Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ammo Speculators Post-Election

       I happened to be in a precious metals store recently that I noticed had added guns to the list of things it sold. The selection was not what I had hoped: a single AR and two handguns. But before I left, hoping to get some sort of sale, the proprietor informed me that he had a half million rounds of .22 Long Rifle in his back room. My first thought, I have to admit, is that must have been a lot of early morning trips to Walmart.... However he got the ammo, though, given the current political climate, I suspect his investment will probably not pay off as handsomely as he had hoped. In fact, he'll probably lose money in the end, and it will be worse the longer he sits on the ammo. Other than offering the ammunition through classified advertisements, I'm not sure how he will unload the ammunition. I'm sure that he is not the only speculator in this situation.

       And yes, the lack of ammunition that we saw periodically throughout the days of the Obama Administration involved speculators to a certain extent. In a 2015 article, Adam Weinstein wrote:
 YouTube is littered with videos by gun guys grumbling about ammo made rare and pricey, a surprising number of which blame the opportunists who snatch up supplies and resell them online for a premium. In this sense, ammo is like crude oil; there’s a huge user demand, sure, but costs are driven as much by traders betting on future prices as they are by consumers. Time the market right, and an ammo trader can see his margin jump significantly. Amid the heightened demand for .223 rounds brought on by the ATF’s proposed regulations, one California seller netted $1,000 for a 1,000-count box, a dollar a round (a price that made the ammo-as-currency phenomenon freakily literal). After the agency scrapped the rule change, the same seller had to settle for $850 for a second box of the same size, as chronicled by Reveal News.
       I see that most of the larger chain stores regularly have .22 LR on hand, although, other than Dick's, the prices still seem to be unusually high. I've been buying the occasional box of .22 Federal Auto-Match, attempting to rebuild my stock. I still don't see .22 Short or .22 Long, though. I suspect that when I start seeing the latter two calibers will mark the end of the ammo drought in this part of the country.

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