ammo scarcity

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by moga, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. moga

    moga New Member

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    For the first time, I am looking for 5.56 ball in the marketplace. From what I can tell, there seems to be a drought on ball ammo, with exception to the match (designer) ammo that sells for $15/box 20 (in which I am uninterested).

    How long has there been a shortage? Few of the 20 or so places have any XM193 or similar, if at all. And those few that do have it are offering it at astronomical prices.

    .223 surplus is not really easy to find right now either. Many dealers are out of Wolf even. Anyone have a clue of why?
     
  2. ptsmith24

    ptsmith24 New Member

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    Because of the rising prices, maybe?
     

  3. moga

    moga New Member

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    In what way?
     
  4. ptsmith24

    ptsmith24 New Member

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    I'm not sure about the prices of that particular caliber. But people are seeing the general price of ammo go up so they're stocking up now. Make sense?
     
  5. moga

    moga New Member

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  6. moga

    moga New Member

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    I suspected that the demand for munitions by the US Armed Forces likely had a significant part to play in the decreased supply of 5.56.

    The way that I see it, who else but the US Military complex could exert the level of demand on the marketplace to explain the relative scarcity of this caliber?

    I guess now I know.

    -Moga


    War Stretching Ammo Supply, But Retailer Stocks Adequate

    June 15, 2007 issue, Gunweek
    by Joseph P. Tartaro
    Executive Editor


    Ammunition shipments to local gun shops and police departments are being delayed for months because the Army has more than tripled its demand for small caliber ammunition, Associated Press (AP) reported from Des Moines, IA, on May 21.

    However, a Gun Week survey of large and small dealers indicated that most ammo supplies are adequate for normal consumer demand though the rest of the year, although some prices may be up somewhat due to commodity price increases for some metals. Most American-made brands are available and there is a growing supply of rifle, pistol and shotgun ammunition manufactured abroad, particularly now from Russia. But good, inexpensive surplus military ammunition seems to be drying up somewhat.

    The AP report said that ammunition plants in the US have dramatically ratcheted up production, but company officials acknowledge delays to police and retailers of up to a year.

    “There are millions of rounds backordered because the war has put such a demand on the manufacturers,†AP quoted Lana Ulner, manager of Rapid City, SD-based Ultramax Ammunition, a distributor for several manufacturers. “In some cases, it can take eight to 12 months.â€

    The Army’s demand for small caliber ammunition has soared from 426 million rounds in 2001 to 1.5 billion rounds in 2006, according to the Joint Munitions Command at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

    Most Common Rounds
    The government spent $688 million on ammunition last year, up from $242 million in 2001, said Gail Smith, a Joint Munitions Command spokeswoman, according to AP. The most common rounds ordered are 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and .50 caliber, she said.

    These figures tend to confirm several earlier reports published in Gun Week after Sept. 11, 2001 that the military need for training and combat ammunition had increaed. Some of these stories coming almost immediately after military operations were begun in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Much of the ammunition used by the Defense Department comes from a plant in Lake City, MO, owned by Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), AP reported. The plant’s production has increased nearly fourfold, said company spokesman Bryce Hallowell.

    “We have ... hired hundreds of people and turned our plants into 24/7 operations where they weren’t just a couple of years ago to meet that demand,†said Hallowell, whose company also has plants in Anoka, MN (Federal Cartridge) and Lewiston, ID (CCI). “We’re running full-out.â€

    He said the war, depleted ammunition reserves and the lack of foreign competition have all contributed to the surging demand.

    The strong sales helped Minnesota-based Alliant’s ammunition systems group see a 10% increase in sales for the fourth quarter and a 15% for the last fiscal year, according to AP.

    “The increase reflects higher volumes in medium-caliber gun systems and ammunition, civil ammunition and military small-caliber ammunition,†the company said in a statement.
    Winchester; Black Hills
    Ann Pipkin, a spokeswoman for East Alton, IL-based Winchester Ammunition, said the company also is seeing a backlog on orders for certain types of ammunition, but she wouldn’t give specifics, according to Associated Press.

    Kristi Hoffman, co-owner of Black Hills Ammunition with her husband Jeff, told Gun Week that they have some backlogs as well, both in the new and remanufactured ammunition categories.

    “The high demand for .233 and 9mm is especially noticeable,†she said.

    Hoffman blamed any price increases primarily on commodity costs in the metals market. “They’ve been creeping up for a while and no one expects then to go down any time soon.â€

    Remington did not return Gun Week’s phone calls.

    AP reported that because of the increased demand, police in Des Moines, IA, said it’s taking twice as long to get ammunition orders as a few years ago—up to eight months. Still, the department has not decreased its use of ammunition.

    “We’re not experiencing any shortages, but they are planning ahead to accommodate for the delay caused by the war,†said Sgt. Todd Dykstra, a police spokesman, quoted by AP.

    Larry Maynes, owner of JLM Gun Shoppe in Urbandale, IL, said military ammunition and weapons are popular with his customers because the mass production makes them less expensive.

    “I have some in stock, but it won’t be easy to replace,†he said.

    In most cases, customers buy the military-style weapons for target practice, but some people use them to shoot small animals, Maynes said.

    “Guys like those for prairie dogs and coyotes primarily,†he said.

    Gun Week sources confirm that .223 Rem., the civilian version of the military’s 5.56mm has far outstripped demand for most other .22 centerfire cartridges used for longer range varmint hunting, pest control and prairie dog shooting.

    Kelly E-Mail
    A shared e-mail on ammo prices and supply from Gene Kelly, president of the American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI), called attention to what he called “skyrocketing prices†of ammo.

    “This appears to be for a couple of reasons,†Kelly noted. “One is the war in Iraq. The US Government has ordered hundreds of millions of rounds of ammo. Where all this ammo is actually going I am not totally sure. However, I have seen reports of millions of rounds going to the new Iraqi Defense forces, Afghanistan forces, Iraqi police, obviously our Guys (who deserve the best!) And many others.â€

    “The other is commodity prices and the fact that China, India and other countries are buying up all the raw and surplus materials that they can get their hands on,†Kelly said. “For years large surplus companies like Century Arms International were able to buy tens of millions of rounds of surplus ammo for mere pennies a round and resell them at affordable prices. This is no longer the case. The brass, copper and lead in each round is worth much more than that. And in conversations with several importers I have found that ammo is scare and deals are hard to find. This may or may not be a temporary situation. The War factor will most likely go away in time. However, the pressure on commodities is unlikely to drop as long as we still have a booming world wide economy. Part of what has for years driven the shooting industry was inexpensive rifles and ammo.â€

    Kelly concluded by noting that .22 Long Rifle ammo is still dirt cheap and mused that the rising prices of ammunition may rekindle gunowner interest in reloading.

    He add a cautionary “last word,†suggesting that any kind of panic buying because of any temporary shortages or price increases will further drive up prices and create greater scarcity, if people run out and buy everything in sight.
     
  7. gsusnake

    gsusnake Token Liberal Hippie

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    When I was in NC visiting my grandparents, I went to the local Wal-Mart and got 30 100-round boxes of Remington UMC .40 for $11 a box.

    They said they had it on clearance for whatever reason and wanted to get rid of it, so I figured what better way to be a responsible citizen than take all that nasty, deadly ammo off their hands?

    I mean, after all, it could have KILLED somebody if I hadn't taken care of it!

    IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN!
     
  8. ptsmith24

    ptsmith24 New Member

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    what part of NC? I'll be there in a few weeks. Bryson City (about half hour north of franklin).
     
  9. gsusnake

    gsusnake Token Liberal Hippie

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    Elkin.

    I bought them completely out of .40. From what I understood from the guy at the counter they weren't going to carry it (or any other handgun ammo) any more there.
     
  10. slabertooch

    slabertooch New Member

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    All the more reason when I do get my AR, it will be chambered in 9mm.