COVID hoarding hits ammunition supplies

Coronavirus

(KELO) — It’s an issue hunters and gun enthusiasts have run into many times before, but this year, an ammo shortage just continues to get worse.

“We try to sell ammo, but that’s been a challenge in 2020. It’s very, very hard to find ammo,” said South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance Executive Director Brian Phelps. 

The gun range at the Alliance is now limiting ammo purchases when people come to use the range. 

“We’ll limit them to one box of ammunition vs. the normal 300 to 500 rounds,” Phelps said. 

That’s because replacing some of those rounds is nearly impossible right now.

“Our guys will sit online and work with our manufacturers, and as soon as they see ammo available, they’re hitting buy. It goes that quick once it’s available,” Phelps said. 

Right now, there’s no end in sight to this tight market. 

“We’ve been talking with major manufacturers, for example, Magtech, which is one of the big ammo producers in the country. They’re telling us that they are on backorder throughout the rest of the year, throughout the rest of 2020,” Phelps said. 

While they’ve dealt with ammo shortages plenty of times before, usually during election years, this year’s shortage is different.

“It’s more of the COVID, the social unrest and the high demand, people hoarding and stocking up similar to the toilet paper scenario with COVID, people just wanting to make sure they have enough,” Phelps said. 

Usually, that only applies to personal protection ammo, but right now, even hunting ammunition could be impacted.

“Usually shotgun shells are around, they’re plentiful, but we had another manufacturer telling us it’s the parts to make the ammunition … the primers are on a one-year backorder,” Phelps said. 

South Dakota Game Fish and Parks says they’re not too worried about the ammo shortage impacting this year’s hunting season because most hunters are already well-stocked.

“I’m an avid hunter as well,” Phelps said. “If I’m like most people, I have a pretty good supply of ammunition already at my house to get me through the season,”

If you find ammo in stock at a retailer, be prepared for the higher price tag.  Phelps says a few years ago, 1,000 rounds of 9 mm ammo was about $200. Now, it costs more than $700.

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