If anything this past month has been more insane than the month before. This past weekend we again had wall to wall folks from California and Phoenix with a couple from Utah coming in looking for ammo, reloading supplies, guns and anything else they saw. The ammo manufacturers are now well over 1.1 billion rounds of ammo behind and the gun manufacturers somewhere around 1.1 million guns back ordered.

Like last month and the several months before that our ordering possibilities are very few, just like all the gun shops in the country. We have to wait on back orders to come in which takes months. We also get calls every morning from our distributors letting us know what guns they got in overnight (which are usually very few) and they will let us take one or two and if we are lucky they will have a few boxes of ammo we can get.

I have had folks tell me the ammo and gun rush isnít as bad as the 22 caliber shortage of a few years back. I agree. It is not like that. It is 10 times worse. Now everything is out of stock. We got in a Ruger 5.56 AR-15 today that was ordered in October. We got a note that a case of 300 Win Mag ammo we ordered back in September was finally on the way. Now that all the hunting seasons are over, that will be a big seller. But any ammo is better than none.

Our distributors are telling us their shelves are bare and things are getting even tighter. That could pose a real problems for small gun shops. Thanks the Lord we have our custom guns (11 safes full of customerís guns to convert). And I still have all my guys working trying to stay as little behind as possible. That in itself is almost impossible as chemicals for our refinishing are way back ordered as are almost any part you might need for building a gun. Even the large parts warehouses are posting ďout of stockĒ on just about everything. We build all our own grips from scratch and the scratch is getting scarce.

I talked to two of my good friends a while back that are custom gun guys. They being Hamilton Bowen and John Linebaugh. Both are way behind but are using common sense and getting guns done as they can. They are not panicking or rushing things to get that gun to the customer a month earlier than their schedule allows. And we are in the same boat. I have 5 guys working for me and we can only do so much each day. I wonít rush them and have a gun go out the door less than 100%. I have posted on my site for the folks to please not call asking about their guns. We will get them out as quick as we can. We donít get paid until that gun ships so I would like to get the custom guns to the customers too.

Things are tough in the regular gun shop due to the total shortages but even with all these downsides we still keep trucking along. Most of our customers are patient which helps a lot. I still spend at least a couple of hours a day explaining to folks why their gun is running 6 months or more behind. But it seems to be getting better I just get my butt chewed out 3 or 4 times a day now whereas a few months ago it was one phone call after another.

One thing that does bother me is the old guys (mainly) that come in spouting off that the ammo companies are getting paid off by the Democrats to hold ammo back and for gouging the buyer with prices sometimes 500% over retail. They claim our distributors are the main gougers and on and on. That my friend is total bullshit. Yes the prices have gone up a bit. The ammo manufacturers have added a third shift trying to keep up with the demands (which isnít happening by the way) and are running 24/7 in most cases. That means their bottom line requires a small rise in prices. A box of 9mm that was around $17 or $18 a box a year ago is now running $23 to $24 a box. We sell it at $29.95 and that for sure isnít gouging from the manufacturer, the distributor or our shop. One shop that I know of in Phoenix is selling 9mm ammo at a minimum of $50 a box. One explanation for the shortages is that there are somewhere around 8 million new gun owners and they are buying as much ammo as they can. One of our dealer magazines (that is totally way behind on their information) said that the average gun owner that has been a gun guy or lady for years buys something from his gun shop usually once a week. The new folks are running scared and are gong in their local gun shop every day to pick up ammo, or reloading supplies or whatever they can get their hands on. If each of those new 8 million gun owners buys 100 rounds of ammo a couple of times a week that really adds up. Not blaming them but now that they are a gun owner they feel the panic and the need to stock up on ammo every chance they get. But we canít blame them. The blame for all this rests on the shoulders of the gougers. Pure and simple.

The gougers are the guys that are at Sportsmanís Warehouse, or Walmart or Cabelas at opening on the morning they get their weekly shipment of ammo. They are the guys that buy the ammo at $20 a box and sell it on the internet at $80 to $100 a box. A solution to that is for those big box stores to vary their shipment dates, or even wait until mid afternoon to put it on the shelf. The gougers know exactly when that ammo is going to be unloaded and they are waiting like the vultures they are. There is a solution to these gougers but the big box stores have to be willing to take the first step.

The gun manufacturers are sending out brochures daily telling of the new products they will have for spring and summer varmint hunting. Unfortunately very few of these are actually in stock at the distributors.

At a local gun show recently ammo was running $1 to $2 a round, primers were $350 to $500 a brick and so on. Gun powder is at a premium right now as are primers and the gougers are having a field day. You can look on gunbroker on the internet and easily see the gougers and scam artists. The scam artists are getting bolder, advertising all over the internet. They say they have ammo in bulk but they donít take credit cards so please send a cashierís check. Then 2 months later when you still havenít received that ammo you find the phone number has been changed. And you just got scammed.

I apologize for the negative content of this Gun Notes but these are the cold hard facts. Not any rumors or conjecture or wishful hoping, just the facts. Good Lord willing we will make it thru this mess. The passage will hurt a lot of us but we will make it thru .

Til the next time, donít spend too much time and ammo out target shooting as you might not be able to replace it. But if you do go out shooting, take a lady or youngster along. They are our future.

God bless,