After politicians force citizens to register their firearms, what comes next? Laws requiring permits to purchase ammo (with mandatory registration and finger-printing). We kid you not. Right now in California (no surprise), legislators are considering legislation (Senate Bill 53) that would require purchasers of ammunition to register with the state Department of Justice (DOJ) prior to purchasing any ammunition, and to obtain an ammo-purchasing permit.
You would think such a law would be rejected as an extreme “prior restraint” and hence, a violation of Californians’ Constitutional rights. But heck no, quite a few politicians (you guess the party) believe that it is perfectly fine to require pre-purchase registration of ammo buyers. Last week, anti-gun Senate Bill 53 passed in the California Assembly Public Safety Committee by a 5 to 2 vote. SB 53 will now go to the Assembly floor where it could be considered at anytime.
SB 53 would require ammo buyers to register with the state Department of Justice (DOJ) prior to purchasing any ammunition. The registration process would require the submission of fingerprints, background check results, and fees to the DOJ. On top of that, SB 53 would require gun owners to obtain a costly ammunition purchaser permit every two years. In addition, at time of sale, ammo purchasers would have to provide a thumbprint for all ammunition purchases.
It Gets Worse — California Legislation Would Also Ban Mail-Order Ammo Sales
This onerous legislation, SB53, does more than mandate registration of ammo purchasers. It would also ban online and mail-order sales of all ammunition, including hunting ammunition.
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Creedmoor Sports will be producing high-quality loaded ammunition very soon. This will be crafted with top-quality bullets, and premium-grade Lapua brass. General Manager Dennis DeMille tells us: “We received four pallets of brass today and we have 13,005 pounds of powder waiting for production.”
Here’s a preview of what will be on the market very soon:
Oh, the beauty of it — all that Lapua brass. From Finland with love….
What does 13,005 pounds (6.5 tons) of powder look like? That would last most reloaders a few seasons. Hoarders, eat your hearts out….
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Need .223 Rem ammo for your early summer varmint safari? Grafs.com has you covered. Over the past few months, Graf & Sons has acquired a large supply of .223 Rem ammo from a variety of manufacturers. Now Grafs.com has a great selection of .223 Rem ammo, with many items marked down on sale. You’ll find name-brand ammo for as little as $9.99 per 20-ct box (American Eagle 50gr JHP). If you prefer heavier bullets for longer-range shooting, check out the PRVI Partizan ammo loaded with 75gr HPBT match bullets — this is just $10.99 per per 20-ct box.
Have you been struggling to find powder, primers, and .22 LR rimfire ammo? Well, now there’s a free web-based search service that can help you find what you need. The service costs nothing and you don’t have to sign up to run searches. We ran a quick search for .22 LR Ammo and found dozens of sources. We clicked the “in-stock only” option and ranked the results by price-per-round, low to high. Here’s what we found this morning — there were plenty of sources at $0.13-0.15 per round ($6.50-$7.50 per box), and Gander Mountain even had some Remington .22LR at $2.49 per box!
Click Box to ZOOM Image So You Can Read Results More Easily:
GunBot.net employs “search bots” to scour the internet for available inventories of ammo, powder, primers, brass and magazines. GunBot.net checks the inventories of over sixty retailers, including leading vendors AmmoMan, Bass Pro, Brownells, Cabelas, Cheaper Than Dirt, Grizzly, JG Sales, Dan Killough, Midsouth Shooters Supply, Midway USA, Powder Valley, Rainier Arms, Sinclair Int’l, Sportsman’s Guide,, Wholesale Hunter, and Wideners.
Results can be sorted by price or time (most recent results first). You can even get email alerts notifying you when the product you need is available. (To get alerts, you must first log-in and create an account with GunBot.net. There is no charge for this service.) GunBot.net’s search spiders work constantly, so results are normally very current. Pages auto-refresh when new “matching items” are found.
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Matt Reams, the V.P. of Sales for Sierra Bullets, recently addressed the burning question in the minds of many shooters these days: “Where did all the .22LR rimfire ammo go — why can’t I find any?” Here is Matt’s answer, from the knowledgeable perspective of a firearms industry executive.
Why Can’t I Find .22 LR Ammunition?by Matt Reams
Even though Sierra Bullets does not make .22 LR ammo or projectiles, we are constantly asked “Why can’t I find any .22 LR ammo anywhere?” Even the conspiracy theorists are at a loss on this one as they can’t even blame it on the government. They toss around thoughts of warehouses full of .22 LR rotting away just to keep it out of their hands, but that does not seem very realistic – even to them.
So what is going on here? Why is it that 1.5 years later, the shelves are still empty and bricks of .22 LR can still be seen selling for upwards of $75-$100 at gun shows? I do not believe there is one answer, but rather a few. Here are my opinions on the matter, for what they are worth.
Hoarders – Some people are piling it away in their basements, garages, bunkers, and under their beds due to fear of not being able to find it again. This is not a huge factor in it, but it is still a factor to some degree. When these hoarders can’t find it on shelves, it only panics them more and causes them to buy even more when they do find it.
Gougers – These are the guys who prey on the fear of the hoarders. These are the guys that wait in line at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. to buy up the daily allotment that Wal-Mart puts out at normal retail prices and then double or triple their price on the weekend gun show circuit. Again, not a huge factor, but keeping the shelves looking empty which keeps the panic level higher for those that are looking.
Demand – Now we are getting to the real meat of the issue. You hear manufactures say they are running 24/7 on their rimfire lines which is putting somewhere around 25-30 million rounds PER DAY (estimate on my part from numbers I have heard from the big rimfire guys) into the market – so how can there be a shortage? I have asked this myself – until we start doing even a little basic math. You hear all kind of numbers about how many firearms owners are in the USA, but you hear 70-80 million quite often. So for the sake of us not arguing that number – let’s cut it to 35 million. Do you know a gun owner that does not own at least one firearm chambered in .22 LR? Do you know any that are not looking for .22 LR ammo or would at least buy some if they saw it for normal prices? How many would they buy when they found it? A lot – right? But again, just to keep the argument on the low end, let’s say they would all be satisfied with just a single 500 pack. 35 million multiplied by 500 .22 LR rounds for them all – is 17.5 BILLION rounds. Let that sink in. Even at 25 million rounds being made PER DAY – that is 1.92 years’ worth of production.
Starts making some sense then doesn’t it? Hoarding and panic emptied the shelves. Gougers try and keep them empty and demand does keep them empty. Then factor in that I probably cut the real number of 22 LR shooters in half and probably underestimated the amount everyone would buy if they found it at normal prices by 300% and you can see how deep the problem really is and why it is not going to go away tomorrow. It also does not take into account the world market – just the USA.
How will it get better? Slowly. The hoarders will get to a point that they feel they have enough or will run out of money. The shelves will start getting enough on them that the gougers cannot buy it all. This will make people stop paying $50-$75 for a brick at gun shows. That will make it less profitable for the gougers to spend their money on and they will stop. The shelves will start to have product again which will ease people’s fears and get them back to buying what they need today instead of what they need for the decade. There is no fast answer.
Are the manufactures hiring people for extra shifts and adding capacity – sure they are. But it is easy to just expect them to ramp up production overnight to take care of our needs, but that is just not realistic. We get the same thing here. The market certainly has not grown 500% so what happens when companies add all that super expensive equipment when things get back to normal? They take a bath on it for sure and waste capital that they could have used to improve their company in a way that makes them stronger. Instead they just added equipment they may never need again and have to mothball while they lay off workers they no longer need. Not a great way to run a business and not a fair way to treat employees.
We all just have to trust that it will get better, do not buy more than we need and wait it out. It will not get better overnight. It will start out with a box here and there and then a few and then slowly the shelves will get back to having all the supply and selection we picky consumers are accustomed to and will certainly appreciate much more than we ever did before… if only for a little while.
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Guns and ammo are big business in the United States — really big business. Guns and ammo now represent a $38 billion-dollar per year segment of the U.S. economy.
According to the NSSF, the total economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industries in the United States increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $37.7 billion in 2013, a 97% increase, while the total number of full-time equivalent jobs rose from more than 166,000 to more than 245,000, a 48% increase in that five-year period. These figures are based on a new report release today (April 2, 2014) by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
NSSF President/CEO Steve Sanetti states: “We have seen dramatic, unprecedented during peacetime growth in the firearms and ammunition industry that is the direct result of consumer demand for our products in the last five years. While our nation’s overall economic recovery has been slow since 2008, our industry has been a true bright spot, increasing our direct workforce by nearly half, adding jobs that pay an average of more than $47,700 in wages and benefits. Supplier and induced jobs* were also increased by about half since 2008, even as we increased federal tax payments by 93 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 83 percent and state business taxes by 77 percent.”
The Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report (2013) provides a state by state breakdown of job numbers, wages and output covering direct, supplier and induced employment, as well as federal excise taxes paid. Access the full report here.
* Induced jobs are those created by the economic impact made by the industry.
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Ever wonder why fine wine is always stored on its side? That’s not just for looks, or easier access when the sommelier (wine steward) visits the wine cellar. Wine bottles are stored horizontally, at a slight angle, to prevent the wine from oxidizing:
“By intentionally storing a wine on its side, you will help keep the cork in constant contact with the wine. This will keep the cork moist, which should keep the cork from shrinking and allowing the enemy of wine, oxygen, to seep into the bottle. When oxygen comes into contact with wine the result is not good – the wine starts to oxidize and the aromas, flavors and color all begin to spoil“. — About.com
Ammunition Should Also Be Stored Horizontally
So what does wine have to do with shooting? Well, it may surprise you, but over time, our cartridges can spoil, just like wine can — though not for the same reason. We don’t have the issue of oxygen seeping past the bullet (the “cork” as it were). However, when ammunition is stored nose-up or nose down, problems can arise. In a nose-up or nose-down configuration, over a long period of time, the powder column will compress, and the powder kernels can actually break down. This can lead to erratic ignition and/or dangerous pressures.
To avoid the problems associated with powder column compression and kernel break-down during long-term storage, take the time to orient your cartridges like wine bottles, i.e. placed flat on their side. Of course, this really isn’t necessary if you burn through your ammo relatively quickly. But, if you are storing cartridges “for the long haul”, take the time to arrange them horizontally. That may require a little extra effort now, but you’ll reap the rewards down the road.
Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. Ammoseek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Need .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select “.45 ACP” from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.
Find .22 LR Ammo Quickly (Cabela’s Has Some Today)
Looking for hard-to-find .22 LR rimfire ammunition. That’s easy — you don’t even have to enter any search words. Simply click on the highlighted links for AmmoSeek’s 22LR Page.
Use Ammoseek.com to Find Reloading Components Too
Ammoseek.com also lets you search for reloading components, including powder, primers, brass, and bullets. This is a huge time-saver. You can instantly check a dozen or more vendors to see if a particular type of powder is in stock. Likewise, you can quickly check for primer availability. If you have a big match coming up and are short on primers — this could solve the problem.
Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Looking for the best prices on rifle and pistol ammo? Here’s a service that can help you comparison-shop pricing among multiple online ammo vendors. Starting this week, The Firearm Blog will be researching and posting ammo prices from two dozen different websites. Prices are displayed for 500 and 1000-round lots of the most popular pistol and rifle calibers: .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .22LR, .223 Rem, 7.62×39, and .308 Win. This is a useful service. Not only do the charts help you find the best price, but this weekly report helps spotlight sources of hard-to-find ammo, such as .22 LR rimfire ammunition. Among the 24 vendors surveyed, Alamo Ammo, Outdoor Limited, and Smokey Mtn. Munitions, are showing some kind of .22 LR ammunition in stock.
Ever wondered how Hornady bullets and ammunition are made? You’ll see every stage of production in this interesting video from the Outdoor Channel. Starting with raw materials (lead, copper, and brass), this 9-minute “factory tour” video shows how bullet cores are produced, how jackets are crafted, and how cartridge cases are formed, headstamped, and inspected. If you watch carefully you’ll also see the massive, multi-stage cartridge loading machines. Now one of the most successful manufacturers of ammunition and reloading components in the world, Hornady Manufacturing has come a long way from its early days. In 1949, Founder Joyce Hornady started the company “making bullets… in a garage down on 4th street” in Grand Island, Nebraska.
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Lead cylinders are pressed into lead wire used for bullet cores.
Spools of flat copper are fed into cupping machines. The punched cups become bullet jackets.
All cartridge cases and loaded rounds are hand-inspected.
Hornady Manufacturing — The Early Years
During World War II, Joyce Hornady served as a marksmanship instructor at the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant. Following the War, Joyce and his family stayed in Grand Island, Nebraska and opened a small sporting goods retail store that sold everything from basketballs to shooting supplies.
After WWII, shooters and hunters used surplus military ammunition. This surplus ammo however, did not offer the accuracy or performance needed for target shooting, big game, or varmint hunting. Recognizing the need for better bullets, Hornady and his original partner Vernon Speer built a machine that converted spent 22 rimfire cases into bullet jackets, and then into bullets. The business relationship between Hornady and Speer later faltered, and Vernon Speer moved to Lewiston, Idaho. Using a surplus bullet assembly press in a rented garage on 4th Street in Grand Island, Nebraska, Joyce Hornady began to produce his own .30-caliber bullet.
The first year of business, Hornady Bullets had total sales of $10,000 – a figure that increased three-fold the next year. Hornady added equipment and workers, confident that more growth lay ahead. During the Korean War, Hornady earned contracts to produce a variety of products not associated with bullets — aluminum hearts for bracelets, and condenser cans for the government. After the war, the can material and the technology developed to produce them was utilized to make ultra-thin copper jackets for varmint bullets.
In 1958, the company moved to its present location on the west edge of Grand Island. The new, larger facility featured an 8,000-square-foot plant. In 1960, Hornady added a 200-yard underground testing facility.
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If you wonder how ammo is made, starting with raw metal, check out this video from Hornady. It shows how bullet jackets are formed from copper, followed by insertion of a lead core. The jacket is then closed up over the core with the bullet taking its final shape in a die (a cannelure is applied on some bullet types). Next the video shows how cartridge brass is formed, starting with small cups of brass. The last part of the video shows how cases are primed and filled with powder, and how bullets are seated into the cases, using an automated process on a giant assembly-line.
At its 100,000+ square foot factory in Grand Island, Nebraska, Hornady produces millions of rounds of ammunition annually. The Grand Island factory is open for tours Monday through Thursday. Hornady Manufacturing, which now boasts over 300 employees, was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949. The business is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father’s death in a plane crash in 1981.
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Looking to start a new enterprise? How about entering a field where consumer demand greatly exceeds supply right now — the ammunition business. If you have $38,000 or so you can get your own automated ammo-making machine from Ammo Load Worldwide, Inc., an American-run business located in Lewiston, Idaho. There’s also an 11-station, computer-controlled “Mark L” rifle ammo machine that’s a bit pricier — $77,000 with accessories. Sure that’s a tad more expensive than a Dillon XL650, but with a Mark L you can produce three thousand .223 Rem rounds per hour with the push of a button.
Watch Ammo-Loading Machines in Action:
Mark X Pistol Cartridge Loading Machine (about $38,000)
For over 30 years Ammo Load machines have served ammunition manufacturers, commercial loaders, private shooting ranges, and numerous law enforcement agencies. The Mark X Ammo Load machine (for pistol cartridges) has a maximum production rate of just over 5,000 cycles per hour. Many users produce between 3,000 and 5,000 rounds per hour. The primary factors governing the quality and quantity of ammunition produced are the components (particularly the cases), the caliber, and the capabilities of the operator.
The Mark X Ammo Load machine for pistol cartridges has nine (9) stations: Case Check, Size and Deprime, Primer and Primer Disk Check, Belling, Powder Feed, Powder Check, Bullet Seating, Bullet Crimp, Final Sizing. There are checks (with shut-offs) for case feed, primer feed, bullet feed, and powder load. The Mark X comes complete with shell case feeder, primer feed tube, powder flask, and bullet feed tube.
Mark L – Automatic Rifle Ammunition Loader (About $77,000)
In 2009 Ammo Load Worldwide introduced the Mark L automatic rifle ammunition loader in .223 and .308. Many proven features from the Mark X pistol machine have been incorporated into the Mark L to provide precise and consistent rifle cartridge loading at approximately 3,000 to 3,600 rounds per hour. All of the sensors and switches use fiber optic technology to increase precision and reduce maintenance. The Mark L utilizes a 3-station powder drop; the manufacturer claims this maintains charge weights to within 1/10th of a grain.
Mark L Rifle Cartridge Loading Machine has 11 stations:
2. Mouth Flare
4. Primer Check / 1st Powder Drop
5. 2nd Powder Drop
6. 3rd Powder Drop