The primer story

There are multiple factors contributing to the shortage of primers. I had previously heard or assumed most of them in the following post. But the Remington component to “The Great Primer Shortage of 2020.” was new to me.

From Powder Valley, Why Is There a Primer Supply Shortage?

Demand, however, is just one part of the story. Disruptions in the supply chain have also made a big impact on the availability of primers. When it comes to ammunition supplies, bullets are easy to manufacture, brass can be re-used, and powder is generally stockpiled by companies (though perhaps not the kind you’re looking for). This leaves primers, which are relatively difficult to make, as the component that causes the bulk of ammo shortages.

In the U.S., only four companies (Winchester, Remington, Federal, and CCI) manufacture primers for civilian use, law enforcement, and the military. Even under perfect circumstances, there’s only so much they can produce at once, and needless to say, circumstances have not been perfect during the pandemic. People getting sick, missing work to take care of their kids, and self-quarantining – from factory workers to delivery drivers, and all throughout the supply chain – caused a lull in manufacturing this spring.

The Remington bankruptcy has had a large impact on the shortage of ammo and primers.  With Remington in a state of financial insolvency for the past two years, suppliers were demanding payment upon delivery for products.  Remington simply did not have the financial capabilities to have an abundance of raw materials on hand and had to shutter some of their production capacity.  Barnes bullets and primers were hit particularly hard in the reloading market.  With the recent purchase of Remington by Vista, there is a good chance that Vista will be diverting CCI and Federal primers that would typically go to reloaders to Remington ammunition production.  Remington primer production capacity has never been great.  The hope would be that Vista will place more emphasis on getting the Remington primer production capacity increased substantially and quickly.


4 thoughts on “The primer story

  1. I can’t say if it’s just me or what, but 90% of my reload “failure to fire” issues are with Remington primers. Winchester and CCI I have had no problems with. I’ve had more FTF with Remington .22LR than with all other brands of .22LR combined. This is for the past 15 years.
    I hope Vista can solve the quality issues.

    • I haven’t used any Remington primers since 1997.

      I’ve had similar experience with their .22LR ammo.

    • Remington .22 has been garbage for as long as I’ve been shooting guns.

      Federal bulk stuff is much better for plinking and stuff like Steel Challenge where one-hole groups aren’t a requirement.

      For everything else, CCI Standard Velocity and Green Tag is a much better choice, and ELEY is the best for when accuracy really matters.

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