Potential Effect of Ukrainian Revolution on Ammunition Supply

There has been a lot of speculation online about how the Ukrainian Revolution of 2014 will effect ammunition supply in the West. There is one large ammunition exporter in Ukrainian called Lugansk Cartridge Works (LCW). They manufacture 5.56mm, 5.45mm, 7.62x39mm, 7.62x54mm, 9x19mm and 9x18mm cartridges. Their rounds are made with steel-core FMJ bullets for military use and lead-core for consumer use.

Lugansk Cartridge Works headstamp on case found in Libya. Credit N.r. Jenzen-Jones of Ares Research.

Lugansk Cartridge Works headstamp on case found in Libya. Credit N.r. Jenzen-Jones of ARES.

They export cartridges under their own brand but, more importantly, have been known to manufacture ammunition on behalf of international brands. They are known, for example, to make ammunition for Wolf.

Lugansk Cartridge Works is in the city of Luhansk (formerly Voroshilovgrad. Also known as Lugansk). It is the provincial capital of Ukraine’s eastern most province, Luhansk Oblast. The main language is Russian and ethnic-Russians make up 39% of the population. The city of Luhansk is less than 12 miles from the Russian border.

Lugansk Cartridge Works, Luhansk, Ukraine

Lugansk Cartridge Works, Luhansk, Ukraine

Luhansk relative to Russia.

Luhansk relative to Russia.

A few days ago the Luhansk Regional Council asked for support from Russia. If Russia does mount a full scale invasion of Ukraine, Lugansk will one of the first cities they occupy. If they decide to annex Ukrainian territory, Lugansk is sure to be one of the regions they take. I expect the Lugansk Cartridge Works to already be occupied by Ukrainian law enforcement or military in anticipation of an invasion, rebellion or riots.

So what does this mean for you, a Western ammunition consumer?

Not a lot. Lugansk Cartridge Works is just one factory. The revolution, and any subsequent invasions or military actions, may put greater strain on Ukrainian and Russian manufacturers and suppliers, but I don’t expect we will notice any change in supply. If the Russian Bear crosses the border, there will not be a lot of shooting.

Now if Russia is hit with trade sanctions by the US and Europe it is possible Russian ammunition and arms exports would be banned. I don’t think these will be the top of the sanction list. 75% of US imports from Russian is energy, 16% is raw materials and 7% is chemical. Ammunition is just a small part of the remaining 4%. It is far more likely that instead of trade sanctions Russian membership will be suspended from international organizations and that travel or investment bans will be placed on Russian officials and businessmen. These are the kind of soft sanctions that politicians use when they don’t want to provoke an all out trade war.

Thanks to  N.r. Jenzen-Jones of ARES for information used in this post.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Lance

    Less of a threat of losing it to Russia than do good Democrat banning Russian imports or ammo that means no AK ammo for you. Face it you can still get Romanian and Bulgarian ammo for now.

    • iksnilol

      Why no AK ammo? There are domestic producers.

      • Troy Hoeflich Jr.

        If you want to pay $1/ round. Part the allure of an AK/ SKS is how damn cheap the steel case ammunition is, and the “commie” guns seem to be the only ones that will eat it without a complaint.

  • cdm

    i’m more worried about the ammo that comes out of russia, our president promised sanctions on trade and i’m sure ammo is at the top of his list.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • Hank

      Yep. Tula has been the only reasonably reliable supplier for handgun loads (especially 9mm, 380acp, and 45acp) in our part of Central TX. I hate to see that go away, especially since you can get any of those three at our WalMart for <$15. I expect that's bye-bye for now.

    • Howie Blumenkopf

      the Russian Oligarchs are at the top.I doubt Obama is even aware or cares about ammunition.The supply might be cut as a result of a larger trade ban on russian arms as they are a large exporter and that would hurt the russian economy.

      • Lt. Dan

        The big “O” doesn’t have to care, he has plenty of minions who are always on the lookout for a way to advance the agenda.

  • I_justGotBackFromTheRodeo

    Speculation… Really TFB? The time for speculation was 72 hours ago, the actual panic is now upon us. I’m glad I bought my 1k of tulammo 223 this morning for ¢26 a round, because now I see it’s going for ¢31 cents a round and up! Guys, I hate so much to say it, but the days of “cheap” steel case Ruskie ammo have come, for the foreseeable future, to a close. Don’t forget the motto of all high volume shooters “buy it cheap and stack it deep” too bad the days of buying it cheap are behind us

    • Blake

      ammoseek still has plenty of .223 under $0.30 (& my Tula 7.62×39 plinking hollowpoints at $0.21, which is cheaper than 9mm remans and almost cheaper than 22LR right now). And 5.45×39 is even less.

    • zardinuk

      Now, what will the panic buyers like rodeo clown above do for ammo? That is the real question.

    • n0truscotsman

      I dont agree.

      This is a bunch of panic mongering and speculation based on no facts whatsoever.

      5.56 is going to be more expensive anyways. Just because you can longer buy a tin of 7.62×39 for 75 bucks doesn’t mean its still not going to be a attractive option in the future.

  • Blake
  • SD3

    Doesn’t *any* 7.62×39 come out of Ukraine?

    • Anonymoose

      >Wolf (most of it is produced in Tula)
      >nearly every American manufacturer

  • larry

    just what we need another ammo run.
    still http://www.ccwammo.com

  • Anyone else hear anything about Russia banning ammo export to the US?
    I was reading something about it yesterday, but can’t believe they would cut off their money flow from the US sales.

    • n0truscotsman

      I think its bull crap. The only source I can find is from infowars and other “like” websites that obtained their information “from ammunition distributor sources” (I kid you not).

      So dont worry about it. Europe needs natural gas and oil and the US is in no position of credibility to impose sanctions against Russia (after our recent shenanigans in the sand box).

      The same people fear mongering this are the same to blame for the 22lr shortage.

  • bbmg

    Seems a bit cynical to worry about how your ammunition supply is going to be affected given the scope of the situatiojn, but I guess that’s what people do at the end of the day.

  • Keyser Soze

    It can only make the ammunition supply BETTER. Ukrainian ammo is freaking GARBAGE, the dirtiest thing i ever shot. So unless you feel like spending hours cleaning the equivalent mass of Victorian England’s soot supply out of your guns, stay away from it. Sure as hell never buy Monarch ammo.

  • smartacus

    oh please. Banning ammo imports from Russia and Russian speaking Ukraine is only at the TOP OF THE BUCKET LIST!! Never let a good crisis go to waste.