Nova Scotia Ammo Shortage America’s Fault?


While in school, I took a class comparing Canadian and American law. The tutorial featured a webconference with a companion class in British Colombia, so we actually interacted with the Canadian students. The professor alternated his presence between the two classes. On the first day of class, the professor asked everyone what it meant to be a Canadian or an American (as the case may be). The American students hit on the themes you’d expect . . .

Freedom, liberty, rights, choices, justice…like that. The Canadian students hit on similar themes, but with the addition of a very distinct one: “not American.” Alas, that last bit has come to haunt Canada’s gun owners – their freedoms are more restricted than ours, and worse, it seems that the increased American demand for all things related to firearms in recent years is drying up supplies in , too.

American gun owners who have been hoarding ammunition are creating shortages in parts of Nova Scotia.

“They’re (distributors) saying that the rifle ammo is going to get worse this year instead of better,” said David MacKay, of MacKay’s Wild Outdoors Adventures on Willow Street.

“It wasn’t too bad last year but by mid-fall, like mid-season, it was getting hard to get even the common calibres,” he said.

MacKay said the shortages have been getting worse over the past year-and-a-half following school shootings in the U.S. that prompted fears that the Obama government was going to initiate a card system similar to Canada that gun owners would require when purchasing ammunition.

“Ever since, the Americans have been stockpiling to beat the band,” he said, adding that the Canadian gun market does not produce enough demand to make it a strong player for purchasing ammunition….

Inquiries about purchasing .22 caliber shells and other ammo at the Canadian Tire and Walmart stores in Truro proved fruitless, with none available at either location.

The same situation applies to both New Glasgow and Amherst, based on the number of customers who have been coming to MacKay’s shop of late from those areas.

“Right now it’s just hit and miss,” he said, of his ability to acquire some ammo such as .22 shells and for some other higher calibre rifles.

“I ordered 220,000 rounds one morning and I got 50(000), from them. That was one company, the other two I never got nothing from them yet,” he said.

Of the 50,000 rounds of .22 shells that came in less that two weeks ago, MacKay said he has less than half remaining.

“Under normal conditions you wouldn’t see it going out of here that fast, it’s just that nobody’s got anything, right.”

Now if you’re a typical American like me, I know you’re thinking two things upon reading that excerpt:

(1) Wait a minute, this guy has 25,000 rounds of .22LR available for sale? Right now??!?

(2) You can buy ammo in tire shops in Canada?

On the first point: forget it. By the time you drove the truck all the way to Truro, Nova Scotia, the rest of it would probably be gone anyway, so just chill.

As for the second: yes, apparently Canadian Tire is a big-box retailer that sells lots of stuff.

While I’ve noticed that it isn’t exactly all sunshine and strawberries when it comes to retail ammunition supplies in our neck of the woods either, availability is much better than it was a year ago. So if you’ll be engaging in the sports this weekend, enjoy yourself, but think of our friends to the north, too.


  1. avatar John L. says:


    Three thoughts as I read this.

    One: glad I just bought my first reloading press. (Hornady L’n’L Classic Deluxe kit plus dies and shell holders for .38 Special and .45 AP)

    Two: well, try some unusual calibers … generally lower demand.

    Three: you get what you paid for, political system wise, I suppose. While I’m sorry they’re having difficulties, I’m having a hard time feeling sympathetic, if you follow my distinction.

    1. avatar WRH says:

      Keep in mind that many of the younger generation of gun owners in Canada were not old enough to vote when Our Rights Were Robbed.

      1. avatar Kellen says:

        Well then take your country back.

        1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

          umm, we ‘mericans need to set a example and take ours back first. CA, NY, DC are good places to start.

        2. avatar WRH says:

          That is an exceedingly difficult thing to do when we don’t have the RKBA written into our laws like y’all. For now we are content to take small victories, such as they are. One day I hope to see our efforts to dismantle the byzantine Firearms Act succeed. I just hope it isn’t replaced with something even more onerous.

    2. avatar scoutino says:

      Congratulations and welcome to the reloading bunch.
      Now good luck finding some pistol powder.

  2. avatar George says:

    WAIT! I thought the US was responsible for smuggling guns to Canada. Now we’re responsible not only for too many guns in Canada but not enough ammunition?

    My brain hurts now.

    1. avatar John L. says:

      Repeat after me: it’s all America’s fault. No matter what the problem is. It’s all America’s fault.

      1. avatar Tom says:

        Isn’t that what the mighty O wants us to believe?

      2. avatar SouthernPatriot says:

        Isn’t that generally the Democrat playbook, with specific members of the party as front men/women proclaiming the mantra whenever and where ever possible?

      3. avatar B says:

        Its tough to “fundamentally change” a country whose mantra is we are the most awesome country to ever exist. That’s why Progs attack basic American values at every chance they get. Every little cut weakens us, until eventually America bleeds out and Americans say “fine.” At least thats the theory.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    A couple of years ago, I would have said that the two main differences between Americans in the US and Canadians is that we have guns and they have frostbite.

    After the last two months in New England, I’m beginning to think that those differences are beginning to disappear.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      How high is the snow in Mass, Ralph?

      Looks like another Snowzilla heading your way.

      Like Floridians, I’m sure you’re stocked up with emergency supplies.

      Hootch and mixers by the case. And cigars.

      Cigar smoke keeps the after-hurricane mosquitoes at bay… And annoying children away.

    2. avatar Roscoe says:

      Nah, New Englanders have just become complacent by some moderate winter seasons.

      I lived in CT as a teen throughout the 60’s with some cold heavy snow years, and it’s beyond me what all the ruckus is about…other than the media huffing and puffing up the news and giving comfort to the climate change industrial complex.

      I’ve seen this level of snow, slush, crusted snow, more snow, huge snow drifts up the side of two story houses, caved in roofs and mountains created by snow plows before.

      It’s not really news except to those who have never lived through that type of New England weather or who suffer from memory loss; that’s the main reason I now live in San Diego. If I wanna see snow these days, I can drive up to Mt. Laguna after a winter storm and then leave it all behind at the end of the day.

      And despite CA being overly restrictive gun wise, from what I’ve been seeing, we’re much better off than the southern New England states.

      Of course, LA, Frisco, and Sack-o-tomatoes Dems being what they are, that could change at any time too!

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        Did Obumer and the demtards change the climate back to far? Hate it when that happens

        1. avatar Roscoe says:

          Obama, Gore, and the rest of the officious blowhards making a living off of climate change ne global warming can and will be able to do absolutely nothing to change the cyclical nature of the earth’s climate, even if the habits of mankind have affected its patterns!

      2. avatar Davis Thompson says:

        Exactly. I grew up in central CT during the 60’s and 70’s. Snow like you wouldn’t believe. We loved it. Cross country skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowball fights, snow forts, snowmen and doughnut contests in empty parking lots when we got old enough to drive. Americans are becoming a bunch of terrified little weenies.

        1. avatar Jake Tallman says:

          “The eastern seaboard is becoming a bunch of terrified little weenies”. Fixed it for you

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          The combination of Davis Thompson’s and Jake Tallman’s response wins the Intertubez for the day.

    3. avatar CT Resident says:

      It is getting old that ammo buying is because of fear. It is because of actual restrictions.

      “fears that the Obama government was going to initiate a card system similar to Canada that gun owners would require when purchasing ammunition.”

      In CT you can only buy ammo by permit.

      And just released by the corrupted Sandy Hook Commission is their “recommendations”, basically a politically motivated wish list using the Sandy Hook massacre. It is a 256 page report, including recommendations like this:
      “RECOMMENDATION NO. 16. Require that any shell casing for ammunition sold or possessed in Connecticut have a serial number laser etched on it for tracing purposes.”

      I think this will be a “go to” source for absurd but “reasonable sounding” new gun control legislation. Another tragedy is the opportunity lost to do something actually useful in stopping and mitigating events like SH.

      1. avatar Drew says:

        Yes, because when the next sandy hook happens and the killer offs him self right before the cops storm in having all those micro stamped shell casing around tying him to the action will…… I’m sure some prof can fill in that last part with something reasonable sounding.

  4. avatar Roscoe says:

    The ammo is produced where?

    There’s shortages in the U.S. too. You mean to say, with a shortage, Canadian buyers wouldn’t buy extra too when the opportunity arose.

    And shit rolls downhill.

    Next question.

    1. avatar Frank McGhee says:

      Exactly. Why don’t they manufacture their own ammo? Quit whining about your lack of ammo and start an ammo company yourself. Come to think of it, Canada lacks any truck manufacturers too, is THAT America’s fault?


    2. avatar IdahoPete says:

      “American gun owners who have been hoarding ammunition are creating shortages in parts of Nova Scotia.”

      I ordered 220,000 rounds one morning and I got 50(000), from them. That was one company, the other two I never got nothing from them yet,” he said. Of the 50,000 rounds of .22 shells that came in less that two weeks ago, MacKay said he has less than half remaining. “Under normal conditions you wouldn’t see it going out of here that fast, it’s just that nobody’s got anything, right.”

      Sooo- that sounds like the Canadians are stockpiling, too. Hey, if you want more ammo in Canada, open an ammo factory in Canada. Why is it Americans’ fault for buying up as much American ammo as they want? Oh wait, I forgot – socialism. Have to re-distribute the ammo to those who don’t have their own in-country sources.

  5. avatar int19h says:

    The political differences between US and Canada are very nicely captured in two phrases which appear in the each corresponding country’s founding documents.

    In US, it is “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, obviously from the Declaration of Independence.

    In Canada, it is “Peace, order, and good government”, from the Act of Union of 1840 (which united Lower Canada and Upper Canada into a single British province of Canada).

  6. avatar Aj says:

    Relax my American friends. No one is blaming you. We have access to an amazing variety of firearm thanks to the the mega market demand in your country.

    In terms of laws, I believe we are on the more restricted side. But are definitely better than some states like NY, NJ, MA etc.

    We have no bullshit like SBA tax etc but have our own bullshit restrictions like magazine capacity laws. One that bother me most is the lack of right to use firearm. So in self defence.

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Canada also has access to cheap ChiCom guns and ammo.

  7. avatar Gearmoe says:

    It’s no dream, ammo is being taken away by ATF as we write. There is reason for action or we’ll end up powerless and or forced to go underground and all become criminals. It’s a thought I do not like. I guess I’ll be a criminal.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Sounds like you’re having a wet dream.

      Keep your powder dry.


  8. avatar neiowa says:

    Will the Caunks be able to continue to stock and sell the evil nuc tipped laser powered all powerful destructo 5.56mm XM855?

    1. avatar Scott P says:


      They don’t have a retarded “AP/Steel core” ban and can get ammo from places we can longer get from like China. Their import laws are much better than ours.

  9. avatar Gary B says:

    I have no friends to the north, just some Canadians up there Weirdo’s

  10. avatar Preston B. says:

    The manufacturers are going to stick with the market that buys more. If Canadians fought for their RKBA, there’d be a bigger market, and therefore be more profitable, then manufacturers would ship more to Canada.

    TL;DR : Dear Canada/Canadians,

    It’s your fault, quit complaining and fight for your RKBA, stop blaming the USA.

    1. avatar Drew says:

      It’s not the infringement on the right to bear arms that they are upset about, it’s the obstruction of the probe ledge to buy ammo that’s the problem. The only answer really is for parliament to ban ammo entirely. I imagine there would be less complaining about that than there is about the bothersome inconvenience of supply and demand.

  11. avatar AllAmerican says:

    Just when you thought its was safe to go back into the ammo isle…. Suddenly…. A… BAN!!!!’ Ammo panic 2015!!! That will actually probably last well into 2017 because of the add on 2016 panic.

  12. avatar Paul53 says:

    What good is ammo without guns in Canada anyway?

    1. avatar Paul53 says:

      I mean “eh?”

  13. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    Blame Canada!

  14. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Poor baby’s-Walmart and Farm& Fleet sell tires and ammo BTW (in Illinois). I got zero sympathy for Canada shortages.

    1. avatar ColdNorth says:

      As a Canadian who is encountering these shortages, I find myself with plenty of sympathy for my American friends who went through and are currently going through the same problems.

      WRT ammo, for some reason, a fairly large shipment of .22lr went to the Walmart near me, which was surprising as most of the year the shelves were empty except for some cheapo 12 gauge target shells and oddly enough, some .22 shotgun rounds. I can even buy it after explaining to the checkout that no, I’m not going to use it to shoot cute little animals.

      Canadian Tire is decent for hunting rounds, but the local ones haven’t restocked .22lr or .223 in months. Gotta get my .223 from a dedicated store, or via the internet. Hopefully the Norinco stuff won’t dry up soon.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:


        I am surprised that you are having trouble finding .223. That is plentiful pretty much everywhere in the U.S. as far as I can tell.

        And I am really surprised that you guys are having trouble with .22 LR supplies. I had heard that it was easy to buy 1,400+ round buckets. It sounded so plentiful that I wondered about the logistics of purchasing it in Canada and importing it into the U.S. Go figure.

  15. avatar UpChuck.Liberals says:

    I’ve heard a rumor that Canuk’s can have AR’s but they have to have the barrels plugged and be Hot Pink. Any truth to this? Oh and they have to pay a $500cdn/year tax.

  16. avatar Noishkel says:

    I find myself growing tiresome of the general anti-gun BS coming out of the leftist elements in Canada. I say it’s far long past time to roll up that nation and make it America’s 51st state.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      Last time it was tried, it ended up with White House burning to a cinder =P

      1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

        How many divisions does Canada have? The number is almost the same amount as the Pope during WW2. Although with how shoddy security is at the White House with the secret service too busy with blow and hookers, some rowdy Canadians (do they exist?) could do it again.

      2. avatar Noishkel says:

        True. Of course that was the early 1800s. Now we have a bit more on the ball militarily, speaking.

      3. avatar Yellow Devil says:

        Well technically it was the British Soldiers that burned down the White House, not the Canadian Home Militia.

    2. avatar JH says:

      The Democrats would love that. If Canada were to join the US, all the Representatives and Senators would be Democrats. Also, in the last Canadian election, 14.5 million votes were cast, so in the next election, the Democrat candidate would get 13.5 million votes from former Canadians.

      1. avatar Noishkel says:

        I didn’t say anything about ‘joining’ the US.

    3. avatar tdiinva says:

      That would be 51st through 60th States.

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        That would be assuming each province comes in as a state. I’d wonder about Prince Edward Island; seems to me two minuscule (smaller than my home county) states (RI and DE) that don’t have room to park my truck in, are enough.

        Actually PEI slides just under the wire, it’s 60 square miles bigger than my home county.

        I’d also hesitate with Quebec because bilingualism brings its own headaches with it. We already know this, so I guess I should be griping about prospective trilingualism. If government weren’t viewed by people as dispensers of favors and thus became a competition between ethnic groups to see who could grab the most bennies, I’d have no problem with it, but today, government is just such a wrangle and I wouldn’t want to add another one to the pile we already deal with.

        On a side note: I shot two Dan Wesson 1911s yesterday, given all I’ve heard lately about their solid reputation. BOTH of them malfunctioned, the Valor three times, the PM-9 once (maybe twice, but I think defective ammo was to blame for the second malf). I realize they are not mil-spec so it’s not really an argument against your main point when we have these discussions, but I thought someone (like Jeremy) might find it interesting. (The range does have one Springfield for rent that is labeled as mil spec.)

        The bigger irony, given your claim a week or so ago that I’d start limpwristing a G21 inside of 500 rounds, is that the Valor (compact size) was positively painful to shoot within ten rounds (from three factors, the super aggressive texturing even on the grip panels, ridiculous recoil (I thought all that metal was supposed to help with that), and the fact that it really loved to slam into that joint in my thumb where it joins the hand. I actually considered it an ergonomic disaster. I did not have that problem with either the CZ-97 (which, however, was a malf-o-matic) nor have I had it with my G20 or 1006 which shoot a considerably more potent round (the pain there is the cost and difficulty of procurement of the ammo), nor with either of my 40s. The most painful pistol I have ever fired. I’d be far more likely to stop shooting it long before I could limpwrist it. In fact the three failures to extract were all within the last five rounds I fired, so maybe I *was* managing to limpwrist it. If that’s the case I have to declare you wrong (at least with respect to the DW Valor) since I’m sure I could outlast one box of ammo with a G21.

    4. avatar Dan says:

      Speaking as a Canuck (note correct spelling) I, too, find you’re growing tiresome.

    5. avatar T. McNamara says:

      Like you “rolled up” Vietnam ?
      As a Canuck I agree that we need to start building our own ammunition plants.
      Shortages are basically our fault for not pressing the government to lighten up on firearms / ammo manufacturing regulations.
      At least we can buy Colt Ars built in our own factory [for now].

  17. avatar DerryM says:

    I just took a look on and there’s plenty of .22LR available there. Only problem I see is most of it is $.10-12+ a round, but I don’t think you’ll ever see $.03-.07 a round again. I don’t know how Canadian Retailers order ammunition, or from whom, but I assume they use the same resources U.S. retailers use, including International sources.

  18. avatar Puyallup Devil_Doc says:

    I don’t buy the hoarding argument anymore. There has to be hundreds of millions of rounds of .22lr stashed away if that’s the case, and no one that I know has any. So where is it all at?

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      The hoarders are still out there. They clean out the Walmart’s and post it on armslist for way more than they paid. They probably won’t stop any time soon as there isn’t enough ammo to prevent them from doing it.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Puyallup Devil_Doc,

      The “problem” if you will is that you can purchase a 400 to 500 round brick of .22 LR ammunition for around $25 when big-box stores actually have them. Most people will not hesitate to snatch up a box at that price just to have it on hand … and continue snatching up a box every month if available. Thus, people who might have shot a couple hundred rounds every couple years and simply purchased what they needed as they shot it, now figure they might as well keep some extra on hand. And since $100 buys about 2,000 rounds, lots of people figure, “Why not? It is only $100 and I will have a comfortable stash of 2,000 rounds.” Thus demand is something like 20 times higher now than it was three years ago.

      1. avatar Red in Texas says:


        That’s the way I acquired my 10K rounds, and I buy a brick or 2 a month just for a cushion.

      2. avatar IdahoPete says:

        Hey, back when you could buy a 550rnd box of Federal .22 for $9 at WalMart (back in 2008), some of us threw a box in the cart every time we went into the store. I mean, 9 bucks? So there are now quite a few of us (mostly OFWGs) who do not feel a need to buy ammo at $25/500, so we are not contributing to the ongoing panic-buying shortage.

        No need to say thanks – glad to help.

  19. avatar Scott P says:

    Instead of blaming ammo buyers why not blame the government for their decrees forcing people to react?

    For the record I don’t own a .22 or M855/SS109 .223 ammo.

  20. avatar canadian eh says:

    wierd, only time i cant find ammo is
    when the injuns round here buy all the cheap sh!t,
    no issue finding my 308 NM, 280 or 357… or quality 12 and 20gauge.
    course im on the leftern side of canada, in a lil town you sneeze and yer halfway through it.

  21. avatar Silver says:

    It blows my mind that a foreign country has more freedom than some American states. If I had the choice to move to New Jersey or Canada, I’d have to haul up north in order to retain the most freedom. What a poignant sign of how utterly we’ve failed in keeping our republic.

  22. avatar LordGopu says:

    I’m in Canada and I find the shortage has only hit recently. When you guys were really hurting we still had most ammo at normal prices. There was some lag I think until our stocks ran out I guess.

    Right now .22s are hard to find and expensive but you can usually find anything else if you know where to look.

    But yes, I guess having access to all that Chinese surplus helps.

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