Ammunition manufacturers are not adding capacity. They think this run on ammo is temporary. So, buyers cannot buy it.
The buyers want it. Retail sellers are imposing rationing: limits on purchases.
There is no let-up in sight.
Ammunition manufacturers are reporting record profits and sales, with increases that number in the double and sometimes triple digits. Olin, which owns Winchester, reported last week the company’s first quarter earnings climbed 190 percent over the same period last year. Federal Premium Ammunition’s annual earnings for ammunition last year climbed 24 percent over 2011.
“Our sales are only limited by the amount we can produce,” said Joseph Rupp, Olin chairman and chief executive officer in a conference call last Friday.
Ammunition manufacturers are struggling to make enough and have hundreds of millions of dollars in backorders. They’ve added hundreds of employees and equipment and increased overtime, and, in some cases, are running factories around the clock. Producers have posted notes on all their web sites assuring customers they are working as fast as they can.
The demand is coming from existing gun owners. There may be an increase at the margin from new owners of guns. But the percentage of gun owners in the U.S. is below 40%.