It’s been a little bit so let’s pick this up again…
Remember last week we were looking at some pretty cool visualizations that we collected looking at ammunition pricing data for 9mm.
Next, we look at our Service Grade which encompasses the widest number of manufacturers. This is solid mid-tier ammunition and some of the most popular that our customers stock in their personal reserve accounts.
In our Service Grade category, as you can see, there are many more brands that span a greater range of prices. That is one thing that we found when it comes to ammunition, you can find the exact same brand, caliber, and bullet weight and the price will vary by quite a wide margin depending on the merchant.
As we did before, we look at the broadest measure on this chart to establish an average or median price then back it off a few cents to determine that we are in a good price range. In this case, the broadest measure is in the 26 to 28 cent range so a good price for this caliber and service grade would be a few cents cheaper: 23 to 25 cents per round before shipping, which can add another 2.5 to 3 cents per round ($25 to $30 per 1000 rounds).
When we looked at Value Grade ammunition, the range was from around 16 cents to about 27 or 28 cents – call it a 12 cent range. In this case, the range is much, much broader with 20 cents at the absolute cheapest and the price extending all the way out to 70 cents with the bulk ending around 42 cents or so. That is a 22 cent primary range. Which makes sense given the larger number of manufacturers and ammo types.
But looking at that data, you have to ask: “If rounds are roughly similar, then why to pay the high end of the range?” And you would be right – why pay 40 cents a round when you can get roughly the same quality for 26 or 28 cents. Also, remember this is bulk pricing – so you are likely paying more in the store.
The truth is, like most markets with different products (think cereal or automobiles) the prices will vary wildly based on factors like supply and demand, branding, and perceived quality. Heck, even for commodity products like gasoline, prices can vary by 10 to 20% or more from location to location.
Next let’s look at our two remaining categories of Match Grade and Self Defense ammo… which as you might guess, will vary even MORE WILDLY than either of the previous two categories we’ve looked at so far.