This has been one of the most baffling times I think I have spent in this industry. I keep thinking this panic buying will ease up next week or maybe the week after, but it just keeps on. In fact if anything it is even worse as far as the ammo and reloading gear is concerned. Colleen made a big order for reloading dies, accessories and such recently and almost every set of dies was back ordered. Shell holders are not to be found and are backordered, as are reloading presses, and all the necessary items that go along with them. We had an extremely large supply of primers when this started, well over 100,000 but are now down to about 15,000 and no hope of getting anymore anytime soon. We knew this was coming is some fashion, but expected it to be about like the last panic buying spree when Obama was first elected. We were wrong. It is many times worse. We ordered  many many thousands of dollars worth of ammo with shipping dates of Jan. 1st, Feb. 1st and Feb 15th. Most of that has now come in (what they actually had in stock) and mostly all gone and  from here on out it is going to get hairy. We had about 50,000 rounds of 22 LR ordered with instructions to ship it somewhere around Jan. 15th, figuring that would hold us thru the rush. We were wrong. That has come and gone. I posted an offer to buy any 22 LR ammo, still in the factory boxes on our forum recently with an offer to either buy it or offer double what it was worth toward custom work. That flopped. We had about 25 offers, of which only 3 were accepted. Most were wanting $100 to $120 for one brick of 22 LR ammo, 500 rounds of 22 ammo for $120. Absolutely crazy. The main object these days seems to be gouge, gouge, gouge. I had a lady stop in the gun shop early yesterday before Colleen or Noodle got there and she said they had driven over from eastern New Mexico, hitting every gun shop on the way and found no 22 LR, no 9mm, no 223, very little 40 S&W and very little 45 acp. She found no 7.62 X 39 or 308. I normally try to limit everyone to 2 boxes so it will last longer and more people can at least get a little, but I let her have about twice what I usually do. We had ammo in all those calibers, but very little of it. And no hope of getting any more anytime soon.
This is a very very strange  time in American history with law enforcement officers refusing to obey the law if the government passes any gun control laws. Several of those officers are saying it would be the first shot in the second American civil war if they try to force them to confiscate guns or ammunition. It is a strange and scary time in America. And I see no let up anytime soon.
In the custom gun department, we continue to be way behind. I had an older fellow call to ask about us doing action jobs on some of his Rugers and S&Ws. I told him no problem and the turnaround time would be about a month. He said he had called 4 other custom gun guys and had been quoted 6 months or more for just action jobs. As far as receiving parts in, that is going extremely slow. I ordered 11 barrels Feb 4th of last year. I got 1 barrel of that 11 in last Friday, and these are not unusual calibers either. The most unusual was a 375 caliber to make a 375 H&H rifle out of. It had been ordered for well over a year. As many of you know I have had to drop 4 of our most popular series due to parts shortages. I dropped the Mastodon, the Skorpion, the Stealth Hawk and the new Brute, all built on Ruger double action revolvers. I hope we can eventually add them back to the line up as they are extremely popular. In the meantime we continue to be behind with a few guns going out each week. In normal times at least one gun would go out every day, these days, maybe 2 a week. I have 8 guys working in my shop and over 3000 square feet of machine shop, but with the extreme shortage of parts, I have dozens of guns 90% finished just waiting on a $25 part.
Kase has had to drop 4 or 5 of his series of custom 1911s, also due to extremely long delivery times. One place that he has been getting custom slides and frames made to his specs that had a 3 month delivery back in the fall is now projecting a year or more for delivery. Several of our distributors have some of the items we need in stock but they are so backlogged it is 3 weeks or more from the time we order until they can ship the item. And one place is quoting 6 to 8 weeks just to ship the item.
Companies like that sell bulk powder, brass and bullets is out of everything, and they get military and government surplus powder and bullets along with once fired brass from government agencies and law enforcement agencies, and normally have well over a million rounds of once fired brass in stock at any one time...but they are out of everything. Just before Christmas we had a bit over 20,000 rounds of once fired 223 brass, today we have maybe 200 rounds left. We had probably 15,000 rounds of once fired 45 acp, today we are out. We had 25,000 rounds of once fired 40 S&W brass, today we have about 1000 rounds left. And the list goes on and on.
It isn't just brass, reloading supplies and ammo people are grabbing up. Firearms of every type are being grabbed up, revolvers and bolt action rifles too. The last time this happened just the semi autos and mainly the AR-15s and such were being grabbed up. Today it is everything. Colleen got 11 new handguns in yesterday. Today they are all gone except for 2 of them, and over half of them were revolvers. She got a large shipment of the new Savage Axis rifles that sell well all the time, but normally not as much when the hunting seasons are over. Today I think there are 2 or 3 of them left. Rimfire rifles in 22 LR or Magnum are non existent with some Ruger 10-22s going for as much as $600 at gun shows. Who would ever have thought there would be a black market on Ruger 10-22 rifles?
People come in the shop daily saying, “boy I bet you are glad Obama is in office. He is the best salesman you ever had”. They just don't realize what they are babbling about. I expect a good percentage of the small gun shops to be out of business by summer. If they can't get stock to sell, they make no money and it takes money to stay in business.
But I guess the news isn't all bad. More and more people that never owned guns before are buying them and taking courses on the safe use of them. This just makes the gun owners numbers rise almost daily, and the more people that have guns, the stronger we are. A religious group put out a video this week talking about how the NRA had helped the black people thru the years and had helped arm the freed slaves after the Civil War. It is a good video..  Check it out and pass it along. You can bet the news media will not do so.
Some of the new items that we MIGHT find available in the near future are the new Winchester 1873. It is not something new but the return of the old model 1873 but even nicer than the old original. The only thing I find lacking in this one is the caliber. Right now it is only slated to be chambered in 357 magnum. The folks at Magnum Research, the Desert Eagle folks, have a new 1911 coming out  and it is called, ...are you ready for this...the Desert Eagle 1911. Every product they make that I can think of has the name Desert Eagle on it. Seems to be some imagination lacking there somewhere. Armscor, the company that makes the Rock Island 1911s, along with all the ATI 1911s and Iver Johnson, along with High Standard 1911s is staying extremely busy making fine 1911s at very decent prices. They are available in limited quantities but if you want a good 1911 at a reasonable price, check any of these out. Rock Island also has a new 10mm 1911 called the Tactical VZ 1911. It looks very nice, and there is a big void out there in 10mm 1911s. This one should do well.
This spring and summer, expect the word TURBO to be in vogue. It seems every maker of reloading gear or cleaning gear has a new TURBO gun cleaning unit out. Also add in there the word SONIC, as in ultra-sonic and so on. These are big metal containers that you put whole guns in less the grips or stocks, and it “ultrasonically cleans the guns with it's TURBO action”. These gizmos are not cheap either. Some I have seen are in the $2500 to $3000 range and they claim they clean 2 or 3 guns at once. Hell, if this keeps up, I may have to start cleaning my guns, just to be in style....nah.
Shotguns are almost as prevalent these days as AR-15s, at least they are being advertised as such, yet if you want one you are S.O.L. Kase has had a special combat shotgun in the design stages for a couple of months but even finding the base guns is a tedious undertaking. Plus all the special parts he needs to build them are out of stock. Still, he should have at least a prototype gun to show here fairly soon. It will be built on the customer's Remington 870 or Mossberg 590.
Kase sold one of his favorite small frame revolvers a while back, the 2 1/2” S&W Model 19 in 357 Magnum. He decided he wanted to get one back and almost passed out when he saw the prices they are fetching these days. A well used Model 19 from the late 70s or early 80s is selling for $600 and up, with ones in like new condition going for almost $1000. WHY??? They are great little guns but $1000?  Colleen has a nice little 2 1/2” S&W model 66 in 357 magnum, the stainless version of the Model 19 and they are regularly going for well over $1000 in like new condition.
I was looking at a new ad in a flyer we received from High Standard recently about all their guns they planned to have at the SHOT SHOW and felt a bit sorry for them. They had their own AR-15 called the Enforcer, their own AK-47, several 22 semi autos and of course their new 1911 called the Custom Carry 1911. Every item they had is in jeopardy if the witch Feinstein has her way. Another flyer was from Mossberg promoting their new MVP which I think stands for Mossberg Varmint Predator rifle. The eye catching part of the ad was..”uses the readily available AR-15 magazines”....Yeah right. Beretta's Buckmark 22 pistol is slated to be released in stainless this year and their age old A-5 is due out in 2 shades of camo finish.
Several companies are coming out with ammunition listed as having “sealed primers for long term storage”..hmmm. Federal American Eagle is getting ready for all the folks that have suppressors or have done the paperwork for them with a new line of ammo especially for suppressed weapons. it comes in 22 LR, 9mm, 45 ACP, and one or two others. Several companies are also stressing that their personal defense ammo will pass thru various barriers like car windows, sheetrock walls etc. Do they know something we don't?
RCBS has a new press called the Summit Single Stage which is quite different. The whole press sits on the bench and the handle moves up. The brass stays in one position and the die comes down to the case. A really strange looking press. Completely different from anything I have seen in years. But if it is anything like the other RCBS presses, it will be the standard from which a lot of others will be modeled.
This is being written on Tuesday night and one week from today, good Lord willing, Kase and I will be on the road heading for the March HHC in Monterey Tennessee. This hunt, like all our HHCs promises to be another great hunt. Lots of critters scattered over a 15,000 acre area. From all the exotic sheep and deer, to huge 9X9 and 8X9 and 10X10 bull elk, to Bison, to Water buffalo and Yaks and many many more and all at about half to one third of what all the other preserves charge. We should have a goodly amount of hunters there but there is always room for more. At this stage of the game, don't worry about a deposit, just show up. It will be March 7 thru 10 at the Wilderness Hunting Lodge in Monterey Tennessee. If you fly in you would fly into Nashville and rent a car and drive about 90 minutes out of Nashville in I-40 to Monterey. You can see more of the lodge at Consider this my invitation to you to grab a buddy or  family member and join us there for another great hunt.
Until next time,. remember, all the news isn't bad. We are still free men as long as we have our guns. This week, take a youngster or lady shooting. They are our future.
God bless,