The Walther P22 pistol jumps in my hand as, with a loud report, it fires a small bullet into the target 21-feet downrange. I fire ten times, remove the magazine and begin reloading.
As long as I use them here on this state-of-the-art firing range at the Governor’s Gun Club in Powder Springs, I can buy shoot all of the .22 caliber bullets I want here. But I can’t buy a box of ammo to take home just now. The reason? There’s a severe shortage of .22 ammo nationwide and retailers are limiting purchases until that shortage eases.
“We do try to limit the purchases of .22,” says Burt Brown who works here at the club. He says demand for all kinds of ammo is at an all-time high as more and more people are getting into shooting. While ammunition has been in short supply off and on for the past couple of years, these relatively cheap bullets used mainly for target practice are especially hard to find. Brown tells me .380 and 9mm ammunition is sometimes scarce as well.
Brown says the problem is both an increase in the number of shooters and a perception that the government may try to limit the purchase of arms and ammunition.
“There’s no doubt that there’s a sector out there that’s stockpiling the ammo,” he tells me. Over the past couple of years, sales of ammunition have doubled. Gun sales are also up.
But is it the government buying up all the bullets? Brown says, hardly.
“Overall, government purchases have actually decreased since 2010,” he says. There’s no doubt in his mind that the arms industry will make adjustments which will end the shortage of .22 caliber ammunition sooner rather than later.