22LR: Why Still a Shortage?

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The ammo shortage of the last few years has gotten better, but why it is it still hard to find .22 LR in some places?

Three reasons, according to this Sierra Bullets blog.

Some gun owners are hoarding bricks of .22 in basements, garages and “prepper” bunkers, fearing they might not be able to get the ammo again in the near future–or ever. The blog’s writer, Matt Reams, says this is a “minor factor.” But I think it is a big factor. People know about President Obama’s and Holder’s views on guns (should I say hatred of) and then they envision 4 to 8 years of Hillary out there. No wonder people are hoarding ammo.

Then there are the gougers who prey on the anxiety of the hoarders. From the blog: These are the guys that wait in line at Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. to buy up the daily allotment that Wal-Mart puts out at normal retail prices and then double or triple their price on the weekend gun show circuit ($75 to $100 a brick). Again, not a huge factor, but keeping the shelves looking empty which keeps the panic level higher for those that are looking.

But the main reason is good old supply and demand. Reams notes that there are conservatively 35 million gun owners in the U.S., and that number may be as high as 70-80 million. Many if not most of those people own at least one .22 rifle. Do you know any (of these owners) that are not looking for .22 LR ammo or would at least buy some if they saw it for normal prices? How many would they buy when they found it? A lot – right?

Reams points out that major ammunition manufacturers are running 24/7 on their rimfire lines, cranking out an estimated 25-30 million .22LR rounds PER DAY. And they still having trouble keeping up with the demand.

What about where you live and hunt? Can you get .22LR at normal prices, or is it still hard to come by?



5mm Remington Magnum


Fresh off a successful coyote hunt last month in MT with our friend Luke Strommen (we saw and called to a bunch of critters and shot 3 for a special episode of Big Deer TV) Luke sent this photo that he dug out of his files:

Mike: My brother and I called in this fox off the river bottom a few years ago. I shot him with my Remington 5mm Magnum rimfire. Have you ever heard of that cartridge? Way ahead of its time. I still have the rifle and this beautiful pelt. Go Big Deer Predator Team!

I had heard of the 5mm, but I knew little about it. Some digging here revealed that the cartridge resembled a .22 WMR case necked-down to accept 5mm/.20 caliber bullets. It was introduced in 1970 in a pair of Remington bolt-action rifles (Models 591 and 592).

As Luke said, the cartridge was ahead of its time and for whatever reason, hunters did not embrace it. Those 5mm rifles were made for only 5 years. The 5mm has the dubious title of shortest lived cartridge introduced since the end of WW II.

I did learn also that the 5mm is not completely obsolete. Centurion Ordnance makes 30-grain jacketed hollow-point loads for hunters who might own one of those old Remington 5mm rifles (but this ammo is in short supply too).

Anybody ever owned, shot or hunted varmints with the 5mm?

Muzzleloader Powder: Blackhorn 209

Last fall the guys down at Clark Brothers gun shop recommended I try Blackhorn 209 loads in my new Thompson Center Triumph. Designed for 209 primer in-line rifles, it’s a high-performance propellant that delivers accurate loads with superior velocity and energy. Plus, in this test, it blew away the competition as far as igniting in damp or wet weather.

Another big thing, Blackhorn is a low-residue powder that burns hotter and cleaner than Pyrodex, Triple 7 and others. It is supposedly so clean that you can shoot some 22 to 40 shots at the range all morning without wiping the bore once, and still shoot accurate groups. I don’t know about the 20 shots, or all morning, but in the limited test-shooting I have done so far with the loose grain powder (6 to 10 shots each session), Blackhorn has been amazingly clean. Saboted bullets have been easy to push down the barrel, plus my TC has been fast and easy to clean at the end of the day.


I did run into a major problem last fall: availability, or lack thereof, of Blackhorn. As I was flying into Illinois last December for the gun season (you can’t carry any muzzleloader propellant in checked airline baggage) I asked buddies I was hunting with to pick me up a canister of Blackhorn. Figured it would be no big deal. But they hit all the major gun shops and retailers in western Kentucky and southern Illinois within a 75-mile radius of our camp but could not find one canister of Blackhorn. Since my TC was sighted tight with that powder and I didn’t want to change propellants midstream, I switched to a slug gun for the hunt (and killed a weird buck that you’ll see on TV this fall).


So in my experience, availability can be an issue with Blackhorn. If you’re hunting around home and have a supply, no big deal. If you’re traveling, plan well ahead and make sure you have a can of Blackhorn in camp when you get there.


Anybody shot Blackhorn and have more to add? Bigger picture, how many of you hunt with a muzzleloader these days? Seems you don’t hear about muzzleloader hunting as much as you did even 5 years ago.