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Shell-shocked

Pidgeon added that the shortage isn't just about raw materials being gobbled up by foreign interests.

"Obama is scaring people to buy and horde," he said. "And price is not a concern for many people. 'If you got it, I'll take it,' they'll say. A customer will spend $2,000-$8,000 at a time for ammo. People are driving here from a long way just to buy guns and ammunition."

Pidgeon reported that .22 reloading components are not available and primers are in short supply. But it's not all bad news.

"My hand gun sales are through the roof," he said. "I've also seen, in the past three months, people selling their guns to make payments on their taxes, insurance, vehicles, even health care. These folks would never normally sell their guns, but they lost jobs and need to raise money. (But there are people behind them ready to buy these guns.)"

The New Haven gunshop owner is swamped with weapon repair work. "This side of the business is unbelievable," Pidgeon said.

According to Dick Phillips, owner of Vermont Field Sports in Middlebury, the current ammo shortage is all about perception.

"The materials shortage began in 2008. The new president is fueling it," Phillips said.

Phillips recently rebuilt his store after a fire destroyed it a few years ago. Thanks to the current shortage, his business is doing well.

Carl DeCoster, Phillip's veteran gun salesman, said that, "A number of calibers are impossible to get-.380, .45 Long Colt, .223. But we've seen an increase in new gun sales and our used gun sales are good."

DeCoster sees the ammunition shortage as being mostly about politics.

"This is all about public fears of the Democrats-that they will instigate more gun bans. That's why people are hoarding ammo-it's a homeowner's last line of defense. No question, the current crisis has upped our sales. Ammo and guns are sought after. We're trying to keep things back ordered to keep our customers satisfied."

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