NEW YORK Lead times for
certain brass products used in ammunition shells remain
extended to eight weeks and likely will stay there as
consumers, fearing stricter gun regulations, continue to
stockpile firearms, copper service centers sources told
"The ammunition business is
booming," one service center source said. "Were
definitely seeing an increase on brass lead times. Id say
theyre between six to eight weeks."
"Mills are saying ammunition
(sales) are very strong," a second service center source said.
"People are panicking. They think guns will be harder to get.
Theres some stockpiling going on."
Strong demand since the end of
2012 pushed brass lead times out to about eight weeks in
amm.com, Jan. 24), but whether or not they extend
beyond eight weeks remains to be seen.
"It depends on Washington. If
they come out with legislation that limits (the) magazine size
... and the amount of shells per day a customer can buy (who
knows)," the second source said.
Firearm background checks
totaled 2.5 million in January and 2.8 million in December, up
from 2 million in November and 1.6 million in October,
according to statistics from the National Instant Criminal
Background Check System, a division of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Although these background checks do not
represent gun sales, they show consumer interest has increased,
service center sources said.
One source estimated that
ammunition companies purchase between 20 million and 30 million
pounds of brass annually.
Service centers sources also
reported robust demand for other brass and copper flat
"At the moment, (business) is
pretty good. (Lead times) are six to eight weeks from the mill
for most of our products," a third service center source said.
"Copper and brass business was off last fall (but) were
starting to see a rebound now. Im expecting deliveries to
creep out another week or two, probably by the spring."
Copper rod, which goes to the
electrical industries, also has extended lead times, the third
service center source added.
Inquiries from consumers in the
appliance, power distribution and automotive sectors have
helped push out lead times, as well. "With some of the positive
news on the housing front, (were) starting to see some of
these appliance-type products (have) a little resurgence," the
second service center source said. "Everybody seems to be
A fourth service center source
pointed out that lead times for copper products are "very gauge
dependent" and could vary across distributors.
Most remain cautiously
optimistic about 2013 as the construction industry is poised to
rebound for the first time in five years.
"I think (things) will pick up
and turn on (eventually). Right now its not crazy, but
its not slow either," a fifth service center source
"Were expecting some mild
improvements. Were still in a bit of a wait and
see mode, but most of the indicators do show some
growth," the first service center source said.
"Most people are forecasting a
little bit of an uptick. Its nothing dramatic, but at
least its a step in the right direction," the second
service center source said.