Out of stock is the new in stock

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by coloradokevin, Oct 3, 2021.

  1. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I feel like shortages are becoming more of the norm for shooting sports, rather than the exception. Personally speaking, this is really starting to become a huge aggravation for me, and I'm not sure if/when this ongoing cycle of shortages will ever end. It has gotten to the point where it has made me skip range trips just to avoid using up the limited ammo/component stock I have for some firearms.

    I'm not even just talking about the current Biden/COVID induced shortage of everything shooting related, but rather the ongoing and cyclic shortages we seem to have experienced in supplies for the past 25 years or so. It seems like I can't even think of more than a few consecutive years where there weren't shortages popping up, and here's a non-exhaustive list just to name a few examples:

    1) Panic after the Clinton-era AWB caused a run on lots of stuff.
    2) Y2K caused another run on stuff.
    3) 2008-2016 we experienced ongoing shortages due to the Obama presidency, particularly among reloading supplies, and mostly due to unfounded internet rumors about regulations that would never come to pass.
    4) 2019-present we're experiencing shortages due to another Democrat taking office, and the whole COVID-19 mess.

    I know the old advice given on this (and other) forums has simply been to stock up, stock up, and stock up. If I'm being honest, I've likely given that advice myself during times of plenty, but this still isn't really a reasonable long-term answer. For starters, ammunition and reloading supplies are inherently finite and consumable. You can work your way through any size stockpile of components, and eventually you'll need to replenish them if you ever use them. I don't know about you guys, but I don't buy a ton of ammunition to have it just sitting around like a decoration... I like to shoot! During the last big shortage I was competing a lot, and spent around 2 days per week on the range with my precision rifles. It became very difficult to keep up with supplies back then, even when I bought in bulk.

    Beyond that, needs and interests change. These days if you go and buy a gun in a caliber you haven't previously owned, there's a really reasonable chance you won't even be able to find ammo for it! Or, if you decide to try a new type of competitive shooting that isn't using the same ammo you used in a previous endeavor, you might find you don't have access to what you need for that new venture.

    It just amazes me that for roughly 11 of the past 13 years it has often proven difficult to find ammo/reloading supplies in stock on a regular basis. This problem struck me again today as I started looking for components to load some stuff I haven't historically loaded much of in the past; naturally I've found those components to be sold out nearly everywhere (as expected).

    I'm sure I'm not the only one dealing with this, but I sure do hope the current panic subsides (again) sooner rather than later! Better yet, I hope someday people grow tired of panic buying every time the political winds change, and maybe we'll find ourselves with a more balanced and robust inventory of shooting supplies!
     
  2. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Focus your emergency supplies on those things that always disappear. Primers are easy to store very long term. Powder is the next major hide and seek item. You have those two things the rest is cake.
     
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  3. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    Good luck with the "hope" strategy.

    I'll continue to do as AJC1 recommends and buy powder, primers and molds when supplies are good and prices (relatively) low.

    It's worked well for me the last 45 years.
     
  4. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Stocking up is only a solution when you are stocked up enough to keep yourself going at your normal rate for the length of time it takes for supplies to become commonly available again.

    If you shoot 100 rounds per week, you have to stock up a whole bunch more than your average hunter who has a hunting rifle.

    Some will need quite a bit of purchasing power to pull that off.

    If it’s not worth it anymore there is no shame in throwing in the towel and taking up a hobby less prone to the whims and fancies of politicians….good luck with that since virtually everything is political now.
     
  5. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    I use the 50/50 rule, if i get 4 boxes, i shoot 2 and store 2, if i reload 500 rounds, 250 gets shot, 250 stored away. It’s not about cutting my shooting in half But storing the same amount that I shoot.
     
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  6. twarr1

    twarr1 Member

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    I got into reloading long ago half for the enjoyment and half to have a reliable source of quality ammunition. Now it’s 100% just for the enjoyment. In times past, when ammo was scarce, components were usually available. It’s not that way anymore. I guess the component supply has stayed roughly steady while the demand side (new reloaders) has skyrocketed. When I can’t find ammo I can’t find components. When components are available so is cheap ammo. I’ll continue to reload, but just for the fun of it, but I’m not counting on anything.
    It’s not much fun to go to the range thinking
    “Can I replace this 100 rounds I’m shooting?”
     
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  7. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    I don’t know of anybody that thinks our shooting supplies problems will get permanently better. Since supplies of everything from toilet paper to garage door springs is sketchy, shooting supplies can’t possibly improve much anytime soon.

    Basically we’re all stuck in a stupid game of feast and famine. The people stressing the least feasted the most in good times. Now with inflation, the game got even stupid-er.
     
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  8. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    Just because you can't stock enough to keep shooting at your "normal rate" for a totally unknown period of time doesn't mean that stocking up in times of plenty isn't a good idea.

    It's always possible to slow down on your shooting when prices are high and supplies low.

    It beats the hell out of paying 50 bucks a box for crappy 9mm fmj...
     
  9. DustyGmt

    DustyGmt Member

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    I can relate to everything you just said, but there were a number of years during the Obama admin that I was able to find whatever I wanted for pretty good prices, the thing that struck me more than anything during BHO was that basically after every shooting incident there was really tough talk on ramming tough legislation through and for a few months at minimum you couldn't find anything, but in relatively short order, things bounced back.

    From 2016-2020 things were great in terms of availability and cost. I too advised people to stock up and did so myself, and I have and hopefully always will have, that magic number of guns and ammunition I need to have on hand to feel adequately armed, and to be honest I probably have exceeded my own assessment in that regard...

    I know I can't go shooting like I used to, and I share the frustration and can identify specifically with your comment in regard to pursuing new shooting activities only to find that you can't sustain it due to availability or being prohibitively expensive. I love to shoot trap now and figured that the hot ticket cartridges always being 9mm, .223, .40, etc, I thought 12ga would always be relatively easy to find since in past shortages I would often note that the only thing stores had were 12ga target loads, not the case this time around.

    Long story short, now is a bad time to get into shooting, especially if it's a higher volume shooting discipline such as Trap and 3-Gun type competitions/training would demand... I have about a truckload of .22lr ammo to shoot pretty much without a care, but like everyone else I'm just waiting for price and availability to improve on the others.
     
  10. TacticalSpeed

    TacticalSpeed member

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    Lots of people cannot afford to do that. ;)
     
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  11. TacticalSpeed

    TacticalSpeed member

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    I'm just annoyed that I took a break from my firearms hobby for years & picked this year to get back into it LOL
     
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  12. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    I started in 04. 04-05 was okay.
    05-08 had the US dollar creep shortage.
    08-11 had the post Heller shortage (huge increase in CC, shortage of small cal ammo. Huge primer shortage. Prices rose 100% and stayed there permanently) Plus Obama shortage
    2011 was okay.
    2012-2017 was the huge .22 drought, and the powder shortage.
    2018 was okay
    2019 started CoVid... and here we are.

    So 4 of 17 years were not a "shortage year". Its not a shortage, its normal.
     
  13. Don_P

    Don_P Member

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    Gone for good are the days when work ethic was an every day household commodity. At the mere hint of war, industries totally unrelated could manufacture munitions, guns, aircraft, ships, and tanks in just weeks. Now they can't manage to market a pistol primer or a roll of toilet paper in under a year. I pity the next generation.
     
  14. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Sure, as I said above, I also buy when supplies are plentiful. The problem is that you can’t possibly own everything, and trying to get into something new (say a new shooting sport) during a shortage can be next to impossible.

    Here’s an example: I used a .308 Win as my competition rifle for years, and had plenty of Varget powder on hand to feed my reloading needs for that cartridge. Then, as my interests expanded to distances that were more often well beyond 500 yards I decided to switch to a .260 Remington competition gun. That was during the last shortage, and finding the H4350 powder I needed for those loads was darn near impossible for months, which limited my training time and the number of matches I’d go to with that gun. It wasn’t that I didn’t know to stock up on what I needed, it’s that what I needed changed.
     
  15. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I’ve found precisely the same thing over the years... the shortages didn’t used to touch the components, but these days they’re just as subject to panic buying as loaded ammo (if not more so).
     
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  16. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Don't miss an important fact: Millions of NEW shooters are joining our ranks. What we are seeing is an additional millions more people looking for ammo, guns, whatever they can get their hands on. That is sustaining a longer term supply shortage as they are now stocking up just like we are. When you have 50 million gun owners a few years back, and now 65 million, that's 15 million over the last 5-8 years. A third more than we had back in the day.

    That wasn't something the industry couldnot foresee, it's politically based. They were slowly improving in areas, but some of the larger conglomerates who owned the ammo makers weren't investing capital, just skimming the profits. The Remington plant in Lonoke AR for example. And they have gotten bit in the past, too, the Obama panic led to overproduction and the vendors were discounting to clear the shelves. We got fat and happy and cut back on buying ammo more than they could tolerate.

    Now it's a significantly larger demand and likely more than production can handle. A 30% increase in gun owners nobody saw coming.
     
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  17. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    Do we really have that many new shooters joining our ranks?

    Certainly gun sales are way up, but an awful lot of those sales are probably going to folks like us (the enthusiasts with more guns than they already need). In the anecdotal cases where I’ve see new shooters buying a gun because of XYZ concern, they’re often buying just one gun and one or two boxes of ammo... not 8 pound jugs of smokeless powder, or primers by the thousands, etc.

    Admittedly I think it would be great if the ranks of shooting enthusiasts swells by a large margin, I just wonder if that’s actually happening.
     
  18. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    I think you are right that new gun buyers by and large are not shooters. Likely they are not hobbiests either. Most sales per the ATF reports are small handguns people have been buying for protection (news and politicians scaring folks does have predictable results). Agree with you assessment most likely get a couple boxes of ammo.and call it good.
     
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  19. DarkswordDX

    DarkswordDX Member

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    I can vouch for this. 2016-18 were the worst years I ever had running a gun shop. You couldn't give anything away. Brand new AR-15s on clearance for $400 and people turned their noses up, and ammo rotted on the shelves. Handguns marked down to my cost plus $20 and people telling me they're cheaper online. And they were! The bulk reman ammo that we carried had long been some of the cheapest you could get in our area, and a good seller. During that period a bulk box cost us $65.00, retailed for $69.99, and wal mart was selling the same amount of a name brand in ammo cans for $59.99! People were buying guns online for 20-30% BELOW our wholesale cost, getting them transferred through us for 20 bucks, and being snooty with us because they thought our prices were somehow high. We closed our doors in 2018 and moved to a bigger city which helped just enough to save us, else we would have been another statistic of a "local gun store that just couldn't cut it." I've been running guns for nearly 20 years and I've never seen the bottom fall out of the market like that.
     
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  20. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I warned MANY people during the "salad years" that now was the time...and most ignored me. I bought what I could, but I went short too - I didn't expect any shortage to last this long. Still, I have found things here and there, a box of primers here, a pound of powder there, a box of bullets over here, and manage to keep going on. I used to shoot every week - now more like once a month.
     
  21. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    I found 9mm FMJ in stock, .40 cents round delivered. (Aint as cheap as it once was, but its cheaper than it has been)
     
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  22. Plan2Live

    Plan2Live Member

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    Think stock rotation and dollar cost averaging. If I buy today at 40 cents per round but shoot older stock i bought at 20 cents per round then the net cost is 30 cents per round.

    Another very real factor I don't think people are factoring in is inflation. Inflation is real and is back with a vengeance. I can't expect ammo prices to remain the same over a 20 year period, I see that expectation verbalized here far too often.
     
  23. Scrapiron45

    Scrapiron45 Member

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    Growing up in the seventies, we might shoot a couple boxes of pistol ammo in a year, maybe a box of hunting ammo for your deer rifle. During the eighties I might have a thousand rounds total. Then the AR's got popular along with the high cap nines and I hear guys at work talking about shooting 500-1000 rounds in one range visit. Now I have a neighbor that speaks of having 25,000 rounds of 5.56 stored and is concerned about running low.
    How times change.
     
  24. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    People afford what is a priority to them.
    I have a 2 and 3 year old. I remember what I was like when I was turned loose with a 22.
    Because of that I started farming on the side and bought a wide variety of guns, ammo and components.
    I'm packing to move now and am finding 9mm with $9 stickers, 45 with $12, etc. I considered it an investment in my children's well being.
    Don't get me wrong. Working a full time job, farming, and raising kids is tough. But it's necessary.
    There are many parables in The Bible about being prepared and listening to sound advise.
    It's our fault if we don't listen to the old timers.
     
  25. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    Doesn't take much square footage to stock up on primers and gunpowder. When you do, it helps out during the shortages, because you won't need them and don't add to the demand and others who do have a better chance of finding them.
     
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