Federal Addresses Hunting Ammo, Primer Shortage

Where is all the hunting ammo?

Where is all the hunting ammo? Jason Vanderbrink explains in a new video.

One month ago, Jason Vanderbrink, president of Federal, CCI, Speer and Remington, appeared in a published video speaking on the challenges faced as a result of heightened demand for ammunition. Picked up by industry and mainstream media outlets — including Shooting Industry — the video has racked up more than 1.75 million views and 15,000 comments on YouTube at the time of this writing.

Now, Vanderbrink is back in a new video answering follow-up questions and addressing concerns of customers in an effort to be transparent during a time of miscommunication and frustration among gun owners. In the video, Vanderbrink attempts to explain how the ammunition giant is handling workforce safety, as well as specific product lines.

Following CDC guidelines to keep its workforce safe, Federal requires masks and temperature checks.

Workforce Safety

Like many essential businesses, remaining open throughout the pandemic is a balancing act, juggling regular — or, in the case of Federal, increased — operations while also keeping employees safe and healthy.

Strictly adhering to CDC guidelines, Vanderbrink shares Federal has implemented work-from-home for office employees, mandated mask and social distancing policies, automated temperature checks and restricted the number of people who visit the factory to protect workers and their families.

“Health of our workers is paramount to our company,” says Vanderbrink, reiterating “[the] health of our workforce is number one.”

Despite producing increased hunting ammo in 2020, popular calibers have been difficult to find.

Hunting Ammo

In addition to the influx of new gun owners this past year, many states also saw hunting licenses increase, leading to more hunters in the field. However, for many new and seasoned hunters across the country, popular hunting calibers were — and have remained — difficult to find. So, where is all the hunting ammo?

“We put out a lot more hunting ammo in 2020 than we [did] in 2019 and any previous year of our 99-year history,” says Vanderbrink, who didn’t offer specific numbers.

Noting the positive benefits of hunting during a pandemic, Vanderbrink also admits the market’s rapid growth was too fast for companies, even Federal, to react. However, he assures they continue to do everything they can, saying “we need to ensure that hunting ammunition is available going forward because we don’t want to lose all of the new hunters that the industry has gained — whether it be us or one of our competitors.

“Hunting ammunition is the lifeblood of all of our companies.”


Primer Capacity

While shooters have struggled to stock up on loaded factory ammunition, handloaders and reloaders wanting to load their own ammo have struggled to find key components — notably, primers. But, as Vanderbrink shares, primers aren’t just a precious commodity for consumers.

“As the ammunition demand continues to surge, the primer market suffers,” says Vanderbrink. “Instead of going to the commercial markets so reloaders can use our primers, that capacity is now going to feed our internal needs to produce all of the Remington, CCI, Federal and Speer ammunition.”

Simply put, Federal, and other manufacturers, need all of the primers they produce to fulfill ammunition orders, only selling primers directly when an excess exists. And, unfortunately for loaders, that likely won’t happen any time soon.

What appears to be a series from Vanderbrink, we look forward to continuing to highlight more videos from Federal and other manufacturers.