Ammo Shortage Explained by a CCI rep


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zminer
March 16, 2009, 07:35 PM
In regards to a previous thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=434346) about the ammunition shortage, I began to wonder if the ammo shortage was being caused - as some had suggested - by a lag time between getting raw materials and being able to turn them into ammunition which is available at stores.

I realized I had no idea how long it takes to manufacture ammunition, so I contacted the first mainstream ammo manufacturer I thought of - CCI - to ask them about it. Below is my correspondence with them. Essentially, they are saying that there is such huge demand that they are not able to get enough raw materials to satisfy it. So, it sounds like it's an issue of manufacturers being thwarted by the nature of the supply chain, rather than an artificial shortage of some sort (if you believe what they say, anyway :neener:)

Interesting.

****

zminer:

I am having a discussion with some friends and I would like to know how long it takes to produce ammunition. So, for example, how long does the process take from the first moment that the raw materials arrive at your factory until an actual box of ammunition arrives at a retailer's door to be sold to consumers? Is it a matter of days or weeks, or is it more like months?

Thank you!

---

CCI:

Just off the top of my head, two days from start to finish. Linda


Linda Olin
CCI/Speer Technical Services
2299 Snake River Ave.
Lewiston, ID 83501

---

[I suspect that her figure of "two days" did not include, as I asked, shipping to an end user's shop ... but that might be because it varies based on how far away the shop is. Anyway, I decided to follow up:]

zminer:

Linda,

Wow, just two days from raw material to ready-to-ship? That's amazing. Then again, I suppose it's just a series of steps from creating the casing, filling it with powder and a projectile, and then packaging it into boxes. If the factory is efficient enough, I guess there's no reason it needs to take an especially long time.

On a related note, then, what do you think is the source of the much-ballyhooed ammunition shortages at national retailers? Is it simply an issue of vastly increased demand, and flat supply, or are there other factors at work here?

Thanks for your time.

---

CCI:

We can't keep up with demand right now. We are backordered on nearly all ammo and component primers. We operate nearly 24/7. Linda


Linda Olin
CCI/Speer Technical Services
2299 Snake River Ave.
Lewiston, ID 83501

---

zminer:

Linda,

Oh, so it's an issue further up the supply chain.

Well, thanks for the info - I appreciate it.

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heron
March 16, 2009, 08:16 PM
I wonder how much of the process they control themselves. For instance, do they formulate and manufacture their own powders? Primers?
I know that bullets -- lead ones, anyway -- start out as coils of extruded lead wire, so they have to buy that. They also have to buy raw brass sheet for the casings, and raw copper sheet to form the jacketing material for jacketed rounds. If they formulate their own powders, then they have to buy raw material for that, as bulk chemicals. A shortage of any one of these things could slow the whole output, or a large portion of it. There could even be a shortage of chemicals that don't ever become part of the finished ammunition; various acids are used to produce powder, for instance.

It would be interesting to find out just where the supply chain is choking up.

Hk91-762mm
March 16, 2009, 09:18 PM
Too Many people trying to get a limited product. You buy 5X as much ammo as you need or used to buy --Your Buddy does the same thing On and On and On--- It goes . So we have a million guys who have 10X as much ammo as the will shoot in a resonable time -There is a shortage ! Everyone sees a shortage so they go panic buying too-- Like a snowball rolling down the hill ! This is a simple question to answer,, same with components -Over buying leads to shortages.

PTK
March 16, 2009, 09:21 PM
Simple shortage as shown in most macroeconomic books. People think there's a shortage so they buy more than normal, inducing a shortage.

Hungry Seagull
March 16, 2009, 09:24 PM
I used to haul coil in a temp controlled trailer from Buffalo to Remington down in Arkanas and it takes about a day and half if that to physically transport the raw material TO Remington. They combine that with other materials to make bang-bang to put in boxes to ship to stores.

I dont know how long it takes to generate loaded trucks with finished ammuntion. But two days isnt that bad at all.

If Idaho made a bullet, shipped it to... Boston, a team truck can do it in 65 hours or so. Single drivers might need 5 days to do it, particularly during chain season.

Now, Aluminum Coils consumed at Busch in Williamsburg are eaten very quickly with hundreds of cans made with each punch of the machines. They can just about pour the beer into those cans within the hour if memory serves.

FiREhAwk
March 16, 2009, 10:19 PM
I dont think there is any bottle neck. The factories even when running 100% can only make x amount of product. The only way to make more is expand or build new factories. Then when the demand goes down they have extra infrastructure and more workforce than they need, so the safest bet for them is to run what they have 24/7 instead of building/buying more equipment that may not be needed a year from now. I think Nintendo had the same problem with the wii.

jbkebert
March 16, 2009, 10:48 PM
This is my take on the matter. The ammo companies estimate the amount of ammo that they will sell in any given year. Same as any other company. Now at the beginning of the year they order all of there supplies for this amount of ammo. Powders, Primers, Brass, all of the componets are ordered way in advance. Now we have a threat that all of our guns and ammo are going to vanish overnight. So everyone buys and buys thus here is the shortage. Every step along the way from powder to finish product is estimated the year before it is produced. Granted the estimaters were way off this year. But it is more complex than just making more ammo. All of the ingredients have to be produced that have pretty much running dry. Now we have a supply and demand issue and the gun shops are laughing all the way to the bank.

I have a buddy that has owned a gun shop for 20+ years. He has never been happier or made more $ in a single year than he has made the 1st quarter of this year. hell the 1st quarter is not even over yet. He tells me that the long term worries him but for now Obama is the best sales tool he has ever seen.

runrabbitrun
March 16, 2009, 11:05 PM
We saw this with a gas shortage several months ago in Western North Carolina and some surrounding areas.
(Panic buying)...
Seems something was messed up with the Colonial pipeline again after some hurricane down
in the gulf. (Galveston area?)
In fact, if I recall correctly, this effected
many areas from Florida up to New York
and out as far as Tennessee. (I could be wrong)...

It is what it is.
People hording, stocking up, or what ever you want to call it.
Chocking the supply end up as the suppliers can't keep up with demand.

Hopefully it will level out soon.

huntsman
March 16, 2009, 11:52 PM
CCI makes 4 million rounds of .22cal every day, So If there's a shortage it's because of demand.

PT1911
March 16, 2009, 11:58 PM
it is easily explained in a conversation I heard the other day...

Guy at the counter- "got any .45 acp?"
owner- "on the table behind you, 13 boxes.. they are hard to come by right now, $19.99 a box for lawman."
Guy at the counter- "(as he is getting all of them) what kind of a deal can you do for me on all of them?"
owner- "are you kidding man? it is going to sell one way or the other, I cannot afford to sell it any cheaper than it is just because you are buying all that I have, that is the last of it."
Guy at counter "(now on the phone) yeah, I got all they had, have you found any?"



THIS IS THE PROBLEM>>> SIMILAR CONVERSATIONS ABOUT .380, .223,.38,.40,9MM....ETC

PT1911
March 17, 2009, 12:01 AM
"CCI makes 4 million rounds of .22cal every day, So If there's a shortage it's because of demand."

I dont know about everyone else, but .22 is the only caliber that I am not having problems finding... but you are right.. it is a demand problem...people who may only shoot 100-200 rounds a YEAR are buying 500 rounds at a time right now.. it is crazy... this is the same thing that happend last year with gasoline in the South.. everyone needed to fill every vehicle and container they had because everyone was running out.. only contributing to the problem.

zminer
March 17, 2009, 12:08 AM
CCI makes 4 million rounds of .22cal every day, So If there's a shortage it's because of demand

That is quite a large figure - where did you happen to come across it? Even if they only worked weekdays, that would be just over a billion rounds per year, to say nothing of the other manufacturers who are putting it out as well.

Then again, throughout all of this shortage, 22LR doesn't seem to have been affected as badly. A couple sites I checked out were sometimes out of a few brand names, but mostly they were pretty well stocked. Maybe that's a result of a fantastically large supply.

PTK
March 17, 2009, 06:12 AM
I've not had ANY trouble getting hold of .22lr throughout all of this, any flavor I wanted. I do tend to stock only CCI MiniMags, CCI subsonics, and Federal 550 bulk packs, though.

EHL
March 17, 2009, 08:49 AM
Too many chicken littles running around buying insane amounts of ammunition and components because they think it's going to be all gone. Their very actions are the ones causing the shortage. Reminds of the time Johnny Carson joked that there was a shortage of toilet paper. People ran out in droves and cleared out all the toilet paper fearing there was a shortage of it! It's this panic that's causing the shortage! :cuss: I wish people would calm down and return to their normal ammunition purchasing habits.

Fred Fuller
March 17, 2009, 10:28 AM
EHL,

This IS the new normal. In a week or a month or a year, there will be a different 'normal.' But right now, this is it. It's like they say about the weather in NC- don't like it? Wait a little bit, and it'll change 8^). But complaining about it isn't going to change it.

Cheers,

lpl

huntsman
March 17, 2009, 10:55 AM
That is quite a large figure - where did you happen to come across it?

I watched a Sighting in with Shooting USA show that did a tour of CCI plant, very cool.

Here's a link
http://www.shootingusa.com/SIGHTING_IN_SHOWS/28-07_CCI/28-07_cci.html

We’re Sighting In on one viewers question, “what are all the different options for in .22 rimfire?” We’re going to CCI in Lewiston, Idaho to find out what you can do with all the choices of the world’s most popular cartridge.

It’s a question that came in over a year ago. ”Jim, what are all the different 22 rounds good for?” Well, the truth is, I couldn’t quickly come up with the answer. But I can now, after going to see the specialists in rimfire, CCI Ammo in Idaho, where they make four million rounds every day in a wide variety of velocities and bullet designs and weights. It turns out there’s the right .22 round for every purpose and every choice of game.

Flyboy
March 17, 2009, 11:01 AM
Read. (http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2009/03/down-bourgeoisie.html) Learn.

Ratshooter
March 17, 2009, 11:17 AM
Well I for one have quit buying. I saw this coming 15 years ago and started stocking up then. I just won't play a game of chasing down componants and paying silly prices for them. Like the buyer that paid $160 for a thousand CCI benchrest primers on GB.

The last time there was a primer shortage it tooks months for it to settle down. The NRA published articles stating there was no shortage and that primers wouldn't go bad in 6 months sitting on the shelves.

For a while you couldn't find an AR15. The last GS I went to had several tables full and almost no buyers. Everyone that wanted one had one. I guess it will be the same with the reloading stuff. Plus all the new guys that are reloading and trying to get stocked up. Sooner or later people will have what they need and the shelves will fill up again. I can wait.

As to the toilet paper shortage that is easy to understand. That was right after the great sugar shortage. I worked as a sacker at Albertson's at that time and let me tell you people were acting plum nutty thinking they wouldn't be able to get sugar. They were coming in and buying an entire grocery basket full of sugar and nothing else. I bet there are people still using sugar they bought in 1973-74.

medmo
March 17, 2009, 11:18 AM
If manufacturers thought this was normal than they would be spending cash on expanding and increasing their capability. I don't think they are so I'm pretty sure they don't think this spike is normal and will continue.

A buddy of mine calls Walmart before he heads out to meet me at the range and asks them about 9mm. The clerk told him they have plenty because they just received 75 boxes. When he stops at the Walmart on the way to the range to pick up a few boxes he talked with the same clerk. The clerk apologized to him and told him that they were out of 9mm because one guy came in a few minutes earlier and bought all 75 boxes of the newly arrived shipment. The clerk told him that the guy had to use two different credit cards and made two purchases because of the dollar amount.

That is panic.

zminer
March 17, 2009, 11:51 AM
That is quite a large figure - where did you happen to come across it?
I watched a Sighting in with Shooting USA show that did a tour of CCI plant, very cool. Here's a link
http://www.shootingusa.com/SIGHTING_...28-07_cci.html

Wow, that's amazing - thanks for the citation. It is a little more understandable that it's four million of the 22 family of rounds - I initially misinterpreted it as saying that it was four million of just 22LR. (Then again, I imagine that caliber makes up the largest portion of the overall figure.)

This IS the new normal. In a week or a month or a year, there will be a different 'normal.' But right now, this is it.

I agree - at some point the people who are stockpiling ammunition will get as much as they want and they will stop buying it, or at least buy only as much as they used to. And then, slowly but surely, stock will come back onto the shelves. It may take a few months, but it will stabilize again.

searcher451
March 17, 2009, 11:59 AM
I was able to pick up a hundred rounds of Mini-Mags this past weekend at a WallyWorld store a couple of hours drive away; it was the first time I had seen any in stock for two months or more. I stopped by the local WallyWorld this morning to check, and they were out ... again. They also were out of 9mm, .45, .32, .25, .38 special, etc. They did have a couple of boxes of .40S&W left.

The problem is that everyone has gone nuts, thinking that the ammo produced today is the last ammo that will ever be produced ... or at least the last that will be made available because of the strange forces at work in Washington, D.C., and, appareently, in every state capitol in the nation. The ammo shortage is being caused by us, friends and neighbors. Simple as that.

DHJenkins
March 17, 2009, 04:52 PM
I bought 10 boxes of Blazer 9mm at Academy last Friday.

I didn't do it to hoard, re-sell or out of 'panic'.

I did it because it was the only way to insure that the next 2 or 3 times I want to go to the range, I don't have to spend my limited free time looking for ammo. Plus, it's more convenient to buy in bulk and go straight to the range instead of making a pit stop every time.

It's not always about panic - some people just enjoy their free time.

willbrink
March 20, 2009, 12:14 PM
I had stocked up a while ago, so had not really seen the ammo shortage. I'm a little un nerved to be honest seeing Wallmart, Dicks, etc totally out of 9, 40, and 45 ammo and no idea when they will get more. It really spikes my security paranoia (minus any conspiracy theories) and I left the store not happy at all and wondering if I had best pull back on my shooting until the situation is fixed. A gun minus it's ammo is a hammer. This is not good as i was planning to increase my shooting this season via courses, IDPA, practice, etc. :cuss::cuss::cuss:

And it's not just ammo of course. Check this out:

http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=1&categoryId=19836&categoryString=9315***17585***17587***

Duke of Doubt
March 20, 2009, 12:24 PM
medmo: "The clerk told him that the guy had to use two different credit cards and made two purchases because of the dollar amount."

Financing ammo at 29%APR?! That's just retarded. He'd be wiser to refinance his house to acquire a few million rounds, but he's probably one of the j'accuses who bought as much house as they could afford and then some, which house is now worth a little more than half what he owes on it.

huntsman
March 20, 2009, 01:06 PM
This is not good as i was planning to increase my shooting this season via courses, IDPA, practice, etc.

I hear you.
I got this thing going were I shoot a box buy a box; now its either I quit shooting or take the chance restocking will catch up.

skoro
March 20, 2009, 01:11 PM
I too have seen some whacky ammo purchases. I just buy an extra box or two of the stuff I use the most when I can find it, so I can keep a few hundred rounds on hand.

I think ammo prices are spiking and I don't want to be holding thousands of rounds of the all-time most expensive stuff ever made. I expect it will become sane again in the next few months. ;)

maksim
March 20, 2009, 01:29 PM
I would imagine that the 22lr is avail as the majority of the panic buying would be coming from those new or newer to the sport.

What do they buy? What they see on Tv, 45acp, 40s&w, 9mm, 762x39

I went to a gun store yesterday, a guy came in with a magazine with an ak47 on it. since not legal in nj... he saw a WASR-10. ended up buying it for $1k.

I paid $250 for my wasr a few years ago. I would gladly sell it for 1k. Talk about people being nuts.

Only thing taking out to shoot now is the 22lr. When making holes in paper... who cares. Besides... nice to have great groupings at 20 yards... when you have new people shooting 40sw that cant group for anything at 5 yards. =)

Duke of Doubt
March 20, 2009, 02:42 PM
I found a tin of 380 rounds of 8mm Mauser down in a corner of the ammo cellar the other day -- forgot I even had it. Put it up back in 2000, and I figure it's mellowed enough to take it out to the range with the Persian M98/29 -- should knock some coffee cans off the posts at the 200 yard berm. Can't wait to hear all the complaints from the .223 Full Noisemaker crowd about how expensive ammo has become lately.

Buck Snort
March 20, 2009, 04:28 PM
Posted by Hungry Seagull:
"Now, Aluminum Coils consumed at Busch in Williamsburg are eaten very quickly with hundreds of cans made with each punch of the machines."

I work in the can business, I'd have to see it to believe it.
__________________

jerkface11
March 21, 2009, 01:26 AM
Is CCI affiliated with Winchester/Olin? Or is her last name a coincidence?

zminer
March 21, 2009, 12:11 PM
I suspect it's a coincidence, seeing as the person who answered was not a VP or anything, just a service rep. CCI's website says they're associated with Speer, but says nothing about Winchester.

outerlimit
March 21, 2009, 06:58 PM
Too many chicken littles running around buying insane amounts of ammunition and components because they think it's going to be all gone. Their very actions are the ones causing the shortage.

Yup, I'm hoping, not predicting, but hoping that six months to a year from now there is an ammo glut because of these nimrods who are falling over themselves to buy a 500rd case of .45 auto or .223 for $350 or more. :rolleyes:

The gunshop owners and ammo dealers are more than happy to fan the flames of hysteria. If I see one more gun advertisement with a picture of Obama... :banghead:

kludge
March 21, 2009, 07:16 PM
I stock up when republican are in office. The last time I bought a bunch of ammo was when I saw that the republicans were going to lose the house...

Turns out I bought at just the right time.

Guns and more
March 21, 2009, 07:39 PM
I blame three factors.
1. Gun sales have grown exponentially. For whatever reason.
2. Ammo prices are predicted to rise, thus making people want to buy now.
3. People fear, rightly or not, that ammo will be banned, and want to have enough.

outerlimit
March 22, 2009, 03:57 PM
The price of stuff rises over time. When people decide to stop giving their paychecks to the ammo dealers, this non-sense will stop. In the time being, I have more important things to do with my money than buy more ammo.

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