Even the big ammunition retailers are feeling the pinch. Wal-Mart has been rationing its ammo since January, to three boxes per customer per day. And when a gun retailer like Cabela's gets two or three shrink-wrapped pallets of 5.56 mm or .223 ammunition for AR-15 assault rifles, they're "cleaned off like locusts, within a couple of hours," according to Brian Rafn, a research director at Morgan Dempsey Capital Management in Milwaukee who follows ammo manufacturers.
"You're talking about a massive civilian arsenal build up," he added.While most ammo makers won't comment on production levels, anecdotal data indicates they've ramped up production. And yet three months after Dianne Feinstein began talk of pushing gun bans and other arms restrictions through Congress, gun owner ammo buyers are keeping store shelves free of popular rifle and pistol rounds.