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.38 spl ammo availability and cost


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I bought 38spl at Bass last week for $23.99 per box of 50. It was Herters, which is now their house brand. First .38 I'd seen on their shelves in a long time. This time they had a large number of boxes. Very happy with the price.

 

They also had a lot of .44 mag; Winchester. I hadn't seen .44 mag for a long time. $53.99 per box of 50; steep. But .44 mag hasn't been cheap for a long time anyway.

Edited by Red Gauntlet , SASS 60619
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That’s not too bad.  Before the panic, .38 spl RNFP Lead was $20 per box.  Jacketed was @ $6 less (iirc).  

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I saw new Norma .38’s this week at a gun show for $30.00 FMJ though.

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11 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

I seriously doubt those numbers...

Sorry it’s blurry… American Eagle $21.99 on sale for $19.99 (FPLead)

E20D64B1-FEB1-49AB-92AC-344CC21DC9D7.jpeg

Edited by WOLFY
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Jacketed prices in 2020. Biden getting sworn in saw cost per round approach $3 per.

 

EDA4209A-ACA7-4324-9B12-5B4BFD9CED2F.jpeg

Edited by WOLFY
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5 hours ago, WOLFY said:

Sorry it’s blurry… American Eagle $21.99 on sale for $19.99 (FPLead)

E20D64B1-FEB1-49AB-92AC-344CC21DC9D7.jpeg

There are rules...and then there are exceptions.

 

Making a generalized statement based on exceptions can be deceiving.

 

Cheers!

Phantom

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13 hours ago, Geronimo Jim SASS # 21775 said:

Glad I read this thread.  Really glad I started reloading 40 years ago.  

 

me too but I only started in the early 2000’s-

 

I still have cases of primers marked $17.99, $19.99 & $22.95 (that I bought YEARS ago)

 

Never thought .38spl and 9mm would be worth reloading.

 

 

 

 

AC08B5AA-469C-4F91-8D99-7F9CAE80A918.jpeg

 

my statements prior weren’t generalizing nor based on exceptions

 

they were what things cost before prices got crazy high 

 

 

Edited by WOLFY
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50 minutes ago, WOLFY said:

 

me too (but I only started in the early 2000’s-

 

I still have cases of primers marked $17.99, $19.99 & $22.95 (that I bought YEARS ago)

 

Never thought .38spl and 9mm would be worth reloading.

 

 

 

 

AC08B5AA-469C-4F91-8D99-7F9CAE80A918.jpeg

 

my statements prior weren’t generalizing nor based on exceptions

 

they were what things cost before prices got crazy high 

 

 

Really...hmmmmm...and to think I'm in the gun biz and I thought I knew what I was doing...but...guess you know better.

 

PS: One "Sale" example is not a very significant sampling...

 

Phantom

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You are in the right biz.  Especially for any shooting sport.

 

When did you get into it?  So, you honestly don’t remember fmj 9mm for $7.99 and 38spl for $9.99 per box?

 

Those were normal everyday prices around the time I started shooting SASS (lead was always more expensive)

 

Edited by WOLFY
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24 minutes ago, WOLFY said:

You are in the right biz.  Especially for any shooting sport.

 

When did you get into it?  So, you honestly don’t remember fmj 9mm for $7.99 and 38spl for $9.99 per box?

 

Those were normal everyday prices around the time I started shooting SASS (lead was always more expensive)

 

I remember a lot...and 50 years from now those currently in their 20 will be saying "I remember when...".

 

When I started shooting CAS, 50 rounds of 38Spl was about $15/50. Prices for 38Spl early 2020 was in the low $20. You could find it online for a bit cheaper, then you had to pay shipping.

 

PS: I'm a "by appointment only" shop...primarily I buy Gun Estates now. New guns are pretty much a Loss Leader. I'll sell them at almost cost to help folks out.

 

Phantom

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On 10/8/2021 at 6:39 PM, 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. 

 

Here is a link to search for ammo, it's currently set for lead .38 Special:  https://ammoseek.com/ammo/38-special?ikw=lead&nr=50

 

My guess is that the ammo companies are focusing on the more common calibers that the majority of consumers want:  .45 Acp, 9mm, .223, etc.  It will probably be sometime next year before the prices drop and lead .38 Special ammo becomes more available.

 

And don't expect to see the prices you paid pre - Covid again

 

 

Edited by Chantry
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1 hour ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

I remember a lot...and 50 years from now those currently in their 20 will be saying "I remember when...".

 

When I started shooting CAS, 50 rounds of 38Spl was about $15/50. Prices for 38Spl early 2020 was in the low $20. You could find it online for a bit cheaper, then you had to pay shipping.

 

PS: I'm a "by appointment only" shop...primarily I buy Gun Estates now. New guns are pretty much a Loss Leader. I'll sell them at almost cost to help folks out.

 

Phantom

 

I don think I ever saw .38 lead for $15- but I only started seeing .38 prices when new shooters wanted to try CAS out (and I had accumulated some .357 / .38 braces).

 

You’re doing strong work encouraging folks to start shooting.

 

I agree with Chantry/ prices go up

and down but they almost never bottom out.

Edited by WOLFY
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On 10/8/2021 at 8:58 PM, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

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

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.

 

On 10/9/2021 at 8:32 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.

Then you probably won’t be shooting CAS anymore.

 

Everything needed to shoot CAS is available. I bought three cases of Remington Gun Club yesterday. 9,000 125 grain 38 special Bullets last month, 1,000 .32 Bullets Saturday, 5 lbs of Clays last week. 20,000 Federal small pistol over the last three months. 3lbs of APP Saturday.

 

Its out there, it’s just more expensive. Pay, or not. Shoot, or sit. Grousing about it accomplishes nothing.

Edited by Captain Bill Burt
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28 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

 

Then you probably won’t be shooting CAS anymore.

 

Everything needed to shoot CAS is available. I bought three cases of Remington Gun Club yesterday. 9,000 125 grain 38 special Bullets last month, 1,000 .32 Bullets Saturday, 5 lbs of Clays last week. 20,000 Federal small pistol over the last three months. 3lbs of APP Saturday.

 

Its out there, it’s just more expensive. Pay, or not. Shoot, or sit. Grousing about it accomplishes nothing.

Thanks Captain Obvious. I realize that it's more expensive. That's why I started this thread. I am just trying to get a handle on WHY. I don't think that asking a question is GROUSING.  Or did I miss something in the Officer's Leadership Manual? 

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

I am just trying to get a handle on WHY

Economics...it's a science.

 

Supply / demand issues...material costs...labor costs...inflation...channel costs...good lord, the variables are seemingly endless.

 

Phantom

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have clubs modified their stages?  i shot last saturday and it was less than 75 rnds (pistols and rifle and shotgun).  while in the past this club was closer to 125-150.

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

Thanks Captain Obvious. I realize that it's more expensive. That's why I started this thread. I am just trying to get a handle on WHY. I don't think that asking a question is GROUSING.  Or did I miss something in the Officer's Leadership Manual? 

I have so many nick names.  That's a new one.

 

Phantom laid out the reasons pretty well. 

 

Boil it down to the most basic elements and you have a big increase in demand, no capacity to increase supply in the short run and hesitation to invest in additional production facilities to increase it in the long run. 

 

Combine that with increased litigation costs and increased regulatory costs, and you get what we have: 

 

Primers are triple what they were, and that's if you're very careful about when you buy. Powder, maybe double?  Brass, double approximately.  Bullets not so bad, but also up.  Shotgun, up 50%, maybe a bit more.

 

But all that stuff is out there.  I could have bought 10,000 Federal SPP for less than $1,000 delivered last week and now I wonder if I shouldn't have pulled the trigger on that. If that opportunity comes up again I almost certainly will.

 

So, if you don't want to reload, you're looking at 60 cents or so a round, when you can get it. 

 

If you do reload, I'm guessing my rounds cost about 21 cents vs 8.5 cents before.

 

I don't think you will see it fall below high teens a round again for reloaders and high thirties for manufactured.  

 

If you aren't interested in reloading, and the current price of manufactured ammo is something you won't be paying, then unfortunately SASS will be losing another member. 

 

If that makes me Captain Obvious then so be it.

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7 hours ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

Thanks Captain Obvious. I realize that it's more expensive. That's why I started this thread. I am just trying to get a handle on WHY. I don't think that asking a question is GROUSING.  Or did I miss something in the Officer's Leadership Manual? 

Hi Sgt. C.J. Sabre, 

You ask Why?  There are social and economic factors affecting supply.

The issues:

1. The Antifa- BLM anarchy.
2. The anti gun potted plant pResidency of Joe. 
3. People didn’t expect #2 and were caught short and panic bought.. 
4. Covid and all the lockdowns.  
This created around 12 million new gun owners.  If each new gun owner bought just 2 50 round boxes of ammo, that is 1.2 billion more rounds of ammunition that were not sold the previous years. 
Add to it, many gun owners let their inventory go down during the Trump years, and now we’re faced with something worse than the Obama years.  
The majority of the new demand is 9mm and 223/5.56, so lines making these are consuming all the resources just to meet the demand, 

The ammo makers have told the reloading community and small reloaders that they have no extra primers available to sell, or as we see, small amounts every now and then.  Why, see the 1.2 billion more rounds above.
Remington, while the rest of the industry was booming, their bean counter management and consultants, who recommended putting in “less powder to save money”, went bankrupt removing them from the supply side until just recently.  Now that removed Billions of rounds of ammo annually.  
Thanks to Covid, people weren’t available to work and this made  raw materials in short supply.  It is across all supply chains.  Case in point, it’s not just chips affecting car production, but even the needed steels needed.  
So we have unprecedented demand, short supply, inflation pressures not seen since the Carter Years all mixed together.
When demand exceeds supply, the price goes up to the point that some drop out of purchasing because the price goes too high, or finally buy less and the market should balance out.  (macro economics 101 being capt obvious here)

So what does a small subset of the gun world like ours do at this time?   For reloaders who specialized in Cowboy ammo, the shortage of primers, has basically shut down their small businesses (check some of Scarlett’s posts) because they aren’t even on Federal’s radar to supply.  When they can buy, their prices all around are higher for everything (thanks to “let’s go Brandon’s policies). 
For the big ammo guys, our sales are so small, they aren’t even thinking of us. (See the 1.2 billion 9 or 223 comment) 

For those of us who reload, we struggle to find the primers and powders to keep us going, or are tapping into our own “strategic reserves” we didn’t let run down.

For those trying to get into reloading, everyone has had the same idea, but the reloading equipment is also in short supply too.  
Sorry for the length, you asked “why” which is a legitimate question, and it’s complicated.   Sadly as long as the potted plant is in charge, and we have a communist administration, things are unlikely to get better and are likely to get worse.  It will take a regime change through elections (if that is possible) to change the course and make supplies better.  However prices will never go back to pre-Covid years.

 

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10 hours ago, Sgt. C.J. Sabre, SASS #46770 said:

Thanks Captain Obvious. I realize that it's more expensive. That's why I started this thread. I am just trying to get a handle on WHY. I don't think that asking a question is GROUSING.  Or did I miss something in the Officer's Leadership Manual? 

 

There have been numerous threads about the shortages in at least the  past six months.  So while you may not have seen those threads, those of us who have, are perhaps less than patient in re-answering the same basic question over and over.

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29 minutes ago, Chantry said:

 

There have been numerous threads about the shortages in at least the  past six months.  So while you may not have seen those threads, those of us who have, are perhaps less than patient in re-answering the same basic question over and over.

I suppose that you're right. I haven't been paying attention to ammo prices. It just doesn't seem that long ago that .38 ammo was cheap and everywhere. I guess that 9mm has taken it's place. 

I appreciate all those who have answered my query. Thing are more expensive because they cost more and They're out there if you're willing to pay for them wasn't what I wanted to hear.

Captain Bill Burt; My apologies. You were just laying it out like it is. I usually applaud this. I guess that my frustration got the best of me.   I was probably looking for a simple answer to a complicated question. That sounds like me.   

I'll just have to rethink my plans. I'll get back out there, maybe just not as soon as I'd hoped. 

Perhaps when the Zombie Apocalypse and Bidenflation pass, the economy will come back to some sense of normality. I can't claim the same for myself.

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

I suppose that you're right. I haven't been paying attention to ammo prices. It just doesn't seem that long ago that .38 ammo was cheap and everywhere. I guess that 9mm has taken it's place. 

I appreciate all those who have answered my query. Thing are more expensive because they cost more and They're out there if you're willing to pay for them wasn't what I wanted to hear.

Captain Bill Burt; My apologies. You were just laying it out like it is. I usually applaud this. I guess that my frustration got the best of me.   I was probably looking for a simple answer to a complicated question. That sounds like me.   

I'll just have to rethink my plans. I'll get back out there, maybe just not as soon as I'd hoped. 

Perhaps when the Zombie Apocalypse and Bidenflation pass, the economy will come back to some sense of normality. I can't claim the same for myself.

I certainly hope so!  I also hope I'm wrong and we get pre-panic prices back!

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On 10/9/2021 at 6:32 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.

The reality you're going to learn one way or the other is that SASS ammo is specialty.  Most manufacturers aren't selling bare lead ammunition at all.  The closest you're going to get is the red coated stuff from Federal when it's available again.

 

SASS ammo at the store will always cost a premium, because of diseconomies of scale.  That is why people are telling you to start reloading.  There really is no other realistic option unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket.

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Maybe you could find a local cowboy that reloads and pay them to make reloads for you.  I know that there are many people that have friends load for them.  I reload my own but then I kinda enjoy loading.

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7 minutes ago, Nickel City Dude said:

Maybe you could find a local cowboy that reloads and pay them to make reloads for you.  I know that there are many people that have friends load for them.  I reload my own but then I kinda enjoy loading.

Slow down and be very careful before selling (or possibly buying) any "home" reloaded ammo. The ATF has no sense of humor.

 

See this:

 

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/person-who-reloads-ammunition-required-be-licensed-manufacturer

 

Is a person who reloads ammunition required to be licensed as a manufacturer?

 

 

Yes, if the person engages in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit.

No, if the person reloads only for personal use.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a) and 923(a); 27 CFR 478.41]

 

 

 

Edited by John Kloehr
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4 minutes ago, John Kloehr said:

Slow down and be very careful before selling (or possibly buying) any "home" reloaded ammo. The ATF has no sense of humor.

 

See this:

 

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/person-who-reloads-ammunition-required-be-licensed-manufacturer

 

Is a person who reloads ammunition required to be licensed as a manufacturer?

 

 

Yes, if the person engages in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit.

No, if the person reloads only for personal use.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a) and 923(a); 27 CFR 478.41]

 

 

 

You are correct but you have to realize that there isn't an BATF agent behind every bush.

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I resisted reloading for many years... in 2008, first ammo panic of this century, I pushed through by reducing my shooting and paying up... same in 2012-2013 but then I learned the lesson and from 2014 to 2018 I amassed over 30K rounds in all my calibers at bottom prices, buying a 1000 rounds almost every paycheck.

 

when 2020-2021 panic started, I figured I was good for 2-3 years and didn't worry.... but then I discovered SASS in February 2021. I realized that no money could buy me the ammo.  I bought 250 357mag cowboy rounds from Choice Ammunition after few weeks of looking around and paid $0.80 per round...still have all but 15 of them because I realized that if I wanted to shoot SASS I would have to reload... with no basement, no time and no components... but if there is a will, there is a way. 

 

I found a loca retiring cowboy here on this board and bought his old, long-unused reloading setup - a broken Dillon SDB, 500 primers, 500 bullets, some cases and 2 lbs of Unique for $300...that got me started... and I never looked back...set up my bench in the garage. Dillon fixed my press for free. I was able to find the primers and the powder and bullets.  yes they were expensive, but even with $100 for 1000 primers and $50 for a pound of powder, I was getting my 38 spl under 30 cents per round...

 

then, I decided I did not want to pay $10-11 per box of trap loads....and I wanted to relplicate Winchester LNLR shells for my double. Another look at local forum and in couple days I found a guy who was selling his house and moving into a motorhome. For $150 I bought his three 50 years old non-functioning MEC presses, 8lbs of 50 years old powder, 500 primers, a 5 galon bucket of hulls and wads.  Another $150 got me missing parts for presses and 50 lbs of shot...

 

at this time I reload 38spl, 45lc, 45acp and 12ga for cowboy and trap... saving at least 50% of the cost compared with retail even if I could find it.  when this panic is over, I will not be buying the ammo any more - I will be buying more components, much better ROI

20210915_141325.jpg

Edited by Last Call Saul
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On 10/15/2021 at 4:23 AM, John Kloehr said:

Slow down and be very careful before selling (or possibly buying) any "home" reloaded ammo. The ATF has no sense of humor.

 

See this:

 

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/person-who-reloads-ammunition-required-be-licensed-manufacturer

 

Is a person who reloads ammunition required to be licensed as a manufacturer?

 

 

Yes, if the person engages in the business of selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit.

No, if the person reloads only for personal use.

[18 U.S.C. 922(a) and 923(a); 27 CFR 478.41]

 

 

 

 

Its good to be cautious...but personally I find it hard to see how someone who loads for a buddy on the basis of - say, component cost plus a beer or two, can in any way be considered to be "selling or distributing reloads for the purpose of livelihood and profit"  YMMV.

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