Yesterday I finally took out my Ruger for some target practice. A friend who actually knows what he’s doing took me to the Deer Creek Shooting Center in East Missoula. I had a blast (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Earlier in the day I went to Sportsmen Warehouse to get some ear muffs, glasses and ammo. I asked a guy at the counter what the best kind of ammo to get for a Ruger Mark III, and he kind of gave me this look like I was crazy or stupid, then said basically whatever kind of .22 rounds you can find. Since I’m new with all this, I didn’t realize how insane the consumer demand for ammo still is. Coincidentally, I just ran across this Missoulian article about a half hour ago on Twitter. Here’s a snip:
Ammunition manufacturers, such as ATK in Lewiston have been hounded so frequently from consumers and media, they’re posting FAQs about ammo shortages on their websites.
Like other companies, ATK referred The Spokesman-Review’s interview request to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Mike Bazinet, NSSF public affairs director, said he’s fielded about 100 ammunition-related media queries in the past month.
“The main questions?” he said: “What’s the cause of the ammo shortage? Is it abating?
Bazinet dismisses rumors that the federal Department of Homeland Security has been stocking up and hoarding ammunition.
“A federal report from the Government Accountability Office two months ago said DHS purchases actually are lower than in the past,” he said.
Recent news about the U.S. Postal Service stockpiling ammo was blown out of proportion on the Internet, he said.
“It was for a small law enforcement arm of postal inspectors, not for mail carriers,” he said, noting the purchases were insignificant to the market.
Bazinet said the bottom line for ammunition shortages is consumer demand. Increased sales triggered even more demand as shooters stockpiled as much ammunition as they could get their hands on, he said.
After probably realizing I was a total novice, the guy pointed me to the few boxes of ammo they had left on the shelves.
Later, at the range, my new Ruger didn’t perform well. My friend had two ideas about what the problem might be. First he thought maybe it was the ammo. The bullets just weren’t feeding into the chamber smoothly from the clip, and it looked like maybe the tip of the bullets were slowing the action of the spring in the clip. As he fiddled, he was able to fire off a few rounds, which led to his next thought that maybe the Ruger was so new that its guts were stiff.
Since the first attempts at shooting my pistol weren’t going well, my friend offered to let me try his .44 revolver. I was hesitant, but relented and damn. That is not a caliber of handgun I’d be interested in owning, but it certainly put my Ruger in context.
After more attempts my Ruger seemed to loosen up a bit and would fire multiple rounds, but the action from the clip still feels a little hinky. Or maybe it’s the ammo. I’m not sure.
I’ve obviously still got a whole lot to learn, but I’m glad to finally start demystifying a tool only rendered dangerous by the various abilities and intentions of its relative users.