Retailers struggle to keep .22 ammo in stock

by Mark Arehart on May 1, 2013

Carl Anvil opens up one of the few boxes of .22 shells he has left.

Carl Anvil opens up one of the few boxes of .22 shells he has left.

Hunters may be a little more frugal with their .22 caliber ammunition this spring because of a nationwide shortage. Anvil’s Gun Cache in Bethel may be the only store in town with boxes of .22 ammo left on the shelves.

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Carl Anvil has owned his gun shop for over a decade. He has shelves and display cases full of boxes of bullets and firearms of every shape and size.

But one area is not so packed. He grabs a small box off a lonely shelf and shows it to me.

It’s one of maybe two-dozen boxes. And Anvil says, other than a few more in the back, that’s it. These are the only boxes of .22 rounds he has left.

In fact those few boxes may be the only .22 shells left for sale in Bethel.

Every retailer says just about the same thing: They have no idea when they’ll get more ammo in stock.

“I keep calling up my supplier and asking, “How much longer?” They keep telling me the same thing: “Maybe next week,”” Anvil says.

His other ammo stocks are dwindling, too, as hunters are opt for larger caliber rifles and shotguns instead of .22’s.

And according to a February article in USA Today, it’s the same story across the United States.

People are hoarding ammunition, to either stock up in fear of future gun regulations or to sell at a large markup.

Anvil says people in Alaska are different. “We don’t run around trying to buy up ammo to sell it for some crazy amount. We use it up here. So it’s for subsistence use.”

As I talk to Anvil, Darren Jennings comes in with his family. He’s in town from Emmonak for his young son’s doctor appointment and decided to stop in to see about a gun.

“Yeah we use a .22 on everything, muskrats, beavers, ducks,” Jennings says.

Anvil says he’s still hopeful his .22 order will get in soon. He’s been waiting on it for three months.

“It’ll be the ones in buckets and it might be like the old days where I have to sell them by the bullet.”

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