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Old February 14, 2013, 07:01 PM   #1
Dragline45
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Why Cant Companies Keep Up With Magazine Demands?

Why is it that gun companies cant at least keep up with magazine demands? A magazine is a relatively simple thing, they should be able to pump them out by the thousands each day. Every website is out of stock and not accepting back orders. Hire extra workers, offer overtime incentives, temporarily raise the prices of mags if need be. But for over a month I haven't seen any websites change their inventory status on magazines. I grabbed what I could when I could, but even then pickings were slim. You would think with the threat of high cap mag bans on the horizon they would be producing and selling them like hot cakes.
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Old February 14, 2013, 07:47 PM   #2
hardworker
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Tooling up machinery, hiring workers, procuring materials, all cost money and time. Ramping up production haphazardly would be a QC nightmare. A factory isn't a lawnmower, you can't just dump fuel to it to speed it up.
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Old February 14, 2013, 08:01 PM   #3
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Some of the issues may come from their suppliers and their abilities to get materials. If a supplier can't get them the materials they need to make the things....what can they do?

Yes magazines are such simple things, but there are alot of things that go on behind the scenes in the industrial world. I have heard brass mfg's will only run certain sizes of brass for so many months of the year. If the supply runs out before the next run on those sizes you are pretty out of luck til the next time around. I would not be surprised if part makers ran in a similiar fashion, only making full size mag 9mm followers this month, compact size mag .40 followers next month, and so on.

The machinery to make the magazine and all of their parts are only capable of so much. Just buy new machines then right? Some companies did after the last big scare in 08/09, but keep in mind...machinery is not cheap, floor space may be limited or non-existant. I know when we have had to order new metal saws at work, we were told 15-18 week lead time til they would be delivered. Its not like walking into Walmart and buying a DVD, this is specialized equipment and as such is generally not readily available. Expecting companies to invest heavily to make magazines that could be banned a year from now is just plain crazy. Say everything dies down without a ban, eventually sales will go back to a much lower rate. They would need the mag sales to remain high to get their return on investment. On the other hand if a ban does happen, how many people are gonna start stockpiling those shiny new 10 rounders...enough to help that company recoup the cost of adding new equipment to keep up with the temporary high demand for hi cap mags?

Do you really think they aren't trying to get new units out the door. They know right now there is a PILE of cash to be had to whoever can supply the market. Even if they do manage to put out thousands of mags each day, there are how many people looking to purchase those up. Thats not including the people who are buying up everything they can just to mark up the price and re-sell.

Nobody could have foreseen the tragedies leading up to all this madness. As far as the gun companies, mag companies were concerned it was business as usual up til that point, their production levels were keeping up with demand. Sure had they known demand was going to take off they could have built up huge inventories....but nobody saw this coming. When/if this madness dies down and store shelves are stocked again, just remember how much it sucked when you couldn't find anything. Start buying things then, tuck them away someplace warm, and the next time some scare comes along you won't be paying $75 for a Pmag and $1+ per round of .223.
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Old February 14, 2013, 08:16 PM   #4
BigD_in_FL
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I grabbed what I could when I could,
Because there are another million-plus folks like you doing the same thing - buying more than they normally would and causing the whole shortage in the first place
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Old February 14, 2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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I can't tell you about production of magazines specifically, but I have been on one end or the other of various manufacturing processes for 35 years. What we are mostly dealing with is probably injection molding like Magpul PMAGs. I have not worked around injection molding now for several years, but lets just say for simplicitys sake that a molding machine makes 8 mag halves per cycle, or four complete magazine shells. Say it takes one minute per cycle to close the mold, inject the heated material, press for whatever predetermined time, cool the material enough to retain its shape, open the mold, and eject the parts. That is 240 mags per hour, 5760 per 24 hour day if you don't have breakdowns, have to change out molds, or have three of your operators take the day off to watch NASCAR. Then they have to put in the internal parts and assemble. That sounds like a lot until you take the demand you are seeing in your area and multiply it by thousands. There are a lot of molding machines around that can be subcontracted to make parts, but the mold itself that forms the specific parts are very expensive and time consuming to produce and you don't do that for a temporary rush on the product, especially if that product has a chance of going from legal to contraban at the whim of a bunch of idiots. I suspect the metal mags are stamped out and also require a mold to form them. Then you have to get all of your suppliers to suddenly double or triple your normal demand, once again not knowing how long it will last, or if it could stop completely in the near future. Its one thing to invest whats needed if the volume is likely to continue in the foreseeable future, but quite another if its temporary. One component delayed in shipment can bring everything else to a standstil on the factory floor.
And dont get me started on being able to find temporary workers that are capable of getting themselves out of bed and dressed more than two days in a row. The good old American work ethic has become extremly rare especally at the low pay entry level, I guess they are all holding out for a "managment position". You can run your good employees into the ground with overtime and increased demands, and they too are wondering if the job will even be there in six months. You end up with FNGs running, and tearing up your equipment, more OSHA reportable accidents, Workmans Comp, and Lawsuits.
Its just not always worth it to try to keep up with a temporary increase in demand. So they just try to keep it going at full capacity until they catch up with the demand.
A small, lean manufacturing operation like Magpul can put out a lot of product but they don't have a lot of wiggle room to turn up the volume. Hope this helps explain some things.
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Old February 14, 2013, 08:58 PM   #6
flyinpolack
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Why is it that gun companies cant at least keep up with magazine demands? A magazine is a relatively simple thing, they should be able to pump them out by the thousands each day. Every website is out of stock and not accepting back orders. Hire extra workers, offer overtime incentives, temporarily raise the prices of mags if need be. But for over a month I haven't seen any websites change their inventory status on magazines. I grabbed what I could when I could, but even then pickings were slim. You would think with the threat of high cap mag bans on the horizon they would be producing and selling them like hot cakes.
It's a many-fold problem actually.
Consider the fact that a plastic injection molding die set can cost a quarter of a million dollars, & they (like everything else) have lead times. And there are only so many places that can even make them.
Then, the machine that the dies go into also have a lead time.
So just tooling up (considering that they have the $5million for the machine & dies) could take 6 months in itself.

Then you need people that can set them up & run them.
At this point QC becomes a huge bottleneck, those people need to know what they are doing, so you can't just use temps for it all.
People's lives depend on those mags.

Then, on top of it all it the Gov't pulls the rug out from under them & bans the Mags a month later they are out millions of dollars.
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Old February 14, 2013, 09:00 PM   #7
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Because there are another million-plus folks like you doing the same thing - buying more than they normally would and causing the whole shortage in the first place
Don't blame him, blame the gun grabbers.
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Old February 14, 2013, 09:05 PM   #8
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Nope, we are are our own worst enemy. Folks who did not prepare in 1994, 2008 or until now are to blame and then they over react by buying anything and everything beyond their normal wants/needs
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Old February 14, 2013, 09:10 PM   #9
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I was over at Sportsman's Warehouse this morning just after opening.

There must have been 80 people in line with their "lottery" tickets buying everything that came in last night. AR rifles, ammo whatever. NOTHING made it to the shelves. This occurs every week and shows absolutely no sign of tapering off. It is insane. Supply of handguns is way down. Good supply of bolt guns. Ammo is really pitiful. I do not see an end in sight.

Ammoman got in and sold out of .308 and .223. . .prices are unreal.
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Old February 14, 2013, 11:28 PM   #10
Dragline45
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Because there are another million-plus folks like you doing the same thing - buying more than they normally would and causing the whole shortage in the first place
The only thing I bought were mags I was planning on buying anyway but put off not expecting all this to happen, two Beretta 92 mags and a single M1A mag. So speak for yourself. If I can find a couple more M1A mags ill be content with that.

If you really want to get down to it I am selling two guns right now and am charging fair prices for both, in fact I could charge $50 or more and still be giving a fair price. I could easily take advantage of the situation and jack up the prices, but I have no desire to contribute to the craziness going on right now just to make a few bucks off someone. I'm not greedy and am not looking to stockpile in case of a ban, just looking for what I need.


Alot of what you guys are saying makes sense. Even before this I guess the demand for magazines, guns, and ammo was high and companies were already running at full capacity.

Last edited by Dragline45; February 14, 2013 at 11:49 PM.
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Old February 15, 2013, 10:59 AM   #11
Hal
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Why is it that gun companies cant at least keep up with magazine demands? A magazine is a relatively simple thing, they should be able to pump them out by the thousands each day.
Spend a few weeks or months going over how Toyota managed to soar above everyone else using their JIT management system & you'll have a good grasp on how things operate these days.

Everyone above has been alluding to certain aspects of it.

Quote:
Then you have to get all of your suppliers to suddenly double or triple your normal demand, once again not knowing how long it will last, or if it could stop completely in the near future. Its one thing to invest whats needed if the volume is likely to continue in the foreseeable future, but quite another if its temporary. One component delayed in shipment can bring everything else to a standstil on the factory floor.
Bingo - that's the Achilles heel of JIT.
A spike in demand.
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:03 AM   #12
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On top of all of this demand, Magpul has also been dealing with the Colorado legislature for the last few days this week and have stated that if Colorado's House Bill 1224 goes through, Magpul will pack up shop and move to a friendlier state.

If this happens, there won't be any Magpul mags being manufactured during the time of the move.

Here's a link to a news story about this.
Also, judging by the piles of mags on the workbenches throughout the video, it certainly looks like Magpul is doing their darndest to keep up!
http://kdvr.com/2013/02/13/colorado-...gun-magazines/
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:20 AM   #13
CurlyQ.Howard
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CZ USA and ManVenture Outpost both did. ManVenture is out, but CZ USA isn't yet (and this on a 18/19 round magazine). Also, Meg-Gar had some the third week of January, but they sold out within less than an hour.

Last edited by CurlyQ.Howard; February 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM.
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:36 AM   #14
Glenn E. Meyer
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I had a coupon for Bass Pro and stopped by on the way to work.

As soon as the door opened, folks loaded up with all the ammo they could buy. I asked them what they shoot - they were all hoarders.

Waiting for the UN and Nancy to come for them. They also said they would flip them on the Internet.

That's the answer for mags.
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:50 AM   #15
Dragline45
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On top of all of this demand, Magpul has also been dealing with the Colorado legislature for the last few days this week and have stated that if Colorado's House Bill 1224 goes through, Magpul will pack up shop and move to a friendlier state.
What in the hell is going on with these politicians. You would think with these tough economic times they would do whatever they can to keep revenue coming in for their state and trying to save as many jobs as possible.
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Old February 15, 2013, 02:17 PM   #16
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Lets assume the magazine makers purchase truck loads of materials and hire another shift. Lets assume after a month or three the ballyhooed and feared magazine limit ban fails to pass the US senate. The chairman of the house judiciary committe announces he will hold no hearings on magazine limits.

Panic buyers stop buying magazines. The manufacturer gets stuck with tons of materials and finished magazines. The magazines folks paid $50 for on the secondary market are now selling at Wal-Mart for $11.49.
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Old February 15, 2013, 02:36 PM   #17
horatioo
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Chick Correa or whatever his name is, hired a CAD guy to draw up plans for a magazine and then had a bunch manufactured. That was a bit ago. I read about it from some thread here.
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Old February 15, 2013, 03:11 PM   #18
Gaerek
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Wow, why didn't I think of that. Why cant we all be as smart and intuitive as you? Not sure what I would do without your infinite wisdom.
He made a good point. Not sure sarcasm was the best response here.

Let's say I make something relatively simple, more simple than magazines...brass for ammo companies. I know that I have a certain amount of demand for brass, and the fluctuations are fairly minimal under normal circumstance. In order to maximize my profits, I'm going to make sure that I can keep up with my demand. Anything I do to make more brass than what is demanded is going to cost me money and drive up costs. So my factory is going to be set up to efficiently crank out enough brass to meet demand. I might design the capability to go to 5-10% higher than demand, just in case, but much more than that, my costs go significantly up, and profits go significantly down. I have just enough machines, trained personnel, raw materials, etc to meet my demand.

Now, lets say we're now in the current climate. Demand for my brass has at least doubled. I maximize my production as much as possible, but I can only make as much as my setup will allow me. In order to meet current demand, I'll have to buy new machines. Get them tooled up. Hire personnel and train them. I'll have to talk to my raw material distributors, and hope they can meet my new demand. Maybe they can, but it'll cost me more (because they know they can get more out of me during a panic. Knowing that the panic likely won't last, and that afterwards, I'll have idle machines, and have to lay off the people I just hired and trained (all wasted money now) it makes more sense to do as much as I can during the panic, and just wait it out.

It's nearly impossible to double or triple output during a temporary panic and still make money, even with making a simple product. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But they aren't, because it's no so simple.
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Old February 15, 2013, 04:31 PM   #19
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Judging from what I've read on the forum, good, reliable gun magazines are anything but simple to make. In fact, everything is much harder to make than is generally appreciated, although that doesn't mean everything is too difficult to produce and produce well. It's just harder than you think. In any event, why is everyone suddenly consuming so many magazines? They ought to last a lifetime.
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Old February 15, 2013, 06:31 PM   #20
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"In any event, why is everyone suddenly consuming so many magazines? They ought to last a lifetime."

It is simple. Although NY law doesn't grandfather the great bulk of laws passed do grandfather.

If you were on the fence about anything, higher cap mags, an AR, or for that matter your first gun purchase, etc, it is a perfectly rational behavior to buy now even at a premium.

I give the odds of new federal level hardware based controls a low probability, I think, this time, they will be held to broader checks. But actual new controls on mags and types of weapons are not a nil probability. Also additional hardware oriented controls are extremely likely at the state level in several states.
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Old February 15, 2013, 10:10 PM   #21
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When demand goes up 500 to 1000 per cent, the factories can ramp up production with some overtime, but hiring new workers, training them, and quality control is not cheap, nor overnight. It takes weeks, if not months, to get a new worker up to journeyman level, for the simplest of duties. Not to mention the raw materials need to be ordered, and that supplier has the same bottlenecks as the final factory does. If my need for raw brass is up tenfold, but I can't increase production beyond an additional 30 or 40 per cent with overtime, I'm not going to have the cash on hand to front ten times as much raw brass. I'm going to have to wait until I have paid orders in hand before I can buy the materials, or tap out my cash reserves, which inhibits payrolls, etc., etc. There's a long pipeline out there, about 6 months long, it starts with and order and ends with delivery.

They're not making 43 calibers at the same time; they'll run the Gov't needs, 9mm, .308, etc., year-round, the rest of it is once or twice a year runs of
.25-06 or whatever.

Now add in the important factor; all of these makers are also filling government contracts, for police and military needs. They come first, it's just the way it works. The civilian market gets the surplus and runs on spare time, in a way.
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Old February 15, 2013, 11:55 PM   #22
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Chick Correa?...

The jazz musician?... Huh...

I'd ask why if the combat ops ended in SW Asia do no ammunition firms(Winchester Hornady Corbon Federal etc) keep up with the huge demands.

It's nuts to check websites or go to retail places & see 0 boxes. Or a factory round runs $1.00-1.50. F that jazz!
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Old February 16, 2013, 04:31 AM   #23
TDL
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moreover, if they expect demand to lull after a peak, ramping up in response to a spike in demand is not a good idea. They will just be stuck with excess production capacity and possibly excess inventory, both of which are costs ,down the rad.
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Old February 16, 2013, 04:53 AM   #24
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This was the only time my degree in Political Science ever helped me. Early in the campaign it became obvious to me that the Repubs. couldn't find their butt with either hand, and while they nominated Romney they actually hated him. And it's very difficult to beat a sitting President. Jimmy Carter does not count, so I bought enough ammo, mags, and another AR before the elecction and way before the trajedy in CT. Now I just watch and wait. In about 9 monthes to a year, there will be a lot of buyers remorse and cheap ARs and Minis to be had. Patience is the key and put aside some cash.
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Old February 16, 2013, 06:04 AM   #25
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Bingo - that's the Achilles heel of JIT.
A spike in demand.
In this case, it isn't just the JIT folks who are getting into trouble in terms of the inventory supply chain. Even if production could be bumped some and you have a month's worth or even a quarter's worth of supply on hand to handle surges, virtually no mass production companies can handle and keep up with demand when for any given week there is more than a year's worth of demand present and the demand doesn't abate after a week or two.
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