At least I didn't do what a friend of my brother Lyle's did a couple of weeks ago. He walked into a gun shop, said he wanted to buy some 5.56 NATO, and the clerks laughed at him.
Fortunately, I've been picking up spent brass a lot over the past few years, and have some 9mm Makarov casings. I also have some .363 diameter bullets (9X18 Mak is a slightly larger caliber than 9X19 / Luger). I ordered a set of 9mm Mak reloading dies. That, powder, and some small pistol primers I'm lucky enough to have on hand, and I'll be able to keep my girlfriend practicing a bit. When it warms up we'll be doing some fishing. With any luck ammo will be flowing again by the time it's cool enough to enjoy the woods again. One of the boys is obsessed with fishing. Kid can ID any local salt water fish by the briefest of partial images on the TV. It'd be spooky if it wasn't so amusing. So, a-fishing we will go.
But back to the ammo crunch. From what I can gather, the ammo crunch happened for the following reasons.
-US ammo manufacturers and suppy houses let their inventories draw down in the winter to reduce the taxes levied on their inventories.
-Manufacturers do maintenance to machinery during this tax season slow-down.
-Military, law enforcement and paramilitary organizations like DHS have major contracts with manufacturers, and they all get priority over civilian sales.
-Foreign manufacturers have to deal with customs bottlenecks, major transport arrangements and related hassles that delay order fulfillment here in the US, so they haven't been able to take up the slack. (Much of the ammo US civilians shoot is in fact made overseas or in Latin America. We've been really bad about sucking up whatever's cheap, without much thought to what that does to domestic industry or even the safety and utility of the ammo itself).
And in the middle of all this comes an unprecedented push for gun and ammuntion bans. As a result, American gun owners are buying seemingy anything and everythng that will go bang as if a zombie apocalypse was marching across the landscape.
It's a "perfect storm" for creation of gun and ammo panic buying. And the conditions of shortage, price inflation, and heavy personal investment will probably do a great deal to cement opposition to gun control legislation over the course of the next few years.
The estimates I'm seeing most consistently predict continued shortages of ammo for about a year, if nothing else changes. Gun and magazine manufacturers are back ordered about a year to a year and a half, based on current production capacity and market dynamics. It's a mess.
The big achilles' heel for ammunition is apparently primers. They're very technologically demanding to produce, and my understanding is they're all going to manufacture of ammo rather than sales to reloaders / hand loaders right now. When I run out of primers, I'll just have to sit back and watch what happens on the market. It's awfully hard to predict the course of events with certainty, because somebody is going to want to make that money, and there are plenty of foreign manufacturers in the game. I'm sure the Russians are just wetting their pants over the cash we're spending on ammo they're already tooled up to make for us.
But at the moment, the Gunbroker auction house indiators have settled a bit more, with 5.56 NATO running about 60 to 75 cents per cartridge, down from a dollar not long ago, and 9X19 down around 40 to 50 cents per cartridge from about 75 to a dollar respectively. 7.62 NATO, however, is now doggedly sticking at about 90 cents to a dollar a cartridge, after lagging in ramp-up initially. If I had to guess, I'd say that perhaps the 9X19 and 5.56 shooters, which tend to include more young and relatively inexperienced shooters, panicked first and that eventually their panic affected the thinking of the 7.62 NATO shooters, who tend to be a bit older and more experienced overall. Just a guess, though. Not that there's anything wrong with pistols or medium power rifles. It's just that the older a shooter gets, the more likely they are to have learned the value of accurate high power rifles.