We’re all feeling the squeeze: a volatile political climate related to guns leads to a surge in gun-related purchases, which inevitably leads to reloading component shortages. It can be really disheartening to see bare shelves at the local gun store and “out of stock no backorder” when shopping online. I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts on how to deal with these issues.
Take a deep breath- shortages are usually temporary.
Yes it’s unfortunate, but these shortages are typically temporary historically speaking. When there’s a run on components, it can seem near impossible to find what you need. When the extreme shortages pass, stock up on what you need, ideally keeping 1-2 years worth of the hardest to find components on hand. Keep other shooter’s interests in mind and don’t hoard. If we all keep our heads on straight, it will be best for everyone.
Shop online and shop locally.
Many of the popular online retailers will be out of stock on reloading primers, reloading powder, bullets, and so on and so forth. This just makes sense- online shopping is where the masses typically go first. You may be surprised to find that your local small-town sporting shop or gun store may have reloading components in stock. If you’re shopping online, take advantage of the “email me when in stock” feature that many popular sites offer. For many online gun businesses, there’s currently an all time high volume of sales and customer service queries, so expect up to 15 day delays on shipping. Later is better than never! Do beware of “ships from manufacturer” arrangements on reloading components. I’ve been burned by this recently. “We’re sorry to inform you that XXX can’t fulfill your powder order”. Really? Whey did your website list the powder as “in stock” then? Extremely frustrating! Like everyone, I’m trying to stay level-headed.
Variety is the spice of life, right? Well, now may be the time for you to try different brand of reloading primers or different types of powders. You may use Hodgdon Varget for most loading from .223 Remington to .308 Winchester – but you may now want to try less popular powders that are easier to find in-stock. Benchrest primers may be more expensive and you may not need them, but if you can buy them- it may be worth the extra cost. Experimenting is half the fun of reloading, so get your white lab coat on and prepare to create some great new recipies!
Word of caution: don’t be tempted to mix and match reloading components that aren’t known to be compatible! It’s better not to shoot for a while than to damage your gun (or worse yet- yourself!).
Check with your friends and family, be a picker.
I’ve purchased reloading components from garage sales, friends, and from pawn shops. I’ve used old primers and powder, and have had few issues doing so. It may be time to throw on your “American Pickers” hat and go on a reloading component search (ideally in an old barn – at least that would make for a great story). It would be a shame for reloading components to just sit and collect dust… This can be a great way to obtain brass too. Make sure that your friends aren’t throwing away these valuable resources. Tell them you’ll pay them for their old brass! This is a great time to do some “open air market” bartering with people in your shooting club, at work, etc.
Prefer “sipping” over “gulping”.
I don’t know about you, but if the government were to put a temporary tax on alcohol based on volume- I’d tend towards sipping scotch rather than gulping beer. This may the perfect time to change from “Glock blasting” to “bullseye shooting” for a time. You may want to let the combat AR-15 sit for a time, and instead pickup your bench-rest AR or bolt-action rifle. When I’m shooting my AR-10 off the bench, I don’t go through much ammo, but I get a lot of satisfaction. This approach may not work for everyone, but it’s a viable option for most shooters. When you get back to blasting, it’ll feel all the better. Do you enjoy reloading for the sake of reloading? It may be time to get out the single stage press so that you can get the most out of the process…
Support your community.
We’re all in this together. Do you know someone that has zero primers? You may want to spare a few trays to help un-block them. In the long run, you’ll make a lot of friends this way, and you know what they say about “what goes around comes around”. Let’s stick together!
It certainly is an unfortunate reality to be caught up in this kind of mayhem, but thinking long term, being patient, helping each other out, and being creative will certainly help. Got tips to share? Please leave a comment!