Why is there a Shortage of .22 Caliber Ammo?

The smallest and most popular size of ammunition is .22 caliber. It’s also used in a number of handguns. The small size makes it a favorite among target shooters and hunting small game like rabbits and squirrels.

When I was four years old, my dad taught me to shoot using a .22 caliber rifle. He used to rest the front stock in his hand for me since I could not hold the rifle firm enough to aim. By the time I was six, I was a pretty fair shot. In high school I was in an Explorer Post that specialized in gun repair and we had a shooting team, of which I was number 2.

Over the past few years, .22 caliber ammo has sold for around 5¢ a round or $5 for a box of 100 rounds. I remember buying them years ago for 50¢ for a box of 50 rounds, but then gas was 32¢ a gallon then also. I used to buy .22 caliber ammo by the brick which at the time was 1,000 rounds. Bricks were later reduced to around 500 rounds, but buying a brick of ammo is no longer allowed since federal regulations were made that limits a private purchase to only 3 boxes of ammo per person per day.

A few stores still offer the 5¢ per round price, but others have increased their prices to as much 10¢ to 12¢ per round. And even at those prices, if you check the websites of many dealers you’ll find ‘out of stock’ listed for all .22 caliber ammo.

But why has it become so hard to find this most popular ammo?

Before you holler out blaming the Obama administration for buying up all of the .22 caliber ammo, you better hush. The NRA, who is as anti-Obama as they come, along with several major manufacturers of ammunition are saying that government purchase of ammunition has declined since the 2012 election. In other words, it’s not them.

Would you believe the reason is YOU?

According to one report that came out of American Rifleman, published by the NRA:

  • The dollar value of ammunition sales in America doubled between 2007 and 2012. Highlighting the obvious, the NRA noted that sales really “started to climb fast as gun sales began surging” in the run-up to the 2008 Presidential election.

  • ATK (NYSE: ATK) subsidiary Federal Cartridge Company attributes ammo shortages to “high demand for our products,” and said flat out that the biggest increases in ammunition purchases are coming from “the civilian market.” (This means you).

  • Olin Corp’s (NYSE: OLN) Winchester Ammunition agrees it is “that experiencing an extremely high demand.”

  • And privately held Freedom Group, which manufactures Remington cartridges, says “it’s clear to us that any lack of supply in the marketplace has been from consumer demand.”

Steve Hornaday, President of Hornaday Manufacturing told the NRA:

“People walk into the store, they don’t see as much as they want so they take everything they can get. The next guy who comes in can’t get anything, so he panics.”

I checked with our own gun shop in Acworth, Georgia – Liberty Guns – that they have no .22 caliber ammo in stock either. I spoke with manager Scott Johnston who told me:

“Even when sellers get small amounts of .22 in stock, most of the time buyers will buy it up for fear they won’t see any again soon. While that’s perfectly understandable, if buyers could limit themselves to allow others to partake in the .22 currently on the shelves, it’s likely that the so-called ‘shortage’ wouldn’t be affecting nearly as many gun owners.”

However the gloom and doom news of the shortage on .22 caliber ammo as well as many other types of ammunition may be remedied soon according to Thomas Millner, CEO of Cabela’s. He says that the demand for ammo from the private sector is slowing down and some manufacturers are still trying to ramp up their production. He believes that in the near future that ammunition will begin to fill store shelves and individuals will be able to purchase as much as the government allows them to.

The bottom line is be patient and be willing to share the supplies with others instead of hoarding them all for yourself. After all, if everyone hoarded ammo as soon as they could, you might not ever be in the store at just the right time to get your share. We all want to arm and protect ourselves and when a militia, aka the people, work in cooperation with each other, we can mount a stronger defense when the time comes. Every man for himself will only mean certain destruction for us all.

Check out Liberty Guns as they do have other ammo in stock and on sale along with a variety of guns for men, women and even the younger ones. Many of their prices are marked down and affordable.