In Search of Components–On Target Interview with Steve Bender of Everglades Ammunition

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by Rob Kay


Your On Target staff has been busy as all get out with “T&E” (Test and Evaluation) of various AR systems. We’ve been reloading like the dickens (and, gasp) even buying ammo.
In Honolulu we’ve had some luck acquiring primers and some powder but generally the cupboards have been bare. When we have found components the prices have been shall we say, inflated? Young Guns charged $53 for a box of 1000 small rifle primers. There were some large rifle primers over at Security Equipment for $38 a brick. The powder was pretty much gone but what they had sold for $31 a pound. We called OGC about powder and they had none. Over at WGS they were selling pound jugs for $37.


Security had bulk ammo (55 gn) that they sold for $58 for 100 rounds or, 1000 rounds for $449. Not great by pre-Sandy Hook standards but, very fair in the current environment.

If there’s any silver lining in this story it seems like on the Mainland, even if you can’t get powder, you can get bullets. We stumbled upon Everglades Ammo quite by accident. The feedback online on this Naples, Florida company was generally good so we thought we’d take a chance. It turns out they do a lot of business with local shooters. Their prices were fair and they shipped us .223 bullets flat rate on USPS that came in just a few days.

I contacted the owners, the Bender Brothers (Dave and Steve) and they were kind enough to provide an update on the availability of components.

Perhaps the most interesting comment from Mr. Bender was why bullets are available when you can’t get powder or primers.  The answer “Some rifle bullet supply seems to be easing, but we believe it is due to the scarcity of powder and primers.”  

Good point!

Below is our conversation with Steve. 

Q: Can you tell me a bit about Everglades Ammo? What services and/or products do you provide?

A: We are a family owned business. Everglades Ammunition was opened in 2010 by brothers Stephen and David Bender.  We are competition shooters and understand the needs of the competitor, hand loader and shooting enthusiast. We offer a variety of new and pulled projectiles as well as new and once fired brass for the hand loader. We also produce new and re-manufactured  9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP ammunition for the public. Our ammunition is geared to meet the specific power factors required in competition, but serve equally well for general range use.

We also offer training classes locally as well as custom gunsmithing. We specialize in the 1911, 2011 and AR15 platforms for competition and defensive use.  Stephen has trained with Larry Vickers, Bob Marvel and Joe Chambers on the 1911/2011 platform.

Q: Do you do a lot of business with Hawaii customers?

A: We have quite a few customers in Hawaii. Most of our reloading components are shipped via USPS Flat Rate boxes so we are able to offer prices including shipping to all 50 states including Hawaii. Many customers have commented how nice it is to not have to pay exorbitant shipping prices to Hawaii.

Q: After the election, and particularly post Sandy Hook, it seemed as if bullets, brass, primers and powder was near impossible to get.   How do things stack up now?

A: The market seems to be cyclical. The election and Sandy Hook definitely increased demand. You need powder, primers, bullets and brass to be able to load your own ammunition. Typically bullets become hard to get first and then powder and primers. Brass prices usually go up, but supply doesn’t completely dry up. We order a lot of powder/primers/bullets at one time and have decent buying power, but we still can’t get near what we would like to have. We are currently waiting on primer orders from Summer 2012 and powder from January 2013. Some rifle bullet supply seems to be easing, but we believe it is due to the scarcity of powder and primers. No need to buy bullets if you can’t get powder and primers to load ammo. Pistol bullets are still very scarce with 9mm being especially hard to get.

We only sell powder and primers to our local customers due to shipping regulations, but we receive 5 to 10 emails a week inquiring about them. At the current time we have not had powder or primers for sale locally since February 2013.

Q: What’s the supply situation currently re these items and what trends do you see over the next 12 months?

A:  I believe bullets will start to be available again within the next 12 months, but I can’t forecast powder and primers. Powder will probably come back first, but primers still seem to be a long way out. I think 18 to 24 months for supply to be back to levels seen before the 2012 election.

Q: Do you see prices going down for any of these products as supply increases?

A: Prices will ease slightly, but almost all suppliers have increased pricing. Once the manufacturers have increased pricing it very rarely goes down. Raw lead and copper prices have also gone up so that is some of the manufacturer increase. With the increase in wholesale pricing I don’t think prices will decline to pre 2012 election levels. I project prices to stabilize at about 25% more than pre election levels.

Q: Any other comments you’d care to add on this subject?

A: We have some new equipment coming on line before the end of the year that will expand what we can manufacturer in house. We will be releasing a match quality 55gr and 62 gr lead core jacketed bullet. We hope to have a few more new offerings at the beginning of the next year and we will be moving to a larger facility to better serve our customers.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact us at

Rob Kay writes about firearms for Hawaii Reporter and is the author of How to Buy an AK-47.
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  1. With an industry is huge as the gun industry it's surprising to me that there are such problems. I wouldn't have thought getting the supplies you need is so difficult.

  2. Of course it has difficulties, like any other industry on this planet. It's impossible not to be a problem between supply and demand.

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