If you have found your way to this page, you are probably at least a moderately active rifle or pistol shooter and are aware of the shortages of all kinds of small arms and ammunition. What you may not realize is the shortage of reloading supplies of all kinds.
I've been reloading for about 13 years, mostly pistol calibers until recently, but as I became more active in shooting rifle and could see down the road that ammo prices weren't going anywhere but up, I decided I needed to start reloading rifle rounds as well. I use a Dillon 650 and always have. It is efficient and reliable and Dillon Precision has customer service that is second to none. I pre-ordered my rifle dies for the 650 along with some case prep tools right after Thanksgiving as a Christmas gift from my wife (what a great wife!!) to me. She knows how much $$ I've saved with reloading pistol ammo over the years, particularly during the years that I was heavily involved in USPSA.... Anyway I also ordered some bulk bullets, powder, and primers from both Internet sources and local suppliers and it was all sitting under the tree for me on Christmas morning. What I didn't realize was how hard it would be to make the investment of $1000 or so in reloading gear to pay off.
Immediately after the Sandy Hook shooting I made several firearms related purchases, one of which was more bullets and primers from Brownells. That order took a month to show up. I wanted to get some more powder too, Varget, but it was not to be had anywhere at any price that I could find. Since Dec 11th I've only seen 1 lb of Varget available for sale at a gun show, but he only took cash and I had already spent my wad of cash for the day :( . It seems that Varget is produced in Australia and so the supply chain on it is a long one. Even if they increase production, it will take a while to get onto shelves in the US
In the last month I've tried to get .224 bullets from just about every supplier that I know about. Every once in a while I'll hear about some coming available, but by the time I get there they are already sold out. Nobody seems quite sure how long these shortages will last, but it will be AT LEAST June-July according to most sources I've read and talked to before anything starts flowing again. There simply isn't any supply available form the manufacturers, and they are running around the clock.
Primers are also hit and miss. They don't seem to be as bad as some of the other components, and I've built up a small reserve by buying some whenever I see them available, I'm not sure how long this will last either.
The thing that made me write this post was something I saw on the Dillon Precision home page today when I went to order a replacement decapping pin from them. It seems that even the reloading press companies, particularly Dillon, are running a 6-8 week backlog themselves right now. If you go to the ASC reloading forum I've been involved with a discussion of someone who was able to find a 650 for sale and bought it, but had to search around for the dies he needed for the calibers he wanted to reload. There simply isn't enough supply to go around...
What does this all mean? I'm not going to tell you want it means big picture, you'll have to figure that out on your own. What it should mean for us as a club is that we need to help each other out. Post here or on the ASC forum when you see stuff for sale with a description and a price. If you see common items like bullets or primers available, buy them even if you don't personally need them as I know there are club members who do. Take this as an opportunity to strengthen the club and meet new people, not retreat into your home and close yourself off. If you need help, ask. If you can help, offer.