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The short supply of .22 caliber ammo might finally be ending

Scattering of small caliber cartridges on a wooden background. Other cartridges cartridges lies in capsules up. The picture from the top point.

I’m happy to report that I got lucky – no, not that kind of “lucky.”

Last week I stopped by the local WalMart to do some grocery shopping with my wife. My usual practice is to swing by the sporting goods section, as I do with Dicks, Cabela’s and other stores, to ask if they have any .22 long rifle ammunition. I am usually greeted with, “We haven’t had any in for weeks.” However, much to my surprise, this time the clerk said, “Yes, we got in a shipment yesterday.”

They had a dwindling supply of Winchester 333 hollow-point LR ammo. Since I haven’t found any fairly-priced .22 long rifle ammo in over two years, I jumped at the opportunity and purchased the limit of three boxes (999 rounds) for $17.37 a box. After my purchase, only two 333-round boxes remained on their shelves.

I mentioned “fairly-priced” because some retailers have taken advantage of the shortage and jacked up their prices so that only the well-to-do could buy ammo. This might be capitalism in action, but my hat is off to WalMart for keeping their price fair and disregarding the supply or demand.

As most of you know, it is easy to burn through several hundred rounds of .22 caliber ammo in short order when plinking or target-shooting. My supply had been so low that I didn’t want to risk running dry while poking holes in tin cans. Now I have a little breathing room.

Questions persist about what actually caused the .22 ammo shortage, but many credit President Obama for being the best gun and ammo sales person that ever existed. Manufacturers, such as Federal and Winchester insist that they are producing millions of rounds per day and that this is a “consumer-driven” shortage. Hunters and shooters are hoarding the ammo as quickly as it can be produced.

“Winchester is producing as much rimfire ammo as possible on a daily basis in an attempt to keep up with the high demand and get more ammo on the shelves,” a company representative shared with me.

A contact recently stopped by Cabela’s and found CCI and Federal long rifle ammo on the shelves. He also noted that Cabela’s had raised their purchase limit to 1,200 rounds, when it had previously been much lower. These are signs that the shortage is ending.

Certainly gone are the days of my youth when of bricks of .22 long rifle ammo cost $4.99 or even $4.49 a box of 500 rounds. But then again, gas isn’t 33 cents a gallon anymore, either.  It is just nice to see .22 ammo available once again.

This article was written by Mark Nale and originally appeared on