Since adding the EAA Witness Elite Stock II to the list of guns in the office, one of the trends I’ve kept a close eye on is the price of .38 Super ammo. At pretty much every single one of the online retailers the story’s the same – .38 Super produced domestically is running north of $25 a box, in some cases as high as $30 for factory FMJ ammo. One interesting exception to this is Federal’s 115 grain JHP load on their American Eagle line, which is actually cheaper than the American Eagle 130 grain FMJ load.
Obviously, .38 Super will be more expensive than 9mm ammo here in the states, just because it’s not as common. The big names like Winchester, Federal, etc load a bajillion 9mm cartridges a year, which means it’s a lot easier to keep costs down on those rounds than it is on something like .38 Super. However, where the pricing gets interesting is when you look at off-shore production. One of the great refuges of .38 Super is Central and South America, because for whatever reason many of the nations down there have gun control laws that prohibit private ownership of 9mm cartridges as a “military” round. Many South American nations also have a thriving IPSC culture, which means you’ll see a lot of guns chambered in .38 Super. So if you want cheap .38 Super ammo, you’re going to be looking at Magtech, Aguila, or oddly enough PMC. The inclusion of PMC in that number is odd because PMC is technically headquartered out of South Korea, and there are no IPSC chapters in South Korea according to the IPSC website. However, I’m not one to complain, and I generally really like PMC ammo, so I’m happy to grab up their .38 Super.
The other thing that all this .38 Super shooting is doing to me is turning me into one of those people that actually cares about his brass. When I was shooting 9mm last year, brass was pretty much “whatever” to me. With .38 Super, I can actually use that. Whether I resell it or decide to take leave of my senses and start reloading, .38 Super brass is too valuable to just sweep forward of the firing line.
What have I become? Next thing you know, you’re going to see me at a major match in a kilt…oh wait.