I was impressed with the numbers and reasons for the ammunition shortages we've seen lately. I live in a small community (500 or so) and do a lot of gunsmith work for people in town and the surrounding areas. We have at least our share of varmints to shoot at, so don't often require a regular shooting range. I have one of my own, 60 yards long, and some folks have even longer ranges on their property.
Trouble is, we use our share of ammo of all types and replacing ammo means a drive of about 70 miles round trip to stores that now have nearly empty shelves. I'm not talking just .22s either. I've seen some ammo with names I've never heard of from countries I can't pronounce, but not the standby stuff I prefer to shoot. I'm too old to try the other stuff and couldn't reload a .22 rimfire if I wanted to!
Last I checked, Brownells won't even back order ammo but will tell me when ammo is available for backorder. I'm currently backordered on ammo I ordered in February and haven't heard a word of encouragement yet. Gun shows are selling ammo at obscene prices and I won't touch it, and in fact have stopped going. Whatever folks are hoping to achieve by hoarding and gouging is going to come back and bite them one day.
In the meantime, I'll use my subsonic ammo with care and only where needed, target practice with my pellet gun, and rely on my .45 for everything else. Thank you for a great explanation of a serious problem and keep up the great gunsmithing articles. They help me a lot.
I hear you. The Army Reserve Marksmanship Program was forced to cancel an ammunition contract established early this year because the vendor was unable to obtain sufficient components to fill it. We were scraping and redistributing at Interservice and the National Matches to make sure everyone had enough to compete with. Industry friends have told me manufacturers are starting to catch up and light is appearing at the end of the tunnel. Being a belt-and-suspenders sort, I manage ammo like finances and keep something set aside for rainy days. I plan to compete in some shooting discipline for decades to come, so it's not like my supply will ever go to waste!
Reader Forum/Technical Assistance
To submit a letter to the Reader Forum column or a technical question to the editors of American Gunsmith, address an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a letter to American Gunsmith, 14439 NW Military Hwy, STE#108 PMB#410, San Antonio, TX 78231.