Dispatch from the tail end of the ammo supply chain…

Happened to go to town yesterday morning, filled my empty kitchen propane bottle and one of the little ones that fuel the water heater at Ian’s place. L wanted a stop at the local drug store, and I went in – from a morbid sort of post-apocalypse curiosity – to gaze upon the clean, empty expanse of the only ammo counter in town.

And to my surprise…

…it wasn’t completely empty.

A lady at this store has told me that they get what little ammo they get on Tuesdays, and since I almost exclusively come to town on Mondays I’ve always had a slightly unrealistic view of whether this store has moved any ammo at all since the start of last year’s dry spell. According to her they always got a little trickle. Never a lot, and it’s always gone long before I get there, but things were never entirely as bleak as they always seemed to me on Monday morning.

This Friday shows a growing supply, obviously not gone within hours of their arrival. Ammo selection was spotty – they had no 7.62 Commie and of course no .44, so I was out of luck – and some of the prices were still way inflated. Like, their one box of 9mm was selling for almost a dollar a round, getting into .44 Special territory.

I was surprised at the variety of .223 and 5.56 they had…

And the price of the low-end 5.56 is only a little above what they charged in the halcyon days before lockdowns and smoldering cities.

I assume the box stores in the cities are doing better yet. With luck I won’t find out for myself for years. But I may have a look at what the ammo sites are doing, if only for educational purposes. I already know reloading supplies haven’t significantly come back.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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8 Responses to Dispatch from the tail end of the ammo supply chain…

  1. RB in GA says:

    I dunno Joel, two years ago that box of Frontier was $8.99 around here. It’s down, but only in comparison to the ridiculous prices from 2020. The only ammo I’ve seen that still comes close to pre-2020 prices is .22 WMR- it was 13.00-15.00 a box then, is 13.00-17.00 now. I dont see ammo coming down in price though, since people are willing to buy at those prices.
    There is more ammo available, but generally only the popular calibers. .223, 762 x 51, 7.62 x 39, 9mm, 12 and 20g in the big box stores around here (North GA), add some .40 and, oddly, 28g from the actual gun stores.
    The biggest change I’ve seen price wise is on AR’s and parts. The thought of a AR ban has the manufacturers lowering prices to clear inventory I believe.

  2. Joel says:

    I dunno Joel, two years ago that box of Frontier was $8.99 around here. It’s down, but only in comparison to the ridiculous prices from 2020.

    That’s why I mentioned the tail end of the supply chain. That box of Frontier 55 gr was $11.99 in that cabinet 3 years ago when I was babysitting a neighbor’s AR. No doubt prices are lower elsewhere, but this is where I am.

  3. Tim says:

    I use to be a regular at Wally World back when they still sold ammo at normal prices. I’ve sat on the sidelines for the last 16 months or so waiting. Ammo has finally become available again at normal prices for the most part. I do all my shopping on line now with tools like ammo seek.

  4. Michael says:

    The price on .223/5.56 here in Maine has recently come down to around 66 Cents per round for the regular 55 grain stuff. And over the last three weeks they have had a steady supply of it in a variety of flavors at the local Cabelas. Some shot shell but very little handgun ammo at all. Last week they had primers for the first time in about 18 months.

  5. winston smith says:

    Was at my local Tractor Supply the other day and was shocked to see so much ammo for sale and no onw loading up carts of it. I mean, hundreds of cases of 7.62, 556, 900, and yes there was even some 44M. Then i got closer and saw the prices. Yowza!
    But thats how a shortage ultimately ends- first it is back at unreal prices which then slowly settle to the new normal.
    ….and then the Dim russian ban……

  6. winston smith says:

    CRAP! Meant to say Rural King, not Tractor Supply. sorry for the confusion.

  7. RCPete says:

    Reloading supplies in the flyover area of Oregon dried up last December, though some bits have trickled through. I got bullets, cases, and a pound of H110 (for .357 magnum rounds in a Win ’94) last December, but more powder and primers are short.

    The local Sportsman’s Warehouse advertises on their Facebook page when they get a supply, but I won’t give Zuck anything. I did find some 5.56 primers when I had a trip west of the Cascades, (same chain, but bigger city) and will try a few handloads to see if I can get something to work. That store says they get stock in occasionally, but they seem to be further upstream in the supply.

    OTOH, bullets and cases show up with some regularity, and ammo is getting more available.

To the stake with the heretic!