Gary's Gun Notes #79

Over the last month I have seen a bit of change (I really hate using that word) in our shortages. Some people say the shortage is over, some say it is almost over. I really don't see either one happening quite yet. What I do see is a saturation point that has been reached.

Six months ago when Zero was anointed, overnight new companies cropped up selling AR-15s. Anyone that had access to a casting and CNC process immediately started making them. And people ordered them and ordered them and kept on ordering them. Now, it seems we are beginning to reach a saturation point. I am having our distributors call us with AR-15s on sale, with dealer prices actually lower than they were last December. One of our distributors who sells a lot of Barrett 50 caliber rifles called a couple of days ago with a sale on Barrett rifles. I really don't remember the last time I saw a sale on them.

The reason for this is that all the AR-15 manufacturers cranked up their assembly lines to 24/7 to keep up with demand. Now the saturation point has been reached and they aren't flying off the dealers shelves as quick, so they are beginning to backlog a bit, which causes sale prices. Those of you that want an AR-15 or one of the many clones, now is probably the time to buy one. 

I am seeing a drastic resupply of AR-15 uppers and lowers too, even those made by Colt, and Colt rifles and parts have never been readily available, until now. We received a flyer from one of our distributors today with a sale on AK-47s. Guns that were $850 to $950 in May are now back down to $650 to $700, and some with less accessories are even lower. 

There seems to be a large amount of semi auto pistols available now at decent prices. Glock pistols have never been easy to get, with all their police and military contracts. Now our distributors are calling us offering them to us at decent prices. Even some of the new 380 autos that were released over the past 2 or 3 months and were grabbed up like candy are being listed at sale prices. 

I am also hearing that the shortage of ammo, powder and primers is over or almost so. The answer to that in a word is "NO". That is not true. Yes, some of the powder numbers and some small amounts of powder are becoming available again but again it is the saturation point that has been reached, not a point where we are caught up. 

Ammunition is still extremely hard to get, especially handgun calibers. We have over 10,000 rounds of handgun ammo still on back order and we see maybe 8 to 12 boxes dribble in each week. Most standard hunting rifle ammunition is available but probably 90% of that is store stock that was left over from last year and stock that was still on the distributors shelves as of January 1st. We may see a bit of a shortage of hunting ammo yet this fall, as powder supplies and primer supplies are still behind normal. Those that shoot the unusual calibers in your hunting rifles would be wise to stock up a couple of extra boxes for this hunting season, just in case. 

One of the shooting industry magazines does a survey every week and e-mails the dealers with the results of that survey. By their findings, powder and primers are still much higher than this time last year. Here are the averages...

Primers are averaging $55 to $65 per thousand retail, small rifle a bit more. The prices that were there 6 to 8 weeks ago are still there, prices near $100 a thousand, but nobody is buying at those prices. Some of the big box stores that carry primers have them less than $40 a thousand. They can sell at these prices because they ordered back at the first of the year and literally ordered millions of them, plus they ship them in their own trucks and pay no Haz Mat fees. But at these prices, especially at these prices, they sell out quickly. Our distributors sell them to us at around $42 to $48 a thousand and by the time we pay the Haz Mat fees and shipping charges, we are selling them for $5.50 to $5.95 a hundred and still limiting them to 2 packs per day. The rationing is mainly because we still cannot resupply with just a phone call. We received an invoice today that we have about 15,000 primers on the way to us. But they were ordered in May and they are costing us $42 a thousand. . 

Powder is running the gamut from a low average of $28 to $29 a pound to over $85 a pound.

For instance, the less sought after brands, like H-380, Rel. 10, some of the shotgun powders, (especially the trap and skeet powders) along with some of the AA powders are running $28 to $30 a pound.

The more sought after numbers, like Varget, BLC2, 748, 4895 and several others that are used in 308, 223, 30-06 etc are still up there ranging from $40 to $70 a pound. The extremely high prices, such as the $90 and $100 a pound many were going for 6 weeks ago are not there anymore. There are still rip off artists on gunbroker offering 5 and 8 pound kegs for $55 to $80 a pound but nobody is bidding. So, like the firearms, the shortage is still there but the saturation point has been reached. Those that felt they needed an extra 5 to 8 pounds of their favorite powders have now filled that need and are not buying more. 

A month or so ago there was a bill in congress to ban all knives that were assisted opening knives, in other words, the knives with the button on the blade to let you open it with one hand. The U.S. Border Patrol was trying to ban them, clumping all them under the switchblade category. Thankfully some common sense prevailed and the bill was quashed. But the damage was done. All of a sudden knife carriers figured, "if they are thinking of banning them, maybe I should buy one or two of my favorites while I can". And so the rush started. It hasn't gone full bore yet and may not as word of the bill being dropped reaches everyone, but we are getting 100 times more calls for specialty knives than ever before. Any knife that can be lumped into the "Tactical" category is highly sought after. So you better join the herd and rush out and buy 12 or 14, just in case. 

Here is some news in general, some new, some a couple of weeks old. Knight rifles is gone, closed the doors. The company that started the in line craze and an all new type of black powder rifle finally was passed up by newer companies with newer designs and newer styles. 

Dakota Arms, which has been in dire straits for a year or two has been bought out by Remington. Remington is quickly becoming a huge conglomerate named The Freedom Group, owning DPMS, Bushmaster and now Dakota Arms plus several smaller accessory companies. 

Expect 2009 to be known as the year of (among other things) gimmicks. With millions of people buying guns for the first time, there is a whole new crop of suckers ripe for fleecing, and the firearms industry has more than it's share of fleecers. The gun shows are 75% gimmicks these days. Buy with care. 

Oh yes, in case you keep up with these tidbits of information, 2009 is also the year of "Titty Pink". Everything from flashlights, to mace canisters, to pepper spray canisters, to camo clothes (pink camo because most animals are color blind), to pink handguns, rifles and shotguns. Everywhere you look it's titty pink. Charter Arms has a revolver they call the Pink Lady, guess what color it is? Remington has an 870 shotgun in hot pink, several AR-15s are solid titty pink, even the magazines, a couple of companies have pink semi autos (in 25 and 32 caliber of course), a couple of models of derringers are in pink, several 22 caliber rifles are in pink, and the list goes on and on. This should make some of the folks in northern California real happy. 

For the first time in a good while Glock has revamped their handguns. They added new style cocking serrations on the rear of the slide and a whole new designed grip. The finish has been made a bit classier recently too, getting away from the drabness of old. 

Here a while back a friend took an animal with a black powder handgun. He went to register it in the Safari Book record book and they told him there was no category for black powder handguns. This sparked a bit of interest in me. I have taken about all the critters I can afford with my regular centerfire handguns. I currently have almost 20 that are #1 and 37 total in the top 10 in the record book. So where do I go from here? I won't stop hunting as that is my life, but maybe a different handgun? In the last month I have bought 2 handguns in black powder, an encore 50 caliber BP barrel and a TC Scout 50 caliber BP handgun. These might just turn out to be my Viagra of handguns and spark a bit of excitement in my hum drum existence. It must be working as I keep having dreams of a big water buffalo bull with one of them. I'll keep you posted.

Til next time, take a youngster shooting!

God Bless,


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