The last couple of years of “strong consumer demand” (panic buying) has finally come to an end. .22 LR ammunition is still thin on the ground (although easy to purchase online) but centerfire inventory is good, retailers are flush with AR-15 rifles and there is a higher level of discounting than what we have seen in a while.
We are half-way through Obama’s second term. If history is anything to go by then there will be at least one year, maybe 18 months, before the next era of panic buying starts. And no, this is not a political statement. This is just how I think the market will react to another presidential election.
TFB’s editorial policy has always been to avoid spreading the fear and uncertainty that leads to panic. This is why I am advising all of you to stock up, well in advance, so in two years time, we can collectively sit back, with a smug grin on our faces, while the less well prepared cry out that there is some sort of conspiracy depriving them of guns and ammo.
This is what I do: If I plan on shooting 50 rounds of a given cartridge at the range, I buy at least double that. The rest I keep in storage. Once you have a decent stockpile, start rotating out the older ammunition to shoot. This way, over the course of a year you will accumulate an entire years worth of ammunition. If you cannot afford to buy double, but an extra 50%, 25% or whatever you can afford.
(Yes, I buy my ammunition at retail, just like all of you)
AR-15 lowers are cheap right now. If you don’t already have a few sitting in storage, start slowly buying up stripped receivers. The same goes for magazines. If you don’t have a reasonable stockpile, start slowly accumulating them (for all the guns in your collection).
Diversity is good. If you are thinking of buying a new gun, consider buying one in a caliber that is not one of the most popular, but still popular enough that ammunition is easily available. The 9mm, .223/5.56, .308/7.62, .40, .45, .38 ACP etc. sell out the fastest. Maybe try 10mm Auto, .357 SIG and .38 Super. But be careful, don’t spread your self to thin with exotic calibers (unless you reload, which brings me to my next point…).
Consider learning how to reload ammunition if you do not do so already. The Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition has many good reviews of it on Amazon and costs less than $10 (I have not read the book, so don’t consider this an endorsement). Better to start learning now than in two years time when reloading supplies are all out of stock.
I know for many, or even most, of you this is advice is nothing new, but you would be amazed at how many emails I received over the past year from gun owners furious about the lack of ammunition and firearms at their local gun stores. I did not want to rub salt in their wounds by saying “well, you have only yourself to blame”. Hopefully this blog post will reduce the number of stressed out folks come November 2016.