Where Has All The .22 Gone?

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One of the number one questions on the lips of gun owners across the country in the past six months has been centered on the whereabouts of 22-rimfire ammo. This humble little round used to be found everywhere from the big box stores to your local mom and pop gunshop in 'as much as you can carry quantities. Now, things have changed.

A new desire

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why 22 have suddenly gotten scarce is a huge increase in the number of people looking for it. Think about it. Before December 2012, if you wanted some ammo, it was on the shelf across town in a dozen places between your house and the range. If you wanted a good deal, you shopped online and bought in bulk. While most of us made sure to stock enough centerfire ammo for a rainy day in 5.56/12 gauge/9mm etc., it often never occurred to us to keep on hand anything more than a $10 brick of 22 'for plinking'.

Where Has All The .22 Gone? - christophereger - 22-plinking-1342.jpg
(Plinking with a 22 has long been a simply joy of life)

Then, in 2013, once the ammo crisis started in earnest, many of us simply said, "well, I'll just switch to shooting more with my .22 until this all blows over," only to find none when we went to the store. Why? Because everyone else had the same idea.

Supply and Demand

There is more than 4.2 billion-that's billion with a "B"-rounds of .22 Long Rifle produced in this country every year. However if you divide that into 500-round bricks (the most commonly sold form of the round), that is only 8.4 million bricks. While that sounds like a lot, if you take into account there are something like 110-million estimated gun owners in the country, there is only a brick of 22 available for one out of every 13. In fact, if you do the math, there are only about 38 rounds of 22 made each year per each gun owner. Granted, many of these gun owners do not have a 22 pistol or rifle, you can bet that the figure is higher than one out of every 13 that do.

Where Has All The .22 Gone? - christophereger - great-depression2soup-line-1343.jpg

And we want ammo! Even if its in unrealistic quantity to what we need, we saw that we had none six months ago and are scared now. Its like my grandmother and soup. When she was a little girl it was the Great Depression. Her family spent the better part of a decade not eating enough. Therefore, every time she went to the store she bought an extra case of soup. Over the years of this it was not unusual to open a closet in my gram's house and see a stack of red and white cans stacked floor-to-ceiling that would make Andy Warhol cry.

Help is on the way

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however. Manufacturers are cranking these little rimfire beauties out in unprecedented numbers. Furthermore, those who would buy every brick they can find are finally becoming satisfied with the amount on their own shelves at the house. These two factors, over time, should bring the supply back to normal.

So never fear, the 22 should soon be here.

Where Has All The .22 Gone? - christophereger - 22-ammo-on-the-shelf-1341.jpg

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December 8, 2013  •  10:00 PM
I'm still waiting!