Ammogeddon is in full effect, and chances are it will be well into 2021 — if not longer — before you’ll be able to find ammo and reloading supplies in abundance. Are you tired of being misled by foreign suppliers; looking at you Canada and Australia? Can’t seem to find ammo and reloading supplies amidst the “out of stock” messages plastered everywhere? Here’s how I was able to snag some common cartridges and primers during the worst national shortage in recent memory!
To be honest, finding ammunition at your local sporting goods store is going to be incredibly difficult. However, it’s not impossible to find ammo in stock at your local Cabelas or Bass Pro. When you do, it’s best to maximize your purchasing power.
1. Learn The Shipping Schedule For Local Dealers
If you want to score ammunition at “old” retail prices, you’re going to have to put in the work. First, talk to your local sporting good store associate and see if you can learn their shipping schedule. Don’t inquire specifically about ammunition because they’ll just say, “we don’t know when we’re getting ammo.”
If you’re fortunate enough to know someone who works at a particular location all the better. Upstanding employees aren’t likely to set aside or “lose” ammo for you, for risk of losing their jobs. However, they may be able to give you a heads up about a truck coming in. Just remember they’re doing you a solid in your search to find ammo, so keep your source confidential.
Even if you can’t get the shipping schedule information. Check the website of your local retailer to see if inventory has changed to get an idea of when a shipment of ammo or reloading supplies may have arrived. In the picture below, I went in because the store had primers “in-stock – limited inventory.” Turns out they didn’t have any primers at all. But I needed actual cartridges of a few rounds and was able to pick them up for “normal” prices.
2. Stick To Big Name Retailers To Find Ammo
In the olden days of 2020, you may have been able to find ammo and reloading supplies at your local shop. Chances are those days are over for most. With limited production, suppliers are sending stock to the retailers with the largest reach. Therefore, you’re most likely to find ammo by searching your local Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Field & Stream or other major retailer.
3. Early Bird Gets The Ammo
Knowing when supplies may arrive and where you should shop to find ammo is only half the battle. If you want to ensure you’ll be able to load up on cartridges, primers, and powder you should know that many others have a similar level of dedication. Therefore, if you want ammo, be willing to get up early and wait in the cold morning hours to get your foot in the door first.
4. Work The Buddy System On Ammo In Stock
If you are fortunate to have a friend or neighbor equally dedicated to finding ammo, now is the time to work together. Alternate who drives to the store in your quest to replenish your ammunition reserves. Finding someone who is willing to get up early (before work hours) may be difficult. But if you can find them, they’re a valuable resource especially if you’re looking for different caliber ammo.
Additionally, you should make friends with like minded individuals waiting in line with you and work out a trade system. Maybe they want .22 lr and you’re looking for .45 ACP. Sometimes you can work out a deal to pick up their caliber if they’re willing to pick up yours. In an environment where stores are limiting how much ammo you can buy, maximize your opportunity to get your desired caliber.
Find Ammo & Reloading Supplies In Stock Online
Don’t get me wrong, finding ammo or reloading supplies in stock is going to be difficult no matter how you prefer to shop. However, I’ve found far more and consistent success with online shopping. Additionally, it’s more comfortable than standing in freezing cold weather waiting for the morning shift to open the doors!
Unfortunately, you’ll need to do the same amount of prep work to give yourself the highest chance of finding ammo and reloading supplies.
1. Find Ammo At A Good Price Or Keep Searching
9mm ammo in stock at major retailer. Notice it is significantly less that $1 per round.
I talk at length about why there is an ammo shortage, and my predictions for when it will end in another article. An unfortunate byproduct of this national ammo shortage is a spike in costs to the consumer (i.e. you and me). Therefore, don’t get scalped by people exploiting the system on Gunbroker and other similar websites selling 9mm or primers for well above what they paid.
Online shopping from a reputable source means you’ll likely need to pay an additional fee for hazardous material shipping. However, you’ll probably find better deals by being patient and diligent. Expect to pay more for popular calibers such as 9mm when compared to less popular rounds.
People who reload (or are beginning out of necessity) are subject to the same rule. Everyone who reloads ammo knows primers are hard to come by, but you shouldn’t be paying several hundred dollars for a component that typically costs a fraction of that price.
2. Find Reloading Supplies & Ammo At Major Online Stores
To find reloading supplies during the shortage, you need to employ the same tactic. It’s easier to find reloading supplies like powder and the ever elusive primers from major retailers like Powder Valley, Midway, and even Mid South Shooting Supply.
Source Supplies Direct If You Can
Copper plated 9mm bullets sourced from Xtreme with ease.
Although you may be able to source reloading primers and powder from distributors, finding raw materials is easier by going to a specialty retailer or manufacturer.
For instance, people often attempt to find bullets by going through a retailer. Skip this step and head straight to somewhere like Xtreme Bullets to get projectiles.
Trouble finding brass to reload? Have you tried the secondary market and looked for once fired brass to reload? Another avenue for finding brass casings to reload is to hit your local range to collect it from the shooting range floor. While it may not be overly glamorous, it can get your brass collection started while suppliers are running low.
Finally, I caution you to exercise patience during this ammo shortage. Many retailers are experiencing delays in shipping regardless of the size of the organization.
3. Setup Your Online Account Ahead Of Time
Screenshot of my bookmarked websites and popular pages on those sites.
One common mantra among gun enthusiasts is that seconds matter. Unfortunately, to find reloading supplies and ammo during the shortage this saying also rings true. Therefore, you should establish an online account for any distributor you plan on buying from.
For reloaders who are trying to find primers this goes double. I’ve literally seen a message come through about primer availability and in the time it took me to add primers to my cart and complete the checkout process the store was sold out.
While you’re at it, you might as well bookmark the login page and save your credentials to expedite the process. Furthermore, to ensure you get your reloading supplies keep that credit card information handy; copy and paste kind of handy!
4. Join An Online Community Or Forum
Finding ammo and reloading supplies isn’t going to be an easy journey. But fortunately, there are a ton of different forums and communities online you can join to get virtual real-time updates about ammo and reloading supply availability. Websites like Reddit and applications like Discord are great places to start.
Additionally, there’s nothing to say you can’t start your own channel, forum, or even website to assist in the search for reloading supplies. When time is of the essence, it’s important to put as many eyeballs out there looking as possible.
Help The Gun Community While Ammo Is Scarce
I’ve got a message for those of you who are the ones scalping ammo, primers, and the like during this shortage. YOU ARE HURTING THE COMMUNITY. Please stop trying to profit from the shortage of ammunition and reloading supplies. By hawking these much needed supplies and reselling at crazy markups you hurt those who actually need them.
Make no mistake, I’m not talking about people who are growing their personal supply or actually using the ammunition they reload. However, with literally millions of new gun owners, we should be growing the gun community in a positive way. Helping others who need ammunition to become proficient with their newly owned guns.
You scalping ammo and reloading supplies is the equivalent of those people who bought out the toilet paper and hand sanitizer at the onset of the pandemic. Don’t be that guy or girl, just stop.
If you need to find ammunition during the great ammo shortage of 2021, then I hope these tips help you. I cannot claim full credit, as many of the tips have come from others in the community. Hopefully these tips will help you find your reloading supplies and keep you stocked until the shortage ends. Please comment and share this content with your network to help spread the word. Happy hunting this Ammogeddon!