Saturday, January 23, 2016
Aguila Increasing .22 Production by 30% per Year
The .22 rimfire market has been in a bubble for the last three years. Total production has maxed out, and still demand has not been met. Part of the problem is that increasing production is expensive, and manufacturers don't want to overshoot the market and be left with a lot of manufacturing capacity that cannot pay for itself.
Aguila Ammuntion has been producing innovative .22 ammunition for years. They made quite a splash with their 60 grain .22 Sniper Sub Sonic and primer powered Colibri rounds.
I talked to Rodney S. Taylor, Chief Engineer, at the Shot Show in Las Vegas. He said that the .22 ammunition is the Company's mainstay, by far the majority of the ammunition that they produce. Much of the Ammunition goes to the Central and South America markets. Aquila made the decision to significantly increase production a couple of years ago. Their machinery is state of the art, an almost completely automated, top of the line, process. Last year, in 2015, they increased their production by close to 30%, producing somewhat less than a billion rounds of ammunition. I recall a figure being mentioned of about $2 million dollars being invested in .22 rimfire production last year.
Rod Taylor said that they were hoping to increase production this year, again in the neighborhood of 30%, and that total capacity would be "somewhat over a billion rounds per year." Exact numbers were impossible, because no one can predict the market entirely, and no one wants to give a possible competitive advantage to other producers.
I asked Rod about some velocity variations that I had experienced with 60 grain Sniper Sub Sonic ammo a few years ago. He replied that they had done a complete re-vamp of the quality control in their production facility in 2013. He says that virtually all of complaints about ammunition consistency are with lots produced before that date.
I hope to see more Aquila ammo on the shelves soon. Adding a few hundred million rounds per year production can only help to relieve the .22 ammo shortage.
I am looking forward to giving the .22 Sniper Sub Sonic another try.
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