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The Ammo Shortage Continues?

1458 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  kdub
Interesting summation of the reasons (not what you think) the ammo shortage is continuing:
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Agree that the article premise is incorrect. I don't know how much law enforcement consumption contributes, but it was handled just fine after 1997 until 2007. The problem with military demand is that while Lake City has large capacity, it isn't enough. Here's a 2005 article about General Dynamics being made a second source because Lake City (ATK operates it under contract) couldn't keep up then. Also, Lake City doesn't make primers or powder or some of the projectiles they use, so those items affect the commercial supplier load. Besides, if LC were the sole source of small arms ammo, you wouldn't see military headstamps reading WCC or FCC or others. It would all be LC.

So, when military demand goes up, so does the burden on commercial sources. The law allows the military to direct a civilian plant to devote it's capacity to fill military orders as a priority, so that can produce an abrupt cutoff of replenishment of the civilian products.

The Army Times had an article in 2007 indicating the Clinton Administration had let military stockpiles diminish. It got to the point that live fire exercises were being canceled to conserve ammo for the war. So, the military quadrupled their normal order level to get the stockpiles replenished. That had already set some commercial deliveries back a year by the time the article was written, and it was going to take some time to get the stockpiles replenished (years). At this time last year, CCI was still completing an order for 95 million primers. That military demand is what inspired them to set up a new primer line, which now is in operation.

I had a talk with a Sierra tech a year ago about why the military orders were affecting non-military calibers? He said it was because the metals market had started going crazy just before the big replenishment orders came in. They and other bullet and brass makers had elected to coast on their stockpiles of raw materials until the market settled back down again, and figured they had another year or two's worth in place. Instead, when the military orders shot up and the commercial buying panic set it, the stockpiles were gone in three months and they were caught with none of the more expensive new raw material in the pipeline. It was a perfect storm.

I don't know when, short of leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, the military demand will calm down? I see they are increasing the amounts to be fired during training.
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