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Understanding The Ammo Shortage

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Alizard, Apr 19, 2013.

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  1. Alizard

    Alizard Member

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    The "disappearing ammo phenomenon" has a huge psychological component to it, and it involves the way people react to a shortage (panic) and even how their long term behavior changes.

    This is a true story I lived through and it illustrates how a shortage can be created even when none exists.... and why.

    I started work at Fairchild Semiconductor three decades ago. There was a common equipment room where all the company electronics equipment was stored: oscilloscopes, signal generators, meters, etc. And as would be obvious, every piece of equipment had an AC power cord with it that plugged in the back and let you plug it in and use it.

    One day, the idiot who ran the equipment room decided that the equipment should go on the shelves and the AC cords should hang on the wall.... but there were several different styles of AC cords (USA, european, non standard).

    So each time somebody wandered into the equipment room and grabbed a piece of equipmenet, he had to hunt for a cord.

    THE "SOLUTION":

    People started keeping cords in their desks. So whenever they carried a piece of equipment back, they were "secure" in the knowledge they had the right cord and wouldn't have to search through the ones in the equipment room.

    Instantly a shortage was created: every piece of equipment had a cord.... but now every engineer had five of them stockpiled in his desk. Within a short time, cords became scarce and everybody was complaining that we needed to buy more cords.... when in fact, there were plenty of cords.

    The point is: anytime people's "equilibrium" is upset they react and often in stupid ways. In the case of the ammo shortage, people who used to keep a few boxes of ammo on hand are now scrambling to acquire thousands to keep and "feel secure". This means the demand for ammo has been suddenly (and artificially) increased well beyond the actual consumption level and the supply system in place is not sized to provide that much ammo.

    You also have gougers buying up all the ammo they can to scalp it on Craig's list and make money which further increases demand.
     
  2. MErl

    MErl Member

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    There is a difference between ammo and your example, ammo is consumable.

    The people in your example that got a few boxes on the way to the range and now need 1k to be safe, they are the retail baseline load. What happens to that load, the boxes at gun stores or walmart, when they now have a 5 year supply. Will that change be enough that stores cut back on what they bother to stock?

    This disruption can ring around for a long time in unstable ways.
     
  3. commygun

    commygun Member

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    I think part of the problem is that ammo has now proven it's value as an alt-currency/investment in the event of future (and inevitable) panics. This proven value is going to prolong the shortage. It's no longer just about shooting in many, many people's minds.
     
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I just bought a 99 Savage in .308. I don't have any other rifles in .308, so I need ammo, brass and dies.

    I ordered dies from Midway USA -- and they're backordered. I went to my local Wal Mart, and they have no .308 -- the clerk tells me when a truck comes in with ammo, customers are lined up 60-deep at the counter.

    No need to postulate plots or nefarious government schemes -- we, the gun-owning public are in a panic buying mode.
     
  5. PlaneJain

    PlaneJain Member

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    Until there is no more stories in the news of my federal government and individual states trying to tear down our rights to firearms, I will continue to buy, and buy some more. Until I am satisfied that my shooting style will last my lifetime.
     
  6. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    I fail to see the point of your comparison.

    Power cords are not gaurranted in The Bill of Rights. Many Americans realize that the 2A is the lynchpin that holds all of the other Amendments and rights in place.

    While you may not have taken the American Caesar Obama declaration of war on gun owners seriously many Americans have and the Liberals have certainly have taken notice
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Good luck -- I just located and snapped up 10 boxes of .308 bullets -- buty had to go to several sites to find them.
     
  8. 12many

    12many Member

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    Ammo is available it just cost more than people want to pay. Plus, a bunch of people are sitting on a bunch of ammo. Many pPeople are not shooting what they are buying.

    TargetsportsUSA has .223 and so does ammoman. Go to slickguns.com.

    It just costs more than people want to pay. But, prices are dropping.
     
  9. we are not amused

    we are not amused Member

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    You are both right, but I don't think most of the ammunition now being bought is for consumption anytime soon, it's for "just in case".

    It may get interesting when the panic is over. What will the idiots with a ten year supply do with it? Not buy any for ten years, or dump it at gun shows and Craig's list?

    Might be some really good deals out there.

    I have not bought any ammunition since the New Town Shooting, and have just about shot up all of my expendable supply. When it is gone, I will restrict my shooting only to what I need to stay proficient with my concealed carry and hunting needs. Unless of course, the run on ammunition is over, and I can buy at reasonable prices again.
     
  10. mrvco

    mrvco Member

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    I concur.

    Several of my LGS's have PLENTY of ammo on hand, albeit at prices that keeps it from selling very quickly (if at all). I think the other LGS's that don't have ammo seem to be those that don't want to take the heat from people accusing them of price gouging.
     
  11. 12many

    12many Member

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    As someone posted earlier, some people are sitting on a lot and are either going to sell or not have to buy for along time. This could create a glut or reduce of demand. Remindes me of the housing boom/bust.
     
  12. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    Bottom line: supply chain could not even come close to keeping up with demand. I have zero evidence of this, but I doubt manufacturers added any equipment or lines. Some I know added shifts and personnel. They probably did not think the demand would stay at the nearly log rate (yeah I know it wasn't logarithmic, but it was large) - maybe if it keeps up for 12 months they will expand with capital improvements. From bullets to primers to complete ammo, the supply chain maxed out.
     
  13. Gottahaveone

    Gottahaveone Member

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    Not gonna happen. People were saying exactly the same thing about all the AR's being bought during the 2008 election panic and how there were going to be ton's of them for sale cheap when the credit card bills started coming due. Those "deals" never materialized, the cost of new AR's settled back down, and we added a whole lot of new gun owners to our ranks.

    I expect these are some of the same people buying ammo now, and they are going to do the same thing with all that ammo that they did with their new AR's. Put it in a closet somewhere and leave it....
     
  14. we are not amused

    we are not amused Member

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    Oh, I don't know about that. There were a lot of very good deals on AR's before the New Town shooting, and some day that ammo is going to come out of the closets. Maybe at garage sales or gun shows. I remember seeing a lot of private sellers at gun shows with AR's for sale wandering around looking for buyers. They have started showing back up the last few guns shows, I've attended.

    In fact, there is a show in Wichita tomorrow, thought I would attend just to see what prices are.
     
  15. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Member

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    to be honest, i havent got a real good deal on a gun since late 07.but then it not like i need any more to add to the ones i got now.
     
  16. Ken70

    Ken70 Member

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    30 years ago in the USSR, most everything was in short supply. So when something actually was in stock, you bought as much as you could carry. That might be 5 times what you could use in the near term, but you didn't know when it might be available again. So you bought, just like everybody else. So there were shortages because the supply was in storage at somebodies house. Toilet paper was a common item this happened with.
     
  17. Alizard

    Alizard Member

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    Keen observation. Speaking of good deals.... after the federal AWB expired, I bought a truckload of FACTORY ten round magazines for SIG, Glock, Springfield XD, Beretta for about $8 each. Those are the factory mags that previously sold for $35 - $40. Once the AWB expired, all those ten round magazines were suddenly about worthless and the manufacturers dumped them.

    Since ten round is the max here in cali, I was tickled to get such a generous windfall for my magazine supply.
     
  18. Queen_of_Thunder

    Queen_of_Thunder member

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    The source of the ammo shortage was simply a surge in demand by new gun owners. I'm guessing somewhere in the range of 5 million new gun owners. This increased demand to the point shortages developed. Add to that the experiences of past shortages current gun owners had experienced and you get a demand that cannot be sastified.

    Now many blame others for the shortages instead of looking at the facts. In fact you should be thanking those "gougers,flippers and others" for finding the ammo and bringing it to the marketplace where buyers can purchase it. Otherwise the situation would me worse then it is now. I know the prices are high but thats because the demand is high and the supply is very low. Hence the high prices.

    The demand for ammo will continue to remain high. Anyone who shoots more than every now and then will stock up to prevent them from being in such a state ever again. Sad to say this could last a few years without the political interference and the "anti's" efforts to place restrictions on the ability to exercise one's Second Amendment Rights. If the "anti's" continue their crusade against the Second Amendment then its anyones guess when supply will increase and prices drop.
     
  19. bri

    bri Member

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    Before I would smile whenever someone mentioned firearms as an investment. Now ammunition as well? Get real.
     
  20. vito

    vito Member

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    Whatever the reason for the shortages I know that I used to feel OK with having two 500 rdbricks of 22lr and now I no longer do. I would likely pay much more than "normal" just to feel I have enough to feel safe.
     
  21. bri

    bri Member

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    Here here! I never would have been able to track all that ammo down! I always get confused as to which aisle it is at Walmart. 14? 4? Silly me.

    Also, thanks for flipping all this ammo at a modest 200% markup. We couldn't have made it through this without you.
     
  22. itchy1

    itchy1 Member

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    "In fact you should be thanking those "gougers,flippers and others" for finding the ammo and bringing it to the marketplace where buyers can purchase it. Otherwise the situation would me worse then it is now."

    I don't think so. The ammo would have found its way into the marketplace just fine without the extra layer of middlemen.
     
  23. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    BUYERS set market prices, not gougers, middlemen, manufacturers nor the Tooth Fairy. As soon as people are not willing to pay higher prices, and product sits, the price comes down.

    I will not pay exorbitant prices for ammo, but I reload and have components, if I didn't I'd just shoot minimally to remain proficient until prices came back down, which they will.
     
  24. Highland Ranger

    Highland Ranger Member

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    I don't know . . . . . I have quite a few boxes of 45acp hardball I bought for $4.99 not that long ago . . . . . what are they now $18?

    That's done better than any money I invested anywhere else.
     
  25. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    I saw the .22LR sellers at the shows. Brand new sellers, with nothing but .22LR $60-$100 per brick on their tables. Some people were buying, most of us were chuckling. Not sure if they have "inventory" as of today.

    Yes indeed the buyers set the price.
     
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