Time to refill our ammo cans before civilians ammo sales are affected.


Mil Novecientos Once
May 28, 2004, 07:55 AM
US army 'runs short of bullets'

US soldiers are firing so many bullets in Iraq and elsewhere that the army's main supplier cannot keep up with the huge demand, US military officials say.
They say the army needs two billion bullets a year, but its government-owned supplier, Alliant Techsystems, can only make 1.2 billion.

To fill the gap, a US firm and Israel's state-owned bullet-maker were awarded contracts for 70 million rounds each.

But they will still be some 300 million rounds short, army officials say.

Working around the clock

"We're at war," was how US Army spokesman Major Gary Tallman explained the reason for the dramatic increase in the demand for small-calibre ammunition to the Philadelphia Enquirer newspaper.

The US military say that - with almost daily firefights in Iraq and also ongoing operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere - the demand is higher than at any time since the war in Vietnam.

They say US non-combatant troops in Iraq are also using more bullets in training, due to an increased number of attacks by insurgents on supply and transportation units.

Alliant Techsystems chief executive Dan Murphy told the Associated Press news agency that the company had gone through its fastest increase in production of bullets - 37% in the first three months of the year - to meet the demand.

He said some production lines at the firm's plant in Missouri were operating around the clock.

The army said it expected the Winchester Ammunition of East Alton, Illinois, and also Israel Military Industries Ltd of Israel to start delivering bullets on their new contracts next month.

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May 28, 2004, 08:52 AM
I guess this shouldn't come as a surprise-sounds logical, when you think of it. I'm guessing most of the folks on this board don't need any more encouragement to buy more ammo. ;)

May 28, 2004, 08:59 AM
Whoa, since when is Alliant "government-owned"?

May 28, 2004, 09:13 AM
Yea, but once they ramp up and the sitiuation eventually simmers down there will be a huge surplus!!!!! :D

ballistic gelatin
May 28, 2004, 09:17 AM
First we send IT jobs offshore, then insurance, now ammunition.

Pretty soon, we'll be one of the world's SuperShoppers instead of a SuperPower.
It's disgusting.

Ben Shepherd
May 28, 2004, 09:19 AM
I know that Barnes Bullets(who are about 2 miles from my house) just got some huge military contract. It's big enough that the are changing locations for added space.

With powder, lead, and transportation costs all going up lately, it's getting a little expensive to shoot, eh??

May 28, 2004, 09:19 AM
Two points:

a) I suspect this shortage impact .223, almost exclusively.

b) I believe Alliant operates several (most, all ??) production facilities on a GOCO basis -- the plant is Government Owned and Contractor Operated. This is quite normal for major defense-industrial manufacturing facilities, including aircraft final-assembly plants, the tank plant in Michigan, various ordnance production facilities, and so forth.

May 28, 2004, 11:28 AM
Not only is Uncle Sam short bullets for M-16s, he's short magazines as well.

Was told by my brigade commander last week that the Army supply system is backordered on M-16 mags by a million magazines. Given a basic load is 7 per soldier, that's enough magazines for almost 143,000 troops.

Given that AR-15 clones are just about the most popular semi-auto rifle around, I blame the shortage of mags on the AWB.

May 28, 2004, 12:17 PM
This is precisely one of the major problems David Hackworth has always written about. For some reason the Army has gotten so caught up in aquiring other floofy, useless, high dollar systems they forgot they need things like small arms training and ammo to actually carry out the mission.
I also agree the AWB has played a role in no small part either in the mag shortage.

AZ Jeff
May 28, 2004, 01:46 PM
As others have posted, Alliant is the operator of the GOCO (Gov't Owned, Contractor Operated) Lake City Army Ammunition plant is Missouri.

I don't understand why they just don't issue procurement contracts to Federal, rather than contracting to IMI in Israel. Federal ran the Lake City plant before Alliant. Certainly they have the capability to make M855 ball rounds in the Twin Cities.

May 28, 2004, 02:41 PM
I wrote a letter to my congressional vermin telling them to cut this crap out.

Tell Lockheed to stuff their idea of a consortium with foreign producers. I think it suspicious that gov't thinks the US can't produce its own ammo needs. I smell a globaloney outsourcing play. If US suppliers can't compete at the required price point, then the federal government better get its keester (not the word I wanted to use) in gear and reduce the cost of governmental mandate "benefits".

<Breathes deeply, focusing on a distant object>

I feel better now.

May 28, 2004, 02:50 PM
I saw this on Ammonman.com just last night... I wonder if they added this line after the "shortage" announcement.



May 28, 2004, 05:48 PM

You mention Lockheed in your post. Lockheed Martin is not involved in this type or ammunition production. Alliant was cited as the GOCO manufacturer. Why did you mention Lockheed?

May 28, 2004, 06:42 PM
Whether the additional contracts go to another in-country source or overseas, it's a gawd-damned travesty that there is only ONE Federal ammo manf plant. It's an outrage. There ought to be 2-3-4, geographically scattered, even if kept in mothballs.

Jeff White
May 28, 2004, 07:14 PM
The blame for our current inabilty to rapidly expand our military lays right at the feet of the first George Bush to be president. When the Belin Wall came down, they were very ready to spend the so called peace dividend. The blueprints for the drawdown were drawn up in 1989. The brief Gulf War in 1991 merely delayed things for a couple years.

The Clinton administration compounded the problem by not funding training ammunition and drawing from war reserves to resource training in the 1990s.

The fact is that the pundits in both parties never imagined that we would ever deploy a large ground force into extended combat again. Facilities that had been in mothballs (like small arms ammunition plants) were sold off in the 1990s because the pundits figured they would never be needed. Anyone who suggested that it wasn't a good idea was laughed at and called things like cold war dinosaur.

I guess the pundits were wrong, and us cold war dinosaurs were right. Unfortunately young Americans are paying in blood (once again) because their elected representatives (from both parties) never had the moral courage to fund defense over social programs.


May 28, 2004, 07:29 PM
Over $300,000,000,000 spent on defense annually and not enough .223 ammo to go around eh.....Not even government is that incompetant...

May 28, 2004, 07:50 PM
Ammo shortage? No problemo! And the more .223 our guys shoot, the fewer people will be shooting my 7.62X39:p :p :p :p So, I guess you could say that less .223 = more 7.62X39!!



May 28, 2004, 07:50 PM
First report of the event I saw said Lockheed was floating a proposal to allieviate the problem. I'll see if I can find the URL.

In any case I wonder why COMMON ammo is not put up for bid. I consider it preposterous for our defense establishment to think the land of 300 million firearms in not capable of producing required ammo, yet a country of 30 million and another of 6 million residents is indeed capable.

This is nothing more than globalony horse-pucky. They are pulling the same crap on a new Marine 1 helicopter which the French want to provide and the Air Farce wanting a new tanker fleet so AirBus wants a piece of it. Hey France, you wanna a piece of the defense pie, build up your freakin' military and bid on your own needs. It will be a frigid day on Hilton Head before I stand by and watch the French in particular take our defense dollars.

<Feels much better but is still red-eyed angry over the whole concept of outsourcing our defense needs to a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys, Canadians who are too good to get dirty in Iraq, and Israel where we are already purchasing a theatre anti-missile system. Enough is enough, Dubya, you spineless. . . . . > Continues breathing deeply.

May 28, 2004, 07:54 PM
Federal Cartridge already makes Gov't Ammo. they make Nato 9mm ball and .223 rounds. they also make the gold medal .223 rounds the marksmen teams use. they keep that stuff locked up in the warehouse.

Fudgie Ghost
May 28, 2004, 10:54 PM
Waitone: Don't wanna bum you out more than you already are, but, if I'm not mistaken, (and I'm sure I'll be set straight here in short order if I am), the Coast Guard flies Aerospatile (sp?) choppers--at least around these parts (NJ/NY/CT/RI). That'd be French choppers.

Hey, low bidder gets the nod, right?

May 28, 2004, 10:57 PM
I wouldn't believe the BBC if they said the sun was coming up tomorrow.

So if the US Army shoots up a gazillion rounds of .223 does that mean that they will be selling a gazillion rounds of surplus once-fired brass?

May 28, 2004, 11:14 PM
The services short of ammo? Nothing new.

When I was in Germany in the early 80s there was no .45 ACP for training. The S3 suggested everyone who had .45s go buy a box of cartridges to train so we would be ready for the Annual IG. I told him to tell the IG team why we had not qualified instead.

Jeff White
May 28, 2004, 11:30 PM
I remember those days it seems they stopped procuring .45 ammo long before they ever fielded the M9 in any quantity. We actually received IMI commercial .45 to conduct qualification with one time during those days.


May 28, 2004, 11:36 PM
Alliant Techsystems owns Federal Cartridge.

The US Military just contracted out to Winchester (who makes M855 also) and IMI (who also makes M855)

May 29, 2004, 08:00 AM
Something I just thought of...

I know the new, environmentally friendly ball ammo is more expensive than the old kind with the lead in it...anyone know if it takes longer to make, as well? And if the requirement for 'green' bullets may have anything to do with the inability of Remington and other US companies to make ammo for our troops?

Now, I know that the M16/M4 is a finicky bitch, that, as George (Ogre) likes to say, ????s where it eats, which would probably preclude using Russian made stuff for those rifles, but is there anyreason that steel case Russian 5.56 couldn't be used in the M249?

May 29, 2004, 08:07 AM

May 30, 2004, 01:18 AM
Or the PCA Spectrum plastic cased stuff!:D And I remember using IMI .45 for our last quals with the M1911's, too, Jeff. I thought it kinda ludicrous that the US Army was buying ball ammo from Israel. And now langenator wants to use Russian ammo in the M249's? If it's anything like the 9mm Wolf, Nyet! :cuss:

May 30, 2004, 08:28 AM
I thought it kinda ludicrous that the US Army was buying ball ammo from Israel.

The question is, "Do Sharon's lips move when Bush speaks?" I'm not surprised by ANYTHING we do with Israel! I wonder where "W" and Laura sleep when Shamu is in town.


May 30, 2004, 10:38 AM
I'm not sure that this will affect the commercial prices of .223. Common ammunition makers like Remington, Black Hills, Wolf, S&B, etc. and various surplus sources will still be available. IMI ammo and Federal ammo (which my Mini-14 LOVES) will probably be in very short supply for a while, though.

May 30, 2004, 11:49 PM
As far as the M16 mag shortage and the AWB--there is also a huge fiasco over junk magazines issued for the Beretta M9 that occurred as a direct result of the AWB.


Because all of the companies that used to make aftermarket full-cap mags for the civilian Beretta 92 were put out of that business by the AWB, the military was forced to run a small contract for military-only magazines, and apparently the company cut some corners to keep the cost where the military wanted it (since they couldn't amortize the tooling by selling mags to civilians like they could before 1994).

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