April didn’t bring us much relief or change in the panic buying that is going one. In fact the buying of ammo seems to be worse. The AR-15 panic seems to be abating a bit but is still strong. At least the gougers have dropped their prices slightly. I can’t say the same for the ammo gougers though. They are still high and seem to be getting higher, if that is possible.  Gun shops are having a hard time getting product to sell, even having to resort to the “gray market” for product. Gun shops have to buy thru distributors. Very seldom can we buy right from the manufacturers. The distributors are so back-logged that they aren’t taking any more orders for the most part. This means the gun shops have to go to the gray market for product.
 
The gray market are distributors that sell to anyone, not just gun shops. This is not normally the way things are done and most gun shops will not buy from gray market distributors. They sell guns, ammo and all other products to individuals at dealer prices. This hurts gun shops badly as we only have a very small mark up as it is. A jewelry store has a 600% to 1000% mark up. A furniture store at least 500%. A grocery store from 250% to 400%. A drug store at least 1000% on drugs. Gun shops have 15% maximum.
 
When we need certain ammo and such to keep some cash flowing, and the regular distributors are not taking orders, this leaves the gray market. We can buy all the ammo we need, but we pay about double our normal cost or more. This means we have to mark it up even more to survive. This is why your local gun shop is selling ammo and such at well over twice what it was last year this time. Colleen and I were going over one of the gray market’s distributor’s list of available ammo recently trying to find some 22 rimfire ammo at a decent price. One that they had was CCI 22 Magnum. They had 3 bricks of it, 10 boxes of 50, a total of 500 rounds. Each brick was priced at $750 plus shipping. We laughed at the nerve of them trying to sell 22 Magnum at $75 per box of 50. We went down the 20 or so pages of ammo the company had and about 30 minutes later we went back to the opening page. Just for giggles I went to the 22 Magnum bricks, and all 3 had sold. $750 plus shipping for each brick. That means the gun shop that bought them will have to sell the ammo for at least $85 per box of 50. Absolutely nuts. So next time you see what you consider high prices on ammo at your local gun shop, remember this.
 
Normally each month I get flyers from a lot of firearm manufacturers with lists of new guns and ammo that are coming out. The last two months all I get are flyers saying how great the SHOT SHOW was, and that was over 3 months ago. They are all hesitant to release new products as most are way behind on delivery, especially on ammo or reloading gear. One of the major powder suppliers are quoting 6 months before they get anything in. One says they have some powder, mainly large 8 LB jugs. The problem is they will sell it to us today but it will be 2 months or more before they can ship as they are so far behind. I have a hard time understanding this but it is the way things are these days.
 
Ruger announced today that they are 2 million guns behind and are planning to build a new plant, probably in Texas, this summer. Several of the other gun companies are well over 1 million guns behind and most can only put out 500 to 700 guns a day so catching up is pretty much out of the question. Two companies that seem to be at least somewhat able to keep up are Mossberg and Savage. Admittedly they don’t make handguns so they aren’t completely swamped with orders but they are experiencing a huge surge in sales. Every week we get shipments of rifles from Savage and shotguns from Mossberg (these were ordered back in December and January) and by the end of the week they are gone. And these are bolt action rifles and standard pump shotguns.
 
The industry is doing it’s best to swing people away from using the term “assault rifle” and also the term “AR-15”. They are trying to get people to use the term MSR for Modern Sporting Rifle. Even some ammo companies like Federal’s Fusion have come out with ammo labeled MSR ammo. These come, for the most part, in 223, 6.8, 308, and one or two others. I think they are whistling up a duck’s ass as AR-15 is a household word and will be hard to erase from our daily vocabulary. Plus MSR sounds to me like Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail, which has been around a long time.
 
Several more firearm companies have announced they are moving out of the northeast and out of California, most are moving to the South, a mostly union free area and right to work states, plus they are normally more pro gun than the states above the Mason-Dixon line. Magpul is already in the middle of their move as are several other companies. Beretta looks to be moving out of Massachusetts but I haven’t heard where yet. I am sure they haven’t made that decision yet as it isn’t a light decision to make. Ruger said today that they are not moving their New Hampshire plant which really surprised me. They said they would stay and fight the anti gun laws on a local and state level. I don’t think that is the wisest move but the decision is theirs to make. I wish them luck. Most of their semi autos are made here in Arizona so the rifles and revolvers they make in N.H. are at least keeping them low profile.
 
There are a few new guns and such that are being released but for the most part I haven’t seen very many of them yet. But we will go over some of them here in hopes of seeing more of them before summer. Glock pistols have been in short supply for months and one of the reasons for this is their many military and police contracts. Glock recently got a contract to build 25,000 Glock 17 Gen 4 pistols for the British military to use in Afghanistan. They were chosen for their dependability and accuracy under adverse conditions. 
 
The Belgium company FN has a new 45 that has just been released. This one is unusual in that it has gone back to a hammer firing system, and away from the striker firing system that has been the norm for years. It is a beefy pistol and feels solid in the hand. This one should do well. Speaking of new 45s, Ruger has added the SR45 to their line up of fine firearms. Their SR9 was and is one of the finest feeling handguns made. Somewhat like the Browning Hi Power in it’s feel to me, it manages to fit just about everyone’s hand. And that is an accomplishment. Their new LC380 is a good feeling pocket pistol too and at under 10 ounces will appeal to a lot of folks.
 
Magnum Research has revamped it’s super popular Desert Eagle. They know that movies sell guns so they have reworked their new Mark XIX model to look like one of the movie guns with a comp on the front of the barrel with side ports and the barrel has a full length picatinny rail for red dot or scope.
 
Henry Repeating Arms is back cranking out the guns again after being badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. From a shaky start they are now putting out thousands of guns a month. One of their recent months they put out almost 27,000 guns in one month. Turkey hunting is a growing sport and some of the companies are aiming a hefty portion of their product at this time of year. Mossberg is one of them with several  models of shotguns especially designed for turkey hunters. They have most recently come out with a lightened 20 gauge shotgun for smaller statured men and lady turkey hunters. This one, called the Bantam, has been out for a long time but recent modifications have made it even better for ladies and youngsters. In fact Mossberg is no longer calling this shotgun a “youth” shotgun as it is for ladies and small sized folks, and not just youngsters. They are now calling it their “compact Super Bantam”.
 
Taurus is constantly coming out with new firearms and 2013 is no exception. Their newest pistol is the FS series. This is a super compact in 380, 9mm and 45 ACP. The 380 FS is only 10 ounces with the 9mm and 45 being a bit heavier. Smith & Wesson has a new M&P out called the M&P C.O.R.E.. The C.O.R.E. stands for Competition Optics Ready Equipment and is ready for any of several competition based optics.
 
There is an unusual iPhone case that is out called the TactiCall. It is a metal casing around your iPhone 5 that has inside it a hawkbill blade that is 1.5” long. It is attached to the back of the case and the case becomes the handle for this little knife. You pop the back of the case off, push a button and you have a hawk bill knife blade ready to boogie. Oh yeah, it also has a bottle cap opener enclosed in it too. It comes in several colors. So if you have your iPhone, you are always ready for bear. or at least a pissed off Possum.
 
Ever worry about losing your gun case when traveling? I sure have and have wondered where in the world my guns and clothes were for 2 or 3 days after I got to Africa. Well now there is a company called TKL Trakr. It is a GPS and GSM enabled system to track your gear, no matter where it is. it is a small piece of equipment you put in your gun case and track it with your Smartphone. You can even set up a virtual boundary, say a circle a few miles on either side of the route you are taking. If the tracker moves out of that perimeter you are notified  immediately via text,or e-mail. You can even install it in your vehicle for a bit more protection.  It is available from TKL Outdoors.
 
Word is that Browning is coming out with another old Winchester Classic this year but I can’t seem to find out which one. In the past they have brought back the Model 1895, the 1886, the Model 12, the 1892 and several others. All have been very top of the line firearms and some of the nicest looking rifles and shotguns on the market. The guns are made in Browning’s Japanese plant and are absolutely top in quality and looks.
 
We haven’t mentioned Zombies yet this month so let’s get it over with. A company familiar with most shooters, Caldwell, has come out with Zombie targets that flake off when hit. Hit the head and blood red flakes off. Hit the body and you get green slime flakes. The targets are 18” X 12” so even the worst shot should have no problems making red flakes fly.
 
The popular military rifle sight, the EOTech has come out with a line of red dot sights for hunters. They are in camo and have a red circle and a dot in the center.  Most folks know that Redfield scopes are back. They were one of the top of the line scopes and spotting scopes back in the 60s thru the mid 90s before going out of business. A short while back Leupold bought them out and they are now building scopes, binocs and spotting scopes. They are really nice optics and I wouldn’t hesitate a bit putting one on any of my long guns. Hopefully they will put out a line of handgun scopes in the near future.
 
Not a lot of information for any of us this month. I think we are all holding our breath to see what Washington does next. Keep on top of things and stay knowledgeable of what is happening, but don’t let it keep you from enjoying the shooting sports or keep you from looking ahead to the fall and hunting seasons. All things will pass. And good Lord willing this one will too.
 
For more information on the ammo shortages, we received this from ATK, the company that owns CCI, Federal and Speer.
 
 
Until next time, take a lady or a youngster shooting. Remember, they are our future.
God bless,
Gary