22LR Ammo Market at a Tipping Point

22LR ammo
22LR ammunition
A&A Ammunition
A&A Ammunition

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- As a commercial ammunition reloader, I cannot, unfortunately, manufacture 22Lr ammo (obviously).

However I do get nonstop calls from people in my area looking for the all-popular cartridge, so I try to keep my finger on the pulse of the market and snag some up when I can find it, then resell it at a reasonable, not-gouged price.

One would think that I would be able to pick up .22 more easily than the retail purchaser, but this hasn’t been the case for me for the last several years. I’ve had just as hard of a time picking it up as most.

Today I did another customary search for in stock .22 ammo from my standard suppliers, and something odd happened.

They were in stock. And not just one or two brands, they had a LOT in stock! Certainly the most I’ve seen since the 22 shortage began.

Like most happy tales, this one has a caveat. While they had a number of brands in stock, they were all of the premium brands and cartridges (Eley, Norma Tac, etc.). The prices aren’t great, they aren’t even good as far as plinking ammo is concerned, but they were relatively in line with what one would expect for ultra-premium 22 ammo ( http://goo.gl/YIQ5b9 ) prior to the shortage. They ranged from 8 to 20 cents a round, but this is with a dealer discount.

For your average Joe, still waiting to spend 4-5 cents a round, this might not seem significant, and maybe it isn’t, but I think it is.

Here’s why:

  1. The pricing I’ve seen from my distributors for brick-pack premium .22, around 8-12 cents/round, is roughly in line with what I’ve been seeing at gun shows recently in Arizona for non-premium ammo. Add in a profit margin for the business selling premium stuff to customers on the one side, and add in the $8-$10 cost for gun show entrance on the other side, and this pretty much evens out. Most customers, when faced with buying from a gouger at a gun show for common ammunition, or buying premium ammunition from a local business (who might be able to stock it regularly now) for roughly the same price, will opt for the Premium Ammunition.
  2. This shifting of demand away from gun-show price gougers will force them to drop their prices (which I’ve been observing in my area). If this continues, their profit margins will become too slim for it to be worthwhile and they’ll cease their operation, which will help eliminate the artificially driven price increases.
  3. It makes sense for a .22 manufacturer to stabilize their supply on premium brands prior to tackling their common brands. Not only do you get greater profit margins, but the lower demand will make it easier to stabilize. Once supply and demand has stabilized there, it is easier to transfer resources to stabilizing mid-level brands, and then rinse and repeat for common plinking ammo.
  4. This shows that the panic-driven demand for 22 ammunition is tapering off. A year ago I couldn’t find any .22 ammunition at all, not even the Eley I’m-Training-For-The-Olympics priced rounds. The fact that these are available, regardless of their high-end pricing, shows that the demand and the panic are both waning.
  5. The laws of supply and demand are, at times, self-fulfilling prophecy. If we begin to see a shortage, we as consumers panic, buy everything we can, and make the shortage worse. Conversely, when we begin to see product on the shelves regularly, we’ll no longer feel like we have to stock up, and demand drops. As we see more and more brands becoming regularly available, starting with the high-priced and moving towards the low, demand will weaken and it’ll help the situation even more.

What all of this boils down to is this: I think we’ve hit a tipping point in the .22 market. Now that we are beginning to see high-end brands in stock, I think the rest of the obstacles standing between us and cheap 22 ammo (price-gougers, panic-driven demand, scarcity-driven demand, etc.) will begin to topple like dominoes.

22LR Ammunition
22LR Ammunition

If you want to help speed up the process, I would recommend spending a few extra dollars on the better .22 ammunition at your local gun store rather than supporting the gun show price gouger. Their prices (should) reflect the actual demand for a superior product, and buying from them will limit the ability of the gouger to artificially inflate the price of his product.

Sincerely,
Andrew Scott
A&A Ammunition, CEO

Andrew Scott is the Founder and CEO of A&A Ammunition, an ammunition manufacturing and sales company located in Tucson, AZ that specializes in reloading high quality training ammo. He is also a Veteran currently serving in the Arizona Air National Guard, and has previously worked in numerous industries ranging from food prep to stock trading.

For more of his writings, visit the A&A Ammunition website at www.TrainHardAmmo.com/blog

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greg b

i have a partial box of remington target 22 i purchased about 30 yrs. ago for the outrageous price of
1.50+tx.
recently bought a 100 rd. pack of win. 22 powerpoints going for over 6.00+tx.
used to be able to get a brick of 22’s for 9.99+tx.
price of ammo is just ridiculous! reloaded to save money, now components are almost out of reach.
it’s become the sport of kings.
used to be able to pick-up a box of frontier(hornady)308win. ammo for 3.00 a box, when they were just starting out and were using fired military brass.

Chuy de los Infantes de Marinas

There is price gouging going on at all levels. No matter how you look at it, .22LR only costs maybe 1.5 cents a round retail to produce and transport. So shame on the manufacturers! And since .22 is a “gateway” caliber that primarily leads to any and all future ammo purchases of all calibers, by everyone, from 6 yoa to 99 yoa, .22 is the heroin of the shooting public! Manufacturers should sell it at cost at the absolute most, in order to fuel the passion. The corporate owners of the ammo plants should be spanked severely! Since .22 is… Read more »

Jerry

There is no shortage of 22lr ammo. There is a shortage of $2.00 a box 22lr ammo. You can buy as much $6.00 a box 22lr as you want. No mystery here.

Jeremy

Okay, so I’m from New Zealand, I actually had no idea that the United States has been having a .22lr shortage, and the reason I had no idea is because we are a little country at the ends of the earth, yet every gun store I walk into, the shelves are socked high with all my favourite brands, Federal, CCI, Winchester, Remmington. and it’s just as cheap as it always was. Very odd.

Joe Beach

What I would like to know is what the minimum amount of .22LR a manufacturer would be willing to sell to a license holder. This whole situation pisses me off so much that if I could get a million rounds at a price that I could sell at $60.00 a brick of 1000, I would get a license, rent a store and not try for any profit at all. And if I could sell it cheaper and just not lose money I would do that. I would love to break the backs of the gougers.

Saibubbasez

$60 for 1k = $30 per common 500 rnd brick, which is still a gouge. Normal, Federal 745, or CCI mini-mag 22 lr should be NO MORE THAN $12 per 500 rnds., retail. Cases of 5k should cost about $120, SHIPPED ! Prices over $150, SHIPPED, are an absolute rip-off. Here’s to hoping all the speculators get stuck hard, and are forced to sell below cost to avoid even higher losses later, as the panic is over. Prices are dropping to 4 cents now, by this time next year prices will be below 3 cents. If everyone would simply pause,… Read more »

adirondack fleecing

well i came across some .22lr at —-s sporting goods. $40.00 for 525. back maybe in 2007 they sold for about $18. more than 100% markup. we got to the store unknowingly that they were having a sale on them the next day. after looking at a couple guns, the guy said if i asked do you have any shells, he would say no. then he said if you ask me can i have some 22 shells, then i can sell you some. sounds crazy as all hell, so i asked and he said yes. not knowing the price, as… Read more »

Firewagon

I laugh when online outfits like Midway run some “sale” on .22 LR packs – $36-$40 for 500 at best, often, 333 or so! I currently have a box or more of Remington 40 grain .22s w/listed 1255 velocity. Bought for $2.35/100 at some point in time. Hose “sales” are more like selling to Barnum’s customers, you know: A fool and his money are soon parted – and, A fool is born every minute!

greg

Before Sandy Hook I could by 22LR at about 0.04 a round at wally world. After could not get it. Stopped looking. I had enough but was getting low. So happen to go to Bass Pro and Local gun store on the same weekend last week, bought all the 22 I wanted, buck of bullets golden REM and CCI for about 6.7 cents to 8.5 cents a round before tax. I bought about 2300 rounds. I had about 1000 rounds left so I am good for awhile.

Cooter

Manipulating the market to create false demand and artificially driving up prices is NOT capitalism. That is old-school communism. Anyone doing this has to face the fact they are a pinko commie.

Gun Bowanna

What is this “gouging” I keep hearing about??

Who’s dying of thirst for lack of .22??

Average Shooter

Wamart does have plenty of .22 ammo. They have just done a terrible job at spreading it around to shooters and keeping it out of the hands of the secondary sale market. 1. Their stock app allows the resellers to know exactly when 22 ammo is in stock at the store (even before it hits the shelves) and show up demanding they get it for them often in the middle of the night. 2. Walmart policy of a limit of 3 boxes including bulk packs insures that these people can obtain thousands of rounds even with a 3 box limit.… Read more »

Steve

Everyone talks of supply and demand which has driven the 22LR almost impossible to get.
In my opinion, there wasn’t any more of a demand for the 22 LR ammo until 2008 than any previous year.
There is something behind all of this and the Mfg’s aren’t coming to the table on this.
Yes, now people are starting to Hoard the 22LR Ammo due to the lack of availability at Retailers.
If everyone can obtain all Ammo’s but 22LR, don’t you see an underlying problem here?

Greg

That certainly would not surprise me. Speculators are both the cause of and the effect of shortages in just about anything that can be “commoditized” (oil, gasoline, and yes, ammo).

The laws of supply and demand only work right in a market protected from speculation, where outside “investors” are not allowed to buy up supply to create unnatural levels of scarcity.

Barleyspoog

Walmart can’t get .22 ammo? Total BS.
Manufacturers running 24/7 on the .22 lines and can’t keep up? Total BS.
When was the last time you’ve seen US manufactured .22 ammo for sale in the store or online?
I can believe the investor theory, but I’m betting the manufacturers are also profiteering on the situation. And I wouldn’t turn to the NRA for help – They’re nestled deeply in those pockets.

Melvin

A number of years ago I was listening to a talk show on the radio on the way home from work. It was a financial investment type show, and the reason I listened to it was because investors were buying warehouses full of ammunition most notedly .22 ammunition. They purchased these large quantities at sane pre-Obama hysteria prices and were going to hold onto this ammunition to keep the prices artificially high. I went into a big box store and the price for .22 ammo was more than 9mm. This whole ammunition mess just doesn’t make sense. As far as… Read more »

Mr prange

I starting shooting regularly in the late seventies. Whenever I was in Fleet Farm I would grab a 500 rd brick of .22 – one brick for me and one for a friend. Why? It sure as he’ll wasn’t gonna get cheaper! My earlier bricks have $5.99 price tags still on them. I was usually in FF at least once a month. So do the math… I can’t shoot as often as back then, but I still have close to 100k rds. So, does that make me a hoarder? Bull! I’m no more a hoarder than someone who has a… Read more »

dlh0

Well that may be so. But I’d guess that if you are getting 22 ammo at those prices at least one of the following is true:
a ) the dealer is a buddy and you get it at cost.
b) you get your ammo before he puts it on the shelf at the ‘regular’ price.
c) Your dealer is a ‘kitchen table’ dealer who sells to a small group and has connections with a distributor.
If you have a storefront dealer selling 22 ammo for that price,
where? Your situation is not common in the slightest.

Wild Bill

We should thank God for this little ammo shortage! We Americans have gone soft with our easy lives. Start thinking America. Dry fire (I understand that we are taking about rimfire. So use a bigger heavier center fire rifle or pistol. Do I have to think of everything for you?) I won a box (325 Federal Match) in my little pistol club’s annual tourney. Didn’t cost me a dime, just thought and effort. Suppose there was another gasoline shortage. What would you do? Or a potato blight? Suppose the various peoples of the world stopped preferring the American dollar to… Read more »

Gerbee

I hope the scumbags that buy up the whole supply as soon as it hits the shelf and then remarket it at insane markup end up with millions of rounds they can’t even give away. They deserve to get their asses burned. The retail outlets need to require some form of registration and then enforce limits to each registrant so there is enough to go around for everyone.

AB

Well, I just try and be patient with my local dealer. I’m still getting bricks from 21.95 to 24.95 and this is for Federal premium. I figure if folks want to pay those ridiculous prices then let them, and those sellers will continue to sell them at those prices.

RB

All of these theories might hold some water but the bottom line is a little simpler I think (and I have been selling ammo since 2001): 1.) Too much consolidation in the industry and groups like “Vista Outdoors” own too much; 2.) Low profit margins associated with .22LR; 3.) Distributors who hoard the ammo in order to move their glut of .22LR firearms; and lastly 4.) Uncertainty in forecasting the costs of raw materials thanks to Wall Street and the “financialization” of everything from cotton balls to gold.

Average Shooter

Everyone seems to have a strategy on how to get .22 ammo. Here is mine… Find out who isn’t gouging and then become a valued customer of theirs by buying other merchandise than .22. I’m not saying to buy overpriced things you don’t need but buy things you can use that are reasonably priced. While the store can’t give you what they don’t have, I’m finding many stores have a stash especially of their bulk packs out of sight that they sell at their discrecion to real regular customers. Examples. Went into a Fleet Farm store 3 months ago to… Read more »

Average Shooter

I totally get how the fact that some retailers who charged more than suggested retail for .22LR may have made more ammo available to shooters like me but in my book they have still become part of the problem. They didn’t begin charging more to help me the shooter (although I did have 1 sales associate at a local chain sporting goods store try to tell me so) they raised their prices above suggested to increase their profits. I’ve pledged that I would not longer do business with them and I haven’t. My local Bass Pro and Dick’s have done… Read more »

Fred

Funny when neckbeards who couldn’t run an ice cream stand crow about the free market and capitalism when they have nothing better to do than patrol Wal-Marts looking for recently delivered .22 But i don’t even blame them for the shortages, it’s on the ammo makers and to a slightly lesser extent the bog box stores. If I was the CEO at Bass Pro I’d have my senior executives in my office having them explain why the hell are we selling 500 round bricks for $25 when we could be selling them for $75? If .22 bricks are flying off… Read more »

Big Ralph

I haven’t been able to find one box of 22LR in Richmond Va in 2 years. There is definitely some dirty stuff going on. Maybe after 1/20/2017 the supply will magically reappear.

Tree

Trees usually grow out of the ground.

madmax

ALL my local shops have bricks sitting on the shelves. Price is .009-.12c per round. Those shops now have a 3-4 brick limit. I even walked in to wallyword early friday morning and got 4 bricks of 1000 at .057 per rd.

jamie

Better than it was but I would not go so far as to say it has reached a tipping point when the little cheap ammo that trickles down is gobbled up before it has time to settle on a shelf. I still don’t know where all the .22’s are going. If they were really making it as fast as they say you should see it more often but its still not making it to retail.

Fox Fetterworth

I suspect this 22LR shortage will disappear shortly after a Republican is elected president.

BUT…

If HillaryWhore is elected — providing a seamless continuation of the current dictatorship — you can kiss guns, ammo AND the Second Amendment goodbye, probably forever. That ugly old sow is all that’s needed to finalize the communist DemoRats’ relentless drive to turn America into an Orwellian nightmare.

Clark Kent

Keep repeating: supply and demand, supply and demand, supply and demand. Those who claim the government is responsible need to take off their tinfoil hats.

TEX

As usual,no one cares what you say !

james

Given the number of AR clones in .22lr models, so many people want to snap up the ammo to enjoy shooting them.

Sure the hoarders are out there but I think the popularity of the .22lr is why they were in short supply.

Brass also is needed for the DHS ammo mega purchases, that is also hurting .22lr production when they can use that brass on the other lines where the ammo is more profitable.

brian staley

DICKS SPORTING GOODS IS STARTING TO GET 22lr in and are selling at pre shortage pricing a couple of weeks ago they had 1400 round buckets of Remington hp high velocity for $69.00 last month they had 325 Rd bricks for $20.00 those same bricks cost $29.00 at big five. Ive found that big five had a pretty consistent supply but prices were a bit elevated not to the level of gouging tho

jamie

I don’t think so demand still far exceeds supply. Only the more expensive ammo is now in stock. The cheap stuff will be bought up faster than they can produce it for the foreseeable future.

Dennis

It is what it is. The supply and prices prior to the shortage will never be the same. Even if the majority of us totally quit buying it, the rest of the people would continue to buy up as much as they could. So the prices on cheap plinking 22lr and normal pricing of 22mag will never be the same. I started buying and stocking ammo of all kinds and calibers for myself, my family, and my friends when the ammo shortages hit. We all got tired of getting gouged by the 3rd party sellers. I would use my days… Read more »

USPatriotOne

People need to start doing their research. There are documents that prove that the Fed Gov is purchasing up most of the .22 LR Ammo to keep from our hands. People have come forward and said the Fed Gov have Warehouses filled with pallets of .22 LR Ammo, which comes to billions of rounds. The .22 Ammo shortage has nothing to do with the individual purchasers.

Pat

When I earlier posted saying that the manufacturers might be retooled to fill Homeland Security’s 2+BILLION rd contracts, I meant that they possibly reallocated resources from .22 manufacturing to fill the 9mm,.40 and .223 contracts. I realize one can’t magically transform equipment designed to produce .22LR to produce center fire ammo, but people, building space and raw materials can… I also think that the reason why you can still readily find 9mm and 5.56 ammo is due to that increased production of those calibers at the expense of .22LR production.. Has everyone forgotten the little reported news of the govt… Read more »

Calvin Grimalkin

It is a matter of numbers. Lets say that there 150 million .22 shooters out there. Prior, to the current shortage, the average .22 owner/shooter probably didn’t keep any more than a box or two of ammo on hand, and probably just picked up a few boxes or bricks on those few occasions during the year when they went hunting, or to the range. The folks who regularly bought .22LR on a regular basis, bricks, cases, etc. were your folks who shoot competition on a regular basis. So, if there were say 25 million guys shooting competition on a regular… Read more »

Mike

Asked about .22 ammo at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tennessee. Question: “Before Obama, how much .22lr ammo did you get at a time?” Answer: “By the PALLET full.” Next question: “How much do you get at a time now?” Answer: “Usually about 20 or 30 boxes.” It’s NOT making it to the store! WHERE IS IT GOING???

Dave

Here in Cedar City, UT our local C-A-L Ranch has CCI .22LR every time I go in. Ant they’ll sell you two 100 rd boxes at a time if they like you. Try getting powder to reload handgun calibers though. Now THAT is a whole ‘nuther story.

tom batsios

Instead of spending 10-15 cents a round for .22 I would spend 18-22 for 9mm. When it became available through Dick’s, my family got about 2,500 rds and stopped. I have 3 handguns and 2 rifles in that caliber, but the hassle is not worth it.

Clark Kent

Ben: Supply and demand has nothing to do with my imagination. Just because an item is in short supply does not mean it is due is some evil government conspiracy. Frankly, I don’t believe the federal government is competent enough to cause shortages even if it decided to do same. I am sure you saw PLENTY of wasteful/non-essential/foolish spending while in the Air Force (remember the $800 toilet seat?); and that is just the tip of the iceberg…..

Michael

When people were buying guns at a rapid pace more and more people were buying for different reasons but one of the biggest was new shooters. More and more people were turning to shooting and shooting competition and .22 ammo at the time was the cheapest to shoot. As demand increased the supply could not keep up with the demand. Here in the PNW I have seen a steady increase in .22LR not a lot in bricks but mostly in 100rnd packages and the prices are coming back down to earth gradually. Just a matter of time when we see… Read more »

tank

This is pretty simple folks.

If your government buys a billion rounds of ammo, how many .22 brass cases does that equal?

tank

Live in the people’s republic of Ohio (shhhhh…. most of the people here don’t know it is!) I flew to Arizona and priced ammo while there…. 45acp was 45% less expensive and that was the regular price.

The point is that everybody is in on this, government, manufactures, and dealers. Many are trying to make their first million off you because you keep showing up…. You are being fleeced!
If it doesn’t bother you, you’re fairly ignorant and the saying that a fool and his money are soon parted, applies.

Dana King

YOU might think 10,000 rounds of 22LR is a lot, but I assure you it isn’t. Those of us who shoot in rimfire bullsesye pistol leagues during the winter can easily go through that much through practice and competition. This is one problem with the way too many people think today. THEY cannot fathom something so they DISMISS outright what they don’t, or cannot, understand. It’s not much different than FUDD’s criticizing AR’s or anti-gunners pushing anti-gun laws. They don’t, can’t understand a “thing” and so they dismiss or demonize that which they don’t understand. I suggest that you just… Read more »

Foxtrap

It doesn’t help that the Obama administration’s EPA has imposed such strict limits on the nation’s only virgin lead smelter, that it was forced to close. Now we’re limited to a limited pool of recyclable lead, and whatever lead we can buy from overseas. Those sources’ prices will continue to escalate, which means the cost of lead ammo will also escalate.

Charles G.

One explanation for the shortage is this: above, it was mentioned that everything had been retooled to support .223, etc. Problem is you can’t “retool” rimfire ammo manufacturing to do centerfire (and vice versa). Further, the profit margins on rimfire are very small as compared to centerfire. Not to mention that there are vastly more centerfire than rimfire cartridge types. So the manufacturers have a problem: they really can’t put in more tooling to handle rimfire. Expanding centerfire makes sense, because it is much more versatile. But once the demand dies down, they can’t do much with expanded rimfire capacity.… Read more »

Chris

I think there are multiple reasons for the “shortage”. I think the manufacturers aren’t producing as much as they can/could. I think that Wal-mart (which in our area is by far the largest distributor of bulk pack .22) is still not ordering enough. I also think that Walmart should change it’s policies. Currently any and all .22lr received is stocked at 7am. It is all bought up within 15 minutes to an hour depending on stock (and that’s with a 3 box limit). The regular guys show up every day to purchase the limit (and they find ways around the… Read more »

Willie

I work for a major gun store chain. We are starting to see .22 rimfire increase in supply. I hope that this is an indication that the shortage is beginning to wane. Regarding the reasons for the shortage, I was waiting on a gun customer recently who was looking to buy a rifle that would shoot .22lr. He wanted one since he said he has over 10,000-rounds and nothing that will shoot it. How much production has it taken to supply these ammo investors? You can probably bet that these ammo investors were beting that the price would go much… Read more »

Harvey

I believe the reason is in fact with people stocking up. It doesn’t make sense for the government to try and create a shortage on 22lr ammo while leaving 223/556 and 9mm etc alone. The reasons the stores can’t stock it anymore is because as soon as retailers receive it from the manufacturers it gets almost instantly wiped out. This in turn has the retailer making more orders more often which has then overloaded the manufacturers. It is however getting better. I watch ammo and ammo prices online very closely, using sites like http://www.ammospy.net where they send me email alerts… Read more »

Clark Kent

People, we are discussing the 22 Long Rifle cartridge, not a military issued round. So no, the government has nothing to do with the current shortage so loosen those tinfoil hats. Supply and demand will take care of the problem.

Ben

I think that your imagination is running away with you. Yes, the military does use a lot of 22LR ammunition. An M-16 rifle with an adapter will fire 22LR rounds very nicely and is used a lot by the military for training purposes. I know this to be a fact as a retired Air Force veteran myself. I have fired many 22LR rounds through an M-16 they said because it was much cheaper to shoot than a using 5.56 at the time. They may now have stopped that practice but it was definitely being done while I was still in… Read more »

Gregg Greenwood

>”Yes, the military does use a lot of 22LR ammunition. An M-16 rifle with an adapter will fire 22LR rounds very nicely and is used a lot by the military for training purposes. I know this to be a fact as a retired Air Force veteran myself. I have fired many 22LR rounds through an M-16 they said because it was much cheaper to shoot than a using 5.56 at the time.” I was in the US Army for 8 years. 85 to 93. Served in the 25th ID. Then as a Drill Sergeant. In the 25th I was the… Read more »

Charles Kevin Kenning

I was in the army in 78-82 we always fired 22 rounds from a M-60 A1 main gun 105 mm it had a m-16 mounted on it with a 22 adapter and electronic trigger that fired with the main gun I was a mechanic who would help during gunnery as a loader and bitched that I would never get to shoot the tank so one day on the mini range using this set up firing at little steel tanks about a foot long 50 to 150 maybe even some at 300 feet in a army salvage yard in Böblingen Germany… Read more »

carl

retired SSG, was in from 1985-1997 never shot 22 rounds threw my AR-15/ M-16/ M-16A2, or M-16A3 or CAR-4 your on crack!

smoke

Its the government.