But I frequently portray one in real life. This morning I did something dumb that I will never do again as long as I live: I went to Wal Mart before 7AM and stood in line waiting to see if there was any .22 Long Rifle ammo on their truck. I was in the store last night and saw a sign on the ammo display saying “Next Truck: Sunday 5/12. Ammo sales start at 7:30. There WILL be a line. Limit 3 boxes per customer.” I arrived at 6:50 and was first in line for ammo. I got a little concerned when only 2 other guys showed up. We had some discussion among ourselves about buying ammo to pass the time. At 7:35 there was nobody in the department so one of the guys hunted down a manager. He said “Yeah, we got a truck but there was no ammo on the manifest. Just because the sign says when the next truck is coming in doesn’t mean there will be ammo on it.” Fabulous. Wasted valuable sleep time for this fiasco.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry or even think about something like that. I used to do a lot of target shooting but that’s tapered off in the past decade or so. When I stopped shooting you could buy a 500 round brick of .22LR ammo for about $7.50. I remember being incensed the first time I had to pay over $5.00 for a brick but that was then, this is now. Things have changed and not for the better.
I don’t know the reasoning behind it but there’s an ammo shortage. Not just .22LR but everything. I made a decision recently to purchase a new pistol and for a couple weeks agonized over whether to buy a 9mm or .40 caliber. Ultimately I went for .40 for a very simple reason: The ammo is more readily available than 9mm most of the time. A couple of weeks ago before making the purchase I put 75 miles on my vehicle driving around Denver to try and locate ammo. Green Mtn Guns, OD Green Supply, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, several Wal Mart stores, and a few small Mom’N’Pop gun shops. My theory was that it would do no good to buy a weapon that I can’t get ammo for.
Almost without exception, the store shelves were empty. I found a few boxes of .40 and a select few 9mm but .22’s are scarce as the proverbial hen’s teeth. OD Green has plenty of ammo but they are pricing it like they are the only ones who stock the stuff. Over 1.00 per round for 9mm and .40 and a 500 round brick of .22 for $165. I told the guy that I doubt I’ve spent that much for .22 rounds in my whole life. He replied “Sweet…go buy it somewhere else.” And that pretty much sums up the situation.
I don’t know what is causing the ammo shortage. Manufacturers like Remington and Winchester are running their plants at full capacity so it’s not like they aren’t making enough. Some say government agencies have ordered a lot of ammo to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but it seems like a pretty weak argument. I doubt that any federal agency has ordered 1.5 Billion rounds which is about what is being made every year and the government certainly has no use for .22LR.
Some even go so far as too say the government IS buying up all the ammo. That theory being “if they can’t take our guns they will limit our ability to shoot them.” I don’t go for that one either in spite of the disdain I have for the current administration. The shortage may be directly or indirectly attributed to government policy but I believe it’s simple hoarding. People don’t really understand the ramifications of gun control legislation like the new laws that go into effect in Colorado in July and because of some misguided notion they are hoarding ammo. The fear is that they won’t be able to get ammo if more anti-gun laws are passed. I suppose there’s some validity to that but I’m just not sure. I do know that some people, probably those who don’t have jobs or work for a living, frequent ammo dealers when the trucks arrive and buy up all the ammo they can. Said ammo soon shows up on Craigslist at an inflated price. Wal Mart (when they have it) sells a 525 round brick of .22LR for $21.77. As we speak there are a few ads on Craigslist selling .22LR for anywhere from $60 to $75 for a brick.
What I do know is this: We visited South Dakota in November and one of the things on the agenda was teaching my granddaughter Katrina to shoot. In the process we shot up all the .22 ammo at the Vigoren place. Oh Dopey me, I thought it would be easy to replace. Now I’m searching in vain for .22LR. I’m even having a problem finding .40 caliber.
Some of the information I read online says the ammo shortage may ease in the 3rd quarter of 2013 when the initial panic subsides. I don’t know if that’s true but I do know I’m going to start buying .40 cal and .22LR every time I can find it. I’m going to start shooting again and it won’t sit unused for long. My fervent hope, though, is that all the hoarders who don’t shoot or don’t even own weapons will get stuck with a garage full of ammo they paid regular prices for when the prices drop in October. Good luck with that fellas.