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Old January 4, 2013, 10:12 AM   #1
rajbcpa
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Tell me about the 2008 primer shortage

I've looked at a dozen Internet cites and ALL primers are out-of-stock. My local gun stores have not had SPP since last August.

Although I have reloaded since 1975, I was not actively involved in the hobby during the last shortage in 2008. Please tell me, what happended:

* What caused the 2008 primer shortage; was this after Obama was elected?
* How long did it last?
* What was the long term impact on prices?
* Did it impact the sale price and avalability of completed commercial ammo?
* Was this a worldwide shortage or just US manufacturors?
* Did this impact sales of other supplies - brass, bullets, powder, reloading presses, etc?
* Did manufacturors increase production?
* How did you know the shortage was starting to ease; did this ocuur from supplies becoming avalable from large Internet suppliers or your local gun stores?

...just wondering how this is likely to play out - Thanks...
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:02 AM   #2
hounddawg
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same way it played out in 2009 and 2005. January through August primers will be scarce and by September all will be normal. I figure by February our dysfunctional Congress will have passed exactly nothing but gas and the paranoids will have enough primers on their bench to last till their grandkids start reloading then things can start to get back to normal

oh and the fools that have bankrupted their 401K's to buy 1000 dollar AR's for double the price will be kicking their own behinds black and blue
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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I read an article in the Army Times that said most of the shortages in reloading supplies had actually begun by late 2005. This was because the Army's ammunition stockpiles had been depleted, resulting in them having to cancel some training operations to be sure of having adequate supplies for the soldiers in combat. They ordered something like an extra 4 billion rounds (IIR the number correctly) of ammunition above their normal demand for 2006. That was in addition to the 1 to 1.5 billion round annual capacity of the Lake City plant.

Additionally, competition with China had caused metals prices to climb significantly. Sierra commented that raw materials they had stockpiled and expected to last one to two years (because reloading sales had been in something of a slump up to that point), were depleted in just the first three months of 2006. That was both due to supplying military orders and due to civilian hoarder purchases. That meant they had to buy raw materials at high prices instead of waiting for a market dip, as they normally did. That caused the price of their bullets to shoot up, causing even more panic buying.

Same as with bullets, primer capacity was consumed. CCI decided to set up an additional line, but I've forgotten when the actually got it on line. Mid-2007, maybe. Then came the 2008 election, stimulating still more panic buying. That died down, but not 100%, as gun sales have stayed higher than before the 2008 election. Every time another public shooting incident occurs, there's another buying surge. The current one is probably the greatest I've seen because the threat of mindless laws being passed just so someone can say they've done "something", even if it's purely symbolic in effect.

Then, on top of all that, this article says the Army is replenishing supplies yet again. So, a perfect storm.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:46 AM   #4
old roper
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I get on the BR site and before Obama was elected there were some post about Fed 205 hard to get. I don't call it hoarding but I started to stock up and I warned few buddies there was going to be a shortage.

What happened wasn't the first time shortage on primers and price increase only difference this time was the amount of increase same with bullets.

You can always point a finger as to why but what good does that do it's not going to drop the price.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:00 PM   #5
Mike Irwin
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There were a LOT of discussions here regarding what was going on with primers around that time. You may want to run some searches.

As Unclenick alludes, it was something of a perfect storm.

The military put such a huge demand on primer manufacturers that at least one of them actually several lines to make only primers for the military. That put a crimp in civilian production.

Obama and Hillary Clinton were the front runners for the nomination, which got a lot of people very nervous and in buying mode.

Obama was elected, which put people into a white-eyed buying anything even remotely gun related frenzy.

Another element that also put pressure on primer supply was the incredibly high demand for loaded ammunition of all types.

The manufacturers were diverting much of what primer production they had left to fulfill orders for loaded ammunition.

A complete cartridge brings them more profit than components, primarily because the demand for loaded ammo greatly outstrips the demand for components.


What I found to be TRULY annoying about the primer and ammo shortages of that time was the amount of brainless, mouth-breathing conspiracy theory screeching that was going on.

Just completely silly crap that had no basis in reality, and which only served to get people even MORE panicky and MORE in the mood to buy 100,000 primers when their yearly usage never was more than 3,000 or 4,000.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:02 PM   #6
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I should say the "hoarding" is a relative term. It probably has to be defined in terms of your normal rate of consumption for the amount of shooting you do. If people who never bought components more than a year ahead in the past suddenly start buying two years ahead, that will create extra demand and probably a short term shortage. But if they jump from two years ahead to buying 20 years worth of supplies just to keep rather than use, or if they buy large orders to sell it off at a scalper's premium, then I expect they can be thought of as hoarding without too much fear of contradiction.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:26 PM   #7
lamarw
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I seem to recall it took me about four months to get my order of primers. They were backordered at Powder Valley but still accepting orders. Shortly after I placed my order, they stopped taking orders until they caught up.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:33 PM   #8
hounddawg
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if I found primers for a 10.00 a thousand I would stockpile 20 years worth but otherwise a year or so is more than enough for me to ride out the paranoia. Anyway I built my primer stock up back in August and a week or two back did the same with my .223 plinking bullets
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Old January 4, 2013, 04:14 PM   #9
g.willikers
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Didn't the same thing happen in the early '90s, due to Desert Storm and the coming elections with candidate Clinton?
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Old January 4, 2013, 05:10 PM   #10
old roper
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Like I said I didn't consider it hoarding it was a smart buy. At some point I'll have to buy new primers at higher cost but until that happens I made pretty good return on my investments in primers sure couldn't get that any place else.

How many buy bulk bullets to save? Myself I buy to save money doesn't bother me if they last one year or ten when they run out or close to I'll buy more.
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Old January 4, 2013, 05:19 PM   #11
m&p45acp10+1
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I remember the shortage. It kept me from getting started in reloading. Then I found someone that had primers, and a reloading kit to trade for all the brass that I had for trade. It took 3 months to find someone with primers. I saw several guys at gun shows selling bricks of Wolf, and Tula primers for $50 to $80 per thousand. I waited because I would not give my money to the scalpers. They were the same guys in the line at WalMart when the sporting goods counter was able to start selling ammo. They were lined up like the smurfs to buy it all up so that nobody else could buy any. Then when they went to the gun show they saw someone had some, and would pay the at least tripled price for it.

The thing that was worse than the hoarders were the ones opritunist. They were buying up everything just to gouge the price to the unknowing. I see a few that still have booths at a few gun shows. I refuse them my patronage. I saw their practices, and will not forget them. They are the same type that have super high prices, with a big sign that read "Beat The Ban."
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Old January 5, 2013, 02:31 AM   #12
Sevens
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I'd been handloading for many years before '08 but had really ramped it up in the 2-3 years just before. I had been buying primers by the thousand, usually at retail in a gun store whenever I found them.

In the spring/summer of '08, I figured it was time to stop fooling around and pony up the hazmat fee and make a "big" order of them. Put like...gun money in to a primer buy since I knew the darn things don't go stale. Buy a slew and quit having to shop for them.

Well, I never got around to it. Or maybe I kept balking at dropping $500 on primers. Either way, I never actually made my order. Then November happened and when every guy with a hundred bucks in America was buying a stripped lower, I made my primer order with Graf's.

I just missed the bus. They sold out and I started my wait.

I could look at my records to see what the final result was, but IIRC, it was 11 months before I got my order.

I've never ran low on primers since. Not even close. Not even close to close. I've never even approached being close to getting nearly close to being in the range of running low on primers since.

It's funny when you find yourself knee deep in "SOME" kind of event. In retrospect, when you look back, it seems vivid, you remember what it felt like, the helpless feeling, and you kind of look back a bit smug and say, "pffft, I was stupid back then and eventually, the stuff came back in stock with a vengeance. It was horrible in the moment but there was no 'long term' and we panicked a lot for nothing."

But that's the hindsight. It doesn't seem like rational thinking when you -ARE- in the middle of it to just say, "this too shall pass."
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Old January 5, 2013, 08:33 AM   #13
Mike Irwin
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Those of us who have been doing this for awhile also remember that there was a primer shortage in the 1990s, that ran from about 1992 to about 1994/1995.

Part of that was driven by a Democrat who didn't like guns sitting in the White House, and it got worse when the first Assault Weapons Bill passed into law in 1994, but it calmed down pretty quickly after that.
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Old January 5, 2013, 10:20 PM   #14
Sevens
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I started before that, but allocated that particular time in history to drinking beer and playing cards and other typical buffoonery of my age.

Started handloading in high school and did it a bit in the years that followed before I suspended it for a bit. All the stuff I put in storage was good to go when I grew up.
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Old January 8, 2013, 02:44 PM   #15
johnjohn
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I had just started reloading in the 90's when that shortage hit,talk about an enthusiasm killer. Things got back to normal fairly quickly. But with this bunch of clowns in Washington I'm kinda' worried.
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