Question: Where has all the ammunition gone?
Short Answer: Federal Government action has curtailed production of ammunition and components.
Proper Reaction: Oh shit.
A recent tour of area gunstores yielded this disturbing information:
1) Winchester ammunition factory recently purchased some new machinery to service government contracts and was told to idle all other lines while servicing the federal contracts or a way would be found to shut them down completely. This was brought to light during a recent tour given to industry journalists to show off the new machinery.
2) CCI, the largest manufacturer of "primers" and a major ammunition supplier, has been shut down by OHSA . That would qualify as "a way would be found" given they were issued an instruction similar to Winchester. Folks who felt secure in their ammunition component supply and their ability to meet their own needs by constructing their own cartridges are scrambling to find primers. Primers would be the most difficult (nigh impossible) individual component of a cartridge to fabricate on one's own.
3) Police departments began purchasing AR-15's and even some M-16 heavily over the last year and failed to anticipate the large quantity of ammunition required per officer to get them qualified and keep them qualified. I have one confirmed instance of a department contracting with an individual reloader to supply ammunition for that purpose and are getting so desperate as to consider contracting him for duty ammunition.
4) Walmart, which is a huge seller of ammunition if not the largest, has issued a policy prohibiting their stores from selling ammunition and will be pulling ammunition off the shelves in June.
To paraphrase the above items; They're not making it, you can't make it, and what there is will be prioritized to law enforcement.
None of this is confirmed except the desperation of police departments and the scarcity of components. I do not belive the uptick in ammunition sales is anywhere near large enough to result in the scarcity we are experiencing, nor is military procurement at a level to cause it especially given the time frame manufacturers have had to increase production rates and capacity.
That's what I got for now and that's quite disturbing. I suspect there is more and even worse to be discovered.