Dealing with the Guns and Ammo shortage

Many preppers were speculating, in the latter months of 2012, that there might be a run on guns or ammunition. The basis for this cautious pessimism was the idea that, in a second term, President Obama might seek strict gun control legislation. They were right, in some respects. We are currently facing a shortage of guns and ammo. Gun store shelves are empty, especially of AR type weapons. Ammo shelves are sparse, and Walmart has been limiting quantities to 3 boxes of ammo per person per day. But no one seems to have anticipated that the legislation would be spurred by a shooting tragedy and by an attempt to institute legislation that is more restrictive than the Clinton-era AR gun law.

If you prudently stocked up on guns and ammo in advance of the shortage, in order to be well-prepared, you are a few steps ahead of many other persons. But if you did not stock up, what can be done at this point in time? I have a few suggestions, but I’d also like to hear from readers on this topic.

Over at the Field and Stream Gun Nut blog, Phil Bourjaily tells the story of a guy who goes into a gun shop looking for 5.56 ammo — but they are sold out. So he buys a box of .416 Rigby instead.

“Do you have a .416 Rigby rifle?” asked the clerk.

“Nope,” said the man, reaching for his wallet. “I’ll take it anyway.”

True story? Maybe not, but it reflects the current attitude among some buyers.

So my first suggestion is not to get caught up in the buying frenzy. Make a careful decision as to which make and model of gun best suits your purposes. If it is home defense, consider getting a shotgun. (According to Bourjaily, shotgun are not selling out like most other guns.) But if you looking for an AR or another type of gun that is selling out quickly, I suggest choosing the right model for your needs, putting it on order, and waiting with patience.

If you feel that the wait will be too long, you might consider getting a bolt action rifle. Bolt actions are still widely available, and can be suitable for hunting and survival purposes. And as a home defense gun, a bolt action can be used in a pinch.

Commentators differ as to whether a strict gun control law can be passed at the federal level. My take is that something will pass, sooner or not-much-later. But several State legislatures are rushing through poorly written bills. That is a serious concern, although it does depend on where you live. You could try to buy a gun now and hope it is grandfathered in. But not all proposed legislation has a grandfather clause. The latest New York State law, as I understand it, requires owners of magazines holding more than 7 rounds to get rid of the mag within a year. (Please note that I am not a lawyer or legal expert. See this disclaimer.)

You might want to have at least one or two guns that are almost certain to avoid new gun control restrictions: a revolver, or a shotgun holding 5 rounds or less, or a bolt action rifle, or perhaps a lever-action rifle (holding 10 or fewer rounds). These guns, in my opinion, are the safest picks as they are least likely to be made illegal. A .22 LR with a tubular magazine (such as the Marlin Model 60) might also be a safe bet.

As for ammo, I would suggest not settling for less effective types of ammo, like full metal jacket pistol ammo. If you look around online, or put in an order at a local gun store, or check Walmart frequently, you should be able to get enough hollow point self-defense ammo to be well-prepared. I know a lot of preppers stock up on ammo, with hundreds or thousands of rounds. But most self-defense shootings require relatively few shots. A few boxes should suffice, even if you feel that more would be better.

How are you dealing with the shortage? Did you stock up beforehand, or are you scrambling?

– Thoreau

20 Responses to Dealing with the Guns and Ammo shortage

  1. The Mrs. and I visited a Cabellas a number of weeks ago and their ammunition shelves were amazingly low or empty (except for shotgun). We couldn’t believe it… Fortunately they had what we were looking for (so we bought plenty extra). It is amazing how the upcoming impending legislation has only poured millions more guns into the hands of Patriots. Lets keep up the pressure with writing, emailing, calling our State and Federal legislatures (even if you think it won’t do any good)…

  2. I completely agree with your comment about getting on a waiting list. You might be waiting for a while, but at least you have a place in line. I wish I had jumped in line several weeks ago instead of waiting so long.

    Walmart has provided the best bets for me, as well as some of the smaller pawn shops. Cabelas does have a variety of the hunting calibers, but hasn’t helped much with pistol or AR variant ammo.

  3. I have been buying and putting away guns and ammo of all calibers for years and have more than I will ever shoot. I still wanted to buy a Windham Weaponry AR-15 and was able to purchase that this past Friday by arriving at my local Cabela’s and standing in line before the store opened (about 30 mins). Just before opening an employee came out and passed out numbers to those in line to help avoid a rush. I was second in line and was able to purchase my rifle for $939.00 + tax, and not the stupid inflated prices some people are paying. In a year from now there will be a HUGE glut of black rifles for sale…!

  4. Sold my M1A socom at a good price, and am thinking about selling one of my ARs to spread out my exposure. Much like any investment, all eggs not in one basket.

  5. We had been considering reloading before the run on ammo started. Any thoughts on the practicality of investing in a system with legislation coming down the pike? Anyone who reloads struggling to get supplies?

  6. I have just a few guns and bullets…that is my story and I am sticking to it!..:-)

    I am at the point of not caring what laws are passed, I will not obey them when it comes to my 2nd amendment rights, rights that are not conferred upon me by any Government – be it Local, State or Federal, but are my rights as free person. When they come I will stand up and at the end of the day I will be laying dead in the mud but I will not be the only one that is horizontal. Maybe if enough of us stop worrying about their 401k and who is going to win the Superbowl and become more concerned about our children’s freedom or slavery 20 years from now, maybe we could make a difference. I have to wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think if he saw us now…with so much talk about hiding and burying our guns and ammo so they are not confiscated…if it is time to bury them it is time to use them.
    But back to the topic…I ordered an AR15 type firearm 6 weeks ago knowing that the lead time would be at least 12 weeks – special caliper, not a .223. Depending what is passed into law I may never get the firearm. That fact has not stopped me from acquiring a substantial supply of bullets, powder, brass, primers and reloading dies in the last 6 weeks for the new firearm if it does make it. I am convinced that while “we” may not see a new “AWB” this time around..we are maybe 2 or 3 massacres away from a knock on the door and someone demanding all of our firearms. That will be my Rubicon.

    NOTE to Beth. You can get started into reloading using a Lee Loaded…it is about the size of 2 packs of cigarettes and contains the tools you need to reload one specific caliper; .357, 9mm etc. It comes with a load data card listing possible bullet/powder combinations for the caliper you are loading. The Lee Load costs about $30…you will of course still need powder, primers, bullets and brass. Brass can be reloaded many times. I have one for every caliper cartridge I have even though I also have a full size reloading press. I have loaded many hundreds of rounds of ammo using a LL.

    • Some companies are shipping the AR lower asap, and then shipping the upper later, in case an anti-AR law is passed. The lower is the firearm, and so the grandfather clause (if any) would apply.

  7. I’m on a waiting list at Model1sales for an AR upper. I have the lower and some ammo, but I’d have to throw them at the bad guys right now. I purchased on 12/18 and other than a confirmation e-mail, they haven’t replied to any of my e-mails asking about an estimate of when it might ship. I did pick up a pump 12ga on the cheap and some ammo for it. If push comes to shove (heck of a turn of phrase for what it implies, eh?), that will be better than a simple pistol.

  8. I stocked up on 22lr and 380. I wish I had bought more. I’ve been calling the local store to see when there trucks run and call several times on that day to see what they may have gotten in. Though I feel I have a decent supply it has stopped me from shooting for fun which is not fun. Just be patient and keep looking is all I can do. Thanks good info.

  9. .. Ive had weapons all my life and plan to continue to do so! I haven’t purchased a box of “ammo” since 1983. I’ve reloaded everything I shoot. I did start stocking up on supplies but they are getting harder and harder for the common calibers. i.e. .223, .308, .429(44mag) and .451(45acp) . and I chuckle as I say this, but the long range stuff went first ! Now, that said, I have read several places the the Gov. ordered +/- 1.6Billion rounds …….. and that was confirmed (not the total number, but very high order count) in a phone conversation with my favorite bullet mfgr. It’s coming y’all and it’s time to stand up again as we did in the first Revolution !

  10. When olameo was elected is when I started. Ask yourself this: If we were right about the guns and ammo, what if we’re right about food? Got it? Now, I sold all my weapons in a parking lot at a gun show…Got it?

  11. Rob said something “It’s coming y’all and it’s time to stand up again as we did in the first Revolution !” but he should have said in the first and the second just as we will in the Third American Revolution.

  12. I just bought a crossbow. Came with 4 lousy bolts. They cost $74 for 6. I also have a compound bow. So… I have a total of 16 arrows and two bows. This is getting expensive. Can’t find .22 ammo anywhere.

  13. Unfortunatly all my guns and ammo fell off my boat into the Chesapeake Bay

  14. Ammunition is going to be the Achilles heel of the firearms industry, and to a greater extent, those of us that have firearms. That AR15 makes a really lousy club. But that’s what you’ll have in just about one generation, if they constrict the sales or production of ammunition domestically. Fortunately, many folks saw this coming years ago and slowly stocked up on everything they’d need for their personal arsenals, including parts, reloading components, and loaded ammunition. The less fortunate, the folks that got caught (again) with low inventories of ammunition for weapons they already have, will probably be selling their weapons in the next ten to fifteen years, because there isn’t any ammunition to shoot them with. The Federal Government will open up more overseas markets to the US OEMs, and they will make even more profit, without ever selling a single round domestically again. The Law Enforcement community is behind this effort, as are a myriad of political action and special interest groups. It’s a farkin’ Greek Tragedy! And it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH SAVING LIVES. It has everything to do with control. If this comes to pass, we will have already lost our second revolution, and our last chance to maintain our freedom as we’ve known it for 200+ years.

    Buy up what you can. Whatever you need, find it and buy it. Because the time is coming, very soon, when everything will grind to a halt. Money and gold can buy you a lot of things, but lead is the only precious metal that actually increases in value as you give it away. Get your priorities straight!

  15. “As for ammo, I would suggest not settling for less effective types of ammo, like full metal jacket pistol ammo.”

    I’m not certain if you intended to mean FMJ is not worthy of buying because it’s less effective or not.

    I would say that FMJ ammo pokes a hole into 2 and 4 legged critters better than any other type of ammo. The problem comes with expansion, and wound channels.

    That being said, I advise the people in my circle to get either or at this point. JHP, FMJ, doesn’t matter as long as it’s the right caliber, and you don’t use steel cased ammo for U.S. made firearms, but that doesn’t apply to foreign made firearms.

    My .02 :)

  16. I lucked up at a recent gun show in our state capital. I’d put my name on waiting lists at Cabellas and Midway USA, but a family who were closing their gun store had my mags (xd .45 13 round) at pre-hysteria prices. Cabellas had 3 for $99. I got 5 for $141, tax included.

  17. I’m coping so far by conserving ammo and buying what little I come across that isn’t selling for it’s weight in gold. I intend to buy subcaliber (22LR) adapters for several of my guns (AR/SIG229 for sure) in order to train with reduced cost.

  18. Cope? I prepared to be able to target shoot, practice and carry concealed after the re-election.

    Entered the “crisis” with 2 bricks of Aguila, 1 brick of .22 CCI Velocitor’s, 1 brick of shorts, 2 value packs of LR for my .22LR for my 10/22 SAW (Squirrel Assault Weapon). 200lbs of shot and 3 cases of Rem STS for 12/20. 10 boxes of 00Buck in each gauge. 1,000rnd WWB ($37) .45ACP, 1,000rnd WWB ($32) .40S&W, 1,000rnd WWB ($don’t remember) 9mm, 500rnd .380 (don’t remember). 500 rnds 180gr Fed HST .40 S&W, 250 rnds 230gr .45ACP Fed HST.

    I did not stock up on 16 gauge for my grandfathers Model 12, good news is that its still everywhere as is the ammo for my 1960′s .243 Win 70.

    Overprepared? Never…hedging inflation and able to shoot when I want? Absolutely.

    I left out the 2,000 Lasercast, 16lbs of powder for each pistol?

  19. PS…just jokin…I don’t have any of that.

    I sold it all last weeken at a gun show or dropped it in the water and can’t find it….