How .22 Ammo is Made

We’re suckers for the video of industrial processes, and there’s probably no process in the arms industry more automated, specialized, or cost-sensitive as the production of .22 rimfire ammunition. A crew from the Outdoor Channel spent some time at CCI in Lewiston, ID (which we didn’t know before, is across the river from Clarkston, WA) shooting video of the process from sheet brass and molten lead to a pallet of packed ammo on the loading dock.

CCI’s plant produces 16 packed pallets a day, 4 million rounds of .22LR.

And then it all goes to some guy in Ottumwa who is hoarding it all, apparently.

Some of the steps are surprisingly manual, even repetitious steps. One wonders if there’s a more automated way to do some of the manual steps they do. But they may be at an inflection point where the capital expense of further automation has such a long payback tail that it can’t be justified. Also, having a human in the loop may be a benefit if one of the things you need is flexibility. Humans are kind of “software-defined” as process steps go: they’re easily reprogrammed to do something different. The sort of analog machinery you see on this production line? Not so much.

5 thoughts on “How .22 Ammo is Made

  1. AndyN

    Four million rounds sounds like a lot, and it’s impressive that they can keep production churning along at that rate, but as far as availability is concerned it’s important to remember that that’s less than 1 brick for every Walmart in the US. You don’t need hoarders to explain why the stuff is scarce.

  2. RobRoySimmons

    I liked the opening scene from “Lord of War.”

    I’ll take one of those boxes since I have to ration my shooting of my new favorite pistol my MP22.

  3. Bill T

    Our local Wal-Mart guy says they get their delivery trucks in about 20:00 averaging every other night and any ammo they get will be on the shelf by 22:00. They only get what the distributor sends and it is a random mix of what they would normally stock. He says that any .22 ammo they get is anywhere between 0 and 20 boxes, of 50, usually sell out by midnight the same night. The only way to get your .22 is hang around the sports counter every night to see if they get any in. It’s a hell of a way to do business.

    1. Bill K

      Yep, and then my local Wal-Mart has rules that even if they have 10 boxes in stock, I can only buy one of them per night. Which makes for a lot of repeat Wal-Mart trips.

  4. Andy

    I have a buddy who works at Wal-Mart in Hattiesburg, Ms. , he told me that some of the guys that work in the sporting goods department let their buddies know when the ammo is coming in , these buddies get there early and wait till the ammo is put out then buy all the .22 lr they can , then turn around and sell it at local gun shows at very inflated prices , buy it at WM for 20 bucks for a brick of 325 then sell at gun show for 60 bucks and share the profit with the buddy that works at WM , sounds like corruption to me ! Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

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