Letter Re: .22 Magnum in Times of General Ammunition Shortages

22 ammoSurvival Blog – by James Wesley Rawles

Dear JWR:

I currently live in the People’s Republic of Illinois and have seen the mad dash for ammo and firearms make it very difficult to acquire even the standard .22 Long Rifle rimfire ammo that until a few months ago could be purchased by the case at nearly any Wal-Mart, gun shop, or sporting goods store.

Recently when browsing the aisles of both Bass Pro Shop and Wal-Mart I noticed something rather peculiar: that.22 Magnum ammunition was aplenty. This struck me as really odd that .22 Magnum was even being sold in bulk packs (CCI brand) at Bass Pro with no purchase limits.

It appeared as though one could easily (even now) buy 5,000 rounds of .22 Magnum without so much as a single person to compete with for it. My thoughts are now leaning towards acquiring a Kel-Tec PMR-30 [30-round .22 Magnum pistol] as well as a decent bolt-action (also in .22 Magnum) so as to provide myself the flexibility to buy this ammo even in times when other calibers may be hard to come by.

Your thoughts and opinion would be appreciated. Thanks, – K.

JWR Replies: That might be a good mitigation plan for our current circumstances. But keep in mind that even after the current shortages end that the cost per round for .22 Magnum will always be substantially higher–which makes target shooting more expensive. Hearing protection is also crucial with this cartridge. Our friends at Chuckhawks provide some background info and here are some ballistics comparisons. Yes, the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) has substantially more energy than .22 LR, but it is quite expensive.

You should also consider that WTSHTF, the current supply situation may be reversedto the longer term norm, for barter. (Since .22 LR is ubiquitous, while .22 Magnum will always be the much more expensive oddball.) So stock up heavily if you opt for .22 Magnum rimfires.


9 thoughts on “Letter Re: .22 Magnum in Times of General Ammunition Shortages

    1. Yup Digger,
      I shot my wad at Blain’s F&F! But they are local for us (me even more so, I live 2 miles from their main warehouse). Even though they cover four or five states.

      1. Yea rhumstruck, I live about 20 miles from the one in Menomonie. I`ll be buying a lot of ammo there because the guy I got my car from prefers to get his car payments in the form of ammo. Perty cool eh. He`s gonna get a lot of ammo. Fleet Farm is a good place to shop – except for groceries it is the only place I go. I didn`t think that Fleet Farm was spread out to that many states. That is good to know rhumstruck.

  1. Hey All Good luck on finding the pmr-30 you cant even buy additional clips from kel-tec glad I saw the need for 5 spare clips plus the 2 that came with it makes 7 total as for bullets here in W VA all you want all the time guns and bullets have seen no if any shortage around here of course most reload their own centerfire I wish someone woulf figure out a way to reload the 22 mag rimfire as they are 10-12 bucks for 50 and with 30 rd clips you can blow through some bullets .On a personal note I highly reccomend this little/big pistol for everyone.

  2. Walmart is selling three box limit per day but that is really per visit 🙂
    I am buying a case per day cycling through three local Walmarts.

  3. I’m glad for you folks because there is NO 22LR ammo in California!
    Suppliers like Federal, Remington, Winchester, CCI, & Hornady have told
    Brownells in Iowa there will be NO AMMO resupply for at least 1 year!
    Check online, there is NO 22LR AMMO!!

    1. I’ll check later today at the local firing range (L.A.).

      I’m pretty sure they had some when I was there three weekends ago.

  4. I work directly on the manufacturing floor for a/the major producer of 22 Short, 22 LR, 22 WMR, .22 WRF and .17 HMR. The company is also a major player in CF ammo, but that isn’t my department. A good sleuth will be able to identify the company from the platforms I listed.
    Anyway, management had seen an interesting trend of new firearm registration without increased demand for the corresponding ammo. We had HUGE surpluses in warehouses waiting to be ordered throughout 2011, and the first part of 2012. There was a underlying fear among employees that a major layoff would occur, as that happened in 2007-2008 for similar reasons. (We also produce power loads for construction applications, and when housing bottomed, that sector did, too). It was horrible.. Short runs, level loading limiting our production to so much per day. People being sent to CF for a shift to help inspect the ammo (believe it or not, many of the ammo is inspected individually by hand. millions and millions of rounds, all by hand) and a lot of broom handling in that period to keep people busy. In mid-2011,
    Since CF ammo demand remained in steady and even increasing demand, they shut down a shift and transferred a large portion of employees out of the RF group to CF, freezed all hiring, and avoided lay-offs. Nobody was ordering rimfire anything.
    Then we hit April 2012. The warehouse emptied almost over night and production demands were increased to 2009 levels. We were treading water for most of the spring/summer while they hired up, trained and restarted the 4th shift. We had a goal of approx 4 million LR rounds, and 1.5-2 million WMR/HMR per day. By the time the hiring and the additional shift had warmed up to productive levels, we found ourselves 50-60 million rounds in the hole across all groups for the year. We are still just breaking just slightly above even for a production goals. That means there is a 50ish million round deficit that will take a very long time to make up.
    This is also why you are seeing a huge amount of loose pack “bulk” cartons being introduced for WMR where it hadn’t been previously available. The packaging turn around for those are, as you can imagine, incredibly faster than individual rounds in 50 ct plastic trays and boxes, those being individually packed and labeled. It takes no time at all to open a cardboard box, and glue it shut. (Don’t worry about the quality, just because it is faster doesn’t mean it isn’t with as much care.) But, that means we can easily outrun our loading capacity, which cant be sped up any faster. When something goes out of spec, we shut it down until it’s right. No shortcuts.
    I thought you guys would find it interesting to see an insider perspective of this ammo shortage, and a little of the situation on our end. We, on the floor, are working our asses off to turn this thing around.

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