.22 LR is back, everyone calm down

Yesterday I mentioned in passing that .22 LR is hitting shelves. I had no idea that an off-hand comment would raise such an outcry, two comments on the blog, facebook messages and emails came in telling me “well I can’t get .22 LR” or “it’s still expensive” and that sort of thing.

ruger LCR-22 (200x110)

Here’s the thing: .22 LR is available. It’s on the internet, it’s in stores, it’s out there. GunBot.Net shows loads of different .22 LR in stock at various outlets. “But Caleb, it’s more expensive than it used to be! I remember when you could get 3,000 rounds of .22 LR for three shillings and a piece of bread!” I have sour news for you, but the days of 50 round boxes of quality .22 LR for $4.99 are over and they’re not coming back.

9mm ammo is finally now starting to stabilize in price, and it’s about ~$2.00 more a box than it was before the Great Panic of 2008, the Derp Panic of 2012, and the Post-Newton Ammo Clown Show. It’s just a fact that the “new normal” of major retail for 9mm practice ammo is going to be in the $15-$20 per box range. It sucks, but it is what it is. Gone are the days of 50 round boxes of Wolf Steel Cased for $4.99 and and American Eagle for $9.99.

The same thing has happened to .22 LR ammo. It’s out there. It’s not as cheap as it used to be. It never will be. There are a number of reasons for that, the increased cost of raw materials, the declining value of the dollar, increased demand for completed ammunition; but the bottom line is that .22 LR is available and in plentiful quantities. Just because Wal-Mart doesn’t have any ammo doesn’t mean it’s out there, and just because the big box sporting goods stores are charging scalper’s prices doesn’t mean it can’t be found for affordable prices.


  1. Gunbot search currently shows best deal at 14 cents per round. Current Walmart price is less than 4 cents per round. In a recent conversation with local Walmart I was told that .22 lasts as little as 20 minutes up to 2 hours max. I wouldn’t describe that situation as “.22 is back!” I would describe it as “,22 is available at outrageous prices, just as it has been for the last 2 years.”

    1. I just bought 6000 rounds of quality, new, HV (1240 fps 3k LRN & 3k CPRN) 22lr from Gunbroker.com yesterday for $650. Isn’t the ‘old-days, but not too shabby. The price will only go in one direction in my lifetime, so I got a boatload. I could go to the range and double my $650. on any Sunday afternoon by selling by the box.
      So no risk there.
      This is with the rumors of Summer shortages and prior to the 3/11/14 explosion of PB Clermont, the worlds #2 powder provider exploding, (supplier to Europe & N. America) with an indefinite return-to-production date.
      I’ve “read” the loss of this powder plant will affect rifle ammo the most.

  2. People here seem to judge avalibility on wal mart alone. Instead of you know, searching. Ive found more 22 than I have38 special Iin recent months.

    1. I’ve noticed that as well – people seem to think that if they can’t get .22 at Wal-Mart that it simply doesn’t exist.

      1. Not being able to find it at Walmart would, however, seem to indicate that availability is still limited.

        I can walk into a walmart and buy a 100 pack of bird shot any day of the week. Until I can do that with .22, whether it’s for 5 cents a round or 15, it’s not “back.” The whole point of shooting .22 is *easy* availability and cost.

        We’re out of panic mode, but we’re not a reasonable supply levels yet.

        1. I would suggest that perhaps if people would stop buying every single round of .22 LR like it’s never coming back, this would solve itself pretty handily.

      2. For many of us in small towns Walmart is the only place to buy ammo. We don’t have local gun stores and big box sporting goods stores. Walmart is our only shopping souse and our Mall.

    2. I used Walmart as an example because they have the best prices. The only other local gun store with .22 available buys a 550 bulk pack, and splits it into envelops with 50 rounds each. These they sell for $10 each, or 20 cents per round.

      1. Other retailers I visit within an hour’s drive are Bass Pro, Sportsmans Warehouse, Dick’s, Academy Sports, 3 different Walmarts, and multiple gun shops. Most have nothing available, some have $20/50 Eley stuff.

        About a year ago when travelling, I did find some in a farm supply store. It was in a small rural community. About $3 for a box of 50, with a 4 box limit. Kids were happy – they got to shoot .22s at Grandma’s house.

    3. Very true. Where has all the .38 Special gone to? At the local Walmarts that I frequent .38 Special has been gone for at least the last 4 months while ever so often the 22LR fairy leaves behind the occasional box of Federal Automatch, Winchester 333, or CCI Mini-Mags. Hard to practice with the S&W 642 with no extra ammo.

    4. According to a Walmart employee I spoke with, all ammo orders are being handled through corporate. The stores no longer get to order it and the orders have been cut back. This is no shock as they along with many others are creating an artificial demand to drive up prices. Then we have the people who are buying it up to sell online at ridiculous prices and the people are stupid enough to buy it which only empowers these people to continue raping the market.

  3. In a two month period, just by going to Wal-Mart sporadically, I bought 900 rounds of 22LR. Three 50 round boxes at a time. Yes, it’s coming back, slowly. If everyone would slow their panic buying down a bit everyone would see that.

    Now if I could .357MAG at Wal-Mart I’d have to panic buy some because I’ve seen 2 boxes total in almost 7months!

  4. I only get my 22, any flavor, from one of my local “big box sporting goods” store. They get 22 at least once a week and at a decent price. In past 12 months, I have only order once online and it was for 22 magnum. When I can find some 22 in stock on line, it is way more expensive than local stores. And the availability is about the same frequency. So yea, maybe layoff the crack, 22 is not “back”.

  5. “GunBot.Net shows loads of different .22 LR in stock” I wouldn’t go that far considering there are only around 30 entries for .22LR – and that the majority are for Lapua and Eley (which were still showing up during the peak of the “panic”.

    And although I don’t ever expect to find range-grade .22 for $.03/round ever again, but I wouldn’t consider $0.14/rnd for Armscor bulk (before shipping costs) to be very reasonable.

      1. And here we enter our vicious cycle.

        Guy #1: “.22LR is back, stop panic buying”
        Guy #2: “But .22LR isn’t back, it doesn’t last on the shelf more than a few hours – I have to buy more”
        Guy #1: “There is .22LR on the shelf, you just have to pay more”
        Guy #2: “I don’t want that expensive match grade ammo, I want the bulk $.10/rnd ammo, and there isn’t any of that!”

        Peak demand right now is around the $.10/rnd level. Once you get above that most people aren’t willing to shell out the money unless it is for hunting or match purposes. The $.10/rnd stuff is still flying off the shelves and people can’t keep it in stock.

        Whether that is “panic” buying and people hoarding ammo – or just that normal consumption demand at that price point is still higher than the supply I suppose we could continue to debate.

      2. $0.14/rd. is more than what I reload 9×19 for, at 2014 component costs. If .22LR ammo is going for that much, it speaks to serious problems in the supply chain.

        I’d be interested to know what the big wholesalers are buying their .22LR for these days.

  6. Exactly. My ‘normal’ 22lr consumption is zero. If I see any, am I going to buy it?

  7. In the past week I have been to the following stores in the Northwest: West Coast Armory in Bellevue, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Silverdale, WA and Salem, OR; Cabela’s in Lacey, WA twice; Walmart in Poulsbo, WA and Salem, OR and two independent gun shops in Washington and Oregon and no .22 ammo was found. Maybe it hasn’t made it this far West yet.

    1. Well Aaron, I would say your report is right on Target. In most cases, there is very little if any 22LR out there. If and when there is, it is gone quickly, it’s overpriced, or it’s too high of a price because it’s Match grade. I search all the same places you do, in addition to many of the larger internet sites and less known; nothing worth buying out there yet. I don’t do Wally World at all, so they are not my retailer of comparison. However, I do check Bass Pro, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Midway USA, SGammo, Ammo To Go, Sportsmans Guide, Target Sports USA, Ammunition Depot, Sportsmans Warehouse, Sportco, to name a few. Haven’t found much but Match or Shotshell for a year or more. Actually, 9mm isn’t very easy to find, nor is 380 in addition to the 38 special.

  8. we are getting 500 round bricks for 30 bucks. Remington Thunderbolts. Don’t understand the issue,.

    1. Where might we be, that are getting these bricks for $30 and how plentiful are they? Are they on the shelf if you walk in, any day of the week? I bought a new 380 at a shop near me about 6 weeks ago and said to the guy: “too bad there is no ammo; he replied: ” we keep some in back for those who purchase new weapons, you can buy 2 boxes”. They were $17.99 for Remington UMC Green/ White 95g FMJ. Not in the market for a 22LR, but I wonder if this practice is taking place with those as well?

  9. I have found my beloved CCI to be hit and miss, but I just picked up some Aguila and Remington Thunderbolt for .06/rnd. It was a good weekend.

  10. “the days of 50 round boxes of quality .22 LR for $4.99 are over and they’re not coming back”

    I wouldn’t say that. The shop I work for sells 50 round boxes for 3.99 to 4.99 still, the hard part is that it never lasts more than a day or two.

Comments are closed.