just thankful that I've been able to maintain a 5k+ buffer supply during the current drought. When I think of all of the jr riflery programs, 4H, scouting programs, etc. that don't have an adequate supply, it makes me sick. .22lr should be as readily available as salt and pepper. It's a sin that in this great country of ours the .22lr supply has devolved to its current sorry state. We, and more importantly, the manufacturers, should right this wrong and get things straight. An unrestrained supply is essential to the AI's mission of bringing the next generation of younguns and fencestradlers into the fold.

  19. My closest Cabela’s is a 150 miles away. Needless to say, I don’t shop there. We’ve been getting federal 9 mm at about $15 a box. But Wally World usually has bare shelves except for rifle ammo and shot gun shells–plenty of that, but its not what I shoot. HP defensive rounds are a box here or there, hit and miss. Now it is true, I live in a fairly small town in northern California, but there are eight gun dealers (including a Dicks that I won’t shop at that only sells rifles, a Big Five, and a chain store out of Sac called Sportsman’s Warehouse, and four local businesses), and two Wally Worlds (only ammo sales, no firearms)–and I can’t find ammo on the shelves in 9, 45 or 22.

  20. Is the party over??? NO WAY!! This is when the party starts. Maybe the animals that line up for .22 then sell it for 5x profit will start disappearing. I interpret “ammo sales down” as “more reasonably priced ammo for me!” 🙂

  21. The next time the Kenyan usurper and the felon Attorney General open their mouths about a BAN for the children, sales will take off again. Wait for it…

  22. .22LR is becoming available more often around here. I saw 20- 50 round boxes of Remington Thunderbolt on local store shelf today. Same store had 25 – 500 round boxes of the same brand. Sold them all in about 30 minutes, 1 box per customer.

  23. No .22 ammo in the DFW area of Texas.
    It’s as scarce as unicorns. I got one brick in November for black Friday. Since then, its like the desert scene in Spaceballs….
    WE AINT FOUND SHIT

  24. The Wal-Mart in Hattiesburg , Ms got in 3 cases of .22lr , that’s 10 bricks per case , Friday morning they brought out the ammo pallet , it was gone in 5minutes , most of the folks there buying it are folks I have seen with tables at local gun shows that have jacked up the prices , wouldn’t buy anything from these folks anymore . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  25. Everything, guns and ammo, except .22 LR is back in stock at reasonable prices, about the same as 2 years ago.

    • First… it’s not the case where I live. Most calibers are still quite scarce here. Big box stores like Dick’s have NOTHING in my area (except some shotgun ammo)…. and not that I’d buy there, anyway. Same goes for Walmart. A smattering of inventory in .40-ca and ZERO .22, 9-mm, .45-ACP.

      And, what IS available locally AND online is still 40 – 50% higher than it was prior to Sandy Hook. So, if you think those prices are “reasonable,” then have at it. I’m waiting… and can wait.

  26. The party is over but the cab ride home still costs too much. When M855 is back down to $140 to my door for 420rnds in a 30cal ammo can…the fat lady will have sung.

  27. When I see good .22LR ammo like CCI mini-mags it is $11.99 / 100. I’m not paying that, the mfgr + distr + retailer are all 3 making DOUBLE the profit margin on that from pre-SandyHook.
    I have plenty of .22LR still from the good old days, just in Fall of 2012 I bought a bunch of boxes of the Winchester M-22 ammo at WalMart for $45 per 1000. I loaded up on that stuff & man has that payed off for me. I’ve even got several of the 2000 M-22 packs that came with the free black plastic ammo box.
    Planning has payed off, I’m simply not going to pay $31.99 for the Federal 325 packs. In a couple years things will be better, I’ll find another good deal and buy 10,000+ rounds again & ride out the next shortage!

  28. I hope all the hoarders, LGS scumbags who raised prices and bought inventory they didn’t need just to gouge others choke on every last round and AR.

  29. While private gun sales are sky rocketing…
    People aren’t buying from stores, because they don’t want the gov’t to have knowledge of their cache…

  30. Local small gun store still can’t get more than a couple of boxes of .380, which they reserve for folks buying .380 guns. one local big gun store can occasionally get some Hornady Critical Defense and sometimes white box.

    I always keep about 400 rounds of .45, about the same in .380, and about the same in each of my backup emergency calibers: .44 mag, .357 mag, .38, .32, .22 LR, .25 ACP, and oh yeah, 7.62 x 51.

    Yeah, I know, that’s boasting. Who has 400 rounds of .22!?

  31. I can find some 22lr when I need it although not in the quantity that I would like. What I’m really looking for is 22long or 22short seems they’ve both evaporated.

  32. “How much .22 would you buy if you could?”

    3 boxes. That is all my local Walmart allows when they get .22 in.

  33. The Buda, TX Cabela’s still has the ammo limit in place, 100 rds of 22LR per customer per day, or 5 boxes of other calibers. At least the last two times I’ve gone in there, they have at least had some 22 LR on the shelf – less than 20 boxes though.

    They had American Eagle Federal 9mm on sale at the website last two weeks (it was $15 for 50 rounds) looks like out of stock now, but the store never had any of the shelf. I bought 2 boxes and had it shipped to the store for pickup, gets free shipping that way. TulAmmo was $0.22/rd in 50 round boxes a few weeks ago through Cheaper than Dirt.

    It would be nice if the supply did catch up enough to bring the prices down.

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