Why ammunition shortages are worsening across the country
Ammunition should be scarce for the start of deer season again this year. Shortages may be even worse than those experienced in fall 2020. Local news across the country are reporting empty shelves, high demands and hunters not even sure if they will bother to go to the woods. .
“Over 100 calls a day for ammunition,” Greg Knutson of Andrus Outdoors in Bismarck, North Dakota, says KFYR. He said he had received calls from as far away as Fargo and Montana.
“It’s never been so bad before,” said Knutson, who has been in business for 19 years. “This year has been a real struggle.
Business has slumped due to the ammunition shortage, but her family store has other sporting goods, which has kept her afloat. Other businesses weren’t so lucky, and empty shelves of ammunition resulted in some stores closing.
The story is similar in Superior, Wisconsin, where Pat Kukulla, owner of Superior Shooting Supplies, says KBJR6, “In all these years that we’ve been here, we’ve never seen anything as bad as this.”
Supply chain issues
Customers across the country often wait for the ammunition to arrive, which means it sells out within minutes. The increase in gun sales has created additional demand, but several other factors come into play.
The increased production, which is happening, will not solve the problem as easily either.
Ammunition supplies are now affected by a nationwide supply chain crisis. The goods just can’t be moved fast enough, in part because there just aren’t enough truckers. CNN reported last week that the United States is short of around eighty thousand truck drivers, a record and a thirty percent increase since before the pandemic according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Port delays also make matters worse.
Beyond that, the availability of materials used in production created problems. Chris Metz, CEO of Vista Outdoors, Inc., which now operates four munitions factories in the United States, says Axios This month the company has to compete with the auto industry and even the US currency for copper like never before. It’s also costing Vista Outdoors more, which is why the price of ammo has skyrocketed.
Common metal woes
Copper prices have jumped this year. The base metal is in high demand as it is used in many green energy projects such as electric cars, but also for power grids that connect wind, solar and hydraulic energy sources.
Demand is so strong that in May of this year, commodities analysts at Goldman Sachs called copper “the new oil. “This drove up the price of the raw material. Before the 2008 financial crisis, it was common to see thieves stealing copper wires and pipes from houses while they were being built. This trend has returned.
“Copper has played an important role in the global economy for thousands of years,” said Jordan Smith by CNBC.com. “The Bronze Age? This happened because blacksmiths figured out how to forge copper with tin. Today, copper is used in electrical and heating equipment because its chemical properties make it a very useful conductor. It is used in car engines, household pipes, washing machines, all kinds of things that we use every day.
The good news is that copper is actually plentiful and is one of the most recyclable materials in the world. This explains why thieves can steal pipes from old houses and wiring from new construction sites. In fact, only about twelve percent of all copper in the world has been exploited throughout human history, and almost everything remains in circulation. As CNBC.com noted, “Some of the copper in circulation right now could have been jewelry or armor in ancient times in ancient Egypt.”
The long history of copper will not help hunters of the present, or perhaps even the future. The great shortage of ammunition which started last fall could run into 2022 and beyond. The best advice for hunters is to stock up on supplies as they find them.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to over four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He writes regularly on military small arms and is the author of several books on military hairstyles, including A gallery of military hairstyles, which is available on Amazon.com.