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.38 spl ammo availability and cost


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Does anybody know what is going on with .38 ammo? While other ammo is starting to come back, .38 is still hard to find and far more expensive as well. .45ACP ammo is cheaper. 

I know that the Zombie Apocalypse of the last couple years has knocked the world on it's ear, but why is .38 ammo so more affected than a lot of other calibres? 

And as a bonus question, all the .38 I DO see seems to be jacketed ammo. Does nobody make plain old lead bullets? If not, how does this affect CAS? I'm planning to get back into it, but I'm not going to be able to if things continue as they are. 

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Supply and demand. The 12 million new gun owners bought AR’S and 9mm so production has gone into where they can sell the most. 
plain old lead, especially for SASS is a specialty, so the big ammo guys don’t care.  
however check at the folks at places like We the People Munitions and other cowboy suppliers….  

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If you are getting back into SASS you should seriously consider reloading.  Not just for the cost savings but to have an additional avenue of supply.

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1 hour ago, Not Dead Ed said:

Supply and demand. The 12 million new gun owners bought AR’S and 9mm so production has gone into where they can sell the most. 
plain old lead, especially for SASS is a specialty, so the big ammo guys don’t care.  
however check at the folks at places like We the People Munitions and other cowboy suppliers….  

Looked up We The People Munitions, they don't even list .38 on their website.  

40 minutes ago, Nickel City Dude said:

If you are getting back into SASS you should seriously consider reloading.  Not just for the cost savings but to have an additional avenue of supply.

I'm not interested in reloading at this time. Don't know if I ever will be. I'm just looking for decent, inexpensive ammo. I've bought from reloaders, (Miwall, for instance), at gun shows, and have been pleased with what I had. But right now even Miwall shows only jacketed ammo, and for more than I'd expect to pay for factory ammo.

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Try Choice Ammunition or Bullets by Scarlett, both SASS supporters/advertisers.  :)

https://choiceammunition.com/

Edited by Caladisi kid
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3 hours ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

Does anybody know what is going on with .38 ammo? While other ammo is starting to come back, .38 is still hard to find and far more expensive as well. .45ACP ammo is cheaper. 

I know that the Zombie Apocalypse of the last couple years has knocked the world on it's ear, but why is .38 ammo so more affected than a lot of other calibres? 

And as a bonus question, all the .38 I DO see seems to be jacketed ammo. Does nobody make plain old lead bullets? If not, how does this affect CAS? I'm planning to get back into it, but I'm not going to be able to if things continue as they are. 

 

Sgt,

CAS is a "niche" market.  Manufacturers are producing what's in greatest demand.  Right now those are the calibers used by popular semi-autos.

All the best of the Cowboy suppliers are in a holding pattern because of the lack of primers.  As of this moment, We the People Munitions, Bullets by Scarlett, Choice Ammo, Bang and Clang, are out of stock.

 

The only place I know who still has a limited supply of .38 special "cowboy ammo" is Georgia Arms.

https://www.georgia-arms.com/38-special-125gr-lead-round-nose-flat-pt/ 

 

You might want to order some before they get gone.

 

 

Edited by McCandless
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The big sellers are 9mm and 5.56 /.223, I see very little .45 acp, .38 spl, .357. 

I'm seeing quite a bit of .22's also The ammo companies are making what's selling and I can't really blame them. I shoot .38's for CAS and I reload. I also have several modern revolvers in .38/.357 and I'm pretty well stocked up on components.

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I just picked up some 9mm at a gun show (I don't reload 9mm) Federal Syntech for $30.00  and 2 boxes of  Norma FMJ for $25.00 a box. ( the new Norma ammo)

 

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Get into reloading ?   Good luck finding for sale the reloading components needed to make a completed round.  These components are scarce and pricy too

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2 hours ago, John Boy said:

Get into reloading ?   Good luck finding for sale the reloading components needed to make a completed round.  These components are scarce and pricy too

Yes, components are hard to find at the present time, but sometimes if you search hard enough they can be found.  The prices tend to be  a lot higher then they were 2 years ago but so is factory ammo.  I  try to use both avenues of supply to keep myself shooting.

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I encourage you to consider reloading.

 

Reloading cost savings is more than enough reason to start reloading. That everything related to the effort is mostly made out of unobtanium does not help much. I jumped on some "seed" ammo while I could when things got wonky, finding it now is not easy at best.

 

I started collecting "stuff" for reloading over the last year (wow, longer than that, since March of 20!).

 

I still need a brass tumbler (easy), a press (some weeks) with dies (dies now have a long wait time), and collect my brass by shooting off the rest of my retail cowboy ammo (currently unavailable).

 

I see things improving compared to a few months ago. Cases and bullets are reasonably available. Some powders are coming back (for a few days here and there). Primers... Sporadic sources and quantities, but also improving. Focus on finding primers, but don't pay pirate prices. Prices are slowly heading down.

 

I hope to order the last needed items in the next few weeks (funds permitting) and might be able to load my first round by Christmas. Maybe. I'll need dies.

 

My advice is to start collecting what you need. Breakeven for me reloading is about 1,000 rounds based on the old economy. Every time I crank the handle, I expect to recover at least 50 cents. I figure shooting off about 2,000 of my own rounds should give me several reasons to smile.

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2 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Curious on what you would consider decent, inexpensive ammo.

 

Phantom

125- 158gr RNFP lead bullet, (All I seem to see is jacketed, no good for our game), clean brass, less than $20 per 50.  Everything I see is near $30 or more. 

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6 minutes ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

125- 158gr RNFP lead bullet, (All I seem to see is jacketed, no good for our game), clean brass, less than $20 per 50.  Everything I see is near $30 or more. 

That is not a bad price.

 

At $0.60 per round for cowboy ammo, you are looking at $32.50 per box. That is what I was seeing about two years ago for .38 Special lead RNFP. Jacketed plinking ammo was somewhat less then, with premium SD rounds running just under a buck each.

 

I penciled out reloading .38s at 14 cents each. I planned to buy Blazer at about $20 per box and shoot it in another sport, collecting the brass to reload for cowboy (I penciled in the recovered brass as free). Plans changed.

 

I ended up choosing different calibers, which was not cheaper. But the reload math got stronger.

 

My big ammo regret today is not collecting all my 9mm brass over the years. My math came out to only saving 4 cents per round reloading, and it just did not seem worth it (back then).

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21 minutes ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

125- 158gr RNFP lead bullet, (All I seem to see is jacketed, no good for our game), clean brass, less than $20 per 50.  Everything I see is near $30 or more. 

 

The days of $20 for 50 rounds are long gone.  Price of brass, lead, primers, powder, labor, and overhead has all gone up significantly.  $32 a box is a good price.  The link I posted will get you some ammo until some of our preferred vendors can get production going again.

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30 minutes ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

125- 158gr RNFP lead bullet, (All I seem to see is jacketed, no good for our game), clean brass, less than $20 per 50.  Everything I see is near $30 or more. 

Yer going to be hard pressed to find this at under $20/50 even when things return to sticking on the shelves.

 

Phantom

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9 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

That is not a bad price.

 

At $0.60 per round for cowboy ammo, you are looking at $32.50 per box. That is what I was seeing about two years ago for .38 Special lead RNFP. Jacketed plinking ammo was somewhat less then, with premium SD rounds running just under a buck each.

That's WAY more than I'm going to pay. A couple years ago I could get .45Colt ammo for less than that.  .45Colt ammo is about $1.25 a round now, and I won't pay that, either.

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Just now, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

That's WAY more than I'm going to pay. A couple years ago I could get .45Colt ammo for less than that.  .45Colt ammo is about $1.25 a round now, and I won't pay that, either.

Okay...45LC hasn't been under the mid-upper $30's for quite a while...sooooo...what are you going to do?

 

Phantom

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1 minute ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

That's WAY more than I'm going to pay. A couple years ago I could get .45Colt ammo for less than that.  .45Colt ammo is about $1.25 a round now, and I won't pay that, either.

For comparison, .22lr is now running 10 cents a round. No practical way to reload, but still cheaper than reloading cowboy ammo.

 

Before things went wonky, 5.5 cents annoyed me.

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I look at it this way.

 

At 60 cents a round, a match costs over $70 for ammo.

 

 

Quick clean and oil guns for the match. 2 hours driving plus gas round trip, and a few bucks to enter. Then clean and oil the guns.

 

So, now add cleaning and picking brass plus once in a while cranking out a case of ammo. Subtract bullets, powder, and primers.

 

With a couple days of effort, save $500 to $1,000 dollars. 

 

I get what you are saying, I too will not pay that much for ammo and just toss that brass.

 

I rarely made as much an hour as I can reloading to play. If I was a dentist with an active practice :lol:... Then I would pay it. And maybe not even notice a bunch of pards picking my "worthless" brass.

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3 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

I look at it this way.

 

At 60 cents a round, a match costs over $70 for ammo.…

It’s been 15 or more years when I did the math.
 

 I was paying 50 cents a round for 45 Colt.  $50 a match, $100 when the son shot too.  Reloading and reusing brass it cost me 10 cents a round.   The $40 savings per match ($80 savings including the son) paid for the Dillion Square Deal within the first year.

 

This winter I’m reloading for the 2022 SASS season using primers and powder I bought two years ago.

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32 minutes ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

That's WAY more than I'm going to pay. A couple years ago I could get .45Colt ammo for less than that.  .45Colt ammo is about $1.25 a round now, and I won't pay that, either.

Well, sounds like you've made your choice.   Sorry that you're not going to be shooting anymore.

 

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Get a Lee turret press kit, it will get you started and serve you well even after getting a Dillon. If you decide reloading is not for you, it will be easy to sell.

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1 hour ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

That's WAY more than I'm going to pay. A couple years ago I could get .45Colt ammo for less than that.  .45Colt ammo is about $1.25 a round now, and I won't pay that, either.

Then you’re gonna be stuck without. Everything cost less a couple of years ago. It ain’t coming back. 

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Long term reloaders with previously purchased components including powder and primers will suffer the least increased cost per rounds of ammunition for both center fires and shotgun… going forward in future years

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I found a purchase of .38 Special cowboy ammo I made just over 4 years ago.

 

https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/hsm-cowboy-action-handgun-ammo?lcab.rdr=TRUE&productVariantId=4067288&WT.tsrc=EML&eid=35969677&WT.mc_id=email-tx|EP20170922|EPP9OC|1

 

I had bought it thinking that was what I would use in this sport. I paid $22.99 for the box of 50 (46 cents  round).

 

Today (link above), $32.99 a box (66 cents a round), and not available online.

 

I bought 1,000 rounds of Blazer 9mm for 18.6 cents a round from Academy at the end of 2018.

 

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/blazer®-brass-9mm-luger-115-grain-fmj-centerfire-pistol-ammunition?sku=9mm-luger-115

 

Today it is 36 cents a round, limit 4 boxes (200 rounds). It was running over a buck a round at the damnpanic peak.

 

In June of 20 (stocks were running out), I bought 1,000 rounds of 44-40 at 63.5 cents a round. Different bullet weight in this link:

 

https://www.gunbuyer.com/catalog/product/view/id/245271/s/hsm-44401n-44-40-200-rnfp-50-10-99234/category/8/

 

Now 83.5 cents per round. Out of stock. The rounds I did buy are no longer listed on the site.

 

 

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I bought this can of 38 special reloads from Georgia Arms and Ammo at a gun show.  This was about 15 years ago, back before I got my reloading press.  I thought it was high at the time, which is why I got into reloading.  

IMG_2929.jpg

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, and I remember when gas was .25 cents a gallon and MacDonalds hamburgers were .15 cents.  So what, we aren't leaving in the past we are in the present and inflation, shipping, material costs and Biden are driving all prices UP.

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4 minutes ago, Larsen E. Pettifogger, SASS #32933 said:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and I remember when gas was .25 cents a gallon and MacDonalds hamburgers were .15 cents.  So what, we aren't leaving in the past we are in the present and inflation, shipping, material costs and Biden are driving all prices UP.

I was just thinking the same thing...I mean...where's the Cut-off Date for comparing prices???

 

Hell, you coulda got a Arsenal Refurb 1911A1 back in 1960 delivered to your house for under $32...a Porsche 911 in the mid-60's for under $6k...and on and on and on!

 

Let try and stop sounding like a bunch of grumpy old people bitter about the rising prices of EVERYTHING!

 

Phantom

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When I had primers and could get pretty much all I wanted/needed from distributors I was offering 38, 45 Colt and 45 ACP REAL cowboy ammo at appropriate velocities that would function in virtually any SASS firearms. I’ve never run out of bullets, brass, though once fired, or powder. It’s the primers. Primers are the ONLY component I don’t get directly from a manufacturer so I’m on the BOTTOM of the food chain when it comes to the allocation. I’m competing with gun stores that spend HUGE amounts on a LOT of the distributors products…so I don’t show up on the “customers we need to take care of list”. 
 

It kills me to have to tell new and returning shooters that I can’t help them. When I can get primers in case quantities, I’ll be offering ammo again. Until then, it just stinks. 
 

For comparison, prior to Covid, I was selling 250 cartridges for $115.  I am not sure what cost would be going forward. I know that our primer costs have gone up 2.5 times, so has lead…brass and powder too. 
 

Big hugs!

 

Scarlett

Edited by Scarlett
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On 10/9/2021 at 5:32 PM, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

That's WAY more than I'm going to pay. A couple years ago I could get .45Colt ammo for less than that.  .45Colt ammo is about $1.25 a round now, and I won't pay that, either.

Well the good news is that gun prices are up a bit too and the SASS Wire Classifieds is a good place to unload your guns if you aren't going to be using them.

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45 minutes ago, Ethan Cord said:

Well the good news is that gun prices are up a bit too and the SASS Wire Classifieds is a good place to unload your guns if you aren't going to be using them.

I might not be shooting CAS for a while, but I DO plan to use them. I just don't know when. It would take a financial catastrophe for me to get rid of them.

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