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A Pictorial History of Ammo Prices [PICS]

Here’s a pictorial history of ammo prices for your viewing pleasure.


A lot has changed in terms of ammunition for shooting sports, hunting and foreign affairs, all of which played important roles in the price and availability of bullets, shells and cartridges.

What follows is a pictorial history of ammunition as we move through the last 50 or so years, highlighting some major world events and cultural shifts that influenced how much folks paid for ammo.

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View the slideshow to see the pictorial history of ammo prices.





This old photo shouts volumes when it comes to today’s technology.  The production of ammunition uses three very distinct metals, lead, copper and zinc, which were in steady demand in the 1950s but stayed relatively unchanged in price until the 1960s.

The Vietnam War played a historical effect on the price of ammunition. As the so called “police action” turned into a full blown assault on the Viet Cong, precious metals once again jumped in price and stock piles were dumped onto the market from 1962-1964.

In the early 1970s, huge labor disputes and strikes pushed for better wages and health issues, and once again the cost of metals and other minerals went through the roof. When the strikes ended and better technologies came into play, prices started to fall again.

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In 1974, .22 long rifle ammunition was around $0.08 per round, making it a highly used round for sport shooting.

Along with newer equipment came better production methods for making ammunition.

The 1980s was a new era for ammunition as more weapons manufactures started importing guns and newer models arrived on the shelves. And, like in previous years, economic factors changed the cost of both ammo and weapons.

New laws started making their way into states and the government started to change laws on production and manufacturing. Things stayed fairly steady until the early 1990s, when congress and the EPA put major changes into effect for the removal of lead from gasoline. This changed the price of lead and caused a fluctuation in the market.

Here is a brief historical look at the price of ammo starting in the late 21st Century.

As you can see by this last chart the overall cost of ammunition was steadily rising since the late 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2005 that investors fearing a global stock market crash started investing in precious metals like gold, copper, lead, silver and many more to stabilize their stock portfolios and prepare themselves for a market crash.

In 2008 that is exactly what happened, as the stock market came tumbling down and people rushed to metals as a sure thing in tough times to use for trading.

In November 2013, the largest US-based lead smelting plant in Herculaneum, Missouri closed its doors for good due to EPA regulations, leaving the recycling and importation of lead to America our only means of production of lead based ammunition.

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With the US fighting several wars in other countries, the US military once again stock piling ammunition we were all forced to see these signs.

The markets are pointing towards a return to normal once again, and it’s going to take some time before we see limits removed from ammo, but it’s happening faster than expected. With more than 350 ammunition companies in the USA, it won’t take long to get back to having ammo.

However, I wouldn’t expect to find any at 1970s prices anywhere, anyhow.

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A Pictorial History of Ammo Prices [PICS]