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Where’s the Bullets?

March 5, 2014
By Bill Waugaman - OVT Staff Writer , Ohio Valley Outdoors

It's been a year now since handgun ammunition availability really dried up in the stores and online. If you're one of the lucky individuals who just happen to be in the right place at the right time, you might get a box or two. Plus, there is the absurd cost for even 'plinking' ammunition. Deciding to dust off my reloading press, I ran into another problem bullets. Since trying to find handgun bullets is just as bad as trying to find loaded ammunition, I went right to a major supplier Sierra Bullets (

On the front page of their website, Sierra Bullets has what I believe to be an excellent explanation to the supply and demand shortage of bullets. The content is slightly dated, but so appropriate. My contact at Sierra Bullets gave permission to reprint their statement

Why Can't I Find Any Sierra Bullets?

Article Photos

Sierra Bullets

As most Sierra customers have noticed, finding Sierra Bullets on shelves has become a little more difficult in the last 2-3 months. There are a lot of varying stories floating around as to the cause of this, but the real reason is demand. Sierra has been making more bullets per week recently than we have in our rich 66-year history, but we simply cannot get ahead of the demand. After the elections, orders began increasing and have only continued to increase after the recent announcements outlining the proposed gun control measures.

The bullets we sell to distributors that ultimately get sold to the individual reloaders (business we affectionately call our "Green Box" business - for obvious reasons) come off the same presses and out of the same lots as bullets we make for the military and law enforcement. While Sierra does prioritize the military orders to make sure our service men & women get what they need, the demand from the military is factored into our yearly planning and normally does not affect our green box production capacity.

For 2013 our military and law enforcement business is not causing these shortages. The shortages are being caused by the huge increase in demand from the individual reloaders themselves and also by the OEM ammunition reloaders who are reacting to the same increase in demand for ammunition.

Fact Box

"There are a lot of varying stories floating around as to the cause of this, but the real reason is demand."

We are seeing a lot of customers who decide (for whatever reason) that they need to have a few extra bullets tucked away for a rainy day. When they start looking for their favorite Sierra Bullets and do not find them, they grow concerned and look harder. Once they do find them in stock, they choose to buy double what they had planned, since they were so hard to find. This just compounds the problem for the next person trying to find those same bullets.

This is the same problem almost all the manufactures in the shooting industry are dealing with right now. No one can keep up with a 10-fold increase in demand no matter how much we would like to and it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Rest assured Sierra is working as hard as we can to increase production (without sacrificing our world renowned quality) and we are making more bullets now than ever. This demand will not last forever and you should see the bullets you have come to count on back on the shelves as we start making headway into our backlog and the demand starts to be satisfied.

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We are very sorry again for the shortages you are experiencing.

Thank you, The Sierra Bullets Team



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