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The ammunition shortage? Not forever

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Big Heap, May 22, 2010.

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  1. Big Heap

    Big Heap TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    State of the Ammunition – by John Strayer
    March 4, 2010, 10:34 pm

    While at a recent dealer purchasing show I had the opportunity to talk with some representatives from various ammunition manufactures.

    What I discovered was enlightening. The current ammo shortage did not start in October 2008, that is just when it it finally hit the consumer in a hard way. The shortage had started over 18 months before that.

    What I learned was that with the on going war in the middle east our country’s military ammo stock pile around the world had been depleted.

    Since the government does not produce any ammo any longer, that production has been taken over by the private sector. The military demands created a heavy burden on production by itself. Along with our military demand one of the major ammo manufactures landed a very large foreign contract. This kind of contract could not be filled piecemeal but had had to be shipped whole. I could not find out the amount of ammo in the contract only that it was a VERY large order.

    With the strains already placed on the ammo manufactures for military production, civilian inventories were already very low. Now one of the major ammunition suppliers has to divert most of it’s production to fill a large contract. At a time when production is running at almost full capacity and 30 to 40 percent of the ammunition is diverted to someplace else, the rest of the manufactures can not compensate for the domestic loss of product.

    The industry line is that we are producing ammo as fast as we can. This I believe is true, but there are some factors that are out of the ammo companies control.

    Being in the outdoor power equipment industry for 27 years I have been able to visit a number of the factories that produce mowers, trimmers, chainsaws, ect. The ability to produce whole goods or loaded ammo relies on the raw goods suppliers as well.

    When Winchester or ATK (Federal, CCI, Speer and Blazer) decide to ramp up production they can probably go at it for a little while with existing inventory of raw materials. When these raw materials are depleted they have to wait for more. In today’s world manufacturing inventory is managed in an on time delivery schedule, meaning that we do not stock pile product that is not sold anymore. This does not only apply to completed goods but raw material all the way back to the supplier of raw goods.

    When an ammo company wants to increase production they have to rely on their suppliers to provide them the raw materials for that production. Folks this is not something that can happen in a week or even a month it takes time.

    Now with such a hole sucked in the supply it is still going to take awhile to refill the pipe line. The best estimates I heard for the supply of ammo to return to normal levels was 12 to 18 months. Now with Winchester supplying up to 200 million rounds to the Department of Homeland Security, the civilian and domestic law enforcement market is taking another hit in ammo supplies.

    Another factor is the media, seems like it was back in September somebody notified MSNBC that there was an ammo shortage in the commercial market. This happened at a time when we as a retailer were starting to see a little better supply of ammo. MSNBC was only about eleven months late in report. The report started another feeding frenzy by people not aware yet of the ammo shortage and depleted any product that was starting to build in inventory.

    Tie a knot in your rope and hang on, hopefully we will be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel in the coming months. When the firearms started filling the pipeline it filled up fast. For those of us that shoot a lot, lets hope the same happens for ammunition.
  2. pcrc11

    pcrc11 TS Member

    Apr 5, 2009
    Nolack of ammo at gunshow today in East Tn. Prices have started to come down a little. Hopefully even lower in the next few months. Cant see any reason why they wont as long as market is set by law of supply and demand. Professional almmo retailers prices have come down quite a bit. My only hope is the guys that hoarded ammo with intent of making huge profit get stuck. You can tell these guys at gun show because they have 15-20 different boxes of different kinds of new ammo you can tell was bought at Wal-Mart now priced doubled what it retailed for.
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