How much do you pay for .22LR ammo?
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The new .22 rimfire plant in Lewiston, Idaho, is on line. Vista Outdoors owns the CCI and Federal rimfire brands. They’ve increased production for both brands by 20 percent. With end of the Obama administration, the .22 ammunition bubble is deflating. Most stores have ammunition available. Prices are coming down . . .

From the Lewiston Tribune, November 10th, 2017:

Parts of Vista’s approach have worked well, such as investing in infrastructure and preserving market share, Metz said.

Vista recently debuted a new, 37,000-square-foot, $35 million rimfire ammunition plant near the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport, which has resulted in what company officials describe as a “very satisfying” reduction in the time needed to complete an order.

“It pays dividends when you come out of the trough,” Metz said. “We’re able to make some changes in our facilities that will enable us to participate really strongly as the market returns.”

Vista Outdoor has reduced ammunition prices to maintain market share as its customers work through stockpiles they amassed under the administration of Barack Obama – when they feared new regulation that never came to pass.

”We’re the market leader in rimfire,” Nolan said. “Brand preference in ammunition tends to be somewhat sticky. It took us a long time to gain our market share. … We are loathe to cede that during a period of challenging pricing because it’s going to be very difficult to get that back.”

The ammunition manufacturers, such as Vista Outdoors, do not want to lower prices. As with any manufacturer, life is easy and smooth when both prices and demand are high.

But the market does not guarantee that prices and demand will remain high. Only force, in the form of government granted monopolies, or collusion, as with the OPEC cartel, can do that. Neither of those things exist in the United States, where a mostly free market in ammunition is enforced.

The CCI and Federal brands have an enviable reputation for reliability and quality. They have customer loyalty because of that.  Stephen Nolan refers to this when he speaks of brand preference being “somewhat sticky”.

Market competition works. Aguila of Mexico saw opportunity and increased their production before Vista Outdoors did. Aguila almost doubled their production to capture some of the increasing American market.

That is reflected in the availability and price structure seen today.  Aguila’s brands are at the lowest price point in the market. Vista has to reduce prices to keep market share. Federal low price brands are in direct competition with Aguila.

The lowest prices are now at 3.7 – 4 cents per round.

Prices are going to continue to fall. If you look at the prices on the old Remington box, it was purchased on sale at less than 2 cents per round. I will not be surprised if we see prices at or below 2 cents per round, at sporadic sales, before the end of President Trump’s term.

For those looking for even lower prices, look for estate sales. Prices of ammunition at estate sales are going to be in the basement. Because of liability, gun stores will not buy ammunition back from private owners.

Many people who inherit ammunition are afraid of it, know nothing about guns, and want to get rid of it. I have heard of thousands of dollars of ammunition being turned in to police to be destroyed.

Many people bought thousands of rounds of ammunition in the last four years.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

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    • The day of Sandy Hook I bought 3 525rd boxes of CCI Blazer .22LR for $15.99. That’s .03045 cents per round. That was the last .22LR I bought till last week when I picked up 4 boxes of CCI Mini-Mags for $5.99 a box. Yeah that seems expensive but it shoots the best groups for the price out of my 10/22 besides the high dollar Eley stuff. Plus that was the price I was paying just before SH.

      I have plenty and still do. I always buy when prices are low. Seems like prices are finally falling back to normal and that’s why I’m buying again. I have enough that my great great grandchildren will never run out of .22LR.

      Buy now gents, the good guys don’t always win and history has shown that the markets fluctuate the wrong way when the Dems get in. I’m going to pray and do my part to keep them out but some people just hate freedom.

  1. When I predicted this, a couple of years ago, I was met with ridicule and scoffing (on gun forums). I was lectured that ammo prices would never come down (implying that ammo is immune to the basic laws of economics – supply / demand).

    Everyone stocked up (hoarded to some degree) during the panic. Now there is a glut. I’m still shooting down the stash I accumulated. It HAS been FUN! And, it’s good to know I can replace it while paying less.

  2. I still have most of the .22lr I bought by the case about ten years ago. It was about 2 cents a round then. Guess I can afford to go shoot some of it now. And when do we get 9mm for 10 cents a round again? 🙂 The last I bought was about 32 cents a round.

    • Remington UMC 9mm was obtainable for $0.10 a round after rebate last year with their Thanksgiving rebate from some stores. This year it’s $0.114 a round after rebate from some stores.

        • The 10/22 does not like the white box either. 10 misfires/stovepipes or failure to feed out of 50 rds. The only bad ammo since I bought my firs 10/22 in 1976.

    • Just ordered 1050 rounds of Remington 9mm (3 buckets) for $120 after my rebate comes back, and that included shipping. Got it at Academy sports. 12c a round for brand name brass ammo.We’re getting there!

    • Mama, Wally World in Ft Collins has Federal brass case 9MM at $19.00/100 rds. Not sure where in the Great Windy you are.

      .22LR is down to .05/rd. Denver seems to lag a bit in price changes, but there has always been supply.

  3. Around here, a bunch of old retirees would stand in line at WalMart an hour before the truck with the weekly ammo ration was due to arrive, and they’d buy out every round of .22. They would then turn around and sell it at local gun shows for double what they paid. I didn’t buy a single round of .22 for eight years.
    I wonder how many of them are now sitting on unmovable stock piles that will hit the market before the end of the year at fire sale prices, because after the first of the year, they will have to be California licensed vendors to sell any of it, plus comply with all of the reporting and record keeping requirements, something none of them are prepared to do.

    • Yep. I literally haven’t bought .22 since Bush was in office, and I sold the .22 I had. I’m glad to see it all end. Hopefully we can stave off the next panic for a long time. That shit was downright Fucking rediculous. 100$ for an AR mag. 1$ per round 5.56. $3,000 for a bottom shelf AR. Kiss my ass.

      • lol that is pretty much standard prices here in australia. if we are not willing to pay it then we dont shoot…. simple. our govt also has a lot of taxes on all this stuff…. usually multiples of taxes

  4. As with many other things in a market economy, the cure for high prices is… high prices.

    What liberals cannot comprehend, however, is how their precious government initiatives prevent similar things from happening in sectors like education and health care.

  5. I’m done with .22 rimfire, the guns that shoot them are cheaply made, the cartridge is not accurate, not reliable, not reloadable.

    I’m on the .32 H&R and .327 Federal Magnum bandwagon now. I can load them with Trail Boss powder and they’re as powerful as a hot .22 LR. I can load .32 H&R with a moderate charge of Unique and it’s the same as a .38 Special, then the .327 is about as powerful as a .357 and has less recoil in a handgun and flatter trajectory in a rifle.

    If I ever get into casting bullets, the price to reload will be something around .06/rd. Yes, more than the mythical 2 cents for .22, but I’m willing to spend a little more for better ammo.

    And it’s not ammo sensitive like .22 is and is all more accurate than a .22 or the .38/.357

    • While I do have a .22 rifle I really enjoy shooting with, the costs of .22 ammunition in my part of the world I can reload .223 for a few cents more per round.

      • It doesn’t matter if it “takes off” the versatility of the cartridge outweighs any lack of popularity in the market. It’s a centerfire, so it’s reloadable and if you reload, you’ll never run out of ammunition.

        The fact is, besides the .40 and 10mm, new handgun cartridges are destined to be a reloaders affair. Look at the .41 Magnum, the 5.7, the .22 TCM… all have benefits, but they’re just not something the average person who owns 1 or 2 guns is going to be interested in.

        A rimmed .32 caliber cartridge I think still has a place in today’s world for women, people with hand or arm disabilities, and small game hunting. The problem most people behind the counter at gun stores don’t know much about it, don’t carry the guns, or still think anything that’s a .32 is underpower and couldn’t kill a mouse.

        • Yeah. I’d be smarter to buy a reloader. I’ve only got one of those Lee loader kits the red box, single die does all, for my 44. That’s why I said “take off” in the market. Damn them reloaders are high dollar now, I’d like to get a single stage. Money money money, lol and I own a 300 weatherby and no reloader, what was I thinking, duh.

        • Lee single stage presses are cheap. They have a C-frame press that sells for $40 at Walmart and is a great choice for straight wall, non-bottleneck cartridges. If you’re looking at reloading for revolvers, it’s about the lowest cost press you’ll find that’s decent quality.

    • Well aren’t you quite the little ammo hipster now. Is .22LR “not cool enough” or “too popular” for you?

      I, for one, thoroughly enjoy burning through brick after lovely brick of cheap, dirty, mostly-accurate .22 with my suppressed Sig 522.
      Can I hit consistently out to 100yds with the red dot on there? Sure.
      Is it a tack driver? Nope.
      Does the target still go “ping” when it’s hit? Yep.
      Is it “tacticool” to the max? You betcha it is.

      We don’t all have the time and resources to put together elaborate reloading and bullet-casting operations in the back rooms of our single-wide trailers.

      It’s great to see .22 back down at reasonable prices and in abundance at all stores. The gougers were terrible and I really hope that they all lose money as the price drops lower and lower.

    • Done with .22 rimfire?
      Want reliable? Ruger 10/22. In all my years, it has never failed to cycle the next round into the chamber as long as the last went “bang” and I was using a Ruger magazine.
      Same for my Ruger MK1 and of course, my Ruger Single Six.
      Are rimfires as reliable an ignition as centerfire? No. But given that hundreds or even thousands more are loaded into guns annually than centerfires, a few duds are bound to happen more. Just don’t rely on a rimfire for something critical (your life) and you should be fine. 🤠
      P.S. the best part? As I like to remind my customers: “you can’t throw rocks for less money!”

    • OK, I have to take issue with some of your assertions here.

      First, there are some very fine quality firearms made in .22LR. Most of them aren’t made in America, but some used to be made in the US.

      Anschuetz makes very high quality rifles, along with Feinwerkbau in Germany. Cooper and custom gunsmiths make high quality .22’s here in the US. You’re going to lay down $2K for one of these rifles.

      Pistols? Many more of those. S&W still makes the Model 41, a legendary target pistol. Hammerli, FWB and others make very nice target pistols that are world-class.

      Matter of fact, there’s no point in my droning on here, I’ll just point you to one site where .22LR competitors actually shop for rifles, pistols and ammo:

      Browse through their rifles and handguns, then look at their ammo selection.

      The only thing you said that is factual is that .22LR isn’t reloadable.

      As to .38 Specials: The Army Marksmanship Unit worked with S&W to perfect a target pistol in .38 that has yet to be equalled, the Model 52. Here’s more info on the 52:

      There were other handguns that would shoot the .38 Special w/ wadcutters to very high levels of precision; the S&W Target Masterpiece being one of them:

      S&W made a target revolver in .22LR as well – the K22. Very nice.

      If you look at only the crap produced in plastic pistols today, yes, you will come away thinking the .22LR is a POS round shot out of POS guns. That isn’t the case for those of us who know what is available beyond the mass-marketed guns in the US.

    • Done with 22? Some guys like to spend more time reloading / cleaning / developing process more than shooting, perhaps you are one of these? Not a critic, just saying shooting is multiple disciplines. Other like competing more than shooting, which is also good. Me, I like shooting. Hit one of the local ranges at least 1 time / week and blowing through 300-400 rounds, maybe 2X if I have time. For this habit, bringing along a couple of .22 is fiscally sound. I shoot 200-300 22 for practice and fun, then top off with 100 rounds of center fire. Rifle, pistol, same difference. I have fun which is the main reason I enjoy the hobby.

    • TruthTeller, I can still shoot a rabbit in the eye with my .22 at fifty yards. If you were right about .22 guns and ammo, that wouldn’t be possible.

  6. I was pretty excited to acquire “bargain quality” .22 LR ammunition for about 4.8 cents per round recently. Sounds like I may have overpaid for that as well.

    I am a little bit depressed. I managed to acquire 300 to 500 round bulk packs here and there for the past 4 years at something like 5.7 cents per round on average. Now I have a respectable supply of .22 LR and cannot justify adding to it even though prices are sinking. If we get back to the point that I can purchase 500 round bricks for $13, I will probably pick up a few bricks just to reward the manufacturers for increasing their manufacturing capacity.

    Now I have to figure out how to start shooting through that respectable supply. Does .22 LR erode barrels like centerfire rifle rounds?

  7. Eventually the green peacers will win the no lead bullets thing, I see 22 becoming high priced in the future. I recently found out there are no lead smelting plants in the U.S.,my info is probably wrong as usual, if it’s true I don’t like it.

    • ironicatbest,

      I believe there are two types of lead factories:
      (1) Factories that turn raw ore into lead.
      (2) Factories that purify recycled lead.

      I am 98% confident that the United States recently (a few years ago) shut down its last lead factory which turns raw ore into lead. I am also fairly confident that the United States still operates the second type of lead factory which purifies recycled lead from car batteries, wheel weights, etc.

      If my understanding is correct, the U.S. is in pretty good shape to recycle the vast amounts of lead already in the country. In other words our lead supply should remain plentiful and lead prices should remain low for the foreseeable future.

      • Correct, and if we run low, China and Russia will have no problems shipping us all we want.

        Russia is still manufacturing Tetraethyl lead (TEL) for gasoline by the *ton*…

  8. For the last 5 years .22 LR has been expensive (averaging every bit of 8 cents per round) and often totally unavailable. So I was planning to purchase a decent pellet rifle because .177 pellets are inexpensive at 2 cents each and .177 pellets always seem to be available.

    If .22 LR gets back down to 3 cents per round, I am thinking that a pellet rifle does not make sense. Why would I want to operate a platform that requires I cock a rifle every time I shoot for a savings of 1 penny every time I pull the trigger?

  9. I have 3 .22 rimfire firearms and haven’t fired any of them in years. When it was cheaper to shoot 9mm and 7.62x54r I gave up and bought an air rifle. .177 caliber. No shortage of ammo and I can target shoot, train youngsters and shoot pest and small game animals.


    • jwm,

      I just posted on the other “question of the day” article about Black Friday — do you know any sources for bulk .177 pellets that cost 1 cent per pellet or less?

    • funny enough, my pellet rifle sits unused because i have more fun shooting the Aguila primer only rounds out of my .22. They are actually quieter out of a 16″ barrel than the pellet gun!

      I haven’t done a price comparison…..don’t shoot either enough to worry about that right now…

      • Yeah, a springer pellet rifle tends to be noisy. I’ve never used those primer only rounds. My Russian made Winchester bolt gun really loves their 60 grain sub sonic round.

      • Joel,

        I can easily believe the primer only .22 LR rounds make less noise than a pellet rifle. I have shot CCI’s .22 CB rounds out of a rifle barrel and that is surprisingly quiet.

        Come to think of it, are those CB rounds the same thing — primer only rounds in a full-size .22 LR brass casing???

  10. I like 22lr and shoot mine a bunch. Even though I had a pretty good stash before the gun and ammo market went nuts, I kept buying it (Big 5, Wednesday mornings at 10AM….lol). Will keep buying it and the other ammo components I use. If it comes down, great, but I won’t stop doing my favorite hobby over the price of ammo.

  11. Hopefully we’ll see more progress on small centerfire cartridges. Something like the .22 CCM or the old French 5.5 Velo Dog. That would be a good alternative to the .22lr and would also give a lot more options for loadings.

  12. I have three guns in .22. I never shoot them as I used them more for training new shooters. I haven’t had a chance to do that in a long while so they sit. I have a good stash saved up, but east of the Rockies it’s hard to find a place to go plinking that’s not a range.

  13. Aguila may have increased production but it doesn’t cycle my Ruger Mark IV 22/45. The CCI “AR” ammo works perfectly (the mini-mags work fine too, but are more expensive).

  14. I found CCI .22 LR on sale at Fleet Farm last week for about .06 per round. That’s the first time I’ve seen CCI on the shelf in almost ten years. So I bought some. And I’ll buy more if it goes lower.

  15. The days of .02/round are LONG gone, the best you can do at this point is about .04/round, and that’s about as good as it’s going to get…outfits like vista saw what it was like when they shorted the marketplace, and drove prices through the roof, and they’re not ready to give up those profits…

    • “I don’t see 2 cents a round coming back, but only due to inflation.”

      Nanashi gets it.

      3-4 cents per will be the new floor…

  16. Wal-mart has had several of the 1000 rd bricks of M-22 for $50.42 a box. As of late they have had 5-7 on hand every time I have gone! :-). Been burning thru it with my M&P 15-22 Sport. Love it.

  17. I could actually buy some 22lr again if that happens, even 3 cents a round! Back in the day it wasn’t $4-6 a box or more. If you could find it. At that price, I can reload 9mm with home cast powder coat all day long. Not only that but the cost of buying something that shoots 22lr buys a lot of 9mm at the home cast price point.

  18. When a brick of Remington ThunderBolts were 6 or 7 dollars or less.
    I used to shoot between 1000 to 1500 rounds a week back in the mid 90s.
    Now I haven’t shot any of my 22s in about 15 years.
    Get a brick down to under $10 and I might consider taking them up again.
    I still have a box of CCI Stingers marked at $2.99 and a few boxes of 40S&W Black Talons marked at 20 rounds for $11.96.
    Those are from the same time frame as my $6 a brick ThunderBolts.

  19. I’m glad CCI is upping production.

    I bought 5000 rounds each of Aguila super and super extra and found them wildly inconsistent, only slightly better than Remington thunderbolt.

    Had good luck with Armscorr 36 grain HP though and they were about the same cost 2 years ago.

    But my preference is CCI/Blazer/Federal.

  20. Prices here are finally down to $30/brick (6 cents/round)

    Cheapest I have seen in the last 8 years was the $75 for 1625 rounds of Federal I paid yesterday at Cabelas. 4.6 cents/round.

    Came with a bonus 30-cal ammo can. Just opened it, I thought it was bulk packed but it’s actually 5 of their 325 round “Value” packs.


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