The 2021 ammunition quandary: This scribe could use more ammo

8 2 Lesmeister
The author has been scratching his target-shooting itch this summer by plinking regularly with his air rifle. Unlike most ammunition, the .177 pellets it uses have been in decent supply.

I used to visit the firing range about twice a month. Sometimes I would take a couple of shotguns and shoot clay targets. Sometimes I would take a few pistols and shoot at close-range targets. I thoroughly enjoyed taking my AR rifles and emptying magazines into big targets at 100 yards. Today I don’t go to the range. It’s because I’m hoarding the ammunition I have left. I find it difficult to buy more. When I visit the gun shops I frequent they are generally out of the most popular calibers and the rounds I used to purchase for pennies now cost quarters.

There are likely a few different reasons this is happening. Gun sales are up and likely to continue to skyrocket due to fear of tighter gun regulations. Whenever there is a president touting any form of gun restrictions the sales of firearms goes through the roof. When you buy a gun, you buy ammo. So it would seem obvious that more gun sales mean more ammo sales.

Then you have your hoarders. These are the same people who loaded their pickups to capacity with toilet paper, anti-bacterial wipes, and bottled water when the COVID panic first hit. Well now that there is a heavily broadcast story line touting the shortage of ammunition, instead of a shooter buying a few boxes of their favorite cartridge, they buy a case when it’s available.

I readily admit I too have become a hoarder. When I walk into the gun shop and see a few boxes of anything that will fit a gun I have in my possession, I buy it all. In many cases now there are restrictions on how many boxes an individual can purchase. If it’s two, I buy two. In the past I might not buy any ammo that I wasn’t going to shoot within a few weeks. Now I buy it just to have it.

I wonder how this is going to affect the hunting this fall? Will some duck or upland bird hunters decide not to purchase a license just to conserve their ammo? Will deer hunters have to resort to a rifle they haven’t used in years because they couldn’t get bullets for their favorite firearm?

Eventually the lack of ammunition should be resolved just because you can only store so much lead and brass before you run out of room. Ammunition manufacturers are operating at peak capacity and eventually the supply will catch up to the demand, but until then, we’ll just have to wander past those empty shelves craving that time not so long ago when every caliber had a burgeoning supply, and we just grabbed what we needed to have a fun day at the range.

One thing I do to keep myself from going through plinking withdrawals is shoot my air rifle at targets I’ve positioned in different angles throughout my woods. I found I can get as much ammo as I want for my break action .177 caliber pellet gun. Sometimes I feel like that 10-year old kid with his first Daisy and it’s a lot of fun.

Categories: Firearms, Tim Lesmeister

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