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Courtesy Dean Weingarten, Shot Show 2016

The .22 rimfire market has been in a bubble for the last three years. Total production has maxed out, and still demand hasn’t been met. Part of the problem is that increasing production is expensive, and manufacturers don’t want to overshoot the market and be left with a lot of manufacturing capacity that can’t pay for itself. Aguila Ammuntion has been producing innovative .22 ammo for years. They made quite a splash with their 60 grain .22 SSS Sniper Subsonic and primer powered Colibri rounds . . .

I talked to Rodney S. Taylor, chief engineer, at the SHOT Show, He said that the .22 ammunition is the company’s mainstay, by far the majority of the ammunition that they produce. Much of the ammunition goes to the Central and South America markets and Aquila made the decision to significantly increase production a couple of years ago. Their machinery is state of the art, an almost completely automated, top of the line, process.

Last year, in 2015, they increased their production by close to 30%, producing a little under a billion rounds. I recall a figure being mentioned of about $2 million dollars being invested in .22 rimfire production last year.

Taylor said that they were hoping to increase production again this year, somewhere in the neighborhood of another 30%, and that total capacity would be “over a billion rounds per year.” Exact numbers were impossible, because no one can predict the market entirely, and no one wants to give a possible competitive advantage to other producers.

I hope to see more Aquila ammo on the shelves soon. Adding a few hundred million rounds per year production can only help to relieve the .22 ammo shortage.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. I use the 60 grains for smashing possums, they work wonderfully. They will cycle in my S&W 22a-1 with no mods.(5.5 inch bull barrel) Seems like they are designed to only shoot in pistol/revolvers.

    • They work in my russian toz made winchester wildcat bolt action. Accurate as hell. My ruger 10-22. Forget it.

      Haven’t tried them in my ruger single six. Haven’t seen any for sale for a long time.

  2. But seriously, a steenkin’ billion rounds? Sounds impressive, no?

    Well, it’s actually 10,000 rounds for 100,000 households. How do they serve the other 100 million?

    That’s why we have no .22LR.

    • We don’t?

      Not only that, but the prices have been going down slowly but steadily. Six months ago, you’d be hard pressed to find anything under 10c/round. Today you get some options for 8c/round, and occasionally you see stuff going for as low as 6c.

      • int19h, I know it’s supposedly “there” on a bunch of lists, yet when i try to actually, you know, buy it, it’s nowhere to be found. “All gone” they always say. I’ve got a couple of locator programs, neither is accurate for .22LR.

        It’s still $.10+ per round in the midwest for junk, but your neighborhood may vary. Regardless of any view of the ‘shortage’ or not, doesn’t everyone you know want at least 10K rounds of .22LR? Multiply and do the math…

        • I haven’t had any trouble finding 22LR…you simply need to know where/when to look. I’d love to be able to head down to my local store and pick up a brick, but those get picked up by people as they’re coming off the pallet, onto the shelves. I keep an inventory and start browsing online when I’m below my “need some more” threshold. In most cases, I can purchase a couple brick within a week at 7-10 cents/round (delivered) from a major online retailer.

  3. I have never shot a single round of Aquila. Would you guys and gals weigh in on how you like it? Say, compared to CCI?

    • Their 30 grain Super Maximum hollow points that I used to buy in the early 2000s are are as reliable as CCI Stingers, and even faster. Colibris on the other hand, fail to fire quite regularly.

    • I have nothing but good things to say about their subsonic HPs. They sound great through a suppressor, and always go bang, only quietly. 😀

    • Have used Aguila .22LR from CMP for our junior rifles programs we coach. Always good results, nice groups, reliable. I would put it on par with the better brands in the market – it’s not Eley Tenex, but will hang in there with CCI, Winchester, and such. Better than a lot of Remington stuff I have had.

    • I tried it a few years ago in my S&W MP 15/22 and loved it. It shot straight and clean. I haven’t been able to find any since, but would not hesitate to buy again.

    • I had a few stuck cases on extraction with the 40gr loads (Ruger 10/22 and Ruger SR-22). I won’t be buying Aguila .22LR again any time soon. YMMV, though.

    • I picked up a brick of HV round nose in the fall and in my 10/22 it cycles and groups about the same as CCI mini-mags. My next buy will be sv to compare with CCI sv since I’ve realized softer is better for my uses.

    • Their primers tend to be on the hard side; In my experience, they worked reasonably well in a CMMG AR15 conversion kit, and not particularly well in a bunch of old bolt-action rifles (likely due to worn strikers/striker springs). Performance with Federal bulk ammo was precisely the opposite.

    • I think use is permanently up, and will continue to climb. A lot of people have picked up “tacticool .22” plinkers like M&P 22 rifle and pistol, Ruger SR22, and pistol or AR .22 conversion kits. Those things increase their use.

      I use to only have one .22 rifle. Now, I have three .22 rifles, two revolvers, and a pistol. They are all some of my favorite guns to shoot.

      Hoarding is a big part of the equation, but I think long term demand has increased as well.

      • My stockpile target isn’t just X number of rounds for any particular caliber. If X divided by the number of firearms in my collection which use that caliber feels too low, I increase X.

    • I didn’t mean to hoard, but I’m glad I did. Until from July to November of last year, I managed to buy about 6k rounds at just north of 5cpr. I still have most of it and don’t shoot that much when I’m at the range – I’ve got to keep the other guns working out too. Since November, though, I haven’t seen anything under 10cpr.

      The lesson for me has been to always buy when I see it, even if I don’t need it at the time. There is always something on the shelf so I buy 12 gauge as needed with limited on hand, 9mm and .30-06 in bulk only when on sale – knowing that I face feast or famine means I need to collect 22.

  4. I don’t even buy .22 anymore. I rarely shoot the 5k rounds I have stored. My plinking rounds are 5.45×39 and 7.62×39. The hoarders will continue to wait in line at Wal Mart like they have been since 2012.

      • Only if you’re willing to fund their gouging.

        My local shop drops me a text when .22 is available…I swing by and pick up a couple of boxes. Unfortunately they still have quantity restrictions in effect. No more than 500 rnds of .22LR per day. I recently purchased two bricks (on successive days) of the Aguila Interceptor 40 gr plated. It is fast, scary accurate and works in ALL my .22’s.

      • I wish 7N6 was still being imported so prices were $100 /1080 case again. Now they cost the same as 7.62×39. But, the accuracy is nice and the lack of recoil makes an AK-74 rifle a lot of fun to shoot.

        • not sorry i purchased a 5.45×39 AK. Only thing I ever regret is the empty boxes that used to be full at the end of a range day!

        • Same here. I bought my 74 after 7N6 had already been banned. I saw a few people during that time ditching their 5.45 rifles, but I thought it was silly. I liked it so much I am building a Bulgarian 74 kit. I also have a separate receiver because I am going to piece together my own “Alpha” build with it. I really enjoy shooting the round.

    • Problem wouldn’t exist if Walmart sold it at the market rate. Better full shelves at 10 cents per round than empty shelves at 5 cents per round.

  5. Sooo…let me get this straight.
    We have a river of iron (guns) going South; and a river of ammo (bullets) going North?

  6. Nice. Now when is the CCI going to do the same?
    I wanted to buy bolt action .22 to get my kids started, but with the shortage it looks like it might be better to get one of those pistol caliber carbines. Casting my bullets and reloading gets me to almost the same cost per round.

    • What’s everyone doing with all the .22 anyway?

      Some speculate that the U.S. Government is buying it up. Everyone knows that .22 LR is a gateway ammo, that gets new and young shooters addicted to shooting.

  7. I have some high velocity rounds that are equivalent to CCi velocitors. The work fine in both my 1911-22 and my Savage mk II bolt gun.

    • Which 1911-22 do you have?

      I got the Chiappa (Puma, same thing) 1911-22, when it first (ish) came out and it has been a pot metal albatross since day one.

  8. Has anyone tried CI .22 ammo. I’ve seen one review of it and bought 1k rounds of their 34?? grain on a lark. Haven’t had a chance to head to the range to try it.

  9. This week was in Academy Sports, purchased a CCI Quiet 500 round brick for $46.00 + sales tax
    Shoots well from Ruger LCR 22lr
    Anytime I see ammo in calibers I own, get what I can afford. Over time it adds up enough to give ammo as Christmas gifts and still have a substantial quantity left

    • 2 million american equals about 13,000,000,000,000 in Mexico and canada. Money goes farther there

  10. I am in northeast Indiana, I sell guns, and I have all the .22 LR you can handle… lol Most of it being Aguila 22 Super extra and interceptor…

  11. Aguila Super Extra and Interceptor have worked well for me. Those still having trouble finding 22LR should shop online.
    I did however break the stop pin hinge loop on a Ruger Mark !! pistol shooting Interceptors through it. Older gun with lots of rounds shot, so the Interceptors may have just pushed it over the top, but just to let others know those rounds are pretty hot.

  12. I have no problem with Aguila ammo in my 10/22. And their 22 Colibri low velocity ammunition is perfect for lever or bolt gun practice. That is what I used when I couldn’t get 9 or 45 ammo for my hand guns.

  13. I have used their Eley-primed match ammo, and found it to be fine ammo. It isn’t quite as accurate as full-on Eley or Lapua ammos, but at 50′ for pistol bullseye shooting, it is excellent ammo.

    I’ve not used any of their plinking-quality ammo.

    • I don’t have a huge amount of hands on with their budget ammo. But what I have used, worked. At least as well as bulk white and yellow box from wal mart.

  14. I wonder if it bothers them how often people misspell their company name? It’s Aguila, not Aquila, isn’t it?

  15. Increasing production by 30%: good.
    Will it cure the shortage? No.
    Will it make a difference? Yes.
    Will it make a GIANT difference: not likely.
    Is it a good thing? Yes.

  16. There is no way your numbers can be right in the article! If they sold 1 billion rounds at .10/round, that is 100million dollars. They invested 2 million dollars, so in one year, they paid off the investment, and made 98million dollars profit! Even if they sold wholesale at .05c per round they still made 48 million dollars profit, and paid off the investment! If your article is correct, then every ammo manufacturer would be tripping over each other to ramp up .22lr production. I think it is pretty obvious for the last 5 years this is NOT happening. If you realistically look at all the production numbers, CCI 1.4billion rounds/yr, Federal 3 billion rounds/yr, Aguila 1 billion rounds/yr, etc. etc. Something smells fishy, profit is obviously not the reason why there is no ammo. Producers not wanting to make the investment is obviously not the reason, if they pay it back in less than a year.

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