Happy Ammo

Recently (following the 2008 rise of a person who’s name must not be spoken aloud lest one be branded a racist tea bagging jackoff)… the price and availability of ammo (and guns) went ape. I blissfully ignored the whole thing. Like any proper homesteading isolationist, I’ve got plenty of firepower to keep the freezer full, the chickens safe, and the zombies at bay. This period of madness and social decay (like the black plague or disco) will pass. Sanity tends to return with time. (One hopes.)

Recently, and against my better instincts, I ventured out of my cocoon. I “interfaced” with gunshops. Holy shit things are weird!

I'm shocked shocked at these prices!

I’m shocked shocked at these prices!

All the bitching about unavailable .22 ammo that I’ve been ignoring. It was real? No shit! “Hoarding” I was told. This is common opinion.

“Hoarding? Hoarding?!?” I ranted “I’ll have none of this Marxist claptrap. If there is a shortage, the price is too low. The solution is to rake us over the coals with high prices good and hard. Eventually all will be well.”

“I don’t buy it.” Quoth Joel. “‘Tis an explanation that stinks to high heaven if you ask me.” I see his point. Is not ‘hoarding’ the go to excuse for people who can’t get their act together and manufacture the stuff we consumers wish to buy? Also the whole “hoard” thing reminds me of people who go around screaming “I DON’T CARE IF EVERYTHING COSTS MORE THERE IS NO INFLATION” until they fall down speaking in tongues and are immediately awarded a Nobel prize.

Even so I wondered why prices were low for something that’s not physically available for purchase. A few days later economic theory panned out. I found .22 for sale. Not a story about sumdood who knows a guy. Not a sold out line item on a web page. It was there; in reality. I had the damn box in my hand! Also the price was friggin’ high (as it should be for the only box for sale in the county.) I’m cheap and not desperate. I chose not to buy anything. (But I was happy to know ammo existed.)

Fast forward several days: I was wandering around a gun show. There’s nothing so life affirming as a diverse American Citizenry milling about with things that’ll make an elite Boston liberal shit themselves. Freedom rocks! So many firearms and I want them all! (In a perfect world I’d buy pistols and long guns by the dozen. Also I’d have abs like rock and excellent hair.) Happy happy guns. I really should get out more.

Being a capitalist straight to the core of my being, I’d grabbed a brick of .22 (new in the box) on the way out of my house. I wandered around the show with it stuffed it in my pocket. (“No I’m not happy to see you but I’ve got five pounds of lead in my trousers. Care to buy it for $60?) Every third booth had .22 ammo; in dribs and drabs. All of it priced rather high and all priced totally uniformly. I could have sold my ammo by simply naming a price a buck lower than the global average for the room. I should have done so. After all how many squirrels can one guy shoot?

Alas, I didn’t sell any of my ammo. I decided I was happy I had it and I didn’t need the cash. Normally I’ll sell anything short of a kidney if the price is right. This time? Nope!

For a guy like me, the refusal to drop my stuff back into the open market for a good profit is as close to “hoarding” as you’ll get.

Wandering the aisles of glittering (and greasy) boomsticks I decided I needed to “adapt” to the current ammo market. Since .22 was a bitch to get I might as well indulge in something funky. I needed another .410. Yep, couldn’t live another day without adding to my collection of small little break open smoothbores. I had it in my hands, the deal was almost done. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw an ugly old air rifle.

The guy selling the .410 saw the look in my eyes. He sighed as I handed it back to him. The .410 is probably sad and lonely now. I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of folks dying to buy single shot shotguns in extremely small calibers. I have no idea why.

I know nothing about air rifles. But I do know that air is free (unless you happen to exhale CO2 near a hipppie working on climate regulation). Also .177 pellets are cheap. Every house should have every caliber of every firearm and I’m a bit light on air rifles. Time to fix that omission.

The negotiation went like this;

“What brand is it?”

“Got no idea.”

“How old it is?”

“Got no idea.”

“What’s the FPS rating?”

“Got no idea.”

“Does it work?”

“Got no idea.”

“I’ll give you half of what you’re asking.”

“Sold.”

On the way home I decided to stop at a store I’ll call Goose Hill. I needed air rifle pellets. I asked the sales drone to help pick out .177 pellets. He handed me a pack of .22 pellets and went back to his busy life on Facebook. You should be able to tazer people like that.

I picked out a 1000 round sample pack (in the correct size). $20. That comes out to 0.02 a round. Cool. Assuming the thing worked I was happy.

I glanced up to the Facebook zombie. “Got any .22.”

He looked like a deer in the headlights. “The stuff on sale is all gone.”

“When did you get it?”

“This morning.”

“No worries. Thanks anyway.”

“All I’ve got is this.” He held up a 100 round plastic box of CCI.”

What’s this? .22 ammo at Goose Hill? He named a price that’s twice what I’d have paid in the sane times before 2008 and 30% lower than the going rate at the gun show five miles away.

I picked up 5 boxes. Did I need it? Hell no. Did I want it? Hell yes.

Is this hoarding? I have no idea.

As a tangential detail I’d like to point out that the guy at the cash register had the most epic afro hairdo I’ve seen in years. If the 1970’s died and went to heaven, they’d have hair like that. I wanted to compliment him but feared I’d sound like a racist nitwit… so we talked about the weather. If you’re reading this afro dude; well done!

As to hoarding: The best I can say is that I regularly buy 500 rounds of .22 in randomly spaced unplanned events. So me buying 500 rounds of .22 isn’t weird. On the other hand , I won’t shoot enough paper and squirrels to use it all up any time soon. I could have gotten by on what I already had. So yeah, by that point of view I’m a dirty rotten hoarder.

On the left is a priceless rarity that I'm hoarding in my secret lair. On the right is a simple purpose of some cheap molded lead.

On the left is a priceless rarity that I’m hoarding in my secret lair. On the right is some cheap molded lead.

Stay tuned for a photo of my “new” cheap old used air rifle which is either a fine purchase or a piece of shit I should have left on the table.

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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5 Responses to Happy Ammo

  1. ILTim says:

    I recently picked up a .177 air rifle, a silenced springer advertised for 1250 fps. Also mounted a very nice optic, bipod, and purchased 5,500 pellets. All via Amazon for around $320.

    Its taken two squirrels and a chipmunk so far. With oblivious neighbors mere feet away.

    I have an itch to…. well indulge in some of this hoarding I hear about. Just think what $500 would get!

    • That sounds fun! I’ve been enjoying my $25 POS air rifle. I’m sure I’m well below 1250 FPS but not sure how much lower. If I use this little rifle a bunch over the next several months I may upgrade to a nicer rifle. I must admit that cocking the thing is vaguely annoying.

      It’s fun that you don’t need hearing protection for an air rifle (at least the cheap one I got). But I don’t need a silenced version. My neighbors and I have an understanding, I could fire a howitzer and they’d never say a thing. I reciprocate. Good folks!

      Don’t hoard ammo now. Hoard something that’s cheap and plentiful now and will be rare and expensive later. Which (given the inflation that the government insists doesn’t exist) is probably almost anything.

  2. PJ says:

    You hoarder, you! 🙂

    I spent a little more on a basic spring piston air rifle. It didn’t seem to want to hold a zero at first, but settled down after a while. My hit potential went WAY up when I got a decent scope on it; the irons are just about worthless for my old eyes. For pests I think an air rifle is way more useful than a .22. I have only one, compared to several .22’s, but it really does a good job unobtrusively.

    Look for air rifle stuff on youtube, lots of it there. Here’s an example:

  3. Charles says:

    First time I saw your blog today. Makes for damned good reading!
    I am happy to report that I have collected 89,201 rounds of .22 LR since January 1st this year without having to stand in line at stupid early morning hours. I’d rather drink freeze-dried coffee and smoke a pack of cigarettes!
    It was fucking easy! Go to the store after the morning rush and pick up the left-overs, or visit a favorite on-line vendor.
    The ass hats who complain of shortages mostly go to Wally World in search of bulk packs.
    I’ve given up on Wally a long time ago, even for beer. Ammo can be found every day at $.06 per round. Just go back day after day, and after a while the stash will add up.
    Just today, I found 2,375 rounds of .22 LR sitting on shelves and went straight to the cash register.
    This shit is about done. The speculators will have to eat lead. As for my stash, it will be passed down to my heirs for at least two generations and I’ll be able to shoot my ass off until I take that final dirt nap. It is a classic economic bubble that is about to burst: The speculators will be holding the bag and the manufacturing base will take a short term hit when billions of over-priced ammo gets sold at below market prices. Fuck it — Drive On!

  4. ILTi, says:

    Ammo stock

    Finally bought an air rifle. The powerful single pump spring type. Silenced. It occurs to me that this should make for outstanding firearms proficiency training. Daily even. Don’t need to do much other than take a few shots a day, every day, to keep up some damn fine skills right? And the pellets are cheap. Take up minor space. Quiet gun can be used inconspicuously. Very.

    A lifetime supply of pellets should be a viable investment. No more concern then about getting more.

    Plus, “A kid with a useful air rifle is a handy forager.”

    http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=296065

    And let’s not speak of ammo shortages. Or the likelihood of broad legal climate change, or personal persecution.

    It’s a simple matter to calculate how many pellets one should have on hand then, to keep his eye in for the rest of time. To be able to teach, at any time, a new shooter how to handle a gun, how to shoot well, how to hunt small animals.

    Either ten rounds per day every day, or 150 per range trip every other week, brings you to a baseline consumption of around 3,500 rds/year. Assuming you’ll not really maintain this pace 100% of the time, a buffer can be assumed to already be included.

    We want to weather a lifetime, the units shall be per decade, per person. A unit of pellets is 35,000. Those of us thirty-something’s can assume this much pellet practice will eventually attract a shooting parter. Quantities should be at least doubled to permit a second person to join you full time, or two people half the time, or be sufficient to cover four or five additional shooters every time they visit your home without taking away from your own personal lifetime reserve.

    Therefore a single-decade unit of lifetime pellets shall be known as 70,000 pcs. We’re gonna need five decades worth. Maybe, one more, cause y’all don’t wanna be down and pessimistic, right? Make it two.

    That’s 490,000 pellets. Better round it off for easier calculations. Not because we’re giddy about the half million brag. Figure there are a lot of types of pellets out there. We can stash a variety. You’d hate to be in the 53rd year of ammo drought though and be down to the last one-quarter which is just some leftovers that really never shot well in your gun so you been uh voidin, though. Yup, hate that. Better choose wisely. Or lay in some extra. Say 20% more, assuming you have at least five types of pellets, so that one whole type can be a bust without ruinin yo plan, man.

    Six hundred thousand should do it then. If it needs doin, it sure needs doin right.

    Guessin we’ll get some deals on stuff at these quantities! Right, how much is this gonna cost? I’m seeing 1250 cartons, and 750 tins, of average price but good quality. Something solid and well known. Think about what is found on eBay today, the vintage stuff from the 1950’s or 70’s. What would you want to have from those lots? Not the cheap no name knock offs. Gotta buy good, solid, established and known brands. Lifetime investment.

    Yeah. About that. So those cartons might be $11 and tins at $8, being a preferred customer and all, or $19/2,000 on average.
    Dear.
    God.
    This will have to be spoken quietly. Five thousand and seven hundred dollars is needed.

    If you have German tastes, that $8.99/500 tin doubles the cost.

    A spare rifle or nine should be expected to be used with these guests, and as your main service rifle wears out and breaks over the tens, and hundreds, of THOUSANDS of rounds. What’s an extra grand anyway? A budget, we need a budget to work to! Keep it to ten grand and shop baby, shop till you drop!

    But mind those toes, while your dropping things. Averaging 7.5 grains we have 4.5 million grains of the stuff, at 7,000 grains to a pound the floors gonna need reinforcement. Well, maybe, it’s only 645 pounds.

    Plus packaging.

    It ain’t gettin any cheaper, is it?

    You can always claim to “know a guy” that has a line on pellets. Never ending supply, seems just about. Ain’t let me down yet.

    Gotta have goals.

    Next week, we can talk retirement planning. But since the money’s all gone, I’m gonna use the word ‘barter’ like it don’t mean beg.

    It could be worse. These guys shoot 25,000-50,000 a year themselves. Puts our 70 year figure at 3,500,000 pellets. Conservatively.

    http://www.gatewaytoairguns.org/GTA/index.php?topic=55485.20

    58 times more than $10,000 for 600,000 rounds. Yeah. Way over a half million dollars. In freakin pellets.

    Am I the only guy on these gun boards with a calculator?

    Sometimes I wonder. Can these guys actually count? Have I wasted my time reading this post?

    Frame your perspective. A few thousand rounds can easily evaporate in a year, as five ten-thousands of rounds could too. Several years supply of this type of consumable is a noticeable quantity. The word lifetime comes to mean something terrifically substantial, and ambiguous. But really, really, substantial physically and metaphorically.

    And well north of 70,000 rounds, at any rate.

    While a couple months rolling supply really fills our needs, the .22lr retail situation reflects what the ballot box refuses to.

    You just don’t talk much about this kind of thing.

    But I think far many more of us than think, will turn out to “know a guy or two” that is willing to, and already has, put a foot down in sharp defiance of that thing that dares look sternly over our white pickett fence. Any damned thing. But really, that one thing. The one we barely dare speak of out loud.

    “The small- est quantity of match pellets are typi- cally packaged as 500 pellets and are in containers called tins. When ten tins are packaged together, they are called a sleeve. A sleeve contains 5,000 pellets and weighs a little more than six pounds. Five sleeves packaged together are called a case. A case contains 25,000 pellets and weighs about 32 pounds. Case quantities are normally bought by schools, clubs, very serious competitors or those stocking up early for Y3K.”

    https://www.usashooting.org/library/Instructional/Rifle/pellet_testing_may_june_2008.pdf

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