Oct 27, 2021 - Business

Arkansas plant tackling ammo shortage

Ammunition sits on a shelf in a store.

Ammunition is a little thin at High Bridge Arms in San Francisco. Photo: Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Hunters seeing higher prices for ammunition can place at least some blame on the production of electric cars and the U.S. Mint making more coins.

  • Chris Metz, CEO of Vista Outdoor Inc., which operates four U.S. ammunition plants, told Axios his company competes with those industries for copper.

Driving the news: Raw material costs aside, Metz said ammunition availability should be better in the not-too-distant future because a plant in Lonoke that makes Remington ammunition is back in high production mode.

  • Last year, about 450 people worked there. Now it employs 1,050.
  • It's running two and sometimes three shifts a day, six days a week and management is looking to fill another 100 positions.

Flashback: Minnesota-based Vista Outdoor acquired the plant last year for $81 million.

  • Vista also operates ammunition plants in Idaho, Minnesota, and Oregon.

The intrigue: At about 1 million square feet, the Lonoke location is the third-largest ammunition plant in the world.

  • A shortage of ammunition for all calibers is largely due to a rise in demand for firearms, with an estimated 23 million guns sold in the U.S. last year.

What they're saying: Mike Olivia of the National Sports Shooting Foundation recently placed part of the ammunition shortage on the Remington plant but noted the industry is making more than ever.

  • Metz couldn't say exactly how many rounds the Vista plants will produce in the next year, just that it would be "tens of millions."

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