Guns and Gear

Ammo maker: Ammo shortage fueled by ‘rumors and conjecture’

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Hornady, a major U.S. ammunition manufacturer, is doing everything it can to meet the high demand for bullets that it says has been “all fueled by rumors and conjecture” and has put pressure on gun stores across the country.

“The current political climate has caused extremely high demand on all shooting industry products, including ours,” according to Hornady. “Empty retail shelves, long backorders, and exaggerated price increases on online auction sites – all fueled by rumors and conjecture – have amplified concerns about the availability of ammunition and firearms-related items.”

Ammunition manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the run on ammunition that began in the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election and the deadly shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead.

“Every time there’s a comment about some sort of gun control… that triggers a negative response among firearms owners, because they see it as a limiting factor,” Paul Erhardt, an editor for the Shooting Wire, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The demand breeds demand in a lot of ways,” Erhardt said, adding that the uncertainty over supply caused by the media and political conditions has firearms owners rushing to purchase what ammo is available.

“Remington is in a large backorder position at this time,” said Remington spokeswoman Jessica Kallam. “We are at full capacity with a majority of categories of ammunition.  We are continuing to look at how to increase capacity and supplying ammo products to the various channels of distribution/sales that we support.”

The ammunition shortage has gun store owners shocked at the persistent lack of bullets in their stores.

“We absolutely are in uncharted territory,” said Larry Hyatt, whose family owns Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C.. “Our store is 53 years old, and we have never seen anything like this. We have had some spot shortages and busy gun times in the past. This is a level (of demand) never before seen.”

According to Guns and Ammo, ammo makers have been running near capacity for at least 10 years, and had trouble keeping up with the country’s demand for bullets before consumers went into “panic-buying mode.”

“We have a little bit of the hunting calibers on hand, like .270, but everything else is gone. It’s only skipping once on its way out the door,” Jeff Hoffman, president of Black Hills Ammunition, told Guns and Ammo.

“We’ve been steadily growing our production for a long time, especially the last five years. We’ve added presses, lathes, CNC equipment, people and space,” said Hornady on their website. “Many popular items are produced 24 hours a day. Several hundred Hornady employees work overtime every week to produce as much as safely possible.”

“We are producing as much as we can; much more than last year, which was a lot more than the year before, etc’,” the company added. “No one wants to ship more during this time than we do.”

Update: “The current market and environment is causing stronger than usual demand for products in our industry,” ATK Sporting said in an emailed statement. “The current increase in demand is attributed to the civilian market. Our facilities operate 24-hours a day. We are continually making process improvements to increase our efficiency and investing in capital and personnel where we have sustained demand. We are bringing additional capacity online again this year.”

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