We recently kicked around the ammo shortage situation.  Here’s a look from a fresh business-oriented eye at current and short-term future availability of guns and ammo:


Most of us shooter folk have enough guns to last us for a while – they are, after all, the ultimate in durable goods – but ammunition is a different commodity altogether.

Dunno about y’all, but I just got in a small pallet of 9mm ammo for competition and training purposes.  “Buy it cheap and stack it deep” is the mantra, but the trick these days is the “buy it cheap” part…


  1. http://www.sgammo.com seems to consistently have the best prices, selection and availability of your common calibers.

    Another website I recently became aware of is
    http://www.gun-deals.com This fella does a daily scan of the best deals nationwide.

    For the record I have no ownership, affiliation nor other interest in the aforementioned websites/businesses.

  2. I got into self defense and shooting sports in February of 2009. Right now, here in the NW, ammo and powder and primers are more available now then they were back then. I mostly reload. but have stuck with factory defense ammo. But for the first time I bought some JHP bullets to reload with. Why? If things really hit the fan, the legal consequences of using reloaded ammo might become less important to me than running out of hollow points. And the case price was not that much different than FMJ/CMJ.

    As for pistols and rifles, some popular models are getting hard to get. but others seem fine. I ordered a 22 conversion for a G19, only to have to wait 8 months. I think the one thing that’s slowing the trend to hoard guns and ammo, is the economy. there are many folks I know, who are tight enough on money, that all they are doing now is window shopping.

  3. I haven’t added as much ammo as you but once my latest order comes in I’ll have added roughly 100lbs (shipping weight) to my stock.

    Once thing I did before I started ordering was do a full ammo inventory so I actually knew what I had. Then I did some serious thinking about what I felt I needed.

    I’ve probably got one more good sized order than I’ll be comfortable for a while.


  4. Mas, that IS the problem is finding “affordable” ammo. I’m buying in case lots since I can’t afford a pallet at a time! Hopefully, with the war(s) winding down, primers, brass and bullets will be more available in the future.

  5. Mas, I’ve had a really hard time finding ammo here in rural Wisconsin, let alone a decent price. No problem with reloading supplies through mail order though. I think that’s the way to go right now. Ammo? Buy it when you find it. Stores normally carrying self-defense rounds from most of the major manufacturers are shelf bare. I had to mail-order Cor Bon 9mm…it just doesn’t exsist around home. I was at a major sporting goods retailer the other day and nearly had to take a seat when I saw some of the prices.

  6. Just a thought on ordering on the internet or by mail: I won’t do it because I don’t want any record, anywhere, of my buying ammo or having ammo shipped to our house. I’d rather buy it at our local Wal-Mart in small amounts, just a couple of boxes at a time, with cash, than have a record available for some BATFE dirtbag or other gov’t snoop to find. I have a friend who has ordered 6,000 rounds at a time over the internet. There’s a record on his credit card, his ISP (because the internet never forgets anything, and he uses gmail, part of google), the seller, the shipper at both ends, and the insurer of the shipment. That’s too much info for me to have available. If having that kind of record about your purchases doesn’t matter to you, by all means continue to buy in huge bulk. But if you’re concerned about privacy…….

  7. Around 1980 I was lucky to find over 90,000 rounds of empty fired brass for sale in a pawn shop. After haggling over the price I managed to purchase 32,000 rounds of it in the handgun calibers I shoot most at slightly less than $.02/round. I managed to scavenge upwards of three tons of wheel weights (after melting into ingots) and over one ton of linotype, trading soft drinks and labor for all of it. Powder and primers were my biggest expense, along with my 550 Dillon, but over the years have made for some very inexpensive plinking and target shooting. Still have plenty of brass and lead, but low on primers and powder. Talk about sticker shock! Prices on those items have really jumped, but still not enough to take me out of the game.

    Oh, my favorite mix of lead is 2 units of wheel weight to 1 unit of linotype. Makes an excellent hardcast round that fouls very little in the moderate loads of .38 spec, .44 mag and .45 acp I load.

  8. A few observations:

    Everyone stocks up on “combat ammo”. Which is fine, but how about practical small game ammo for a SHTF scenario? Especially shot gun shells? Anyone who has gone bird hunting knows how quickly a box of shells goes, and in a survival situation rabies, doves, ducks, etc. are realistic protien sources. But how many people have 2,000 rounds of FMJ 223 and 50 12 ga shells? A box of shells looks big, but will go quick.

    If one really thinks they will be in a fire fight, better to have a box of good ammo than a crate of FMJ that might cause the bad guys to die a week later.

    It drives home the need to rationalize the variety of calibers that one has. My 45-70 is cool, but would I be better off selling and the reloading dies, etc., and buy more ammo for 223, 308, or 30-06 (my “standard calibers”)? For what one keeps, rationalize reloading components, can one powder replace two? Avoid loads that call for magnum primers? Go with loads that economize on powder (e.g., use half as much Unique as 2400 for almost the same velocity)?

    And how about spare parts? 10,000 rounds of ammo will do little good if a firing pin breaks.

  9. Mas,

    How many in a pallet? 50,000? I get “it”. Not every dealer has the cash flow to place that sort of order. People with smaller dealers need to help the put together a group buy to get up to the new pallet sales point.

  10. “Sales Clog as Fears, Election, Doomsday, Rise”

    I think, to some extent, we’re being had. The media stories are all about how we’re shaking in our boots over the next election, disaster, crisis, etc. The spoken conclusion is that once none of these things happen (as in President Obama gets reelected and DOESN’T come get our guns, and the Mayan calendar DOESN”T signal TEOTWAWKI) everything will get back to normal. The unspoken conclusion is that since the surge is temporary, gun and ammo manufacturers shouldn’t expand their capacities.

    What I’m not seeing reported in the MSM is that shooting is becoming not just acceptable, but actually working toward being politically correct. More people are discovering how much fun shooting is, and are increasingly participating in shooting sports. Depictions of people enjoying hunting and target shooting are seeping into mainstream entertainment.

    That’s the story the hoplophobes are deathly afraid of, and so it needs telling.

  11. Cliff: Good call on SGAmmo–I’ve ordered from them a couple times and have had very good luck with them. They pack well, and have some great deals. Last Thanksgiving I picked up some LC XM80 for 50 c/rd…wish I’d bought a lot more because it’s about 30% more expensive now.

    Glenbo: Salient point. But once you’ve got two P2Cs, a Type 03 FFL, and multiple 4473s per year on record, you’re probably screwed anyway. I have one gun buddy who orders through me because he likes to stay under the radar. Well, make sure to stash things in multiple locations, and caching might be a worthwhile endeavor….

  12. Personally, I’m cutting back on buying “fun guns” like my .450/400, 45-70, and .454 Casull and concentrating on more common and practical calibers like .45 ACP and .308 Winchester. I’m also getting more handguns and rifles in .22 LR and practicing with them more often due to the rapidly rising cost of ammunition and reloading components.

    One reloading component to always have a good supply of is primers as that is the only thing you cannot make in an emergency. Bullets can be cast/swaged from lead or machined from various metals, black powder can be carefully made, and cartridge cases could be found and re-used, but primers can’t be manufactured by the average person.

    I use a lot of Alliant/Hercules Bullseye as it’s a very efficient and inexpensive powder in calibers like 9X19mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP with 5.0 grains producing good velocities with 115 grain, 180 grain, and 230 grain bullets respectively in those calibers. A big advantage of the .45 ACP is that a bullet of 200-230 grains in lead, copper plated, or jacketed would do as well in defense as in practice due to it’s large diameter, whereas smaller calibers like the 9X19mm depend on expanding projectiles to be effective in combat situations. I get mine in 8 pound containers for maximum value.

    Using cash to buy ammunition at the big box stores is a good idea to keep Big Brother from knowing what you’re buying, but unless you have a good gunshop in your area which sells reloading components at a decent price, you will be paying through the nose for those supplies. I order my reloading stuff through the mail because I save 30+% over buying it from my greedy local gun stores where a carton (1000 ct) of primers go for $50 plus tax. Even with the HazMat fee currently at $27.50, combining a few orders with reloading friends spreads out the cost of buying mail order and paying S&H. Just be sure to buy from a company outside your home state so no sales tax is charged. Some companies like Natchez Shooting Supplies will ship powder and primers up to 40 lbs for one HazMat fee while others like Midway USA and Dillon sends those items separately for two fees. Be smart and shop around for the best deals.

    Those “fun guns” of mine I mentioned earlier are useful in that they are in calibers which are still very effective if I need to load them with black powder and cast lead bullets. Something like a .17 Remington or .243 Winchester is out of luck though.

  13. Larry, I see a lot of PINK Buckmark decals on cars and pickups around here – and that represents the ultimate loss for the antigun lobby.

  14. Probably going to grab some more ammo here. Problem for some of us, though is space. Especially, those of us in apartments.

    One thing I finally decided on is, buying ammo from pro-2A sources only. Sure Wally world might be a few bucks cheaper but I’m buying from local gun shops now.

    FYI- on http://www.AmmunitionToGo.com. One big complaint with them is, they do allow returns on ammo. My concern with any return is, you don’t know what might have happened to the ammo. Maybe wrong caliber or maybe the last guy did something to it. Also, as stated, they do have contract over-runs from departments etc. Sometimes the ammo looks beat up and neglected. Just me, but I try to buy new ammo.

  15. Hi Mas, Did some checking with the boyfriend of one of my wife’s friends back at the height of the ammo shortage. He is an Engineer at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, in Radford, VA, and happened to be at our home for a BBQ. He is an avid shooter, and was lamenting the shortages too. From what he told me at the time, due to the military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the ‘normal’ day-to-day needs of the DoD for ammo, they were running at maximum capacity on military orders exclusively. The other major domestic manufacturers were doing the same. Unless is was 5.56mm, 7.62mm, 9mm or .50 cal., it was on production hold until further notice. Which made perfect sense at the time. I had not seen this posted anywhere, and thought I would share it.