The .22 Long Rifle cartridge is an essential round for small game hunting in an apocalyptic world and has long be considered “easiest to find.” One of the things I remember hearing all the time was “you will always be able to find those there are so many.” In today’s ammo shortage .22lr is the most sought after round and the hardest to find. You can’t reload it like you can center fire cartridges which makes it all the more sought after. So this brings up the debate, would you be able to find them in the apocalypse?
While I can’t say for sure I am pretty confident they will be available in barter or scavenging. In many cases used as currency for at least a while. You have to keep in mind that the problems we face today are related to how many are on store shelves. Being relatively inexpensive compared to other cartridges these are how people are getting their shooting fix until ammo supplies increase and prices decrease. The shelves are not an indication of how many rounds currently sit in private ammo stockpiles. When SHTF happens your source of ammo will be barter, and scavenging from abandoned supplies.
We often forget that you can’t carry everything with you in a bug out scenario. So something will be left behind. While I believe ammo is one of the last things you leave behind as you can always trap or hunt food, others might not see it that way or have vast stockpiles of ammo in a urban environment with no way to transport it all. Some might opt for large caliber designed to stop people and leave the 22 behind.
Having a .22 caliber rifle will be essential to your survival don’t let the current shortages change your opinion on this. Also quickly we see how valuable ammo is compared to dollars. It use to be 2 cents per .22lr round. now it’s more like 20-30 cents. In scenarios like hyperinflation this would be expected of all items, and those who are too stuck to the old pricing with out shifting into new market value will miss out on getting the few supplies that are left before the dollar collapses. I don’t think we are in hyperinflation yet but this is good practice to align your thinking.
While I want to say the cost of ammo will go down again I don’t think it will return to the previous levels for many years to come. The problem is that even if they ramp up production the mentality right now is to buy anything you find. So the prices will have to go up higher in the primary markets to keep some in stock and this will discourage some buyers, others will just buy less. However as a collective the stock will still be sold out for a while. Until people feel comfortable with what they have, stop profiting off marked up resale or discouraged by the prices.
You can see how price increases are happening all over. At Cheaper than Dirt they are selling a 500 brick for $150. That same brick use to cost around $30. Some places like Walmart and Cabela’s haven’t drastically increased the costs of ammo but limited how many boxes you can purchase. Until the fear goes away and people stop paying the high prices and sit back and watch the prices fall things will not change.
My personal opinion is to keep buying. I set a threshold like I won’t spend more then $40 for a brick, ideally of 40 grain. If I find that I buy. My money doesn’t go as far as it use to but if you think about it the high costs will average out over your stock pile and long term if SHTF happened tomorrow you would be paying a lot more per bullet. Imagine a time where mass production of bullets wasn’t available. You would spend closer to $1 or more a round in today’s money. This meant you would have to make the rounds count.
Don’t lose faith in the .22 it’s still the bug out weapon of choice for long term survival.