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Common sense approach to the Ammo / primers availability

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David R
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Post by JimT47 Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:42 pm

I am trying to approach this issue with some logic , nothing makes sense to me . We see these videos from the manufacturers , saying they are working 24 hours a day , but as I watch the videos , there no Ammo on there shelves , if the were making Ammo it would be on there shelves awaiting shipping , the stores want to buy a pallet of Ammo of each caliber , no one has Ammo for sale , no one in the phila area , there one or two employees seen in the videos , here my thought , it’s just a thought 
   Someone out there lives near where they make Ammo , or knows someone who works there , are there employees cars in the parking lot , are there trucks at the loading dock , is the local shipping company , shipping Ammo for the Ammo manufacturer, are they working 24 hours a day , 
   Ok here my thought ....... the other people with lots of money , purchased all the Ammo and primers , or paid them to stop manufacturing Ammo and primers , how can we as shooters verify that the manufacturers are really working at full speed . For there Loyal customers 
  Something to think about.     JimT

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Post by james r chapman Thu Mar 25, 2021 8:53 pm

Europeans were shut down for Covid from what I heard. Things still look bleak. employee spacing, etc, limits a lot of things.
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Post by NuJudge Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:11 pm

Common sense does not usually apply in a panic such as this.  In the past, things have eventually eased.

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Post by SteveT Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:19 pm

Why keep inventory on the shelves if people are willing to pay a premium for it? Ship it out as fast as you can before people come to their senses. My company usually wants to keep a week or two stock on the shelves in case something happens, but when a shortage occurs (like we see with Integrated Circuits right now) we can have boxes on the shipping dock less than an hour after coming off the line.

I can't imagine an ammo company would idle workers right now, even if George Soros (or whoever you think the boogy man is) offered them a huge payment. Now is the time to make money and the bad PR if it ever came out would destroy the company. Would you EVER buy from a company that did that? And don't you think the layed off workers would be posting all over social media?

It's the same thing as toilet paper a year ago. Profit margins are so low that factories have to work 80-90% capacity to make money in normal times. It only takes a 10-20% increase in demand to overwhelm the system. Then word gets out and it is worse because everyone buys more than usual.

I don't see any cause that makes more sense than simple supply and demand. We saw the same thing the first year of Obama's presidency. This all started about the time Biden became favored to win. People fear a change is coming and rush to the stores before it's too late.
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Post by straybrit Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:32 pm

We had the same wild conspiracy theories in 2012 and 2016. 

I know that in 2012 the delivery schedules to the stores that sold ammo were widely distributed (in Austin - where I lived at the time) and there were lines waiting for that event at every store. Many of the people in line were, I strongly suspect, being paid in cash to do so by people that wanted to resell at huge markups. Even restricting the amount you could buy just resulted in longer lines. I saw the lines so that much I can attest to - the rest was supported by what little actual proof there was -such as local gun shows that had plenty of ammo for sale - at 5-10x normal price.

The amount of money that would be involved in simply absorbing all that output is mind blowing - and remembering that you have to store it somewhere. Then what do our mythical bogeymen do with it? Destroy it? Sell it at a huge loss? Also, as Steve notes, the reputation damage to any company accepting "incentives" to slow down manufacturing would be, very possibly, terminal - and most of them are having a hard enough time as it is.

The FBI just noted that they had the busiest month on record for firearms purchase background checks. The civil disturbances/hate crimes/terrorist attacks are creating whole new domestic markets for guns that simply didn't exist before. All those these feeding. Add to the slowdowns in foreign manufacture and the state of the world shipping industry (there's been a worldwide shortage of containers FFS) and there's a lot less coming in from abroad.   If you want to feed paranoia I'm sure that there are, or will be, subtle and unattributable, customs hold ups in the stocks that do come in. Because they are soooo busy with other things - of course.

What we're seeing with ammo is exactly what is happening with semiconductor shortages the world around. Scaled back production (pandemic induced economic slowdown), transport issues and sudden rebound in demand leading to catastrophic supply issues. That market is worth (I'm guessing) many orders of magnitude more than the whole US armaments industry and I don't think that anyone is sabotaging that.

Edit to add: I just had to look up the numbers after that last comment. Best I could find is that the semiconductor market was in the $500-520B range in 2019. The global armaments market for 2018 was around the $100B mark - and the US is the largest single player in that market. So - not many orders of magnitude worldwide - only approx 5x.

Extra credit edit: This is what happens when you give a geek numbers. Global ammunition market for 2020 is approx $21B. The US share of that is estimated at 33% - so $7B. Small caliber (<20mm !!) is 50% of that - so $3.5B. Defense applications are 75% - leaving around $800M as the civilian ammunition market in the US. Could Soros/Bezos/Musk/Gates/[pick  your own bogeyman] afford that? Sure - theoretically. The licence to store it would be a matter of public record and an individual having that much firepower would have the various 3 letter agencies in a spasm.

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Post by David R Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:19 am

Last time this happened there were all kinds of theories.   Its the same thing, except this time, I was prepared.   Last time, I went to wallyworld  every week day for a month at 7:00 AM to see if they had  any ammo in.  Nothing for a month.   

Between now and then, when  I could buy CCI SV for $259 a case, I bought 2 cases thinking about the last shortage.    I did the same with powder and primers.  I even bought a case of Blaser 22 for less.  

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Post by Steve in MI Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:45 am

The shortages are demand driven.
You had 72 Million gun owners and 8.7 billion rds of ammunition made 2019.
There where nearly 5 Million first time gun buyers last year.  Say that the average purchase was 100 rds per buyer. That's 500 Million rds  About 6% of 2019 production.
Now lets say all 77 Million gun owners want to buy just 50 extra rnds thats 3.85 billion rnds 44% of 2019 production. None of the companies have the reserve capacity to deal with a 50% increase.
Numbers used are US production.

An example of panic buying, Fenix Ammunition sold 300,000 9mm in 60 seconds.  That was one weeks production. They can't get components either so their production will drop.

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Post by BE Mike Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:40 am

When workers get back to their jobs and the people who hoarded have their significant others tripping over cases of ammo that they will never shoot, the shortages will slowly disappear. Lots of folks will be stuck with overpriced ammo that they will never be able to sell for anywhere near the prices they paid. Hopefully primers will again be for sale around that time.
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Post by troystaten Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:58 pm

I think letting estate attorneys and Realtors know that you are available to buy ammunition from estates will be a great way to pick ammo on the cheep.

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Post by xman Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:15 pm

troystaten wrote:I think letting estate attorneys and Realtors know that you are available to buy ammunition from estates will be a great way to pick ammo on the cheep.

Kind of like an ambulance chaser, Huh. LOL
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Post by troystaten Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:50 pm

Xman I like that, the thought came up because about 10 years ago I was in a property for sale here in the bayarea (not my listing unfortunately) and the late owner of the house had some sort of gunsmithing business or was a shooting enthusiast at least and the basement looked like the ammunition and reloading section of a gun shop with shelf after shelf of ammunition and reloading components all from the 1970's and 80's.  I offered to buy it but the agent or the family already had plans for it.  Another time I was at the range and one of the guys working there had about 10 or more 8 pound cans of WST or some such powder from a guy was a trap shooter who had passed away.  Fun stuff.

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