Author Topic: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:  (Read 24029 times)

Offline The Professor

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Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« on: May 13, 2017, 04:06:07 PM »
The next three years are going to be very interesting on more levels than we probably know.

Not only are we in for a Socio-Political ride unlike any we've seen before (and let's not forget the Damoclean economic sword hanging over our heads), but the world is going to change in many other ways, as well.

For example, many people don't realize that the US Army is actively seeking a completely new primary firearm for soldiers. . .and it WILL NOT BE the Stoner-designed AR-style military rifle!  A complete redesign is in the works (no indication, yet, if the XM8 project will be revived. . .and it won't matter for civvies if it is).  The biggest change is that the caliber will be changing. . .as well as the TYPE of ammunition.

The new caliber is what portends a significant change for civilian shooters.  There are MILLIONS of AR-style .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm rifles in the hands of Americans.  Each shoots a brass-cased cartridge with a 0.224" bullet. But, the new rifle the Army wants may well be a paradigm shift in ammunition with polymer cartridges being researched due to their light weight and production speed.  SOCOM is currently testing a Polymer 6.5 Creedmore round, as we speak with two other prospective calibers being .260 Remington and .265 USA.

Why does this affect the average Joe?  Simple, most military or civilian-related calibers are loaded by companies who have military contracts.  Those rounds are often filled with powder and primers made by subcontracted companies who have government contracts to provide the same to the military ammo makers.  It's economically cheaper to make a .223 Remington with a 55-gr round when all the components are military over-runs and when you can leave a few steps out (like crimping primers).  What happens when those big contracts go away?

As I mentioned in another recent post, right now is Golden Period.  Ammunition for (current) military calibers is abundant.  Prices are, in my opinion, at an artificially high cost because the average consumer doesn't know any better.  It's highly speculative, but I foresee a brief, but significant drop in ammunition prices for military rifle calibers in the next two years.

Were it me, I would plan on investing a significant amount in those calibers. 

The ammo companies see the writing on the wall.  They will have to invest in new equipment for the polymer ammunition.  While demand will still remain for the military calibers by civilian shooters, they will NEVER sell those calibers at Carl Sagan levels (". . .billions and billions. . .").

The argument could be made that foreign militaries will still need ammo and many countries (such as the UK, Israel, China and South Africa) will still be producing the calibers, but the prices will still be higher than they are today.

So. . .the Golden Question:  How much is enough?  Well, my general answer (and the formula I am using to determine our own purchase/storage levels) is to determine how much ammo  you used in the past five years and divide that by five to get an annual average.  Then, multiply that answer  times the number of years you foresee continuing shooting.

Then again, perhaps higher prices won't affect the average shooter, too much.  Most people I know, despite their professed extensive knowledge of shooting, equipment and techniques, barely put 100 rounds downrange in a given year. . .if any at all.  For them, I suggest just latching onto about a thousand rounds (or 840 in stripper clips, bandolier and ammo can) and tossing it in the back of the corner along with their NVD's, Body Armor and Noveske Rifle.

Just some thoughts, worth exactly what you paid for them.

The Professor

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2017, 04:14:12 PM »
An important piece of intel, would be to know the time frame between the .mil choosing a new rifle/cartridge and the same being physically replaced in the field for all applicable missions.  While your point is very valid, my guess is there's be some significant latency between the "decision" and the "deployment".  Maybe that's several months, or a few years.  And initially there should be a wave of surplus ammo/mags.  So in the near term that might be a boon for 5.56 civilian shooters.

As long as there are active duty infantry units fielding 5.56mm weapons, I don't think the supply economics will change too drastically.

If any insiders can give an estimate on the timing, I would appreciate it.

Offline CPT Morgan

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2017, 04:19:44 PM »
That makes a lot of sense Professor, thank you for sharing your insight.

Offline TNVolunteer

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 04:52:51 PM »
Interesting thoughts.  I've started buying again now that the prices are "down" .... relative to where they have been the last 6 years.  I am running into a problem though.  Regrettably, my wife knows what an ammo can is and long ago, learned how to count.  You can figure out the rest.   ;D

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Offline The Professor

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 08:51:17 PM »
An important piece of intel, would be to know the time frame between the .mil choosing a new rifle/cartridge and the same being physically replaced in the field for all applicable missions.  While your point is very valid, my guess is there's be some significant latency between the "decision" and the "deployment".  Maybe that's several months, or a few years.  And initially there should be a wave of surplus ammo/mags.  So in the near term that might be a boon for 5.56 civilian shooters.

As long as there are active duty infantry units fielding 5.56mm weapons, I don't think the supply economics will change too drastically.

If any insiders can give an estimate on the timing, I would appreciate it.

In this particular case (IMO), the complete timing of the changeover isn't all that important.

It's like this:   The situation we're currently in originates back as far as 2012.  When Obama's second term started, everyone thought he'd go after guns.  At that time, ammunition manufacturers received a RIDICULOUS number of orders from existing FFL's in preparation for the purchasing onslaught that did happen. . .for a while.  They are just now getting caught up to those orders. . .BUT. . .a lot of the FFL's that ordered are no longer in business.  Remember, in 2012, it was almost impossible to find ammo and stayed that way for 3 years, in some cases.

Now, we're seeing a glut in the market.  This is for TWO reasons. . .the first is that all those orders are in and the second is that Hillary didn't get elected.  We'd be talking about a completely different problem, right now, if there was a second Clinton in office.  This is also the reason you see major AR producers, such as Colt, dropping their prices significantly.  They, too, prepared for the worst and are now swimming in stock with no "fear-driven" purchases in the marketplace.

The Golden Period to which I earlier referred is the time it's going to take for this surplus to be bought up.

Now, there are two other issues that will feed into this that only solidifies my Golden Period belief.

In about two years, the 2020 elections will be in full swing.  If you think Hillary was scary, imagine what's going to be on the Democrat's Candidate list for the next election?

We will, once again, be thrown back into Panic Mode as all the late-comers, who got comfortable with Trump in office, feel their rights are threatened, once again.

So, at THAT time, ammo demand will begin to go up and supply will begin to go down, leading to higher prices.  How many ammo manufacturers will fall by the wayside in the next two years due to lack of demand and high on-hand stock?  They have to survive the next two years somehow.  We're already seeing drops in prices to keep the cash flowing.

The industry is teetering, right now.   Major firearms, and firearms-related, companies will be closing their doors.  Olympic Arms has closed.  Remington closed a major plant in Mayfield, KY, ammo manufacturers are already dealing with major problem sourcing lead due to the previous administration closing the Herculaneum smelting plant.

With the additional threat of losing 5.56x45 military production, it just pushes the window closed a little more.

Please understand, I'm not saying you won't be able to purchase current military calibers ever again, I'm just saying NOW is the time to do it if you want to get them at the cheapest prices in the foreseeable future.

The Professor

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2017, 01:44:17 AM »
I have to agree with your assessment Professor.  We seem to keep underestimating the supply/demand and distribution system. Every panic seems to out do the one before and what we thought were plenty of stocked up ammo cans isn't nearly enough, again.  Another dynamic in the last ten years is the huge increase in the number of shooters and the huge increase of rounds fired per range session and per year. 

Just a personal anecdote, when I was a youngster my dad took us to the range about once a year to sight in the rifles for hunting season.  About 2-4 rounds per rifle and per person used up all of about 20 rounds for 3 of us, plus a few more rounds if we were lucky that season.  When I was in my late 30s I got into more shooting on my own and reloading and might shoot 50-100 rounds a few times a year.  Over the years that has increased in frequency and duration of range sessions so I may shoot up 200-400 rds easily per session and many sessions per year, plus a a couple of family shootfests where we go through several hundred rounds of centerfire easily in a long day.  I am no operator in training or anything close, just like to have fun with the family and my handholds and variety of firearms.  Multiply this typical increase of rounds shot per year by the millions of gun owners and the thousands of new ones every year with tactical rifles and pistols and you are increasing ammo consumption by the billions.

I use to stock up enough to weather a year long disruption to ammo availability or price increases.  Now I am able to keep shooting for at least 5 years if needed, and I would not think it silly to stock up for a ten year period.  The last go-round I even bought a couple of pellet rifles and you can stock up for them super cheap.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2017, 02:22:10 AM »
Maybe I missed it on your other thread, but what's your crystal ball say about 7.62x51?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2017, 09:32:03 AM »
Maybe I missed it on your other thread, but what's your crystal ball say about 7.62x51?

It's a relatively low round count, and you should be hand loading it for precision - LOL

Maybe if I didn't have a mortgage, car payment and kids to feed I could do mag dumps of .308 every weekend ;)

Seriously though, .223/5.56 is special because of the "mission" of that system.  Given the volume, a $.10 per round cost increase on .223 hurts more than a $1 per round increase on .300 win mag.  Obviously .308 is someplace in between, but I'm guessing you don't shoot hundreds per range session.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2017, 09:44:12 AM »
Remember circa 2003 when the Australians, Portuguese, and South Africans were phasing out 7.62x51 in favor of 5.56?  You could pick it up by the case for $0.15-0.20 a round at gun shows.  I'm still shooting on stock I picked up then, but wishing I'd picked up twice as much.  One $1000-ish horse-trade, the other guy threw in two 200 round battle packs to sweeten the deal.  It wasn't a lot then (~$60), but it's pretty sweet by today's prices!  Even more glad I took him up on the deal.

Maybe the same thing is about to happen to 5.56.  Be ready.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2017, 11:16:50 AM »
Remember circa 2003 when the Australians, Portuguese, and South Africans were phasing out 7.62x51 in favor of 5.56?  You could pick it up by the case for $0.15-0.20 a round at gun shows.
Im glad I grabbed a bunch back then.

Offline The Professor

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2017, 03:53:38 PM »
Maybe I missed it on your other thread, but what's your crystal ball say about 7.62x51?

Currently, I'm on the fence about 7.62x51 NATO, right now.

To me, it's always been the ugly step-sister to 5.56x45.  Many factions in the military want to get rid of it, completely, on the Company Level.  Many feel the SAW, being chambered in the same caliber as the M16, and which needs no Assistant Gunner, adequately fills the needs of the squad and the GPMG needs to be relegated to either a Special Weapons Squad on the Battalion level. 

Others, like myself, see a distinct need for it, but with the recent changes to military-issued 5.56x45 ammo, that need is very myopic. . .saved for a time when we face a modern, organized military force.

The information for the previous recommendations does hint at the desire to limit units to one, primary round with increased lethality over the 5.56x45mm.  Support weapons would be chambered in the same caliber, but the weapons, themselves, would be built for heavier, increased fire and (possibly) longer ranges.  This would simplify logistics, especially in pioneer or far-forward units

However (and this is mere speculation, at this point), 7.62x51mm sales (and their respective civilian counterpart, the .308 Winchester) comprise a MUCH smaller portion of ammunition sales.  A guess would be that prices would increase, but not significantly so.  Your average shooting civilian buys fewer weapons in .308 Win and, I'd bet, the majority of those would be bolt action, rather than semi-auto.  As such, the average civilian would not put as many rounds downrange in a given year as would one who shoots 5.56x45.  Therefore, demand isn't so great.  It won't be difficult to fill orders for the 7.62x51mm as others.

So, I'd theorize that they will increase in price, but not significantly so.  There is no great surplus of 7.62x51mm, as we have with 5.56x45, and the demand will, most likely, remain constant, which is to say: comparatively low.  What you may see is (IF the military does away with 7.62x51mm as well as 5.56x45mm) there will be droughts of ammunition as the ammo companies determine appropriate frequencies of lot runs to meet existing demand.  So in the short-to-medium term, a slight increase in price and varying availability. 

If you shoot a lot, you may want to stock up, but I wouldn't get too stressed about it unless you're a HEAVY shooter.

The Professor

Offline 9mmMaster

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2017, 06:44:05 PM »
What is awesome to me as a Soldier
A new Rifle for the military in 6.5 !!!!
Sweet !!! Where is that thread ? Anyone have a link to the 6.5 trials first I heard of it.
I first joined th Militarybin 2001 shot many versions of the AR 16 A2 A4 full Auto Burst
Might make some upset but never felt the AR was a Great War fighting rifle or the 5.56 optimal
I think both are well suited to Police work.

Offline Carl

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2017, 05:59:33 AM »
  I picture a .308 X 1.5 inch poly cased ,brass headed cartridge for 2400FPS in a small Styer bullpup.

But I have seen what the .308 X 1.5 can do in a 14 inch TC Contender.

Offline The Professor

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Offline Carl

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 10:56:50 AM »
  You talked me into a Davis Defender with Gen 3 night scope that will arrive at the BOL later this month.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2017, 07:05:11 PM »
Wow.  DPMS rebates bringing the cost of bread and butter ar down to about $400.  And even 308s are being discounted.

http://www.dpmsinc.com/rebates


Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2017, 01:18:16 AM »
Maybe I missed it on your other thread, but what's your crystal ball say about 7.62x51?
Considering that you use .308 for the same purpose I use .223 (go to rifle for serious business, because California), you may need to stack much deeper than most on .308.

To be honest, the laws and attitude in California being what they are you are probably making a good choice getting more oomph out of the rounds you are allowed to have in the gun and the profile of the M1A is a lot less intimidating to those not in the know.

I think the price point though has hobbled the battle rifle crowd.  Appleseed shoots in 2008-2009, whew!, heavy metal thunder on the line!  It was maybe 50-50 centerfire/rimfire at 25 yards and I was the odd man out on the line using an AR amongst the centerfire crowd.  The centerfires were mostly M1As and M1 Garands with a sprinkling of others.  Those days are gone.  The centerfires are now 20% of the line tops and almost exclusively .223.  You will only see the .308s dragged out for the full distance shoots.

Plenty of owners of the biguns, but not shot as much.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2017, 03:16:56 AM »
Strangely, after our latest assault weapon ban, California boy has finally climbed on the AR bandwagon, so I've been laying in the 5.56, too.  Honestly, the handy little Kel-tec SU16 I picked up also is probably the better choice for this state, as it seems like the least compromised CA-legal .223.  But I figure everyone probably should have at least one AR. 

But, yes, I'm still laying in .308 for the M1A's.  They're low-tech, expensive, and heavy as hell, but I kind of agree with nutnfancy's title, "Fear not, you have an M1A."

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2017, 05:17:38 AM »
  They're low-tech, expensive, and heavy as hell, but I kind of agree with nutnfancy's title, "Fear not, you have an M1A."
I notice you are quoting a Nut'n'fancy title.  You ever notice people don't quote things he says at the end of his videos?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2017, 10:22:37 AM »
Because they're so long.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2017, 01:11:02 PM »
I am going to cross post this to another forum if that's ok?

Offline The Professor

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2017, 06:32:20 PM »
I am going to cross post this to another forum if that's ok?

Meh, just credit where credit is due and, please, liberally sprinkle your description of me with terms such as "Devastatingly Handsome," "Roguish Attire," and "Mind Like a Steel Trap."

The Professor

Offline Ms. Albatross

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2017, 07:28:49 PM »
Meh, just credit where credit is due and, please, liberally sprinkle your description of me with terms such as "Devastatingly Handsome," "Roguish Attire," and "Mind Like a Steel Trap."

The Professor

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Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2017, 09:07:44 PM »
Meh, just credit where credit is due and, please, liberally sprinkle your description of me with terms such as "Devastatingly Handsome," "Roguish Attire," and "Mind Like a Steel Trap."

The Professor

He is also humble. He even won an award for his humbleness. Alas it was revoked when he was seen wearing it.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2017, 05:53:44 PM »
The rebate floodgates have opened.  It is a straight up rebate war across tactical rifles.












Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2017, 07:06:10 PM »
The rebate floodgates have opened.  It is a straight up rebate war across tactical rifles.
Yeah, it is time to buy.  And also, time to remember to encourage those on the fence (or maybe not quite so well plugged-in) that now is the time, and the screamin' deals are out there right now, but maybe not in six months.

Thanks for posting that, I4L.  I have a brother who needs some encouragement.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2017, 07:55:31 PM »
Thanks for posting that, I4L.  I have a brother who needs some encouragement.

Ugh.  I just couldn't take it anymore. I dont have a flattop AR so I just ordered a Bushmaster QRC.  galleryofguns.com has them on inventory reduction here: http://galleryofguns.com/Gallery/HotDeals.aspx?evt=Inventory%20Reduction%20Sale&brand=BushmasterIncluding taxes, dealer fees, etc. it comes in at $454.95 after $75 rebate.  And that includes Davidson's lifetime warranty: http://www.galleryofguns.com/about/terms.aspx.  It will be a good loaner rifle.

https://www.bushmaster.com/firearms/xm-15-qrc/16-optics-ready




Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2017, 09:04:57 PM »
...   taxes, dealer fees, etc. it comes in at $454.95 after $75 rebate.  And that includes Davidson's lifetime warranty:
That is one screaming deal.  Have a friend with one of their ORCs – same thing but with a carbon fiber receiver.  Between that and the pencil barrel, it's l-i-g-h-t.  You're gonna love it, and toward the end of a long day on the range, you may stop considering it a loaner rifle.

Offline Skispcs

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2017, 07:10:16 AM »

 ammo manufacturers are already dealing with major problem sourcing lead due to the previous administration closing the Herculaneum smelting plant.


I find this interesting, do you have a source that states the ammo manufacturers are having a hard time procuring lead? I was under the impression that the smelting plant made "new lead" and that most ammo manufacturers used "recycled lead" and therefore it was not a major impact as there is a good supply of recycled lead.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Why NOW is the time to buy AR's and 5.56x45 ammo:
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2017, 09:39:40 AM »
I find this interesting, do you have a source that states the ammo manufacturers are having a hard time procuring lead? I was under the impression that the smelting plant made "new lead" and that most ammo manufacturers used "recycled lead" and therefore it was not a major impact as there is a good supply of recycled lead.

I'm not sure I buy that either.  Most every gun range I work with recycles spent lead in some shape or form (at least eventually).  Our outdoor range sifts the dirt berms every 5 years or so, and sells the lead scrap to fund the juniors shooting team.  Likewise with any spent brass.

Lead wheel weights are harder to find, but I can still get smelted lead ingots shipped for $1.50/lbs.