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ED: Our man Weingarten loves him some .22. While he didn’t take the Great .22 Drought personally, Dean has made it his personal mission to keep tabs on the supply of the small caliber ammo as manufacturers worked to satisfy demand. In today’s episode, DW scours Texas during the holiday for the varmint-unfriendly, teach-your-children-well round. How’s supply in your neck of the woods?

As I drove around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex during the Christmas season, I stopped at four area Walmart stores. The first one was a couple of days before Christmas. I didn’t have a car until the 24th, so I only looked in the Walmart at Frankford and Marsh Ln.

I have written about .22 at that store for a year-and-a-half. It’s had .22 LR in stock pretty reliably during that period, so I was not surprised to see a couple thousand Winchester Super X, a couple of thousand CCI Stingers, a thousand CCI .22 short CB caps, and five  hundred CCI minimags. They all seemed over priced, with the minimags the best buy of the lot at 7.47 cents a cartridge.

I stopped at the Benbrook Walmart next, on the other side of the metroplex, at the far southwest edge. I’ve been watching it for a year or so, and have never seen any .22 LR there, so it was no surprise to find the cupboard bare again. The sticker prices were the same as on the North Central edge, but there were only a few boxes of .17 rimfire.

After meeting my daughter for lunch, I stopped at the Walmart at Dallas Parkway and Beltline, a more central location. I didn’t expect to find any rimfire. I thought the Frankford location may have been a fluke. I was wrong.

The Parkway and Beltline store had a fairly good stock. The prices were the same. You can see .22 Magnums on the left of the picture, some CCI .22 LR shotshells, plenty of Winchester SuperX, and some CCI .22 CB shorts. I talked to a friendly Walmart employee who explained the situation. For a period of time this year, the Walmart had been closed for remodeling. During that period, .22 ammunition kept coming in fairly regularly, but it couldn’t be sold.

So when the store went back into operation, the employees were able to keep the shelves stocked with .22, and they haven’t run out since. SuperX is the most common .22 LR round they get in with some CCI and a little bit of both Remington golden bullets and Federal .22 LR, too. And they don’t have a three box limit on purchases.

The last store I stopped at was in Plano, off the George Bush Turnpike. This store wasn’t as busy as the others, but it was a weekday afternoon between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I didn’t expect to find any .22 LR there either. Surprise! There, tucked down in the lowest shelf, with no price showing was nearly 2,000 rounds of Winchester SuperX, some CCI .22 Magnum and a carton of CCI .22 LR shotshells.

The prices were nothing to smile about; $8.37 cents a round for Winchester SuperX seems a bit high to me. Using a constant dollar calculator, that would translate back to about one cent a round in the early 1950’s, so not completely out of line. Four Walmart stores isn’t a great statistical sample. It’s much too small, but still interesting.

I expect .22 LR to become even more plentiful and cheaper in the coming year. None of the .22 LR I found was in bulk packs, and that’s where the best deals for blasting ammunition is found. The Internet sellers have .22 LR as low as 5.6 cents a round, but you have to pay shipping.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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  1. I’m in San Marcos, I go to academy and I’m getting federal for about 5.00 a box. I have about 500 rounds stocked up.

      • I thought that too. 😉

        During the high-point of the scare the past couple of years I sold about 14,000 rounds of my personal stash AT ONE GUN SHOW. It allowed me to get rid of my 15+ year old ammo and buy new fresh stuff. The sales funded a couple of gun purchases too.

        We kept that much on hand because I had 6 kids at home who all liked to shoot. My (then) 15 year old daughter would burn a brick in an afternoon of plinking with her 22/45 Lite. Now that most have moved away we keep a more “resonable” 10,000 rounds in reserve. The oldest .22 Ammo I now have (not counting rare or collector’s items) has all been manufactured within the past 3 years.

  2. I have been seeing .22LR ammunition everywhere for the last three months in decent quantities. Unfortunately, the prices are too high for my blood.

    About 4 months ago I found three boxes of Federal copper plated 40 grain .22 LR (525 round boxes) for $28 (about 5.3 cents per round) and purchased one box. Since then, the best I have seen are the Remington Golden Bullet boxes of 525 rounds for $32 … and a variety of other brands for 8 to 12 cents per round for boxes of 50.

  3. I haven’t actively shopped for .22 in the OKC area since election day. I found a bunch of 400 round boxes of Browning branded (Winchester) at the Grapevine Mills TX Bass Pro for $22 – five and a half cents a round which I thought was pretty reasonable – on Veterans Day weekend. I have tomorrow Jan 2 off and some mad money from Christmas to spend so I’ll hit the Oklahoma City Bass Pro, Cabelas, Academy and a couple of Wally Worlds. I’ve got about 18K rounds of .22 in stock right now which is probably more than I will ever shoot but if things ever go to shite the cheaper stuff will be good trading stock.

    • Here’s an update on my .22 search. The search coincided with a “find momma a new winter coat” expedition. Bass Pro in OKC had 100 round boxes of Winchester for ten cents a round and CCI jacketed for the same price. Stock was low. They were pretty well set for most center fire rifle and pistol calibers and had a good selection of reloading supplies. Cabelas had some off brand .22 including Aquila for seven and eight cents a round. I didn’t see any Federal, Remington or Winchester. Cabelas did have lots of center fire rifle and pistol ammo at not outrageous prices and plenty of reloading supplies. We hit two Academy Sports locations and they had the best prices and supplies of .22s we saw today. Aquila and American Eagle for five cents a round and some 325 round boxes of Federal for six cents a round. So from my non scientific limited sample in the Oklahoma City area it looks like Academy Sports wins and five to six cents a round represents the rock bottom price. That’s about where we were in November. I didn’t do any Wal Marts today but I have occasionally sighted .22s there.

      We found a new coat for Momma – I learned that the North Face logo on a coat is about as expensive as the green paint on a John Deer tractor. Ouch. I thought that Duluth Trading was proud of their clothing. Anyway Mother is happy and when she’s happy, everybody is happy.

      • So far everything I have bought from Duluth Trading has been excellent, except for their “hanger bender” Firehose shirt jac which I returned immediately. I’ve run into some really top notch customer service at their retail store.

  4. I’ve been stockpiling .22 LR and 5.56 since the “Hope and Change” campaign. I’m not currently in a hurry, but I’ll probably pick up another 5K-10K over the next 12months before the idiotic ammo via mail ban starts in CA. The CA market sucks, doesn’t.

  5. I use a lot of ammo, so I do not consider my 20k plus inventory excessive. Just about at any given moment I can pick up unlimited amounts of .22LR at slightly less than 6 to 8 cents a round. Recently added over 4k rounds & did not put a dent in the sellers inventory.

  6. Huh. I live near the heart of CCI country and .22lr almost nonexistent in E WA. I can find the occasional Winchester or super-expensive Aguila target ammo, but I haven’t seen Mini-Mags in about 6 years…

    • Same here in ND, except it’s Eley rather than Aguila. I’m hoping that I’ll see some CCI Velocitors at some point this year. Haven’t seen any of it in over 4 years and my Model 60 loves it.

      • See if you can find the Winchester XHV22LR loading. It also launches a 40gr bullet at 1435 fps at a cost that is lower than my beloved Velocitors. I have about 1500 rounds on standby now. Wal-mart, Academy, Gander Mountain and others have all had them in stock. (Sometimes they are mixed in with the other 100 round red-box ammo and you can get them for an even lower price.)

  7. I bought a Heritage Rough Rider revolver and 200 rounds of Remington “Golden Bullet” cartridges at Dunham’s Sporting Goods with my Christmas money. For a long time, they were EXTREMELY short on .22 ammo, only allowing a maximum of 3 50-round boxes per customer. Now they have quite a bit of ammo in stock, but the variety left something to be desired, and the price was a bit high. The Remingtons were about $11 for a 100-round box ($10.99, actually). The only hollow-points were subsonics. But at least there was actually a lot of .22 ammo on the shelf, for the first time in months!

    • I’ve stopped using the Remington Golden Bullet as the new production facility is still working on the bugs since relocating – I had 10/10 fail to fire using a revolver ( taking them from the box and one split casing that resulted in shrapnel impacting my cheek ). Their QA person sent me a replacement but still not reliable. Overall response from QA was that it was a production issue.

  8. St Petersburg Florida has very limited 22 long rifle ammunition available. None of the Walmarts in the surrounding 15 Mile area have had any on their stock shelves. The attendant in the Sporting Goods section has told me more than once when it comes in it’s unpacked and stalked onto the shelves and is gone by 6 p.m. that night whatever they get in those that quickly. I’ve been ordering online like everybody else in Florida. Where is this cheap 22 ammo that the manufacturers keep talking about? Are they going to use this sudden hike in prices over the last couple of years to keep the prices up? I hope not.

  9. Back when availability was minimal, I debased myself to buying Winchester White Box bulk stuff.

    The 222, 333, 555 round boxes… that shit doesn’t feed in almost ANY of my guns, but what the hell. Now I have several boxes of it to break out for rapid fire “friends and family” range trips.

      • That is EXACTLY why I bought a Heritage Rough Rider. Dunham’s had them on sale for $129.99 last week. Cheap? Seems to be built solidly enough, and heavy for having an aluminum frame (as an FYI, the original Ruger Bearcat also had an aluminum frame). Yeah, they’re not a Ruger Single Six, and yeah, they’ve got an extra hammer-block safety lever, but they’ve generally gotten good reviews and should be a fun plinking pistol that will shoot anything I choose to put into it, even shorts if I happen to come across any (and if I send in the included coupon and $39 I can get a .22 magnum cylinder although I have never used .22 magnums, and have no real use for them, so why bother…).

    • Hate to tell you this, but ALL of my Rugers love Winchester White Box. No jams, no failure to feed,failure to fire & very accurate. This goes for rifles & handguns, six in all. One afternoon I wanted to try precision shooting from 50 yards with ten different types and/or brands of .22LR from the rifles; all shot to the same POI without any scope adjustment. Targets even included empty 12 gauge shotgun hulls; all hit dead center. My Rugers will shoot anything accurately, but the WWB 22’s are real fun with water filled cans from 50 yards, blows them up more dramatically than some other loads. All hits are dead center top to bottom & side to side. I know you don’t believe it, neither do the people I shoot with, and they watch it happen.

      • Actually in my experience the Winchester is very accurate. Groups better in my Marlin (and my brother in law’s Marlin) than most CCI.

        Just doesn’t feed! The copper wash seems too soft and gets smushed when the round chambers.

        And actually I haven’t known Ruger 10/22s to be very reliable to begin with… 🙂

        • Several hundreds of rounds between cleanings with no failures, utterly reliable. Neighbor came over with a 10/22 that looked like it was not cleaned in years & it ran fine. Dialed in the scope for him & he was nailing everything from 50 yards with Remington Thunderbolts, another much maligned ammo that works perfect for me. Can nail a golf ball dead center from 50 yards & it goes all the way thru, which I find hard to believe. Did one shot with an empty steel aerosol can behind the ball & the bullet keyholed leaving the golf ball, going sideways thru both sides of the can. I kept both the ball & can to show people. By the way, got rid of the Marlin 60 I had because all it did was jam no matter what.

        • My 10/22 is VERY fussy about ammo and will jam somewhere in every 10-round mag unless it is CCI. Even then you can’t count on it. Between the jamming and the terrible trigger, I have a hard time seeing what all the fuss is about the 10/22.

        • I have two 10/22s & both have never had a malfunction during 1,000s of rounds each. I can also shoot 10 or more brands/types of ammo without scope adjustment. Some of the more challenging targets we use are empty C02 cylinders & shotgun hulls from 50 yards; even these are almost too easy. Also see no problem with the triggers; you cannot shoot like this with a bad trigger (guns are 100% stock). Used to have other brands of 22s, don’t anymore: only keep what works.

  10. Plenty of supply in my part of the world, but with the Aussie Dollar now about 75cents US (compared to 102+ about 18 months ago) and the price hikes caused by the shortage being passed on through the supply chain, reloading budget .223 is being considered a cheaper option. The prices we pay wouldn’t have been tolerated in US at the height of the shortage.

    Winchester Power Points are about 17 cents each, CCI 11 cents, Federal 9 cents, and this is for 500 round bricks. I don’t price individual packets.

    • My wife is a good Aussie girl and the first time I visited I couldn’t believe how much EVERYTHING cost, forget ammo.

  11. Anyone else in Florida find any good places to purchase 22 long rifle? They’re building a new Dick’s Sporting Goods write down from the Walmart where the Sears used to be. I’m hoping that they’ll have some bulk ammo prices that offset that ridiculous $0.10 per round cost. Plus shipping nowadays.

  12. At the Walmart I work for in Alabama, we’ve gotten at least a couple thousand .22 per day…. And its still gone before it makes the shelf from the cart every morning. Two extended clans come in and wipe us out at 8am, afterwards it shows back up at the weekly flea market for 2-3x the price.

    But they usually leave the .22 CB shorts, which I pick up if there’s any left when I clock out.

  13. Newfoundland Canada wal marts are hit and miss fir stock, prices are rough though.
    Golden bullets 525 for $50
    Win 555 for $38
    Wildcat $5 for 50
    Bucket o bullets fair price though 1400 rnd $99

    All prices in Can $

    • If my grandparents heard the words “Newfoundland” and “Canada” used together, they would give you a dirty look. I have no idea why and I grew up in the Southeast US, but I remember they didn’t like it. I’ve only been to Newfoundland once but I’m hoping to go back someday.

      • Newfoundland joined up with Canada, officially, in 1949. It was a close vote and not without controversy. I suspect there is still some bad blood going round because of it.

        As Wikipedia puts it, “Reactions to Confederation were mixed.”

      • We should have joined as a US state in 49 but Canada threw us a bone (baby bonus) and the dirty politicians at the time sold it hard and messed with the votes, so here we are.

  14. The one time I poked my nose into Wal-Mart the shelves were bare. The lgs situation is mixed but Sportsman’s Warehouse usually has several types of Aguila and some Remington or Federal. CCI is like hen’s teeth. I usually just mail order .22 ammo since I can get Aguila Super Extra for $.07-.08 a round after shipping, plus I get cheap 5.56 to make weight.

    • make sure to always ask. The Walmart in Irving TX usually only keeps a few boxes on the shelf at best, but every time I ask they have the larger boxes locked in the cabinet under the register. It’s been consistent for over a year. If anyone reading this lives in DFW don’t bother going, 183 has been replaced with a dirt parking lot.

  15. For the last two or three months, I Have had no problem finding .22LR in Nassau County NY big box stores, including some of the Walmarts. Dick’s even had a 20% off sale on all .22 right after Christmas. The Gander Mountain in Middletown in Orange County has had all kinds of rimfire for the last few months. Prices typically run about $25-30 for the 500-ish boxes of the bulk stuff and $7-10 for the higher end stuff in 100 round packs.

  16. A Sony? And you call yourself a journalist? Go get yourself a real camera! 🙂

    But seriously, it’s great to see a DSLR being used, period!


    • The new Sony’s are much better than the Minolta digitals that they replaced. I shot Minolta , both manual and autofocus, film and digital, and replacing all the glass l own as opposed to just a body was too cost prohibitive to just switch to another brand. Try pricing good glass sometime and you’ll see what I mean.

  17. I my area if it even looks like a 22 that will go bang, people are still buying and hoarding. All I see from etailers is Fed Automatch and Choot ’ems from CCI. Cabellas has a bunch of match 22 at ridiculous prices. Glad now I did not buy an Anschutz last year and spend a bunch of money trying to find something it would shoot accurately and then having to spend $10 a box for that. Why did Federal quit making the match ammo with the dimple in the case head? That ammo in GMM would shoot the same hole all day out of my Chief AJ.

    • Have a Ruger American Rimfire with a BSA 3-9 Sweet 22 scope that after 25 shots into ONE not very ragged hole gets boring. Now do precision shooting at very small objects from 50 yards (limit of my backyard range) for somewhat of a challenge. Use this gun to teach newbies also & they are hitting extremely well very quickly. This is done mostly with Remington Thunderbolts; snicker all you want. (Have a lot of these). This thing shoots 10 different brands/types to same POI.

  18. Of course, I have to drive about 60 miles away to get my favorite pest control round, the CCI segmented hollow point (where the bullet splits into 3 more-or-less equal segments). Used to be made by CCI under the “Quik-Shok” brand for another company, but now sold under CCI’s own brand. Instant death on red tree rats.

  19. Can’t find .22 in my local walmarts yet (because they don’t gouge the price like Cabela’s) but I do like me some of that $15 Perfecta .45acp in real brass.

    • The Perfecta ammo is a real bargain because it is made in Italy by Fiochhi. Perfecta is Fio’s premium European line, good stuff at a great price.

  20. I don’t have problems finding 22lr but I buy in the internet. The stuff I buy is competition grade for competition rifles and the draught in subsonic completion ammo eased about three years ago (except for Remington subsonic HP that has been gone for four years). All brands are available in the internet except for the really cheap stuff and even that has gone up in price. If plunking is your game, you will be hurting, if you are a precision shooter when each round counts, you should be fine. I have close to 10K rounds and always acquire a thousand here and there but you must be willing to pay 60-70 dollars per 500 of Wolf or SK or Eley Target and even Federal Gold Match.The cheapest is CCI subsonic or standard at around 40-45 dollars when available and it is target grade for practice.

    • yes, I buy primarily online as well. I stocked up a bunch this past black friday where I was able to get a bunch of .22lr ammo for pretty cheap. I’m sure I’m overspending buying online, but at least I have it. Gotta keep my .22lr ammo stocked!

      • Any given day of the week I can buy all the 22LR ammo I want to at reasonable to cheap prices; buy several thousand at a time when I want to.


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