Sometimes, the only recourse during an ammo shortage is to get really, really creative.
Ready for an understatement? It's getting tough finding ammo out there.
We've all seen the memes with a few rounds of 9mm or a half dozen small pistol primers being sold in dimebags--but sadly, that's not too far from the truth.
The United States has been in the depths of an ammo shortage for a good while now, and it doesn't look to be letting up any time soon. Lots of people have hypothesized as to why this is happening, but it seems pretty clear to me.
In the past couple years, millions of people have become first time gun owners. Every single one of them now needs ammunition for the range, and defensive ammunition or hunting ammo depending on the type of gun and intended purpose. And that's if they only bought one gun.
Plus, the amount of ammunition that existing gun owners are purchasing has gone up in these uncertain times.
So now, when anyone goes to the store to buy ammo and sees they have 20 boxes of 9mm on the shelf, instead of buying four boxes like they would have WAY BACK in 2019, they buy all of them.
If someone sees 10 ammo boxes of 00 Buck shotgun shells, you know they're going home with every box. At this point, it doesn't even matter the type of ammo people find, they're just buying everything, even at inflated prices.
In the meantime, ammo manufacturers are cranking out as many rounds as they can, but they can't really keep up with this new extreme demand. The factories can only produce a certain amount of ammo every 24 hours, and it sometimes takes years to spin up a new ammunition line. That's if there's even space for one in a factory.
In reality, we have to keep wishing the real world worked like an Xbox game, and we could find a magic loot crate with enough ammo to last us forever.
Until then, you might have to get creative.
If you know somebody who buys .223 in crates of 1,000 rounds, make friends with them. Offer to paint their house or wash their car, as long as you're paid in plenty of ammunition.
Handgun and rifle ammo has become its own currency among some in these weird times.
Just make sure you decide what your personal limits are before you get too deep. Otherwise, this person will be able to get you to do practically anything just by rattling a half-full Winchester white box at you.
Roll Your Own Ammo
Being at the mercy of factory ammo sucks. The end of 2019 would have been a good time to get a craft ammo bench together so you can at least reload the type of ammunition you use most.
But you need components, and if you're just getting started, you need a press and tools.
While a reloading setup for shotgun shells or centerfire bullets isn't impossible to put together now, it might take a while, and it might be a bit more expensive than it used to be.
If you're feeling froggy, you can always find that reloader in your neighborhood and get into the routine of hiding in their house at night until they fall asleep or leave for work in the morning. This will give you a whole night or an entire day to borrow their reloading bench. Warning: This comes with a high probability of getting shot.
Maybe just try to make friends with the guy?
Wait for Someone to Die
The smart ammo seeker is always on the lookout for an opportunity.
If you know of an old school reloader in your neighborhood who is getting a little long in the tooth, stalk the obits. If they head to the great reloading bench in the sky, keep your eyes peeled for an estate sale, or even a yard sale.
At the very least, you're likely to get some primers and maybe even a decent used press or powder trickler.
Make sure you ask the relatives if they've gone over the backyard with a metal detector, too. He might have buried something useful back there during the great hoarding event of 2008.
Become a Lead Supplier
If you get to work, you can create your own little self sustaining economy by doing the job nobody wants to do.
If you don't reload, find someone who does. They'll be hungry for components.
Buy yourself a few bullet molds and a lead crucible online. Get to the junkyard and start collecting wheel weights, ballast lead, solder wire, lead acid batteries, and catalytic converters.
Then stop by your favorite shooting range and offer to clean out the bullet traps. Mine the lead, melt it down, and go about make bullets.
After that, you can trade the bullets to your reloader buddy in exchange for a percentage of the ammo he makes, and boom! Self sustaining ammo economy.
Just wear gloves. And a mask. And watch out for junkyard rats, they can be nasty.
Become "That Guy" at the Range
You know this dude. He's the scrounger, the guy with his own brass collector on wheels.
He says he has an agreement with the range owner and he gets to keep all the brass and empty shotgun shell hulls that shooters don't want, and he will happily run his machine around and over your feet while you're shooting.
You used to laugh at this man. Now, you have become him, the scrounger of brass, the ghoul of the shooting range.
When it finally is available, you can (hopefully) find the ammo you need at Walmart.com.