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.

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
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 »


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.


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.


$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 »


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!


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.


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 »


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?