Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I see an article over on Business Wire that says that the market for ammunition is forecast to grow over the next five years.
The increase in defense expenditure for military modernization programs in developing economies, high rate of participation in hunting &sport activities, growing number of female shooters and rise in demand from private end-users for home/personal security, are some of the key factors driving the global small caliber ammunition market. Heightened civil conflicts and rise in terrorist activities across the world are expected to further increase the business prospects for the ammunition industry.
The global small caliber ammunition industry is expected to see civilian (self-defense) market to gain momentum mainly on account of personal safety/security concerns amid rising civil conflicts. Hunting, shooting & sports market followed by military/armed forces sector is anticipated to be key business domains that will drive towards a high market share (by value) for ammo manufacturers over the forecasted period (2016-2022).
I've been corresponding with Alan Davis, over at Widener's.  For those of you who don't recognize the name, Wideners is an outfit that sells lots of stuff, including reloading components.  We've both lived through ammo shortages and we know how hard it can be to enjoy our sport when we don't have the ammo to expend.  There are only three or four large ammo manufacturers in the US (ATK, Remington and Winchester come to mind), and a host of smaller outfits.  Some you've never heard of because they produce niche ammo for the military markets. And, of course, we import a lot of ammo.

The simple fact is that there are only two ways to get ammo.  Buy it assembled, ready to go.  Or, you can build it yourself.  I've talked a lot about ammo and handloading in these pages.  While I'm not an expert, I am certainly a practitioner.

You can accuse Warren Buffet of a lot of things, but one of the things that he does very well is keep his finger on the pulse of the economy.  If he says ammunition is going to be a hot commodity over the next several years, it behooves us all to pay attention.  Go read the link above.  Buffet believes that ammo is going to be hot, that governments are going to be buying a lot of it.  Production capacity is finite and wars are greedy, and supplies might be limited.

Now might be a good time to stock up on components.  I'm not calling for a general scare or a fools rush on the local ammo store, but it might be a good time to check your stocks and build a reliable supply.  If you haven't taken up handloading yet, now might be a good time to consider it.

I'm just saying.


Anonymous said...

What I don't fully understand is why .22 rimfire is still less than plentiful. Governments don't use a lot of it, I don't think.

Is it because manufactors have shifted their production more to .223. 9mm, 7.62, etc?

Jonathan H said...

In my area, 22 LR (and other rimfire ammo as well) is slowly coming back into stock but is still much mroe expensive and less common than it was in 2011 and 2012.

I read about a year ago that ammo manufacturers invested in expanded production capacity (machinery, floor space, etc) in 2008 and 2009 in response to the surge in demand then, and felt stung when demand dropped back off afterwards before it was paid off. Because of that, when demand picked up in 2012/2013, they increased their working hours and other methods that increased production without making additional investment that might not pay off for them.
My guess (and this is just a guess) is that 22 is still in limited supply because rimfire ammunition uses different machines and production processes than centerfire ammumition and bringing the supply up would require more machinery that the manufacturers aren't willing to invest in..
I have also heard that some companies have had trouble getting reliable supplies of brass of the right alloys, which is why you see more and more aluminum cases and occasionally steel cased US ammo as well as the traditional steel cased Russian production - for example, I recently saw a box of cheap Winchester 9mm that was steel cased, and both CCI Blazer and Federal have 9mm and 45 ACP aluminum case widely available.
I don't think rimfire cases can be made from aluminum due to the way they have to deform to fire - if anybody knows otherwise, please correct me.

Anonymous said...

I think part of it is price and part a change in people's habits. In the past lots of gun owner would pick up ammo on the way to shoot and keep very little in stock. When the lost confidence in the availability of ammo they started to hold stock. Putting 5000 9mm or 223 down is big money to lots of people but 5000 22rf will only cost about $350.