2014 a Year for Fewer Gun, Ammo Sales?

Business reports suggest 2014 gun sales may ebb, which may benefit consumers looking for their favorite brands on retail shelves.

Media reports lately suggest gunmakers can expect good business in 2014, but not as good as last year.

The FBI released data for January gun background checks recently; it was about a third lower than the same month a year earlier. One gun industry analyst wrote that the negative monthly sales comparisons he's seen recently is a trend he expects to last through May or June.

A statement from Cabela’s chief executive Thomas Milner would seem to mirror that sentiment. “The surge in firearms and ammunition is clearly winding down,” he told the Wall Street Journal. 2013 fourth-quarter sales at Cabela’s were down 10 percent.

On the other hand, Smith & Wesson has increased its sales estimates for 2014. Said Smith & Wesson CEO James Debney to Bloomberg Business Week: “We continue to believe that our industry is in the midst of an underlying long-term growth trend and our objective is to grow faster than the market.”

Either way one looks at it raises a question: Does this mean the dearth of guns and ammo we’ve all noticed across the country is coming to a close? Could be. Reports suggest some parts of the country are still experiencing ammo shortages. That might continue until ammo manufacturers are able to turn their attention from high-demand lines (.223 Rem., .308 Win., .45 ACP, 9mm) that have dominated the market and focus on other lines, like .45-70 and .30-30, for instance.

What do you think? Have you seen an uptick in inventory in your neck of the woods? Let us know below.

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53 Responses to 2014 a Year for Fewer Gun, Ammo Sales?

newton wrote:
June 26, 2014

Georgia is doing very well in regards to guns and ammo. Plenty of common rifle and pistol cals. Even some of those odd cartridges like .35 whelen and .308 marlin show up here and there. I even saw some .455 eley at a bass pro once (who shoots that stuff??) Other heavy AR calibers like .450 bushmaster and .458 socom pop up at Academy Sports. Wally world does a bad job stocking stores, but all sporting good stores are well stocked. .22 ammo is still scarce but Ive had better luck lately finding it in recent months. Come to GA for your guns and ammo!Kansas is another well stocked state. Possibly Texas too, cuz its Texas

cameron wrote:
June 01, 2014

Over the last few weeks west michigan shelves have gone from bone dry to pretty well stocked, BUT ammo prices have gone up A LOT, ex: .45 acp 200rd- 165.99, 22lr 525rd-36.99. (When you can beat the buyers). NOTE TO ALL do not buy ammo online unless its a reasonable price, that's part of the reason 22lr is hard to find I have to almost fight the buyers in every sporting goods store for a case. They buy it then sell it for a big profit

Russ wrote:
March 26, 2014

Since ammo is gone gun sales are slowing. I have tried to sale some of my 'tacti-cool' 22's for super cheap and can't get rid of them. No one has 22 ammo anymore. My local gun store isn't ordering any 22 rifles or pistols anymore as they can't rid of what they got either. If the 22 ammo makers are working around the clock produces record numbers where is the stuff going? Looking at their production numbers means every gun owner in the country should have a million rounds surplus in their garage by now. I don't get it. 223 is back, but AR sales are still down too.

Alan wrote:
March 16, 2014

.22 caliber is still almost non-existent in the stores. We all hope the supplies increase.

Doc Corbin wrote:
March 16, 2014

I've definitely seen an increase in the availability of ammo through online vendors such as Sportsmansguide, Palmetto State, Cabela's, Ammunition Depot, and others. The prices are also beginning to come down - SLOWLY. I use http://www.slickguns.com/ to check on current availability and prices. Sportsmansguide often has free shipping or dollars off coupons that help to bring the per round cost down. I bought several cases of .22LR a few years ago and have decent stocks of the larger rounds so I can be more selective. I believe it is important to have a reasonable supply in preparation for when the SHTF.

shootbrownelk wrote:
March 15, 2014

The local WallyWorld has been getting some ammo in, mostly shotgun shells/7.62x39/9mm/44 mag/.45acp (no.45colt) 7mm mag/30.06/.270.and other assorted rifle calibers. But .22LR are scarce as hens teeth and I haven't seen any .22 magnum in a year or better. The LGS's are getting in so many black rifles that they're having sales on them, at 'Pre-Panic' prices. I still believe that in the case of .22LR, it's a contrived shortage to escalate prices. All premium rifle ammo and self-defense handgun ammo has almost doubled in price. This is just my opinion.

Jim wrote:
March 15, 2014

9mm seems to be the only thing in very short supply. It appears that everything else is somewhat available. You can even find 9mm now, but it is extremely pricey. I imagine it will never get back to where it was though.

Elkhunter wrote:
March 14, 2014

Forget Walmart. Do you have an internet connection? Bulkammo is my personal favorite because if it is on their site it is available. Also Ammoseek lists many suppliers, cheapest per round and ascending order. I have had no problem keeping myself supplied with 5.56/.45/9mm, don't need .22lr as I bought a lifetime supply years ago. You need to factor in shipping but you can eliminate sales tax to get a true cost per round. Break out you calculator and get to work.

Frankly wrote:
March 14, 2014

The rumor for a long time was that the public couldn't find any ammo because Homeland Security, the Post Office and other government agencies, were buying in such large quantities. I don't think they use .22LR. So what excuse have the ammo manufacturers got now?????

Frankly wrote:
March 14, 2014

No .22 ammo of any kind at Walmart for a long time in Michigan and they now have a sign that says customers may only buy 3 boxes (50 rnds each when they do have any). The days of buying bulk 350 to 550 are truly gone.

Dominick Lordi wrote:
March 14, 2014

I have seen some improvement in ammo availability, mostly online of from big stores. Popular powders and bullets are still rare as is any kind of .22 LR ammo.

Owl Creek Observer wrote:
March 14, 2014

I am comfortable with the amount of ammo I accumulated, beginning about five years ago. However, whenever I head to the local WalMart or Meijer, I routinely check the ammo cases and they very rarely have 9mm, .38, .45, .380 or .22LR. They do receive regular shipments, but those seem to get sucked up as fast as they hit the shelves. The local WalMart now limits all ammo purchases to just three boxes.

Doug A wrote:
March 14, 2014

Reloading components are extremely hard to find. I don't even shop for guns anymore. The industry in shooting themselves in the foot. They better wake up before we find a less frustrating hobby. Other than staying current, I don't shoot for fun anymore.

Mike wrote:
March 14, 2014

I haven't attempted to buy ammo from retail outlets lately as I don't seem to be present when the trucks comes in. I have experienced moderate success through on line suppliers. However, it seems that 2/3rds of their posted inventory shows 'out of stock' or 'notify me.' It is really discouraging when SG, Cheaper Than Dirt and Numeric Arms have that same afflliction.

Windy wrote:
March 14, 2014

I can find ammo, albeit at the high prices, but due to The Peoples Republic Of NY's Safe Act, I can't get it shipped. Thank you downstate legislatures for not being able to control your criminals and blaming it on guns and ammo.

Larry Elfers wrote:
March 14, 2014

Around Cincinnati shotgun ammunition is available. 22 LRs are rarely available if at all. One fellow NRA member of a shooting club offered to sell me a box (525 rounds) for $59! I said no.

Frustrated wrote:
March 14, 2014

Just checked local Academy. Tons of 223/5.56, but no 22 LR. Clerk said they called cops on guys selling it in parking lot immediately after buying in store. 22 sales have to be at an all-time record. Won't be readily available until every hoarder runs out of money, storage space, or black market customers. Don't buy from them!!

Scott David wrote:
March 14, 2014

I was in a small gun shop last weekend and the owner told me he had a couple guys come in and offer to sell him several bricks of .22 Long Rifle ammo. Turns out these guys make a weekly/daily run to all the larger stores, buy as much as they can and then sell it to smaller shops and individual shooters at an extremely inflated prices. The owner of said shop asked them to leave and take their ammo with them.

Scott David wrote:
March 14, 2014

I can find everything but .22 Long Rifle unless I want to pay $30-$100 a brick. I refuse to play that game. I have noticed an increase in 9mm/.40 S&W/ 45ACP pricing, but at least its available, I only buy it if I have to.

Rich wrote:
March 14, 2014

hey, I'm still waiting for a Sigsauer p238hd that I put money down on back in August of 2013…..! Somebody's buying up inventories.

John Ciccone wrote:
March 14, 2014

It is still impossible to get a product like CCI .22 LR standard velocity. The up side of this is that I now have experience with products like Norma and Geco rimfire, which are proving to be better in my experience.

Chris D'Angelo wrote:
March 14, 2014

New laws in a lot of states have stopped inter state sales. i used to be able to buy guns in connecticut also can't buy ammo in connecticut anymore. Bought about a third of my guns there.

Robert wrote:
March 14, 2014

.22rimfire is still not making onto store shelves in Alaska .. The scalpers have it at the gunshows for $8 per 50 round box ... I think people are getting tired of that high a price ..

W.D. wrote:
March 14, 2014

Couldn't tell there was a slowdown in ammo demand from here.....there is still NO ammo AT ALL to be had...except SOME .270 rifle ammo...that's it. Firearms are beginning to repopulate the shelves somewhat but inventories are still WAY down.

Charlie wrote:
March 14, 2014

Sales of firearms and ammo are probably down I think, not because people are no longer scared but in my own case it's because of the high cost in both areas. Everytime I have gone to a gun show prices are out of sight. Even old rusted pieces of junk are listed at extortion prices!

David Lohr wrote:
March 14, 2014

Yes ammo sales are down (you can't find any) Yes gun sales are down (paper weights are useless)

Wild Bill wrote:
March 14, 2014

The folks I know are still buying. Ammo is especially difficult to find in 22 and 22WMR and what is found is price gouged criminally. 223 is getting easier to find as well as other defense caliber ammo. I disagree that 'areas' are experiencing shortages. I live in Texas and we can have it delivered to our door through FedEx or UPS. I still can't find online any 22 ammo for sale online outside of some shot shells. Guns may slow nationwide if you consider how many have been purchased in the last couple of years but those who have a job and can afford it will continue to buy guns more than we used to. 2nd supporter!

Bruce A. Frank wrote:
March 14, 2014

Here in the Bay area of the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia virtually anything you want is available. Some even at reasonable prices. . .except for 22 rimfire ammo. There are still lines on the day shipments are received at several sporting goods stores.

Don Volkmar wrote:
March 14, 2014

Of course gun sales are down. A gun without ammo is little more than a paper weight. I'd like to know the places where ammo IS plentiful, and let's talk common calibers such as .22, .38spl, .45ACP, etc. Ditto reloading components. Why can't supply meet demand?

David M. wrote:
March 14, 2014

Here in Colorado I am once again able to find truckloads of common handgun and rifle calibers at most outfitters and retailers. All except the elusive .22. Before this all started, less than 2 years ago, there used to be shelves full of a wide assortment of .22 short, long, long rifle, and even CB caps. The shelves have been completely bare of .22 of any kind for so long that most retailers around here don't even leave a spot for them anymore. If they get a few rare boxes in, they keep them behind the counter, out of sight, until someone asks for them. There is always some available at gun shows, for 3 to 5 times the retail price. So even though I can now buy crates worth of 9mm, .40 S&W, .223, etc., I can't even remember the last time I saw .22lr on a shelf in a retail store. Thus our family trips to the range or the woods for lots of plinking fun and friendly competition have become just as rare as the .22 cartridge in these parts.

Don Lee wrote:
March 14, 2014

In central OK, we seem to have passed the point when hoarders and speculators clean out Walmart and Academy the instant the trucks are unloaded of most calibers, excepting .22 lr and .380 especially. Much of the slack has been taken up by exotic brands from eastern Yurrup, Russia, and Central America. It's still hit-and-miss for more esoteric calibers like .30-30 and .358 Win, which are only available at confiscatory prices. Gobs of .223 and 5.56 to be had, now that Obama has surrendered the Middle East.

Aaron Forel wrote:
March 14, 2014

The inventory of 9mm in NE PA is not yet to pre- shortage era but it is no longer a problem. The price for 9mm ammo is slightly above normal .22 LR on the other hand is in short supply and prices are still rising.

DALE BUTLER wrote:
March 14, 2014

The stores seem to have popular brands of ammo. This is a increase since the first of the year in Oregon.

GenEarly wrote:
March 14, 2014

Gun sales may level off or decline in 2014, but ammo sales will continue to be strong. Depending upon events. Just my opinion.

Riceinwa wrote:
March 14, 2014

For everything except .22 LR

Fred Schoentag wrote:
March 14, 2014

In my part of Iowa the supply of most popular cartridges has markedly increased with the exception of the venerable .22 LR. I find it difficult to accept that the shortage of .22s is due just to hoarding by shooters.

Tony wrote:
March 14, 2014

In Jacksonville, FL the surge is not over yet or slacking as far as I can tell. Shooting stores are still asking a premium for .22/5.56 & 9mm ammo. I wish I had bought more before the crunch that started shortly after Obama was reelected. Hopefully, this is the year we can all get back to some sort of normal, as far as ammo purchases go.

john wrote:
March 13, 2014

I just ogle and fondle my extensive gun collection nowadays. Can't afford to shoot them anymore....The days of a 100 pack of 9mm at walmart for $10 are over...a shame for sure

Mark Gaunt wrote:
March 13, 2014

There is an obvious shortage of 22LR, 223 & to some extent 9MM in the Clark Co., Wa area. Shops report that buyers are buying the calibers in excessive amounts, for whatever reason.

Country Bob wrote:
March 13, 2014

Still having a problem finding .22LR. CCI mini mags are impossible to find. North East Ohio.

OneHoleBull wrote:
March 13, 2014

Note that with a concealed carry permit in most states NO BACKGROUND CHECK IS REQUIRED !!! Therefore CCP holders can purchase MANY firearms W/O BGCs recorded !!

John wrote:
March 13, 2014

I can buy about any ammo that I need now in Wisconsin, the shelves in the stores are gradually filling-in the empty rows. I shoot mostly the high demand ammo that you list in your article above (also 7.62 X 39, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum). Most of the prices of cheap fmj ammo are close to what they were before the recent shortage period. But hp defensive ammo still appears to be higher priced than before the shortages. And sale prices are not as cheap as sale prices before the shortages. So in general, prices are still averaging a little higher than before the shortages. As inventories continue to catch up with demand, competition may bring back better sale prices later this year.

Ed Gierbolini wrote:
March 13, 2014

The ammo shortage is easing somewhat with one strange exception I my area...22LR! The days of buying bricks have been gone for close to two years now. When they do show up they are selling for a minimum of $50.00 and I've seen them sell for as much as $125.00! Mostly it's boxes of fifty rounds that you can find and even those are limited.

j wilson wrote:
March 13, 2014

you cant not shoot if you cant get ammo.So why buy a gun if you dont have ammo.

Greg Newman wrote:
March 13, 2014

Still hard to find ammo around here. Looking for 38+p, 9mm, 45acp, 22LR, 7.62X39

Albert Sand wrote:
March 13, 2014

I have noticed that a lot of folks are not purchasing do to the increase in prices .

Tim wrote:
March 13, 2014

My big box chain store hasn't sold a 22 cal bullet since 2011. Bass Pro shop has occasionally had a few. 9mm, 45, & 38/357 coming back in small numbers

Frustrated wrote:
March 13, 2014

Every prospective gun purchaser I've talked to is discouraged about ammo availability. In my area, there is simply no 22 LR in stock at any store. There is a trickle of 9mm and plenty of 5.56 NATO. Until the ammo is on the shelves again, it's hard to consider buying a new 22. And 22's are the consumate starter firearm. The hoarders are killing the industry.

Jake wrote:
March 13, 2014

Recently I have been able to get most any caliber, even 2 2 but not in large quantities

Charley wrote:
March 13, 2014

I'll believe it when I see dust on a brick of .22.

Larry wrote:
March 13, 2014

Still can get 22's

Steve Dittmar wrote:
March 13, 2014

In Illinois, you still cannot find .22LR ammo. When local gun stores get some in, some are charging 60 to 70 dollars for a brick of 500. I refuse to pay that/

Jeffrey Sacks wrote:
March 13, 2014

Today I was Dick's Sporting Goods and they had no .22LR, .38, .380, 9mm. They haven't had any .22MR since black Friday. Why would I buy a new gun when I can't get ammunition for it. I wouldn't buy a new car if I couldn't easily purchase gas.