By Michael Deming
Our main content and product testing time is in full swing right now and the office is somewhat of a ghost town. Thanks to our managing editor, Dan Kidder who keeps the wheels turning, we are all able to get out there and make sure we are a well-informed resource for our readers. During my many travels recently, I’ve had the pleasure of being in a good majority of the Sportsman’s Warehouse stores as well as numerous small sporting goods stores around the country. The one thing that I see with just about every location I visit is the lack of rimfire ammunition. This includes .22 long rifle, .22 magnum, .17 WSM and .17 HMR. I’ve also talked to a good majority of people who just can’t figure out what the problem is and if it is ever going to get fixed.
I’ve talked with many of the manufactures about this problem and they are producing nearly all of these cartridges just as fast as they possibly can. A visit to your local Sportsman’s Warehouse, Walmart or any other store that stocks these little cartridges has the management telling you to be there on the day the truck comes in and stand in line. If you get there early enough and they have enough stock, you just might get divvied out enough for an afternoon of plinking. Unfortunately, a good number of the folks who would like to shoot these little cartridges are at work and unable to go and stand in line to purchase a few boxes.
I’ve have personally stood in line on several occasions and during this time, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to many of the other folks there as well. A good majority of the people are just trying to get a few rounds for the upcoming hunting season or to take their kids out to shoot the new rifle they are giving them for a birthday present. However, there is a small percentage of people that are in that line each and every week and who are simply hoarding ammunition. I talked to one person (won’t use the term gentleman because it doesn’t fit) who informed me that he had nearly a million rounds of .22 shells sitting at home, yet he was here in line loading up on more ammo. Other folks are standing in line to purchase ammo and then walking out the door and posting it on Gun Broker to make a few bucks.
As I said before, this type of person represents a very small percentage of the people out there looking to do this with ammo. However, that person is doing major damage to our heritage and our future of hunting and shooting. The days of getting a .22 rifle for Christmas or your birthday and having your granddad take you in for a brick of ammo to go and do some plinking with is over until these people quit hoarding ammunition. A good majority of the people don’t even know this problem exists until they are looking to get their kid some ammo.
Hopefully, .22 shells aren’t going to become currency, as seen on a few websites out there and if they do, I feel sorry for you having such a small caliber. There are guys out there proficient at nearly a mile with a high powered arsenal. Guess they will just gather up your .22 shells/currency when they are done with you from long range if it comes to that.
Sales of .22 rifles and pistols are dropping because of this shortage and what these people are doing is gradually reducing the number of children we are bringing into our sport. Considering that the opportunities to hunt have been gradually dwindling since I was a child, in a time when you used to be able to go beat on someone’s door and ask permission to hunt on their property.
Now, most of those opportunities are leased up or people won’t take the risk of letting someone on their land in fear of being sued. Sure we can hunt on public land and many of us do. We can even be very successful at it, but our kids don’t have the patience with this digital world to stay out there when there is limited game.
So, losing our ability to take the kids out and shoot at will frustrates me beyond belief. I would ask those of you guilty of this act to please consider the youth as well as the future of our sport before you decide to go stand in line and purchase another box of ammo that you don’t really need.