This Whole Ammo Shortage Thing by the Numbers

22LR ammunition
This Whole Ammo Shortage Thing by the Numbers

PHOENIX, AZ –-( I haven't seen anything that suggests foul play of any kind, to me, it's strictly supply and demand, and it shows you what panic in a market looks like.

Rationing and price spikes are the result of demand far outstripping supply.

Sure, government ammo purchases should give you pause, it's the reason we're all armed.

A trusted source provided this:

“Take for example .22LR ammunition. The industry as a whole (all manufacturers combined) is setup to produce 4,200,000,000 (4.2 Billions) .22 LR annually. That is running all the machines, full capacity all the time, all manufacturers together.

There is NOTHING they can do to produce more.

That corresponds to 230,137 cartridge per State per day, which is 460 bricks of 500 .22lr per day per State. That means that if less than 50 people per day in each State are buying 10 bricks of .22, it is enough to dry up the entire supply as it is being manufactured.”

News from ammo makers seems OK too, but it's right to be wary. Trust but verify. How do you do that?

If you don't have ammo, you're stuck in a high market. If you're like many Americans, you'll comfortably ride this out until the market corrects.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Bloomfield Press, founded in 1988, is the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Our website,, features a free national directory to gun laws and relevant contacts in all states and federally, along with our unique line of related books and DVDs. “After Your Shoot” for media review is available on request, call 800-707-4020. Our authors are available for interview, call to schedule. Call for cogent positions on gun issues, informed analysis on proposed laws, talk radio that lights up the switchboard, fact sheets and position papers. As we always say, “It doesn't make sense to own a gun and not know the rules.” Visit:

  • 40 thoughts on “This Whole Ammo Shortage Thing by the Numbers

    1. let me chime in from a different perspective if i may. for many years ammo, 22lr, showed up in stores the same every week or two no matter where i lived in this country. they say it’s panic buying, etc. but this is an impossibility because you cannot panic buy until it’s on the shelf, right? gun stores tell me they are not getting any 22lr ammo because people are panic buying, funny how people believe hype in this country. remember the gas shortage of 74 and 79, more BS. friends they just do this to get prices higher and the american public buys it every time; remember lead prices have been really low. if you want gas and ammo prices to be as low as 1970 just stop buying it, only drive when absolutely necessary. the secret with gasoline is it gets old fast but the rest of the crude products don’t; which throws the cracking process out of sync. they make most of the money from everything but the gas portion of the cracking process. the less we use the faster it build up and the quicker they lower prices to keep it from going bad they would wind up having to get rid of millions of gallons of bad, old gasoline. if you listen to what i just said gas and ammo will once again be .35 cents a gallon and .35 cents a box…. believe me. rockefeller once dumped ALL the gasoline into the rivers because they had no use for it and still became the richest man on earth… get it now people, it’s not that valuable!!!
      try and see if you can get your heads out of rectal defilade if at all possible, if you can!!!

    2. If you look into background check figures, you’ll see that during the Bush years gun sales were around 5m a year. Then Obama took office in 08 having a antigun history, with a democrat majority in both sides of congress. Sales rose to 14m per year his entire first term.

      Outside of political fear reasons, the sunset of awb in 04 gave rise to the recreational and competition tactical shooting community. Then there were the 2012 doomsday preppers, and the people who prepped against a self induced collapse from doomsday hysteria. All of these newbies were directed towards an ar15 in 5.56, a bolt in .308, and of course a 22lr.

      Then during debates between Obama and mittens, obummer stated a desire to pursue an awb. Upon his reelection, that Nov saw a record 2.1m in sales to the wait & see procrastinators who finally jumped off the fence. Followed by another 2.7m in Dec, in which Sandy hook happened on the 14th. The following months averaged 2m each only because of short supply. Now not all those sales were new owners and they weren’t all ar15 & 22lr, but 6-8m of them over recent years is a more than reasonable estimate that a spokesman for Winchester gives for new 22 shooters. If every one of them wanted a measly 100 rds it’d be 600-800,000,000rds, thats not including the 100m original gun owners needs,

      The gun grabbers weren’t only lusting after our gun rights, some proposals included $.05/rd tax, which would devastate the 22lr market at $25 a bulk pack tax. Another reason for over buying is that the environmental Nazis, who run hand in hand with animal rights kooks and antigun fascists, want all lead removed from ammo. This would raise prices to scalpers level, which would decrease demand. This is why I believe they don’t increase production capacity, the buyers may not be there if prices are close to centerfire.

      Are there hoarders? Are there scalpers? Are the companies not producing enough? Are there millions of new shooters?… I’d say yes. I personally have stopped shooting 22lr recreationally. They are on shelves at Walmart occasionally, but then I leave work at 7am so I get better opportunities. Until I see it in bulk packs regularly I reserve it for introducing new shooters, and fending off squirrels and opossum.

      1. To clarify my last comment, the scalpers will go away if we just don’t buy from them, or else if we accept these prices the companies may adopt them.

        On the issue of hoarding, everyone has their own definition. Mine is to irrationally possess more of an item than you can possibly use or sell before it becomes useless. Like 100 gallons of milk when you will only go through 1, or 1000’s of batteries that go dead before use. Ammo has a long shelf life if stored properly, I regularly shoot 7n6 thats 40yr old however it is sealed at neck and primer plus it comes in sealed tins. 22lr though, is barely crimped let alone sealed so it is more susceptible to moisture.

        When it was readily available I used at least a 550 pack per shoot. If you have kids 2k are easy to blow through in a day with a speed loader. So when I hear people complain about someone “hoarding” 10k of 22lr, I can only chuckle and think so what? It isn’t exactly .308 win.

        It isn’t the quantity so much as the mentality, we all are guilty of the scarcity hoarders mentality. Every time I’m in the ammo aisle I price any of the 13 calibers I use that may be on sale. While I crunch numbers multiple people shopping for shotgun loads almost wet themselves when they see 22 and snap up their allowance. They aren’t hoarders, or scalpers part of a black market syndicate, just avg people shopping at the right place right time. I’ve passed up lot’s of 22, I only buy what my rifles like and even though Walmart allows 3 I only take 1.

        I say this because I work with over 500 people on 3rd shift at my plant. There’s about 10 other plants within 6 blocks of us with similar schedules. We live in a 70mi radius of work, which includes 6 Walmart super centers & 5 fleetfarms. Within 25mi of my farthest coworkers are more retailers. 3rd shifters shop empty morning stores, 2nd shift go after midnight when aisles are filled with pallets and stockmen. These forums about the ammo shortages are filled with people ranting of black Fridayesc unemployed fiends camping out and ruining hard working families pastimes, just to make a quick buck off them with their welfare check and free time.

        The world doesn’t start and stop at 9-5. If you don’t like your schedule change jobs, I did.

    3. Has anyone considered an alternative like a .22 cal. pellet rifle? A very good one can be bought for less than 150.00 and the pellets are less than 10.00 per 500 (at Wal Mart). I bought a 100.00 pellet rifle at Wal Mart 2 years ago and shoot it at least 4 days a week. Tough trigger pull but that helps practicing trigger control. My gun is very accurate even with a less than target trigger. I would be comfortable squirrel hunting with it and it has plenty enough power to kill at 75 yards or more.

    4. “Temporarily unavailable from manufacturer.”
      That is what it says under about 90% of the .22LR entries on the Graf and Sons wen site.
      Graf is a MAJOR distributor.
      So, the stuff we have been being fed about hoarding and excessive demand.
      Absolute nonsense.
      If Graf can’t get it from the manufacturer it’s either going somewhere else, or it’s not being made.
      Would really like to know what’s actually going on, as opposed to the fiction of the past two years and more.


    6. I do not understand when the Government orders 12 Billion rounds of .22 lr for “training” no one even notices. That is a 3 year production run for all US manufacturers, 24/7. So now you tell me why they need enough training rounds for 250,000 soldiers to have to have 48,000 rounds of .22 lr each. Why are they training with a round that neither targets nor travels nor drops anything like the live rounds they chamber and carry into action?
      To assume sheer stupidity is to rule out all other possibilities and thus rendering the conclusion stupid and shallow.

    7. I Drove 140 miles round trip to get primers and powder that had increased 60 to 180% in price over a couple years. I passed on a box of 50/22’s at $11/box. That’s 22 cents a shot!

      Ammo has gone via the 10 cent cup of coffee. I’m sure the supply will eventually come back, but don’t look for the price to come down. Visit your local gun store, express interest in buying a gun and say, “I’d love to buy it, but why purchase something I can’t afford to shoot”?

    8. i just bought 500 rnds of Winchester 22 lr for 20 bucks at cabelas. only problem is im from Canada! 22 cal lr in stock and lots! 9mm too! 40 cal too, 45 too, 223 too, 308 too everything available and regular prices!

    9. I have seen them stock ammo at Walmart late at night, early morning 12:00am to 4:00am. Most of the time it is just a few boxes. I go grocery shopping at these times, because there is less people and this is when things get restocked. I have personally found boxes of .22, but they have a 2 box limit per person, per day. I bought 2 boxes(about 15 boxes left) at about 2:00am, then went back at 7:00am (should be a new shift) to get more, but they were all gone already. I talk to a of managers for stores that sell ammo & in my town they same it is always the same people buying ammo early in the morning at their stores. A friend of mine works in a gun store and he said most of them are older and have no jobs(retired), so they can go to the store anytime they want. As opposed to people like me & others who have day jobs and can only go after 5:00pm, so by the time we get to a store all the ammo is gone.

    10. .223 seems to be back. 9mm Makarov is cheaper than .22 LR. Cabelas has plenty of 7.62mm Nagant. .22 LR is a precision product, tough to make in quantity and quality. But the math rings true, if everyone buys it, there won’t be any on the shelves. I don’t recall the Chinese ever making .22 LR. I wouldn’t trust Russian stuff except in calibers they use themselves: Mosin, Mak, Tok, Kalashnikov.

    11. Well, it’s been 9 months of .22 ammo shortage, enough time for everyone to buy 10 500 round bricks of ammo…so why aren’t the shelves filling back up? After someone buys a million or so rounds, don’t you think they’d stop? What about other calibers? Where’s the .308, 30-06, .45acp, 9mm, 12 gauge buckshot, etc? ANYTHING THAT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED A DEFENSIVE ROUND IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE!!! Don’t piss down my leg and tell me it’s raining…Im 57 years old, and I’ve never, NEVER seen such an all encompassing shortage.

    12. My luck with Made in China products has been horrible. Not sure that I would like every third round going halfway down the barrel because the charge of gunpowder had just a bit more drywall dust than powder. I think I will stick with the reputable manufactures even if it is a bit scarce or over priced.

    13. There is plenty of .223 available now, in the past month, there hasn’t been a day I couldn’t walk into cabelas and pick up 100 rounds of .223. Haven’t seen a single round of .22lr or 9mm on the shelves in the past 9 months. It makes no sense.

    14. Everything comes from China, I just bought a radiator from China, WHY NOT 22 LR AMMO? They could cover us in Ammo at 50 cents a box. But I was told the clinton adms put on a ban.

    15. 223 is on shelves all over the place, don’t see a shortage of that, bought an overpriced brick of 22 ammo from a guy in NC. He sells at gunshows and admitted to me that he bought all the 22 ammo he could get when prices started going up and is rakeing in the profits now.

    16. You also have to take raw materials into account. From what I’ve heard, .22 isn’t very profitable for ammo companies, so with high demand for center fire and large government buys, they’re probably rationing their raw materials to mostly certain center fire calibers.

    17. Well heres the way i see it.There aint ever no ammo to even to buy on the shelves so how can people be buying it up?Where is all the wolf and other imported ammo?This aint demand and supply nomore.Something is stopping the ammo from getting to the shelves.

    18. How much paper do you need to shoot at to get better? I quit shooting at paper yrs. ago. I save may ammo for hunting and self protection. Shooing squirrels, with a .22, is much more challenging than shooting at paper. The paper doesn’t move. One very good shot tells you that you are good. What else do you need? You can lie on a hot dusty range and fire all your ammo,then go buy more that has risen in price, since yesterday. I’ll sit in the woods and take my few shots and know I am good, plus get more satisfaction out of it. I can wait a very long time, hunting squirrels, for the prices of ammo to come down. All rifles and pistols sight in the same way.

      1. I heartily agree with you. I would rather spend my ammo money to shoot squirrels and experience the outdoors than punch a lot of paper. When you get a new gun or pistol the range can be good to sight it in on a good bench rest with bags, so as to take out the shooter from the equation as much as possible, but to really have some fun and to use your skills and your ammo for the most profit, do not simply unload on a paper target. I go to a range with some of my friends, and when I do, I am always done before them, cause I am really only wanting to verify that there is some consistency with the equipment and shooter, and to enjoy their company, but not to waste a lot of ammo making holes in paper.
        Shooting can be fun, especially when you like your gun and are one with it, but for me the fun doesn’t improve by separating a large amount of ammo. I think that if you are a good recreational shooter, and the need to defend yourself, your success will come by being as calm as you possibly can, and use your skill to the best advantage by not wasting ammo either.
        If you choose to use a high powered gun, such as a .44 magnum to defend yourself, you will likely not get off many well placed shots, so why attempt to ‘hone’ your skills with such a gun where the cost of use is so high and the emergency situation will not likely favor success where the result may well be that you will miss your target and likely hit an innocent person if the situation is in a crowd? Sure, if I am going out into the woods where I feel the need to protect against a large animal, then I would certainly take the large gun, but for the most part I fell adequately armed with a good semi auto ‘plinker’ , and to use my good judgement (to avoid becoming a victim) and my acquired skill in operating the ‘plinker’ as a last resort protection.
        ( I own more high powered firearms than ‘plinkers’ and have come to the above opinions after some considerable time thinking about all of these things in an honest way, and have in the past not realized the truths that I now believe are embodied therein.)

      2. That’s the difference between a hunter and a shooter. I am both. I love to hunt and I love to shoot. I don’t shoot paper just to improve my shot I shoot paper because I like shooting. My hunting rifles get shot once just before the season to make sure their still on. The rest of the time I’m shooting paper, bottles, clay and any other target just for the fun of shooting. I respect that your a hunter and you prefer to shoot at game. Good for you and keep knocking them down. Just please respect shooters for doing what they like.

    19. What isin’t mentioned is the importation of ammuniton to the states .We have a ban on chinese ammuntion like norenco for good reason, because they could supply our demand . Instead they want the prices to be high .I personally think .22 is being targeted because it was cheap and economical and easily available .Most kids start out with a .22 as their first rifle. Them days are over with ! the prices they are demanding is outrageus.Even retail shops are tacking on higher prices because everybody wants to make a buck . Sad thing is .22 can not be reloaded by the home reloader so therefore your totally dependent on an outside manufacturer to feed that rifle . This is also part of the problem .I wonder if this is a clue for manufactures to stop makeing .22 with clips but make them 3 shot like most center fire rifles ?

    20. I do not trust this administration nor the democratic senate. They are oily and have back door ways of restricting and overiding our rights. The “ammo shortage” is one way to limit gun use, there are others which will be coming at us.

    21. who’s buying 10 bricks a day of .22s? and why hasn’t the market corrected itself? anything else had a 6 mos. of very high demand, there would have been more manufacturers to jump in and also there would have been more foreign sources.
      could it be over “regulation” by the government? could it be that it takes more time to go into business then it’s worth? does the president knows

      1. Chris Rakes: “…who’s buying 10 bricks a day of .22s?…”

        I don’t believe they are buying it to shoot — they are buying it to re-sell on gunbroker and the like.
        If folks would just quit paying 2 to 3 times (or worse) the normal price to these gouging resellers, I believe we would see the prices resettle back to historical norms. The biggest problem is getting folks to quit feeding the gougers.

        1. I totally agree stop paying the high prices of ammunition. Once you stop buying it they have to reduce the prices and thus you will eventually be able to buy ammuniton especially the 22lr for less than 5 cents a round. I refuse to overpay for any ammunition unless i absolutely had to have it which i dont believe none of us do unless we needed to hunt with it to kill our prey to put food on our tables in remote areas. I can reload 9mm less than i can buy 22lr in the stores and thats rediculous. Be smart and wise and stop paying these high prices make them lower the prices.

    22. I disagree that it’s widespread panic. The government is buying up all the .223 so people are buying and shooting their .22s more often now because they can’t find .223 but still want to practice.

      1. Well the only ammo that you can not walk into your loco gun store here in Kansas and buy is .22 l/r.
        I believe the problem is all do to cost of ammo. Everyone went to the cheapest ammo you could buy, cause the cost to shoot .22 L/R is and always will be. So now we are forced to shoot what ever other caliber we have or can get, but at a steeper cost.

      2. When did you last try to purchase .223? Its in bulk in walmarts everywhere! Have had my ar almost 2 years and never have I been out of ammo for it or not been able to find it. 22lr on the other hand i can rarely find

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