The Great .22 Rimfire Ammo Shortage of 2014

Wish I had some!

Wish I had some!

Well, most of the ammo shortages that we have experienced over the last few years are not a problem at the moment.

We visited Hoffman’s in Newington, CT over the weekend and they had virtually every handgun & longarm ammo conceivable.  Pallets, literally pallets, of .223, .380, 9mm, .40S&W and .45acp; both range ammo and defensive ammo, in multiple bullet weights for each caliber.  Every hunting caliber was available.  Even ammo for Tokarev and Nagant handguns was available.

Try not to drool:

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But…still no .22LR, except for shotshells and some expensive ($12.99/50) match ammo.  No .22WMR either.  Some .17HMR, but not a huge pile of it.

One of the ranges we use had .22LR available for range use only.  They received it in bulk containers, and had to recycle old CCI and Remington plastic boxes to dole it out to shooters.

The government isn’t placing huge bulk orders for .22 rimfire ammo.

Is the shortage due to the loss of the last domestic lead smelter?

Is it due to reflexive hoarding?

Will the return of .22 ammo coincide with a shortage of centerfire ammo?

UPDATE 6/20/14:

Well, a little .22 ammo appeared.  Dicks Sporting Goods got some 100-round boxes in stock, and they were gone in a flash; before I could get to the store in fact.

2 different independent gun stores had 1 kind of .22 ammo apiece:

  • 222-round boxes of Winchester HV hollowpoints for approximately $29/box
  • 50-round boxes of Winchester Varmint HE hollowpoints for $10/box

Neither deal was great.  But the bulk package was less offensive to my innate Yankee cheapskate tendencies.

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11 Responses to “The Great .22 Rimfire Ammo Shortage of 2014”

  1. Stopped at St. Louis Cabela’s today, and they had a good selection of everything I shoot except for .22LR. I have made good purchases recently at Dunham’s and Gander. I have noted that there is always .17 HMR ammo everywhere I shop, and maybe I should buy a rifle in that caliber.

    • Fred Fagan says:

      David,
      By all means, get yourself a decent 17 HMR. Savage has a nice tactical model with typically great triggers. Great little round and super accurate. Not a lot of drop at 200 yards. I love mine. Also have a Ruger single six in 17 HMR with a 2 x 6 scope on that I shoot at 100 yards. Just saw that S&W has a long barrel revolver in 17 HMR that I might have to get. Great fall back gun since I normally shoot three times a week and sometimes run out of handloads fr the really accurate center fires.

      • Gunnutmegger says:

        Fred,

        Some people have complained that the .17HMR S&W revolver has issues with setback.

        You might want to google around and see what the story is before you buy.

  2. Chris Mallory says:

    The closing of the smelter had nothing to do with it. No American ammo manufacturer used “virgin” lead for bullets. They use recycled lead from old car batteries.

    CCI is supposedly running full force and making 4 million 22LR rounds a day.

    From what I saw last year, 22WMR and 17 HMR are only produced in batches at certain times of year.

  3. Chris says:

    50,000,000 gun owners with 22 LR
    50,000,000 X 500 (1 brick bullets each)= 25,000,000,000 rounds

    25,000,000,000 / 4,000,000 per day = 6250 days
    6250 days / 365 = 17 years

    It is just a numbers game. Demand exceeds currently capacity and will for several years. Estimated annual production from all bulk manufacturers is 25 million per day. That is still a 3 year backlog.

    And honestly, who only keeps 500 rounds ?

    • Bill B says:

      “It is just a numbers game. Demand exceeds currently capacity and will for several years. Estimated annual production from all bulk manufacturers is 25 million per day. That is still a 3 year backlog.”

      Right. Manufacturers don’t want to satiate that demand because they know it will last forever.

  4. harp1034 says:

    I recently received 5,000 rounds of .22LR from the CMP. So I am set for the next few years.

  5. vaughn russell says:

    Recently went thru personal ammo storage and found a 300 round bulk pack of .22lr it was over 40 years old and hang fired consistently. Sat down and recycled the lead and burned the old powder. Was that a normal amount of failure for old ammo?

  6. Gunnutmegger says:

    Vaughn,

    By “hang fire”, do you mean that the firing pin made a dent in the rim, but the powder did not ignite? (the correct use of the term)

    Or do you mean that the round fired incompletely, and left the bullet stuck in the barrel? (incorrect but common misuse of the term)

    While time might affect ammo performance, temperature & humidity (and oil/chemical exposure) will do more to affect stored ammo reliability than just time alone. Properly stored ammo from WW2 has proven reliable, so time cannot be the only factor.

  7. franco says:

    In Va some 22lr shows up at walmart if your timing is good. The larger guns shops have it at times but they all restrict how much you can get. It is hard for me to pay more than 10cents each for any of it. Stingers are 20cents each and just too much for me. 22 mag is just as much as 9mm so I have retired my PMR30 from casual plinking. I hand load so I can shoot 38/357,9mm, 40/10mm,45 and 44mag for less than the high end 22lr and 22 mag even buying the bullets. Casting might be in my future since I have lots of brass, primers and powder.

  8. Scott B. says:

    I literally just got back from the Gun range and bout a 320 round box of .22LR for $20.00. They had a huge pile of it behind the counter and the place was dead. No Rush or big deal about it. The guy said it’s not really bad for them to get it anymore. I bet it’s a regional thing. I Live in Oklahoma. I din;t know if that makes a difference.