Ammo prices comparison


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Donald McCaig
May 28, 2012, 11:50 AM
Dear Gun experts,

Can anyone recommend a historical study of cartridge ammo costs? When I was a kid in the 50's, 30-30/.38 ammo seemed very expensive. Was that because I was a kid or is ammo cheaper today relative to other goods?

Donald McCaig

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BeerSleeper
May 28, 2012, 12:13 PM
I can't cite a reference going back as far as the 50's, but ammo today is certainly more expensive than the 80's.

HGUNHNTR
May 28, 2012, 01:19 PM
^ Ammo prices reflect what people are willing to pay, and cost of manufacture.

browningguy
May 28, 2012, 05:51 PM
I don't have ammunition costs, but according to the government inflation statistics (annual Statistical Abstracts of the United States) $1 in Jan. 1950 had the same buying power as $8.96 in Jan. 2010.

According to the Social Security Administration from their National Average Wage Indexing Data in 1951 it was $2,799, in 2010 $41,673. During the same period if you used the inflation statistics then the salary amount should only have been $25,079.

Now of course you can argue whether averages are useful, or should you use the median (median salaries currently run about 35% lower than average), and are government statistics worth anything at all. But to be honest we don't have anything better to use. From my personal experience I think most things (including ammunition) are cheaper today than they have ever been when priced per hour/day/week of salary.

Prince Yamato
May 28, 2012, 10:28 PM
A thread like this popped up recently. The gist of the article was that ammo today is cheaper than it ever was (maybe with the exception of the halcyon days of Chinese import ammo).

Vonderek
May 28, 2012, 11:25 PM
I remember in 1982 when I was old enough to buy a handgun but not wealthy enough to buy a decent handgun that I paid $7.95 for a box of Blazer .25 ACP which is equivalent to about $19 in 2012.

YankeeFlyr
May 28, 2012, 11:37 PM
I was buying 7.62 Aussie F4 at 19 cents a round in 2004...now it's what, 75 cents if you can find it?

browningguy
May 29, 2012, 09:23 PM
Choosing a very particular piece of ammunition seems not a reasonable thing to compare, particularly when it's government surplus.

pinstripe
May 29, 2012, 09:56 PM
I have a case of Monarch brand 9mm luger that I purchased from Academy sports back in the late 1990's. On the end flap is the price that I paid per box. wait for it, wait for it..............$3.89 a box of 50. Wish I would have bought a couple of pallets of the stuff. Right along with the $79 sks's.

JTHunter
May 30, 2012, 12:41 AM
I've been checking ammo prices at a couple of local discounters as well as a couple of LGS's for the last couple of years. Attached are two Word documents with screenshots of the Excel spreadsheet with the .38 Special prices.
I've been tracking just 4 calibers - .22LR, .22 Mag, .38 Spec., and .380 ACP as those are the ones I use the most. But these should give you an idea of what is happening here in Illinois, just outside of St. Louis.

kb58
May 30, 2012, 12:46 AM
Those prices have to be ranked in relation to the cost of living, or some other standard of what a dollar is worth, else it doesn't mean anything. Coffee was once five cents a cup, doesn't mean that coffee has gone up by a factor of 50 relative to your income.

BeerSleeper
May 30, 2012, 08:14 AM
Not necessarily. Especially not if you're income has not gone up in that time.

JohnBT
May 30, 2012, 08:28 AM
I was a kid in the '50s too. Ammo was very expensive. I worked at McDonalds in the mid-60s in the D.C. burbs and I was making a little over a buck an hour. A box of Winchester Super-X .22 LR was 50 cents.

The way I look at it, that 2004 ammo price quoted earlier was from a period of abnormally low ammo prices, not normal ammo prices. We're back to normal now, and normal is expensive.

That same period was not a normal U.S. economy either, which is why I'm not expecting it to return anytime soon if ever.

John

loose noose
May 30, 2012, 09:14 AM
I can remember going into the local gunshop in the little town I grew up in and buying shot shells buy the shell, not by the box. I figured at that time 5 shells would give me 5 partridge, or 5 rabbits.:( That was in 1958-1959. Long time ago.

oneounceload
May 30, 2012, 10:14 AM
I have boxes of shotgun ammo from 20 years ago, marked 12.99 - that same ammo today is about 15.99. Factoring inflation, there was a time when ammo was a LOT more expensive than today

Donald McCaig
May 30, 2012, 10:30 AM
JohnBt wrote: "I was a kid in the '50s too. Ammo was very expensive. I worked at McDonalds in the mid-60s in the D.C. burbs and I was making a little over a buck an hour. A box of Winchester Super-X .22 LR was 50 cents."

I was wondering because I remember splitting a carton of the same ammo with a pal every week. I was working in a rootbeer stand and can't have been making much. That carton was money to us but not BIG MONEY.

Donald McCaig

pharmer
May 30, 2012, 09:11 PM
I remember my dad buying me a brick of Federal .22's in 1966-'67 from R&S (like a Pep Boys with guns and hardware) for $5.90 (They were expected to last the whole summer). Now the same 500 rds are $25 at most. Ammo is a bargain today. Joe

exavid
May 31, 2012, 12:56 AM
All the increases in prices really mean is that the dollar has become worth less due to inflation. It takes more of them to buy what they did in the past. On the other hand just about everything we buy today is better than it was in the '50s and '60s. Most all of us are living longer and better for that matter. Not to mention all the good stuff we have today that we didn't just thirty years ago. For most it takes fewer working hours to buy that ammo than it did in the past.

gamestalker
May 31, 2012, 02:29 AM
I feel like those items are much more expensive today. I have an old box of .270 win., well actualy just the box from around 1985-ish. $7.99. I don't know what it cost these days cause I reload, and did back then too. I know I could buy a box of 100 ct. Speer .277" 130 gr. Hot Core bullets for reloading at only $8 back then, I have an empty box is why I know the price. I think the last box of those Speer bullets I bought recently was $26 or $28 per 100 ct. and no price on the lable because of the POP systems used now days.
I bought a NIB Norinco AK47 with the folding stock and all the other bells and whistles around the same year. That AK was $189. What do they run now, or can you even get new imported AK's any more.

GS

Certaindeaf
May 31, 2012, 02:45 AM
Inflation is really bad. When I was born, a Mcdonalds hamburger was like 49 cents.. now it's like 59 cents.

MagnumDweeb
May 31, 2012, 07:06 AM
It looks like the price difference in ammo is a wash when you look at a fifty to sixty year period with inflation. I think things have changed when it comes to shooting and its purposes. A lot of people buy ammo now to just purely blast away, easily going through two hundred rounds in an hour. I know because I'm trying to break my fiancee of the habit.

I watched a greybeard years back with a .41 magnum take a whole hour to shoot through fifty rounds. He shot a quarter size hole at twenty-five yards for every single one of those targets he had. It was plain jaw dropping at the time. I've never managed a consistent hole that size with my .44 magnums (Redhawks and SBH).

I remember shooting with my grandpa on his friend's property. Shooting was a hobby and get together with friends for him. In between conversations, every ten to twenty minutes he'd shoot at empty coke cans and empty cigarette packs with his Colt 1911 (I think it was an oldie but goodie, my uncle inherited it) and Colt Diamondback .38 special (again my uncle got it). Shooting was an all day affair it seemed and he maybe shot a hundred rounds. He spent more time chain smoking and laughing than shooting.

Folks today live with a faster pace, and greater expectation of consumption and use of things. Fire two hundred rounds in two hours, go home shower up, and step out to the bar afterwards (unless, or especially, if you have kids).

exavid
May 31, 2012, 01:32 PM
Yeah, I used to buy a small hamburger, fries and a Coke for lunch once or twice a week when I was attending tech school in Tacoma, WA in 1961 for the exhorbitant price of sixty cents. In today's money that would equal $4.62 which would still buy the same thing at a lot of fast food joints. I remember buying a Ruger Standard .22 pistol for $46 in 1962. to have the same value today it would have to sell for $353.00 which is not far off the mark.
Before griping about today's prices check out this CPI calculator. Pick a year in the past and compare the worth of that dollar to today's. That will tell you whether prices are going through the roof or it's just the dollar being devalued by the government's poor fiscal policies.
http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

brnmuenchow
May 31, 2012, 01:56 PM
Can anyone recommend a historical study of cartridge ammo costs? When I was a kid in the 50's, 30-30/.38 ammo seemed very expensive. Was that because I was a kid or is ammo cheaper today relative to other goods?

I can't recomend a study, but I do remember my grandfather one time talking about how back in the 1950's he really wanted a .357 Magnum... but not only was the pistol hard to find but the ammo for the .357 Mag. was just as hard to come by and also very expensive so he settled on a .38 Spl. I think he said. Seeing how the .357 Mag. was a rare commodity in the 1950's I could believe that (This was also true obviously with the .44 Rem. Mag. when it came out.) As said before in another post it all depends on what people are willing to pay for it, along with supply and demand requirements that determine how much ammo is worth one day to the next. For all I know as it stands all of my 7.62X54Rmm ammo for the moment is really inexpensive to shoot, but 15-20 years from now..... or 1 year for that matter, who knows.

kb58
June 1, 2012, 02:45 PM
Folks today live with a faster pace, and greater expectation of consumption and use of things. Fire two hundred rounds in twohours,go homeshower up,and step out to the bar afterwards (unless, or especially, if you have kids).
Well said; I think it's exactly that, how availability and low cost make us wasteful, but probably end up spending the same that our predecessors did as a fraction of our income.

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