I was curious how you ordered yours factory direct? I emailed Storm Lake the other day and they told me to go through Brownells special order dept. I was like huh?
You are correct, that is the case now. It was sometime in July or August when they quit taking factory direct orders. I received confirmation from Storm Lake that they received my barrel order on 6-30-12 and were simply proceeding from there like normal. I had no idea that sometime relatively shortly after that they stopped taking factory orders all together. sqlbullet and I were discussing it back closer to that time here in the following link -http://10mm-firearms.com/gearequipment/storm-lake-barrel/msg5204/#msg5204
As you can see in the post dates in the link, that's when I first had a clue they had ended factory orders. Turns out I simply got lucky and got my order in while they were still doing barrels factory direct.
No one seems to know exactly why they aren't doing factory direct orders anymore. My only speculation is that they were tired of dealing with people who didn't have the patience to wait for the barrel they ordered to go into production. I say this because while on the phone with them one day I asked if it was true that some people have had to wait almost a year to get a finished barrel from them. Without hesitation they said yes, that it was true.
They said they schedule barrels (various models) to be made well out into the future. And they ONLY manufacture specific barrels when the next BATCH of barrels for the specific model barrel in question comes around again. Bottomline is that they don't do individual barrels on a one-off basis. I asked why I then would get my barrel so "soon" in a couple months? They said I just got lucky.
It just so happened when I ordered the 6.02" barrel for my G20 they were only about 5 weeks out from producing the next batch of them, and I was told therefore that my barrel would fit right in nicely with that batch. Anyway, blah blah blah, simply pure speculation on my part as to why they don't take factory direct orders anymore. Too many people without the patience to wait for when they got around to a next full batch of whatever model they ordered. I could be entirely wrong in that reasoning.
Just throwing it out there.