Monday, May 25, 2009

Psssst! Wanna buy some hot primers, cheap?

I had barely stepped out of the Damed Old Ford at the Dundee match last weekend before Coach Paul stepped up, shook my hand, and started asking me about ... the availability of reloading components.

He is concerned about the 2009 Croc Match, currently scheduled for September.

He said he usually gets 20 or 30 emails asking about the match by this time, but this year he has received exactly one query. (Four guys in Virginia want to travel cross-country to take in the annual Banzaii Ballistic "You Got Bullets?" match.)

Trouble is, it's now hard to find bullets. Also powder. Especially, there are zero primers available to reloaders in most markets.

The Shooting Wire's Jim Shepherd, in his May 20 (2009) wrote:

At NRA, everyone talked about two things: [one was] the ongoing "bubble" in firearms sales, and the continuing backlog for product and ammunition. Yesterday, word that some ammo was coming back into the marketplace. A couple of retailers are advertising .223 and .22 caliber ammo availability. Pricing ranges from around twenty bucks for a "brick" of .22 caliber "plinking" ammo to around $400 for 800 rounds of .223.

Powder, primers, bullets and cases, however are a different matter for handloaders. Manufacturers and reloading equipment companies tell me there's still quite a delay on components.
[emphasis added]
Michael Bane had an even grimmer perspective on his blog last week:
The short story?

The end is not on sight.

"If everybody in America stopped shooting tomorrow afternoon, it would take us 3 months to clear the backlog, best case."

That quote is from a friend in the ammo industry who knows his stuff. Consensus I heard was the huge shortages continue until AT LEAST through the year and maybe through Q1 2010. And - again the consensus view - when "normal" returns, it's going to be the "new normal," not the normal we remember. We've proven what we're willing to pay for ammo and components, so don't expect a return to $89/1000 5.56.

Civilian demand, military and police contracts, and issues/prices of components was sited as the culprits.

Re: advice was buy what you can find at a sane price...reloading components may well be the last to recover as the industry sucks up all the available components for loaded ammo. Some of the back orders for primers at the big Internet sellers are being filled at roughly 4-5 months lag time.
And a co-worker approached me last week asking where he could buy .22 ammunition.

I told him that I had no idea where he could find any ammunition at all. I told him about my exercise in futility early this month when I stopped in the local Bi-Mart asking for Large Pistol and/or Small Rifle primers, by any manufacturer. The cheerful blue-vested clerk laughed, and said "what you see on the shelf is it! I have three boxes of primers, and they're all for shotguns." (I would be willing to bet that those three boxes are gone, by now.)

My co-worker asked me why the good folks who make ammunition components couldn't build more. My best response was to quote other bloggers who note that the manufacturers seem to have already gone into maximum productivity profile (one assumes 3 shifts a day, 7 days a week), and between the expense of building a new factory and the governmental hurdles required to get the necessary permits, there is a minimum of a full calendar year before manufacturing capacity is likely to increase.

Isn't it odd?

The Obama Administration is bailing out Bankers, the Mortgage Industry and Automobile makers, and it doesn't seem to help a bit.

On the other hand, here is a thriving industry which can't meet the demand on their (already proven) product, but nobody in The Obama Administration seems willing to step in and offer the "stimulus" incentives to allow this industry to grow.

It's especially curious since The Obama Administration -- and the fears that firearms and ammunition access will be curtailed by The Obama Administration.

I mean, they made this supply-and-demand crisis. They say they want to 'grow' the Economy, but they seem to have a blind spot against paving the path for economic growth for this one small portion of the economy.

It's as if they would prefer that new jobs NOT be created here.

One wonders why?

Getting back to the Dundee Match, during the Shooter Walk Thru, Coach Paul asked for a show of hands for "anyone who thinks they will have enough ammunition to shoot the Croc Match in September."

Surprisingly, at least half of the 48 competitors raised their hands.

I'm sure that was encouraging to Coach Paul and Evil Bill, the current Administrative Staff for The Croc Match. They're now rethinking their choice of (a) holding a match which is poorly attended because nobody has enough ammunition, or (b) taking a vacation this year, and promoting next year's Croc Match in the expectation that the current Reloading Components Crisis will be over by then.

Personally, I hope that the match will be held this September, and there is a record turn-out.

If you have definate plans to attend the September Croc match, please contact Coach Paul and reassure him of your participation by sending in your entry.

No comments: