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38 ammo not so cheap!?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by spyke, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. spyke

    spyke Well-Known Member

    What is the deal with 38 spl? I always thought/assumed/heard that its was cheap. Use if for pracice with your 357 to save a buck they say. Granted it is cheaper than 357. I Was hoping to be able to afford to practice a lot with my new sp101 but it turns out 38 ammo i can find is just as much as .40S&W for my P94.:banghead: I picked up some Federal 158g lswchp for 16.00 per 50. Is that a good deal? I have found a couple of online sites with reloads for $14.00 per 50 but for the $2.00 dollar difference plus shiping i think i will just buy the factory Federal stuff. Is the only cheap shooter out the the 9mm?:fire:
  2. NinjaFeint

    NinjaFeint Well-Known Member

    I have the same issue. The cheapest 38 spl I can find is 15 or 16 for a box of 50, Blazer .357 mag is 17 for a box of 50. I have a GP100 so I just buy the .357 because it makes less of a mess in the cylinder.

    This is also why I bought a 9mm to carry instead of a 38 revolver. I pay 9.49 for 50 Blazer 9mm and it allows me to practice more with my carry gun.
  3. lexjj

    lexjj Well-Known Member

    Load your own and it will be about $5.00 a box (not counting time).

    38 special is cheaper than everything but 22lr and 9mm.

    Winchester White Box seems like its about $13 a box, but I haven't bought any in a while. PMC also makes inexpensive .38's.
  4. calaverasslim

    calaverasslim Well-Known Member

    I started reloading in the late '70s, not to save money but because I had none. I was poor, on active duty, living from payday to payday.

    I soon realized that reloading was FUN and never looked back.

    As the years have rolled by, I have noticed like almost everything else, prices have risen. Especially the last 2 years.

    So, I stongly suspect, the days of cheap ammo, that I knew, are gone.

    Start reloading. Thats the only answer
  5. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    It's not that .38 Special is "cheap," it's that .38 Special is "cheaper" then .357 Magnum.

    That's why they say to practice and plink with .38 Special instead of .357 Magnum. It's just cheaper then using the Magnum rounds.

    Pretty much the cheapest centerfire ammo for target shooting is 9mm FMJ rounds.

    I believe that's because more people shoot 9mm then .38 Special, so the ammo makers make more 9mm then .38 Special. The high volume of production allows for a lower per unit price.

    That nationwide run on ammo for the last year or so doesn't help prices are availability at all either.
  6. Jerico

    Jerico Member

    Either way you slice it, if you save a buck on .38 then go for it. It's not a HUGE savings but every little bit counts these days.
  7. Nasty

    Nasty Well-Known Member

    It should also be mentioned that practicing with .38 Special also reduces wear and tear on the many lightweight *357 MAGNUM* handguns on the market today.

    This can be crucial for many of them...
  8. wnycollector

    wnycollector Well-Known Member

    I send my empty brass to http://mastercast.net/amo.htm for reloading. With brass exchange I get 158gr SWC or RNL for $7.90/50 rounnds. If you do not have any brass to exchange, my suggestion is to buy some off GB or one of the many internet sites that sell once fired brass and have it shipped directly to mastercast. There is an auction going on right now on GB http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=156174948 where the high bis is $41 for 1000 .38 empty cases plus $14 shipping.
  9. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    That price doesn't sound that bad to me. At the gun shops around here the price of 9mm is $15 per 50. I get the WWB at Wally World for $20 a box. I only buy it because I keep losing brass in the auto. My .38 is very easy to find the brass after shooting so the last I bought was somewhere around 7 years ago & I think I got WWB value pack (100 count) from Wally for $20 a box. I think 9mm was $18 per 100 then.

    I have been told buy people that shoot .38 in .357 that it doesn't put as much ware on there guns & that is why they shoot it. To each there own though.
  10. content

    content Well-Known Member

    Hello friends and neighbors//.38sp are from $13 to $21 so $16.00 is good price these days

    Considering the 2 drinks and popcorn I bought at the theater were $17.00 I'd say a great deal.
  11. BossHogg

    BossHogg Well-Known Member

    Is it really cost effective for me to start reloading? I want to but when I start looking for kits, books, powder ... it seems overwhelming and costly to me. I like to shoot but even the range prices are getting up in price.
    9mm, 38/357, .45 are my main rounds, would these use different size primers if so even more cost. What would be the start up cost for reloading? Thanks
  12. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Find a free lead source and cast your own bullets and you can cut even THAT in half. :D

    .45 uses large pistol primers, .38/.357 small pistol. Reloading takes some time and experience to learn. But, given some effort, it will save you TONS of money over the long haul. I'm always buying equipment, but I've shot enough over the years that I NEVER could have afforded it any other way. I started about the age of 10 with my grandpa and uncle, 47 years ago. Got into handgun reloading in the late 70s. I've still got my grandpa's original old Pacific C press along with all the stuff I've collected over the years. For me, reloading is just a way of life. I have firearms that have never seen a factory load, rifles and my .45 Colt.
  13. atblis

    atblis Well-Known Member

    Depends on how much you shoot. I say go for it. Once you get started, you'll never go back.

    To get started, the Lee kit works just fine.
    and a set of dies and you're ready to go.

    Books are nice, but you can find everything you need to know on the internet.

    They do generally use different primers, but if you're buying loaded ammo, you're buying the primers, powder, bullets, and cases anyways. It isn't an additional cost.
  14. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    There are threads all over the net about reloading and stickies at the top here and elsewhere with hints and suggestions.

    Get a book or two first, then look for some used equipment. Buy components in bulk to save some money as well.

    You'll not only save money, but you can make a load tailored to your particular gun
  15. LightningMan

    LightningMan Well-Known Member

    Maybe at one time, say 30-40 years ago .38 special ammo was cheap. I think it had to do with law enforcement (police) were still using .38/.357 revolvers and manufacturers made much more of that type of ammunition than others, so cost was less. Then when LE switched over to simi-auto's and mostly wonder-nines along with the Military adopting the 9mm you now see 9mm being rather cheap. I suppect that someday the .40 S&W will be almost as cheap with PD's going with that cartridge. Just my guess as I could be all wrong. LM
  16. nitetrane98

    nitetrane98 Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean about the .38s. I think I paid something like 38 bucks for a 100 box at WM a few months. Now as prices go now that's not bad but I hadn't bought .38 spl in over 30 years and it was just kind of sticker shock I think.

    The answer to the, "Should I reload?" question always has to be predicated with "How much do you shoot?" or even "How much do you want to shoot?" If you want to shoot a box of shells every month or so it will still be cheaper to reload but the time it takes to recoup your investment will obviously be longer.

    When I first started reloading I wanted to shoot all of the time. My only constraint was the amount of cases I had. I was known to load up everything I had the night before, go out and shoot it up, go back home, reload it all again and shoot it up again in the same day. Fortunately for me, the reloading part was only slightly less enjoyable than the shooting part. Of course then came casting my own and the road to perdition was fully paved, striped and lit.
  17. spyke

    spyke Well-Known Member

    I may have to look into reloading. Seems like somehing i could really get into. Silly me... I always thought 38 was the revolver equivalant of 9mm price wise, Funny i thought i was gonna save money shooting my 357/38 vs my 40 s&w. Does any one have any opinions on the Federal 38 lswchp load? Is it an ok load?
  18. Ashcons

    Ashcons Well-Known Member

    Run ROI analysis

    You can use Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet to run a cost analysis and figure out your return on investment vs. buying retail (when available). What I found when looking at reloading 9mm is that my savings over the CHEAPEST retail pricing I could find (Wal-Mart and bulk remanufactured) would pay for my equipment in 2,319 rounds minimum estimate. The difference in price is much wider for more expensive ammo, so the equipment will pay for itself faster.

    There is a lot of helpful information here and in other firearm forums about getting started in reloading.

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    In 1978 I was paying $1.95/50 of 38 Special wad cutters or semi-wadcutter commercial reloads. Got me a supply of brass after a couple of weekends shooting and then people started giving me their brass and by the time I had my bench built and press set up I had more than enough and I've never looked back. I was late starting to load 38/357. I started with 32-20 and 32 Winchester Special back in the 50's, but was stationed in Hawaii when I got the 38/357 bug and just bought new equipment rather than shipping my old stuff from home.
  20. savit260

    savit260 Well-Known Member

    About two years ago I was paying $11.00 for the WWB 100 round packs of 38 spl., and 9mm was about $10 for the WWB 100 round value pack. Bulk .22 was $8.95/550.

    Prices didin't start going out of control until some time in 2008.

    Drives me nuts. I reload, and the price of componants went through the roof too. I spend more now to reload .38 spl than I paid for factory loaded ammo 3 years ago.

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