Why do some handgun cartridges cost so much?

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Jul 26, 2007
Pullman, WA
SOme less popular cartrdiges in the handgun arena cost more
because less is made compared to other more popular
cartrdiges in the same caliber, the cost of brass example:

Starline Brass prices of
new unprimed cases per 500
.380 Auto = $ 64.40
9mm Luger = $ 61.95 = 12.3. cents per case
.38 SUper = $ 68.75
.357 Sig = $ 87.25
.40 S&W = $ 75.65
10mm Auto = $ 78.95
.45 ACP = $ 78.75 = 15.75 cents cach
.45 ACP +P = $ 85.95
.400 CorBon = $ 101.55
.45 Auto RIm = $ 85.55 17.1 cents each
.45 Colt = $ 88.90

.38 SPecial = $ 64.40
.357 Magnum = $ 67.30
.41 Magnum = $ 84.25
.44 Magnum = $ 84.55

It appears making a 'magnum' webbing in the base doesn't add much

BUt the bottlenecked cartridges of .357 Sig and
.400 CorBon, which take multiple steps to form the
bottleneck = labor and also some loss if the case neck
folds in wrong and needs to be recycled

Of course another factor of the cost is the amount of
powder per cartrdige.

last, the price of each bullet, cast, FMJ or Bonded JHPs
factor into it for range or HD?SD ammo.

any thing I'm missing here?

Its just supply and demand, the cartridges they sell more of they will invest in more workers and better machines to produce cheaply and efficiently. if they only sell a comparatively small number of a given round then it costs more effort/time/money per round to produce, because it isnt worth it to buy big machines which can turn out lots of rounds for those cartridges.
Uh, it's the same machines, just what time do you devote to the less popular cartrdiges, but in basic materials say

.380 Auto versus 9mm Luger there's only a penny or so diff. in the price
of the brass I exampled. Yet .380 AUto costs several dollars more
than 9mm LUger. Handloading really pays off for some cartrdiges compared to others. Of course demand is also by retail dealers they won't buy the
less popular stuff to put on their shelves if they think it will sit on the shelf
they want product that moves and turnover for sales.

The amount of brass and lead in a cartridge has almost nothing to do with the price. It's all about volume of production. 9mm production dwarfs all other centerfire pistol cartridges so the price is lower. The prices of unprimed brass you listed proves that the price of brass is not very relevant to the retail price of cartridges. 9mm cartridges sell for half the price of 380 acp or 38 special but the brass prices are much closer.
Oh it goes up by weight,

90 gr. XTP $ 15.99 per 100
115 gr. XTP $ 15.99 per 100
( 115 gr. FMJ $13.99 per 100 )
124 gr. XTP $ 16.99 per 100
147 gr. XTP $ 17.99 per 100

Range is approx 16 - 18 cents goes up a bit by weight. for XTPs

.357 DIa. / Mag
125 gr. XTP $ 15.95 per 100
140 gr. XTP $ 16.95 per 100
158 gr. XTP $ 17.95 per 100
180 gr. XTP $ 18.95 per 100
Range XTPs 16 - 19 cents each

.401 DIa. .40 S&W/10 MM AUto etc.
155 gr. XTP $ 18.95 per 100
180 gr. XTP $ 19.95 per 100
200 gr. XTP $ 20.95 per 100
range XTPs 19 - 21 -cents each

.451 Dia. / ACP/AR
185 gr. XTP $ 20.95 per 100
200 gr. XTP $ 20.95 per 100
230 gr. XTP $ 21.95 per 100
230 gr. FMJ RN $ 19.95 per 100
Range XTPs 21 to 22 cents each

.41 XTP 210 gr. $ 24.95 <-- Low Prod.
for the less popular .41 Mag.

.44 Mag - .430 Dia XTP
180 gr. XTP $ 21.95 per 100
200 gr. XTP $ 21.95 per 100
240 gr. XTP $ 23.95 per 100
Range 22 & 24 cents each

SO, using
9mm XTP 124 gr. = 16 cents + 12.3 case = 28.3 each
10MM XTP 180 gr.= 20 cents + + 15 cents = 35 cents
.45 XTP 230 gr. = 22 cents + 15.75 = 37.75 each

guess it shows why .40 S&W & 10 MM is closer
to .45 ACP than it is in splitting the difference tween
9mm and .45 ACP.

But using cast lead would make a very small difference.

I know .41 Rimfire, and .450 Adams CF have gotten a little pricey of late...

Probably .38 and .44 Rimfire are even worse...
need some basic classes in business, cost accounting, supply and demand and volume production ?

When you have to completely change your equipment to make a new product, THAT takes time and costs money. Most are run in production runs based on historical and empirical sales data. The most popular are run in huge quantities more often.
some times it supply and demand somtimes it realy does cost more as a 44mag has more raw matreial than a 9mm
Surprized this is still going


I have a Bachelor's in Business but never involved in
a production area - IT/ Admin Systems

Interesting to note tween .45 Colt and .45 Auto RIm not
much difference in basic components and a few small makers
offer them close in price.

Good things all for you to state,

Economies of scale to manufacture more popular caliber ammunition. Simple as that.

Up until the early-mid 1980's 9mm luger used to cost more than .45ACP (don't recall the actual pricings, but I seem to recall that a case of 9mm was double that of .45ACP). It wasn't until NATO adoption and the popularity of "wondernines" that 9mm became one of the most commonly stocked ammo calibers in the USA, prices came down rapidly after that.
There are as many shotgun shells shot as pistol rounds, maybe more......the similar price has nothing to do with anything previously stated.....supply and demand dictate price points.....and one needs to compare apples to apples.....compare 12 gauge to 28 or compare 9mm to 454 Casull.....comparing shotshells to metallic is pointless
I wouldn't say "comparing shotshells to metallic is pointless". Both use a metal case to house a primer, powder and a projectile. A shotgun shell also uses plastic for the case and a wad to hold the shot.

I don't know for sure but, I'd surmise it costs more to produce a 12ga shotgun shell than it does to produce a 9mm round yet the price is similar.

and the mfg process isn't the same.....but it doesn't matter...it is a matter of economics, volume production and supply and demand

and why would you surmise that?? based on the size of the round?? A JHP that HAS to be accurate is harder to produce than some shot that has to be pretty close
A JHP that HAS to be accurate is harder to produce than some shot that has to be pretty close

Thast may be true but, I was comparing the shotgun shells to WWW which has never been proclaimed to be "accurate". Cheap, yes. Accurate, no.

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