ED: Our man Weingarten loves him some .22. While he didn’t take the Great .22 Drought personally, Dean has made it his personal mission to keep tabs on the supply of the small caliber ammo as manufacturers worked to satisfy demand. In today’s episode, DW scours Texas during the holiday for the varmint-unfriendly, teach-your-children-well round. How’s supply in your neck of the woods?
As I drove around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex during the Christmas season, I stopped at four area Walmart stores. The first one was a couple of days before Christmas. I didn’t have a car until the 24th, so I only looked in the Walmart at Frankford and Marsh Ln.
I have written about .22 at that store for a year-and-a-half. It’s had .22 LR in stock pretty reliably during that period, so I was not surprised to see a couple thousand Winchester Super X, a couple of thousand CCI Stingers, a thousand CCI .22 short CB caps, and five hundred CCI minimags. They all seemed over priced, with the minimags the best buy of the lot at 7.47 cents a cartridge.
I stopped at the Benbrook Walmart next, on the other side of the metroplex, at the far southwest edge. I’ve been watching it for a year or so, and have never seen any .22 LR there, so it was no surprise to find the cupboard bare again. The sticker prices were the same as on the North Central edge, but there were only a few boxes of .17 rimfire.
After meeting my daughter for lunch, I stopped at the Walmart at Dallas Parkway and Beltline, a more central location. I didn’t expect to find any rimfire. I thought the Frankford location may have been a fluke. I was wrong.
The Parkway and Beltline store had a fairly good stock. The prices were the same. You can see .22 Magnums on the left of the picture, some CCI .22 LR shotshells, plenty of Winchester SuperX, and some CCI .22 CB shorts. I talked to a friendly Walmart employee who explained the situation. For a period of time this year, the Walmart had been closed for remodeling. During that period, .22 ammunition kept coming in fairly regularly, but it couldn’t be sold.
So when the store went back into operation, the employees were able to keep the shelves stocked with .22, and they haven’t run out since. SuperX is the most common .22 LR round they get in with some CCI and a little bit of both Remington golden bullets and Federal .22 LR, too. And they don’t have a three box limit on purchases.
The last store I stopped at was in Plano, off the George Bush Turnpike. This store wasn’t as busy as the others, but it was a weekday afternoon between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I didn’t expect to find any .22 LR there either. Surprise! There, tucked down in the lowest shelf, with no price showing was nearly 2,000 rounds of Winchester SuperX, some CCI .22 Magnum and a carton of CCI .22 LR shotshells.
The prices were nothing to smile about; $8.37 cents a round for Winchester SuperX seems a bit high to me. Using a constant dollar calculator, that would translate back to about one cent a round in the early 1950’s, so not completely out of line. Four Walmart stores isn’t a great statistical sample. It’s much too small, but still interesting.
I expect .22 LR to become even more plentiful and cheaper in the coming year. None of the .22 LR I found was in bulk packs, and that’s where the best deals for blasting ammunition is found. The Internet sellers have .22 LR as low as 5.6 cents a round, but you have to pay shipping.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.