The article on ammunition, shortages, and government purchases was very informative and well written. Here is a very simple way to look at the shortages that occur from a mathematical perspective.
Assume that 20 million rounds of .22 are available every single day. That would be 40,000 boxes of 500 rounds each. Fifty states get 800 boxes each. Fifty retailers per state get 16 boxes each. I cannot tell you how much ammo the U.S. can manufacture or import, but I do not think it is anywhere near the level of demand created by our current government’s stance on the 2nd Amendment.
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I am assuming that the article about bulk government purchases was written by Hugh. Since these stories have been hitting the web we have seen all sorts of explanations given for the requests. Responses have ranged from the uber-conspiratorial to the brain-dead parroting of official government propaganda.
We are all aware that buying in bulk saves money. We also are comfortable with the idea that large contracts allow our agencies to retain these bulk price rates. This is common sense.
The real question then IMHO is, are these purchases in line with previous purchases, or do they stand out as extraordinary? We shouldn’t be asking how many or what type of bullets could or should our agents be using, but what is the norm?
My webfu is pretty strong and my googling technique superior to most, yet I cannot find any data from past years to compare, nor has anyone apparently gone out of their way to examine this issue.
I’m a cigarette smoker. My wife knows it and knows my purchase habits. If I go from buying three packs a week to 30 packs a week and try and explain it away as saving money in bulk purchase, I’m going to be in the doghouse.
Let’s see some hard data on purchase habits.
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Just as a matter of interest, here in Austria we have started to experience a shortage of ammunition as well. There seem to be reasonable quantities of the normal hunting rifle calibers floating around (and after all, you don’t really need a lot of ammunition for hunting). I have seen boxes of 0.22 on offer, so it really seems to be only 9 mm Parabellum that is affected.
I generally buy the boxes of 250 from S&B, but there have been none available to the dealers for the past two or three months. One dealer that I regularly go to has a stock of them still, but that is a result of buying a huge amount last year.
Our local dealer was telling me that they had been bought out by an American company that was now shipping all the product to the U.S., but I can see no record of that. In fact, they are owned by CBC, which is a Brazilian company, better known to you, probably, as Magtech. I can see no sign of American ownership there.
So, maybe they are shipping everything to the U.S., but it is not due to North American ownership.
Still, he sold me 1000 rounds of Geco pistol food for the same price as the bigger boxes from S&B, so I am not complaining too much.
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HJL Adds: This link was sent in to SurvivalBlog by a reader: Making Money From the American Ammo Shortage. This quote shows just what kind of demand we as consumers are putting on the system.
“I had a report yesterday of a fistfight in a sporting goods store, people trying to get rimfire ammunition off the shelf,” said Alliant Chief Executive Mark DeYoung on an analysts’ call after the company reported forecast-beating third quarter profits on Thursday. “So there is still demand and customers are still very anxious to get product.”