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Why is .380ACP and .32 Auto so $$$$?

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by cowboy1964, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. cowboy1964


    Likes Received:
    Sep 4, 2009
    I know it has to be a combination of extremely high demand vs low supply but still... the component costs should be low because of the small case, bullet, and amount of powder. You'd think someone like Georgia Arms could be cranking the stuff out for the same price as .40 at least, if not 9mm.

    It's confusing. Many things confuse me. :upeyes:
  2. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    Likes Received:
    Oct 9, 2003
    Michigan's Upper Peninsula
    The demand for the more popular calibers like 9mm will dictate that more 9mm brass is drawn that .380. It doesn't help the .380 situation with both the .380 and 9mm brass being drawn from the same exact machine. They can't run both at the same time and getting a second machine is too expensive. The guys like Starline also draw brass for OEM manufacturers who get their orders filled first before anyone else does, so Double Tap brass gets stamped and shipped before Starline's stamps.

    The problem with the .380 especially, is the brass. I've been able to scrape together maybe 2,000 pieces on average each month to reload. Three years ago I could buy all the .380 brass I wanted at $15 per thousand. Now I'm paying as much for once fired brass as I do for new brass. Three years ago I was selling my .380 reloads for under $150 per thousand rounds. Now I can't even load it for that price; hell the brass and bullets are more than that alone.

    Material is only part of the equation. There's economies of scale that come in to play. If a manufacturer makes 2 million of one thing but 20 million of another thing, the economies of scale will indicate that the production of 20 million units will be cheaper per unit than the 2 million unit production. So if Starline makes 20 million pieces of 9mm brass each year and only 2 million .380 brass, you can see how things would be cheaper. Now couple this limited supply production with a spike in demand due to the variety of .380 ACP guns being introduced and sold in the last 2 years. The big manufacturers are filling their brand orders first for ammunition leaving the supply of those components even less than before.

    The most expensive components in ammunition are the brass and bullet. The .380 brass is more expensive than 9mm, and the difference in powder cost per round is fractions of a penny. COGS isn't exactly material only. Material is a small part of the COGS (cost of goods sold). The markup is applied as a margin across the catalog. What you are seeing at retail is a product that has had 30-40% markup each time it changes hands. It goes from the manufacturer to distributor to retail dealer to the consumer. CCI .380 Blazer might be sold to distributors for $100 per case, then $140 to the dealer, then $182 at retail. But supply and demand will change things, so the distributor buys at $100 per case, sells it to the dealer for $200 per case, the dealer sells it retail for $400 per case. Now since it flies off the shelf at $400 per case, why should the price be lowered? The market is buying at the price requested and all involved are making profit. Business 101 says don't change the price.

    There is more 9mm, .40, and .45 ammo sold in this country than any other cartridge other than .22 rimfire. .380 sales will never come close to touching those sales figures. Most LE agencies including feds use the .40 caliber for their guns. That alone is a few hundred million rounds used per year, not to mention the bunch of civilians that use it as well. .380 has never and will never be produced at that level in this country. Again, economy of scale.

  3. mesteve2


    Likes Received:
    Mar 2, 2001
    Get a newer and smaller 9 mm or even .40 s&w.


    Blood comes out faster from larger/bigger holes!