The ammunition shortage or lack of availability is not just affecting the United States, our hunters and shooting public.
Apparently, there are similar shortages elsewhere around the world, with military providers turning to fill the void and supplying the shooting public, such as the newly offered Australian Outback ammo now available to the shooting/hunting public.
Let's analyze the myths and facts to determine why we have this situation in the US.
Myth: There have been many rumors about the US government purchasing large amounts of ammunition and causing the shortage. It has also been published that the government id not ask for all of the ammunition to be delivered at one time, and it represented approximately one month's manufacturing capacity by all US ammunition manufacturers, which begs the question who bought the other 11 months supply?
Fact: for much of 2012/2013 people were lining up at stores to buy ammunition, shelves in stores throughout the US were void of all calibers of ammunition.
Fact: Stores were also void of bullets, primers and powder as well as every caliber of ammunition.
Fact: Local Government agencies (Police departments in Northern California) had to resort to practicing with Air Soft guns due to the price of ammunition and subsequently out of their budget.
Fact: The US government uses only a handful of calibers, lets us assume that they may have caused a spike in 9mm 10mm 40 S&W, 223 and possibly .308 (some SWAT snipers prefer this round), however it does not explain why there was no Weatherby .375, or 7mm Magnum, 30-06, 243, 257 Roberts, 416 Riby, 505 Jeffery, 338 Lapua, and all the other calibers on the shelves?
Conclusion: Panic buying and hoarding by the US hunting and shooting public created the demand fueled by the myths. How can we come to this decision, simply because the facts do not add up to any other logical conclusion. If one buys into the myths that it is some great government conspiracy one has to consider the following:
The government does not purchase primers nor powder, or bullets!
Could you find any reloading components on the shelves of gun stores in the last two years, hell no!
So who was buying it?
One could argue that there is only a finite amount of gun powder produced by Hogdon, IMR and others, and if an inordinately large order was placed it would mean that there was no powder left for us hunters and shooters, but logically this would be a hiccup, not a protracted 2 year shortage as we have seen. The same argument could be applied to the shortage of primers. However, it would not apply to magnum primers of both rifle and handgun types which were also not to be found on the shelves, so the facts do not add up to a single government purchase causing the shortage. Furthermore, the government does not buy bullets and once again the shortage of all bullets points to another explanation.
One has greater difficulty in explaining why since the shelves were devoid of Remington, Nosler, Winchester, Barnes, and other well known manufacturers ammunition and components, that companies such as LeHigh Defense, Silver State Ammunition, and WOLF among other smaller ammunition manufacturers did not fill the void, why then were the shelves not filled with Russian ammunition and European powder? Could it be that these countries were also seeing ammunition shortages? Could be the short-sightedness of American vendors, who like us the general hunting public didn't think that the difficulties of finding our ammo would drag on so long? Could it be because we are hoarding ammo? One police officer known to this writer commented that he had 3000 rounds of personal ammunition stored up, who knows why? Does he know something we don't? Another situation known to this writer and instructor who has a student that was buying ammunition for firearms he did not even own, but might buy in the near future.
One final commentary on the shortage:
The government does not use .22 ammunition! Why then a shortage, why then the gouging? Just a couple of years ago one could buy 500 rounds of .22 long rifle ammo for under $20, by mid year 2013 it had spiked up around $56, subsequently dropping to around $43 at time of writing.
Who is gouging whom?
Is this the manufacturers creating a situation whereby there is a shortage in order to jack the prices up?
Is this the retailers gouging us? It is highly likely that some are, but most are good honest folk and are looking to keep their clientele.
Unfortunately, we will never know the truth or the entire situation, but one thing is clear we are going to be paying more for the pleasure of our hunting and shooting as it is unlikely the prices will ever come back down to pre Obama pricing!