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22 Stingers at WalMart Yuma 3 July 2016

A little more than a week ago, I was in my local Yuma, Arizona Walmart. I was surprised to find 2300 rounds of CCI Mini-mag .22 Long Rifle cartridges and 1,000 rounds of Standard Velocity CCI .22 Long Rifle cartridges for sale. The clerk told me that it was unusual, but they saw .22 come in about once a month. She said it would be gone quickly. I hadn’t seen .22 ammunition in the store for three years. She offered it appeared to be coming in a little more quickly lately.

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallI stopped in again Sunday. As is my custom, I stopped by the ammunition department to see what was there. I seldom buy anything. I have enough .22 to last me and to pass on to my children. I was amazed to see more .22 Long Rifle ammunition on the shelf. This was only nine days since the last appearance, after three years!

Today’s offering was 1900 rounds of CCI Stinger, in 50 round boxes. It’s premium .22 Long Rifle ammunition, and has always been pricey. The price was $6.47 for a box of 50, or a little under 13 cents a round. They also had CCI .22 Maxi-Mag, .22 magnum rimfire cartridges, for $13.47 a box of 50, or nearly 27 cents a cartridge. It’s as been scarce, but not as bad as the .22 Long Rifle.

The clerk, Brittany, was very helpful. She said the .22 Long Rifle would be gone by tonight. She said it was still there because it was a Sunday. Still, two sightings of .22 ammunition in the local WalMart after three years of none, seems a bit more than coincidental.

Does this mean the .22 ammunition bubble is deflating?  It is too early to be sure.

Industry insiders at the Shot Show in Las Vegas in January told me they were increasing production to meet the long term increased demand. Aguila said that they were increasing production about 30%. Industry sources assured me that CCI/Federal were increasing their production by 20%. Those increases should be coming on line about now. The combined increases would be about 1.2 billion more rounds each year, an increase of 20% of total market production.

That should have an effect.  Maybe it is.

Every time it appears that production has started to meet demand, the Obama administration pushes for another infringement on the Second Amendment. Then demand spikes. Hillary, as a candidate, has been the most hostile to Second Amendment rights, ever. The House Democrats demand more infringements, without due process or any Constitutional protections.

All of these things spike demand, as do mass shootings in the news. I would love to see the .22 bubble deflate.  There have been several times that I thought it would, only to see political tantrums by Democrats re-inflate it. Maybe this time will be different. I think it more likely we will have to wait until after November and the 2016 elections.

Meanwhile, how’s the .22 where you are?

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. havn’t had a shortage. I was stocked up before hand. and about a year and a half ago I started seeing not only more .22 ammo, but more kinds. I think the industry is doing a pretty gopd job keeping up with demand

  2. I noticed something similar.
    Some online sellers look like they’re pushing the more expensive .22LR – having a “sale” on them.
    Think they’re trying to unload the high priced stuff anticipating low/normal priced stuff becoming available in the near future.
    I never did hoard – I just reduced the number of rounds per outing I shot.
    Hope to see 4 cent good .22LR sometime soon – and then I will wake up.

  3. I would just like to have a steady supply of .22 Long. It is so much fun out of my Henry level action. Nice and quiet.

  4. I have a couple thousand .22s. With the way things have been looking this election cycle, I’ve found it more prudent to increase my .308 inventory. I may find it more useful.

  5. I don’t really look for.22 anymore, I’ve somehow managed to accumulate 18 to 20 thousand rounds and that will hold me for a few years. None of it was more than .08 a round and all was bought locally. You just have to keep your eyes open and don’t hesitate to buy when you find it.

  6. It’s been popping up online at Cabelas and Gander Mountain quite a bit lately, although the prices are always a bit inflated unless you wait for free shipping and discount codes. I generally buy discounted gift cards for cabelas 300 bucks at a time (20% off from Cabelas authorized gift card resellers on ebay), use the clickthrough site, for 5-10% cashback, and stack promotion codes. I tend to pay about .05-.055/per round for bulk .22 ammo once you count all the discounts.
    If I order ten bricks, I sell for .065-.07/round to the guys I work with. They’re happy since they’re not technically inclined and still can’t find it locally under .09/round, and I’m happy because I just got a free brick to plink with.

    Honestly I think that’s the best solution these days. You can find local guy shops who charge more and have it in stock, but you can’t ever find it on the shelves at big box stores anymore.

  7. Let’s look at the math. Choose any caliber but for this let’s use a basic .22LR round (say Winchester Wildcats). Conservatively speaking let’s say there are 10,000 retailers (Wal-Mart, Dicks, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Mom and Dad sporting good stores) across the US. Each store carries 300 rounds for 50 customers in a given month. That’s 1.8 billion rounds of ammunition just to stock the shelves. 300 rounds for 50 customer is not a lot of ammo depending on the caliber (9mm, .22LR, 5.56/.223, .45ACP whatever). I think there are going to have to double if not triple production for the next few years.

  8. Some in Academy but only limited supplies and certainly not what I’m looking for. It’s still not on the shelf around here.

  9. .22 is the caliber I shoot least and I don’t have the opportunity to go to the range often. The 2,500 rounds I bought two months before Newtown have lasted me a good long while. Typical marked up north-east prices rule the day here. I have not seen a 500 round brick for under $25 in years. One particularly notorious shop had those 333 round boxes for $40.

  10. Been seeing it more often over the last three months than the last couple years. Seems like about 50-60% of the time I’m in a gun shop, they have some in stock. Mostly 50rd or 100rd boxes, but I just saw a stack of bulk packs 2 weeks ago for the first time in 18 months. Prices are still inflated– 0.07 to 0.11 a round, but not the sort of exrreme gouging prices that you would see in 2014.

  11. I gave up 22 long ago for 9mm. 9mm is the new 22. I cast my own bullets for free (I got some 200lbs of wheel weights for free at the tire shop), powder coat them (the bullets), and shoot them out of once fired brass obtained from “governmentliquidation” These are military brass shoveled up from the base – guaranteed once fired. There is that extra step of cutting or swaging the military crimp, but other than that – it’s all good.

    22 sucks. I am off the 22 teat.

    • While I admire your industriousness, your 9 mm is hardly free. As a reloader myself, i know all the time it takes to reload and I don’t cast my own bullets. For me, time is very scarce, so I’d rather pay the $11.00 or so it costs for a box of 9 than go through all the steps you described.

      As for .22′ it’s been fairly plentiful up here in New Hampshire for more than a year. It’s rare to walk into a LGS and not find it on the shelves. Don’t recall what I paid the last time but while it’s more expensive than it used to be, it’s still cheaper than any other caliber to shoot.

      • This is of course a correct assessment. Instead of the consumption of money, the consumption of time is employed. There is one benefit however, the stores may dry up of 22lr, but my garage doesn’t really dry up of 9mm.

  12. Wal mart is usually out of stock but the LGS is smart enough to order truckloads when it’s available

  13. .22 yes, got. At the evil “we hide ARs to not offend people cause we’re run by stupid (D)heads in NY” A-cad-oh-me sports and outdoorsy stuff here in OK.

    Got other ammo too.

    Lacking understanding of the FBI’s stance on Hillary. Do they want to go down with her?

    I’d say Petraeus now deserves a huge hall pass, but we’ve recently determined that he’s a (D)-liberate gun grabber POS.

    • Same situation here. For a while, there was none to be had. Then there was the occasional find, and I’d buy whatever the store’s limit was, just in case I never saw any again. Now, it’s certainly not back to the full shelves of before the panic, but it’s common enough around here that I only buy to replenish what I shoot, or if it happens to be a particular brand or type that I’m looking for. At the local Cabela’s, it’s become more noteworthy when they don’t have any in stock than when they do, a reversal I’m happy to see.

  14. All my .22 ammo ended up at the bottom of that lake. Ha. I usually buy bulk at gun shows. Plus, my son works at a sporting goods store. He gets a discount and I get to restock until the next boating accident.

  15. I’ve seen it come down a bit. I paid 18 per 325 Federal Automatch at a local store, and next week found Remington thunderbolts for 20 per box of 500. I’m a regular at my lgs and he shoots me a text when he has some come in and offers to set some aside, and his price is always reasonable.

  16. I’ve been buying a bit here and there when I see it for $0.07/round or less and haven’t had any fear of running out by keeping roughly 3,000 rounds on hand at a time.

    However, now that I’ve got my SO shooting with me regularly we go through 22LR much faster than when it was just me and the kid. I guess now I’d be willing to pay as much as $0.08/round heh.

  17. It’s never been completely gone in Eastern NC, but up until recently you’d be hard pressed to see anything over a box of 50. Forget Wally-World around here (for .22 at least, they’ve had a decent supply of 9 and .223). Some of the other BB sporting good stores (Dicks, Dunhams) don’t have much more than 100 count Remington golden bullets. For a while the best I was seeing was Federal milk cartons for .07/round. Now I’m seeing more proper bricks and buckets on sale (at LGS), however the best you can do is in the 7-9 cent range. Personally, I never have enough of anything, however I do make a habit out of buying at least one box of something every time I see it at a decent price. That and the occasional bulk purchase has me enough ammo for a few different calibers to last for about 2 years or so, as I figure it.

    • Also in ENC.

      “It’s never been completely gone in Eastern NC, but up until recently you’d be hard pressed to see anything over a box of 50.”

      Can you define recently?

      LGS’s and small shops that sell ammo tend toward 50 rnd boxes. But –

      I’ve been seeing bricks at the gun shows consistently for years. The price varies from show to show, even from one vendor.

      Except for one brick of Thunderbolt I bought with a new gun purchase, I buy higher end .22 LR ammo exclusively. The highest I’ve seen even the good stuff is $0.10 per round, but it has come down. Last brick I got was $40.

      But, then I’ll go to a show and see Thunderbolt for $75 a brick of 500 and just shake my head. Wild.

      • I’d say maybe since last year. My experience with LGS seems to have been opposite of what you’ve seen: the big boxes are kind of a crap shoot in what they offer (quality, quantity) but basically Wal-Mart has nothing, Dicks has 100rd Remington and Dunham’s has 50 rd Aguila all day long; however (within the last several months) I see tons of Thunderbolt bricks ($34 at Dicks, but this was in my hometown, Charlotte), mini-mags, Bucket-o-Bullets etc at LGS. Some prices are better than others and based on what you see, it still may make more sense just to hit gunbot and order. It seemed to me that up until the 2nd half of 2015, all you’d really see floating around retail were 50 and 100 rd boxes. Overton’s (Gander Mtn.) seems to now consistently (since beginning of year) stock Federal milk cartons (325 rd) at about $21-22 per box, however you can only buy one (1!). So that’s what I got going on in my NOTW (Greenville, don’t mind saying).

        • “my NOTW (Greenville, don’t mind saying)”

          We are close. I’m in Craven.

          I think our observations for the retailers are actually similar. Only place I’ve seen bricks consistently is the vendors at S&D Gun Shows.

          I generally don’t even shop for it except at the shows, so I don’t know if the local retailers here are carrying bricks. I ‘hear through the grapevine’ from time to time who has what.

          Recently at the shows, some vendors are not even putting a quantity restriction on bricks. One even asked me “that all you want?” when I only got one brick, and that was the $40 for (Federal I believe) match. That was a couple of months ago.

          But that $75 for 500 Thunderbolt was not that long ago, either, and I can’t get THAT out of my head. That was the cheapest brick that day, too. Very weird.

        • If your situation was anything like mine, that $75 brick was something bought from a Walmart as it came off the stocking cart, by someone who makes a living hitting the walmarts as they open. Then they double or triple the price on it to put it out there at a gun show.

          Since they do that ceaselessly, they’re creating the very shortage they are exploiting. Now it can be argued that as long as someone is actually desperate enough to pay that much for a brick of .22 they’re just correcting a market failure (Walmart persisting in underpricing the ammo), but that doesn’t mean I’m going to like it, or ever give the jerk any business whatsoever once I’ve caught him doing that.

        • S & D seems to stay pretty fair. When we went to Dixie in Raleigh, everything was full blown retail and then some. I’m not as concerned with shooting the higher quality stuff, the 10/22 runs all day and the Savage 64 does fine with the cheap stuff as long as it is clean. I tend to shoot .22 when I’m brushing up on the fundamentals or just a fun day of plinking with the wife. Hell, I don’t know if I shoot any top shelf stuff, dirtier the better!

        • Steve, No doubt you are correct about the source of the $75 brick of cheap stuff. My only confusion on it arose (at the time) since previous to that and since, the GOOD stuff was far cheaper.

          It was like a weird “bubble” of gouging. For over a year, match.22 LR was in the $50 / brick range, then out of nowhere comes this ONE weekend where Rem TB was $75+.

          I tend to the match grade so my children get better “feedback” on their shooting. I want them to know they are doing things “right” by getting tight groups and hitting what they are aiming at, and knowing they did something wrong when they “miss” vs getting an ‘accidental’ hit because the groups are 10″ at 50 yards.

          While I am also a firm believer in plinking (and plinking ammo), I believe ‘good training requires good ammo.’ My children are at the stage where they need real feedback to continue to improve. We handle ‘plinking’ with a bb or pellet gun most of the time.

          (We burn our share of .22 LR plinking ammo, too…when we have it; I remember the days of going through an entire brick or more of .22 and not giving it a second though cost-wise).

  18. In southeastern MA, “premium” .22LR is readily available if not abundant. Availability of plinking ammo is spotty, which is way better than it’s been since 2012 when this nonsense started.

    I’m able to snag a brick or two every other trip to my local Bass Pro, which is just a few miles up the road. I haven’t tried Dick’s, which is in walking distance. It’s next on my list. My LGS is 50 miles away, but he has enough .22LR to go around.

  19. My local Walmart gave up on 22LR shelf spaces and just started placing other ammo there instead. But the 3 box limit sign for 22 is still there “just in case.”

  20. I have kinda given up on it in my area. I can shoot 9mm for about 5 cents more and it is a lot more fun to do.

  21. Haven’t seen anything but overpriced target ammo in years. Shipping costs for online purchases put plinking ammo into the same price range as the overpriced target ammo.

    • Your not looking at the right websites. you can get it shipped depending on the brand for .between 0.07 to 0.08/rd.

  22. I’ve seen *some* around, but not at prices I’m willing to pay. Solid lead 40gr for 8 to 10 cents a round and bulk copper washed (I refuse to call that “plated”) for 12 and up.

  23. I know of a Walmart that had several 1400 round buckets in stock (wish they’d go to 1500, even if they have to raise the price by 1/14th); the guy was willing to sell me more than one bucket, even. (This was two or three weeks ago.) I passed, as I was buying a different caliber like crazy that day. Other walmarts here had no sign of 22 existing. I’m able to find it off the shelf *somewhere* if I look hard enough.

  24. A couple of ammo cans full, but I keep my eye out for it and when it’s available at a decent price I pick some up.

  25. This week saw more stocked at Dicks’ then have in 3 yrs. Remington, federal, Winchester and cci, 300, 500 and 525 packs fillings whole shelves, it was amazing to see. It seems.. 22 is really starting to come back or at least have an increase in production. That ammo has been lasting for days now.

  26. Haven’t really looked since I stumbled upon 3 buckets of Golden Bullets last year at $70/bucket. I thought it was a pretty decent deal at the time, and it’s certainly been enough to tide me over. Yes, they aren’t nearly as accurate as CCI/Federal/AE (at least in my rifle), but it’s certainly good enough for plinking. If only I didn’t look like the tin man every time I got done loading them in the gun…

  27. IA here – .10/rd minimum though it is available. at .07/rd I would consider buying it but with tax it easily gets pushed to .11/.12 cents a round.

  28. I’ve got a pile, but there’s always room for more. Palmetto State had a sale on Federal AutoMatch at $25.99 for 325. Free shipping on orders of 4+ boxes. Just a hair under .08/round shipped.

    I bought 10.

    I just bought over THREE THOUSAND ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION through the mail with no background check. Be still my heart.

  29. .22 is around, most times you have to ask the clerk. Its there, and there going to sell it, but keep it near the counter

  30. My local WalMart in Denver had several boxes of the Stinger at $6.47. I buy 350-600 ct boxes when I find them at a decent price, which happens a few times a year, so I passed. Got some 147gr JHP 9mm for my Hi Point carbine, and some 38 sp +p for my Model 10.

  31. Here in Albany, NY, I can’t find jack for .22. We can’t order online here due to the unSAFE Act, so the only options are to buy at the really inflated prices at the LGS (most of those won’t sell .22 unless you buy a compatible firearm at the same time), wait for wally world to get their yearly shipment of 3 boxes, or to physically go out of state to buy.

  32. I just completed an inventory of ammo I have.
    Over 30,000 rounds consisting of…
    .38 special
    12ga 00
    12ga slugs

    Of all the totals the 22lr counts for over 17,000 of the total rounds.
    I was buying bulk years ago.

  33. Still none to be found in my area. I have a Winchester white box of .22 that a friend gave me for Christmas, and I’ve yet to shoot it because I don’t know if/when I’ll find more. I mean, I also don’t yet have a gun that shoots .22 [I borrow my uncle’s old Mark II], but that’s neither here nor there.

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