If you are a recreational shooter, you would have to be living under a rock during the last few years if you haven’t heard of the ammo shortage – especially in .22 caliber. Rimfire ammo is the cheapest you can buy and it used to be the most plentiful – until the run on ammo started. It is only now, after 3 years, that we are starting to see it back on the shelves, and it is still difficult to find in some places.
At the height of the .22 crisis, merchants were limiting purchases to a box (or a carton, if you were lucky), and there were people standing in line to buy it. Gunbroker and some of the other online sites were flooded with sellers who marked up the 22’s to ridiculous prices. And people were paying those prices because they couldn’t find it anywhere else.
Merchants started looking at their stock and trying to put anything on the shelf that they could sell, and that’s where some problems started. Some of the ammo they found was not suitable for just any 22 caliber gun.
One of our league leaders called me up one day and said she had found some .22 ammo that wasn’t cheap and it wasn’t cycling through the semiauto pistols. She was very disappointed and said that the ammo she bought was terrible. When I asked her what she bought, I was expecting her to tell me that it was imported. It turned out that it WAS imported ammo. It was Eley, which is the premier quality ammo made for precision target and competition shooting. I told her I would be happy to buy everything she had! (I’m still waiting!)
Eley makes ammo for target pistols AND rifles, but you have to know what you are buying and for which gun. The Eley ammo she had was for target rifles, which are single shot bolt action guns. That ammo has more lubricant on each cartridge than a pistol round and it will not cycle properly through a semiauto pistol magazine. My target rifle LOVES this stuff. My wallet , on the other hand, does not.
Eley does make ammo for semiauto pistols but that wasn’t what the merchants were putting on the shelves. They were putting out the ammo that didn’t sell to the average shooter because it catered to a very specialized type of shooting for competition target rifles, not pistols. It wasn’t in high public demand because most competitive shooters order their ammo in large bulk shipments online .
Rimfire ammo can also be confusing to some buyers who are unfamiliar with some of the types of loads. There are Standard Velocity (a target shooters favorite), High Velocity and Stingers ( a varmint hunter’s favorite), Shorts ( good for plinking cans), and a myriad of others. If you don’t know what type of ammo to buy, first look at your owner’s book that came with your gun. If you don’t have a book, you can find just about anything on the internet these days, including manufacturing recommendations for your guns.
Know what you are buying before you write that check!