Montana businesses, law enforcement work through nationwide ammunition shortage

MELISSA LOVERIDGE Bozeman Chronicle

Prior to the pandemic, Montana Tactical was selling boxes of 300 Winchester Magnum ammunition, a popular hunting caliber, for about $30 a box.

The last time it had boxes of those 300 Winchester Magnums, they were selling for $99 a box.

“I’ve never seen a shortage of ammunition like this, and at this cost,” said Aaron Hagen, who has owned Montana Tactical on Gooch Hill Road in Bozeman for more than 20 years.

Now, Hagen spends about 20 hours a week just trying to find ammunition to order, he said. He’s also had to limit how many boxes of ammo customers can buy so one person doesn’t stockpile and leave the rest of the customers without. Shotgun ammunition, which was “always very plentiful” has been especially tricky to track down lately and more expensive than usual.

“The prices on some ammunition has normalized and improved, but most ammunitions are hovering at about double what it cost pre-pandemic,” Hagen said. “As a dealer, we’re paying anywhere from two to three times what we were paying for ammo 18 months ago.”

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