Ammo Availability – It Is Pretty Depressing

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Hoarding 22LR Ammo
Hoarding 22LR Ammo
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Wisconsin –-(  For over five years I have been telling readers in my column to buy ammunition.

It started before the 2007 election when ammo prices were expected to increase 30% and that price increase had nothing to do with politics.

Then of course Obama was elected and the run on guns and ammo buying was nothing like the firearms industry had ever seen before.

By 2009 the sales of firearms and ammo sort of got back to normal. There was no real attempt to ban AR-15 / Black Rifles during the first term of Obama. By late 2011 and early 2012 the prices on ammo and some firearms were great, but I kept writing that now was the time to stock up on ammo. I did just that prior to the 2012 election.

Some of the harder to find calibers I shoot were the first ones I ordered. had a really good sale on 12ga buck shot prior to election night, $99 for a 250 round case of 12ga 00 buck. Within a couple of months of the election the same case of buck shot was selling for $299. As of today they do not even have, that overpriced 12ga ammo in stock.

Seconds after it was announced that Obama had won, the Colonel got a text from our daughter saying “how is dad doing–tell him he is authorized to spend $200 of my inheritance on ammo?” I was on my way to my computer as the text arrived. I did in fact spend her yet-to-be-inherited $200 on two cases of 12ga 00 buck shot.

For years I have been prodding my friends both civilian and old military to buy more ammo. People do not like to spend money on stuff they don’t believe they need. Now they will buy a flat screen TV for every room in the house but not extra ammo. Most of my retired military friends are officers. They are not rich, but they do have a monthly pay check coming in. I continually advised them to buy small purchases of ammo.

My suggestion was every time you go into Wal-Mart spend a $20 bill on ammo. Mix up your selection of caliber or gauge but just buy some ammo. After the November 2012 elections I started calling my contacts and very vigorously telling them to buy the darn ammo now and if they needed another firearm get it now also. Even college educated military officers with advanced degrees and 20-30 years of service traveling and protecting this country from harm, fail to get “it” about their own personal defense level.

I got weekly phone calls and e-mails from friends asking me where to find ammo and magazines for their firearms. As the ammo got harder to find and went up in price I still counseled–buy the damned ammo.

There is a saying in Texas “Big Hat – No Cattle.” This is in reference to a person you might come in contact with who puts on the airs of wealth, but only looks and talks the part. There is no cash to back up their mouth. A gun shop owner in San Antonio I have known for 35 years has had customers who own both a big hat and lots of cattle, offer to write a check for all the ammo in my friend’s store. Out of loyalty to his customer base he said no and still has a small amount of ammo you can buy at the rate of one box a day, but don’t ask for 22lr ammo.

I wrote an article that projected a 50 round box of 22lr ammo selling for $200 a box in time of real crisis. It is probably the most responded to column I have ever written. Since that article I get constant e-mails asking me where to buy 22lr ammo. ( Editors Note: as of the publish date Brownells had 22LR in stock at fair prices )

22lr has become the most hoarded ammo in the country. When it reached $5, for a box of 50 rounds people refused to buy it. You can now order a brick of 500 count 22lr from for $149 a brick. Based on current research this is the only on-line 22lr I could find that was really in stock and ready to be shipped for those who have big hats and lots of cattle.

In the beginning it was sort of an adventure calling friends comparing notes on where you could find ammo. It is not an adventure anymore, it is just depressing. In all truth, when and if the availability and price come back to “normal” I suggest you just keep hoarding.

Even if you only have a little hat and a little bit of money—buy the damned ammo. And trust no one.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret. , is a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. Now retired, these days he enjoys camping, traveling, volunteering with the Girl Scouts and writing.