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Retail insider's info on the current ammo shortage

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by waffentomas, May 8, 2013.

  1. waffentomas

    waffentomas Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Blue State
    I work for a large retailer of outdoor sporting goods... think Cabelas, Wholesale, Bass Pro, Gander, etc. Not sure what my employer would feel about me discussing this, so I need to protect myself.

    I manage the dept. where ammo, firearms, etc are sold.

    As most of us know, the ammo shortage is pretty bad.

    Back in Nov when Obama was re-elected, we had a pretty good run on AR platforms, no shocker there. But after Newtown, and the gun bills immanent arrival, things went nuts.

    We went for about a month with no ARs coming in at all. Customers were waiting at the doors for us to open, run to the back, and buy as many as we would allow. We eventually scaled that back to two, then one per customer, now it's five.

    Ammo was plentiful, as were reloading components.

    Once the ARs dried up, people came in and bought whatever we had. Minis, CETME, Springfields, HK, AK, SKS whatever. Once the Semi platforms dried up, the .22lr semis left the building in droves with the 10/22 takedown being the most highly prized. Handguns were being bought by people who had never owned a gun before, and by people who had plenty of guns but were just buying to buy.

    Buy mid January, ammo was was running short, and shipments couldn't catch up. Then the news hit about DHS and their ammo buy...reloading items disappeared along with the remaining ammo.

    Around the end of Feb., the guns sales slowed down significantly, and by March were back to normal. But the ammo was gone.

    Since then, here's what's happening at my store and in my company:

    We receive 2-4 average sized shipments of ammo a week. We have only recently received much product USA made. Some Federal and WW 5.56 comes in but it's mostly PMC or Russian. Our supply of 5.56/.223 has lasted about a week without selling out, mainly due to rationing. Now, customers wait at the door for ammo, not ARs. We know guys buy their daily limit, go get coffee, and come back. We see them on their cell phones telling their buddies what we have. No judgment, it's just the way it is right now. 7.62x39 has been steady, but we still run out before more comes in.

    Most of the ammo we get is made out of country, Korea, Israel, Russia, etc. No ammo runs there, so they ship to the U.S. We have gotten very large shipments of ammo about 2x a month, but cannot keep it on the shelves long enough to get a resupply. It's gone too fast. All calibers of handgun ammo is gone in hours. We have also run out of .30-30, .45 LC, and 10mm, even .22-250 and .270, 7mm Mag have had problems.

    Handgun ammo doesn't come in ever in enough quantity to last more than a few hours,, unless it's .327 mag. 9mm is the most highly sought, and we have had altercations over the last remaining boxes of that and .22lr.

    Customers buy handguns all the time and leave with no ammo.

    .22 lr is still the toughest to get, and keep. It's gone in an hour. CCI is the most in demand because there is a perception, true or not, that it cycles the .22 semis the best.

    We do not see the shortage abating soon. We do have plenty of ARs, and magazines. Handguns are still selling, but we just don't have the selection we usually do. SW Bodyguards are a hot item still.

    Reloading components are tougher yet. We get primers in, maybe, 1 or 2 times a week at most, and only a couple dozen boxes at most. Gone in an hour unless it's shotgun primers. Powder is just as bad. We mostly get the Hodgdon powders and affiliates in like IMR and WW. I haven't seen any Alliant in two months, and very little Accurate/Ramshot, though some. We get in 40-100 lbs, and it's gone in a couple of days depending on what we get. 50BMG doesn't move...4064 and Varget are the most highly prized in my experience. We had 4 lbs of Varget show up a few weeks ago, and that's all I have seen in three months. It's a lot like ammo, reloaders are buying whatever we have and working up loads again as their favorite powders are non-existent.

    It's better right now just to buy ammo, and not start reloading, as the components are too hard to find (for a decent price). We get very little .308 bullets or .224 bullets. These seem to be the toughest reloading item to find. If you are lucky enough to find a couple bricks of CCI Small rifle primers and get 4 pounds of 3031, you are still stuck without bullets. If you are lucky you find a 500 ct. box of Sierra 77gr .224 bullets, but if you don't have a 1 in 7 or 8 twist, they'll tumble. Even so, you have enough powder for about 1200 rounds, and only 500 bullets, it's frustrating.

    The most amazing thing is that customers STILL come in and look astonished when we tell them we have no primers or .22lr or 9mm. Where have these people been?

    We don't gouge, either. Prices have gone up. We used to sell a 20rd box of .223 for 6 bucks, now, our COST is over 7 bucks for the cheap stuff.

    If employees want stuff, they get it first, but they have to be working to get it, we don't stash a bunch in the back just for them. If you are working when it comes in, grab your limited allotment, and that's it.

    I hope this helps some folks understand. I'll answer questions too.

  2. il.bill

    il.bill Active Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    FOID Land (Illinois)
    Thank you for sharing. I appreciated how you simply reported your own experience, not indulging in wild speculations.

    It is often nice to get a new or different perspective on things.
  3. Midwest

    Midwest Senior Member

    Sep 13, 2011
    Thanks for the post.
  4. PabloJ

    PabloJ Senior Member

    Oct 17, 2010
    Thanks for posting. Most of us already know and acknowledge that shortages are caused by paranoid gun owners with form of ocd called obsessive hoarding.
  5. McBuck

    McBuck New Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    west slope of the Blue Ridge in a deep holler...19
    that hoarding ocd kind of steams ya, but I get what he is saying....it is what it is....I live in a semi rural area, and it seems that there is plenty ammo of most calibers here, but on another board I spend a lot of time on, there are a lot of members in the Atlanta area, and they report the panic buying every day...but up here in the highlands, it seems to be almost back to normal...the exception being 22lr, 9mm, and .223...most everything else seems to be pretty well stocked.

    351 WINCHESTER Senior Member

    Mar 19, 2007
    All of my lgs ammo in .223, 7.62x39 and 9mm were either PMC of Tula. No .22 at all.
  7. Queen_of_Thunder

    Queen_of_Thunder member

    Jul 28, 2012
    Where God purifies the soul. The West Texas desert
    Just a few numbers. One club I belong to has around 2200 dues paying members and is open to the public too. If 90% of the members shot just one box of 9mm a month you would need 220 cases of 500 to meet that need. If you add in the public its safe to say the need for 9mm doubles. Thats 440 cases per month so this small group of people could shoot 1 box of 9mm per month. When you consider the number of shooters in town, the increasing numbers seeking CHL and specialized training there is simply not enough ammo coming into town to meet normal consumption rates let alone increased purchases driven by outside forces.

    As far as problems the OP has experienced we have had only one problem due to a mis understanding and that was back in Febuary. I have to say Academy has really handled this mess quite well considering the possibilities of trouble with so many people seeking something thats in short supply. All of the lanes are opened and they have everyone in and out with their purchase in just a few minutes without problems.
  8. Akita1

    Akita1 Active Member

    Jan 4, 2013
    Hell (FL)
    Great post - thanks waffentomas
  9. Hondodawg

    Hondodawg New Member

    Aug 30, 2012
    Great post. And your pretty much spot on. I'm a buyer on the side for a small LGS in our family business. We've ran into shipments from direct vendors being allocated so say I bought 100lbs of H4350 I only received 20lbs. Along with ammo being stolen during shipments. I have given up on 22LR in the USA and hoping the Foreign 22 ammo I ordered shows up this late summer and fall. 9 pallets!
  10. Potatohead

    Potatohead Mentor

    Mar 9, 2013
    hey thx for the post...also, should we not be in semi panic mode, with these nutty laws being made? Especially us who just started out with nothing
  11. Oklacoyotekiller

    Oklacoyotekiller New Member

    Jan 2, 2012
    So where is all the american made ammo going? All i have seen lately other than a few boxes of wwb is foreign ammo.
  12. JVaughn

    JVaughn Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    Northeast TN
    Some stuff around here has more or less normalized like:

    38 special
    40 auto
    45 auto

    Some is there, at 15% - 30% over the former price


    Some is still completely unavailable anywhere in the area

  13. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Senior Member

    Mar 10, 2004
    The,sort of, Free state
    Today I was at the west side wallywerld in Lawrence, Ks., and there were about ten boxes of 45 acp on the shelf. I think it was PVC or PVU...?
    Not a brand that I recognize but I was nice to see something there for a change.
  14. 12many

    12many Active Member

    Jan 7, 2007
    GREAT POST. Thanks.

    There is ammo out there so I think it is a price issue now, at least online. Maybe excluding 22 LR. For .223 shells, AMMOMAN, SGAMMO and TARGETSPORTSUSA all have ammo in stock. Prices are still high, but getting better. I check these very day just for the sake of it. Prices are dropping and there is more stock now than ever in the last month.

    I am surprised how cheap 12 gauge shells can be.
  15. 61Woody

    61Woody New Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    Great informative post! One way I think could help put ammo on the shelf is put it out at a different time whenever a shipment comes in. At least the full time scavengers that sell for profit on the web would be competing with the working class folks that can't be there at 9:00 am every morning.
  16. CDR_Glock

    CDR_Glock Active Member

    Jul 4, 2010
    I stopped looking in stores. I just buy online. It's costly but still cheaper than driving around town wasting gas, too.

    There are more people who are new gun owners and that adds to demand. Luckily, I did most of my acquisition before elections. I don't shoot as much, or as often. It is important to still be competent and confident of one's ability to hit what they intend.
  17. SilentScream

    SilentScream Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Columbus Ga
    Yep sounds like my days back at the Sportsman's Warehouse back in Reno. When Obama part 1 happened, same situation, all the ammo you wanted as long as it was 45GAP or 356TSW. Same thing for Primers; as many #209's as the day is long. very little powder, very few component bullets, etc. My LGS here in Columbus has pretty much all the popular calibers however th price leave something to be desired.
  18. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Participating Member

    Mar 25, 2008

    :what:....dashes out on road trip to Lawrence......

    I should have thought of that sooner....Lawrence is filled with anti-s and socialists; probably has plenty of ammo resting on the shelves.:banghead:
  19. exbrit49

    exbrit49 Member

    Nov 21, 2011
    Hoarders still at it?

    Stopped by the local Wal-Mart today and while there I walked back to the sporting goods dept. and looked at the Ammo case. Not surprised to see empty shelves, the only cartridge in stock was some 7mm. Plenty of shotgun shells but that was about it. ( I should note that about the only ammo I buy is the odd brick of .22LR). I Picked up some cleaning brushes I needed and got in to conversation with the clerk. We spoke of the empty shelves and he told me that there are a group of about 20 individuals that just hang around the store and clean out the stocks as soon as it gets put on the shelf. She said the bad thing is that despite the rationing to three boxes, as soon as the ammo comes in they call their family members andd friends to come and buy ammo for them. She said she has heard conversations among the group of how many boxes they have stashed away.
    Makes me glad I am an avid re-loader. I am still shooting at my normal rate for 200 to 300 rounds a week of larger caliber handgun ammo.
    I have had my .22 pistols out a few times but not as much as I would like.
    but I don't think the current empty Shelf Syndrome is going away soon. THe hoarders are still in the feeding frenzy and it looks like it will continue until they run out of cash or storage space.
    Since I can load 9mm and 38Spl for under $7.00 a box I will just sit back and watch the frenzy. I am at the range a lot and I am not sure how it is in another regions, but around here, people are not shooting.
    I followed a guy on the range and he shot off two magazines of 9mm, about 20 rounds and was finished! He got bug eyed when he saw I was setting out several boxes of 9mm, 38SP, 45 ACP and 45 Colt. He actually said "Are you going to shoot all that?" I think he was rather surprised at my response, which was 'YES" My guns are for shooting not looking at! Seems the young man has lots of ammo but wont shoot it. I can understand the feeling but considering he had driven a 25 mile round trip to shoot off just those few rounds, when he had plenty more? Its beyond me.
    ALl we need is these hoarders t oquit for a couple of weeks and the situation would improve drastically. AS it is right now, I don't expect to see much change over the next 6 months.
    I am very lucky, in that my LGS has kept me well supplied with components through this tough time, I guess it goes to prove a good relationship with your LGS pays off. Last week he called and said I have your Unique in and your CCI primers.
    Each to his own I guess.
  20. southoftheboarder

    southoftheboarder New Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    Chesapeake, VA
    Thanks for the info on the ammo shortage. Hopefully this shortage will end soon. I'm on the market for a newer pistol but not sure what cal. I should buy. I have an old High Standard Supermatic Trophy 22LR but want something that I can carry concealed.

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