If you reload, or have been looking for ammunition anytime during 2013, you know that supplies of primers are scarce. In case you don’t know, primers are those little metal “caps” that go in the base of a cartridge to make it go bang. They’re sort of like those newer style caps for toy guns except they’re made of metal, not plastic, and have a lot more juice.
Last week I had the great pleasure of touring the Blackhawk! factory in Manhattan, Montana where all sorts of polymer things are made: holsters, gun stocks, magazine carriers and primer packaging trays. Since primers have a tendency to go bang, they’re packed very, very carefully. They come in boxes filled with plastic trays so each individual primer is isolated from everything else. Kind of like a heavy-duty egg carton.
A couple of the 30-ish very expensive molding machines at the Manhattan facility have been 100% dedicated to the manufacture of primer trays seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for just about as long as folks there can remember. While molds in other machines are frequently changed out to make different products, these machines continue pumping out primer trays day after day after day. Blackhawk ships them to ammunition companies as fast as they can make them.
So, primers are manufactured in record numbers. It’s just that panicky people like us are continuing to stockpile them in even greater numbers.
I’m starting to see light as the end of the tunnel, as at least some primers are now available at local suppliers. What are you seeing out there?
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I actually saw (and bought) cases of Winchester primers, Large Rifle and Small Pistol, at our local Big 5 sporting goods store. They said Big 5 had just started carrying primers. At all the big stores here in Nor-Cal, Sportsman’s Warehouse, etc. they have been very scarce.
On the way home from this trip, I was also able to buy a few thousand from the Sportsmans Warehouse near us. First time I’ve seen CCI and Federal primers there in ages!