The Cost of Ammunition

No one I know appreciates escalating costs of consumables, which makes shooting sports more and more expensive. It looks like we had better get used to it. Even though manufacturing throughout the world is a very long ways from enjoying high demand, raw materials prices have spiked tremendously over the last several years, with no sign of relief.


Though lead is off of its historic highs, it has still roughly doubled from three years ago. Antimony, the key additive in hardening lead, has tripled in price. Copper price trends have closely moved in concert with lead. The cost of distribution is associated with oil prices and again, though off of historic highs, the $50 a barrel crude isn't likely to change anytime soon.

All this, even though the sentiment is that America and Europe are in a productivity rut, with demand for new automobiles, housing, the higher-value items that consume lead and copper languishing. It isn't all doom and gloom. Chrome, nickel, and alumiuum don't look nearly as bad by comparison.


The "American Way" has long been associated with bigger is better. We like big cars, big homes, and we like big guns as well. We also tend to like big steaks and big meals in general. While cost per shot is no factor in big game hunting, or turkey hunting for example, in target shooting it is. If it is killing paper or killing clay pigeons, the idea of throwing more stuff out there doesn't make a lot of sense. How often have you heard the question about a gun that "lasts a lifetime"? It is a peculiar question, as the longevity of a gun is based on shots fired, not the years it is owned. We like the idea of a shotgun good for 200,000 shots, yet we overlook how many dollars 200,000 shells equates to. The price of a gun is trivial compared to the overall cost of ownership, assuming we do more than just look at them.

There is no magic answer to all of this, except that if the cost of shooting is a factor to you and your family, it is a good idea to look at what you'll be shelling out (pun intended) in terms of cost per shot down the road. For the same reason we consider miles per gallon in an automobile, it makes sense (and dollars) to look at the overall cost of ownership. For those that feel the worst day of shooting is better than the best day of work and so forth . . . we can shoot a lot more for the same dollars if we consider cost per shot. More importantly, we can afford to take the kids shooting a lot more as well.


Copyright 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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