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The Great Ammo Shortage of 2022 Isn’t Over

Federal Ammo
Federal Ammo. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The Great Ammo Shortage of 2022 just won’t go away. You might struggle to find ammunition for your pistol, rifle, or shotgun this year. Reasons for the shortage range wide, from supply bottlenecks to a copper shortage and the war in Ukraine. The best solution might be to make your own bullets.

Great Ammo Shortage – Demand and Supply

People are buying more guns, and there are a lot of new gun owners. In 2020, 20 percent of American gun purchasers had never before bought a firearm. Thirty-nine percent of people recently polled in the United States own at least one pistol, rifle, or shotgun, according to the General Social Survey, and FBI background checks tracked a 41 percent increase in gun ownership from 2019 to 2020. That adds up to 8.4 million new owners. These gun owners need ammunition. So, the demand side of the equation is easy to see.

Supply of ammunition is also a concern. People stocked up on rounds during the Covid-19 pandemic amid panic about the dwindling supply. Imports of ammunition fell 34 percent during the worst days of quarantine in 2020. There were periods during the pandemic when gun and ammo production stopped. Gun owners sensed these shortages and snapped up firearms and ammunition.

There was also a lull in supply when ammunition-maker Remington went bankrupt. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018, and again in 2020. It was hard for Remington to produce enough bullets to keep up with demand until it got its affairs in order and sold itself to Vista Outdoors

Great Ammo Shortage – Trade Pipelines and Copper

A number of factors have tightened the pipeline of imported ammunition. Among these are sanctions against Russia, which have restricted exports from that country. Bans on ammunition made in China and other countries have further crimped supply.

Much less publicized, there is a global shortage of copper, a key input in the production of ammunition. Ammo makers have to compete for the copper supply with electric vehicle manufacturers and the U.S. Mint, among others.

Brandon Maddox, the CEO of Silencer Central, wrote a blog post on March 15 that documented the calibers that are hardest to come by.

30-30 Winchester rounds can be hard to find for owners of lever-action “Old West” rifles. You might be paying over one dollar per round – maybe even two dollars. There are slim pickings of the .308 Winchester that deer hunters favor. Maddox says it is better to buy .40 Smith & Wesson pistol ammo online, because it is in spare supply at gun shops. AR-15 owners are struggling to find .223 and 5.56mm NATO for their assault weapons. Finally, 9mm pistol rounds fly off the shelves.

Great Ammo Shortage – Time for Some DIY Ammo

Amy Myers of Outsider Magazine wrote in March that gun owners should consider creating their own supply. 

“Home bullet presses are becoming increasingly popular among gun owners, as it decreases your dependence on retailers to provide your ammo. Just keep your brass casings and you’ll be able to keep providing your own rounds,” Myers wrote.

30 Super Carry

Generic Ammo. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Ammo Shortage

Ammo Shortage. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Whether loading their own ammo or scouring the internet for deals, gun owners are learning how to handle shortages. Supply issues will continue deep into this year. Get ready to pay more, especially considering how inflation in the United States pushes prices higher for bullets, cartridges, and shells. It’s best to be aware of the problem now and make plans to mitigate it as soon as you can.

Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.

59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. jeff

    May 3, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    The AR-15 is not an assault weapon. It is a semi-automatic rifle the same as a Ruger 10/22. Assault weapons can fire in burst or full automatic mode.

    • John

      May 4, 2022 at 8:51 am

      I would expect better from someone writing about firearms to know that the Ar15 IS NOT CLASSIFIED AS AN ASSAULT WEAPON
      Please do not comtine to spread the impression that it is
      It does not even meet the definition of a rifle by ATF definition

      • Lynne

        May 4, 2022 at 4:25 pm

        AR is not Assualt Rifle! AR stands for Automatic Rifle! I cannot believe those who know anything about firarms has not said this ( AR is Automatic Rifle ) assault Rifle is though a Leftist Democratic term to instill fear for the other weak liberal crybabies.

        • Bruce d

          May 4, 2022 at 4:46 pm

          Nope. Research again what AR stands for. Hint, it’s a manufacturer.

          • BDubz

            May 4, 2022 at 5:32 pm

            My arms are light

          • MELISSA MORAN

            May 5, 2022 at 4:12 am

            Good luck finding primers what use to be $7.00 for a thousand is now like 10 x’s that for a hundred. Give or take depending.

        • Brian Hoover

          May 4, 2022 at 11:30 pm

          Ar means armalite rifle, not automatic rifle.

          • Jon

            May 5, 2022 at 7:57 am

            What is an assault rifle? I’m unfamiliar with that classification of rifle.

          • Curtis

            May 5, 2022 at 11:02 am

            Why in 2022 are people still calling the ARMALITE RIFLE an assult weapon!? Assault is a verb! I have an assult pencil in my book binder! I have an assult spoon in the kitchen that never runs out of ammo! Do your research and call the weapons for what they are, not for what the government has stained and groomed your mind to believe they are!😡

        • Earl

          May 5, 2022 at 3:06 am

          AR is Armalite Rifle.
          Do your research.

        • Stephen

          May 5, 2022 at 9:32 am

          The AR15 is a semiautomatic rifle. AR does not stand for Automatic Rifle. At least you got the part about it not meaning Assault Rifle correct. I think its funny how you sit there and talk about how people who know about guns hasn’t corrected the error,so you jump in and pass on bad information yourself.

        • Curtis

          May 5, 2022 at 11:09 am

          Did he just say that AR meant automatic rifle??🙄wow! Smh!

        • Brian J. Leffler

          May 5, 2022 at 1:59 pm

          Sir,
          Your article advocates for shooters to reload their own ammo but does not mention that the same issues affecting factory ammo are affecting the availability of components to reload. Finding powder and primers is much more difficult than finding 30-30 shells. Also 223 and 308 have surged in the last 3-6 months and are easily found but ammo such as 6mm PRC or 6.5 Creedmore are much more the victims of popular demand outstripping supply. Rifles are abundant but dealers have no ammo to sell with them.

        • MDP

          May 5, 2022 at 8:28 pm

          No You are So Wrong! AR stands for Armalite which was the original manufacturer. AR -15’s are NOT Automatic holy cow how much is Bloomberg paying you!?!

        • stuart standish

          May 5, 2022 at 9:43 pm

          You are also wrong. AR stands for Armalite Rifle, the first company to make that particular firearm. Also, it has nothing to do with politics.

        • Willy

          May 18, 2022 at 10:10 pm

          Good Lord, AR Doesn’t stand for Automatic Rifle. Get it together.

    • Jim

      May 4, 2022 at 9:13 am

      The term ‘assualt rifle’ or ‘assualt weapon’ was a term coined by a California democrat to further that state’s anti-gun agenda. The AR-15 is merely a semi automatic rifle. In order to buy a true assault weapon a person has to find one for sale, find a class 3 FFL, undergo a much more stringent background check and have $8000 or more, much more, just burning a hole in their pocket.

      • Benmaxcon

        May 4, 2022 at 9:40 pm

        Assault rifle was the name Adolph Hitler gave the the Stg44. Sturmgewehr. Storm rifle or assault rifle.

      • Ab

        May 4, 2022 at 11:48 pm

        SURE RELOAD YOUR AMMO TELL ME WHERE TO GET PRIMERS

      • MELISSA MORAN

        May 5, 2022 at 4:14 am

        What do expect from communists California.

    • Bob

      May 4, 2022 at 3:49 pm

      Completely agree, why feed the let with ammunition….pun intended

    • Mike Golemon

      May 4, 2022 at 6:39 pm

      Armalite Rifle

    • Joe

      May 4, 2022 at 9:21 pm

      You ALL commenting are so absolutely necessary for this amateur to be off-loaded and booted into hushing his mouth. Anyone who has reloaded (also) or has been involved in it…know how damn intricate it gets…it’s baloney to even consider right now…Thank you all for commenting and erasing much of this author’s veracity–AND giving him a good lesson on just “get the fact right, first.” Loved the AR debunking.

      • Aeron Walton

        May 4, 2022 at 11:39 pm

        You should do some research into reloading components. Powder is as difficult to find as all those calibers you mentioned, and primers are damn near impossible to find. And it’s not as easy as “DIY ammo” you’re going to get people hurt claiming it is.

  2. Steve

    May 3, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    Unfortunately, reloading your own ammunition is not as easy as the article implies. To do this, you have to buy all of the components separately and unless you have all the components, you don’t have anything. I have been searching for small pistol primers for over 18 months with no luck. Gun powder is also hard to find, and the right kind of bullets at non-exorbitant prices equally so.

    • Jim

      May 4, 2022 at 9:06 am

      Agree. Small pistol primers are as hard to find as hens teeth and frog hair.

    • Jim James

      May 4, 2022 at 10:57 am

      Reloading isn’t that hard. You need an initial investment of components. Some of those are hard to find at times, but the supply is increasing. Prices are up however for components. Ammo at our 4 guns stores, and one is a mega store has increased and so has the prices. The Mega Store has weekly shipmentments of new guns and the wall has over 100 for sale. Rifles pistols and shotguns. They keep ammo in the backroom for folks who buy a firearm of the caliber they need. Reloading isn’t that hard and you just need a few tools and measuring devices to make sure it fits the chambers. Powder an be iffy, but that too is becoming much more available.

    • Ted Wright

      May 4, 2022 at 2:30 pm

      Presses are hard to find too!And the used ones you can find are going for new prices. Also black powder related stuff is just as hard to find and archery as well. This is no coincidence.

      • Stephen

        May 5, 2022 at 9:48 am

        The only true black powder manufacturer in the U.S. shut down. Not a big deal for thatose that use a substitute, but will be interesting for those that compete and are required to use real black powder.

        • Steve Cushman

          May 5, 2022 at 1:55 pm

          Unless your black powder weapon is a flintlock you have the same issue metallic cartridge reloaders have, finding percussion caps. They are harder to find than primers. Also, due to powder & primers being classified as hazardous material & that many online retailers of primers & powder limiting the purchase quantities to two units the effective per cartridge cost of the popular 9mm Luger is same as 9mm ammo including shipping from online sellers. Currently you can find any caliber ammo on the internet. However, some primer sizes & percussion caps are almost unobtainium.

    • Chris D.

      May 4, 2022 at 10:50 pm

      AR does not stand for Assault Rifle or Automatic Rifle it is the model number of Armalite Rifle Thus AR 15.

  3. Andrew

    May 4, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Steve is spot on. Reloading is nearly impossible. I’m a competitive shooter in an active club and we have to do group buys to get components like small pistol primers (from Bosnia), which we purchase in lots of 500,000 for prices that make the reloaded ammo about half the price of bulk factory ammo. If you need something different like large pistol primers, you are on your own and it gets tougher. There are only two major manufacturers in the US today, Vista and Olin. They make most of the primers that reloaders need, too, but use all the production for their own use.

    • Jim James

      May 4, 2022 at 11:00 am

      There is a website that now lists daily the supply houses that have components on hand. They link to the sites. They do sell out within minutes of the postings, but you can get parts if you watch it during the day. You’ll have to search for it . As I dare NOT ,list it. At any one time, there are about 3,000 people on it.

  4. TomD

    May 4, 2022 at 8:56 am

    Ditto above. If you are luck enough to find some of the VERY limited stock of powder and primers that occasionally appears for an instant or two, the price will be greatly elevated.

  5. Allen Rogers

    May 4, 2022 at 9:06 am

    I would recommend that people NOT buy Chinese or Russian ammo. I once bought Russian ammo for my small new .380 automatic pistol. I went to area in the nearby woods and fired at a target. When I fired the third shot, I heard a “pfft” sound and SAW the bullet fly slowly through the air and land about 20 yards in front of me. I thought, “Gee, they must have barely put any powder into that round.
    I then aimed at the target and fired the next round. This time it went “BANG” supper LOUD, and the pistol flew into several pieces. Gee, then I knew where that ‘missing’ powder went ! !
    The pistol manufacturer was kind enough to replace the pistol, but warned me back then to avoid foreign ammo, especially Russian.

    • Ferd Berfle

      May 4, 2022 at 12:48 pm

      I had that happen with .380 Tula only mine didn’t make it out of the barrel. If I had re-chambered and tried to fire again it could have been nasty.

      And stop calling AR-15’s assault weapons.(Not you AR)

      • Lynne

        May 4, 2022 at 4:22 pm

        AR stands for “Automatic Rifle” Not Assualt Rifle. Assault Rifle is a Democratic Leftist or Liberal Term. I also cannot for the life of me how those who know weapons have not said this already.(AR is Automatic Rifle )

        • BDubz

          May 4, 2022 at 5:35 pm

          Armalite for God sakes, it’s armalite!
          Don’t you peoe use google?

        • Old fart

          May 4, 2022 at 6:48 pm

          ARMALITE RIFLE = AR
          Dammit

    • William Cooke

      May 4, 2022 at 4:51 pm

      Poorly written article! Referring to any seni-auto rifle as an “assault weapon” is anti-gun smear propaganda. Secondly, the author flippant speaks of the ease of reloading ammo, when several components, mostly primers, are nearly impossible to find. Back to school, author!

  6. John D Hanig

    May 4, 2022 at 9:38 am

    I have to agree with Steve and others that reloading isn’t the panacea the article makes it out to be. The purchase of large rifle and large pistol primers can be nearly impossible. Unlike bullets, the answer isn’t just a smelter away. I don’t know how to make primers. Can’t make smokeless powder either. I’m left at the mercy of the suppliers.

    • Timothy P Smothers

      May 4, 2022 at 11:14 pm

      You mean you don’t just find your bullets you just shot and put some of your Grandpa’s old gunpowder that’s still in his garage in the case that’s all over the ground at the shooting range and put some of gramps powder in the empty bullet and then tap the old recovered bullets back in and shoot them again? And whose this Armalight guy does he make light bulbs or something to make it easier to shoot your Assault Rifle at night ?

      • Timothy P Smothers

        May 4, 2022 at 11:16 pm

        And this new editor was supposedly an Infantry Officer according to his Bio.

  7. Stoic

    May 4, 2022 at 9:49 am

    “Assault weapon”? What is wrong with you? Are you some kind of a ringer? Stop using the enemy’s vocabulary!

  8. Eric Ohme

    May 4, 2022 at 9:57 am

    This article is totally off base. Reloading is not a realistic option at the moment as primers are almost in their entirety are being used by commercial ammunition makers, who guess what, are the ones that make the primers. Also, “assault weapons “? Come on fella.

  9. Joe McDonald

    May 4, 2022 at 9:57 am

    Make my own “bullets”. As if I need to go buy “bullets” for a particular firearm. I’m betting the author doesn’t shoot.

  10. OIF Combat Vet

    May 4, 2022 at 10:58 am

    Maybe Hunter can put in a good word for us and we can get a buy back from Ukraine or Afghanistan.

  11. Steve

    May 4, 2022 at 11:20 am

    The Department of Homeland Security has millions of rounds of ammo. Not for border enforcement, but maybe for the new “Ministry of Truth” This is the result of a Marxist COUP, aka the STOLEN election.

  12. Stimpy

    May 4, 2022 at 11:21 am

    Yes, it’s a fully semi-automatic machine gun.

  13. Ben neviss

    May 4, 2022 at 11:44 am

    Strange article. A year ago the ammo shelves at my local Walmart were picked clean. Now they’re full. The sites I buy 9mm and 7.62 from report increasing supplies. Prices are still higher than previrus hysteria, but coming down. I’m not sure this guy is regularly engaged in the shooter culture.

  14. Clifra Jones

    May 4, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    I see these articles time and again, yet I can go and buy ammunition online every day! Now is the price always what I like, no, but the ammo is available!

    Your local stores are cleaned out because people know when the shipments arrive and they camp out waiting for the store to open!

  15. bb

    May 4, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    Yeah, cool, good luck getting primers to make your own!

    • Todd

      May 4, 2022 at 6:28 pm

      ‘AR’ stands for “Armalite”, the manufacturer of the original AR-10 (7.62 × 51) that Eugene Stoner designed, as a proposed replacement for the M1 Garand. The AR-10 ultimately lost out to the M-14.

      And, the others are correct in that it is nearly impossible to find primers right now, and most of the popular/useful powders.

      And, we assemble ‘cartridges’ not ‘bullets’oil. “Making bullets” implies that you are casting or swaging your own projectiles.

  16. Jack Kennedy

    May 5, 2022 at 3:12 am

    Am old timer …. And we learned years ago …. No Russia or Chinese ammo…. Ever!!!

    And I swear by the “no ammo not made in America” creed … Will buy some s&b … but that’s it for foreign ammo in my guns

  17. Jon

    May 5, 2022 at 8:00 am

    What is an assault rifle? I’m unfamiliar with that classification of rifle.

  18. Stephen

    May 5, 2022 at 9:39 am

    This “author” is a dumbass. Just save your shells and get a press. Its obvious hes not aware there are other key components to reloading ammo. I have primers, not as many as I’d like to have, but I have primers. Also, this was published 2 days ago and maybe it because I live in Texas, but I have no issues finding ammunition. Shelves are pretty full. Military rounds were the first to come back so .308 is no issues. The hardest to find still are a handful of “deer calibers” like 25/06 and .243.

  19. Rex T. Dog

    May 5, 2022 at 11:58 am

    So I guess I can start buying all that reloading stuff so I can reload the thousands of rounds of .22 that we shoot annually…I could also reload bigger bullets, but as we shoot them so rarely since this most recent ammo crunch our personal stash is enough for quite a while…what a country…!

  20. Ping P. Pang

    May 6, 2022 at 7:47 am

    That’s America! Gun addict.
    No citizens in other countries demand ammo or are happy to talk about the taxonomy of guns…
    Have fun!

  21. Glenn Kramer

    July 19, 2022 at 10:32 am

    Does anybody know anything about ammunition? Many people throw around the term bullet as though it is the loaded round. A bullet is the projectile that exits a firearm, not the entire cartrige.

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