U.S. shooters feel pinch as ammo costs soar

Mon May 19, 2008 8:12pm EDT
 

By Tim Gaynor

TOMBSTONE, Ariz (Reuters) - Gunslinger Bob Krueger blasts away at his outlaw rivals at a tourist show in this storied Old West town, although rising ammo costs may force him to choose his shots.

Krueger and his gnarly band of pistoleros are among millions of shooters, hunters and even lawmen across the United States feeling the pinch as sky-high metals prices and demand from wars abroad are driving up the price of bullets.

Ammo prices for many popular guns have more than tripled in the last three years, driven in large part by surging demand for metals in rapidly industrializing China.

As the Asian giant becomes wealthier, millions of tons of copper, lead and zinc, which are also used to make bullets and brass shell-casings, are being snapped up.

Shooters, gun dealers and sheriffs say the impact has been further aggravated by competition for limited ammo stocks with the U.S. military, currently fighting wars on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Everybody is feeling it," said Krueger, a Stetson wearing cowboy whose show blasts through hundreds of rounds of blank ammo each week at Six Gun City in Tombstone.

"If things get bad enough, we may all just get one bullet each," he said, to laughter from his grizzled buddies.

HUNTING FOR AMMO   Continued...

 
<p>A stack of .50 caliber tracer ammunition belts are stacked up at the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot near West Point, Kentucky April 9, 2005. Ammo prices for many popular guns have more than tripled in the last three years, driven in large part by surging demand for metals in rapidly industrializing China. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>