Wal-Mart is not the only place to buy ammo

The other day, I wrote a post about how .22 LR is back and how people should calm down and stop panic buying every box they see. That led to a bunch of comments that all start with “well I went to Wal-Mart and they” etc.

The real idea of that post was to talk about how the price of .22 will never likely be as low as it was before the triple panics, and hopefully get people to calm down and stop buying every box of .22 they see. How silly of me. But that does bring me ’round to my main point, which is “why are so many people getting their ammo from Wal-Mart?” 20140314-084936.jpg I understand that in some small towns Wal-Mart (or Walmart as they now prefer) is your only option. But that’s not true, because I know for a fact that if you’re on this blog telling me in comments that “Walmart is my only hope” you have access to this magnificent invention called “the internet.”

It took me mere seconds to find a 525 value pack of Federal .22 LR for about 85 dollars. Is that a price I’d have paid before 2008, 2012, and Sandy Hook? No, of course not. But those times are gone and they’re never coming back. Really, that’s the drum I want to hit some more today.

Do you know why there’s no .22 LR ammo at Walmart? It’s not because the ammo companies aren’t making new product. It’s not because Bob’s Clownshow Gunshop in Topekaha, BFE is hoarding ammo and charging people 20 bucks for a baggie of .22 LR rounds. It’s because as a community we cannot accept simple economics when it applies to the cost of our ammo. Stuff is more expensive now. Our money has declined in value while at the same time there has been an increased demand for all the stuff that ammo is made out of. It’s going to be more expensive. It just is. So yeah, when Walmart has boxes of .22 for $5, everyone goes bananas and buys it out in 10 seconds. Then half that ammo ends up on Gunbroker anyway.

For whatever reason, this issue frustrates me at a fundamental level. I would love to go back to the good old days of bulk-packs of .22 for 10 bucks, and I know that the increased cost of .22 ammo has hurt sales of .22 rimfire firearms. We’ve quite literally had people through the GunUp retail shop that say “what’s the point in buying a .22 if I can’t get ammo”, which I understand.

The problem is that you can get ammo. We just need to take a deep breath and accept that it’s going to cost a little bit more to do that. Just like I need to quit complaining about how expensive .38 Special and 9mm ammo is.


  1. As far as internet ammo sales, some states don’t allow it or suppliers won’t ship to there (e.g. Massachusetts, New York, etc.) I personally go to Walmart (even though I hate shopping there) because they are cheaper (even than what’s on the web) and its on my way home. Its the same reason I shop at the local wholesale club for food and essentials,

  2. People are just used to getting ammo at Walmart because they had great prices, especially on .22 bulk packs, and they probably go to Walmart a few times a month for other things anyway.

    I’d stocked up big on .22s, shot shells and the reloading components to feed everything else and haven’t needed to buy since before this panic.

    But I’ve seen numerous web reports over the past few weeks of guys who know what their doing finding bricks and 550’s for under $25.

    The days of $10 bulk packs may be over, but as things calm down they aren’t going to be anything as ridiculous as $85.

  3. Here walmart doesnt sell guns and has a crappy ammo selection. Its the worst place to look.

    1. Some Walmarts have a good selection of long guns for sale and a good selection of ammo. They seem to be getting a somewhat steady supply of ammo, it just sells out in minutes.

  4. My hope is that 22lr ammo turns out to be the Beanie Babies of our current age, and market will eventually crash land at the $0.05 per round level.

    1. Me too but I am not holding my breath. If anybody buys a 22 rifle or pistol try asking the sales person if they have any ammo for it. Might surprise you

  5. What I’ve never understood is people who still carry WWB or equivalent hollowpoints because that’s what the local wallyworld keeps in stock and they won’t pay shipping to get modern ammo from the Internet. Then the same people drool over that R.I.P. junk.

    1. I think a lot of people, like myself and most people I know, buy or build cheap ammo to plink and practice and just buy some premium stuff for carry and home defense.

    1. What a thoughtful and articulate critique of my post! Your words of wisdom have changed me at the core of my being.

  6. $85 for a brick of .22LR?!?!?! WTF?? That is highway robbery! While I haven’t been able to pick up ammo for the pre triple panic pricing I still haven’t paid more than $30 including shipping for a brick of ammo.

      1. it’s crazy mostly because people willing to invest time and effort can find it a third or less of that price.

        But It seems especially crazy to me ’cause I’ve got a cubic foot of Federal 550’s with the price stickers on them- $8.96. And I’ve still got several 880 rd. cases of Czech .308 I bought for $69.95.

        Yeah, I know. I’m getting old.

      2. It really is that crazy, considering that I was buying Federal bulk packs for $0.05/rd. in 2011. I know that US currency has devalued since then, but it hasn’t devalued that much.

        In the last thread I asked what the big wholesalers are paying for .22LR. I’d still be interested to know.

      3. It’s beyond crazy bro..$85 for a $15 brick is lunacy.

        The only way to get the price back to some semblance of normal is to refuse to pay those prices. Fortunately I’ve always maintained a stock since 9/11 so I can afford to wait.

        ANY vendor that charges $85 for a brick of .22 is plain and simple price gouging. According to the manufacturers it’s not their pricing…it’s vendors.

        1. I think the point Caleb was getting at is he was able to find available .22 bricks instantly for significantly less than centerfire pistol ammo. Which means its available and still cheaper than centerfire, making it a viable alternative for certain types of training.

          Now one thing Caleb hasnt mentioned (that I recall) is that the calculus has changed and that calculus is not just panic buying. I used to stock about 10K of .22 at home. When the panic started I kept up my normal shooting routine. That lasted a few months but finally I had to cut back because of availability to restock. When availability and finances allow I intend to stock deeper, closer to 50K. Many many shooters now have a different idea of what “enough” is. Throw in new shooters ande gun owners and the demand that isnt just “must buy” is much higher.

          Economically there is NO price gouging. People willing to “gouge” is the reason that if you really want .22 you can get it in minutes. “Gouging” is the reason that ammo can be had by anyone other than retirees or self-employed people who can camp out at their favorite sporting goods store waiting for the shipment to arrive. Its just economics. If that offends you, just dont have ammo, or have it and don’t shoot it or shoot it at an irregular or diminished rate only when you can find it at your prices. Wal-Mart not increasing their prices more (they have increased them a bit) is one of the reasons you still can’t find .22 there usually.

  7. Shipping is not equally cost-efficient everywhere. Shipping ORM-D to Alaska is restricted commercially to a limited number/weight of rounds per container and per barge. There is no railroad to Alaska and shipping ammo through Canada over the road has similar limitations to barge. Air freight is right out.

    Given the hungry, but small, market, ordering ammo online is not always a sound economic choice, only the “pallet at a time” guys can really make it cost-effective. But that is still a supply limited by the cartage capacity and what particular calibers get chosen for any given shipment.

  8. “Cost a little bit more” …

    A .22 makes sense to me when the stuff costs a quarter of 9 mm. When I can get, today, practice 9mm for $0.23/round, I don’t really see the point of buying .22 for $0.16/round. When the 9mm is better practice and 10x more useful.

  9. $85 for a brick that cost $20 a little over 2 years ago; that’s not economics, that’s rape and highway robbery. The Re-Sellers, Influx of people shooting AR 22LR Variants, New Shooters and those trying to save money by not shooting other calibers that start at 25ยข a round, they are the reasons behind the increase, way more than economics. If a quadrupled price is due to economics, then cheap 9mm FMJ should be around $40 a box; it isn’t even $20 in most places.

  10. They say “Necessity is the mother of invention”, but it seems to me that the lack of imagination is what is leading people to be without reasonably priced ammo. Those people bitching about ammo prices and availability have not seen it as necessary enough to become inventive enough to find solutions.

    I have not paid more than $400 for a case of CCI 40gr SSHP .22LR. And it’s usually more like about $385, which ends up at just under $.08 per round. Certainly not everyone wants to order 75k rounds or more at a time, but again……..if one uses their imagination, there are ways around anything.

  11. There is so much wrong with this mentality. Justifying $85 for a brick of 22lr just leads me believe that you are somehow profiting from this madness. Cabela’s is still refusing to gouge their customers and charges $0.04/rd. Bash Walmart all you want but they aren’t gouging their prices either. I don’t think they would be selling at loss, so we’re being taken to the cleaners by others who want to make a quick buck. I will no longer be doing business with those who take such advantage at the expense of their customers. Affordable 22lr is out there, so I urge people to stop buying into this smoke and mirrors. Voice your opinion with your wallet.

    1. If you don’t like it at this price, fine don’t buy it. Just don’t bitch that there’s no .22 available at the same time.

  12. That same box of 525 at Walmart is still less than $25 if you can find though. The fact that people are willing to pay the $85 for 525 is the reason some of those people are buying it up at Walmart. They are just reselling it

  13. @Caleb… I’m certainly not complaining about availability, but I do have a problem with you telling everyone that being taken advantage of is perfectly fine.

    Besides that, you completely missed the point. There are retailers who aren’t gouging their customers which means that prices from the manufacturers aren’t climbing at the same rate as what greedy distributors are charging.

    I fully expect to pay more ammunition, but not the unjustified prices being charged by so-called reputable retailers. You so easily dismiss it as no big deal, but I would beg to differ. You can disagree but if you want to maintain a modicum of reputability, I would suggest not trying to sweep differing opinions under the rug by calling it b******g.

  14. Maybe I’m wrong but I think $85/bulk box of .22 ammo is WAY more than the true supply and demand for the product justifies. I am sure .22 ammo will go back down in price but people seriously need to calm WAY down and stop buying it at crazy prices. I personally haven’t bought any .22 ammo because I don’t want to make the problem worse. It will never be $10 a box again but it should and could potentially get down to around $20/500 rnds if people quit going nuts! I think we’re seeing a .22 bubble, just like the housing crisis or the Dutch tulip crisis. So many people have bought .22 at insane prices thinking they will be able to sell it for profit on gun broker that the price can’t go down until those people take a loss and the market readjusts. But 17 cents for one round of .22 lr is not going to last. I can reload 9mm cheaper than that! With a true fmj bullet too. I just hope things even out sooner than later!

  15. Cheaper than Dirt has .22 LR ammo for $0.40/round. Woohoo!!! .22 IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I know you’re just being an asshole, but I just want to point out that no one is saying you should buy .22 for 40 cents a round.

      1. Pretty harsh that the host resorts to profanity and name calling. I thought you were better than that, which is why I post here.

        But a point was being made. Your multiple headlines on this issue have been very broad and mis-leading. I find error in your arguments, and was trying to point out how your headlines sound to everyone posting responses here. I thought we were capable of a calm, level-headed discussion without having to resort to name-calling. I was wrong.

        I will watch this thread for a response on your last post, but will take my viewing elsewhere if you stand by your language and name-calling. Again, I didn’t think this site was like that.

        1. The problem is that people will only believe that .22 is “back” when it reaches whatever mystical price point they have in their head. The facts are simple: .22 is just as available as it was before the crisis, you just have to pay more if you want it.

          The current price of .22 LR is in line with the price increases on centerfire ammo as well, and it’s reasonably easy to find .22 at a fair price if you’re willing to do a little work. The problem with .22 availability is that everyone keeps saying there’s no .22, so when some does hit the shelves at a big box store everyone flips their wig and panic buys it.

          1. The facts are simple: .22 is just as available as it was before the crisis, you just have to pay more if you want it.

            This is just plain false. No matter what you are or are not willing to pay for .22 ammo it is NOT just as available as it was before “the crisis”

    2. Cheaper Than Dirt… The guys who two weeks after the Sandy Hook shooting were selling P-Mags, (which they probably bought for $7) for $99.99. Wouldn’t pass a law against it, once you own something you’re free to sell it for whatever you want, but I resolved when I saw that ad i would never, ever spend one penny at this sleazebag outfit.

      Retailers who respect and value their customer base have been marking up at the same percent of cost and limiting quantities so everyone can at least get some of what they need.

      The scumbags who operate Cheaper Than Dirt have a different philosophy. They are certainly free to live it, and we are free to remember who and what they are.

      1. Last thought… If you lived next to me and your house was on fire, I’d run over with my hose and help you put it out. If you lived next to Cheaper Than Dirt, they’d offer to sell you their $25 dollar hose for $999.99.

  16. What amuses/depresses me is when I go into my dad’s ammo cans for .22s and see an old box of CCI Mini Mags with the old box design and a Kmart sticker for under $5. (I don’t remember it, but before they hired a bafflingly popular 90s talk show host as their spokesperson who forced her anti-gun agenda on them, or so my dad told me, Kmart was a good place to shop for ammo or other sporting goods)

  17. well you just have to buck it up as long as the present group is in chare, they are going to keep spending the dollar into worthlesnss, and it will not take long at 85billion a month (minimum) but most people feel good there 401k’s seem o be flush (not there just about back to 2008 levels) I try to purchase as much as hey let me

  18. Grab your hats gys I am one of these boys that can remember .35 cent ammo per box that is 22 short, lrs for .50 per bx, 1.50 for 12 ga 7-1/2 bird shot 410 and 30 ga the same, One of the major reasons that things have gotton so high is the HIGH COST OF ENERGY, as long as the public will pay the high cost of energy and swollow the story that there is a energy shortage U havent seen anything yet I can remember 0.19 per gallon of gasoline reg ethyl 0.22 and the autos got about the same per mile as now, and we werent cleaning up the inviro so as long as u choose to pay a high price that will keep it up, Just think of the tax money that is being generated from the high sales the politicans love it.

  19. I refuse to go stand in line every morning to try and get a brick of 22 so I’ve just been buying a couple 50 rd boxes whenever I see them at the big retailers. I’ll pay $2-$5 for a top quality 50 rd box there before I buy from some scumbag at a gun show or gun shop trying to sell a brick for $50-$100. I hope everyone pays attention to how there local shops are gouging them, I know I sure am and I’ll never go back in any of those stores that do.

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