Ammo prices

I pulled a bunch of ammo prices from (notoriously overpriced) Cabelas; I was flipping through their shooting catalog that came yesterday, and I noticed some interesting stuff.

300 Rounds of 230 grain .45 ACP ammo – $119.99, or  $0.40 per round.

300 Rounds of 250 grain .45 Colt ammo – $189.99, or  $0.63 per round (ouch!).

500 Rounds of 40 grain .22 WMR ammo – $84.99, or  $0.16 per round.

300 Rounds of 158 grain .38 Special ammo – $89.99 or  $0.30 per round.

300 Rounds of 115 grain 9mm Ammo – $74.99, or  $0.25 per round.

250 Rounds of 40 grain 5.7x28mm ammo – $99.99, or $0.40 per round.

So if you base your ammo purchases off price per round (which is a perfectly reasonable thing to base them on), then shooting the Five-seveN if you don’t reload is about as expensive as shooting .45 ACP if you don’t reload.  The biggest killer in there is .45 Colt, when you think about it, sixty-three cents every time you pull the trigger is a lot of money.

One of the things that I’m a big advocate of is getting practice time with your carry guns.  A carry is useless if you A) don’t carry it, and B) if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at with it.  I can feed my .38s and 9mm relatively inexpensively,but when I get up to my bigger (or more esoteric) calibers, I start to run into budgetary issues.

So, what if you can reload, what are solutions?  Well, if reloading isn’t an option, you’re probably in the same boat I’m in.  I shoot a lot of .22s, and if you can get one of those neat kits that allows your carry gun to shoot .22s, I would.  It’s cheap, but it lets you practice with the same gun that you’re going to carry.

If you’re looking to get a little extra money to invest in to ammo, you should save your brass.  Even if you don’t reload, save your brass.  No matter what caliber you shoot; but even more so if it’s a common caliber.  Someone on the internet will always want some once fired 9mm, .38, .357, or .45 ACP brass; it’s pretty much a lock.  You can sell that brass, and take that money and use it towards ammo.  (Actually, that reminds me, who wants a bunch of .45 ACP brass I have sitting around?)

Ammo prices are probably not going to go anywhere but up; so it’s important to try and cut cost corners wherever you can.  I try to buy in bulk, sell my used brass (since I don’t reload…yet), and most of guns are in relatively inexpensive calibers.  Or, you could reload.  A decent single stage kit from Lee isn’t too expensive, and will pretty much pay for itself in a hurry.


  1. Reloading is especially a money saver if you either shoot a revolver (0 loss of brass) or shoot a common caliber. The second one is actually better at times. If you shoot 9mm or .40, you can usually leave with more brass than you started with if it’s a busy day at the range.

  2. I reload both .45 ACP and .45 Colt, costs about 10 cents a round (not including initial capial outlay for the press ($100 Lee Anniversary, but it cost me zero as I got it for christmas a few years ago) and dies (about $25 each, with shipping, from ebay)). I suspect the next time I purchase bullets, the price will go up some, but I’ve got plenty of powder and thousands of primers ($19 a thousand, I’ve got 10 boxes or so) still to go.

  3. A local ammo supplier, Denver Bullets, sells reloads at a fair price, and cheaper when you bring in reloadable brass. Just like the bottle deposits for soft drinks.

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