I went to one of my local gun shops earlier today to pick up my Beretta 92 Compact* and saw this lovely sight on the counter.
Yes, they were actually stocking .22 LR from three different manufacturers (Federal, Remington, and Aguila) at the same time.
There were 2,600 rounds of Federal Automatch.
There were 2,500 rounds of Remington Thumderbolt.
And last but certainly not least, there were 1,000 rounds of Aguila Super Extra.
The shop confirmed what I’ve been hearing from other retailers.
.22LR ammo has indeed gone from the status of being unattainable at any price, to match-grade ammo being attainable, to slowly starting to show back up in consumer-grade loadings, if at a higher cost than before the madness started several years ago.
Ammunition manufacturers are simply having a hard time meeting demand for .22LR and some other calibers of ammunition due to the huge influx of new shooters in recent years who are enthusiastically demanding, “more ammo!”
I strongly suspect that many ammunition manufacturers took the very reasonable position that there would be a high demand rush for ammunition after Sandy Hook, but that once the rush was over, the market would drop down to previous levels. They didn’t seem to count on the number of new gun owners raising the total number of consumers and resetting to a new and higher baseline.
When they became cognizant of the “new normal” they began expanding, but the entire industry is playing catch-up, from raw material suppliers to finished ammunition manufacturers. These things take time, but it appears that the rimfire market is slowly rising to meet demand.
* In case you were wondering I was having the gunsmith install the Wilson Combat “D” hammer spring and a low-profile single-side safety on the Beretta 92 Compact I won as the top shotgun shooter at the Beretta Tactical Summit earlier this year. It has become my carry gun, and my gun of choice for my upcoming trip to Gunsite Academy for their intense, 5-day, 1,300 round 350 Intermediate Pistol course.