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The post-Newtown Great Ammunition and Firearms Sales Surge has stretched the country’s supply chain to breaking point. Actually, it’s broken. Shelves are bare. We’re hearing reports that shooters are conserving ammunition supplies by . . . not shooting. Or shooting guns for which they have more plentiful ammo (e.g., .22 caliber rifles and handguns). Is that true for you? One helpful hint: switch to 5.45 X 39. In stock! Another: shoot more slowly. A third: wait. This is America. If there’s money to be made, someone will make it. Ammo’s coming. Eventually.

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  1. I’m only shooting laser beams (LaserLyte trainer), .177 and airsoft pellets right now. I’m definitely getting full value from they money I’ve spent on airsoft rifles and pistols for the kids.

    My plans to start IDPA/IPSC competition are on hold until we get past the AWB/mag-cap battles in Congress. If I do go to the range it’s going to be 20-gauge and 22LR rimfire only. Maybe it’s time to start loading some slug rounds…

    • Alphageek,
      How is that laserlyte trainer working for you? I’ve been looking at getting one for myself. How is the accuracy on it? Close enough for effective training?

      • Full-length reply stuck in moderation queue. Short version is that I like it enough to be thinking about getting a second target module.

        • Fsck y0u, you fscking fscker, I say what I want! 🙂

          Dunno, maybe it’s TTAG’s way of telling me I comment too much on the weekends. A mini-review of the LaserLyte system certainly isn’t cause for much profanity, though I could try adding some next time.

        • I look forward to reading your mini review! I’m looking at the 9mm one but on hold because of the review here almost a year ago with bad experiences on the 9mm cartridge version. Hoping to throw it in my p226 mk25 when I pick it up in a couple weeks

          A second target module to practice with multiple targets? Or because your first one wore out?

        • K98, if you get one you’ll see that there’s very little chance that a target unit will wear out. I’m looking at a second unit for multi-target practice. And because: fun.

    • It’s a great time of year to improve trigger control with one’s favorite pistol. Just equip it with a laser sight (CTLG or other). Have someone spot you as you dry fire your thrice-cleared gun. Have them set a target on the basement wall. Take aim at the center at moderate speed and dry-fire. Any sloppiness in your trigger control will be reflected by the last-minute dance of the laser point. Your spotter can tell you exactly which way you’re pulling the shot. Repeat at the range, with live fire. Helped me, at any rate. And yes, I’m conserving.

    • I’m also using the Laserlyte trainer and the 9mm laser cartridge. Works like a charm. It allows me to train drawing from the holster, different postures, reloading, and shooting whilst moving.

      Seemed gimic-ky at the time, but now it’s worth it’s weight in training gold.

      • Good to hear! I’m about to pick one of those bad boys up. You haven’t had any issues with the 9mm cartridge like TTAGs review did about a year ago?

      • Good to hear. I’m thinking of getting one of these myself. It’ll help me sharpen my skills while the weather’s foul.

        Honestly, I’m in the middle of the damn snow belt. WHY aren’t there more indoor facilities around here?!

    • Lol I broke the bank on airsoft pellets. I have to keep my selector switch off of full fun. I actually shot one of my air soft guns (a Daniel Defense G4) so much my battery melted.

      • Hope that was a NiMH battery — my oldest has an airsoft M4 clone with a two-cell (nunchuk) LiPo battery, and I’m far more concerned about him burning the house down charging that battery than I am about his actual use of the rifle. I was sufficiently concerned that I made him a sheet-metal charging station, as burning-carpet smell has a very low Wife Acceptance Factor.

    • Just for giggles, I checked the CTD website tonight to see if they had ammo to sell. (Don’t worry, compadres — I didn’t give them any of my money.)

      On one hand, they had American Eagle 40SW 155gr (my practice ammo of choice) in stock.

      On the other hand, they want an aneurysm-inducing $31.19 per 50-box. That is roughly twice the rate I paid for my last delivery of that exact ammo. Yowza. Gotta love demand-based pricing.

      Forget Wall Street — I could be getting a much better return on my investment account if I bought a half-unit (short) shipping container and filled it with ammo any time prices returned to “normal” levels. I’d be doing land-office business selling $15 boxes of ammo at a $10 markup right now and STILL undercutting CTD. A couple more GOP-DNC-GOP-DNC election cycles and I’d be sitting pretty.

      • We can only Hope and Pray that we get another Pro-Gun Prez next time!
        Or a shot at a FAIR ELECTION! Too much fraud for me…
        I’ll be stacking Brass & Lead and reloading materials either way.

  2. I’m shooting less but there were the “Holler Days”* and it’s winter now, so the outdoor ranges aren’t as appealing. But I’m not close to my ‘low-water mark’ in any of my ammo, so that wouldn’t stop me. I loaded up, big time, last year.

    * Holler Days – When my relatives get together and yell at each other.

    • MY AK s are 5.56…..nuff said…however I have enough to last me…..ain’t my first tango over ammo ‘shortages.’

  3. I reload and have plenty of stock for the next few months. My free time, on the other hand, is much more scarce than the ammo. :/

  4. Vance’s in Columbus usually has pallets of .22LR bricks on the shop floor you had problems walking around, with more pallets in the back. The floors are now devoid of any .22LR. Only thing they got is 100-rd boxes of unjacketed .22LR for 5 times the cost of the bricks they had 2 months ago.

    • Heh. Vance’s is something else. I went there right after the recent unpleasantness and they were a mad house. I grabbed one of the last AKs they had

      Checking their website I see they still have stock at their Hebron location (Glocks, M1s etc). Might have to do a road trip in the near future. Or suck it up and go to Blackwing

  5. Yup. Last batch of .223 I got was 67 cents a round, and I count myself lucky. Didn’t have much of a choice if I wanted to break in my new AR… 22LR is impossible to find here in TN, unless you’re buying match grade ($10+ for 50), and even then, still not too much available.

  6. Unfortunately, yes. No more long gun practice. Running low on 9mm,but have ample .22LR at the moment. Unfortunately, the SR22 pistol is having issues with the the magazine not staying in place while firing.

    • You’re probably using the bigger grip sleeve. The bottom of it is slightly longer/thicker and prevents the mag from easily clicking in place. Either use the normal grip sleeve, or trim a little plastic off the bigger one.

      • Thanks Mike. I am using the extended plates. I’ll try the standard plate first to see if it helps. I had already sent it to Ruger for repair once. It came back working OK, for one day. The mag can be easily pulled out with thumb and index finger without using the release button.

  7. I’ll go back to shooting .223 when it’s not $0.40 for steel cased and $0.65 for brass cased. Right now, I’m still shooting plenty, but slowing down, working on the essentials of accuracy, and using .22lr which I’m now glad I have 5k+ of.

  8. Ammo is available in my area. My family commitments are slowing my shooting right now. Yesterday I went to 5 different gun stores and found ammo at all of them. 1 even had 5.56 and 7.62×39. Handguns are what are coming up short. The selection is very small.

      • I didn’t check prices on .40. I don’t have a .40 cal. But it was available at Milpitas, Target Masters and both of the Big 5’s I was in. I don’t remember if it was at Irvington Arms. As I said I don’t shoot .40.

        • No worries, just wondering if you’d happened to note prices since you mentioned you’d seen it in stock. Guess I’ll have to actually (gasp) go there in person.

          If there’s anything you’d like me to look for at Reed’s, let me know. I’m planning to stop by there later this week.

        • No, I’m good. I just found a deal on a mosin nagant that I know the history on and 160 rounds of fmj for 125 bucks. Couldn’t pass on that.

          I want another shotgun, but I’ll wait til the Big 5 flier comes out. Thanks for asking AG.

        • If you happen across another decent Mosin for under $200 with some ammo included, I would absolutely dip into my petty-cash fund to acquire one.

        • I’ll keep my eyes open AG. The part that surprises me is that ammo to go is out of surplus 54r and they’re out of fmj for 9 mak. I never thought I’d see that happen. Fortunately I have a stash of both.

        • My prediction: The constrained supplies of eastern-bloc milsurp ammo will be somewhat addressed when the January deliveries arrive at the ports. My guess is that the February/March deliveries will be much larger once the ammo brokers in the former-USSR countries realize there’s suddenly actual demand for the stuff.

  9. I’m shooting more than before and I’ve brought along almost 10 new first shooters over the last month. I’ve had people I know ask me to teach them how to shoot and help them find a gun before there all banned. I told them they won’t be banned, but I’m more than happy to help them out. I’ve also been reading and hearing about how there’s an ammo shortage, but I’ve been able to buy all the 22′s, 9′s, 45′s and even 223′s that I’ve needed. I guess my local gunshop bought plenty of ammo because he still has plenty to sell and it’s still selling at his old prices.

  10. Well, I’ve always had plenty of odds against me when it comes to going shooting. I have to drive an hour and a half to a Pennsylvania range. Every private range in NJ is either indoors at under 50 yards, membership is full, costs an exorbitant amount of money annually to be a member, or is an hour + drive away from me. Sure, there’s the one public indoor range I could drive 35 minutes to in NJ, but they charge an arm and a leg by the hour because they know they’re the only one remotely in the area. The hour and a half drive is worth it to pay 15 bucks and shoot all day long in PA. I’m going to feel so spoiled when I live in a hopefully still gun friendly state after college.

  11. Yep, will likely need to cancel or postpone an upcoming carbine course as I’m having quite the time finding the ammo. I’ve got enough for the course, but have no intention of using that up without a source to replenish. Might have to wait till Summer …

      • Because that was the amount of cash on hand after getting a spare AR receiver set. Would have been 100k bullets if I could afford it.

        • I keed, I keed. I figured it was 50/50 cash-on-hand vs. “that was the dealer’s entire remaining stock”.

  12. A spam can (1080 rds) of mil sup 5.45 x 39 was $80 bucks five years ago, and was $164 a few months ago. Now its $300 for a tin ?!? That sucks.

    • i know, i bought 5 tins for less than 500 maybe like a year and a half ago. Been shooting this, but man my gas piston is now quite a rusty sonafabitch.

    • I just bought two cans from sportsman guide. $140 a piece free shipping. Not sure when they will have it back on their site.

    • yeah i noticed that too. i bought a bunch of 1080 round cans back in the day when very few people even knew about 5.45x39mm AKs (they were quite rare and only really hardcore gun nuts knew about the AK74).

      I still have a few 1000 round cans of 7.62×39 from the late 90s that i bought for 60 bucks a piece.

      that nostalgia again…

  13. Good thing for .22 conversions for AR and Glock. Trigger time on the same firearms just less recoil. This way one can just finished up with a couple of rounds of primary ammo so not to forget what the recoil is like. So yes, in ammo conservation mode.

  14. Higher cal, defiantly. Slowing down on smaller cal. It’s not just availability but prices are kar-razy. I’m considering it a break. I’ll just love it more when I do shoot. When/if things go back towards normal I’ll pick up the pace a bit. In the mean time I’m making every shot count. Meaning I’m concentrating more and starting to get tighter groups. I’m trying to consider the silver lining.

  15. This is exactly why you shoot 9x18mm. I have yet to go somewhere where I cannot find it (geographical location, I mean. Some stores don’t carry it, but every town…)

  16. Not to pat myself on the back, but I saw this coming well before the election and stocked up heavily on all calibers back in Oct.

    Thankfully, that put me in a good position to wait this out and not get raped by all the insane price gouging that’s going on, but even still, I’m not shooting much at all.

  17. Yes and no. Instead of shooting 9mm, .40 S&W, .223, etc., I’m shooting .22LR. But I’m holding my quality .22LR in reserve.

  18. I had already slowed down since mid-summer as local and online supplies of what I considered to be reasonably-priced ammunition dried up. Now, even unreasonably-priced ammunition has dried up.

    As we slowly inch away from the precipice which could have led to a worst-case recreation of spring 1775, I am hopeful that these troubles will pass and we will all be able to resume the enjoyment of a right and hobby.

  19. I’ve still got plenty of .45 ACP and .45 Long Colt, and plenty of 8mm for my Mausers and FN 49 and it will be awhile until I get down to my basic load on 5.56. What I have cut down on believe it or not is .22 (can’t find any and down to a few hundred rounds) and 7.62 x 39 and 7.62 x 54.

    I reload but there is a big shortage on rifle powders, large pistol primers and small rifle primers.

  20. Thankfully, I had some stockpiled and work is crazy right now so by accident, yes, shooting less

    • No, I’m one of those OCD guys who always keeps a year’s supply on hand. Around here the 9mm, .22LR, and 7.62×39 is all gone but there is plenty of .38 special, .357 magnum, and lots of .45 ACP. What gives with that?

      • My guess is that revolvers and 7 or 8 round 45’s are less threatened in all the talk of a possible ban than all other semi-autos.

        • Respectfully, you’re not really thinking through the likely outcomes.

          10-round mag cap limit: same guns, some with neutered mags, no effect on 1911s.

          Ban on all magazine-fed firearms: bye bye, 1911. Sorry, no exceptions regardless of heritage.

  21. Definitely shooting my rifles less to not at all. I am down to 150 rounds of .223 with none left at any shop in town. Even the tracers are gone. I have close to 1000 rounds of 5.45 and about half that in 7.62×39. Local stores are imposing limits like bulk, 1 per customer and no more than 3 boxes of any others.

  22. I quit the gun range and took up archery. Until there is common sense bow control I should be good for a while. I’ll still shoot but I find archery is filling the same niche and is a whole heck of a lot cheaper after the initial outlay.


  23. Ammo will be back in full force at pre-ban threat prices by spring or summer, reloading supplies will be back more sooner. This is normal for the biggest and most shameless gun grab in American history. Not enough votes in congress to pass and Obama is not stupid enough nor has the support to use executive power. Biden is barking loud, he has no bite. Now state by state is different, if you have a gun-hating gov and house expect many local bans to go through.

    • I took nearly two years for ammo supplies to be back to “normal” after the first obamination election. The current run on guns and ammo is far worse. I predict that recovery will be as well.

      • before his re-election, prices started to normalize too 😀

        …then he got re-elected, demand increased, many online ammo retailers were out of stock, and then sandy hook happened, and a industry that never optimally recovered its stocks found itself hit with the holy wrath of god.

        folks can downplay it all you want but this shit is biblical.

  24. The only caliber I’ve shut down for the time being is 7.62×39 because I let myself get way too low and didn’t have the samolians to stock up before it became golden hen’s teeth. Fortunately I stocked way the hell up on .223 components months ago. Same with all my pistol calibers although I do have to get off my ass and melt down some of 200 pounds of wheel weights I’m sitting on.

    • Where do you get your lead wheel weights? I’ve heard any number of people make glib statements about doing so, but never any specific info on how/where they get theirs.

      • Lead off eBay is often reasonable, because all the lead they can stuff in one of their “Flat Rate” boxes is the same shipping price as feathers.

        • Good to know, thanks. Those USPS flat-rate boxes are like $5 Little Caesars pizzas — not sure how they make money at those prices but it’s a nice option to have.

      • I’m a seriously lucky bastard when it comes to wheel weights. A lifelong buddy works at a tire/auto shop and I worked there for a while too so I’m in good with the management plus I do a lot of electrical work on their 60+ year old building for a good rate.

        The best part is they do tires on tractor trailers and those wheel weights are the best – big fat chunks of lead mean way less clips to scoop out of the pot. I’m cheap enough I’ll even melt 1/2 ouncers so the biggun’s are great.

        I use a cut up muffin pan to cast 2 pound slugs and sometimes sell them on backpage when I have too much. Are you in Arizona?

        • Thanks for the insight. Kind of reinforces my perception that the easiest way to get them is through a good relationship with a wheel/tire shop. Second best seems to be knowing a scrap-metal recycler.

          If the question regarding locale was directed to me, I’m next door in CA.

        • It’s a pleasant thought, as I love the southwestern US, but unfortunately my career opportunities are in Silicon Valley. The “geek” part of my pseudonym wasn’t chosen randomly. 🙂

  25. Shooting much less. Not cause I’m low on ammo, but because I don’t know when the shelves will be refilled. Plus all the local ranges have been packed everytime I go.

  26. Shot 500 rounds in the last week, a combo of work ammo, an informal competition, and .22 LR. Will be slowing that down to almost exclusively .22 LR and 12 gauge bird shot. And maybe some .177. I’ve got a Umarex clone of an M&P that’ll shoot around 2″ at 7-10 yards. Hey, why not?

  27. I went to the range and put a few rounds through my brand new Ruger Gunsite Scout. I would like to have put more rounds downrange (that bolt gun can really chew through ammunition) but since I don’t know when I’ll be able to replace what I’ve shot, I kept the round count down.

  28. Only because it’s freakin’ cold out and it’s been actively raining or snowing the past few times I had time to go.

  29. I’m shooting less partially because ammo is so scarce, and partially because I don’t have access to an indoor range and the weather SUCKS.

  30. Shooting .22, 7.62×54, the stores around here have Tula in 7.62×39 for cheap (.35 per round) and… Wait for it… Paintball! At (.02) per round with a paintball pistol with 7rd mags, it is actually a pretty fun training aid, and I can have live fire practice against other people using battle rifle style rigs.

  31. Just got back from an idpa classifier. Not really less but personal stash is running low. Even 22lr is hard to find where I am.

  32. I plan on learning how to reload and shoot more if possible. Otherwise, it’s time to break out my Trumark slingshot that I’ve never used. Steel and marble ball ammo is available with 672 white marbles (½”-size) selling for only $19.

    • I killed a water mocassin snake with a wrist-rocket and a marble when I was twelve. I was on a Sierra Club backpacking trip with my dad. Needless to say, some of the Sierra club hippies were not happy with me, and they really chewed out my dad when he was out of my earshot. I was completely baffled by the whole thing, because in my mind I had saved one of those hippies from getting bit. Later my dad told me that he thought it was a hell of a shot – as I had hit the snake right in the back of the head where it connects with the “neck.” (for lack of better words… Do snakes even have necks?). 20 some odd years later, I remember it as a good memory, and I have a healthy respect for wrist rockets as a viable survival weapon.

      • I’ve been making slingshots since I was a kid — good ones. Powerful and accurate. Unfortunately, under MA law, making a slingshot is a felony. Can you believe that sh!t?

  33. Yep- and I even have a ton of 5.45 stored up!
    I’m worried that might be one of their PR wins, actually; banning import ammo. So, I’m keeping my spam cans sealed until this sorts out.

  34. Nope. Always maintained a good stash before the SHTF in 2012.

    Never rely on retail ammo stock being there when you need it. In good times or bad.

    When even the “lowly” 22LR have disappeared…. you know the game has changed.

  35. Sitting on my small stash of .223 and .308

    Lots of dry fire practice with the rifles, a little bit of pistol live fire.

  36. Just bought a cheap Ruger Hawk air pellet gun (.17) today. Because of the cheap trigger and the way the firing mechanism works it seems to exaggerate any deficiency in my trigger pull, so I am now working on that, and best of all, I can legally fire this in my yard, so I am about to do a bunch more shooting. It is single shot, so it forces me to slow down, really think about what I am doing and make each shot count.

    Best of all – 750 pellets at wallmart for about $8

  37. No, I’m shooting less because the National Guard kicked the public off the only range on my little island. Going on two years now and their excuses for not letting us back on are on the level of the ‘dog ate my homework’.

  38. I’m shooting less because it’s frikken cold out. But it does seem like good timing – hopefully the ammo shortage thaws out with the snow.

  39. No. I’m not shooting at all, but that’s because I’ve got a newborn and my wife’s at work while the range is open so I can’t go shooting 🙁

  40. Since guns and ammo are so freaking expensive and hard to find I just bought a SOG trident tanto folding knife, gonna spend the next few months cutting boxes and whittling wood to blow off steam, at least until my S&W M&P shield finally arrives and then I’ll have to try and find some ammo to break that in.

  41. We are just now coming up on the first gun show in my area south of Seattle since Newtown. It’s going to be real interesting.

  42. So, glad I invested in a reloading setup this Christmas. I mostly shoot .22, .38/.357 so no I really haven’t not slowed down. Still competing each week. As long as this doesn’t go longer than a year. I think I’ll stock up on more components when I can though.

  43. Short answer – Yes. Long answer – hell yes.

    When simple 9mm FMJ is running $.36 a round, you know there’s problems. But hell, the only 22LR I can find is upwards of $.15 per round and doesn’t have enough velocity to run my Sig mosquito.

  44. Right now, I’m shooting .177 pellets only. Partly to save ammo inventory, but mostly because of a severe right thumb injury last summer that has not healled well. Recoil hurts! Thankfully it is slowly getting better.

  45. Shooting alot of trap loads out of my Semi Auto 930. I reload for trap and have a large supply of components so I am practicing with trap loads instead of 00 buck and slugs.

  46. I haven’t slowed down much yet but then again I had 6 months of 22 LR stocked pilled before things went crazy. I hope supplies start to improve in a few months but with the fact that wal-mart isn’t ordering ammo until the mess in DC is cleared up some. I might have to slow down or stop to save resources.


  47. Talked to the employee at the ammo case at Walmart (no 9mm at all, just a few small boxes of expensive .22) shelves 1/2 bare. Said he has a friend who is a manager at Academy and 2 days ago there were 40 men waiting at the front door for the 8:00 A.M. opening so they could grab whatever ammo came in.

    He remarked that he couldn’t believe what he saw: 40 men literally running to the gun counter for ammo. The staff spread the new supply on top of the gun counter, they didn’t bother putting it on the shelves because they knew most of it would be gone in a few minutes.

    Kind of crazy. Why such an ammo run, there hasn’t been a peep about restricting ammo except for New York and maybe a couple of other states, but not here in Central Texas.

  48. I live in the country and I’ve started trying to use my crossbow to get the nasty opossum scourge under control….. Key word, TRYING…lol.

    Aside from that mostly just sticking to .22 or what I can snag off the shelves at the LGS without dipping into my supply. My rules for when my friends come up to shoot have changed as well. It used to be either bring cash or ammo if you want to shoot, now it HAS to be ammo. Cash won’t buy what isn’t on the shelves.

  49. Yes I am shooting less.

    The calibers I shoot are 22LR, 9mm, and 308/7.62×51. All of them are at about 250% more than they should be selling.

    I opt for the, wait till supply catches up, approach. See no reason to encourage greed. It is the same philosophy I use when I vote. Bad enough I can do little about the politicians power grabs except vote them out.

    But that even depends on voter turn out. I figure when enough people get personally hurt they will take action and get up off of their collective butts and go vote. Just hope it isn’t too late by then.

    A concerned Chief,
    ADC USN/Ret

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