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Shooting Industry August 2011 Digital Edition - Page 16
Lethal Lethal force Ammo Prices Cheaper Than 25 Years Ago! he ammo I want costs how much now? I’m not paying that!” It’s a refrain heard constantly in every gun shop in the country these days. For the last several years, ammo prices had been rising. Much of it was wartime demand due to combat deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Huge construction surges in other countries, notably China, had consumed an escalated share of critical raw material for ammunition, driving prices up worldwide. Plus, there are other international factors that are affecting the cost of raw materials. Then, the May 2011 price hike hit. Despite the dismay over ammo costs, the price of ammunition hasn’t increased that much and, in some cases, has actually gone down. Massad Ayoob “T been much less. In June of 2011, comparable generic 230-gr. JHP (Winchester white box) in this caliber is running in the low $30 range at one store, and 230-gr. aluminum case Blazer hardball is available for $23.95 at another. In 1986, MSRP for a box of 158-gr. lead round nose practice ammo in .38 Special was $17.10. Today, the rough equivalent — Sellier & Bellot 158-gr. .38 Special full metal jacket — is $20.50 per same-size box, while PMC 132-gr. full metal jacket is only $18.99, and Speer Lawman 158-gr. flat-nose +P FMJ is $20.99 — a pretty insignificant price increase over a quarter of a century. Twenty-five years ago, .44 Magnum cartridges were running in the $30 per box range, according to Gun Digest. Today, I was quoted a sameThen (left) and now (right): Functionally identical Winchester 9mm 115-gr. count box of 240-gr. Blazer .44 1986 Vs. Mid-2011 full metal jacket ammo is cheaper now than 25 years ago — not even Magnum jacketed soft point In 1986, Gun Digest listed counting changes in the dollar’s buying power. for $37.95. That’s a negligible manufacturers’ suggested retail prices for small arms ammunition. That’s no longer their practice, so for comparison, I did some price checking at a couple of local gun shops. The results were fascinating. All listings are for 50-round boxes. In 1986, .45 ACP 185-gr. JHP listed at $26.05 for 50 rounds; .45 ACP 230-gr. FMJ was not listed, but wouldn’t have Then and Now: Comparative Living Costs n the year 1986, average income in this country was $22,463 per year, and a new car cost an average of $9,281. Gasoline sold for 89 cents a gallon. A gallon of whole milk was $2.19, eggs I Cost Of Ammunition — 50-round Box Caliber 9mm 115-grain JHP 9mm 124-grain FMJ .38 Special 158-grain .45 ACP 185-grain JHP .357 Magnum .44 Magnum 1986 $22.50 $22.50 $17.10 $26.05 $23.80 $30.00 2011 $21.99 $12.50 $18.99 $23.95 $27.95 $37.95 were 63 cents a dozen, and freshly ground hamburger went for $1.20 per pound. Ground coffee was $2.45 a pound (15.3 cents per ounce). A movie ticket cost $2.75. A first-class postage stamp cost 24 cents. The average price for a new house was $89,463. Now, 25 years later, that postage stamp costs 44 cents, nearly double. The cheapest ground beef I could find on sale today was $3.69 a pound, which is almost triple the 1986 price. The same store had eggs for $1.64 per dozen, a 260-percent increase over the last quarter century. Milk was $3.95 a gallon, up about 80 percent, and coffee is now about 54 cents per ounce, more than three and a half times what it was 25 years ago. Movie tickets have tripled or quadrupled. I expect the average income of your customers is far above $22,463, and even in an economic slump, anyone who expected to build a new house for under $100,000 today would be laughed at, along with the idea of a $9,000 new car to park in its driveway. Sign Up For Your Free Subscription To SI Digital. Visit www.shootingindustry.com 16 AUGUST 2011 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com