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Is the Great Ammo Shortage Over?

Ammo Shortage
Ammo Shortage. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Could the Great Ammo Shortage be Over?: Throughout 2021, sportsmen and sportswomen likely faced a hunt for ammunition before they went into the woods. Some parts of the country are still continuing to face shortages.

“Ammunition is scarce right now, and I’ve experienced the shortage first-hand,” said Pennsylvania-based Teresa Mull, editor of GunPowderMagazine. “Many members of my local gun club weren’t sure if they would have enough ammo to shoot a full season of our trap league. They’d buy as many shells as they could when they could, and we found many retailers were limiting the number of boxes allowed per customer. As demand has risen, so has scarcity and prices.”

Mull told this reporter that a number of factors were at play in the shortage.

“As I’ve said before, disease from the Far Left (liberalism) and Far East (Covid) are driving up demand and slowing down the supply chain,” she explained. “It’s a deadly combination for our economy and our shooting hobbies.”

Is There Really An Ammo Shortage? 

However, David Reeder, editor of The Mag Life, suggested that the perception of an ammo shortage and rising ammo prices in the context of pre-pandemic prices has been a persistent one, but added that it isn’t entirely, or even mostly, correct.

“You can put hands on ammunition now much more easily than a year ago and many prices have actually dropped in the last 3 to 5 months,” Reeder noted. “Exact numbers will vary, but using examples from GunMag’s ammunition offerings: The box of CCI 115gr 9mm you can currently purchase for $15.99 was priced at $24.99 just three months ago; A 100 round box of Federal American Eagle (115gr 9mm) currently selling for $37.99 was $45.99 earlier this year; and similarly, though at a much lower price point, Wolf 2223 50gr steel case currently selling at $7.49 was $9.99 earlier this summer.”

While not a significant drop, considering that inflation for 2021 hit 6.8 percent – the highest on record since 1982 – and everything from gasoline to milk costs a lot more, any decline in the price of ammunition should be seen as welcome news.

“Other calibers and manufacturers – Federal 38spl, CCI brass 45acp – are likewise down in the latter part of 2021,” said Reeder. “However, prices are still much higher than they were before Covid. Federal has increased its prices several times since the start of the pandemic and has suspended the ordering of primers. Winchester and other manufacturers have increased their prices multiple times since the pandemic as well.”

In other words, while we’d all like the world to return to how it was before Covid-19 arrived in America two years ago, and to see those low prices and a complete end to the great ammunition shortage, we’ll have to keep hoping.

“I doubt we’ll ever see pre-pandemic prices on ammunition again, no matter what happens, and there’s every likelihood costs will begin climbing back up in 2022 – but that will depending on what happens with Omicron, IHU, and other pandemic issues,” warned Reeder. “Availability will, as usual, be predicated on demand. Whether 2022’s demand matches what we saw in 2020 will be at least partially determined by how mid-term elections go, any preponderance of urban unrest, and similar matters.”

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com. Suciu is also a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine. 

Written By

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com. Suciu is also a contributing writer for Forbes Magazine.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Gary Metzger

    January 6, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    I wonder why this is ALL happening…Oh I know, # FJB

  2. Duke Bradford

    January 6, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    I wonder how much the right-wing coup attempt has affected ammo prices?

  3. Steve Machowsky

    January 6, 2022 at 5:13 pm

    #FJB and covid

    They are stealing my future, my life, my ambition, everything I’ve worked hard for.

  4. Dean C. Sphar

    January 6, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    I went to my local Cabela’s just last week and they had all kinds of ammo, not too high priced, Winchester 5:56 62gr. $13.99/ box/20rds. Only 5 boxes per day.

  5. Brandon S

    January 7, 2022 at 1:12 am

    It really isn’t that hard to find ammo, yes certain calibers might be but everything I own it’s been simple. I order off websites that don’t limit the amount I buy and is at my door in under 2 days. I also buy so many guns from my local shop that they allow me to buy any amount of ammo I so desire. If I want everything they have in a certain caliber it’s mine. I find it’s harder to purchase certain weapons, can’t just order exactly what you want unless you’re willing to pay way over MSRP

  6. Kerry Collins

    January 7, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    Listing the ammo shortage for sports shooters and pure game hunters is totally apples and oranges. Hunters don’t use 223, 7.72×39 or (in general 308 win) for whitetail deer hunting (most hunted big game animal in North America). 5 years ago, you could find ammo for any big game rifle and some that are very rare). This year, staple deer rounds like 30-30, 35 rem, 270 win, 7mm O8, 243 win are NOWHERE. 6.5 CM is still a very rare chamber option and no one whpuld have to buy a new fiddle b/c bull let manufacturers drop/discontinue the option. Case in point, Hornady is dropping the lever revolution XTP products in several calibers. Don’t tell me things are getting better. Many hunting outfitters all across the south are telling me it will be 3-5 years before things shale out to a reliable baseline.

  7. Doug

    January 7, 2022 at 11:03 pm

    IMHO, supply ( which is limited ) and demand ( which is evident ) has caused the prices of many cartridges to rise exorbitantly. .380 @ $35 per 50, 9mm for $29 for 50, that’s expensive.

  8. Duane

    January 11, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    Kerry, you are exactly right. If you shoot black rifles or self-defense semi-autos, you are starting to find ammo, but at significantly higher prices (more than CPI inflation)than pre-pandemic. Yes, it may be cheaper than a year ago, but a year ago, you could not get ANY, unless you camped at the stores. But if you shoot tradition bolt actions or revolvers, there is little, to none available. Where is all this .38SPL/.357 Mag ammo? Additionally, if you are particular to premium hunting bullets in your deer cartridge, you are SOL. Try finding Nosler Partitions in .270, .243, or 7mm-08.

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