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Why Ammo Prices Are Still Insanely High (Depending on the Caliber)

Ammo Shortage Hunting
Image: Creative Commons.

Yes, there is ammo out there. But can you afford it? There is good news for shooters this week: most popular ammunition calibers can be readily found on store shelves while ammo is even available online in bulk. Ammo bargain hunters will still be out of luck, however, as prices remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.

A search online found that prices have fallen since the beginning of this year, but due to supply chain bottlenecks, rising inflation, and likely renewed calls for gun control following a wave of tragic mass shootings, now may be the time to “bite the bullet” and press the “buy” button if you’re looking to stock up.

9mm Prices on the Level

9x19mm Luger cartridge (also known as 9x19mm Parabellum and 9mm NATO) has remained the most popular handgun cartridge in the world, and it is currently used by more than 60 percent of the world’s law enforcement agencies. As of this month, 9mm has even fallen to as low as 16 cents per round according to data from AmmoPricesNow.com.

Over at LuckyGunner.com, 1,000 rounds of Wolf’s 115 grain FMJ ammunition with Berdan primers was selling for $295, down from the $320 in January; while the same ammo was available at OutDoorLimited.com this week for $289.99.

.40 Caliber S&W Fallen

The price of .40 caliber Smith & Wesson, which remains a leading cartridge among law enforcement organizations as it is seen as a compromise between the capacity of the 9mm and the power of the .45, has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels when it averaged 27 cents per round. Now at 33 cents, it is down considerably from February 2021’s record high of 89 cents per cartridge!

For bargain hunters, Ammo.com has been offering 1,000 rounds of MBI 40 cal. Ammo, 180 Grain FMJ for $334.99; while 1,000 rounds of Federal’s 165 Grain FMJ is selling for $449.99.

.357 Magnum Taken a Nose Dive

This cartridge was a past favorite of police and military personnel and remains popular with the “hand cannon” crowd. Many of the big frame handguns likely gathered dust as ammo prices spiked during the pandemic, and just a year ago, rounds were averaging $1.55 per round! The good news is that the average price has fallen more than BitCoin in recent months, with the .357 cartridges hitting just 57 cents (nearly two-thirds lower than the record high) this week according to AmmoPricesNow data.

On the low end, SportsmanGuide was currently offering 50 rounds of Wolf, .357, FMJ, 158 for $18.99 (Buyer’s Club price), or 37 cents; while on the high end, a box of 25 rounds of Hornady Critical Defense, 125 Grain, FTX was being offered for $29.44.

The State of 5.56 NATO

In early 2021, the average price of a round of 5.56 NATO was 77 cents, but prices have been on a steady decline as production ramped up. There was a brief spike earlier this year, but as of this week, prices have leveled off again and the popular AR rifle cartridge is now averaging around 45 cents.

500 rounds of Hornady Frontier 5.56×45 Ammo, 75 Grain BTHP Match Ammunition, was selling this week for $419 at Ammo.com; while the retailer also was offering 800 rounds of Winchester USA 5.56×45 Ammo, 5 Grain FMJ Ammunition for $474.99. Depending on the quality of the ammunition, bargains can apparently be found.

Online Prices Lower in Bulk

Tuesday remains the best day to do the hunting for ammunition, and mid-morning is when the websites tend to be updated. Bulk purchases will also lower the average cost per round.

Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. HockeyJoe58

    May 26, 2022 at 10:04 am

    Your example for 9mm ammo cost is way off. If it’s found somewhere at $295 that’s close to 30 cents per round, which is twice the cost for that ammo right before covid. Prices are very slowly creeping down, but they are no where near where they were before this mess started.

  2. Ammo hunter

    May 26, 2022 at 11:42 am

    What this article fails to mention is the fact the ammo on these sites may be cheaper, but you will end up paying the same as on other sites because these sites with low cost ammo have exuberant shipping cost. Which brings the price to the same as sites with a bit more expensive ammo but much lower shipping cost.

  3. Rex T. Dog

    May 26, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    We just sit on our stash and shoot .22, which can be found in bulk for 6.5 to 9.9 cents a round…that is a couple cents higher than before the plandemic but still affordable…our bigger bullets rarely see the range these days…

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