Where’s the ammo?

| March 22, 2013

Paul and Claymore send us a link to CNS which says that the nation’s police departments are having to beg and borrow ammo while the Feds go on a buying spree;

Chief Pryor of Rollingwood, Texas says of the shortage:

“We started making phone calls and realized there is a waiting list up to a year. We have to limit the amount of times we go and train because we want to keep an adequate stock.”

“Nobody can get us ammunition at this point,” says Sgt. Jason LaCross of the Bozeman, Montana police department.

LaCross says that manufacturers are so far behind that they won’t even give him a quote for an order.

“We have no estimated time on when it will even be available,” LaCross says.

He worries that when ammunition is finally available the high price will squeeze the department’s budget.

And, oh, yeah, the Department of Homeland Security isn’t telling Congress why they’re buying so much ammo – 1.6 billion rounds.

Of course, those of you who heeded my warning last year that the Obama Administration was buying up ammo have no problems, right? I hope you didn’t listen to the naysayers who said that it would have no effect on ammo availability or prices. I was buying 5.56mm for about $.40/round last year and now it’s up to over $1/round, that is if you can find it. Even .22 ammo is at a premium.

Category: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Guns

Comments (44)

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  1. E6 type, 1ea says:

    I have never really gotten into the conspiracy theories, but here’s mine for this one: The State Department has wanted a private army since the early days of Bush Administration, and almost had one with Blackwater, if it wouldn’t have been for those pesky kids(congress). I think they’re trying to make another one out of the DHS.

  2. A Proud Infidel says:

    “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”
    Ronald Reagan

    We need to ALWAYS be wary of anything the B. Hussein Øbama Administration says or does. Tonto would say “Liberal man and woman speak with forked tongue.”

  3. Old Trooper says:

    You can’t even find .22 ammo now.

    I have been debating this with a couple of LEOs on another site and they seem to think that DHS buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammo isn’t a big deal (not a lot of ammo in their view) and the reason there is a shortage is because of panic buying on the part of the public. I keep telling them that when there is a government contract to fill, it takes precedence over civilian supplies and that manufaturers will use all their production tooling to fulfill the government contract ahead of everything else. They argue that the contracts are for “up to” amounts over a 4-5 year period, so that doesn’t mean that DHS is actually buying that much ammo. I asked them; then explain the shortage.

  4. The issue I have is that DHS apparently bought up most of the common ammo types, but some of it is alledgedly ammo that DHS doesn’t even use. So they essentially bought it so that we couldn’t. I would find this unbelievable and a conspiracy, except the FDA is trying to buy 450,000 tons of sugar so we have less of that…

  5. Claymore says:

    Several of the local shops here are posting on their FB pages that certain calibers are back in stock; mostly odd-ball rifle calibers, but there’s an uptick in available .22LR, .40 S&W, .38SPL and .45ACP…mostly FMJ. If you have anything like .22 TCM or want 9mm HP, you’re pretty much screwed.

  6. Old Trooper says:

    I have noticed, through this whole thing, that .45 ACP hasn’t taken as much of a hit as .40,9mm, .223, and .22LR.

    What I believe is happening is that some of the manufacturers, that aren’t in on the gummint contracts, are churning out what they can and it’s coming out in streaks. I know that a Wallyworld by my house got in 6, 225 round, boxes of .22LR and that lasted all of 10 minutes. So, even if there is some ammo, it’s not very much and it doesn’t stay on the shelf for very long. I was told that if I want to get any, I need to be there in the morning when they put it on the shelf. 2 problems with that; 1- I’m at work in the morning, and 2- they don’t always get ammo on the truck each time.

  7. Reaperman says:

    I must have been asleep for that 1.6b round thing. Googled around to verify and now I’m wondering why that’s not the biggest news story of the day. It’s the biggest news I’ve heard in years. At an estimated 315 million americans that’s almost exactly 5 rounds each–I’m starting to hear black helicopters now, I suppose.

  8. Jabatam says:

    I’m glad I stocked up a lot last year

  9. Twist says:

    It worries me that DHS bought more ammo than was used in the 8 years we were in Iraq. I didn’t stock up because it is a pain in the ass shipping guns and ammo through Canada, but I am funneling money up to my son-in-law in Fairbanks to buy me ammo.

  10. rb325th says:

    Not buying this myth about ammo being bought up. Every time I go and dig just a little deeper than the sensational headline I find it is not quite as sinister or even all that strange.
    No one has purchased that much ammo as is being claimed. There exist agreements between DHS and an ammo company to purchase x amount of ammo or more, but they do not even have to be that much and it is over 5 years…. They have not bought it all.
    In the past several months however there has been a run on ammo and guns, hell it began when Obama took office. The run has been undertaken by gun owners fearful that Obama and company will ban their guns and ammo.
    Hell there are even rumors out there that it is Soros buying up the ammo…
    NRA/ILA has spoke out against these rumors as have numerous other conservative leaning media outlets. The feds are nout out there buying up all the ammo. Panick buying accounts for the majority of al lthe shortages.

  11. David says:

    Not to mention 1.6 billion rounds is about 30 years’ worth of ammo based on peak Iraq war consumption. Not to mention 7,000 selective fire M4-type “personal defense weapons”. Or $50,000,000 in new DHS uniforms (never mind sequestration cuts). Now, maybe a workable scenario could be “well, we can’t get any gun-control laws passed, but for relatively little money we can tie up ammo manufacturing capacity for freakin’ ever and without ammo, the guns are useless”… who knows. one of the bids was 200,000,000 rounds of ‘sniper’ ammo… I know law enforcement officers need training, but I suspect few fire more than 1000 rounds a month average… do we have 200,000 snipers?

  12. Reaperman says:

    @10 I haven’t done a whole lot of digging (having heard about this just now), but I’d be interested in any kind of link that would indicate that I should be less interested in this. The sources quoted by even the more reputable news outlets on the subject aren’t my favorite, but as near as I’ve seen, there’s still one huge news story here.

  13. Dan says:

    Not sure what is going on with the Gov’t contracts, but the DHS contract is causing panic buying and causing a shortage. This is a bit anecdotal, but at my local Walmart in TX people are hanging out at sporting goods store for hours and buying their 3 box limit on .45, .40, .22LR, .380, .223 and 9mm regardless if they own a gun of that caliber. I got in line in hopes there might be a box or two of 9mm and a guy told me he wanted it to trade as if we now live in a barter economy. Ammo comes in everyday and isn’t even stocked. If people weren’t panic buying, the shelves might have a chance to fill back up. God bless Wallyword; they haven’t raised their prices. Funny, I have been told by the left for years that Walmart was an evil and greedy company.

  14. Old Trooper says:

    @10: See my first post and congratulations on being the first here to make my point.

    Tell me; who are all the media outlets pointing to as the source for their debunking statement? That would be a statement by a spokesperson for DHS saying that it isn’t happening. Why won’t Big Sis answer the questions posed by elected officials concerning the rather large purchases by DHS? I’m sure that some of it can be attributed to panic buying, however, even during the shortages of 2009, we never saw anything like it is now.

    Keep believing what they are telling you.

  15. AndyN says:

    The cops in LA put more than 100 rounds into a misidentified pickup truck, plus countless more rounds into surrounding parked cars and houses. The cops in Cleveland put 137 rounds into a car killing the 2 unarmed occupants after one of the cops thought he heard a gunshot. The cops in NYC who killed a gunman near the Empire State Building last August only fired 16 rounds between them but somehow managed to hit 10 people, including the suspect.

    Perhaps the cops are running short on ammo because they tend to be indiscriminate about where they’re throwing rounds downrange? Perhaps if they exhibited a bit of discipline they wouldn’t burn through their supplies so fast? My recommendation would be to issue each of them a .38 with one speed loader and a 12 gauge pump with a 3 round magazine and tell them those 15 rounds are all they get so they need to make them count.

  16. Hondo says:

    Old Trooper: my guess is your LEO contacts are almost certainly correct. IDIQ (indefinite delivery indefinite contracts) are one common type of vehicle for buying commodity items. They typically are put in place for a period of time (base year plus N option years; 5 total years is fairly common). They often have a minimum and maximum yearly order limit at the contract price; what you normally hear quoted about such contracts is the max possible if all years are executed and the max is bought each year ($100M contract, 1.6 billion rounds, etc . . . ). However, the government is obligated to purchase only the minimum specified by the contract; the contractor is obligated to supply the maximum only if the government orders that much.

    Orders on such contracts are placed on a periodic or sporadic basis. They’re often not placed “all at once” at the beginning. Thus, a contract allowing the purchase of a yearly minimum of 1,000 tons of flour with a yearly maximum of 10,000 tons may see orders for 100 tons at the beginning of the year, 10 tons the next week, nothing for a month, 150 tons a week for a month, nothing for most of the next of the year, and a final order of 290 tons at the end of the year to meet contract minimums. The next year may see orders for 2000 tons right off the bat.

    The Army used these types of contracts to buy PCs and related equipment in the late 1980s. Unless you started getting close to contract end or pushing yearly limits, they were generally “order as you go” with no problems. Got away from that stuff by the early 1990s, but I’m pretty sure that’s how things are still done for common items that are bought on a repetitive basis.

    I’m working from memory here, but I think I’m pretty much correct above. If anyone knows different, please weigh in.

  17. Jonn Lilyea says:

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but looking at the list of ammo that they’re buying (sent to us by Ex-PH2) I’m wondering what they need with .30-06 ammo, 7.62x39mm, 10mm, match grade 5.56mm, match grade 12 gauge. And tens of thousands of rounds that they really shouldn’t need. No service weapon needs .30-06, 7.62x39mm, or 10mm. Match grade ammo? For what?

  18. rb325th says:


    MRAPS The 2700 MRAPS? Those are DOD not DHS…. http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/41713_Fact_Checking-_Obama_DHS_Purchases_2700_Light-Armored_Tanks

    There is more out there if you bother to look past the sensationalism of certain segments of the “conservative” movment. Much of it has its origins in sites that believe in 9/11 as a US Op, and Chemtrails… and little green men from outer space.

  19. rb325th says:

    @ Jonn, if what you are talking about it the link PH2 provided above, it contains major falsehoods to include the purchase of 2700 MRAPS by DHS. Not even close to true.

    The very first link provided in that “article” states that the purchases were to be made over 5 years (they have not bought it all and may not buy that much at all). They have been given the go ahead to do it over 5 years if needed.
    It also explains where the more sinister theories found their genesis… Alex Jones.

  20. Old Trooper says:

    @17 & 19: Then explain why the stories all over the place report that 15 congressmen have asked Big Sis about the ammo purchases and she refuses to talk; why?

  21. Old Trooper says:

    Also; if you have information the refutes the type of ammo being purchased, please share it with the rest of us. Just saying it isn’t true doesn’t make it so.

  22. rb325th says:

    @21, seems no one likes to talk aboput anything but it seems to me I just posted links that show contract information on them, that Congress Could easily have access to. Anyone can get it.
    I am thinking that Congress makes an awful lot of noise about a lot of things, that in the long run amount to nothing, instead of having to do their real job.

  23. rb325th says:

    @22 I will point out as well that the Congressman from NJ is asking a lot of questions for which there are already answers.
    Again, none of this ammo, or at least nowhere near the ultimate number has been purchased, nor has 7,000 M-4’s been purchased, nor were there ever 2700 MRAPs ordered by DHS…

  24. Jonn Lilyea says:

    The fact remains, that, no matter the answer to “why”, Old Trooper and I predicted this ammo shortage a year ago and I have mine.

  25. rb325th says:

    Jonn, since Obama took office what has occured at gun stores nation wide, and even more so in the aftermath of the Giffords Shooting, Colorado, and Sandy Hook? A whole crap load of panick buying.
    When I went shooting a few years back before all this hoopla started about DHS buying all the worlds ammo, m-4s and maraps oh my… There was much talk already of shortages of ammunition due to the increased purchases by civillians concerned that Obama was goig to go for a totoal gun grab. It is still going on right now.
    It is interesting to not in one of those links I posted they talk about FLETC and its ammunition consumption, and it is right in line with the current contracts for potential ammo purchases.
    Again, any real evidence that DHS has purchased those amounts claimed, or is it just the potential to be able to purchase as is shown with the contracts? By real evidence I am talking purchase orders, confirmation from ammo suppliers that they have in fact sold all their ammo to big brother…

  26. Ex-PH2 says:

    I did a little arithmetic on this guns and ammo thingy and came up with these statistics, based on a single caliber (.22), the number per box (50) and the per box price $15.79.

    I could not find a statute showing a limit on the amount of ammunition purchased by a gun owner in the state of Illinois, although you do have to have a FOID in order to make a purchase.

    The numbers I use came from the Bass Pro Shops website.

    Here goes:

    .22 cartridges, 50/box for a Magnum 22 hand gun
    Price $15.79

    Purchase 3 boxes per day at $15.79 + $47.37 (tax not included)

    3 boxes per day for a month: 90 boxes; 4500 rounds; cost: $1,421.10 (tax not included)

    90 boxes per month for 12 months = 1080 boxes; 54,000 rounds; cost: $17,053.20 (tax not included)

    Now multiply those number by the number of guns in the US, using only .22 caliber as the grade: 300,000,000 guns

    The resulting numbers are as follows:

    # of rounds: 16,200,000,000,000 rounds (That’s 16 quadrillion ++.)
    # of boxes: 324,000,000,000 (324 billion ++)

    Amount spent: Are you ready for this?

    $5,115,960,000,000. (That’s $5 trillion.)

    This is just using one caliber (.22), the number of rounds per box, specified number of purchases per day, month and year, and multiplying those results by the number of guns owned by gunowners, which is approx. 300 million.

    You people have more money to spend than the Federal government. Heck, you could wipe out the national debt just by purchasing ammo in mass quantities.

    I didn’t include taxes, because I don’t know if there is a federal excise tax on ammunition purchases. The sales tax in Illinois is 8.75%, which would give the state an income of $447,646,500,000, just on the purchase of that one caliber if all the purchases were made in Illinois.

    So frankly, Obama has been the best salesman the guns and ammo industry could ever have asked for. And you wonder why there’s a shortage of ammo for target practice?

    Does this answer your questions?

    Geez, guys.

    I’m going to go get cat food and cat cookies now.

  27. Ex-PH2 says:

    OOOO!!! That $5,115,960,000,000 is $5 quadrillion. Typo.

    My bad. Very sorry.

  28. Reaperman says:

    @19 Thanks for the links. It’s still possible for DHS to be stockpiling, but at least there’s no real evidence of it. Would a press release on the subject have killed them? I wonder what numbers they’re actually purchasing. Looking into their child-agencies, many of them do have a significant need for ammunition (obviously not 1.6b). And that’s only their listed child agencies–the ‘office of obedience and reeducation camps’ isn’t listed yet (black choppers everywhere)

  29. David says:

    OK, so this is a five year forecast…. so the feds will use 27,000,000 rounds of ammo A MONTH over the next five years?

    If not suspicious, sure sounds like a helluva lot of money to spend on ammo when they are taking air traffic controllers out of airports due to budget cuts.

  30. @#27:
    You are talking .22Mag.
    Great difference in price than .22LR. I buy 555count boxes of .22LR for about $22.00, and have about 3,000 rounds on hand. Fortunately, I have a son who works in a Wal-mart store, who gives me a heads up when ammo is delivered, then buys 3 boxes of whatever, i.e. .22, .45ACP, 12GA, while I am headed that way to get my 3 boxes. Fortunately, the 3 box limit doesn’t specify what size box.
    I too believe that it is the cloud threat of being limited,causing panic buying, that is the cause of the shortages. I have enough in all sizes to not have to buy at any inflated price.

  31. UpNorth says:

    @#6, and for anyone else who might wander into Wally World to buy ammo. Talk to the clerks who work the sporting goods counter, and find out when that store gets their truck in daily, and when it gets unloaded. The store my wife works at gets their trucks anytime from 8am to late in the day.
    But, the folks who unload the truck start work at 4pm, and it takes about 2-2 1/2 hours to unload a truck. Her shifts end, usually, at 9pm, and if they get ammo that day, it’s on the shelves before she leaves work.
    And, there has been a small uptick in the ammo shipments. I just got a box of 100 rounds of 9mm FMJ, and they even got some .22LR in, which has been about as common as hen’s teeth, lately.

  32. Common Sense says:

    We have a great shop who knows how to play the supply and demand game well and has been able to keep most ammo in stock, although at higher prices. .223/5.56 is $800 for 1000 rounds in bulk. .38 special for my new pistol was $69 for 100 rounds.

    We’re pretty recent gun owners, not being able to afford it earlier, so didn’t have a chance to stock up beforehand.

    Although it’s painful, higher prices prevent scarcity, if stores want to keep it in stock, they have to raise prices. Econ 101.

  33. USMCE8Ret says:

    In Northern Virginia, every WalMart I’ve been to is out – and so is Dick’s and Gander Mountain. I was in Norfolk a week ago and went to 5 places down there, and they were all out. I found a hole in the wall gun dealer off I-64 and managed to scounge up his last 2 boxes of .40 rounds. Gander Mountain, on the other hand, gets ammo delivered on Wednesdays but the line starts at 6AM – and by the end of the work day, it’s all gone.

    The gun show in Fredericksburg and Winchester were out within minutes of the event opening, on all 3 days.

    I generally see plenty of 12 gauge rounds, so maybe I should take Biden’s advice and get a shotgun.

  34. PavePusher says:

    Sadly, I was short on both cash and ammo just prior to and after the election. And as we all know, a few bad incidents accelerated the panic-buying. I’m getting back to a tolerable stock, but it’s taking longer and costing me more than it should. Damnit.

  35. Ex-PH2 says:

    @31 – FO, I used only one caliber as an example and to make a point, that the amount of money pouring into the ammunitions manufacturers is enormous, even for the Saturday night special stuff.

    Including the numbers and prices/costs for every caliber takes too much room, I have no idea how may guns of each caliber and type there are in private ownership, or how many different kinds of ammo have been bought.

    My point was pretty clear, that if only that one caliber of ammunition was taken into account and spread over that many guns, private owners have more than DHS, period.

    Also, there does not seem to be a state limit on how much ammunition you can buy at one time. The limits appear to be set by the stores that sell ammo.

    It wasn’t about what kind you have. It was about using one kind as an example. I could have gone with .45 or .9, which would have upped the price and the resulting numbers by a considerably amount.

  36. Ex-PH2 says:

    Here’s another example:

    If one gun owner has 3 guns and buys only 1 box of ammunition per day for each of his 3 guns in 3 diffrent gauges, he’s still buying 90 boxes of ammo per month. If he does this for a year, he still has 1080 boxes of ammo. The number of rounds per box is irrelavent.

    Let’s say he has 4 guns. If the state in which the gun owner lives has no purchase limit and the store does not limit the purchases, either, then the gun owner can, if he has enough money, buy up to 10 boxes for each of his 4 guns, per day, for a month. That becomes 300 boxes of ammo per gun, multiplied by 4 guns. 1200 boxes of ammo.

    It doesn’t matter what the caliber is, or how many rounds there are per box.

  37. jonp says:

    I started buying it when Obama was elected. My friends laughed at me about my “closet full of enough ammo to take over a 3rd world country”. They are not laughing anymore and also are begging me to reload for them as I have enough supplies to load twice as much as I have stored. Sorry, the answer is no.

  38. Sigh says:

    Number 17 is spot on. I am a KO, former contract fraud investigator and now DHS employee. IDIQ is the way we do it. Its more efficient. In DHS, we are being told to conserve ammo and be prepared to shoot less. There ain’t no ammo out there boys. That’s a fact. No conspiracies either. Speculation is simply that.

  39. jonp says:

    None of this explains why DHS Head Butch Napolitano refuses to answer what, exactly, they need that much ammo for. Or most any other question either. Or had no idea an underling authorized releasing over 2,000 Illegals. Or anything else for that matter

  40. jonp says:

    Or explains why the Social Securities Inspector General’s Office needs over 170,000 rounds of HP for less than 300 Agents to investigate SS fraud.

  41. Old Trooper says:

    @25: Yeah, Jonn, I have mine as well, however, I didn’t get ahead of the curve on .22LR and that is what really shows the depth of this latest shortage. Back in ’08/’09, the shortage was never what it is now and you could always get .22, now, it’s a running joke that guys are selling 525 round boxes of Federal .22 LR for $90 on armslist (regularly $16 last Fall) or that finding 9mm is like trying to find a virgin in a maternity ward.

    @39: Sorry if I giggle about your statement of the explanation being “more efficient”, since we are talking about a government agency. They don’t even know what “efficient” means.

  42. Ex-PH2 says:

    @4 – First off, it isn’t the Food & Drug Administration that is buying sugar. It’s the US Department of Agriculture doing the buying under the Feedstock Flexibility Program, which is a subsidy program. In this case, it’s aimed at limiting imports and raising sugar prices. And they aren’t buying 750,000 tons. The USDA has not bought anything yet. They’re trying to buy 450,000 tons. The sugar cane and sugar beet farmers don’t benefit from it, either. They don’t get a cent.

    And 450,000 tons is a drop in the bucket. Mexico produced 6,250,000 tons of sugar in 2012, which is a new high in raw sugar production. Mexico exports sugar to other countries like the US.

    United States sugar production in the 2011/12 season was 7.7 million metric tons. The estimate for 2012/13 season is 8 million metric tons. 450,000 tons is a tiny amount.

    Second, you people with your panic-attack buying spree and hoarding have created your own shortage of your most prized possession. You’re even depriving law enforcement of it.

    That purchase order is just a purchase order, setting funding for purchases. It doesn’t mean it can even be filled.

    And Napolitano isn’t going to answer questions about anything, by anyone she doesn’t work for because she’s an government employee with an inflated ego. She’s a typical sand crab. I saw too many of them at Great Lakes. It was disgusting the way they wasted time and taxpayers’ money.

    Those MRAPs are surplus. The cops buy them because they have municipal tax money to spend. They look cool. It puffs up their egos. The robots are also surplus. They’re the same robots that the EOD teams use in Afghanistan to survey suspected roadside IEDs and drop detonator packs on them. The surplus bots have paint jobs. And the cops have been using them for years.

    Adn try to remember that since sequestration is now in effect, not only will 800,000 sand crabs lose their jobs, no new sand crabs will be hired, so they’ll have to make do with less.

    And, as I tried to point out in my math exercise above, thanks to your purchasing power, not only are the manufacturers gainfully employing a lot of people, you have more stuff as a collective group than DHS has on its five-year purchase order.

    Keep hoarding. You’re winning.

  43. Ex-PH2 says:

    @42 The price I used in my math example was the list price for online purchases from Bass Pro Shops, and they are out of stock for online purchases.

    If the in-store price is going up, expect it to rise even more on all types for a while.

    You’ll make it impossible for DHS to fill their own purchase order. 😉

    Like I said: keep buying, keep hoarding. You guys are winning.

    Isn’t that what you want?