Folks, I’m baffled by the ammo craze. Unusual things have happened in the arms industry, for sure- but it’s not what you think. The silliest I’ve heard is that “da gummit’s buying it ALL UP so we CAN’T!!!” Now, the Obummer administration knows about as much about Economics as- well, they’re dumber’n a bag o’ hammers, ok? But decreasing supply by increasing demand? There’s an interesting concept.
There simply is no such thing as “buying it all up,” they’ll just make more. May not be today, may not be this week or this month, but they’ll get caught up. I like a scary story as much as the next guy, really I do. And, with this administration’s lack of knowledge of economics and misguided blaming evil deeds on inanimate objects, I wouldn’t put it past them. But let’s try a little less scary version of events and see if it passes muster.
It helps, too, that I have sources in appropriate places- military, gun distributors, ammo manufacturers, etc.
This ammo shortage actually started back at the beginning of Gulf II- what was that, 2003? Mobilizing an army to go halfway around the world is no mean feat. To save ourselves some time and effort, we called on our allies. One thing the Middle East is already set up for is war, right?
We borrowed 2 billion rounds of 5.56 from Israel alone. That manuever saved something on the order of a Panamax cargo ship’s worth of logistics. Ever been on a Carnival cruise? That’s a Panamax ship. Picture one full of .223’s. The deal we made with Israel was that we would replace their ammo with US made ammo as soon as possible. That’s one deal, for one caliber, with one ally. God knows what else we swiped from whom.
The American factories have these contracts with the government that mean selling a chunk of ammo each year, but also obligate them to give priority to government demand. So, all the US plants went into overdrive making 5.56 to repay Israel while our troops were using German and Lithuanian ammo over in the sandbox. That was just one of the deals that was made- now add in 7.62, 9mm, .50 BMG, artillery, missiles, …
It’s fun to think that the ammunition factories make “a product.” Like there’s a plant for .30/30s down the street from the .22 Hornet factory. .380 ACP must come from a little back room in one or the other of them, not getting too much respect, but like The Little Engine That Could, ‘Department 380’ and both people that work in it just keep cranking them out, slowly but surely. The truth is much more mundane- if you reload, you have to change your setup for each different caliber. So do the big boys. One particular manufacturer used to change over one of their factories for one week every other year to make a run of .380s that would last them for two more years. Not surprisingly, a good part of that week was the setup for the different round and the change back. The Army needs more 9mm’s? Let’s just skip .380 this time. Nobody will notice, right? Ya, right!
Ok, so DHS put in a large order. Good news? Not really, nor bad news. 1 billion rounds is only 3 rounds for every legal American. I can hear you already- “they only need one round for every American!” Do you think we’ll go down like that? Or that they can shoot that well? My point was that I might shoot, in a typical year, my 3 rounds. And the neighbor’s 3. Oh, and the other neighbors’ 12 rounds (mom, dad, kids). Hell, I might shoot the whole neighborhood’s allotment! As if I’m the only shooter around here! I’m sure that some of them want their share, too! American sportsmen are by far the largest consumers of American ammunition.
So my point is, there has been a decade of demand pressure on the ammunition manufacturers that has led to some outages and upward pressure on prices. Combine that with the political climate and a couple of “mass murders” and we have the recipe for hoarding and panic buying.
Look at this point- Lee Precision. Never made a cartridge. Not a single bullet, or primer. No cases or powder. They make reloading equipment- presses, dies, lead melters. My local gun shop had not been out of the Lee Turret Press in 30 years until this spring. Check Midway or Graf- lead melters are on backorder. Did Lee slow down? Are they all on vacation? No. People who last month couldn’t mold their own freekin’ ice cubes are now concerned that they won’t be able to mold their own bullets after “the apocalypse” or whatever.
Also note that .40 S&W (the object of the DHS contract) has had some of the least outages. The government doesn’t use .30/30 or .22LR (rimfire plants do not convert to other production) but you can’t find either of them! Uncle Sam hasn’t bought any bird shot in a long time, so why does it go out of my local store as fast as they can order it in? Really, the only two that I think I have seen -zero- problems with are .270 Win and .300 Win Mag.
Panic buying has certainly gripped the American public. Anything that goes “bang” is in vogue. This could be a bad thing, if the manufacturers expand production then demand suddenly collapses. So far, they seem reluctant to do so, but if there’s honest-to-gosh higher demand going forward, they may. This would be good, as it would indicate more people becoming active participants in the Second Amendment. Next thing you know, responsibility might be seen in the American people!
So for now, I can’t get ammo for my .387 Boomenlouder but I want to go hunting. I think that’s a good excuse for me to get that new .293 Zapfaster. Whaddaya mean they’re on three months backorder?!? Oh hell, then, I’d better buy your entire stock of whatever ya got!
Music that does not suck- I don’t listen to pop radio much, but heard this tune a couple of days ago that caught my attention. It almost sounded like… talent? So I searched using some of the lyrics and found out that Duran Duran is still with us in some form!