AR Ammo...what was price per rd before the madness?

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Jul 6, 2008
Calirado (formerly Colorado)
Looking to pickup some 5.56, but I just built my first AR, so I do not know what a good price per round is.

I have a 16" 1/7 barrel, so I'm thinking I want something like 62g XM855 versus the lighter stuff, but I'm open to suggestions.

I'm seeing so far is 85.9 cents for 1000 rds at Lucky Gunner...
About 25 to 30 cents a round give or take when buying bulk. Lucky Gunner is a den of thieves. Given some time, maybe a few months, hopefully prices will get back to close to normal. Right now the stuff is scarce and prices high driven by demand. I am seeing 70 to 75 cents a round at gun shows as of a few weeks ago. Really a matter of what it is worth to you and what you are willing to pay.

<EDIT> Seeing USAF_Vet's post I forgot about the steel cased stuff and my prices were based on ammunition like Federal re-loadable brass cases. </EDIT>

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Cheapest non-bulk AR ammo I found pre panic was .223 steel cased, which was about $0.20 per round. .223 brass cased was slightly more expensive, but less than $0.25 per round. 5.56 brass cased was usually about $0.25-.27 a round.

These are boxes of 20. If you could buy in bulk, you could save a decent amount. Never got my hands on any military surplus, so all prices were commercial factory rounds.
I use to get (Pre December) Federal XM193, 55gr Lake City brass for $325 / 1000. I've seen PMC brass recently for $9.99/20
Three years ago I paid $259 for 1k brass cased reloadable 62 gr. 5.56 ammo from Turkey, labeled as "American Tactical". Two years ago I paid $279/1k for commercial reloads of 62 gr. 5.56 from Last summer it was up to $305, at freedommunitions, then rght before the panic in early December it was up to $330/1k on 62gr 5.56 commercial reloads. Hasn't been available since, that I've seen, but their price is now $670/1k.
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mid 2011 <$300/1000 for Fed XM193 and <$200/1000 for Wolf.

mid 2012 ~$350/1000 for Fed XM193 and ~$250/1000 for Wolf

early 2012 Walmart had the 420 can of 855 for $169
early 2012 Walmart had the 420 can of 855 for $169

During the summer of 2011, I bought several 420-round cans of M855 for $119.

I wish I had bought more!
I was able to pick up a few of the federal 420rd cans from walmart a month ago for $176 per can, they got 80 cans in limit of 3 per customer and sold out in less than an hour.
Just last summer , Our local Fleet-Farm was selling federal 55gr FMJ 200-packs for $79
Even after our ridicolous localsales tax it still came out to .43-cents / shot

And I was happy !!!

Now I see guys selling the same stuff online for $1 /round
Luckily every time I went near the store last year,I went and bought a box, (to get the .04-cent gas coupon with purchase) and managed to accrue about 1800-rounds

Problem is now,Im afraid to shoot it for fear of the unknown replacement cost !!
Last summer Academy was selling a box of 20 steel cased .223 and 7.62x39 for $5.19 every day and mid $4 range on sale. With tax that came to $.28 per round regular price. I bought 20 boxes at a time when it went on sale so I have plenty on hand.
The last loaded .223 I got was some Federal surplus 62 gr. from the CMP, 200 rounds on SAW links for $70, or $0.35 per round. Every fifth round is a tracer, though.
I didn't see any brass 5.56 for 25 cents a round just before the panic. Even before the panic there seemed to be a minor jump in price with about 32 to 35 cents/round seeming to be on the low end in bulk.
Fortunately in September, I decided to buy 420 rounds of Federal Lake City 5.56 mm 62 grain steel core; I think it's called "m855" or something. I got it from Natchez for $179.99; now that same ammo is going for up to $400-$450 on Gunbroker. It's hard to believe that there are people who are willing to pay that for it. It made me think about selling mine; but it's too valuable to me. I bought my Coyote Carbine a little over 2 years ago; and I ordered 17 boxes of Federal Premium Tactical TRU law enforcement rounds for $16 per box from the Sportsman's Guide. I don't know what the premium ammo cost today; my TRU ammo is 64 grain Hi Shok soft point. I thought that $16 for a box of 20 premium rounds was a very good price even in 2010. I zeroed my coyote carbine and shot groups with one box and I still got 16 boxes stashed. I have a feeling that in the near future; we will not be able to purchase ammunition online. I could be wrong and I hope I am. Crazy times we are living in; but anyway I hope this gives you a good idea of a good price on both bulk ammo and premium ammo before all the madness. Bulk Lake City: 420 rnds = $179.99 --- Fed. premium TRU 340 rnds = $272
Another thing to consider is that prices of lead and copper are REALLY jumping up. Pure lead scrap is going for 62 cents around here.
I bought 100 round value packs of Federal .223 for $34.99 at Wal Mart up until December 2012 or so. So 35 cents/round.
Summer/fall of 2012:

Federal XM193: $360/1k shipped
Prvi Partizan M193: $340/1k shipped
Federal XM855, 420 rounds on strippers in .30 can: $170-$200

AFTER the election in November:
PMC Bronze .223: $336/1k shipped
Prvi Partizan 75gr BTHP 'match' ammo: $469/1k

I didn't see any brass 5.56 for 25 cents a round just before the panic.

Because there wasn't any.

Just before the panic, steel cased was typically $0.25/rd, best I saw on brass was $0.33/rd.

This ^^^ is correct
Get used to the new normal in pricing - it won't come down until the hoarders, flippers, and panic buyers stop clearing out the shelves every week
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