The Ammo Shortage Continues
Remington, which had not tapped all of their manufacturing capacity a year ago, is now "operating at over 100% capacity at our munitions plant and turning out millions of rounds per day." A national sporting goods chain is still able to stock Remington ammunition in several popular calibers, but restricts customers to two boxes of ammunition at a time.
Jackie Stenton at Fiocchi USA notes an "unprecedented demand" for centerfire pistol ammunition, which has "impacted sourcing components for all centerfire product, and rimfire products." From this view, it appears that demand for pistol ammunition is so high that the core components are being pulled into manufacturing pistol rounds, instead of rifle and rimfire ammunition -- a claim that empty shelves in all three categories would seem to confirm. Jonathan Harling, a spokesperson for Winchester, confirms that the massive demand is widespread and that they are also "still working 24-7 to meet the demand."
But by far the most interesting comments about the current shortage come from a pair of less widely known but very respected manufacturers, DoubleTap Ammunition and Silver State Armory. DoubleTap is perhaps best known for their high-velocity defensive pistol ammunition, which has a hefty reputation -- and elite prices. They are still "ahead of the curve" and have been able to keep their performance-minded customers supplied. Other manufacturers in the niche market of high-velocity, high-performance ammunition are also able to keep up with demand, no doubt due to the fact that customers will fire hundreds or thousands of rounds of practice ammunition, or "regular" production defensive ammo, for every box of premium defensive ammunition.
But premium rifle ammunition manufacturer Silver State Armory's Mark Thibodeau had perhaps the most interesting comment, noting that according to their research, the shortage isn't isolated inside America's shores.
Our information and research tells us that the increased demand is global, not just domestic, and the demand is still increasing further. The demand for the end product, loaded ammunition, further impacts the availability of raw materials: brass, powder, primers, projectiles. Certain calibers are going to be harder to find than others by virtue of popularity and priority. While the retail consumer may be "stocking up," that pales in comparison to the consumption of product globally that is the real reason for shortages.
Thibodeau's insight may very well be dead-on, as supplies of ammunition by foreign manufacturers are also in very short supply.
There is no doubt the demand for key ammunition components such as brass, copper, and lead in the global industrial market may be a large part of the current component shortage, but that still leaves us with millions of rounds being manufactured domestically every day that are snapped up the moment they hit the marketplace.
Where is it all going? Are these hundreds of millions of rounds of domestically manufactured ammunition being stockpiled, or are they being shot as fast as they are purchased? I'm sure someone has the answers to these questions, but they aren't talking. They're happy to be selling, and I can't say that I blame them in the least.