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Vista Outdoors opened their new rimfire production facility in Lewiston, Idaho last week. The facility covers 37,000 square feet. Vista Oudoors owns the CCI and Federal ammunition brands and are major suppliers of .22 rimfire ammunition for the US market.

The CCI facility in Lewiston, Idaho has been running almost non-stop to meet demand in the United States for the last four years. It producing about four million .22 rimfire rounds a day.

To meed the increased structural demand for .22 rimfire, Vista Outdoors made the decision to increase and improve their rimfire production. The new plant automates the production to modern standards.

From the Lewiston Tribune:

The latest addition provides room for a variety of proprietary equipment used to make .22-caliber rimfire ammunition.

Much of the equipment was designed by company engineers, in cooperation with outside vendors. The focus, Mackleit said, is on “continuous flow” – starting out with raw material and moving through to the finished product in a sequence of steps without building any pockets of inventory along the way.

The result, he said, has been a substantial and “very satisfying” reduction in the time needed to complete an order.

This 10 minute video of how .22 ammunition is made at CCI was made a few years ago by 22Plinkster. It shows how the old process produced .22 ammunition. I recommend it to see how high quality .22 rimfire ammunition is made on an industrial scale.

The priming segment particularly interesting. It was still done partly by hand, likely for safety reasons.

The price and availability of .22 rimfire ammunition has been steadily improving in recent years. Production is gradually meeting pent up demand from the great ammo rush of 2013. The new CCI plant would appear to speed that process along.

The CCI plant can be seen as work by Vista Outdoors to keep its share of the competitive rimfire business. It has brand recognition, an excellent reputation, and is the major player in the market. The new process and capacity should keep them very competitive.

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

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    • Out in SW Montana is the same. Prices are high still (we’ll likely never see them fall back to what they used to pre-buying frenzy) but at least you can find it. Some places still have limits on how much they’ll allow you to buy

  1. I have actually seen boxes on the shelf in my Wally for over a month, that’s a record, at least for the last 6-8 years it has been dry as a bone.

    • I was going to say the same, i.e. I recently saw about 15-20 CCI 100 rd boxes at my nearest Walmart. I live by 3 of them and this is only the second or third time I’ve seen it on the shelf in the last 8 years.

  2. I can find most .22LR for .06 cents per round locally around Louisville, KY. Increased production anywhere is a good thing. What I need is .22WMR that isn’t .0.26/per round as I shoot a Kel-Tec PMR and CMR 30 that are just so much fun.

  3. I sure hope this helps drive prices down to no more than 5 cents per round in bulk for decent copper plated round nosed cartridges. If prices get back to 4 cents per round, I will be buying a LOT of .22 LR.

    Any word whether they will produce .22 WMR and get those prices down to a sane level? I refuse to pay 30 cents per round for .22 WMR … especially when I can purchase 1,000 round boxes of .223 centerfire for about 25 cents per round.

  4. Grew up in Clarkston Washington, across the river from Lewiston Idaho. Watched the Speer brothers grow from early beginnings to a very large bullet ammo and component (including primers) manufacturer and supplier of shooting equipment including rcbs reloaders. Ex wife worked at OMARK as a setup person for the machines. I worked in a hospital and took care of on the job injuries related to working in that and other industries in the area. I wish them well and hope they continue to succeed. Always liked the products and could rely on them and on the employees to measure up. The military was contracting for large volumes of output.

    • I also grew up and still live in Clarkston. I am still amazed that we can’t easily buy products manufactured so close. Seems like I always have trouble with the Remington 22. Would much rather buy CCI or Federal, but still pretty hard to find in anything but 50 round packs. Hopefully this expansion makes it a little more accessible.

  5. Good news. Thanks for the video. I wish they had a bit more on how the semi-solid primer pellet gets spun out into the rim. I shoot about 9 different types of .22LR, but the CCI MiniMag 0030 is my universal round that works great in all situations and is not too expensive.

    There is also a newer Winch. SuperX XHV (extreme high velocity) that is excellent with considerably more muzzle vel. and energy at about the same price. The Winch bullets are a bit more beat-up compared to CCI, but seem to fly true nonetheless.

  6. Yay, more .22 LR! The. 22 LR, 9mm, and .223 /5.56 are bang per buck value leaders. I see a Henry pump .22 LR in my future.

    • You mentioned CB caps for the Henry earlier today, there is another option –

      Home-brew your own ..22 rimfire reloads.

      Take a look at this vid, he re-primers them, molds new bullets with the supplied .22 lr bullet mold, the whole 9 yards.

      This could be real handy to have around:

      • Geoff, egads! I see the usefulness if the SHTF, but it looks like at least 5 minutes. Per round.

        I know, I know – it’s all by hand and basically from scratch, but good golly who the eff has that much free time? And if you’re that broke, can you really afford ~$73 dollars on Amazon? Let alone matches, acetone, and powder?

        • Yeah, I know. Saw it earlier today, and this was .22lr article, so I’m just putting it out there.

          Hey, the concept looked interesting…

          Hey, TTAG – would you consider reviewing it, for the grins?

      • Very cool, but I barely have time to fiddle with my Hornady LnL Progressive press. I work 55-80 hours a week between weekend graveyards in the LA area, various arrest report review / supervision, and going to court appearances. The good news is that I’ve helped put away some very bad people. The bad news is that I don’t have much time.

        • Update: the second version of the video shows how much the reloaded .22 LR sucks. He’s getting around 835 FPS with the 40 grain ammo, and it isn’t very reliable.

  7. Now that they’re a major employer in his district, CCI needs to get Rep. Labrador to introduce NFA repeal so we can shoot it at a reasonable rate.

    • CCI Minimag, favorite round! Probably have 4,000
      rounds and another 1;000 of other brands.
      Accumulated that amount over the years.

      When I shoot 100 rounds, buy 100 rounds replacement. Have a Ruger SR pistol and LCR 22lr.

      Thrilled to know of a new plant manufacturing plant
      producting them. That is huge for fans of .22lr

    • My local WalMart in commie kalifornia will likely quit selling ammo. Not worth the effort with all the controls coming down.

  8. I’ve had CCI in stock in Bama for awhile but prices are still blah to me but not as bad as other areas, I bought 1000 rounds of Velocitor about 3 months ago and had serious issues, talked to CCI they said check primer strikes depth, nope no problem there, I was getting 300fps SD and this was with a multitude of of rifles/pistols. Went to the Academy available blazer 22s and automatch and haven’t looked back

  9. It took them this long to try meet demand by growing their facilities and modernizing… better late than never I guess, but it’s a wonder they didn’t get put out of business by someone more aggressive.

    • Piper,

      Admanter’s reply below answers your question. For reference here is what Admanter said,

      Bet that the companies were waiting to see if demand remained stable and high (rather than frenzy followed by lull) before sinking the major capital into upping production.

    • “…better late than never I guess, but it’s a wonder they didn’t get put out of business by someone more aggressive.”

      I don’t believe there is any .22lr production tooling just sitting on a warehouse shelf anywhere waiting for someone to buy it.

      They spent some *serious* money setting up that new line. I can easily see the ROI on something like that taking 20+ years.

      This is good news for us. They didn’t put their money on the line unless they were *confident* the market was there, or would soon be there. This is evidence shooting is getting more popular and not a dying thing, as the Leftists would like us to believe…

  10. It would be great if CCI would get into making match grade ammo, so we had a U.S. competitor to Eley, Lapua, and RWS.

    • I was wondering that myself.

      It’s a perfect opportunity for them to roll up all their extensive collective.22lr manufacturing knowledge and put it into practice in one go.

      How many times have they looked at their machine and said to themselves – “It sure would be nice if this machine did *this* instead of what it’s currently doing…”

  11. Walmart in Holly Springs NC has 550 round brick for $23 and change. First time I have seen it under $25 per 500 in 4 years. I miss the $8 per brick.
    380s for under $10 per 50.
    Times are getting better

  12. Very glad to see. Anything that ups overall production is excellent. Apparently rimfire production is extremely specific and can’t be swapped back and forth with centerfire. Bet that the companies were waiting to see if demand remained stable and high (rather than frenzy followed by lull) before sinking the major capital into upping production. Hope they produce a LOT of Federal, which is my favorite brand overal.

  13. I read elsewhere that the 22 ammunition line can also swirch back and forth to the blanks industrial power drive tools use like Ramset (.27 cal).

    • “I read elsewhere that the 22 ammunition line can also swirch back and forth to the blanks industrial power drive tools use like Ramset (.27 cal).”

      I can believe it, I’ve seen YouTube videos of improvised .22 ammo using those blanks firing an air rifle pellet.

      I vaguely recall using one of those driver tools years back and the headstamp was Remington or Winchester – one of the major .22lr ammo brands…

  14. Just happened to be in Academy Sports this evening while waiting for my wife who was at a church meeting. Plenty of CCI stingers on the shelf so I picked up 500 rounds. They were a bit pricey at just under eight cents a round but I was so happy to see an old friend that I didn’t think too much about money. It’s a good thing to be an old friend of mine. I also bought 100 rds of CCI .22 mag. Expensive at .24 a round but I have an old Charter Arms Pathfinder that loves those CCI rounds. Tonight was the first time I’d seen .22 mag in our Academy in a couple of years. I’m laying in a stock of both .22 LR and .22 mag. I’ve got plenty of the cheap stuff for plinking and trading so now it’s time to buy the good stuff in ammo (and adult beverages.)

  15. .Gov must be laying off the .22 ammo purchases. Apparently, for several years, Obama quietly bought up and had the entirety of our country’s supply of .22 dumped in Mel Water’s Hole out in Washington State near Manastash Ridge. Maybe Trump shut this nonsense down and us normal peons can buy .22 again.

    By the way, I change locations often after exposing info such as this online.

    • Down With Yoga Pants,

      Rather than a government program to remove .22 LR from the marketplace, I believe a LOT of people were purchasing a LOT more .22 LR ammunition than normal.

      I’ll put it this way:

      Prior to the Great Ammo Draught (which started full-swing in January, 2013), the only .22 LR ammo that I had purchased in the previous 25 years was a single 500 round brick 25 years ago. Somehow that was enough and I had never used it up. Thus, prior to the drought, I was purchasing roughly 20 rounds of .22 LR per year. And that was probably fairly typical of most people.

      When .22 LR disappeared from store shelves and did not appear to be coming back, I began a quest to acquire a stock of .22 LR that would last me for a LONG time, just in case. (In case of what, I did not know.) On the infrequent occasions that I found a bulk pack, I bought it just like a LOT of other people. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I ended up purchasing something like 1,000 rounds per year.

      Thus, my personal demand for .22 LR increased by a factor of 50 … as did a LOT of other people. Throw in the fact that a lot of new shooters have apparently joined the sport and you can see why manufacturers could not keep up.

      You can also see that my new demand is not a permanent demand level. Rather, it was a temporary response to low supply. Once I got a decent supply of .22 LR, I stopped buying it just like a LOT of other people. Ammunition manufacturers were well aware of the market dynamics and that is why they did not drop everything to invest 10s of millions of dollars for more .22 LR production capacity. They knew that demand would tail off to some extent at some point.

      I believe that explains the situation quite nicely without having to accuse government of nefarious activity. Don’t get me wrong, I am confident that government agencies are involved in nefarious activity … just not in this case.

      • Yeah, but my version is a lot more interesting.

        And I get to move around. A lot. And only use internet very quickly outside of coffee shops on my anonymous laptop. Out of the view of the cameras. And so on and so forth.

      • ” They knew that demand would tail off to some extent at some point.”

        Extra production can spur even more demand.

        Now that it’s showing up in quantity locally, that may convince some folks to buy guns and shoot more than they had during the drought.

        It may convince other companies to open new production lines, investing in automation to drive their costs per round down, and their profits *up* even more…

  16. I wonder how the commie kalifonia ammo control (ban) Jan 01 will effect sales country wide? Drive up prices? Create a shortage again? Well, maybe not nation wide, but sure as hell will hurt us suffering in this cesspool. Yup, the criminals and nut jobs WILL CARE LESS.

  17. Now if ATK/CCI/FEDERAL would get back to making the Gold Metal Match with the dimple, I could win some rimfire matches again.


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