Thursday, June 18, 2009

Primer Availability

Reloading supplier Sinclair International posted this last month, but it explains the ongoing shortage of primers for reloaders.

We have had a lot of concerned customers calling to ask about primer availability. Actually, our lines have been flooded with calls regarding the availability of primers as well as the availability of other components. The easiest and quickest way to check on availability is through our new website, whether you plan on phoning an order in, ordering off the web, or using some other means. The following is our view on the current primer situation. Basically, there has been a two-pronged drain on primer supplies for the reloading market.
The first driving force has been the huge demand for loaded ammunition through 2008 and continuing into 2009.
I mentioned that there were two factors impacting primer availability; the first factor is creating the second one. Since ammo demand has consumed more of the primer supply than normal, the quantity of primers on the shelf has declined at the box stores, the reloading companies (like Sinclair), and the smaller gun shops. With the fast communication via the internet, the word spreads quickly and the result has been consumers stockpiling and hoarding primers. Individuals are buying and keeping more primers in their own personal inventories and this has prevented some reloaders from having any primers at all. We normally see people buying 1,000 or maybe 5,000 primers at a time, now we are seeing customers buying 25,000 at a time.
The manufacturers are trying to react as best as they can, but their primary driving force is to keep a steady supply of primers going to the ammunition plants because they generate more revenue through this output than they do through the reloading market. A guy from CCI called the other day to order some items from us for his own reloading, and he reported that CCI has been running 24/7 and is still falling behind. They are adding two machines to their line to increase production (I don’t know what percentage gain this will give them). Federal told us a couple of weeks ago to not be surprised if we don’t see many primers from them until the end of 2009.
Eventually everyone will have enough stockpiled, manufacturers should catch up with ammo runs, and the supply on the shelves will hopefully return. This happened in throughout 1994, just not to this scale.

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