Ammo Prices and Inflation

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Brubz, Apr 30, 2022.

  1. Brubz

    Brubz Member

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    Friend of mine insists that once you make the adjustment for inflation that ammo really isn't that much more expensive than it was say 10 years ago or 15 years ago.
    I'm no expert on inflation what do you guys think?
     
  2. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    I think up until the last few years we were spoiled by low ammo/component prices. Much of this was due to availability of Mil Surp in common calibers. Not so much anymore. Back in High School a box of game loads would cost me about $2-$3 at the local Holiday Station. Today at Wally World, when they have them, they are about $7-$8. Relatively, adjusted for inflation, probably cheaper than what I paid in the 60s.
     
  3. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Relatively speaking, ammo was very cheap in the ~1990 to Feb 2020 era (minus a few "panics").
     
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  4. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    It is without a doubt lower now than the 50s-80s. There were some low spots 9 dollar bricks if 22 and such around 2000. Right now it's not lower than 10 years ago though.
     
  5. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Beat me to it. But id go up June or so 2020. I was ordering cheap cases of ammo as the government paid me to sit at home during covid.
     
  6. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    There is a handy inflation calculator online (several really). I search for "CPI calculator" and use the one from the Bureau of Labor Statistics--not because it's "best" but mostly out of habit and simplicity.

    Going there, and we look at the difference from 2018 to now, some numbers emerge. $1 in 2018 ciphers as $1.16. Reversing that, 89¢ in 2018 renders as $1 in 2022.

    Ammo prices increased over "the drought" far more than 16-20¢ of inflation. That's the cruel calculus of Supply and Demand. Which can couple with inflation to be quite ugly.

    Will we see 55gr WWB 5.56 down to $5 per box? Maybe not.Is it likely to get off the $15 stump it's presently stuck on? We can but hope.
     
  7. pharmer

    pharmer Member

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    I bought 13,500 rds of 115gr WWB 9mm from Bass Pro in 2004 for $3.88/box50. With tax a little over $4 each. "Inflation calculator" says: "$4 in 2004 should be $6.09 today." I have a case on the way for $18.50/ box 50 or 462% more. Obviously, still affordable but not attractive. Joe
     
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  8. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    You are referring to this: https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

    I use this often myself, but we have to remember two things:

    These are the official government numbers. It is in the government's best interest to keep the CPI as low as possible. The formula for calculating CPI has changed since the 1970s-80s. I've read many times and places recently that, if that website used that early formula, it would be showing upwards of 15% rather than the current 8.5% it is claiming.

    The official CPI is derived by comparing the prices of a "market basket" of goods and services that most American consumers buy on a regular basis, e.g. common groceries, rent, energy (gas prices are not included because they're too volatile) entertainment, etc.

    I highly doubt that the price of firearms and ammunition are included in that market basket. As an example, I recently found the receipt for a gun I bought in 2017. That gun has inflated in price 52%. I recently bought projectiles for reloading; those are up almost 200% since about 2 years ago. I put some firearms accessories on backorder about 6 months ago. I recently got. notice that those items are still on backorder, but that the price had increases 35%.

    I have a box of 100 22LR from the 1990s with a $3 price tag on it. According to the official CPI calculator, $3 in 1990 works out to $6.70 or 6.7¢ per round. I haven't even seen cheap bulk box ammo in that price range in years. The cheapest 22LR at Luckyguner.com is 13.8¢ per round. Cabela's still carries the identical 22LR ammo, in the same packaging even, at 12¢ per round.

    So, using the real world comparison, ammo prices are about double what they should be when compared to the government's official numbers.
     
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  9. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    I just ordered 2 boxes of Aguila plated for 17and change/250. Under 7 cents shipped from sportsmans guide. I like those rounds and have found them to perform in everything from lever rifles to my k frames and semi autos. And I didn't shop around. Just bught them for gifts.

    I also have receipts for guns from 2000ish 7-800 for sig 22x, HK USP, and Beretta 92/96. They are no higher now. Ive actually bought several for less. I bought a Nova around 2000 for a bit over 400 dollars. They are still around that. Colt AR were around 1k. Still are. Some have gone up no doubt. Some things have gone up. Some down. I remember dad buying his Ithaca 72 (now Henry H001) for 125. I kept dragging my feet and watching them increase a few dollars at a time until around 225 back in 2006 or so. Now they are closing in on 400. Lol.

    I paid 2k for a massive 55 inch sony TV around 2005 . I bought my last 80 inch TV for under 1k at sams. Lol.

    I paid almost 9k for my last ATV. (2015 Grizzly eps 700) same one is pretty much same price now. And more capable too. My kids still ride our first quad an 80 something trx300. That sucker was high back then, right around 5k and it was a simple 2wd manual shift quad
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2022
  10. Pew-Pew

    Pew-Pew member

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    I don't pay attention to all calibers, but the few that I shoot, I finally come down to reasonable prices. Are they as low as what they were before this nonsense? No, but they could be still at record highs so I guess it's a win
     
  11. N555

    N555 Member

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    The worst 30-30 ammo, Remington 150gr coreloc is nearly 3x what it was in 1999. I saw a box the other day, $25.
    Same time 8x57js was 8 cents a shot for milsurp. There's none of that no mo.
    Cheap 22lr used to be 2 cents a shot, now the cheap stuff is 7 or 8 cents a shot.
     
  12. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    A guy I work with came in with a box of cheap winchester deer loads in 30-30 for 75 dollars this past deer season. Lol. Insane. Ive bought 338 Lapua for less. And the only store that he found any in only had the "deer season" ammo from Walmart.

    Price of not looking ahead.
     
  13. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    Employee cost is up, and the commodities used to make ammo is up....so with demand being what it is I see why the cost is up so much. Do I think we will see sub $10/box 9mm no I do not. I believe $13-$14 will be the new bottom and we aren't there yet.

    5.56 I don't see it going lower than .40/rd for 55gr fmj.
     
  14. Jdague12

    Jdague12 Member

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    And you have to remember, the prices today are not entirely due to inflation. We had multiple reasons leading up to hoarding of ammo and reloading components, causing shortages. Millions of new guns being bought with ammo being bought for those new guns. Supply and demand. The worst of the scare is over and manufacturers are starting to catch up, but prices are never going back to where we left off before the “pandemic.” Just like gasoline. As soon as oil shot up, gas prices shot up. As soon as oil dropped, gas prices dropped accordingly. Oh wait, no they didn’t. They came down a little bit, but not in relation to the drop in oil.
     
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  15. N555

    N555 Member

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    Yeah I auctioned old, partial and full boxes of factory 30-30 ammo during the height of the summer of firy love for $3 a shot. Around 2015, 2016 I bought 2 to 3 boxes of everything 30-30 to accuracy test, shot less than 10 shots from most boxes.
    The box of 30-30 leverevolution went for something stupid, I think it was about $100 shipped.
    I sold all the partial boxes as a lot, called it a "discount accuracy sampler" or something to that effect.
     
  16. crestoncowboy

    crestoncowboy Member

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    Back around 06 or so I did the same with 22LR i shot 10 round groups of over 20 different ammo types through a couple bolt rifles (as a benchmark) and about 10 pump and lever rifles. Ammo ranged from 10 dollars per 550 up to eley and lapua.

    A "discount accuracy sampler" would have been nice.
     
  17. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Prices swing a lot more than just inflation for ammunition (and firearms). Picking random dates and specific cartridges you can find plenty of hunting ammuntion which inflation adjusted is cheaper today than at some point in time in the past. If you want to look only at the times of plenty, then absolutely not! We have to leave aside surplus because that is market all into itself that always has mass volume at low cost until it is exhausted. Common ammunition like promo field loads, 9mm, 40, 5.56 and anything steel cased was extremely inexpensive 2017 to early 2020 (especially when buying case lots or higher volume). Even now with some moderation many of those rounds are still 300% or more higher. I had no issue finding pistol ammunition for 13 cents, shotgun for 25 cents, and most rifle for 19 cents delivered. Occasional sales were cheaper (1000 9mm 115 for $112 , 223 500 for $71, 12 guage 100 for $22 including tax and shipping). This was all less than 3 years ago so no I do not agree with the arguments that today's prices are good compared to the past. But I will say that availability has definitely improved and costs are getting back in line with more normal markets now that people aren't having the bejeepers scared out of them on the nightly news watching cities on fire.

    BTW in contrast to the hype on the news, oil has not "dropped" like you might think. Prices pre-last election were generally in range of $35-40 with occasional moves to the $20s as OPEC would dump barrels trying to bankrupt US fracking. It shot up very quickly to $80s after the election and closed in on $100 pre-Ukraine war. It did peak around $120 last month before these 'drops' and continues to trade in a range upper $90s to $110. Sure that's 15-20% from its peak a month ago, still more hype than anything else in terms of real cost changes.
     
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  18. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Yet, back in 1999, when that 30-30 was $9, .32 Special was 29.99. Basically the same exact ammo. Nowadays that same .32 Special ammo is only $34.
     
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  19. hdbiker

    hdbiker Member

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    LGS today had one pound each of Varget & H110, 50 bucks each
     
  20. WisBorn

    WisBorn Member

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    As the price of raw materials increases and the cost of labor goes up the cost of ammo will follow. Efficiency and modern automated manufacturing can bring the cost back down.
    Supply chain is still a major problem that is lingering from the pandemic and is keeping prices high.
    The biggest impact on the overall costs and long-term costs is basic economics of Supply and Demand. This is what pushed the cost of ammo up in 2020.
    The demand for cartridges like 223/556 will bring the cost back inline as manufacturing catches up. Cartridges like 30-30 & 32 special with limited demand will keep there prices higher.
     
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  21. shafter

    shafter Member

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    Ammo has come down alot but it's not anywhere near where it was and won't be for a long time, if ever. Inflation is out of control and there are major supply chain issues and labor shortages. It's not just ammo that's being affected. Take a look at the grocery store. Some common products are taking a week or more to be resupplied.
     
  22. Armybrat

    Armybrat Member

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    You can figure out what this 1950s .410 ammo runs today...

    3E9258D7-4A4F-47CC-84A6-193A4FBD3DB6.jpeg
     
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  23. Brubz

    Brubz Member

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    I wonder if that old .410 is still good to use?
    I have some .22magnum from the 80s I thought was old!
     
  24. Skeptic13

    Skeptic13 Member

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    The massive rise in prices over the last 2-3 years is not due to inflation. When one year you are paying .28 cents for a .223 FMJ and a year later you are paying $1 there are other market forces in play besides inflation. Your friend may be correct for a 30 year average but that doesn't make the last 3 years easier. Ammo prices, like gas, are now driven more be politics than actual market forces. IMHO.
     
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  25. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    I couldn't have said it better myself. So many people have so little understanding of how economies function. This leads them to blame politics or specific politicians, which have little to do with economics. That's not to say governmental policies don't play a role in the economy-they do, but one politician is not as powerful as a lot of people think.

    5.56 and 9mm are affordable right now because of economy of scale. Demand for 32 Win Spl was always low, so it was always a niche market with higher prices. The same is true of 32-20, which, if not for cowboy action shooting, would be hand load only by now.

    I doubt there is much more efficiency to be squeezed out of ammo manufacturing. They've been at this game a very long time and have narrowed it down to a science. Barring the discovery of some new technology, either in manufacturing or in the mining of raw materials, I think we're at the apex.
     
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