Vista (CCI, Federal) Exec Sees Possible .22 Ammo Price War

When I talked to some ammunition insiders at the SHOT Show last year, the word was that Federal’s .22 ammo production would be increased by 20 percent in 2016. The end of 2016 is almost here here and it looks as though the production increase is a little behind schedule…but it’s in the works. A revamp of production facilities is occurring for CCI at their Lewiston, Idaho location.

In an interview with The Lewiston Tribune, Marty Zacha, Vice President of ammunition products, talked about .22 rimfire production expansion and the election of Donald Trump:

BP: Are you seeing any reduction in sales now that a Republican has been elected president and people are less worried about new regulations for guns and ammunition?

MZ: Yes. There’s been a few order cancellations. Not a lot, but a few. If you go into a gun store, even right up here at Sportsman’s Warehouse or North 40 in Lewiston, you see a lot of guns on the shelf, where a few years ago you wouldn’t have seen that. It was harder to find what you really wanted.

BP: What will you do with the upgrade if demand for rimfire ammunition plummets?

MZ: This plan was born more to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Historically in the ammunition market, when things start to go soft, which we’re starting to see right now because of the election, it becomes a price war. If the market changes, the rimfire equipment can be switched to manufacture power loads that drive fasteners into steel and concrete in construction and stunners for the meat processing industry. We’ve done those in Lewiston for years. (for over one half century) That’s a very big business for us. It has been anywhere from about 12 percent to 50 percent of what we do in Lewiston. There’s points where we can adjust if need be depending on what the market is doing. It could be bigger or we might redeploy somewhere instead of what we originally planned.

BP: Could Vista Outdoor choose not to order equipment for later phases of the project?

MZ: It would take a very dramatic market correction to make that happen.

Note that Zacha suggests a price war in .22 ammunition is a possibility. Prices for .22 LR have been slowly declining. A month ago, I predicted that we’d see bulk .22 LR ammunition for sale at four cents a round by October of 2017. I stand by that prediction. Stay tuned.

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

Gun Watch


  1. avatar Dave says:

    I originally posted when this topic first came up about Federal only raising their production by 20%. Due to my calculations of people shooting a lot more stockpiling a lot more and all the new Shooters and first-time gun buyers out there purchasing ammunition to enjoy themselves at the ranger out in their backyard has caused a huge shortage of 22 long rifle ammunition. Two stay up with the demand of 22 caliber ammunition you would have to see a 60 to 80% increase by all manufacturers to actually be able to keep up with the demand of the United States people purchasing 22 long rifle ammunition. 20% is too little too late that’s a freaking ridiculous number why even bother? Federal acted like they were doing us a favor by raising their production Levels by 20% that’s kind of ridiculous anybody that owns a 22 in the last 8 years realizes that you can’t find ammunition anywhere for the gun unless you order it online and sometimes get raped at like 15 to $0.20 per round. When you used to be able to buy 22 long rifle ammunition for $0.89 all day long per round. Time for all of us to start making a big fuss out of this so that these companies invest more money into producing ammunition so that we the people can actually enjoy the Firearms we’ve spent thousands of dollars boring. You already have companies like CCI running 7 days a week 24 hours a day when are these people going to realize that the demand is here if you buy the extra Machinery the extra warehouse space and set this Machinery up you are not going to be helped left holding the bag in a couple of years the demand is going to keep increasing and decreasing and increasing and now that we have a pro-gun presidents Senate and Congress forget about it you better start making ammunition like Lake City Federal does for the military in huge amounts. I’ve got a little bit of advice for the 22 long rifle manufacturers in the United States and all over the world manufacture it they will come for it and buy it up in bulk LOL.

    1. avatar eremeya says:

      Not sure where you live but .22 has been fairly easy to find in OKC. Cabela’s and Acadamy have had it on the shelf every time I went in over at least the past year and at fairly reasonable costs. I’m now starting to see it at Wal-Mart on occasion as well.

      Where my brother lives on MI it is still a little harder to find though.

      1. avatar Jake in AK says:

        It all depends on where you live. I haven’t seen bulk .22 ammo since 2009. Still can’t get bulk boxes at retail stores, period.
        And the fifty round boxes are all between 7 and 12 dollars a box.
        part of that is the fact that to ship Ammo to Alaska requires paying the hazmat fee- so it makes no economic sense to buy less than a half pallet and spit between ten or so friends.
        I keep waiting and hoping for lower cost bulk .22 to come back.

        1. avatar 61north says:


          Cabelas in Anchorage has had boxes of 500 in stock for the past 6 months or so. A little expensive, but it’s there. Even Fred Meyer usually has smaller boxes in stock these days.

      2. avatar IceMan says:

        Theres plenty of 22 around here out west, but nothing under $30 a 400-500 brick. Not yet anyway.

        However, I have learned to savor each and every shot and parked the 10-22 in favor of my 77-22 bolt.

        I rarely did mag dumps as a kid, and when I did it was about 10 rounds in a row emptying my tube-feed. Today mag dumps in the 25-50 round range seem to masquerade as learn’n to shoot.

        BS in my book. Learning to shoot means learning while you shoot. Dumping a mag in to space is your practice, then don’t cry to me what you cannot hit squat when it matters.

        Still old and crotchety seeings how you think I’m a troll cuz I don’t endorse mag dumps and mindless blasting like the all-black tactical ads say I should.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          I got my first .22 when I was 10, which was 40 years ago. Me personally, I do “mag dumps” because like the rest of the scope of plinking, it’s sometimes frakkin’ fun.

          Sure, there’s precision fun, distance fun, but sometimes it’s just fun to run rounds down the barrel. I’ve shot at least a million rounds of 7.62 out of various AKs over the decades, it’s easy to do when you have something fun to shoot at, and ammo (was) $75 for Chinese/Russian surplus 880 crates.

        2. avatar notalima says:

          Not sure where your ‘out west’ is, but here in the Vegas valley 500rd bricks are still swiped off discounter shelves by the ‘deck chair’ gang when the truck unloads at 5AM.

          Sure, you can find the odd lot at local gun stores (for 2x-3x the price), or lots of little 50rd boxes for well over 10c/rd

    2. avatar Mauserman says:

      Don’t think I could handle $0.89 per round. That would be $44.50 for a 50-round box! Might as well feed my .380!

    3. avatar Mauserman says:

      Dave said: “When you used to be able to buy 22 long rifle ammunition for $0.89 all day long per round.”

      I can feed my .380 for less than $44.50 per box of 50.

  2. avatar commonwealth109 says:

    4cents per round? That’s almost a 50% price reduction, I’m skeptical.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Same here, .04 sounds too good to be true.

      Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

      Match that up with suppressors coming off the NFA, a glut of cheap .22lr would be so sweet.

      (As an aside, I just saw a pic of a new Ruger .357 mag snubbie revolver today online. An *8* shot .357 snubbie…)

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        The last brick I bought was $18.90. Dunham’s had Thunderbolt on sale for $1.89 per box, and I bought a whole brick.
        Think it was about ten years ago.

        Most of the .22 I have was bought for less than 2 cents, but if I can find the occasional loss leader sale for 4 cents today I’ll be happy.

      2. avatar notalima says:

        Before the ‘great ammo rush’ set off by SH, Walmart used to sell 550 blocks of Federal bulk for $17.99 or 3.3c/rd. I still have quite a few of those.

        I’d fall off my chair, but that would certainly be nice to get back to 😉

      3. avatar TX_Lawyer says:

        I’ve been buying Federal’s 22lr for $0.0539085 per round with tax.

    2. avatar Bruce says:

      But hopeful.

  3. avatar Doc Samson says:

    4-5 cents a round would be awesome! Also, go Chiefs!

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      I’d also be stoked to see .22 down to $.04-$.05. It may happen for the cheaper brands, but CCI will stay higher. Although I would be happy to be wrong on this point. I’ve got three Ruger 10/22s and quite a few mags. Shooting ammo faster than I replenish it stresses me out.

      I’d like a Henry lever action .22 quite a bit, and I wouldn’t burn through ammo so fast.

      Also, Go Packers!

  4. avatar strych9 says:

    I don’t see a major drop in .22 sales in the near future. I just don’t see it. Too many newbies, too many people replenishing stocks, too damn many uses for a brick of .22.

    The stuff is like whiskey or crack. It sells itself.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      Agreed. Back in the old days we knew that we could let the shop shelves and their warehouses store our rounds for us.

      Now, the reality has changed and it will be at least 4 more years before everyone has their own personal stash full enough for any realistic eventuality. If Trump looks to be failing, it might be even longer. Not to mention the inevitable economic crash that will occur in the near future, regardless of who is in office…

  5. avatar Vhyrus says:

    I just bought my first 22. I hope you’re right.

  6. avatar ButtHurtz says:

    Can you buy it with an EBT card?

  7. A .22LR price war ?…… Don’t tease me, bro !


  8. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

    In Denver, Wal Mart still has none. The gun show prices were 8-9 cents a round for bricks of 3-500. I’m not buying at that price. I inherited a Benjamin .22 cal air pistol and set up a pellet trap in the dining room. I have a 7 yard pellet range that allows me to practice presentation, aim, breath, focus, and trigger squeeze. That makes my limited range time with 9mm or .22 lr more effective.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      The North side Cabela’s has had .22 for the last few months.

      No idea on the price because I haven’t bought any but I know they have copper jacketed .22LR.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        Copper plated?

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Best price I’ve seen–on line–for 500 round bricks was $45. It seems to me I sued to buy them 8 years ago for $15 on sale. And they are the cheap lead rounds, not the Remington Goldens that my rifle prefers. All I have in my stash is 100 some odd rounds of MiniMags that I keep for a Mosquito (that I haven’t shot in years).

  9. avatar GS650G says:

    I bought Smith SW22 last month. I’m looking for other. 22s as well. We are looking at cheap ammo real soon.

  10. avatar Mike Crognale says:

    Am I the only old fart on here who remembers when 50 round box of 22LR went for 79 cents? Longs and Shorts were even cheaper. The local corner store had them on the counter. I suspect those days will never return.
    Crochetry rant off. Lol

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      It wasn’t even that long ago that we could buy a 500 round box for something like $12 to $15.

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        Now THOSE days I am old enough to remember. But then, that was only 8 to 10 years ago.

    2. avatar JSW says:

      Seventy-nine cents a box? Pretty spendy .22 LR. We used to buy that stuff with our lunch money at 50 rd box for a quarter. Never shot shorts, but they were about 15 cents a box. Gosh, those were the days! A gallon of gas was 19 cents, could drive all week on two bucks’ gas. Smokes were 15 cents a pack, a six pack of Schmidt malt was spendy at $1.50.

      But then, a buck was worth a buck. Then Kennedy got elected and life went down hill fast from there.

    3. avatar Geoff says:

      I got my first .22 rifle in 1967 at age 16 and IIRC, .22LR was around 49 cents a box of 50 and under a dollar for 100 rounds. I still have that rifle.

    4. avatar Big Bill says:

      I must be REALLY old. I remember, as a kid, picking up soda bottles beside the road to get the 50¢ for a box of 50 LR.

      1. avatar Mike says:

        Yeah, now that the other “old farts” replied I do remember prices lower than my 79 cents figure. In Greenville, PA, my hometown, the store was called the Corner Dairy and I could get a box for a quarter or so. John, the owner had a stack of them by the cash register.

    5. avatar Sailor Eddie says:

      I remember er back in the fifties buying them at Sears Roebuck for 50 cents for a box of 50. Ah the good ol’ days . Sigh.

    6. avatar Roymond says:

      I’ve never seen .22 short cheaper than LR — they don’t sell nearly as much, so it costs more. Even when I was getting .22 LR for 4 cents per round, I never saw shorts for less than 6 cents per round.

  11. avatar slow joe crow says:

    I welcome the opportunity to buy CCI off the shelf instead of mail order Aguila. I can get Aguila for $40 a brick including shipping but I haven’t seen CCI SV or Mini Mags on the shelf in over a year.

  12. avatar TruthTellers says:

    I don’t care what the lowest price per round is they can make for .22 Long Rifle, I just want Speer to make more .22 Magnum JHP for short barrels because that stuff is not available anywhere and that’s absolutely unacceptable. Anybody with a .22 Magnum for self defense is deprived of a quality defensive ammunition thanks to the over production of .22 Long Rifle.

  13. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Manufacturers- pump out that .22lr then cook me up some more of that .17 HM2!

  14. avatar Wood says:

    Folks, you’re all now part of the crotchety old “I remember when….” crowd. Get off my lawn. Remember thinking $14/box of 50 .45acp was too expensive? That’s what started me reloading.

    1. avatar Doc Samson says:

      It is hard to believe how quickly 25 turns into 50! Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who the hell the old(ish) fella is looking back at me. Chasing kids off my lawn does help keep me spry, though!

      Also, I have 3 Walmarts in my area. I have not seen ANY 22 ammo on their shelves in several years…

  15. avatar Geoff says:

    Here in South Carolina it seems every big box sporting goods store (Bass Pro, Dick’s, Gander Mountain, Academy. etc., EXCEPT Walmart) has a fair amount of .22 ammo. Even a few LGS have some. Walmart shelves are empty except for the occasional stock of .22 Shot (Rat Shot, Snake Shot, whatever you want to call it).
    But I will NOT pay 8 to 10 cents per round either. When it gets back down to 4-5 cents per round, I might buy again.
    I sold my Savage 64F 3 years ago when it became impossible to find .22 ammo. All I have now is a 1966 Stevens Westpoint .22S, L, LR single shot rifle.

  16. avatar Kap says:

    Don’t get hope up, the bottom line Profit, especially now with an abundance in firearms market! Ammo companies held off production to increase their bottom line! Believe what you want but Ammo companies make an artificial shortage to increase their bottom line! a price war would create more market in the short turn, after sell off back to high prices!

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      Manufacturers have never made much money off .22 LR. They don’t try to — .22 LR is like the “gateway drug” to shooting; they figure that if it’s plentiful and cheap, people will share, and sharing includes getting new people introduced to guns.

      Of course Boy Scouts, schools, and various clubs used to use .22s for shooting, which made it definitely the introductory ammo. We need to get back to that (maybe the GOP can get through some legislation giving grants to middle and high schools for shooting ranges), though it would just keep the price high for a while. OTOH, once a few thousand ranges were built, the companies would REALLY have to ramp up production — 20% this year, 20% again next year, and the next, and the next…..

  17. avatar Swilson says:

    With the exception of Wal-Mart, most places in my NOTW (eastern NC) have had plenty of .22LR for the last couple of years. There’s occasionally a dry spell where you can only find Aguila or rat shot, but if you go to another store there’s plenty of options. Mostly the Federal milk carton of 325 rounds for $21-$24. LGS were more reliable than the BBS around here during the worst of the drought.

    I think the best I’ve seen online was earlier this year at 0.06/round- but by the time you pay shipping it’s in the .08 range at best.

  18. avatar jimmy james says:

    They could take all that mfrg capacity and bring back the Gold Metal Match with the dimple in it. My Cheif AJ 10/22 shoots that stuff in the same hole at 50yds all day long.

  19. avatar M1Lou says:

    Good! I want to build a .22 Brick fort in my bonus room!

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