No .22LR ammo? I get this question a lot, asking why there is no .22LR ammo on store shelves, and if I know a "secret source" to find some (I don't).  I'm not surprised it's sparse, based on a couple things...

  1. Everyone owns at least one .22LR. So while I may not be competing against you for .30-06, and you aren't competing against me for .40SW, we are all competing for .22LR.
  2. When ammo prices climb, we all want to shoot cheap .22LR.
  3. When we do go out to shoot .22LR, we tend to shoot in a different way, namely, we go through a ton of it.  They call it "plinking" for a reason, because it's fun to blast away at cans, reactive targets, and prairie dog shaped silhouettes.
  4. Despite their encouraging talking points, the ammo manufacturers aren't really going to invest much to boost production.  They know this is a "fad", and don't want to be stuck with $20M of useless machinery when demand drops. They are for-profit companies, and were already likely running very efficiently, with 24/7 computer-controlled machinery, so there aren't lots of places to to make improvements to increasing production.

So now "How can I get my hands on some?", you ask.  Unfortunately, I can't give you a magic formula, but I can share some tips I've used in the last few months.

  1. Be persistent, and keep checking the stores.  Yes, this requires leg-work and a time investment on your part, but stop in to the stores regularly, and you increase your odds of finding some.
  2. Talk to the store clerks, and some of them will be able to tell the general time they get shipments or stock shelves.  They probably won't be able to tell you exactly what is coming when (e.g. "50x boxes of .22LR on Thursday at 4PM"), but they might be able to tell you general information that will let you know when to visit their store (e.g. "We normally get our trucks in on Thursday, before the store opens.").
  3. Sportsman's Warehouse (in Loveland, CO) has had fairly accurate information about when their trucks come in, because they come in on a more-regular schedule than some other stores.  They've even had a sign in the front window at times stating "We will get our next truck in on <some particular weekday> morning.", so stop in a little after the store opens on that day, and talk to the workers stocking shelves.
  4. Walmart doesn't know, or won't share, what they are getting.  However, the shelve-stockers in the Sporting Goods section can generally tell you when they get their pallets of stuff.  Walmart unloads the trucks and makes a pallet for each department, in the back, then pushes those pallets out to the respective areas all at one time, so the workers in that section can stock their shelves.  So the Longmont Walmart might tell you "The workers in the back push the pallets out around dinner time on Friday night."  This will let you go in there around that time, and increase your odds.

Have any tips for finding ammo? Leave them in the comments below!