The ammo crisis

Market volatility is not leaving the sporting community untouched. The stock market may be soaring but so is the price of ammunition — not to mention gasoline, two-by-fours and chicken.

When it comes to ammunition, whether for handguns, long guns or shotguns, supply and demand rule.

One ammo maker told the American Rifleman magazine: “… ever since Joe Biden was named the presumed presidential election winner, we have seen a reaction in the marketplace, and it hasn’t subsided at all. So, through all that, we’ve been producing ammunition flat-out, and yet our retailers are not able to maintain any inventory to speak of.”

“Demand has been strong across the board — any type or caliber of handgun ammo; small rifle, big rifle, hunting rifle; even rimfire — all of it really picked up. When contacted, a spokesman for the Winchester and Browning ammunition brands simply commented: “Like many manufacturers in the shooting-sports industry, we are experiencing extremely high demand for our products. We are continuing to manufacture and ship our high-quality products on a daily basis.”

The demand equation for ammo is being driven by a number of factors: a record number of gun buyers, and outright hoarding, to name a couple. And, of course, COVID closed down a number of ammunition manufacturers. Experts say it will take years to normalize the supply chain.

The ammo supply crisis, coupled with the anticipated severe supply shortage of copper, serves to overshadow or negate this no-lead bullet entreaty from the website of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

Copper bullet prices continue to decline every year, even as performance improves. Given that a hunter will typically use two or less bullets per year on large game, and a few bullets to sight in the firearm, the purchase of a box of copper bullets can last multiple seasons. On average, a box of lead bullets runs $20, where a box of copper bullets runs only a few dollars more. The cost difference goes away completely when using premium ammunition.

Good luck with that. You can’t even find lead bullets to purchase for conventional firearms, let alone copper ones. And just try to find a box of traditional rifle ammunition for a deer rifle. “Consumer frustration is rampant,” reports the American Rifleman magazine.

When will it all end, the ammo shortage?

Given the supply chain disruption, as well as other shortages in ammunition components and the public rush to purchase firearms, there are few reasons to expect the supply of ammunition to increase. Continued shortfalls are being predicted by those in the know.

When you think about it, an ammo supply crisis is a kind of de facto form of gun control. The double irony is that the more the Biden administration jawbones about gun control and defunding police the more people rush to buy guns. And the unprecedented spike in gun sales makes it tougher and tougher to find ammunition for these new gun purchases.

As one ammo maker said, “Ammunition is the new toilet paper!”

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. His email address is [email protected]

V. Paul Reynolds

Columnist at Ellsworth American
The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. His email address is [email protected]

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