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Many of us here at TaurusArmed.net have postulated about the "reasons" for the lack of availability of handgun ammunition, and there certainly are a lot of theories as to what are the causes of our nation's ammunition shortages.

I'm going to share the experiences of my latest quest for handgun ammunition and a thought or two about, possibly, what may be going on in our nation. I'd enjoy reading your thoughts on my hypothesis...as well as any other comments you'd care to make on this subject.

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This morning, April 25, 2013, I went to my favorite LGS in Southaven, MS, to browse around their display cases and scour the shelves for handgun ammunition. Up until today, I've been able to buy ammo in this particular store in most any caliber I desired...even during this time of ammo shortages. Today, it was a different story.
1. There was not one box of 9mm ammunition on the shelves.
2. Not one box of 40 S&W, nor 380 ACP, 38 Super, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, nor 45 Colt!
3. There were only six boxes of Winchester .410 handgun ammo available.
4. There were eight boxes left of some El-Cheapo 45 ACP range ammo.

I left this store and drove to Sportsman's Warehouse, where handgun ammo availability has been steadily diminishing for the past few months. To my dismay, there was absolutely no handgun ammunition except for: eight dog-eared boxes of some funky, off-brand .44 Magnum ammo that I'd never even heard of. Reloading supplies were almost non-existent. .410 handgun ammo was at an all-time low for this particular store, but twelve gauge shotgun ammo was still in good supply.

Wal-Mart had absolutely NO handgun ammunition this morning. NONE! There was no .223 either, and there was precious little rifle ammo left in traditional hunting calibers.

From there, I drove to Hernando, MS, to a relatively new, privately-owned small gun shop.
1. There was no 38 Super ammo nor 9mm ammo on their shelves...
2. ...nor was there any defensive JHP .380 ACP ammunition...
3. ...and only scant boxes of FMJ and defensive ammunition available in 357 Mag, 38 Special, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP.

Here's what I'm wondering: could it be that the segment of socialistic elected officials in Washington (especially our president) will eventually see to it that handgun ammunition will cease to exist on the shelves of retail stores for the average consumer (excluding law enforcement agencies)? I mean, if the liberal gun-grabbers in Washington can't get the Senate to pass their restrictive firearms measures, which infringe on our rights provided in the Second Amendment, perhaps they are taking measures to do away with the availability of ammunition to the "average Joe" on the street.

At any rate, I'm really beginning to get concerned about the increasingly dwindling availability of ammunition (especially handgun ammo) in my particular area.

In case you folks are wondering...yes, I'm wearing my tin-foil hat!
 

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That is the easiest way to push gun elimination, eliminate the availability of ammo, and thusly, reloading supplies. Without ammo for any gun, all you have is a pretty hammer that you used to shoot with. I know there is a lot of hoarding going on, but it still seems suspicious when only a few people can get ammo, and that's because they has to camp out in the sporting goods section of Wal-Mart. MPG, that sounds like the majority of people's experiences nowadays, trying to find ammo. It is somewhat scary.
 

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IMHO it's been purely a panic driven phenomenon that has brought to the surface some unscrupulous, greedy and I believe foolish amateur speculators. Many of us including myself have reported stories such as Wal-Mart employees buying up what little supplies that arrive on trucks only to re-sell on Internet classified/auction sites for pure profit. Here in the NE, handgun and rimfire ammo along with primers, brass and bullets have been sparse to non-existent since 12/12. Only in the last week has this trend begin to reverse along with my own observation of the Craigslist type ads for rimfire/9mm ammo having to be re posted again and again. The situation will self correct as the heat gets turned down by the media and the gun grabbing politicians turn their attention to the summer recess. I also believe that at some capacity, part of the non-shooting public participated in the ammo grab, anticipating the run after Newtown. As we move forward, it's going to be a slow build up of former inventory levels as shooters begin to build larger ammo caches than they would otherwise consider for fear of repeat of the last 5 months.
 

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I don't believe the government conspiracy explanation. The manufacturers all say they are running full-out. In the example of Hornady they've even de-bunked the "government is buying it all up" theory, stating that an insignificant amount of their production goes to the government. The manufacturer's all have an economic incentive to make and sell as much as possible at the highest possible price.

I also disagree with the availability issue. There's plenty available, at a price. Gunbroker.com has 384 listings for .380 ammo. I think if you check the other calibers you'll find a similar situation. You can get just about anything you want, if you can afford it. The same thing happened with Beanie Babies, demand outstripped the ability of the manufacturer to meet demand, so the prices spiked. Pure Economics 101.

So what's happened is a demand-driven shortage. Much of the regular supply is being diverted to the "gray" market for profit. Primers are being diverted to loaded ammo production. The canister powders we use generally aren't used by the ammo manufacturers, but the production capacity of the few powder makers we have is being consumed by orders from the ammunition makers. Let's face it, those are by far their biggest customers.

Working in manufacturing, I understand that it's not easy to significantly increase production when you require highly specialized and expensive equipment. You can go to 24/7 production, but that's about it. They were probably running at least 20/6 when this started, and quite probably 24/5. A manufacturing company needs a certain level of production to remain profitable. A plant running 8/5 won't be profitable due to the high cost of equipment. You can't just keep reserve capacity available.

A manufacturer now must decide if this level of demand is going to remain high, or eventually fall back to "normal" levels. They need to commit to tens millions of dollar of capital investment to increase production, and one does not do that casually. They'll need to expand or build new facilities, and order machinery, which takes time once they make the decision.

If demand remains up, supply will slowly catch up. If demand falls back the supply chain will eventually fill back up. What we've done is suck up all the available inventory.

We just have to wait it out.
 

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I believe what we are seeing in the ammo shortage crisis is the result of the 'perfect storm', if you will. Several things have happened in a relatively short amount of time that has caused the shortage. The snowball started rolling around November of last year when we elected a President who has an anti-gun attitude. The NRA warned what would happen if he was re-elected and shortly after the election, things started to tighten up as far as ammo availability. It happened in 2008 when he was elected the first time. Around the first of the year, contracts for ammo purchases for several Government Departments kicked in or were re-ordered and increases in amounts were also added to the mix. This put another strain on the requirements of ammo makers keeping up with demand. Then we had the Sandy Hook tragedy. When that happened and the president seized the opportunity to further his agenda, panic set in and shooters began hoarding ammo not knowing what was coming up down the road. Gun sales soared along with prices on said guns. The ones that were mentioned being banned saw prices double and even triple. Supply couldn't meet demand. When people saw what was happening, shooters and non-shooters alike began to realize that profit could be made from this crisis and ammo became a precious commodity. Buying for profit selling added to the already short supply of ammo and what little ammo was out there was snapped up by people looking to make a fast buck. I believe this is all starting to settle down now that Congress has blocked some restrictive legislature concerning gun-control. Hoarders are breathing a sigh of relief and realizing they have enough ammo and have stopped paying stupid prices for ammo they didn't need in the first place. With no real threat of any gun bans, prices are coming back down and availability is also increasing on guns and ammo will follow. Legislature is being written to control the amount of ammo government agencies can buy to reduce stockpiling and that too should help in the long run. So once we have weathered this 'perfect storm' things will settle down and we can all look back on this and learn from what we have lived through. It is just going to take some time.
 

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I dont know, but it all ticks me off.. Went to my local farm supply store to see if they had any ammo yet, of course they didn't.. But while I was looking at the empty shelf, I noticed the price tags said $21.99 for a 50 count box of 9mm. WTH? Really? :mad:
 

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I dont know, but it all ticks me off.. Went to my local farm supply store to see if they had any ammo yet, of course they didn't.. But while I was looking at the empty shelf, I noticed the price tags said $21.99 for a 50 count box of 9mm. WTH? Really? :mad:
Actually, that's a really good price in today's market. 9mm shooters are a bit spoiled, I think the previous prices for 9mm were the flip side of the current situation, where an oversupply kept prices artifically low. Granted on a cost of components basis 9mm should be cheaper than .40 or .45, but not that much cheaper. The cost advantage of 9mm has evaporated. The disparity in the cost of reloading 9mm vs other calibers is no where near as great as the disparity was in factory ammo prices.

You could probably track the health of the market by charting the number of listings on gunbroker.com. Things won't settle down until that number starts dropping. 9mm ammo currently has 1,959 listings.
 

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I think the price of 9mm ammo was so much cheaper because most police departments used that round, so most manufactures wanted to make it, thus a flooded market and lower prices. But now, its coming back up to where it should have been, and hopefully with the police forces largely going to larger rounds like 40 and 45 cal, those of use that use them might get that same benefit when the crazy dies down of course.

They almost need to keep making it, but stop shipping it for about 2 months, to build up a massive stock, then ship it all at once, and flood the shelves. Maybe when people saw ammo available for a while, they would stop, and all the buy to sell guys would be stuck.

course like term limits, that will never happen.
 

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I think the price of 9mm ammo was so much cheaper because most police departments used that round, so most manufactures wanted to make it, thus a flooded market and lower prices. But now, its coming back up to where it should have been, and hopefully with the police forces largely going to larger rounds like 40 and 45 cal, those of use that use them might get that same benefit when the crazy dies down of course.

They almost need to keep making it, but stop shipping it for about 2 months, to build up a massive stock, then ship it all at once, and flood the shelves. Maybe when people saw ammo available for a while, they would stop, and all the buy to sell guys would be stuck.

course like term limits, that will never happen.
I have another solution to stop it, but nobody's going to like it........... Require an FFL to sell ammo. Not saying I'm for that, but it would work.
 

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Also during this time of ammo shortage, LGS' are changing the way they sell the ammo that they DO have. My LGS will only sell you ammo if you buy a gun and then you are limited to 2 boxes.
 
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I've found that trips to any Big Box (Wal-Mart, Cabelas et. al.) are wasted gas and time. I've spent the time better with "legacy" LGS's in my area. The single-location sporting goods store my dad bought my 10/22 at when I was 8. Still in business, without a bunch of black plastic stuff with "TACTICAL!" plastered all over the place. They've had 9MM every time I walk in. Another single-location legacy sporting goods store in my area has CCI 22lr every time I walk in. Sometimes only 50-round boxes of Velocitor, sometimes Mini-Mag bulk pack.

I guess I'm saying, skip the big box and support the little guy who has been in your community before the last couple of ammo freakouts. At least in my 'hood the ammo zombies, that wait for trucks to arrive at the Walmart so they can buy and resell all they have, have not found the off-the-beaten-path places. Yet.
 

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Also during this time of ammo shortage, LGS' are changing the way they sell the ammo that they DO have. My LGS will only sell you ammo if you buy a gun and then you are limited to 2 boxes.
If their supply is severely limited they have to chose how to sell. Leaving with a gun and no ammo would not be helpful to the image of the gun shop. Others with ranges sell to shooters renting lanes. Some will sell over the counter when supplies are up but revert to paying customers (guns, range) when they are tight. I don't fault them for it - it is a business priority decision - they WANT to sell ammo hand over fist to everyone that walks in the door. Sadly, they cannot!
 

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I have another solution to stop it, but nobody's going to like it........... Require an FFL to sell ammo. Not saying I'm for that, but it would work.
Glen, go stand in the corner.
 

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I went to my LGS to look around and pickup ammo. He usually has plenty. But since this situation, he is out too. I was talking with the owner and he stated that he bought a year's worth of 22lr and this year it sold out in less than 2 months. Not sure what is going on. Now the DHS is being targeted for something. Looks like they are trying to suck up all the ammo they can. Check it out... Reps challenge DHS ammo buys, say agency using 1,000 more rounds per person than Army | Fox News

scott
 

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I believe it is caused more by the opportunists than any thing else. When they stop making insane profits, in other words idiots stop buying it from them, they'll stop raiding the shelves.

Mainly I hope it ends soon.
 

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As others have said, I do hope it ends soon. I was fortunate to score some 9mm and 40 S&W from Freedom Munitions yesterday. It was slightly more expensive than it should have been but that is probably what they have to pay for the supplies. I can say that they are moving ammo but it does not last long. At about 9:30 they had over 30,000 rounds available in 500 round count boxes with a limit of 500 rounds/order. They sold out of 9mm in about 10 minutes. They also sold out of similar amounts of 40 S&W, 45 ACP and 38 Special in about 30 minutes. If I did not watch the availability numbers drop as fast as they did I would not have believed it.
 

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People keep saying it, but it bears repeating. Stop paying these prices and the madness will stop. I know it is painful not having rounds to shoot but the bastards aren't going to let up as long as they are making a killing.

Gunbroker.com

2322 listings for 9mm

164 for 380 acp

705 for 45 acp

529 for 40 S&W

80 for 357 SIG

122 for 357 MAG

1632 for 22lr
 

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I Think Glenwolde's right, its all supply and demand and demand is far outstripping supply. It will change, markets swing. It will end.

As to supply I was able to buy .22 lr and .45acp at the same prices I bought it for at the big boxes prior to all this just earlier this week. Personally I think, and this might not be popular, prices have to go higher at the retail level for a while to bring things into equilibrium faster. Higher prices will force the demand to lessen in the short/medium term and if prices stay higher in the long run will force overall supply to increase as well, faster than it will if prices stay the same.

This would be a great case study for a lower division college economics course in my opinion.
 
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