Rifle Ammo photo

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While supplies of centerfire and shotgun ammo seem to be catching up to — or maybe we’ve just reached the new normal — rimfire ammo remains scarce. And it goes fast when it does make it to dealers.

A friend of mine is on the waiting list for .17 Mach 2 at several online ammo retailers. The other day he received an e-mail at 4:05 from MidwayUSA telling him the Mach 2 was back in stock. By the time he logged on at 4:10, it was sold out. It literally didn’t last five minutes before it was all gone.

I asked an ammo industry inside about the rimfire shortage at SHOT. He was honest with me.

“Everybody is loading rimfire as fast as they can with the machines they have,” he said. “The problem is, the margins on rimfire are so low it doesn’t make sense to invest in new equipment and expand production. We’ll catch up eventually.”

His best guess? Ammo makers hope to be caught up sometime later this year. What I want to know is where this ammo is all going. Are people shooting it, are they hoarding it or speculating?

What I do know is that it’s not good for the shooting sports when the ammunition that’s traditionally the cheapest, easiest to find, and most fun to shoot is in short supply.