The subject of UK powder and bullet shortages has been raised a number of time in recent threads, much of which is attributed to a surge in US domestic demand. I though that this would be of interest to some, just to put the unprecedented US demand into some perspective - this is a report (shamelessly stolen from another forum) which refers to just one retailer in the US (Bruno's Shooting Supplies). This was the situation as at 20th April 2013...:
... spoke at length with Lester Bruno today. I want to share some facts that can put the situation in perspective. Lester wants people to know that he and his staff are working as hard as possible. He has hired extra help and rented additional stockroom space, but he asks people to be patient and understand that "our business is facing an impossible situation... with an order increase of unprecedented magnitude."
- Bruno's has been inundated with orders. Overall they are filling 400% more orders than ever before. That's right -- they are trying to deal with FOUR TIMES as many orders as ever before in history.
- The demand for powder and products is an Order of Magnitude greater than ever before. So far in 2013, Bruno's has shipped TEN TIMES as much hazmat product as during the entire year of 2012.
- Lester HAS hired new staffers and added a phone line and rented additional stockroom space. Nonetheless, he and his daughter Amy are now working 14 hours a day. Lester lost 15 pounds off his body last month because he was working so hard he wasn't eating.
- One reason for delay is that the UPS truck, by UPS policies, is limited to 100 lbs. of hazmat material per truck. Sometimes UPS sends only one truck a day. This causes a back-log which is beyond Bruno's control.
- The big demand is for powder and primers. However, the powder-makers are only delivering a small fraction of the product Bruno's has on order. To give you an idea of the demand, Lester has 200,000,000 (two hundred million) Federal primers on order.
- Bruno's operation is filling orders as fast as it can, but product is not flowing in as needed. Bruno's has over $10,000,000 (ten million dollars) in product back-ordered. This includes everything. He's ordered $3.5 million in primers alone.
- Inventory that would normally arrive on a regular basis has been choked off. For example, Sierra is 2.5 months behind in bullet deliveries [JabaliHunter - Sierra passed their total 2012 sales total by the end of March 2013].
- One reason for an increase in primer prices is that the manufacturers are only delivering in small lot quantities (100 lbs vs. 2000 lbs). This means significantly higher hazmat and shipping fees per unit -- fees paid by Brunos on receipt of product.
- There is a current backlog of 2500+ emails. If you consider it may easily take 10 minutes to review an order and answer an email, that backlog represents at least 416 man-hours of response time. That's 10.4 forty-hour weeks -- just to answer emails already in the queue.
- A "crisis-response" decision was made to halt phone orders. The reason is simple... answering the phone made it impossible, even with the additional staff, to pull and fill existing orders. Remember that the overall volume of orders has increased 400% since last year.