I’ve been monitoring the local WalMart to see if the .22 bubble shows any sign of deflating. I haven’t seen any .22 long rifle for months. This afternoon was different.

I stopped at the store, and made my usual inspection of the ammunition counter. Much to my surprise, there were thousands of .22 LR cartridges for sale, most of them in bulk packs. Bulk packs are the preferred purchase of people who are buying the ammunition for resale, or simply to stock up. All of the .22 ammunition there was Winchester, except for a few CCI shot shells.

There were ten bulk packs of Winchester 333 round count, as pictured above. As I watched, a couple from Washington State purchased five of bulk packs. WalMart still has the three box limit; so he bought three and she bought two. They cut their purchase back by one box. I asked them if they had .22 available in Washington State. The answer was that they had it now and then, but this was a better price.

The gentleman said that he had gone to WalMart, early in the morning in Washington State this summer, for two months straight, every day, and never scored a single round of .22. The last time he bought the 333 round bulk packs they cost over $26 a box.

The price in Yuma is $17.37,  just over 5.2 cents a cartridge. There were a thousand rounds of .22 Winchester SuperX, but they had not been touched.  They were priced at $8.37 a box of 100.

My favorite WalMart clerk, Yittzel, was working today. She said the shipment came in this morning, and included 15 boxes of Federal bulk pack of 525 rounds. The Federal bulk packs sold out first and fast. I wasn’t able to get a price on the Federal rounds.

There were also 15 boxes of the Winchester bulk pack that came in that morning. Ten of those were left at 3:30 this afternoon, down to five boxes by 4 p.m. The thousand rounds of Winchester SuperX were already there this morning, and were still there when I left the store this afternoon.

In the last week, I’ve seen .22 long rifle as low as five cents a round on the Internet. There is some market resistance to breaking the five cents a round barrier, but it is coming. Demand is starting to be met.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

62 Responses to .22 Availability Up, Prices Down

  1. Good news for the initiate shooters and children. As they are the ones this shortage hurts the most, thus also, the gun culture as a whole.

      • It’s certainly the most revealing. If you have a favorite Walmart ammo dept. clerk, by name, then chances are you’re part of the problem of scant supply and premium prices.

        • Right? The 22lr shortage is almost entirely a self inflicted wound by firearms enthusiasts, people buy every box they can get their hands on, then post stories about how it is impossible to find then others go to buy some and see empty shelve and return to validate the claim that there is a shortage triggering more people hanging out at 7am buying as much as the store will let them and creating more empty shelves that more people start to notice and google “why can’t I find 22lr” leading them to the original post about a shortage and on and on the circle goes.

          Then there is the catch22 (haha pun intended) where if the retailer raises prices to slow the insanity down they get accused by the shortbus crowd of price gouging. We can’t win.

        • I don’t think hoarders are the problem. People who are just hoarding will eventually decide that a thousand, or ten thousand, or some number of rounds is enough.

          The problem is the resellers, and the people who buy from them. When Wal-Mart has .22 on the shelf every day, the resellers will be out of business, and when they stop buying the supply will suddenly be enormous. I just hope the ammunition manufacturers who have been chasing this trend for years by expanding shifts and facilities, will not be hurt when the music finally stops.

        • The problem is the resellers, and the people who buy from them.

          That would be it. 22 varies by market (municipality and store) it seems, and since the beginning of the ammo shortage of 2013+, that was a big factor in the problem. And yes, I am not surprised ammo is getting sniped at Wally World.

    • 525 and 550 bulk packs selling out first and fast at $.05-.06 per round is still a bubble. Those 550 federal packs were $18/box before Newtown

  2. I’ve actually started to see it show back up at WalMart here in rural Central TX, and the price is good if you can find it in stock…still an overall short supply there, though. The LGS has great supply, but hasn’t gotten the memo that it’s shouldn’t still be 12¢ a round for the cheapest stuff (which is why he still has plenty).

    I actually saw American Eagle for $2.49 at an Academy in the Houston area, and they had tons, with plenty of other choices as well (CCI, Aguila, Remington, etc.).

  3. sign of the apocalypse. . .

    ; )

    I read “.22 Availability Up, Prices Down” and started writing the companion Op. Ed. “Four Thousand People Trampled at local WalMart Sporting Goods Section”

    • “sign of the apocalypse. . .”

      As Bill Murray once said, “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! ”

      Speaking of .22lr, could someone explain to me the point of copper-plating .22lr bullets? It’s so thin, just handling it scrapes it off.

      Does it serve a purpose, or is it just for show?

      • The thickness of the copper jacket seems to vary a bit from brand to brand, but I’ve never done a serious comparison or inspection.

        Copper jacketed cycles far better in some semi-auto .22’s than the lead nosed stuff. My Ruger MKII don’t judge and neither does my Mossy 702, but my 10/22 jams (at least) every other round with the lead nosed rounds regardless of which mags I use. They hang up on the top edge of the back of the chamber and get stuck at about a 50 degree angle.

        Copper jacketed rounds OTOH feed very nearly flawlessly.

        • Yeah, in .22lr it’s not extruded or stamped into a jacket, it’s a warm-breath thin plating with as close to zero strength as it gets to it.

          .22 win mag *is* jacketed, at least the last I bought some, and quite substantially.

          I’m just wondering if it’s a marketing- image thing, to give the impression you’re buying copper when you really aren’t…

        • Copper plating supposedly helps with barrel lead fouling. Any & all of my Rugers run with anything.

      • It’s to more easily accept the triple-chrome plating. Kidding, it’s to more easily accept the Titanium electro-plating followed by the acid dip anodization.

        Kidding again. I don’t know.
        I agree with the assessment of its ‘fragility’, however, anything that ‘covers the lead’ is better than the lead-fouling / lead-smoking you may get with plain lead rounds. Slipperiness is/can be kind of key. A lead projectile will not center itself in the barrel after it makes its “jump” out of the case. If it’s not really centered, it just forms itself to the barrel in the direction it’s headed and you can get a ‘square peg in a round hole’ scenario started that trims mass from the bullet. The fractional coating of copper can help a little. You cannot reduce (much) the outer diameter of the projectile (to accommodate thicker jacketing) without taking care to ensure that mass is retained otherwise.

        Either way. Yay 22lr ! LAUS DEO ! ! !

        • Most bulk .22lr has a wax coating on it, for feeding, I’m assuming.

          I’ve got some higher-grade stuff, like sub-sonic Eley with the noticeably longer-heavier bullet, that *doesn’t*…

      • My Savage loves Remington Golden copper jacketed HP 35 grain. Lead not so much–in fact, it is highly in accurate with lead bullets.

    • Yeeeeaaaaahhh, sure, that’s what they all say.

      Didn’t I see you at the 22lr Anonymous meeting? One day at a time brother : D

  4. It was bound to happen eventually, hopefully it doesn’t trigger another panic buy spree. “22’s back and cheaper!? Better rush out and buy all of it!”

    • Such phenomena are not unheard of. In economics it’s called an echo bubble.

      It’s when a market bubble finally pops, sending the item’s price plummeting. Then, some people think that the market has over corrected and priced the item too low. So they step back in to buy it up, sending prices up again, but not as high as before.

      Alternatively, some people believe that there never was a true bubble in the first place, i.e., that the inflated prices reflected genuine market fundamentals. In their view, any “correction” is itself the irrational behavior. Then they step back in to buy it up, sending prices up again, but not as high as before.

  5. We have been getting a lot more .22, but it is flying off the shelves. Sold ~3,000 boxes in a day as our last shipment came in; the rest was gone by the next morning. Still seeing more hitting our shelves, though.

  6. “The gentleman said that he had gone to WalMart, early in the morning in Washington State this summer, for two months straight, every day, and never scored a single round of .22. The last time he bought the 333 round bulk packs they cost over $26 a box.”

    Thanks for being part of the problem asshole!

      • No, the going to Walmart every morning with intended mission of buying everything they will let you walk out of the store with as soon as it hits the shelves.

        The shortage is almost 99.99999% driven by assholes who sit around these places and buy everything they can get their hands on as the clerks unload it from the shipping boxes. Then normal people go into the store see only a handful of boxes left and buy it all because they realize the rumors of a “shortage” they had been hearing might be true and they don’t want to get left high and dry. Then some other guy comes along and there is nothing so he makes it a point to camp out the next time they get a shipment in order to be first in line and buys everything he can buy thus resetting the vicious cycle.

        • This is true. I stopped by my local WalMart Saturday, and no, there wasn’t a single round on the shelves. In fact, they don’t even have a place on the shelf anymore to stack it because it is sold before it even gets there. Guys line up an hour before the truck gets there at 6 a.m. and it is all gone by 7 a.m. I haven’t shot .22 in years.

          I checked out Lucky Ammo the other day just for kicks. They had some Thunder for around $0.08, but everything with a copper jacket was much more, approaching 9 mm territory. For that I am not buying. My Mosquito only takes minimags or similar, and my rifle only likes copper plated bullets. An I am not paying 15 to 20 cents a round to shoot .22LR.

  7. I see plenty of the small boxes of Aguila and 100 packs of Remington. I also see a bunch of the 325 count Federal milk cartons but the price is 6-7 cents/round. LGS have tons of mini-mags and buckets-o-bullets but they are pretty high still. Everywhere has CCI shotshells. This is Eastern NC by the way.

    I haven’t paid close attention lately b/c I am all stocked up on .22 LR. I don’t do much plinking with it these days anyway so I may be trading it to a friend for something more useful to me.

  8. I regularly check 6 WM near me.

    NOTHING.

    Why? The “4AM Lawn chair campers” are still at it here in the Vegas valley. .22LR is gone within minutes of the ammo being carted out.

  9. I’ve been using CCI Standard that I scored back at Thanksgiving at $33/500 round brick in a Black Friday sale, but I haven’t seen any better prices for that ammo since.

  10. I scored a 1000 rd box of the m-22 awhile back for $50 at my local Walmart. Used it to sweeten a deal. Guy who got it was thrilled. Swapped a GSG5 and 1000 rds for a JTS AK12 NIB – fantastic trade. If you haven’t seen/handled/shot one of these they are well built and shoot great. Chicom saiga. Mags go straight in, bolt hold open on the safety and screw in rem chokes. win-win-win. 🙂

  11. I haven’t bothered to look locally for a while. Last time was a couple months back when I saw an end cap at Cabela’s covered in .22LR and figured it was a fantastic time to buy some… Until I approached and found out it was all match grade at $12/50rnd box (which is probably why it was in stock). At that point I said to myself “Self, it’s time to buy another 9mm”. So I bought a G19 for giggles… well and because going through even a small portion of my 9mm stock 8 rounds at a time would just be silly.

    Should never have given my dad that other 9mm…

  12. So what you are saying is that now is the time to stockpile for when Democrats take back the government and we can once again price gouge 22LR.

    • If or when the Demoncrat s get a hold on our Gov again ammo prices will go nuts and 22 lr will be harder to find than the pre Trump shortage so my advice is stock up now

  13. I’ve seen and bough it for 4-6 cents/round . . . . . does it need to be cheaper than that?

    Seems like a steal compared to the 23 cents/round I pay for my 7.62×39 or some of the outrageous gouging I’ve seen on .223.

    • Mister Fister,

      “I’ve seen and bought it for 4-6 cents/round … does it need to be cheaper than that?”

      Bulk .22 LR ammunition was available for about 2.8 cents per round as recently as 2010 or so. I am not aware of any increase in the cost of raw materials since that time. (In fact raw materials may actually cost less at this time.) I would love to see bulk .22 LR for less than 4 cents per round.

  14. Several thousand rounds at the local Bi-Mart.
    If I remember, it was 22 or 23 bucks for the 333 round bulk pack.
    I passed. I’ve got plenty. I did buy some .22 mag though. Got a rat shoot coming up in April and I’ve only got 2K rounds of it.

    • The few that are still in business in my area, limit us. Is very expensive too. Will get worse in 2018 when the Kalli ammo ban takes effect. Funny, criminals and nut jobs could care less.

    • tiger,

      Local gun stores have to be somewhat close to competitive. At this point, 12 to 18 cents per round is not anywhere close to competitive.

  15. WalMarts and local gun stores here in Socialist hell of Kalifornia, 22lr still in short supply. Mail order is the only way to go now. Must stock up this year before the ammo ban (sort of) takes effect. Can reload (for now?) for the rest or my needs.
    Oh how I miss the .03 cents a round 22LR. Those days are forever history. At least in this cesspool.

  16. It seems when I read threads like this there is always lots of .22 east of the Appalachians and none west of the Rockies. I bet I can build a conspiracy theory around that.

  17. I have no problems finding .22lr in central Texas. Maybe it’s the plethora of Walmarts and sporting goods stores, but it’s really not that difficult for me to find. It might not be at one retailer, but a 5 minute drive to another will certainly land me some. The prices are coming down too, which is nice.

  18. My LGS has enough .22LR to go around and his prices are reasonable because he never gouges his customers, on ammo or anything else. The guy’s a prince.

    The supply is more limited at the local Bass Pro, but bricks do show up on a regular basis. I’ve slowly built up my supply to pre-extinction levels by purchasing a brick at a time. Prices, however, are about 20% or more higher than they were before .22LR disappeared.

    The squeeze isn’t over yet, but I have to admit it’s getting better, better all the time.

  19. I still have most of a box of Federal AutoMatch .22LR form Black Friday 2015.
    Since I only have a single shot rifle, it will last a long time. 250 rounds left from 325.
    I only found one Walmart around here in Myrtle Beach that had any, and it was 50 round boxes of something for $3.67.
    No bulk packs.

  20. .22 cost more to make than larger rounds? problem was the Gov buying Billions of rounds of .22 while arming the bureaucrats, overloaded the Ammo companies! Ammo companies seeing the huge profit from rare .22 collectively got greedy! and continued a manufactured shortage problem to gouge their profit margins and earn CEO’s a big Pay raise. then along comes the Hoarder trying too make a profit out of Misery! the smart guy started stashing years ago as prepper 101! so it will never be the same!

  21. Not saying where I am, but at any given time I can buy all the 22 LR I want at around 6 cents a round, usually picking up 3K or more at one time without denting their supply. Yes, I shoot it & use a lot.

  22. After reading this article, I was inspired to check on the .22LR supply while shopping at my local Walmart. I was astonished to see three boxes of Winchester 333 on the floor behind the counter. Nobody was around, so I went to get what I’d came there for originally, and when I returned, a sales guy was there. I asked him “Any .22LR?”, and his eyes lit up, and he said “Yeah!”. I asked what was there, and he rattled off a whole bunch of brands/quantities, one of which was 1,000 round box of M-22 for 50.07, so I bought it.

  23. I live on Long Island NY. I have only been able able to buy .22 ammo at a Walmart 3 times in over four years. It’s ridiculous. Thankfully I have been able to score some out of state as I travel for my job, but even that has been almost impossible and I am talking from New Hampshire to Virginia .22 has been very difficult to get. A few states I travel to have it occasionally so I grab what I can. Dicks has it but prices are very high.

  24. None that I have seen in southwest Ohio wally worlds. Cabela usually has some but the lower priced rounds always seem in short supply. I was able to get enough to do a couple Appleseeds last year.

  25. Never had the problem of shortage. Did not have to clean out all the boxes of 22lr.
    Would buy 100 mini mag sleeve. Before the run on 22lr when buying 9mm Luger for CZ 75 clone for women shooting league would also buy 1 or 2 100 rounds CCI mini mag. Accumulated at last innovatory had 6000 rounds in locked metal gun case.
    My Ruger SR 22lr pistol with 10 round magazines.
    It is my self defense every day carry weapon.
    And before anyone mentions how not effective the SR 22lr is, let’s consider no one likes to be shot and 10 rounds of CCI mini mag center mass would stop the a bad person from continued assault. As far as heavy trigger pull, solution is carry cocked and locked. After that 1st round, very light trigger pull. I’ve tested it at a Gun Range, when “make ready command is made. Held low ready with trigger finger indexed along pistol frame.

  26. I live in what is called downriver in Mi and ammo of al kinds is on most Wal-Mart shelves I have saw 22 lr every time I have looked prices are coming down very slowly but hey at least you can buy most anythi g you want my problem is I shoot 22 lr 380 acp and 357 mag 2 out of the 3 are expensive

    I am going to buy the Ruger 9mm to go with my 380 LCP 2 and so I can shoot cheaper 9mm thank God Trump got elected or my380 acp ammo would be $50.00 a box

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