Jeffrey L. Frischkorn takes you with him as he chronicles his outdoors adventures around Northeast Ohio and beyond.
Monday, August 26, 2013
The latest lowdown on the Ammo Shortage of 2013
All conspiracy theories aside, the National Rifle Association has come up with the best explanation yet for the on-going shortage of sporting ammunition.
Which, by the way, does appear to be easing. At least in parts of the country, including here in Northeast Ohio.
Anyway, the NRA's detailed account of the present ammo shortage situation appears in the
September issue of the organization's “American Hunter” magazine.
It's two pages worth of details are found in the magazine's “Firstlight” section and is written by Jon Draper, the “American Hunter's” assistant editor.
Some of what Draper writes has been covered in the recent past here and by me.
Among the parallel themes is how ammunition manufacturers are pouring out all the stops to produce more fodder for the firearms owned and used by the nation's civilian hunters, competitive shooters and plinkers.
Another point emphasized by the NRA piece is the lack of any evidence of some kind of government conspiracy intended to deny the American public access to ammunition.
I will repeat this so as there can be no doubt: No such government conspiracy existed or exits now, period. End of discussion.
In fact, the “Firstlight” piece notes that the “see-see-see” finger-pointing at the Department of
Homeland Security's goal to buy 450 million rounds of .40-caliber pistol ammo over the next five years is totally bunk.
Even more so, I'd say, than the musings of the Flat Earth Society or those who know for certain that Neil Armstrong never stepped foot on the moon.
The reason being, the department consists of no fewer than eight agencies with a total of 65,000 armed agents. Among the agencies: the Secret Service, the Immigration and customs, Boarder Patrol and others.
These agents not only carry weapons fueled with ammunition the personnel are also required to maintain proficiency with their firearms. That work requires more than dry firing of their handguns, obviously.
Yet Draper goes on to explain a couple of other reasons I hadn't thought of which makes perfect sense as to why a shortage developed. Including in this group is hording, which I've covered a time or two before as well.
Consider that with a high demand for ammunition of all calibers (and gauges, come to think of it) as well as bullet weights, the most popular ones are going to get top billing.
That means you'll find ammunition makers dedicating their machinery to producing more 9mm Luger rounds and less time cranking out rounds of .32 ACP.
Makes perfect, logical sense.
So does the fact that gun owners are not content with walking into a Walmart, a Gander Mountain or a Cabela's store and being happy buying a 50-round box or two of whatever.
Oh, no, they're buying much, much more.
Like one of my older brothers who now possesses no fewer than 5,000 rounds of .22-caliber long rifle ammunition.
Draper's story also quotes the National Shooting Sports Foundation as saying that today's first-time firearms buyers are using their weapons at least once a month instead of just plinking every now and then at a gun range.
Then the story goes to note that as the shooting sports have attracted more participants the more businesses that cater to these shooters have come on line.
The translation of this details implies that ammunition makers must now supply a limited product to more outlets, thereby reducing the inventory that each business has on hand.
Lastly – and this reason was an eye-opener because of its far-reaching implications - there is the question of what's called “commodities,” or the raw materials needed to build a round of ammunition.
Copper, brass, steel, lead, tungsten, bismuth, plastic, and the chemicals needed to make gunpowder and even a host of other unrelated products are all highly desirable and much sought after. And not just by United States companies, either.
Emerging economic powerhouses like the Peoples Republic of China and India are in the same raw material commodities race as are the businesses across town from Any City, USA.
Make the wrong projection of how much of what metal you'll need over the next several months to make “x” number of rounds of ammunition and either you are out of luck or else you have to try and find what you need on the spot market.
Such concerns are what keeps chief financial officers awake at night and sales of Maalox also in high gear.
So go ahead and believe the government, the Obama Administration, or greedy American corporations are behind the ammo shortage.
Shoot, blame little green men from Mars or their counterparts at the Department of Homeland Security if you wish.
The truth is far more complex and much more challenging to cope with than many firearms owners are willing to accept.
And though these gun-slingers may be satisfied believing in the unbelievable, in the end they won't come any closer to finding that 500-round brick of .22-caliber CCI MiniMag ammunition.