Gun owners across the country are wondering where all the .22 ammunition went, and the Boy Scouts are no exception. Camp Cornhusker in Nebraska runs a program every summer that teaches the fundamentals of shooting and gun safety to its participating Boy Scout troops. With over 1,000 campers participating, ammo can run dry in a hurry. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Scout leaders initially thought they had to call off the program due to the ongoing ammunition shortage.
“It seems no matter who we contact, the answer is the same: ‘We don’t have any now. We don’t know when we will get more. We will not sell you the amount you require, or any large quantity for that matter, and we are not taking back orders,’” Camp Cornhusker’s website said three months ago, when the demand for ammunition was at its highest.
In the early months of 2013 it was rare enough to see ammo on the shelves, and rarer still to find a box of .22 rounds. The caliber is a favorite of many recreational plinkers and a mainstay of the Boy Scouts’ iconic training rifles. Due in part to stepped-up efforts of manufacturers, gun owners are seeing other types of ammo return to their local gun shops, but .22 still remains elusive. Cornhusker Scout leaders estimated a minimum of 15,000 rounds for the program to continue, and considered replacing the firearms with airguns. Many disagreed, arguing that training with real firearms offers real experience.
“We in America have a culture that does involve firearms. We want to make sure our young people are instructed in their proper and safe usage,” said William Cover, the Cornhusker Council’ program director.
So the Scouts made a plea for help to local gun shops and suppliers. In the first few weeks, Camp Cornhusker received 1,500 rounds as people in the community emptied out their ammo cans in a show of support. The trickle soon became a flood however, when news outlets picked up the story and donations were being sent in from as far as Florida. One Iowa man made a personal donation of 10,000 rounds.
Now sitting in Camp Cornhusker’s storage is a mound of over 65,000 rimfire rounds. Scout leaders estimated that the supply should last the program for at least three summers, far exceeding their initial goal of 24,000 rounds.
“We were just happy to see people still believe Scouting is relevant,” said Cornhusker Council District Director Jerad Reimers.
Camp Cornhusker was first held in 1955 as a “wilderness camp” and began accepting Boy Scouts the next year. Today the camp encompasses over 400 acres and hosts one of the largest Boy Scout events in Nebraska.