Basically, there has been a two-pronged drain on primer supplies for the reloading market.I'm going to jump ship here and make what will be a very unpopular suggestion with the kumbaya wing of our culture...go to Midway USA's primer pages and sign up for the "Remind Me" email notification function, so you'll know when primers arrive at Midway. I strongly suggest that you buy primers in 5000-lot, or at the very least buy as many as the retailer will allow you to buy. Call it hoarding if you want...in fact, it is the smart thing to do.
The first driving force has been the huge demand for loaded ammunition through 2008 and continuing into 2009. The large primer manufacturers like ATK (which would include Federal and CCI), Winchester, and Remington are directing the majority of their primers into loaded ammunition. Ammunition sales are going through the roof as individuals stock up because of political concerns. The huge consumer demand for ammo is in addition to the demand from law enforcement agencies and our military to re-supply their own inventories. I know that smaller ammunition manufacturers have been impacted drastically by the primer shortage since their demands are higher than normal for primers that they have to obtain through Federal, CCI, Winchester, Remington, etc. Many of these smaller manufacturers have had to go to other sources to get quality primers. Because of this situation, some of them cannot keep up with their own ammunition production. Unfortunately, these smaller ammo makers can’t control their own destiny since they don’t have the capacity or tooling to make primers.
I mentioned that there were two factors impacting primer availability; the first factor is creating the second one. Since ammo demand has consumed more of the primer supply than normal, the quantity of primers on the shelf has declined at the box stores, the reloading companies (like Sinclair), and the smaller gun shops. With the fast communication via the internet, the word spreads quickly and the result has been consumers stockpiling and hoarding primers. Individuals are buying and keeping more primers in their own personal inventories and this has prevented some reloaders from having any primers at all. We normally see people buying 1,000 or maybe 5,000 primers at a time, now we are seeing customers buying 25,000 at a time.
It is exactly the same thing I recommended more than a year ago on .22LR ammunition, and based on my emails the people who took advantage of Midway and other retailers' sales on cases of .22LR are happy campers today. Ditto people who took advantage of sales on AR and Glock magazines. Heck, ditto people who bough inexpensive houses within their means and are not being clobbered by the popping of the real estate bubble!
Hey, I'm the guy who just produced a television series on preparedness, and I absolutely believe what we will be telling our viewers over the next months — nowhere is there a guarantee that the goods you need for your own and your family's survival and well-being, or the goods necessary for you to pursue your interests, or the goods that you need to protect yourself on a daily basis are going to be available all the time. Nowhere! Therefore, it's on you to remedy that situation. Whether it's prescription drugs, fresh water, a second pair of eyeglasses or extra contact lenses, extra food, cash or even primers, you either believe you have the responsibility for your own life or you don't.