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Bottlenecks in Gun Making

Dave Hardy links to this very interesting article that seems to show a problem in being able to crank out more ARs and other firearms is that there isn’t enough high quality steel to be had for barrels. The numbers here are astounding.

12 Responses to “Bottlenecks in Gun Making”

  1. Bitter says:

    This is another reason why I don’t have a problem with gun dealers increasing prices. It’s not just about shortages, it’s also that these companies still have payroll to meet and buildings to pay rent on, even as their stocks are depleted. If a dealer wants to make more profit to help get them through the uncertainty of the next few months, I’m totally okay with that and don’t think they should be demonized for it.

  2. Art Welling says:

    I see this blog post getting referenced a lot, but would very like to see confirmation from other sources. It’s very interesting, but it’s also single source unverified.

  3. aerodawg says:

    The other issues is the steel used in making quality bolts. The specification requires Carpenter 158, which is a specialty steel that can only be bought in large lots

    • Patrick H says:

      So that’s why bolt carriers have been so scarce, even before the current scare?

      • aerodawg says:

        That’s the reason GOOD BCGs have been scarce. Some of the smaller outfits along with the one’s making lower quality kit use 8620 or 9310 to get by.

        The low quality places tend to use 8620 which is cheaper and can be had in smaller lots but has much less desirable fatigue properties.

        9310 is more expensive but can be had in MUCH smaller lots which appeals to the smaller outfits. It’s fairly close to to C158 but some of the lesser included elements do negatively impact the fatigue properties.

        In short, as far as bolts go, C158 > 9310 > 8620. Any of them will work, but be aware that 9310 and 8620 can have a shorter service life.

  4. Jeff says:

    The ‘a million mags behind’ thing has been debunked by a high level Magpul employee. Given that, I’d take everything else in there with a huge grain of salt.

  5. Asdf says:

    True or exaggerated, I know one thing for sure: end all of these stupid wars we’re in and ammo prices wil plummet. WWB 5.56 would probably drop back down to $160/1k, where it was before the Iraq war caused prices to spike.

    And I see no reason why manufacturers would give government priority over private citizens. Police departments and military should have to compete with us on an open market, period.

    • jetfxr69 says:

      We do compete on an open market. Our dollar is as good as theirs. However, they have a lot more of them (think wholesale v. retail), and in the case of the .fedgov, contracts specify a penalty for failure to deliver quantity on schedule. So, if you’ve got fixed manufacturing capacity, you deliver to the fedgov first. The “open market” is when the contracts get made, not when delivery happens. Of course, we don’t buy from the manufacturer, there’s a layer or three of distribution in there as well in our “open market”.

    • J says:

      You see no reason why the government would get priority over private citizens for ammunition? Really? How many times have you needed to shoot a bad guy in A’Stan recently? I don’t disagree with you one bit that we need to end these needless entanglements overseas but I cannot fathom a reason to prioritize civilian ammunition wants over, or even with, that of the needs of the military.

  6. Caleb says:

    There are some numbers in the linked blog post that are questionable at best; and as mentioned above the Magpul 1 million mag backorder has been debunked by Magpul actual.

    A more thoughtful analysis of the problem also includes the fact that gun makers have seen this before; and in 2009 many companies that ramped production out the yin-yang were left holding the bag with product they couldn’t move as backorders got cancelled due to the secondary market being flooded around Q2 or 2009.

  7. Andy B. says:

    Just brainstorming: Maybe manufacturer’s could sell lower receivers as fast as they could make those, with the promise of delivering the uppers for a guaranteed price as soon as possible — for those hoping to get under the wire, as grandfathered out of some future ban.

  8. Matt says:

    All I can say is the ammunition shortages have hit reloading hard. We use the same stuff they do. I’m new to reloading and actually making choices based around what I can get NOW, not what I’d like to get. If a particular powder/bullet combo is available and allows me to load ammo, I’m getting it regardless of whether it’s an ideal load.

    The true bottleneck is primers. Want to turn guns into clubs? Limit or eliminate that supply. Small rifle is virtually impossible, I got lucky on large pistol and large rifle is reasonably available with searching.

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