Getting Over the Ammo Shortage

What are shooters saying today? “Know where I can find some .22 shells?"


Ammo is in short supply. A brick of .22 LR cartridges commands as much as $40 now. If you can find it, budget center-fire pistol ammo is going for a buck a round. Hunting ammunition isn’t immune to this condition either. And if you are trying to find some .223 Rem. cartridges to whack a few coyotes or prairie dogs this spring, good luck! I was told that three cases of Berdan-primed surplus .223 Rem. at a gun show recently went for $400 per case, and they went to a single buyer.


Some folks believe that this dearth of ammunition will not be short lived. If you feel similarly, it’s time to equip yourself and learn how to load your own ammo. Handloading isn’t difficult to learn, and as long as you can pay attention to a reasonable amount of detail, loading your own ammunition isn’t dangerous. Even if you are buying all-new tooling, you can get started for less than $200. If you are a good scrounger—haunting garage and estate sales or some online auction sites—you can buy in for considerably less.


While you can get by with used tooling and perhaps find some deals on components, there are a few things where you do not want to skimp or go too cheap on. The first thing you buy after the tooling—or better yet buy it when you buy your tooling—is a current reloading manual, and you should never vary from the recipes in that manual. “Aww, it’ll take a little more powder…” does not ever work. The other absolute no-no is buying powder or primers that are not in their original factory packaging. I don’t care how cheap the price. It isn’t worth the risk of getting something that isn’t what it’s supposed to be. Even if it is, it may not have been stored properly and might not perform as it should.


A few years ago I did some handloading seminars at some sportsman shows and the NRA Annual Meetings. I was—and remain—amazed at how few shooters load their own ammo. When I started to learn shooting, I could not afford to shoot unless I handloaded my ammo. Folks, it isn’t ever going to be less expensive. Consider this expenditure to be an investment in the future of your shooting hobby.


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5 Responses to Getting Over the Ammo Shortage

harold wrote:
March 14, 2013

Why is no one mentioning the real reason for the ammo shortage? Home land security just bought a second round of 2.6 billion rounds of ammo!!!! wonder why?

BIG DADDY wrote:
February 26, 2013

I AM 60+ AND HAVE BEEN RELOADING SINCE I WAS 15 YEARS OLD. I MAINLY RELOAD 8 DIFF. CAL.OF RIFLE SHELLS. I BUILD THE LOAD FOR ALL OF THESE FOR A ZERO OF 200-300 YARDS. I USE ALL TURIT SCOPES, LIKE NIGHT FORCE, AND PROGRAM ALL THE SETTING SO THAT I CAN ADJUST FOR EVERY 10 YARDS. THIS MAKES SHOOTING MORE FUN AND ACCURATE AT LESS THE COST. I SHOOT AT LEAST 1000 ROUNDS A MONTH FOR THE SPORT OF IT AND ALSO DO A LOT OF HUNTING AND VARMET SHOOTING. IT IS THE BEST WAY TO GO. BUT WHEN YOU BUY YOUR SUPPLIES, BUY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AFFORD AND YOU WILL NEVER RUN OUT. 22 HORNET, 204, 223, 243, 22-250, 308, 7MM STW, AND 3 IN AR'S.

Dave Campbell wrote:
February 21, 2013

Mike, all I can say is keep looking. Eventually they will turn up. We had a primer shortage about four years ago. When the shortage ended, a lot of us stocked up. Keep that in mind when this one abates.

Bill Brown wrote:
February 21, 2013

As well as powder. Finding some common powder is like pulling teeth right now.

Mike Schmitt wrote:
February 20, 2013

The shortage is effecting reloading too, unless you know where to find primers. Tell me where! Please!