Ammo Supply Update – June 2016
I did an update earlier this year on my ammo supply where I laid out some new goals and targets – since we’re about half-way through the year, I thought I’d make an update.
There’s mostly good news in this update. Have focused on self-defense (SD) ammo for the last couple of years, I’ve essentially bought as much SD ammo as I intend to buy for reserve/stockpiling purposes. The only need I’ll have to buy more going forward is to replace carry ammo as I use it. But, if I could no longer buy enough SD ammo, I have what I need – that’s a big accomplishment which I’m proud of. However, range/practice ammo is just as if not more important. In times of ammo shortage or (God forbid) we cannot buy any more for whatever reason, you need surplus ammo. Again, I’m not stockpiling ammo because I’m anticipating some sort of apocalyptic free for all shootout. I simply want to be able to have ammo to last during the times where demand outstrips supply so that I don’t have to see my skills atrophy due to being unable to shoot, or have to pay exorbitant prices in order to maintain my skill set. The calibers I’m focusing on currently for training and range use are .22LR, 9mm, and .223.
I’m made the biggest leap forward over the last roughly six months in .22LR. Given that .22LR has been so difficult to obtain in any quantity and at reasonable prices since December of 2012 (Sandy Hook), I’m ecstatic that I’ve made impressive progress here.
Last update: 3,500 rounds Range
Today: 10,000 rounds Range
I’m so happy I was able to hit my minimum goal of 10,000 rounds of reserve .22LR. My goal for .22LR is twice has high as my other calibers because I shoot it in both rifles and handguns. I would also use .22LR to augment my range reserves in other calibers, as I talked about in my previous article. Basically, the more .22LR I have to shoot, the less I need to shoot 9mm and .223. Some preferred brands/varieties of .22LR have come up, and I’ve had to strike while the iron was hot, which has diverted funds away from other calibers as you will see. The .22LR ammo I’ve added so far this year represents a spend of about $400.00 and most of what I have bought as been Federal AutoMatch as I’ve found it to be consistently reliable in my pistols and rifles as well as being lower in price than some other comparable offerings.
Last update: 500 range
Today: 3,000 range
I’d like to get to 5000 rounds here, so I’m really close to my goal – I’ll easily hit it before the end of the year. This is very gratifying to me because the method I’m using has been so simple and so effective. I normally go through about 1000 rounds every six weeks or so. So I’m usually ordering about 5-6 cases a year. Now when I order a case, I’m splitting the order – 500 rounds goes to my “available to shoot” stash, and 500 gets allocated to my surplus stash. Since my last update, I’ve ordered 5 cases – 2500 I’ve shot, and 2500 I’ve saved, which has brought my range reserve of 9mm up to 3000 rounds. Better yet, the 9mm ammo I’ve been buying has been really good stuff – Blazer Brass. I’ve not experienced any failures of the 2500 rounds I’ve shot this year, so I know the stuff I set aside is good to go. This is another benefit of the method I’m using. I’m actually sampling rounds from the batches I’m setting aside, so I know if it’s reliable or not. If I can get another 2000 rounds before the end of the year, I’ll be happy. But having 3000 surplus rounds of Blazer Brass makes me giddy. The 3000 rounds of range ammo I’ve added represents a cost of about $600.00.
Last update: 500 range
Today: 1000 range
I’ve not shot as much .223 as I have 9mm so far this year, which is the main reason why there’s not been more forward progress. However, my new Colt Competition CRP-18 which is being hand built by Colt Competition as I type should be arriving to me in the next 4 weeks. That means I’ll be shooting a good 300-500 rounds through it to confirm reliability and zero the optic. So I’ll likely be ordering another case of .223 next month, that I’ll split much like I do with cases of 9mm as I explained above. What I am excited about however is that I’ve been able to order Wolf Gold .223, which I’ve found to be one of, if not my absolute favorite ammo for both range and competition. It’s loaded to essentially the same specifications as military grade M-193 ammo. I’ve found it to be extremely accurate in my own use in the past, flawlessly reliable, and about the cheapest brass cased ammo you can get. I’ve also read several accuracy tests comparing Wolf Gold to other value .223 ammo options and it always comes out on top. I’m VERY thankful to be able to order it in quantities which will allow me to set some aside.
It may seem like I’ve not made much progress in this area, but I already have 3000 rounds of M-193 set aside, so my goal here is to only get another maybe 2000 rounds of Wolf Gold set aside (3000 rounds total) and I’ll be good. The 1000 rounds of Wolf Gold .223 I’ve set aside so far this years represents a cost of about $300.00.
My supply of pistol and rifle magazines is pretty complete, but having added a new firearm to my armory earlier this year (Sig Sauer P320 Compact) I needed to get a few more magazines for it. So I ordered three more Sig Sauer P320 magazines when some came up for sale unexpectedly, which I was quite happy about. With that, I’ve got all the magazines I need for all me firearms that use them.
My total spend so far in 2016 to build my reserves of ammo and magazines was about $1400.00. I’m hoping to spend no more than about $1000.00 for some more Blazer Brass 9mm and Wolf Gold .223. Then I’ll decide if I want to add more, but the thinking now is that should meet my reserve needs.
Things have gone more or less according to plan so far this year, but there is a looming problem which could derail things – the November Presidential election. It’s normal to see a bit of instability in the firearms industry supply chain close to an election, but I think this one would be worse than normal. For one, the industry (particularly ammo) is still trying to regain its collective footing since Sandy Hook. Things are better now than they have been in three and a half years, but we’re not quite yet back to “normal” or how things were before December 2012. So given that the industry isn’t quite back to full strength, the “normal” election instability in supply could be more pronounced. The presumptive Democratic party nominee Hilary Clinton has made no bones about making life difficult for the gun industry and gun owners – she’ll likely be preaching that message loudly and frequently all the way up to November. This will make gun owners in America nervous, and the likely effect will be for them to run out and buy some guns, magazines, and ammo while the getting is good. The closer the polling numbers between her and the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump are leading up to November, the more “panic buying” will take place. Polls today are pointing to it being a close race between these two candidates that no one particularly wants. What an absolutely horrible election year this has been…but I digress. I’m guesstimating that I have until about the beginning of August until panic buying starts and its effects are felt in the market. That means that the current level of availability of ammo could end at that time.
HOW LONG COULD THE NEXT SUPPLY DISRUPTION LAST?
Good question! Much will of course depend on who actually wins the election, but let’s optimistically assume Hillary Clinton doesn’t win. If that’s the case, the panic buying should stop in November. I think it could start about three months before the election, and hopefully not last longer than three months after the election, for a total disruption of about six months.
CAN I MAKE IT SIX MONTHS WITHOUT BUYING ANY AMMO?
If I’m right, and we’re looking at supply difficulties in buying reasonably priced ammo for an entire six months, could I make it? I should have 4000 rounds of surplus 9mm, and 2000 rounds of .223 by that point. The short answer is, yes – I could make this supply of surplus ammunition work for six months – primarily by reducing the amount of these calibers I shoot, and increasing the amount of .22LR I shoot. Of course, I don’t believe that there will be “zero” ammo to buy during this disruption period. Even after Sandy Hook, 9mm and .223 was available. You just had to look long and hard to find it at a reasonable price. I suspect it will be the same during the election disruption. I might have to buy East European brass cased 9mm (that’s dirty as all get out) or I might even have to buy some reloaded ammunition, but I’ll be fine for six months. If Hilary Clinton wins in November? It’s a worst-case-scenario which I can’t even begin to fathom.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.