Ammunition Price Increases: Bad and Getting Worse

Back in March, I wrote about the soaring costs of ammunition.  Later the same month, I let everyone know about the pending price increases by ATK, the parent company of Speer, Federal, and CCI.  Now that a few more months have passed, I thought some of you would be interested in seeing how much prices have increased since the first half of 2008.

Ammunition Cost Increases 2007-2008

As you can see, price increases continue at a staggering rate.  The prices were all taken from a major vendor’s monthly catalog and I used cartridges that I could locate in all three catalogs for the comparison.

Now, think about this.  Ammunition prices are driven by two factors: scarcity and demand.  With President-elect Obama coming to power in about two months, I guarantee that demand for ammunition is going up.  This will increase prices, as will the shortages experienced by your dealers because of the demand.

I hope you already have the ammunition you need.  If not, keep an eye out for deals, but I imagine they will be few and far between.  Not to be alarmist, but ammo shortages could be a reality.  Get what you need plus a little more.  If things get really expensive, and shortages start, you will be very happy you invested now.

I do not think we will see sub-$10 boxes of handgun ammunition again, but I really hope I am wrong.  If the economy is hurting, inflation starts to hit and we have an anti-gun president in the White House, ammo will be darn expensive.  Whatever you buy now and store will be good in five, ten or even 20 years.  Ammo does not go bad, and ammunition price increases are coming.  Do not doubt that.

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  1. I just wonder whether, when the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, we’ll see the supply side get a lot better. My guess it that the Dems, in addition to pulling back from the Middle East, will cut mil. spending even further. Don’t know how long that’ll take. Also don’t know whether world supply/demand for copper will much affected by that.

  2. jed –

    Good points. Frankly, I hadn’t considered the plans to pull out of the Middle East. That would ease demand somewhat, though, the military would want to replenish their stocks.

    Of course, I also did not include the potential of massive increases in Federal taxes on ammunition.

    I guess it is a case of hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Buy what you can when you see a good deal and learn how to reload.

  3. any idea how much of the increase is inflation, transportation/shipping costs, value of the dollar type things.

    Also, I’ve seen on a few boards that importation of ammo might soon be a thing of the past. Also, there’s always the chance that Obama will just decide to destroy any “surplus” ammo the military has when he shrinks them. And of course you have the STRONG possibility of such things as a “carbon tax” more EPA controls, no electricity to run the plants if he gets his wish to bankrupt coal and shut down 1/2 the nations electricity.

    Now, how much do you think THAT will impact future prices?

  4. Metals cost increases along can account for 20-30% of the increase

  5. Metals costs are through the floor, due to falling global demand. That will decrease the price of ammunition in the intermediate term.

    The military is going to transition to lead-free (more expensive) rounds soon, removing a major incentive to make 9mm, 5.56, and 7.62 for civilians, raising prices on those.

    And for the next 2-10 months (at least) the zOMG oBaMa! factor will drive prices through the roof.

    Best bet: dollar-cost average your stockpile. The price will settle somewhere eventually, and you will still have to pay whatever it is if you want to shoot.

  6. I think Tom hit on two important things: importation and the value of the dollar.

    President Obama can have very substantial effects on the importation of ammunition and components from other countries. So, if the market lost all of the imported ammo, competition would be significantly curtailed and home grown ammo would, unfortunately, rise in cost.

    Mix into the debate the very real problems with the dollar’s value. Significant inflation here (been to the grocery store lately?) and hyper-inflation is a possibility. At the moment, metal prices are down from earlier highs, but they will go up again in the near term. When paper money becomes valued less, solid things (like metals) become valued more.

  7. Frankly, I am perplexed by this current price increase.

    The major reason for the price increases over the last 3-4 years has been and incredible jump in Copper, Lead and Oil (shipping) prices coupled a falling US dollar. But over the last six months Copper has fallen from $4 per pound to about $1.50 per pound and lead and oil have done the same thing. At the same time the “credit crunch” has messed up foreign economies even more than ours so the dollar is actually getting stronger. All of this means that ammo prices should be falling.

    So this leaves fear mongering and propaganda. I was in a gun shop today and the owner told me that Federal Cartridge told him they would double price December 1, 2008 but this make no sense based on the raw materials prices. And I can find no evidence that they made such an announcement so I have to assume he is fear mongering and price gouging.

    Also, I should point out that only one ammunition manufacture is continuously contracted to make US military ammo and that is Federal Cartridge. Also under US law all surplus military ammo must be destroyed. So I don’t see how this could cause a huge change in prices as they would surely increase production just to keep competing in there civilian ammo factories (which are separate factories).

    As for Obama tax increase. I find it hard to believe he will add even more taxes to ammo and gun because they can barely justify the current 11% and if it goes to 500%, as I hear the propagandist (NRA) say, then any lawyer, even a crappy one, could successfully argue that such a tax would “infringe” on the 2 amendment rights.

    So don’t believe the hype and don’t participate in your ammo supplier’s price gouging just stop buying up ammo and I promises it will fall faster then they went up, just like copper did. And remember the NRA only has your best interest in mind until it causes the big business they represent money, then they will represent them against you. (Because top people in the NRA are lobbyist not political activist.)
    Also, none of this applies to assault rifles and so you may want get one of these before they are illegal but DON’T break the bank doing it because you’ll probably be able to get almost the same rifle after a ban (I mean how often are you gonna use that bayonet anyway?).

  8. I don’t know why you cannot believe President-elect Obama would want to increase taxes on ammunition. He is in favor of tax increases on general principle.

    He has supported an outright ban on virtually all centerfire rifle ammunition. So, why would an outrageous increase in excise taxes be something he would not support?

    And yes, such a tax would infringe on the Second Amendment, however… even the best lawyers can’t get past the rulings of liberal judges. The courts are stocked with liberal, not Constitutionalist, judges. Trust me, I deal with them daily. And who appoints judges? Obama will for the next four to eight years. So, don’t plan on the courts helping you out pal. The Heller decision may not be as strong as we had hoped, once new cases are brought before the Supreme Court and Obama has had a few appointments.

    One last thing…you can be a NRA hater if you want, but they have done more for firearms freedom than any of us could have accomplished on our own. You are darn right a lot of their Washington people are lobbyists…who else is going to better represent you on Capitol Hill?

    Join the NRA, folks. They will be our sword and shield in the halls of Congress, fighting for our Second Amendment rights.

  9. Let’s get something straight boys and girls, Obama isn’t intending to raise the tax on ammunion and firearms because it’s in short supply. The middle east has nothing to do with the taxes. Obama petitioned to raise the taxes on guns and ammo in 1999, before we were bombed by Iraqi terrorists. He is raising taxes because he’s a democrat, it’s what they do.
    Being a moderate, I don’ t really like either party, but the facts he represented about guns and ammo are false, just look it up.
    Obama is a product of Chicago products. For those of us who live in Illinois, we know there are places in Chicago that are virtual war zones. His thoughts are that every place is as corrupt as Chicago, and if he makes guns and ammo so unaffordable, people will quit using them. He fails to see the consequences that will come to the environment and those people who use guns as a means of protection.

  10. Johnny Freedom says:

    I’d have to agree with Linds here – I found this website by looking into how ammunition can still be so expensive (or more expensive) when metal prices are falling. As I understood it, the previous rationale for price increases was the price in copper, lead, etc. Now, of course, that can’t be the case, so it is probably what I thought it was: hype based inflation from greedy firearm dealers – hell, with this Obama hysteria, why not make more money, right?

    I’m not buying anything from them on general principle now, after seeing what they are charging at their stores and the gun shows around here. They probably aren’t paying any more for their products, but they started charging 50-100% more in a matter of days.

    Obama isn’t a dictator, and it will take a good amount of time for anything to happen. With the fact that there are other pressing issues currently (i.e. the economy), it wouldn’t be too popular to go on a gun banning spree as soon as he gets into office, especially considering all of the political wrangling that will have to take place for such things to happen.

  11. Hi everyone, I have to agree with Linds and Mr. Freedom too. I too will not buy from these people. Based on everything we’re seeing, such as lowered metal and other commodity prices and lower (and falling) demand, the price of ammo is headed for a major crash.
    In addition to the logical argument above, there is the true and tried proverb of investment that says “When everybody is buying something, sell it!”
    Military vs. civilian markets debate is a bit of a mystery to me, since the imported ammo was made for military markets, but there is a delay before such ammo is imported (or rather before it’s sold).
    Finally, the people who are driving up prices with the hype are doing us, as a country, a huge disservice. They are dividing us in a very poisonous way, when we have very little to be divided over. The Clinton administration made a big mistake with the assault weapons ban… they gave the same people who are making money from these price increases “reasons” for enciting the Obama/democrat ammo runs in the future. Go back and read the legislation that Obama voted on that relates to gun control. You’ll very quickly find that you’ve been misled. Don’t listen to pundits – just read the actual legislation and see how he voted. See how others voted, and ask yourself how you would vote. I am all about protecting the 2nd amendment, but having read the legislation, I see nothing that Obama has done to make all these people believe that he is “anti-gun.” Be careful – don’t repeat poisonous lies. There are plenty of ways to check the rumors we spread. Let’s do that!

  12. fedup –

    Obama is anti-gun, and yes, I have looked carefully at his voting record. I also have listened to what he has said and what he wants to do in the future.

    Obama states on his website,, that he wants to enact more anti-gun legislation. This includes a permanent enactment of a ban on semi-automatic rifles (the so-called assault weapon ban.) The fact that the Clinton administration was able to get the first one enacted gives people the additional knowledge that Obama’s goal is not just talk (yes we can!), rather it is a serious threat.

    If you really believe in the rights of the people to keep and bear arms, I cannot believe you have taken an honest look at Obama’s record on firearms, both in the state of Illinois and as a US Senator.

    If you have found a specific example where you believe Obama is pro-gun, feel free to post it.


  13. Johnny,

    It will take very little time for Obama, or any president, to significantly impact your ability to exercise your rights to keep and bear arms.

    By executive order, all imported firearms and ammunition could be banned from additional importation. Goodbye Glock, FN, Wolf, etc.

    How about ATF fees for firearms dealers? Or just increasing the numbers of inspections on dealers and collectors (C&R holders take note!) to the point of harassment? How about prosecuting someone for possessing a ‘machine gun’ when the weapon -malfunctions- and slamfires? Oh wait, the current administration already does that.

    Also, it is likely that -sooner- rather than later is when much of this could happen. The original assault weapons ban passed early in Clinton’s administration. Yes, Congress suffered in the mid-terms, but by the time Clinton was up for re-election, much of the anger regarding the ban had evaporated.

    If you think your rights cannot be abridged unless they go through Congress, you are wrong. Please take the time to learn more about some of these issues and then get involved!

    – Richard

  14. Linda in RI says:

    Barack is going to raise the price so much only the wealthy will be able to afford ammo. Then there will be a scarcity demanded by him. Then when no one has ammo, what good are the guns? We’ll be turning them in for food. DONE the plan all along. Rather than say “Turn in the guns”. It will will be done like a snake. First they want us to kill our fellow citizens in a civil war he’s generating too. So the ammo that is out there will come to good use to their population control agenda too.

  15. Sigmeister says:

    Obama is going to do EVERYTHING he can to take your 2nd amendment rights away from you. The most effective way to hit anyone has always been in the wallet! A 500% excise tax would make an already $40 box of ammo cost over $200, which would have a devastating effect on your freedom and they don’t care if your lawyer jumps on it or not. If these hacks don’t respect the U.S. Constitution, what makes you think that a the threat of a lawyer scares them. Make no mistake about it, Obama and his people (ex-Clinton socialists) will do what some think is “the impossible” when it comes to taking the repository of power away from “We The People”. The people here in Pittsburgh, PA never thought that they would not be able to smoke, at least in a non-smoking section of a restaurant but, they banned it. Don’t be niave and never say never. IT IS COMING!

  16. Sorry, to chime in twice but I need to be more specific on my comments.

    The NRA stated “Obama supports a 500 percent increase in taxes on firearms and ammunition” on their website. (By the way this statement is no longer on their website so someone else may have called them on this already.)

    In researching this fact I found two related but drastically different facts.
    1. Obama stated, why back in 1999, during at a church sponsored event, in a very bad part of Chicago, that he supported “a 500 percent increase in taxes on guns that kill the most people”. (Assuming he actually knows anything about gun crimes that would mean handguns which account for more than 70% of crimes.) No mention of ammunition.

    2. In a separate and unrelated fact Obama supported an increase in Illinois’ 3 cents per box tax on ammunition to 15 cents per box. That is actually 400 percent increase even though someone with bad math skills (or an agenda) may see a 3 x 5 = 15 as a 500 percent increase.

    I could find no other references to a 500 percent increase in taxes on firearms and ammunition by anyone in the government.

    I personally feel that the single biggest problem in our government is special interest, corporate lobbying and corporate campaign contributions. I believe it is our decent from democracy into aristocracy. In this respect the NRA is part of the problem. I agree that the NRA has helped protect the second amendment and they deserve praise for that but this propaganda is merely another example of the consumer being sold out by lobbyist and big business. To put it simply anyone who is willing to lie to you to their own ends is probably not your friend, even if you have a common enemy.

    If you want to support the second amendment do it with the most powerful weapon known to man, a pen (or keyboard) and aim them at your elected officials, because there apathy toward us is our fault.

  17. Linds,

    Don’t apologize for posting again; you are certainly welcome here. In fact, I suspect you and I are probably in agreement on far more things than we disagree on.


  18. obama may not be a dictator,but with congress rubber stamping every thing he wants,it will be difficult to tell the difference.

    did you see the article on durham n.c. looking to adopt draconian illinois like like firearm restrictions? he even has little “cells’ out there working.

  19. Well I agree with most of you. I have two honorable discharges and have been in Law Enforcement for over 30 years, I am not bragging, just want everyone to know that where society is headed right now scares the living hebees out of me. And most Police Officers agree with me. Semper Fi everyone and good luck because we Americans are going to need it! Post Script: Rich may be only ones getting ammo but the big question is can they tactcially shot and kill? Just asking!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. if it was not for the nra we would have already lost our second ammendment rights.i think obama loves the military about as much as clinton did.dont forget obamasia, to critisize is racist and unfair.

  21. if it wasnt for the nra,you would have lost your 2nd ammendment rights a long time ago.remember to critize obamasia is racist and unfair…..

  22. You said “Ammunition prices are driven by two factors: scarcity and demand.” Fear was not a factor in this equation so; “With President-elect Obama coming to power in about two months, I guarantee that demand for ammunition is going up.” implies fear is the determining factor in your arguement. I happen to be an Obama supporter and a gun owner. I like to shoot my weapons so I pay the going price for ammo without complaint. I do not believe any one person can or should be held personally accountable for ammo prices except for the ammo producers. Furthermore, Obama is more about Constitutional governace than was his predecessor, don’t believe me? Suggest you read Obama’s views of the U.S. Constitution.

  23. Wade,

    Thanks for stopping in and sharing your observations.

    From Econ 101, we know that in a free market system supply (or scarcity) and demand determine pricing. Fear, as well as other factors, can drive demand. Fear is not the determining factor of price, rather, it is an influence on demand. Demand is not constant, nor does it operate in a vacuum.

    I’m not sure how you can blame ammunition manufacturers for the rising prices of ammunition. If you are suggesting that manufacturers have reduced supply, I would definitely like to talk to your source. However, the information I am getting is that manufacturers are producing “at capacity” on their ammo lines. That means supply is flat, with demand rising, which in turn means, the price to the consumer will also rise.

    Since you bring it up, President Obama is not a constitutionalist. Nor was his predecessor. Nor the two men before him. Feel free to send me information to the contrary, but I take President Obama at his word. He does/did not believe the Second Amendment is an individual right. He does believe that the federal government can nationalize private enterprise. He does believe the federal government is supreme to the states. We could go on, but I suspect that the argument may be lost.

    If you love your country more than your political party, please take the time to critically analyze all of the politicians “representing” you. Very few of them are truthful, and none deserve your trust.


  24. I bought a box of 30 carabine ( 50 in a box) for $ 18.95 last July, today February 25 th 2009 for $28.95…Crasy, just crasy.

  25. Diretmus Argenteus says:

    Have order in for 500 round box of RWS Target rifle .22lr . In one week from when I placed order, the price has gone up 30% ($45.99–> 61.99)

  26. Econ 101 says:

    If a supplier believes the future price of ammo will be higher than the current price there is incentive to limit supply. Therefore shifting Supply to the left.

  27. Down-to-earth says:

    Guns, knives, clubs, poison, strangulation, etc… People kill people, guns are just the most convenient means to do so nowadays.

    Obama tends toward Socialism. Period. Regardless of his political party, the ideas he is enacting have a definite tendency toward a “managed economy” which is by definition a socialistic economy.

    But that’s neither here nor there, This discussion has turned into a political debate rather than what it was intended to be.

    I agree with others who believe this to be a gouge. People are panicking about proposed ammo tax increases which is driving them to purchase more ammo. Increased Demand (possibly brought about by fear of increased taxes), spurs an increase in price in most everything within a capitalistic economy (that’s us Mr. Wade… Cap-i-tal-i-stic Econ-omy).

    Part of the solution… Slow down buying of Ammo, decrease Demand and hopefully the price will follow. For sure? Absolutely not… that’s why I said hope-ful-ly.

  28. Wade, you were stating that you were an B.O. supporter, hopefully you will be the first one in
    line to tell B.O. that you just can’t afford to buy your ammo any more and would like to turn your guns in for a nice tax break.
    People wake up, nothing is going to be taken away from overnite. But it will be taken away as long as people like you are blind to what is happen. Get your head out of your ass.

  29. What a great discussion!

    It is a fact that ammo prices are up and will be up for a long time.
    The causes are obvious… the rules of supply and demand are fully in force. But bear in mind that there are no real static factors.
    Except that we all must stand up for our right to bear arms and enjoy OUR shooting sports.
    All things change, prices will go down as raw material costs and transportation costs fall. Especially after we get all our soldiers back home. Demand will also slow down as people realize they are in a better situation and as the economy gets better.
    Politics, however will remain the same, liberals going for the guns and everybody else trying to keep them.
    We need to remember we are Americans and we live in the greatest country on earth. There is no problem that we can’t overcome TOGETHER. And we need to remember to support the NRA as they will be OUR voice in Washington.

    P.S. Here is one of my most favorite quotes:
    “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else.” -Teddy Roosevelt

  30. baboulas says:

    The cause for the current and outlandish increase in ammo prices is the same as that associated with the run up in oil pricing last year: greed on the part of speculators and idiocy of the public. It is sheer foolishness to presume that the current administration will do anything to hinder ammunition and gun purchases. But the mullets out there will do what they can to fight this tooth and nail. Sort of like the morons who put up their “More drilling now” bumper stickers before oil prices dropped by 80%…

  31. now I know how a sheep feels when he gets sheared. but are we being sheared by the manufaacturere or the local dealers at the gun shops aand big chains when we stop in for ammo. just a few months ago, at a local shop, a brick of .22LR CCI Blazer had leaped to $19.95. checking it out today, the price was $29.95 and for the record, i checked another shop and the price for the same brick was seems no matter where a person turns, there’s a haand being thrust deep-deep-deep in our back pocket, and at the same time, tearing a little bit of enjoyment out of our lives.i target shoot to relax and unwind, and I’m am just fed up being somebody’s sheep

  32. learn a little says:

    the premise of supply/demand is a serious facade. sure we can all see that demand, for whatever reason, drives prices up. but the big question is WHY aren’t they being driven down in the same fashion?

    its the same arguement everywhere. those who don’t feel like accepting the fact that our entire market is being manipulated behind the guise of a free market capitalistic society, will say its just supply and demand.

    government and big business is one in the same. the free market does not belong to the people, we are merely playing on their field. its the same with food, gas, and any other commodity where prices do not reflect reality.

    prices go up for one reason or another, but they don’t come back down. WHY!?

  33. Obama and the dems want to outlaw guns. that is why the hoarding and the price increases.

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