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Old July 4, 2009, 04:24 PM   #486
Lost Sheep
Senior Member
Join Date: January 24, 2009
Location: Anchorage Alaska
Posts: 3,340
Primer shortage?

Short answer: No. Not to a large degree. And it won't last.

Caveat: I know nothing of this first hand, but I have read on many threads on this an other forums (sorry, I do not have the web addresses, but "Google" will yield a plethora). But I do have this one:

Firstly, the primer shortage and the ammunition shortage are locked together. Loaded ammo requires primers-simple. Secondly, (and this is an assumption) the difference between pistol primers and rifle primers is immaterial to their production capacity. That is, primer production is fungible.

I have read that the primer production lines are running at full capacity. Primer and ammunition manufacturers are not increasing production capacity because they believe the shortage will not last long enough to defray the cost of adding production lines or new factories (which will wind up being unused excess capacity when the shortage is over). It is a reasonable economic decision, not influenced by conspiracy.

The Defense Department is consuming a lot of primers to supply the war efforts. Expect this to last as long as the fighting does.

New gun owners also buy ammunition. Expect this to taper off. Sadly, many new gun buyers do not practice a lot. They should.

Some hoarding may be taking place, both of primers and of loaded ammunition. Hoarding for profit is notoriously prone to failure (Ask the Hunt Brothers.) and hoarding for use seldom has stamina. Expect this to taper off., if it had any effect to begin with.

Law enforcement agencies consume a lot of ammo training and qualifying and have been running on inventories over the past year. They will have to replenish their training and practice ammo. Reportedly, many keep large inventories on hand, which are now reather depleted. Expect (when availability returns) this replenishment to extend the shortage, then taper off.

So, when the war consumption ends, the new gun owners slow down on their practising and L.E. agencies replenish their inventories, the shortage will disappear, but not as fast as we would like.

There may be "hoarders" and/or speculators who dump their inventories, but I would not expect that to be a major factor. "Hoarders" who use this stuff will simply use it up over time. Speculators will not dump at a loss, at least (I imagine) not in large quantities. Don't expect any price drops below the prices of 2007, but stabilization somewhere close to, but slightly higher than that level. The manufacturers will have a lot of deferred maintenance and overtime to catch up on and there will be general inflation, of course.

Lost Sheep
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