ammunition-22-at-walmart-bulk

In the run up to the 2016 election, the price of .22 ammunition has been fluctuating up and down around six cents a cartridge for baseline bulk ammunition. The reasons are clear. Production of .22 ammunition is up by about two billion rounds a year, responding to stiff demand for the last four years.

Part of the demand is structural. Many new gun owners and shooters have been created. Many of the younger members were raised on first person shooter games like Doom, Golden Eye, Battlefield, and Call of Duty. People in the industry have reported that the new generation of shooters is more likely to go through 500 rounds of .22 in a shooting session, instead of 50.

The U.S. is now home to an estimated 100 million-plus .22 rifles and pistols. With very little care they last for many decades. Moreover, decent .22 rifles and pistols have become relatively cheap. A Marlin model 60 today can be had, brand new, for $150.  A Savage model 64 can be had for $116, and the Mossberg semi-auto for $109.

The Model 60 cost about $40 in 1960. A constant dollar calculator shows that would be $322 in 2016. So the price has dropped in half in constant dollars. Another way to look at this is the minimum wage in 1960 was a dollar an hour. It would take a full week of 40 hours to buy the rifle. Today, the minimum wage (federal) is $7.25. It would take a person about half a week (21 hours) to buy a model 60 today. That correlates pretty well with the constant dollar calculator.

Some of the increased production of two billion rounds a year will go to feeding the increased structural demand. But a considerable amount of the demand has been a bubble created by concern over gun control. It’s one of the few areas where President Barack Obama was stymied by the American people and Congress. Hillary Clinton fed the fear with her campaign rhetoric and potential Supreme Court justices.

Although anti-Trump current protests and riots, and talk of presidential assassination, are continuing this climate of fear, I expect the demand for .22 ammunition will drop when the reality of a Trump administration hits home. At the same time, millions of .22 owners have built up a stockpile of a few thousand rounds of ammunition. That ammo will be around for a while.

After President Trump is safely inaugurated, and starts to move his legislative agenda, demand will drop and prices will fall. I expect bulk .22 ammunition to be available for four cents a round by October of 2017.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

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72 Responses to Price of .22 Ammunition to Drop?

    • Wasn’t importation stopped via an Obama EO?

      If so, we have a decent chance of that EO being tossed.

      If Trump opens the floodgates for re-importation, I wonder if there is any more inventory of SKSs, ect. that may head this way…

      • No, importation was not stopped by an Obama EO. It was stopped by an ATF reclassification. You want to really fix that problem, go tell Congress to rewrite the definition of AP pistol bullets so they stop including rifle bullets.

        • They already did. The ATF classification is illegal. The bullet in question contains lead and, as such, is not “armor piercing” by statute. The fact that the ATF is ignoring the law is something the Trump administration could change overnight.

        • Change it permanently: every ATF person who has in any way acted to implement or support implementing such an illicit ban should be fired and permanently blackballed from government service.

          Oh — and fined the maximum allowed by law, with the fines going against the national debt.

  1. I just bought bulk Remington golden bullet at a little less than a nickle a pop, and Eley target .22LR at 14 cents each. Times are looking good for us! LOOKIN BAD FOR VARMINTS!!

    I sure hope the market gets flooded soon with CMP M1 Garand rifles soon!!!

    • Local Gander Mountain recently had 325rd boxes of Federal Automatch on sale for $14.99 pre-tax ($0.0461/rd.) A local gun show on Sunday still had fairly high prices, but they have much more 22LR on display than in quarters past. I expect prices for most guns and ammo to trend down now, especially for the products whose production was most ramped-up, like 22LR ammo and AR-platform rifles.

  2. A Marlin Model 60 <<may be purchased new for $150, but you’d be throwing that money away. Find a gun show, and buy a lightly-used one from the ’80s or ’90s. There’s literally twice as many 60s as 10/22s, so it should be easy to find. Freedom Group has been cranking out junk since day one, and there isn’t a single current Marlin product worth it’s name, let alone your money.

    On topic, the .22LR drought seems to be coming to a close here in the MW, though supply is still spotty at times and selection varies by locale. Honestly, I think people see what’s coming in the next 10-20 years, and will continue to add to their caches.

    • I was a Model 60 snob until I actually bought one and shot it. The triggers tend to be mediocre at best, but a little looking on the Internets, and I found lots of “how to” to make the trigger better. It was only about an hour’s worth of tinkering, and they become satisfactory.

      I have come to appreciate the Model 60 as a very impressive piece of technology for the price.

      We will be seeing lots of integrally suppressed .22 rifles once the Hearing Protection Act is passed. The Model 60 could do it by making a long, barrel diameter suppressor ahead of 9 inches of solid barrel, and retain the tubular magazine.

      Everyone will want an integrally suppressed .22!

      • The Savage Mk II bolt gun is the best 22 rifle on the market. Rugged, reliable and will eat any round you put through it. If I had to spend 30 days in the wilderness it would be my go to rifle.

        • mine rules as well. More accurate than my 10-22 (which is saying a lot). Plus it looks totally cool with my sniper scope and bipod. Kinda like a miniature M-24, only for shooting ISIS squirrels and V.C. Rabbits

        • The weak link of the Savage MarkII are the magazines and the really poor construction. They should have copied the marlin 60 magazine design. Way better. For that reason, I wont buy one unless I have the inclination to redesign the bottom metal for better magazines.

        • Look on the used market for Winchester Wildcat bolt action .22s. It was made at Toz in Russia and they have a target grade barrel complete with crown. No off the shelf production rifle will outshoot it. I lucked into one when they were new on American shelves.

          You could buy a new 10-22 for less than 150 bucks. The Winchester was 325 bucks. I’ve never regretted buying both.

    • I have an online ammo store, and I am still seeing 22 moving off the shelves steadily. Although their might be a slowdown, I do know a lot of new gun owners that never shot before; and they are some of the most active shooters I have found (hence demand for bullets).

  3. I have a feeling EVERYTHING firearm related will drop in price over the next year.

    Supply will over take demand if it already hasn’t and Econ 101 will takeover.

      • I’m still holding out hope. KYGunCo had X95s for ~$1650 a month ago and they were sold out soon there after, so there’s still some decent demand at “fair” prices. Give it some time now that the panic buying should slow down…

    • after 8 years of drought it will be nice to walk into walmart and just buy a box for a day of plinking. no worries about not it all, because it was always in stock….

      ahhh, the goood old days!

      • Yes, it will be nice to be able to buy .22 ammo off-the-shelf again. But anyone stupid enough to start COUNTING on being able to buy it off the shelf whenever the want/need it, DESERVES to be without ammo, AGAIN, the the next time the shortages strike.

        Seriously, people; how many shortages in the recent past does it take, before the rest of you realize that YOU need to act to be your own “ammo supplier”, ESPECIALLY when we are talking about .22 or other rimfire ammo, which (realistically) cannot be reloaded?

        Once it is available again at decent prices in your favorite “flavor”, start stocking-up. Want or need one box? Buy two or three, and drop the extra box(es) in a mil-spec ammo can. Do this for a couple of years, and you’ll never have to worry about short- or medium-term ammo shortages again. If the ammo out-lasts you, your heirs and/or relatives will be grateful for it — it will NOT go to waste.

        During the last shortages, I supplied friends and relatives who were able to keep shooting/hunting when their contemporaries could not. All I asked is that they remember the situation, and when ammo became available again, to make sure they were one of the SMART ones, not the empty-handed ones whining about “hoarders” or “flippers” buying-up all the ammo. Without ammo, your .22 is a short, poorly-designed club. Be smart, make sure the shelf where you grab your ammo is located in your own house/garage, NOT some store that can’t help you when their supply dries-up — again.

  4. I had some 22 stashed for the 8 year drought, but I’m going to make sure that I’m ready for the next time because there will be a “next time”.

      • Which illustrates one of the problems in preparing for an ammo drought; you can never know for certain how long it will last. Looking back, the duration is pretty clear, but that tends to overshadow the level of uncertainty that is very real when you are actually living through the problem.

        This should help put into perspective the folks that certain people make fun of for storing (or “hoarding”) “thousands of rounds” of ammo. On the surface, that SOUNDS like a lot of ammo, but if you are actually shooting a measly 100 rounds per month in practice, you’re consuming over a thousand rounds a year. “Thousands” of rounds might not even be a two-year supply, or far less than a year for a family that consumes more, and our last drought lasted far longer than that, in many areas.

  5. I’ve been watching prices on nice used firearms, mainly handguns. I think the demand has already dropped off this week, as there seems to be far fewer bids at places like GunBroker.com.

    Anyone else notice this?

    • I’ve noticed this too. The online gun stores I receive emails from are already running post election sales and dropping prices. AR components especially.

  6. In NC I’ve consistently been seeing bulk .22 for around 6-8 cents/round for a while now. Some stores limit you to one brick, others not so much and I’ve seen plenty of Remington Golden Bullet packs around. I guess we’ve been a little luckier than most places over the last few years. I still never see any .22 at Wal-Mart though.

  7. I haven’t bought .22 since 2009.

    The run on ammo then was a wake up call & .22 was the only thing on the shelves. I bought 10 bricks. I’m down to 3 and won’t buy more until it’s a nickel per round or less. Here’s to hoping!

  8. I hope you are right. I know I should expect it but I am troubled when gun and ammunition manufacturers take advantage of even the possibility of a crisis to gouge those whom are their life blood. When I read headlines pointing out that the big firearm companies were for Clinton because that meant increased sales through fear, I know that there is no honor. It has been years since the .22 was readily available at reasonable prices and why? Because they can take advantage and make greater profit. It hasn’t been hoarding, it has been greed. Don’t make the cheap stuff, make em buy the expensive stuff, they well get used to it. I think it’s about time we wake up and look around at those who have been screwing us and take notice now that we are no longer on the cliff’s edge.

    • There is a lot of trash on the Internet. Perhaps you can find where gun manufacturers came out for Clinton. I never saw it, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (the manufacturer’s gun lobby) came out strong for Trump.

      As for ammunition prices, especially .22, the price increases were at the distributor’s and wholesalers. I wanted the manufacturers to raise their prices so that they would have capital to invest in more production. They finally bought the expensive machines and increased production, but the ammunition manufacturers were very reluctant to raise .22 prices.

    • I know most of us have our brand loyalties, but we must never forget that the gun and ammo manufacturers are not our family, nor even our friends really, and are only interested in our money.

    • It really pisses me off when uneducated people (well, uneducated in Economics) claim increased price due to increased demand and “gouging”. Places that don’t raise prices when demand increases sell out and have to turn away customers. Prices rise until they’re selling their stock without having extras lying around. This is basic economics. Please, Americans, take at least 30 minutes to read up on the subject before saying something hilariously uninformed.

  9. It’s all about profit. Hey regular gasoline is $1.85(!)in nearby NW Indiana. And that’s with all taxes attached. How it dropped to a 1990’s level is beyond me. And 22ammo is not so different. I have no plans on buying or shooting 22 but wish all you guys luck…

    • I feel the same way you do with gasoline – was going to make a similar comment. My online store is pegged at wholesale + my rate. If the manufacturers/wholesalers fluctuate the rate, mine does as well. Haven’t seen any movement yet.

  10. I have more than an adequate supply of .22LR. Have bought regularly over the last year whenever I could get it under 8 cents a round. Now where I am it’s running at 6 cents a round and occasionally has actually been on sale.

    What I need now is for the manufacturer’s to start spitting out some .22WMR so I can stock up to feed my Kel-Tec PMR 30. I have some but nowhere near enough to be able to run a few 30 round mags every month.

  11. Last I bought .22lr, in mid July I believe, I picked up a 1000 round double brick thing from Walmart for $49.98+tax, or a little over 5 cents a round.

  12. I think the firearms business massively stocked up anticipating that the Dowager Witch was going to win and a new war on guns. The channels now overstocked. I think the next few months/Christmas season will see huge sales/buying opportunities.

    • I agree. I’m already seeing signs of this from some some online retailers, in areas like high/full-capacity magazines.

  13. A Marlin 60 was my very first gun. It was a hoot to shoot although the tube magazine was a pain to load. I wish I still had it, the new ones have crap stocks compared to my old one.

  14. 4 cents a round by October 2017? Seriously? If you can see that clearly a year into the future, please give me some advice on which stocks to buy, too. Or maybe don’t, since the last ammo price crash you “””predicted””” never happened. I called you out on it multiple times, but got nothing but silence. I said prices may come down a little, but there was no way they’d crash, which is what happened. Maybe include a giant disclaimer next time saying that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    We live in dire economic times and there’s a financial crash coming (no matter who is president). So while the price of ammo may fluctuate and come down a bit within the next few months, once the financial markets crash and the dollar loses even more value, prices of pretty much everything will go up, including ammo. But I still wouldn’t venture out to pinpoint an exact price of something a year in advance. I guess TTAG will publish any nonsense to get more page views.

    • I’d say that any true price crash in the ammo market, would probably coincide with a serious drop in the markets or our economy in general, in which case people will be using their money to try to buy food and other necessities. A small drop in ammo prices is possible, but I don’t see bulk plated HPs going under 5-cents a round, or better stuff like CCI Mini-Mags getting under 7-cents a pop, on a regular basis (you might find a screamin’ deal once in awhile, but that’s the exception, not the rule). And some of the cheaper ammo is total crap; I wouldn’t buy Rem T-bolts or certain other loads at ANY price, unless I though I could sell it all to my enemies AND make a few bucks while doing so.

  15. I was at Horsely Park Gun Shop in Sydney’s western suburbs (our biggest local gun shop) on the weekend to buy more .22LR. Between supply shortages and the falling dollar ($1AUD = 75cUS) .22 is starting to get expensive.

    Winchester Power Point (my No8 trainer’s favourite) is now 17cents per round ($85 per 500 round brick) and is now about as expensive as my budget .223 Remington reloads. Federal Champion Standard Velocity is 9 cents per round ($45 per brick) and CCI SV is 11 cents per round ($55 per brick). At least we have decent supply available.

    But the service in the shop was excellent. I asked to see a Ruger Scout, .223, Blued Finish, and they got one out of the store room for my son and I to examine. I think this would be a good centrefire for my son to start with when he is old enough. He likes the look. I think it is well balanced and would be good fun gun for non-grade matches.

  16. Last time i bought 22lr it was under $20 for a 550 round value pack, if you want me to buy more it better be for that same price or better, cause i dont need any more, thanks anyways. If you want to charge more good for you and to the suckers who will pay more? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLO. Losers!

  17. Simple math here folks – Let’s say XX caliber is stocked on the shelf (.22LR, 9mm, .45ACP, whatever). Let’s say there are 10,000 retailers (Mom and Pop stores, Wal-Mart, Dick’s, Cabela’s, etc.) across the US that stock 50 rounds for 300 customers each month. So far this equations is not unreasonable. That’s 1.8 Billion rounds needed just to supply that equation. I sure hope .22LR production is going to be increased by 2 billion rounds!!

  18. Our local Walmart has had .22lr arriving a case or two at a time one or two days a week for the last couple of years. Ask the clerk that is in charge of the sporting department and he/she will likely tell you when, it’s not always the same days. I’ve found it to usually be out for stocking around 7:30 AM and is gone (not even time to shelve it) by 8:30. Even with a limit of 2 (just increased to 3) boxes, enough people know about it to be there (myself included when it happens on one of my days off). Between them and timely mail ordering I’ve not run out yet.
    The other major locally-owned sporting goods/hardware/clothing general store has just recently started getting enough in to be able to put it on the shelf. Rumor has it that they were selling it – when they had it – only if you asked. They still have a limit of 2 boxes.

  19. The Saturday before the election I found American Eagle .22 at Academy Sports in Norman OK for a nickel a round. Since I had no faith in the future I bought the thousand round limit. On Veteran’s day I was in Bass Pro in Dallas and picked up another 400 round box of “Browning” i.e. Winchester at five and a half cents a round. I sometimes see .22 at Wally World in the OKC area. The internet guys still want eight or nine cents a round for low end stuff. I have about 16K rounds of .22 in stock – and I’m looking forward to at least two years of stability in the market. I’ll save the cheap stuff for trading stock if and when things go to shite, and I’ll buy the good rounds for my personal stash as I see them.

    • I have only one year to stock up with out the Kalli goverment getting involved. Mail order is over! Higher prices, fees, taxes and a effing state license. Oh yea a background check too! Does anyone think that criminals and nut jobs give a rats behind? Damn is sucks living (if one can call it that) in this poo hole.

  20. When the price goes way up on .177 caliber pellets I’ll worry. Have a group of good .22s and haven’t shot any of them in a long time.

  21. NOT in the lefty progressive cesspool of kalifonia. You know, the most populated state in the union. The failed state, run by fascist tyrants, put into office by a brain stem only voter block. Remember folks, Kalli is like an STD. Infectious and spreads. Oh how it SUCKS, living in a state where FREEDOM and LIBERTY comes to DIE.

  22. Never did understand this obsessive hoarding of 22 ammo. Cant remember the last time I bothered shooting 22, since I dont carry a 22 for protection. If I want to shoot a squirrel I use a 12 gauge. All the 22 people already have 4 lifetimes worth of ammo hoarded, so WTF?

  23. On Wednsesday, the day after the election, my e-mail inbox started filling with product arrival notifications of 22 LR ammo from MidwayUSA. They HAD to be stockpiling it, bunches in stock now.

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