Another Ammunition Shortage? – Frank Talk About Guns

HPR .223 Remington Ammo
HPR .223 Remington Ammo

Des Moines, Iowa – -( Those of you shopping for economically priced .223 and 5.56 ammunition may be discovering that it is getting harder and harder to find.

There is significant demand for these calibers at this moment, with the US Army the main buyer of the lower-priced ammunition.

From our various sources, we are hearing that the Army is bringing their reserves back up to a reasonable level in anticipation of the perceivable conflicts our military may be engaged in over the next 24 plus months.

At this time, the military gets a significant majority of their ammunition from the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri. Every couple of years, the contract for manufacturing ammunition is sent out for bids, and the quotations are reviewed. The re-bid time for the next contract is coming up – due October 2013. While that is more than a year away, whenever a military contract of this magnitude comes up, there are significant uncertainties of change in operations by the new winner of the bid. And, with any change in operations, there’s also the strong possibility of a significant delay in supply.

What the military is doing right now, then, is a very reasonable response to an uncertain future supply chain and a possible change in their manufacturing base. They are stockpiling more ammo than may be needed by the military, but which might actually be available to the commercial market once the contract is all settled and the new contractor is in place and up to the full operation.

So, it’s kinda a bucket of worms . . . strong possibility of uncertain ammo manufacturing capacity during this time of real transition – probably – maybe.

It just so happens that Lake City is also a main source of component parts for aftermarket reloaders and resellers of ammunition, too. With the military buying nearly everything Lake City is producing right now, the resellers and aftermarket reloaders are finding their supply is getting mighty tight, too.

To make the situation a “perfect storm of uncertainness”, we’re finding that the commercial ammo market is growing exponentially, with consumers wanting more and more ammo, raising the demand curve even higher. We talked about what might be causing this in the last WebBench – basically, more folks shooting the AR-15, with more need for ammo. Other causes are the “election effect”, a possible presidential fiat to ban military rounds to the civilian market (I do not believe this to be a real factor, but it is a motivator in the marketplace), and finally what economists call “scarcity demand”.

Scarcity demand is when we go the store, and there is nothing on the shelf. We feel that momentary panic, that “I’ve gotta get some . . . the store doesn’t have any” response.

And finally, we really have to accept the fact that these are “uncertain times”. Uncertainty is going to be with us for a great many more months. The media is hitting us with that every day in every venue available to them. Just in the last few days we’ve been smacked with the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, the Fast and Furious scandal, and the most damaging wildfires in history both in Colorado and the Northeast. Sorta makes you want to turn off the noise, retreat to the patio, find some shade and something cool to drink . . . except the West and Midwest and much of the South is having a record-setting heatwave.

Well, not much we can do about most of this, but we can help out with the ammo shortage problem. When you order on and it comes up that we are out of that item, you are given the choice of “Back Order” or “Notify”.

In addition, our gang in Marketing and Web Development has figured out a way to let you know when preferred ammunition comes back in stock. We’ll take care of the backorders and notify you first, of course, but when we actually have stock we can ship you, we will send you an email alert, and you can decide if you still want the item or not. In these times of unknown outages, the program gives you the chance to be “the first to know”, which has gotta be better than just gettin’ hit with a stick!

Click here to sign up for our Preferred Ammo Alert Emails. We hope it helps you get the ammo you want.

About Brownells

At Brownells Everything is Guaranteed period! Forever, 100%, with no restocking fees. Brownells is the world’s largest supplier of firearm parts, gunsmithing tools, ammunition, reloading equipment and accessories. Stocking more than 50,000 items, the company supplies armorers, gunsmiths, and shooters worldwide. All of their products are backed by a 100% satisfaction, unconditional, lifetime guarantee. For more information, or to place an order, call 800-741-0015 or visit


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Might it be that you’re 2 years late to the party? . . . Just a Thought?


Why are we getting two year old information?



Barry PAge

Here in NW Iowa, it is next to impossible to get ANYTHING other than shot-gun shells and .270 Winchester. anything else, good luck!


Still doesn’t explain why 22 LR ammo is impossible to find and needs to be back ordered. Back to shooting black powder rifle and air guns.


It is sad when American vendors have to import primers and ammo from Russia, powder from Scandanavia and Australia, and brass from all over Europe to meet domestic demand. This artificial “ammo shortage” is just going to ensure that the American populace acquires much larger stores of ammunition and reloading components than they would have otherwise. Defending the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic will be easier with more ammo and arms in the hands of patriots.


Tom Clark,
It is too bad that all those foreign people frighten you so. That you must arm yourself to protect yourself from a fiction is too bad. You a far scarier than any Mexican person I have ever met. By the way, America starts with a capital,”A”. Education is a good thing.

tom clark

Some of you argue about history, but seem to not know it. Since mid 70’s, our govt, and corp-orations have allowed illegal immigration, not wanting to bother with american minorities. In 86, amnesty allowed several million illegals to stay, their new- borns were citizens and now vote,hence, our politicians going after hispanic vote. Both parties want voters, and only argue with neach other, don’t deal with facts. americans haVE A CHOICE, TO BUY A GUN THEY DESIRE, IT;S THEIR CHOICE, AN AMERICANS CHOICE. iT’S NOT THE SEMI AUTO GUNS, OR GIN CONVENTIONS, IT’S ORGANIZED CRIME AND MENTAL ILLNESS, THOSE MARE… Read more »

Jim Stone

An amusing thought in all of this. It kinda backfired on the government who wishes to limit. We the people purchased all the ammo and created backlog. True the government is ordering but it is not even produced yet,we as citizens outgun the government with long term ready arms. I bet that bothers a few of our thinking officials..


What I want to know is, where were all these (Johnny Come Lately) people just after 2004 when the ban ended? All these firearms and ammo were available (a lot cheaper) before, during, (Preban/Postban)and after. Here we now have are people who waited to the last minute of the 11th hour to figure this out. . . "Golly, maybe I should get something now, or got it sooner". . . YOU THINK??? I'm sorry to say that if anybody who bought their first (AR/AK) since the NOV 2012 Elect. is part of the problem. I see all of them as… Read more »


I have been trying to find clips and ammo for my AR 15 for a coule of weeks now and can not find any in town or online. Our constitution calls for us to be a ready militia? How are we going to be able to do that if we can not get any ammunition? Should we rely on our military? NOT hardly. It takes them days or even weeks sometimes to respond to a disaster. Please at least use your influence with the ammunition manufacturers to get us some ammunition. I have never been in a war zone but… Read more »


We are Not the UN, the UN wants all of us disarmed. People are buying ammo, due to Obama and others like him, attempting to ban guns. People will continue to buy ammo, if they feel the need and I have more than 20 rounds of defensive ammo, because I feel the need for it.

Michael Delgado

Since the AR15 have flown off the shelf in a matter of weeks after the Newtown, CT shooting every new gun owner also wants a SHTF stock of 1,000 rounds. California Senator Feinstein and that Obama guy was awarded Salesmen of the Year. Give it a bit of time. Continue to buy your box at a time and I believe it will get better. In the meantime, write your Congressmen / Senators and demand they preserve your 2nd Amendment rights by not limiting the size of our arms. I'm not a hunter, I'm not a sportsmen. I own my collection… Read more »


Idiots. We're shooting more as a nation. I call bs on federal holding onto ammo and if they are its already sold UN control?? We are the UN… Question is: how do we curb the sheeple from buying ammo out of panic I buy 100rds every other week for target practice. I have 20 hollow points for bad guys and thats all i need. Why would you stock up on ammo other then getting bulk prices. Even during the last shortage i was able to buy ammo i just had to try harder. As far as prices going up i… Read more »

William Flatt

The article is 'off'; the military is not responsible for any shortage. Their ammunition loads are different than the civilian-spec ammo that is sold in stores. Actually, if there's a shortage, it should be in the .40JHP category: Homeland Security has bought 750 million rounds over the last 3 years and another order for 650 million wounds just in the last couple months.… along with a 150 million round purchase planned for .556 The FBI has purchased 100 million rounds of .40, too.… The military expends 66-70 million rounds (all calibers) a year in normal combat conditions, so… Read more »


Hmmm, not quite buying it Mr. Brownell. Friends in Anoka MN say all of Federal's warehouses are full. This is little more than the ammo companies following in the steps of oil companies on seeing what the new standard price for ammo is to be set. Gas could be $1.50 a gallon, ammo could be 10 cents a round. Create a crisis somewhere, stifle distribution, and presto shortages "force" the price up. First it was the war, then it was the copper mine strike, now…..

Erik Olsen

Stacked deep and wide here in St Louis at most locations I shop at. Same with reloading supplies. Almost time for me to stock up, not due to any shortages but due to the fact that I'm almost bingo on powder and pills. 😉

Pete Strasser

Not in Tucson. Everywhere, from independents to meag-chains have all you can want.


When just one in ten US gun owners buys an extra 100 rounds, that's 500 million rounds right there. It's probably not entirely the military.


Every branch of military HAS TO HAVE a huge stockpile of all munitions they use. For years those calibers have been scarce and highly priced.

Any firefights were few and far between with small units involved of which air support almost always ended for them.

Now, they likely are buying up ammo to create a shortage in America but, that's a different reason altogether.