Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive?

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Thread: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive?

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  1. #1 Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
    Hero Member silverfox1's Avatar
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    Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? At Walmart, where I buy most of my practice ammo, .380 acp runs about $18 / 50 round box. In comparison 9mm runs about $12 / 50 round box. Why is .380 50% higher than 9mm? I'm sure cost of materials must be less for .380. Is it just a supply and demand thing? I know 9mm is a more popular caliber, but 50% less than .380?
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  2. #2 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
    Super Member SkipD's Avatar
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    I don't have any "inside information", of course, but my suspicion is that the total volume of .380 ammo produced is far less than the total volume of 9mm ammo. With the advent of the LCP and its competition, I am sure that the .380 production level will be growing.

    When hand-loading, I find that it is a bit more difficult to produce a smaller cartridge with the same level of precision than it is to produce a larger cartridge.

    • Getting the powder charges for .380 right on the money, for example, is next to impossible with many ordinary powder measures that work perfectly for larger pistol loads such as .38 Special and .45 Colt. Even with the rather expensive Redding Competition Model 10X Pistol & Small Rifle Powder Measure that I use (specifically designed to achieve the best metering possible at the targeted charge weight of approximately 10 grains), I often check the charges with my powder scale to make sure they are right on and occasionally have to tweak a charge.
    • Handling the small cartridge cases and bullets takes a little bit more care to avoid problems with getting the cases into the shell holder properly and aligning the smaller bullets.


    Do these things that I notice in my own production affect the automated factory production? I don't know, but I would not be surprised to see a higher actual production cost for the smaller cartridge.
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  3. #3 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
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    I have no idea why it's so high.
    But whenever a decent sale pops up online for it I buy as I never want to be in the situation as I was in 2009-10 during the great 380 ammo drought.
    I actually found myself paying $29.00 a box for it then.
    Right now I have 1300 rounds on hand of five different brands.
    I wont let the stock dip down below a 1000 rounds.
    But it's not just 380 ammo that's high.
    38 Special is not too cheap either.
    And on a whim because of the low price deal I bought a nib Kel-Tec P32 yesterday for $225.00.
    Got online and was shocked at how much 32 ACP ammo is.
    Found some Fiochhi at a good price but I need to check into what this lead less primer thing is.
    Perhaps that's why it is on sale??
    My advise is to stock up whenever you can.
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  4. #4 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
    Hero Member davevabch's Avatar
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    The 380 ammo price is sky high. This is the reason I posted on another thread subject "Is the 380 waning in popularity". It is my belief that you will see more and more Pocket size 9mm like the Khar CW9. This will be the wave of the future for gun manufacturers. I believe that is why Ruger had the insight to produce the LC9. I just purchased more 380 ammo from AmmoUSA even though it has not been the best for Failures to Eject and others. But, I shoot a lot and have to make concessions. ($10.95) a box and $13.95 for hollow points. Ammo pricing will predict the future of pocket guns.
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  5. #5 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
    Hero Member elsieshooter's Avatar
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    Cabelas

    http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/produ...ductId=1145671

    Herters brass .380 50 rounds

    11.99 a box

    free shipping over $150 using code 8wfree

    total for a case of 1000 rounds (20 boxes) is $239.80 shipped
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  6. #6 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsieshooter
    Cabelas

    http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/produ...ductId=1145671

    Herters brass .380 50 rounds

    11.99 a box

    free shipping over $150 using code 8wfree

    total for a case of 1000 rounds (20 boxes) is $239.80 shipped
    +1 on the Herter's. I've put several boxes of their ammo through my LCP and it had no problems at all, even when dirty. In fact, I think I prefer it over Magtech FMJ, which was my previous "cheap" round of choice. The Magtech ammo had my gun and my CT laser covered in burnt powder residue after shooting just 1 magazine, and this was in a HEPA filtered indoor range. I was pleasantly surprised by how clean the Herter's was in comparison. WWB used to be my target round of choice, but they're expensive by comparison, and the last few boxes I've purchased have had several defects. I had one round in a box of 50 that wasn't seated in the brass properly, and another round in a 2nd box of 50 that had a bad primer. Both boxes were purchased at the same time from my local Cabela's.
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  7. #7 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
    Sr. Member patricksclone's Avatar
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    Is there such thing as a cheap centerfire cartridge? 9mm comes close, but I still wouldn't call it cheap.
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  8. #8 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
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    I was in Cabelas the other day and noticed that they had Herter's .380 ammo on sale. I got excited and started to buy a few boxes but then noticed that the casings were steel not brass. I dont like to shoot steel-cased bullets in my LCP.
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  9. #9 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
    Super Member mn_doggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsieshooter
    Cabelas

    http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/produ...ductId=1145671

    Herters brass .380 50 rounds

    11.99 a box

    free shipping over $150 using code 8wfree

    total for a case of 1000 rounds (20 boxes) is $239.80 shipped
    That's a very good price. More than a year ago I got some Herters brass cased .380 and it was made in Indonesia. This current stuff appears to be made in the US.

    The Indonesian stuff was better (cleaner) than the eastern European Steel cased Herters. Both were pretty dirty at the time. I've since picked up a lot of PMC Bronze .380 at a low price.
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  10. #10 Re: Why is .380 acp ammo so expensive? 
    Hero Member elsieshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubaldo99
    I was in Cabelas the other day and noticed that they had Herter's .380 ammo on sale. I got excited and started to buy a few boxes but then noticed that the casings were steel not brass. I dont like to shoot steel-cased bullets in my LCP.
    these aren't steel, i almost made the same mistake

    I also use PMC bronze brass casing but it seems to me to be a little dirty
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