What the Hell Happened to 22 Long Rifle?

admin Firearms, Survival Supplies, Uncategorized 2 Comments

I recently had the pleasure of having lunch with an employee of the largest ammo manufacturer in the country. I asked him what the deal is with 22LR accusing him of not making it as much. He told me that is not the case, not even close. We talked about 22 LR in general and why it is still so hard to get – here is what was discussed.

I learned a few things about the manufacturing and why it is harder and more costly to load than centerfire ammo (in relation to the retail cost). Unlike centerfire loading the priming solution needs to be added to the case wet. Whereas in centerfire ammo the primer is a cap that is pressed into the case. After the priming solution is added to the 22 case the cases need to pass through a drying machine before the powder can be added and the bullet loaded into the case. This is an additional step and it takes longer to load each round. The other difference with the 22 LR loading equipment is that it takes up more space than the centerfire loading equipment and can only be used to load 22LR. Machines used for Centerfire cartridges are generally multi-use and can be reconfigured to load various pistol calibers.

As far as why it’s still difficult to get – there are several reasons.

  • #1. There are more 22 rifles in different styles than ever before. In the past 22 rifles were primary bolt, single shot or a semi with 10 or 20 round mags. Now everyone is making an AR-15 style gun in 22Lr and you can easily shoot 1000 rounds in an afternoon.
  • #2. New shooters generally start with 22LR , and rightfully so. We have seen more new shooters in the last 3 years than ever before.
  • #3. You can’t reload 22LR or Rimfire cartridges at home so once you shoot them you have to buy more.
  • #4. Hording – with the recent scarcity of this ammo everyone is stocking up.
  • #5. Preppers – yes people like you (you can admit it) recognize that this is a great prepper round. Extremely versatile, light weight so you can carry a lot, inexpensive and great for hunting small game for food.
  • #6. Recreational shooting – with the cost of ammo more shooters are shooting the relatively cheaper 22LR more than they have in the past simply to save money.

If everyone would just stop panicking and hording the ammo 22LR manufacturers would start to catch up. My advice is spread the word to slow down and not panic. This may help it show up more on the shelves of your favorite gun stores. But if you fall under reason #5 listed above – do not take that advice and get out there and buy all you can. Once you get 10,000 + rounds you can slow down.

Be safe!

Comments 2

  1. as the last dealer to have .22 ammo in Canada I have a few comments:

    I have been watching the ammo shortage continue to get worse, particularly with .22 rimfire ammunition and certain centrefire cartridges over the last three years.

    In researching the various manufacturers of ammunition, I am certain that they are lying…. that the “conspiracy theorists” are actually correct…. that it is NOT the shooter / hoarder in the main who has created the shortage, it is in fact the US government with their outstanding purchase orders for unusually large amounts of ammunition.
    Historically, I saw shortages every five years or so, always linked to large US government purchase orders, usually they last for six months, and that is the end of it…. if the reloaders panic, then it might last for a year…. and it usually only involves powder and primers NOT ammunition.

    The amount of ammo currently on order by various departments of the US government, exceeds the TOTAL amount of ammo expended in the first Iraq war, the second Iraq war, fourteen years in Afghanistan, and all the other 37 wars US forces have been involved in whether clandestine or not in the last twenty years. So they are planning for SOMETHING BIG.


    CCI is a quality maker of .22 rimfire ammunition. According to their website, they are proudly producing four million rounds a day…. that’s sixteen pallets of fifty cases each [5000 rounds in a case].

    That sounds good, but it really isn’t. I am one small shop with about a million dollars in annual sales. I sold, before the shortage, about 100 cases of CCI .22 rimfire ammunition per year, not to mention twice that amount of federal, about the same amount in total of all the other brands put together.

    so…. I would happily take a pallet of fifty cases right now, but it would (in normal times) only last for six months. Right now of course it would be gone in a week.

    So I’m one small shop, in a town of 30,000 people with three other shops two of which are much bigger than mine and one of which is smaller…..

    ….there are 360 million people in the US and Canada…. which means there should be 48,000 gun shops [who are all in worse shape than me for ammo because I saw this coming three years ago and stocked up while I still could}

    SO! If each shop takes only one pallet, that’s 48,000 pallets…. they produce 16 a day…. that means it would take 3000 days to produce those 48,000… which is more than eight years….

    WHICH MEANS…. if all eight years of production were available now, each shop would have to make one pallet last for eight years before their name would come up to get another one!

    OR if you consider that the pallet would only last for six months in normal times, the eight year demand would be sixteen times eight which means they are in reality, MORE THAN A HUNDRED YEARS BEHIND.

    Last year, I was able to restock by purchasing ammunition from wholesalers who were further away, (thus higher cost for shipping); located in economically depressed areas, and who historically had unacceptably high prices. This year even they have nothing.

    THERE IS NOTHING in the pipeline.

    IF THERE IS a light at the end of the tunnel, it seems to be getting further away rather than closer.

    ALL of my wholesalers said “2015 will be better”…. in actuality, it is MUCH MUCH WORSE.

    Couple that with the fact that the US government has placed purchase orders for BILLIONS of rounds of ammunition, enough ammo for more than twenty years of military operations…

    …expect the price to go up…. a LOT!

    Karle H. Granlund
    Granlund Firearms

    1. Post

      Thank you for you comment and everything you say makes far too much sense.
      It is scary to think about what the future will bring.
      I work full time in the firearms industry and visit the larger stores regularly and I am not seeing the ammo on the shelves.
      Reloading components are not much better. The next year leading up the election should also be interesting.

      Be safe

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