Update On Current and Future Reloading Component and Powder Availabili
This off Frugal's Forums posted by Rooster
Got some ammo/reloading info worth a note:
I have been recently frustrated by the lack of components, powders, etc., as well as the massive and frequent price increases of factory ammo.
Made a call yesterday to two people. One, a close friend of mine from waaaaay back in my high school days who is now a big-wig with Ellet Brothers. Mash Here for info on Ellet Brothers for those who are unaware of who they are.
Anyway, after a long talk with him yesterday, he gave me a number to another large distrubution center (and a personal friend of his that used to work for him) out in Utah that provides ammo/reloading components to a place/store/chain I used to frequent quite a bit, (but rarely do anylonger because of their empty shelves.). Here is the gist of those conversations: (I combined the two where the same points were made by both.)
1) With the closing of the Lake City facility ... private ammo factories have turned their attention to meeting the needs of the military contracts. We are now an afterthought to those manufacturers.
2) Because of the law of supply and demand, whether there is an actual shortage of brass/bullets or not, the lack of supply means a higher demand and subsequent higher prices.
3) The only thing that will change #s 1 & 2 above is for the war to come to an end.
4) Both distributors used to order, and receive, various powders by the pallet load ... now they are receiving them by the box load - if they are lucky. And the resupply is coming few and far between.
5) Smaller mom and pop shops will have a better variety than the large places because they are actually getting small orders, one or two small boxes at a time, faster than the large distrubution centers are getting them. "The larger the chain of stores, the more difficult to resupply because of logisitcs and inability to meet the large order structure ..."
6) Primers are the hardest thing to get right now for everyone. Primers are really becoming in short supply and it looks like it is only going to get worse for the next few months if not the remainder of the year.
7) Credit has become a major issue. Evidently, several of the large chain stores operate on massive lines of credit with the bullet, primer, powder people. Because of the current state of the economy, those credit lines are being cut by large amounts, even to those who have long and excellent credit records with the suppliers/manufacturers. Here is an example I was given. "One chain has a twelve million dollar line of credit with Federal. Federal recently cut their line of credit to six million. The problem is that they already had an outstanding balance of eight million on the books. So, before they can order anything else using their line of credit, they must first pay-down their current outstanding balance below the six million limit ... but they have no stock in their ammo/reloading line to sell with which to use the proceeds to pay-down the over-balance." It is a Catch-22 for many of the large chains and it doesn't look good in terms of immediate relief where restocking the shelves are concerned. This is a classic recession/depression economy model.
8) Back to the Lake City thing. Now that Remington, Winchester-Olin, Federal-ATK, Black Hills, HSM, IMI, SNC-Tech, PMC, etc., are producing all the required military supply, there has been a change in marketing strategy by all three of the U.S. majors along the following lines: A) Their shotgun ammo divisions are unaffected by the military crunch, but they are focusing on more specialized shell types/loads. B) Their non-military (sic: less-than-popular) rifle and handgun lines are stalemating, so they too are focusing on more specialized products, IE: high-end, high cost, low production numbers ammo. C) Their common rifle, pistol caliber divisions are directing all their attention to fullfilling their military contracts, with very short, brief runs directed at the civilian market geared towards personal defense and high performance ammo. Your low-cost target ammo is soon going to become rare, very expensive, if not a thing of the past. (Note: PMC has a new factory being built that will concentrate soley on the production of civilian marketable ammo. For the time being most of their efforts are going to manufacturing 50 Cal ammo for the military.)
9) Powder and primer manufacturers are having to turn almost ALL of their attention to meeting the needs and demands of the big factories supplying the military. There is very little time to run batches for packing and distribution to the civilian reloading market. As a matter of fact, while demand is at a record high for components, supply to the civilian market and the chain stores and mom and pop stores that keeps us supplied ... is at a six year low. In other words, there are less components and common powders for us (we lowly civilians) to buy now, than there was in 2002, even though demand has more than quadrupled. The reason for the high demand in reloading components by the civilian market? Because everyone thought that with the ammo crunch that occured after 9/11, many shooters thought that learning to reload would be the way to go. Press and die manufacturers realized an immediate boon to their industry, but it also skyrocketed the demand for components and subsequently, when combined with the Lake City closing, the war in Iraq and the possibility of another large scale effort in Afghanistan and/or even Pakistan ... we find ourselves in yet another Catch-22 where every-which-way you look, something is going wrong or something is happening that is causing supplies to become even less and less available to civilian markets. (Note: Suppliers realized a HUGE jump in demand nationwide, following the Katrina fiasco - especially in military calibers. This also greatly increased demand on surplus WARSAW Pact import ammo. It was especially emphasized that, while 9/11 and the War on Terror started things turning towards a shortage, both felt that Rita and Katrina were the straws that broke the camel's proverbial back.)
10) Oil Prices. Yep, transportation, packing, shipping, and even chemicals required to produce powder and primers, have all been adversely affected by oil prices ... and it continues to get worse as you already know. What you may not have realized however, is that for the major manufacturers, they make far less, their profits are cut drastically, when they sell a pound, or eight pound keg of powder, verses when they sell several thousand tons of powder to the major manufacturers. It's not-so-much the cost of the powder itself, but in the packaging and distribution that cuts into their profits. It is packaged in petroleum based products and it takes gas to get it there ... not counting the chemicals required to produce it of course.
11) The old surplus military stuff is gone. Stockpiles are gone. What we are seeing now is the need to resupply for current missions, plus the need to rebuild depleted stockpiles back to acceptable levels ... a two-fold problem and one that is not going to go-away anytime soon.
12) We are still reeling from the effects of the Clinton Administration's "de-militarizing" of past surplus stockpiles. As most of you know, Clinton, in conjuction with the United Nations, ordered all surplus ammo to be demilitarized before it could be sold-off. What this required was that bullets be pulled, and powders, bullets, etc, replaced with civilian acceptable loads. The sheer pressure this placed on many companies attempting to resell was tremendous and unnecessary.
13) Both in the production of new factory ammo and in the demilling process involved with making surplus ammo acceptable for the civilian market - major manufacturers have run into serious logitical problems where old machinary and the retooling necessary to switch from caliber to caliber has bitten them in the backside. While this sounds minor, consider the down-time and man-hours necessary to switch from one caliber to the next ... and why it has become somewhat unfeasable to do so from a profit standpoint in many cases.
Anyway, there is more to all of this I suppose but the bottom line is that we are in the center of a wicked cycle that keeps on churning and seems to be turning faster and faster against us with everything that happens ... and, the sad part is, that there is no foreseeable relief coming our way in the near future. To the contrary, things are only going to get worse in terms of our supply.
One thing one of the retail guys told me recently, and this stuck in my mind. I paraphrase here, "When we do finally get a few boxes of primers or a few pounds of powder, some guy will come in with a basket and rake everything off the shelf ten minutes after we put it up there. Then it is another month before we have any again. Two years ago we did not have enough shelf space for all of our reloading products ... now we do not have enough product for our selves. They are bare for long periods of time ..."
Something to think about.
What You Think About You Do ... What You Do You Become.
The term "Parabellum" is ancient Roman Latin in origin and from the motto:
"Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum" Translated: 'If You Want Peace, Prepare For War.'
Last edited by Rooster : Today at 07:18 AM.
For any who have doubts about this information, PLEASE Call, E-mail, Visit or otherwise communicate with producers, wholesalers, distributers, and retailers to verify / confirm the accuracy of the information above.
Please POST your findings .
Thank you in advance.
We are defiantly on the wrong side of the curve, on this. Not going to be cheap any more but it still available if you are persistent.
Last edited by 230gr; 03-18-2008 at 09:38 PM..
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I have been reloading for years and never shot lead much because of fear of leading. Well, okay it takes alittle more time to clean my pistols but hell alot cheaper. I'm saving the good stuff for the end times. Lead is the way to go. Plus recycle the brass that you can't use. I bet I pick-up about $200.00 A YEAR that non reloaders leave on the ground. I think it is fun to go to the range to see what I find. Its worth it to me.
This is a bleak forecast.
I guess the best thing to do is just suck it up and get what you can, while you can.
Not just because of the present shortfalls, but of the likely outcomes of the next election cycle...Figure them to somehow mess w/reloaders.
As to shooting lead, I did for years, but hated it. Don't much anymore.
What helped is that I fire lapped all my pistol and revolvers.
The kit I have is NECO (no link) and was actually mde for BR rifles, but works fine on the hanguns.
There are others out there (Tubbs?).
Does not eliminate the problem completly, but helps..Also increased accuracy on some of them, it seemed. You may have to adjust your charge weight.
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