Thursday, February 20, 2014

.22s still lead the Great American Ammo Shortage

When it's come to the Great American Ammo Shortage of 2012 to 20??, I've really had just one sure thought.

If I had to do it all over again I'd have bought a .22 Winchester Magnum rimfire rifle or a .17-caliber Hornady rimfire rifle.

Not, however, the 10x-ring-destroying .22-caliber long rifle bolt-action gun I now own.

Ammo availability would be the Number One reason with cost being a close Number Two.

Going from Gander Mountain to Great Lakes Outdoors to Fin, Feather and Fur and so on, seeing boxes of .22 Mag or .17 Hornady on the shelves but zero .22 long rifles has me convinced of my rimfire buying mistake.

Same with cost. Boxes of both the .22 Mag and the .17 Hornady have seen relatively stable prices; maybe a little more than what they were selling for two and three years ago but still largely affordable.

Not so the .22 rimfire that outdoor writers have long said is the mainstay target/plinking/training/squirrel-killing cartridge that every shooter and hunter needs to own.

Except you can't find the stuff. At least not often enough. At least not without elbowing out the competition when you learn that such and such outdoors supplier has a few bricks in stock and for sale (at just the right, sell-your-first-born-child price, of course.)

Thing is, a shooter has to be nuts to give a first thought – let alone a second one – to paying $50, $60, $90 for a 500-round brick of Winchester Wildcat .22s.

Alas, shooters do; perhaps fearful that if they don't suck up the cheap stuff they'll never again see the really good stuff.

And so as shooters and as hunters and as plinkers we have met the enemy and it is us.

If you don't believe me, just read the following e-edition Field and Stream magazine blog item by that publication's Phil Bourjaily, posted Feb. 20.

It's good and truthful reading, meaning Mr. Bourjaily wrote it without wearing a hat made from tinfoil and without showing his membership card in the “X-Files'” Fan Club where conspiracies live under every shooting bench and behind every aging and fading “Obama for President” bumper sticker.

So here it is:

"February 20, 2014

"Rimfire Ammo Shortage Continues

"By Phil Bourjaily

“While supplies of centerfire and shotgun ammo seem to be catching up to — or maybe we’ve just reached the new normal — rimfire ammo remains scarce. And it goes fast when it does make it to dealers.

“A friend of mine is on the waiting list for .17 Mach 2 at several online ammo retailers. The other day he received an e-mail at 4:05 from MidwayUSA telling him the Mach 2 was back in stock. By the time he logged on at 4:10, it was sold out. It literally didn’t last five minutes before it was all gone.

“I asked an ammo industry inside about the rimfire shortage at SHOT. He was honest with me.

“'Everybody is loading rimfire as fast as they can with the machines they have,” he said. “The problem is, the margins on rimfire are so low it doesn’t make sense to invest in new equipment and expand production. We’ll catch up eventually.'

“His best guess? Ammo makers hope to be caught up sometime later this year.  What I want to know is where this ammo is all going. Are people shooting it, are they hoarding it or speculating?

“What I do know is that it’s not good for the shooting sports when the ammunition that’s traditionally the cheapest, easiest to find, and most fun to shoot is in short supply.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

1 comment:

  1. Jeff:

    You have a very eye catching and informative blog.

    The .22 LR shortage is not as bad as many people believe it to be. Yes, it is almost impossible to find at Wal Mart or at any other large mass marketer. I have not shopped for bulk .22 LR since I refocused my shooting from plinking to hitting a bulls' eye.

    I put away the semi-autos and bushed the dust off the bolt actions. Several on-line vendors have been kind to me with target and match grade ammo which did not go entirely out of circulation.

    Several brands of import .22 LR are slowly making their way onto our shores -- Norma, RWS, Geco, and Ely.

    The most I have paid (including shipping) is $.20/round for the Ely.

    It was worth it to me, and it was from a vendor who never raised his price for the same item in more than five years.