As most gun owners know, people who use .22-caliber long rifle ammunition have had a difficult time finding it.
According to Craig Dodd, manager of Chisholm Trail Outfitters in Hillsboro, the run on .22s first came to his attention in October 2012.
Someone from Kansas City stopped in and asked whether he had any. He said “yes” but wondered why the man had to stop at Hillsboro to buy it. That’s when he found out it was unavailable in Kansas City.
The shortage has spread across the country as more and more people are buying guns. Dodd said ammunition manufacturers are running at full capacity.
“I can get you any other ammo you want,” he said. “The other is plentiful.”
The shortage has affected price. Ten years ago, a brick of .22 bullets cost $12 to $15. A brick, containing 10 boxes of 50 bullets each, now costs $70 to $80, or $7 or $8 a box, “if you can find them,” Dodd said.
He asks two questions of customers who come to the store looking for .22 ammo: “Are you buying a gun?” and “Are you out of shells?”
If someone buys a gun that uses the .22 shells, he sells a box to go along with it. He finds that most customers are not out but are afraid of running out. He usually turns down their requests for more.
He said he gets between 5 and 10 inquiries a day from people traveling on U.S. 56, seeing his sign, and stopping in to ask about .22s.
There’s been a sharp increase in the number of firearms, including long rifles and pistols, sold during the past year or so.
Dodd said his gun sales increased 103 percent from the middle of 2012 to the middle of 2013.
He said .22 caliber rifles and pistols were the most popular firearms among consumers.
“They are quiet and don’t have a lot of recoil,” he said. “Young people and younger women like them.”