March 6th, 2009

Where Has All the Ammo Gone? (And Primers, Brass…)

“Sold Out” is the message these days at retail stores, gunshows, and online merchants. Our readers have reported that big outlet stores such as WalMart are completely sold out of loaded ammo in popular calibers. At a Sportsman’s Warehouse store, the shelves were bare (see photo below). Likewise at a gunshow we attended last week in California, vendors sold out their supplies of rifle primers… down to the last box. Many online e-merchants (including, MidwayUSA, and Wideners) are completely sold out of small and large CCI, Federal, Remington, and Wolf rifle primers.

Ammo shortage

What’s going on? Is this a wave of panic buying or are there other factors at play? First, it’s pretty clear that shooters nationwide are laying in large supplies of ammo, bullets, and primers. This is motivated by fears (justified or not) that Congress is contemplating new taxes on ammo and reloading components. Also, there has been increased demand for ammunition for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that has siphoned off some of the supply of primers from CCI and Federal. However, the primary cause of the shortages is “panic buying” and hoarding by gun owners. Amy Bruno tells us that none of her suppliers have notified her of any production issues. CCI, Federal, and Remington are cranking out as many primers as ever, but supplies are selling out as soon as they hit the shelves.

Ammo shortage

The Good News
Nammo Lapua reports that a large shipment of Lapua cartridge brass should be arriving in the USA and clear customs within the next 10 days. This will include 220 Russian, .243 Win, 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47, 6.5×55, 7.63×39, .308 Win, 30-06, 7.62x54R, and 338 LM brass. This shipment will also include loaded ammo, plus Scenar bullets and Lapua rimfire ammo. Also, a second container is due around the end of March. Hopefully that will include 6mmBR brass also. Check with major vendors such as Sinclair Int’l,, and MidwayUSA. Midway is listing 3/14/09 as the “Date expected in-stock” for Lapua .308 brass.

Bruno Shooters Supply has significant quantities of CCI and Federal primers in stock (mention when you call). However, all Rem, Winchester, and Wolf rifle primers are sold out. Here’s what Bruno’s has as of today, March 6th:

CCI BR2 Large Rifle Benchrest (quantity 50 1K boxes): $49.95/box
Fed 205M Small Rifle Match (quantity 383 1K boxes): $43.95/box
Fed 210 Large Rifle standard (quantity 122 1K boxes): $32.95/box

Amy Bruno also reports she has 55 8-lb jugs of the hard-to-find VV N133. She doesn’t know when the next shipment of Vihtavuori powders will arrive.

Powder Valley has the CCI BR2 Large Rifle Benchrest primers in stock at $37.00 per thousand. Unfortunately, Powder Valley is sold out of almost all other rifle primers.

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