Economics is supposed to make such clean, perfect sense. Heaven knows I spent enough time believing that back in college, studying how purely hypothetical ‘demand’ lines cross with purely speculative ‘supply’ lines to determine a perfect market price for any commodity. After keeping my eye on ammo prices for the last several years, however, I’m pretty much ready to dismiss everything that Professor Paranthap Basu taught me in Microecon 101 as total bullshit. (And don’t even get me started about airline prices) . . .
Like I said, there’s good news and bad news about ammo prices. The good news? .45 ACP FMJ only costs twice as much as the lowliest .22 Long Rifle. The bad news? The lowliest .22 Long Rifle costs half as much as .45 ACP FMJ.
Steel-cased .45 ACP can be purchased by the metric ton, right now, for $.31 per round. Brass-cased .45 ACP is just a little spendier, at about $.35 a pop. These are about 30% higher than it was before Newtown, but both the price and availability of .45 ACP have been holding steady. This is good news, of a sort, since it means we can all afford to shoot our 1911s without breaking the bank.
.22 Long Rifle prices continue their rocket ride into geostationary orbit, however. Gunbot and Ammoseek show the cheapest .22s hovering around $.15 per round, which is nearly triple their lowest prices of a few years ago.
The price difference between brick-grade and match-grade .22 used to be mind-boggling: $2 a box for Blazers compared to $10 for Eley Match. Now the price differential is almost negligible: $7.50 a box versus $10.50 a box.
Once again, this might be good news of a sort, but only for those of you with Anschutz or Kimber target .22s that can take full advantage of the increased accuracy of Olympic-quality Eley and RWS rimfire ammo.
This also might be good news for 9mm shooters, because factory-reload 115 grainFMJs only cost $3 more per box than plinking-grade .22s.
What’s the big takeaway? Probably that now is a decent time to order a boatload of 9mm or .45 ACP (and maybe even a carbine to shoot them through) and a terrible time to look for .22 Long Rifle.
All of this takes place as I’m waiting for UPS to deliver a .22 AR upper for testing. It won’t be my first .22 AR upper, since the execrable Chiappa .22 AR upper is burned into my memory as the least-functional, most-dangerous piece of firearms kit I’ve ever laid hands or eyes on.
With the bar set so low, I’m extremely confident the Plinker will pass it with flying colors. I just wish I could still afford to put 1,500 rounds through it in testing, but those days are gone.