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Courtesy Dean WeingartenDan Compton CCI Vista Federal

For the last three years, store shelves have been empty of .22 ammo more often than not. The lack of rimfire ammo and the high price of the ammo that’s available has negatively impacted recreational shooting. Looking for an update on the Great .22 Ammo Shortage, I spoke to Dan Compton [above] at SHOT. Dan’s Senior Product Line Specialist for Vista Outdoors, which includes CCI and Federal ammunition brands. Here’s what I learned . . .

Over the last year, Vista moved to increase .22 rimfire production to meet the increased demand. Good news, but it will take about a year to implement that decision. Vista gave the green light to the .22 investment based on the belief that the astounding demand for .22  isn’t based on hoarding. The overall market has expanded to include more new shooters, young shooters, women and urban shooters. Dan told me that the style of shooting has changed as well:

“We call it the ‘Call of Duty’ style. Lots of rounds downrange increases demand. The rounds expended per session has gone up. Where people might have shot a 50 round box before, now they shoot a 525 round box, and they don’t stop until it is empty.”

That’s not to say hoarding hasn’t been a major factor in the drought. Vista says there are about 50 to 80 million .22 owners in the U.S. When a few million owners decided they want to keep a few bricks of .22 on hand, the resulting demand increased well beyond what production could handle.

Dan was a little vague about actual numbers for the company’s planned production. Industry sources assured me that both Federal and CCI were looking to increase production by about 20 percent this coming year. One source said that CCI needed to put up a new building for the production facility.

I also heard that CCI is currently maxed out, producing about four million rounds per day. Federal is also running at peak capacity, cranking out about eight million rounds a day. That said, daily production varies depending on what sort of rounds are being produced.

Managers set up the production schedule about two months in advance based on orders. For example, .22 Stingers might be run for two eight-hour shifts, followed by a single eight-hour shift of .22 quiet rounds. The machines keep running 24 hours a day, stopping for 15 minute intervals at lunch breaks and between shifts, for maintenance.

CCI and Federal dominate the U.S. market. A 20% increase in production will have an impact. Well, should have a major impact. Much of the .22 bubble is political in nature. The ongoing increase in new shooters and changes in shooting style will keep the machines producing .22 ammunition busy for a long time. We shall see what happens in the stores.

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

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    • I’m glad to hear about any increase in production!

      I am frustrated to hear that it took them 3+ years to realize that they needed to increase production capacity. They should have done this at least two years ago. Furthermore, I think a 40-50% increase in production would have been more in order.

      There are years of pent up demand for .22 ammo. More people have .22’s now than ever before. I highly doubt that demand will bottom out anytime in the near future. Everyone is now worried about future availability of .22 ammo.

      I am not hoarding them, but if I were to see unlimited quantities of 500 round bulk packs of CCI Blazer .22 available in the $25-30 range, the first thing I’d do is buy about 20. I think there are millions of gun owners out there who feel the same way.

      • It’s not really that surprising. The manufacturer’s margin on .22 lr is pretty low as it is. On top of that it was figured that the demand would eventually normalize within a few months. It was determined by most manufacturers not not be worth the massive tool investment. The empty shelved really benefited the manufacturers anyway as they made money regardless of who was buying them and why.

        I suppose after running the numbers it finally makes sense with all the new .22s being sold those past 3 Christmases. Plus you have the problem that if the hording continues much longer new .22 gun sales will eventually plummet and screw everyone in the industry.

      • I figured this out years ago that if someone had come in with investment money and just dropped a couple hundred million in capex to build out new plant and equipment, they would make a killing given the prices that .22lr sells at, compared to what it costs. And if that sounds like a lot of money to invest, it’s chump change compared to how much money there is to make. Years ago it cost roughly the same, maybe a little less, to produce .22lr, and yet they still made profits at those 2-3 cents per round sale prices. Now they’re selling at 5-6 TIMES that, and that’s if you can find them at all. Even with the current increases in production planned, these guys simply aren’t seeing the opportunity and some outsider could grab a huge chunk of their collective market share, because 20% just ain’t gonna cut it. Same goes for .223/5.56 and common hunting rounds like .30-06 and .308, which are all obscenely expensive in my opinion. Again, that’s if you can find what you’re looking for on the store shelves. I don’t shoot hand guns but I’m assuming rounds like 9mm and .45ACP are a similar situation to something like .223. If I wasn’t in the process of raising a family right now, I’d be raising investment money as I speak and starting an ammo manufacturing company.

  1. Wow a whole 20%? They need a hundred percent increase in machinery And People to work the production line 20% is not going to cut it I haven’t seen 22 ammunition readily available on the shelves for a realistic price in over 3 years 20% I got one even make a slight dent in the amount of 22 that sold every year. These bozos making this ammunition don’t seem to realize that they’ve sold hundreds of thousands of 22 in the last three to four years and all those people want to shoot those guns So they buy ammunition and when the older people who have 22 and have had them for years see the 22 ammunition flying off the shelves they do the next thing, they start buying it as well And the production manufacturing side of it thought that this would all slow down and time when people had stocked up enough 22. This did not happen because the one is more than the people The people in the production places can put out And it is a hell of a lot more than 20% Marco In production that is needed. 20% we probably won’t even see an increase in product on our shelves at my shop 20% that’s like increasing at 5% that’s just stupid They’re trying to do the cheap way out.

    • 22 ammunition is produced in the millions. Adding additional production capacity costs significant capital for a company because the equipment to make it is not cheap. not only that but these companies do not want to be stuck with spending millions of dollars on equipment that they suddenly need to shut down because demand has fallen. If they aren’t producing at full capacity they are losing money.

      Brushing off 20% as being not enough is selfish and short sighted because it fails to look at it from a business perspective.

    • Of course they going to try 20%, they want to make money, that’s why they’re in business. Right now they know 100% of they .22 LR they make will be sold. What if they increased production 100%, only to find demand is only 50% more? Investors are going to be pissed and heads would roll. It sucks, but they aren’t making ammo because it’s fun, they want to make money and I don’t blame them one bit.

      • I don’t know the business, but I bet that all the equipment to make .22 ammo has been paid off for years. Having to buy new equipment will incur a debt which will take years to pay off. It will increase the cost to make .22 and will probably cause a price increase just to cover the extra cost, which will upset a lot of people. I would expect the increase of production to be a no win for the companies. Currently they are selling all they make, which is a very good place for a company, adding more expense is always questionable. Remember, the company is in business to make money for it’s investors, not to make us happy. Remember when the price increase comes, don’t talk boycott.

    • You do not need a single producer to increase, you them all to do their part.

      If CCI increases 20% and if as reported on other sites Aquila is upping it to 30%, then we just need other to do the same and we will reach 100% from all on-board.

      • I don’t think the math works that way. Obviously simple numbers below.

        CCI makes 100 rounds a year, up 20% to 120 rounds a year.

        Aguila makes 200 rounds a year, up 30% to 260 rounds a year.

        Remington makes 500 rounds a year, up 40% to 700 rounds a year.

        Winchester makes 200 rounds a year, up 10% to 220 rounds a year.

        Market makes 1000 rounds a year, now 1300 rounds. Total increase is 30%, not 100%

      • Yeah I guess you’re right 20% is Someone of an increase, But the problem is The numbers are already in And they are 35% increase in manufacturer to 50% increase in manufacturing of 22 long rifle would bring the market to a stable User friendly Where you can actually buy the ammunition when you go to Walmart or your Gunshop And they actually have it in stock and don’t limit you to one box That would be nice.

    • To criticize the ammunition manufacturers is easy but look at it from their side. Sure it’s a tight market now, nobody likes Obama and there’s been a good deal of hoarding done.

      So suppose they’d invested millions five years ago building a new plant or two and hiring countless new employees, then a gun friendly admin comes in. Oh oh, people stop hoarding, gun sales level off, permit applications start going down again and sales of ammo drop. Now these same ammo manufacturers that you were complaining about have all these people and facilities and no demand. They wind up cutting back and people get laid off.

      It’s not easy trying to predict whether the market is temporary or will continue.

    • Guess you missed the actual headline here.

      The headline is that they’re increasing capacity AT ALL, much less 20%.

      The point being that they’ve ascertained that the .22 shortage is not a spike or bump in demand that they need to “ride out”, but an actual trend that makes it a long term market opportunity for marketshare and sales that’s worth investing time and treasure in to meet.

      If these guys are expanding production, then that suggests that the other manufacturers are looking at the tea leaves the same way and perhaps they’re willing to expand production also.

      This is a better trend than “we’re trying really hard”. They’re at capacity, and they feel it’s worthwhile to actually expand it. This is a good thing.

  2. Um, get back to me when it’s 2000%. Then it might actually make a slight difference. 20% is a joke and not even remotely newsworthy.

  3. I’m excited, but worried.

    What if Hillary becomes the best ammo saleswoman ever? A new AWB would lead to ridiculous desires for non-high powered calibers.

    • If what he’s saying is true, and to me it has the smell of truth, someone will invest in new machinery to really up the production rate.

      That will be very good for guns in general, get ’em hooked on the .22 ‘gateway drug’, throwing hundreds of rounds downrange at a crack…

      • No, it’s hard to tell whether a Hillary buying spree will be permanent or not. Spending money to ramp up production only to see it drop off again would be really bad for business.

    • The only thing Hillary is to be trading is cigarettes. You need to be worrying about Sanders and his crew of wacko supporters.

  4. The biggest reason you can’t find any 22 still is because people haven’t been able to find any previously, but it up, and still shoot it like it’s common as all get out. you want to see it on shelves? Stop blowing through it!

    • Awwww… but I do so love when people call something that fires the smallest center-fire rifle round a “high powered rifle”

  5. Maybe while they are “ramping up production” to war time levels they can figure out how to make it shoot cleaner? .22 is dirtier than cheap 12ga. Guess we’re lucky WW3 has not started we’d be using mosin bayonets and harsh language.

  6. Cam Edwards Of NRA Talked about this problem when he was still on the Sportsman Channel. And he sat down with the numbers And he said at the very least Production had to be increasedBy 35% To 50%. Remington in their new plant at Huntsville Alabama Has increased ammunition production by 30% But thats all cartridges well the most popular probably. 20% improvement Is not enough Its just simply not enough the amount of people that own 22 caliber Firearms is increasing exponentially day by day And the need for ammunition Has been exponentially increasing for the last three years so for them to come in at this late in the game and say we’re going to up our production by 20% That’s like peeing into a three alarm fire and hoping to put it out it’s just not going to happen.

  7. Plenty of .22 on the list and at gunshows for 3x 10x the price. Supply and demand. No supply + big demand =+ big $$$ The makers don’t want the market flush with .22. They are selling 100% of stock as fast (or as slow, on purpose) as they can make it. If you have noticed they don’t come in 500 rds anymore. Now it’s 333 or even 300 (choot em’) at the same or higher price than the 500’s we’re selling for. I’ve noticed this in not just ammo but in foodstuffs. Price stays the same, amount of product X drops.

    • These huge ammo manufacturers have bean counters that make tons of money every year predicting Sales and how much product that they should make For the oncoming year And there are well aware of what’s going on That’s why when the bean counters told them you need to increase production by a minimum of 35% But we would like to see production levels at 50% To be able to keep the product on the shelves at the stores. They come back with this lousy 20% markup and increase production Geez there’s more than a 20% increase and 22 caliber Firearms that ar bought in 6 months So increasing production by 20% is absolutely ridiculous.

  8. NOTE: also reported that Aguila is expanding 22lr production by 30%.

    Everyone is afraid to purchase new equipment and to have the market bottom out. Although, I do not see how that is possible.

    • It’s physically impossible for the 22 long rifle ammunition market to bottom out at this time. The reason behind this is there are selling more 22 long rifle Firearms Every week every month and every year now more than any other caliber. With this increase Of Firearms sale that are caliber and 22 long rifle It is impossible for the market to bottom out There are so many new Shooters So many new People that are into this industry now That the 22 is a starting point for almost every shooter In America everyone starts out with a 22 long rifle Well most people do. And a minimal increase like 20% Is just their way of keeping the price is high And their stock moving out the door every minute of every day. Capitalism at its finest!

      • if what you are saying is true, then why would they not take the opportunity to make even more money?

        • That’s a pretty easy question to answer.Most of these Eminem munition manufacturing companies Are in buildings which they have been in for many years They have limited Room for expansion they pretty much used up all the space in their building I know this is the case in the CCI plant. They simply have no more room unless they move their entire operation to a new facility. That’s why Remington was able to expand by 30% in ammunition production this year. Because of their brand new plant they just built in Huntsville Alabama They planned on having more room for expanding Firearms production and ammunition production That place is as big As a Superbowl arena it’s huge it’s absolutely amazing the size of the building that they have in Huntsville Alabama. These plants and these ammunition manufacturers Especially people who manufacture more than just 22 long rifle ammunition they only have so many machines they only have so many technicians working they only have so much commercial property in which two in case these machines and I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or ever been inside of a Factory that makes ammunition but these machines are absolutely gigantic The feeding stations the powder filling stations these are specially designed Buildings that everything is positively I mean negatively grounded so that you get no static electricity spark or cast off as they call it. It’s like walking into a massive building It’s so clean other than the Grease from the machines. So really a lot of these companies have no room to expand their at max tilt right now they’re running 24 hours a day 7 days a week 3 different shifts There’s absolutely nothing they can do except to invest into a totally new building either lease it rent it or buy it and then it has to be prepped especially for ammo production because it is an explosive ordnance that has to have special sprinklers special Grounding equipment special sealed air systems it’s not just like opening up a fruit stand. And that’s why the cost is so great they are so worried if they gamble the wrong way that they could put themselves out of business And they would rather Manufacture at full price And leave the shelves empty with people still wanting their brand of ammunition or there any brand of ammunition in 22 caliber and Be safe then to over invest and then later be sorry.

        • I like kumquats, watermelons, and mangos Lol Sorry not an engineer it is supposed to say negatively grounded.

        • I’m not an engineer either, but positively grounded sounds better if you are using positively grounded in the sense that positively means assuredly or verifiably. Ground is neither positively nor negatively charged. Ground has no charge, and thank goodness, because it would be awfully hard to walk on otherwise. .02 cents

        • Big Jim You seriously need to learn about punctuation in constructing sentences and paragraphs. It was so painful trying to follow what you were trying to say, I had to take a dozen Tylenol. For an example “Especially people who manufacture more than just 22 long rifle ammunition they only have so many machines they only have so many technicians working they only have so much commercial property in which two in case these machines and I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or ever been inside of a Factory” What in the hell are you trying to say here? Damn, if this is what they are teaching in schools nowadays, we are screwed! Sorry to be a grammar nazi, but reading a comment should not make my freaking head hurt.

          • Hey buddy, bite my shorts! How’s that punctuated for you?If you have a problem with my punctuation just skip over my comment it’s as simple as that! Friggin moron! What are you a school teacher you freaking pansy?

      • That doesn’t really make sense. Manufacturers are certainly seeing higher prices for the ammo but nothing like secondary and tertiary sellers are seeing.

    • I suspect a lot of oil and gas companies didn’t see the price bottoming out either when they all kicked it into overdrive, but it did. What ammo manufacturers are doing is a more conservative approach. This is especially especially true since the margins on .22 lr can be razor thin.

      • Considering I’m living that bottom out of the oil and gas industry right now and still thankfully employed by it, you are spot on. From what I understand all forecasts said things were looking good for all of 2015 and 2016 but then poof. You get outside agents that changed everything and now all the gambles that oil producers, service companies, banks and financial institutions, and equipment manufactures took have turned bad.

      • This.

        Most gun parts can be manufactured on generic machining centers. That’s why firearms producers were able ramp up so quickly during the past few booms. Parts can be subcontracted to any number of outside shops that might have been making bicycle parts the month before.

        No so with rimfire ammo. The machinery to make 22 lr is highly specialized. This combined with low profit margins does not encourage risk taking. The company must be positive that a long term market exits or they will go broke paying for new equipment that is sitting idle.

  9. “Call of Duty” style. Too funny.

    Maybe the ammo makers could produce a line of cheap junk .22 with garbage bullets and dented up cases for those mag dumpers who never aim. That would leave the good stuff for the rest of us.

    Just imagine a bucket of .22s for $10. All the shells that don’t meet quality control would have a home. And when the CoD style shooters finally want to actually hit something, there will be plenty of good ammo available on the shelves.

    Or maybe call the bucket “training ammo” because of all the FTFs and FTEs and low pressures, high pressures and all sorts of other educational malfunctions. It would be much cheaper than mixing a handful of snap-caps into the mag. Maybe the marketers and spin doctors at big green could sell the stuff for more money than match grade since its unreliability is now a feature.

    • That’s actually pretty cool, “factory second” ammo, but we live in such a sue-happy climate. The second someone gets a metal shaving in their face because of a malfunction it would be game over for that company.

    • Actually, Freedom Munitions does something sort of like this. They have their “Blaster” ammo line, which is “training ammo” which is cosmetically not up to par, but otherwise fine. So if they make regular ammo and it doesn’t turn out 100% perfect, they label it “blaster” and sell it at a small discount.

      • Ely also has a ‘training’ ammo line, but I swear it is beneath junk. It really is stuff that should never be issued, but somehow it did…

    • I’d actually buy cheap low-quality crap like that by the bucket (not instead of normal ammo, but in addition to). You don’t need to worry about cycling in a bolt; if it fails to fire, well, there’s always another just a handle stroke away; and recreational plinking doesn’t really need superb accuracy.

  10. Ive read in an american rifleman article that a 22 rnd costs roughly the same as a 9mm rnd to manufacture. Obviously manufacturers are going to go with the higher profit margin. It also stated they barely make a profit off of 22 ammo. So it takes a back seat to the more profitable cartridges. Cant blame em for that. Gotta make money to stay in business.

    • Yeah, notice only the biggest manufacturers are the ones who produce 22 ammo. Scale is what’s needed to make .22 production profitable.

    • It’s pretty obvious they could raise the price a bit and still move product. So the “profit margin” argument doesn’t wash.

    • ” 22 rnd costs roughly the same as a 9mm rnd to manufacture.”

      There is no way that statement could be true unless it ignores the cost of manufacturing the components of a 9mm round. Assembling the components into a completed centerfire cartridge is the straightforward last step in a complicated process.

      (A 1 oz gold coin probably doesn’t cost much more to manufacture than a 1/8th oz gold coin…if you ignore the cost of the gold.)

      I believe it is true, though, that the profit margin is lower on bulk grade 22 lr.

      • “There is no way that statement could be true unless…”

        Priming of rimfire ammo is rather different from priming centerfire. It could even be true that the cost to finish a .22lr round is higher than that of a 9mm round, neglecting the cost of the component materials (and, after, shipping cost of the finished product).

        • I find it very hard to believe that 22 long rifle ammunition is this as expensive as 9 millimeter or 45 ammunition to manufacture. The amount of brass And the bullet itself Is a heck of a lot more expensive to produce Then a copper washed Piece of lead at 22 caliber way no more than 60 grains. May be running the machinery cost the same as far as electricity goes but I know that they inject the primer into the cartridge and spin the cartridge to evenly distribute it along the rim of the cartridge casing base. I don’t see how it could be so much more expensive I really don’t I fail to see the connection there when you look at Reloading in general and how much that cost And how much material you’re using as far as powder for brass heavier bullet that is actually copper jacketed There’s just no comparison.

  11. Nice! A 10/22 or similar is on my list of guns I want to buy within the next year to start teaching my oldest to shoot. Would be nice to have some ammo too by the time I get it.

    • You almost had me there…

      This is what I find interesting:

      “I also heard that CCI is currently maxed out, producing about four million rounds per day. Federal is also running at peak capacity, cranking out about eight million rounds a day.”

      So, these guys are cranking about 12 million rounds of ammo per day.

      To hear the anti’s talk, that SHOULD be translating to at least 12 million dead children per day, right?

      Isn’t that how they say it works?

      No; I’m going back to my original thought. They don’t understand how any of this stuff works. At all.

      • In all seriousness I’ve shot two boxes (50 round boxes) of the stuff within the last week or two.

        I guess, now that I’ve said that, I should expect to be arrested for mass murder any time now.

    • Can’t say I can tell what it is myself. I’ll check next time I’m at the LGS. I’m not making guarantees about exotic ammo, though.

  12. producing about four million rounds per day.
    No wonder there’s a shortage of .22LR. I’d bet frequent TTAG posters alone account for more than an entire day of CCI production.
    I used to buy 24,000 or more CCI per year. Now, I don’t think I’ve purchase 5,000 in the last 4 years, because it’s simply not for sale in any quantity.

      • Within a 30 minute (ridiculous) drive, and under $.10 per round. I have 10 places within 5 minutes of me that should have it, ‘cept they never do for more than 10 minutes. How’s that figure once you add the shipping, btw?

        The only thing I get is scumbags profiteers at .$12+ per round. I had to pay $.15 for CCI the other day. The whole point of .22 is it’s supposed to be cheap…

        • Pretty easy to check. E.g. this was the cheapest listing at this moment:

          5 boxes (max order) of 325 rounds each = 1625 rounds. With shipping to my doorstep (North Bend, WA), they want $146.05. Adds up to 9c/round.

          Or here’s the cheapest CCI:

          10 boxes (max) of 50 rounds = 500 rounds. $64.87 with shipping, or 13c/round. Still cheaper than 15c that you’ve paid.

          GunBroker is another place to look at, you often see large batches (1000rd, 5000rd etc) sold there for good prices. Just to give you an example, in December 2014, I’ve bought 5000 rounds of CCI Mini-Mag from there for $586. I don’t recall what the shipping was, but it also added up to ~13c/round total. And here’s a good deal that’s going on right now:

          1500 rounds for $148, and shipment is another $20 – just over 11c/round.

          And yes, I had ammo shipped to my door routinely when living in an apartment (two different ones, in fact) before, and never had any problems. But you can always tell UPS/Fedex to hold it at distribution center instead of delivering it to your door, and pick it up there safely.

      • Or did you really mean “not for sale in any quantity for the price I’m willing to pay”?
        Since I’m used to buying in minimum quantities of 1,000 at at time, and often more. Having the ability, if I spend hours shopping around on the internet, to get 500-1,500 at 15c a round, is not quantity to me.
        The time spent searching ups the price per round tremendously in my case, as that time could have been billed.
        Nor, do I see the need to spend considerable amounts of time, and the corresponding opportunity cost, to buy .22LR rounds at a price I can come close to matching while reloading 5.56.

        Previously, my CCI purchases were 24,000 per year, that wasn’t my .22LR purchases.

        Adding 2,000 more .22LR to what I already have barely improves my inventory.

  13. There are shooting situations where I can see the appeal of running though a lot of .22lr at once, say you have a plinking range set up with multiple targets, but I can’t see doing that all too often given the scarcity. Why not adjust your game to see how precise you can shoot? More challenging really and a lot cheaper.

    • The whole idea behind the 22 long rifle was to fold a The most important to have fun and be a training tool to teach firearms safety and actual Using a firearm. Being able to go off with your son or your daughter and shoot 500 – 1000 rounds for 40 bucks Was a great idea Until about 3 years ago Where the price jumped from around $0.07 around to almost $0.20 around Now you’re looking at around $0.10 around unless you’re lucky enough to find it at one of the cheap online Store On a special for some reason. But that’s very unlikely.

      • It can be found for around $0.06 at Wal-mart, IF you’re lucky enough to show up on the day it gets stocked. Which is a very big IF.

        • I happened to be at a Walmart at 7AM on a Sunday morning a few months ago (best time for the oil change – if you trust Wally to change your oil). I swung by the sporting goods department to pick up some .40 ammo. Shockingly, they had the 100 round boxes of Winchester Super X available (7.99 I think). So, I picked up the 3 box maximum. Still, I think 7.99 for 100 is a little high. I really don’t want to pay more than 5-6 cents per round of 22.

        • That would be cool if there were a walmart closer than 70 minutes away from me. All us guys in rural areas have is the local hardware shop or online. I have 6 22 guns and haven’t been able to buy more than 500 rounds over the last 5 years because of hoarding.

      • And once again:

        I see tons of entries there below 10c/round that all show “in stock”.

        Seriously, guys, stop camping at Walmart like it’s Stone Age. We have computers these days, and they’re good at answering questions like “where can I get cheap .22 online right now“?

        • Once again, plus shipping. Which on ammo is not cheap and not good for people who live in apartments, condos, houses in bad ‘hoods, and the like.

  14. By the time 2008 rolled around and everyone woke up and started panic buying ammo, I bought none and still went to the range or trained whenever I felt like it. The writing had been on the out-house wall for damn near a decade before the 2008 crisis. I had been buying accordingly, in all calibers.

  15. I haven’t shot a 22 since I was a kid(and I’m over 60). I now have no plans to ever buy a marginally lethal gun. I don’t hunt,I don’t plink and my grandkids live in Maryland with their gun-hostile dad. But I sympathize with you guys. Good luck…

    • I’m sorry to hear about how sad your life is. No plinking? No hunting? No shooting with the grandchildren? No .22 lr?

      Those things are what 22’s are all about. Shoot cans with the grandkids. Then, take them out and shoot some squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons. Make sweet memories.

      • It ain’t that sad. I have to abide by my sons wishes for his kids. (and they live 700miles away). And I’m not a big fan of “outdoors” in my old age…way too much camping,tramping,biking,flea market selling and skin-cancer causing sun in my 60odd years. If a concerned TTAG reader(hint) sends me a 22 maybe I could be persuaded to plink and hunt LOL…

    • I don’t shoot it much but I do want to go rabbit hunting, and I’d rather not waste .223 on rabbits.

  16. Production might increase, but no corporation will intentionally manufacture to drive down prices. It goes against their corporate law of maximizing profit. So supply may increase, but the price won’t decrease until people stop buying the product.

  17. Cool, now the guys who show up at the stores at 5am with their buddies in tow and have an “in” with the manager will be able to fill their sheds and basements top to bottom a little more.

    Nothing like (artificial) supply and demand. Yeah it’s going somewhere but it sure as hell isn’t getting shot.

    The bottom will come when hoarders’ wives say, “Honey, we sold the kids’ beds and they’re sleeping on pallets of 22lr, all of our furniture has been replaced with stacks of “Choot ’em!”, you’ve had 4 sheds built for 22lr — one for Winchester, one for CCI, one did Remington and one for Federal , do we really need a 5th for Aguila?”

    • It’s at least partially the asshat flippers, who buy up all of Walmart’s stock so they can sell it at a gun show for $80 a brick.

      I am trying to build up my stock (in case it completely goes away) but I’m doing so a brick at a time, much, much less than once a month, and I’ll never spend more than .10 a round and that only for better brands (Thunderbolt not being a better brand).

  18. I’ve increased my .22LR and .22Short demand by 500% since 2012. manufacturers, KEEP UP!
    And no, $0.50 round ‘match’ ammo is not now nor has it ever been on my ‘list’. I will continue to purchase the ‘cheap stuff’ for plinking.

  19. Dont shoot 22LR, but it seems there is plenty available. Most online retailers have it and even Walmart had it in stock. The one thing that is still permanently on backorder is .22CB, which are handy when you want to pop something without making a sound. Used to keep a couple boxes of those around but havent seen it lately.

    • 5.56 or 7.62×39 for me. I have a few bricks of .22 stashed away … that I bought in 2013. I’ll tap into that supply for new shooters, but I’m not going to replenish my stash at 8-10 cents a round.

  20. After seeing the numbers (CCI 4 million a day and Federal 8 million a day) I wonder where all of Federal’s .22s are going because since March 2015 I’ve bought a heck of a lot more CCI MiniMags Then I’ve seen Federal on the shelves. The 550 bulk packs they package for Walmart hasn’t been available since the end of March and the Bulk 525 packs were scarce all of that time except for black Friday Dick’s Sporting Goods had a bunch but besides that I have seen next to none all last year.

    • Good point. I occasionally see CCI mini-mags available. Sometimes, I see other CCI rounds (like the subsonics). I pretty much never see the Federal bulkpacks anymore. Those were my favorite cheap .22 rounds. I like the mini-mags, but they are a little “upscale” for me. I also like the Blazer .22 round, although it is dirtier since it isn’t copper coated.

    • There are 4,500+ walmarts in the US. If each store wanted just 10 boxes of 22lr that would be 24 million rounds. That does not take into account every gun shop, every other retailer that sells 22lr. I would bet walmart is only a small fraction of where 22lr goes.

  21. I can find .22 in my area but the problem is that its all expensive “match grade” stuff that costs more than plinking .22

  22. I don’t have a rifle, but I would like to purchase one. I was thinking of a .22, but if the ammo is expensive and hard to get, what would be a better choice? Looking for something that my wife could use, too. Thanks.

    • I’d still recommend a .22 rifle. Marlin 795, Marlin 60, and Ruger 10/22 are all inexpensive and work well.

      I don’t know how much gun your wife would want to shoot. My wife won’t shoot anything bigger than a .22lr. On the other hand, we have female friends who enjoy shooting Mosin-Nagants and 12 gauge shotguns.

      You could go with a 9mm or .40 caliber carbine like the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 or Hi-Point 995. Those rounds are fairly inexpensive, available, and low recoil.

      You could also go with AR15, AK47, AK74, SKS, Mini-14/30, M1 Carbine. Those are mid-power cartridges (5.56, .223, 7.62X39, 5.45X39, .30 carbine). They kick a hair harder, but are still pretty mild, and the ammo is relatively inexpensive (except the .30 carbine).

      Your wife could probably also handle a lever action rifle in a pistol caliber cartridge, like .357 or .44 magnum.

      Still, for the new shooter, I’d recommend .22 long rifle as a first gun. My local gun store keeps a stash of .22 ammo specifically on hand to sell to people buying .22 firearms (at the normal, non-inflated ammo price). Find a store like that, and you can start out with at least 500 rounds of ammo or so.

      • Thanks. That is what I figured. My wife and I both shot .22s when we were kids and we just recently got a Mossberg 500 .12 gauge. It is a blast (literally and figuratively) and my wife handles it fine with low-recoil ammo. I just figured a .22 would be the natural thing to get next. Looking at the Marlin 795 with a scope.

        • It sounds like you guys are in good shape. Shooting clay pigeons with the 12 gauge is a lot of fun. The shotgun is also great for home defense, and for potential civil unrest situations. The 22 rifle is a lot of fun to plink with, and could be used for defensive purposes if you needed to. It is also great for pest control and small game hunting. I have both the Marlin 795 and Marlin 60. I love both of them. It just depends if you want the detachable magazines or the tube magazine. Personally, I prefer the tube fed for plinking and hunting. On the other hand, the detachable magazines give you a bit more firepower for potential defensive uses. The 795 tends to be a bit cheaper to buy, but then you need to buy some spare magazines to go with it.

          Scopes on .22’s are a lot of fun too. I have one scope (but 3 .22 rifles). The scope allows me to shoot small objects (like empty 12 gauge shell casings) out to maybe 40-50 yards.

  23. Riffing off what Big Jim said above about why they’re not expanding more quickly:

    Something that people don’t realize that is significantly different about .22 (and other rimfire) production is this: You have a Big Friggin’ Deal in the priming compound.

    See, with centerfire ammo, you can have the primers made “over there” in some other building. You have basically four sizes of primers (small pistol, large pistol, small rifle, large rifle) and you have one type of priming compound. Your primer cups might be a tad different from primer to primer (eg, match primers vs. normal primers vs. military primers), but the compound is the same, the production machinery is the same and through it all, you can isolate the primer issue. If you’re making centerfire ammo, and you don’t want to deal with the primer issue, you can simply buy primers from one of the several companies that make primers, stuff them into the brass you’re making or buying, meter in the powder, stuff a pill on top and wha-la, you’re making ammo.

    Not so with rimfire ammo. You have different priming compounds (eg, Eley vs. the normal plinking priming compounds) and you have to do your priming with much more complicated machines. You’ve got to get the priming compound down into the case, then spun out into the rim, then dried, then dump in a charge of powder and then crimp a pre-formed lead pill onto the case. You can’t outsource the primer issue to someone else, and you have to deal with large amounts of priming compound in your facility. This tends to make rimfire production lines to be something you don’t just locate in the local business park…

    • Thank you for helping educate people about .22 production. Excellent explanation. The more people understand basic production and economics, the better off everyone will be.

      I remember my Father-in-law, a great guy. When he went on vacation they toured manufacturing plants. He knew, understood, and appreciated the difficulty and almost magical ability of capitalism to produce incredible products at unbelievable low prices (when you consider what it would take to do it your self). He was a great guy and WWII vet, and he understood reality.

      Thanks for helping others understand it better.

      In response to Big Jim. The market can bottom because a lot of .22 ammo is being bought for stockpiling. A lot of prudent people want to have a couple of thousand .22 cartridges on hand. They can shoot from that stockpile if they wish.

      On the real estate issue, CCI is building a new facility, according to the article, and from a previous article, Aguila is expanding, but it is in Mexico, where it likely doe not have to fight the epa or local “not in my backyard” activists.

      Funny, to think the EPA has “leveled the playing field” with regulation vs rampant corruption in other countries.

  24. Okay it’s like this , between the two they manufacture 12 million rounds a day , 20% of that 12million is 2million 400,000 rounds per day , that is a little more than half of what CCI puts out a day , my thinking is if they could up production to what CCI puts out a day that is the 4 million a day , would help the market , plus make more in cash intake , with the way guns are being bought and the way the political climate is going let alone with the threat of illegal immigrant activity that is going on in Europe , and these same type immigrants fixing to be imported here , the market will be busy for a long time ! Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry !

  25. buy a .177 or .22 pellet rifle. Effective for small game and pest control and great training aid. Pellets are cheap and plentiful.

    You can legally hunt wild turkeys here in CA with a pellet rifle.

  26. Vista Outdoors is a publicly traded company, just in case you find Ruger or Smith & Wesson stock too expensive. They also own Savage Arms.

    The only ammo I purposefully stocked up on is Soviet surplus 7.62 x 54R that used to come out the Ukraine. Apparently they are keeping it “in-house” to shoot at their neighbor.

    That has doubled in price in a pretty short period of time….

    • That’s true. The cheap spam cans of surplus 7.62X54R are not currently available. I recently jumped at the chance to buy one (at old price) from my local gun store.

  27. “Call of Duty” shooting? Indeed?

    Nothing abnormal with a 50 round box each for rifle and pistol on an afternoon at the range. However, you have that for three people and now your shooting 300 rounds. For us its a family activity, not video game or zombie inspired ammo dumping.

    My son is also talking about an interest in competitive shooting if the club adds a .22 pistol league, so it’s only going to get worse for us.

  28. Good Freaking God! Just have Federal raise the price on 22 ammo a couple pennies to their wholesalers and distributors. It will still fly off the shelves and disappear from online stores in seconds. CCI can be priced at 15 cents a bullet wholesale and it would still sell out. We couldn’t get 223/556 for our AR-15’s so we had to go to 22 for the lower cost and availability. Then everyone realized how much more cheaper and fun it is to buy AR-15 style 22’s, handgun 22’s, rifle 22’s. New gun enthusiasts usually buy their first gun as a 22. Then it became hard to find too. Just raise the price of ammo to build new plants, right? Something else is going on. We all know Obama and wrecking crew are using federal agencies to intimidate, punish, threaten, delay new plant openings. They did it to the Missouri lead smelting plant and many coal plants. Isn’t rocket science to figure out Democrats are using backdoor unconstitutional avenues to restrict ammo.

    • That is ridiculously overpriced $0.15 of pearl round hotel At $0.10 per pound retail right now they’re more than doubling their profit Let me guess you work for one of the ammo manufacturers? LOL

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