why is ammo so expensive

Skyrocketing Prices! [Why is Ammo So Expensive?]

Skyrocketing prices continue to influence our lives, from the food we eat to the gas we put in our cars.

The shooting sports have been hit hard as well.

Record-breaking gun sales and global supply chain breakdowns have contributed to escalating ammo prices. 

During and post-COVID-19 pandemic, ammo quadrupled over their pre-pandemic prices.

ammo bullets

Ammo scarcity and shortages has resulted in some retailers limiting how many boxes you can purchase at a time.

Prices for firearms have not gone above the manufacturer’s list price because they are durable goods that last for years and even a lifetime.

On the other hand, ammunition is intended to be used up. The scarcity of ammunition has resulted in some retailers rationing customer’s ammo to a few boxes at a time.

You might be wondering, “Why is ammo so expensive?” Read on and find out!



Raw Materials

Several factors contribute to the rising ammo prices, including warehousing, transport, and raw materials.

Copper is an essential ingredient that is highly sought after in the global markets.

copper pipe

Copper, which is essential to ammunition production, is also needed in other industries, increasing demand and limiting available supply.

Olin, which carries the Winchester brand, says they compete with hundreds of other companies demanding the metal. Wiring, electric vehicles, semiconductors are all part of the soaring appetite for copper.

In 2020, the average closing price of copper was $2.80 per pound. At the time of this article, it has more than doubled, reaching all-time highs!



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Supply Chain

Head to any grocery store and scan the bare shelves, and you have experienced the fault in our supply chains.

The nationwide supply chain chokehold has impacted every industry. Goods and raw materials are simply not moving fast enough to alleviate the demand.


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There is a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers in the United States alone, and port backlogs are getting worse.  Manufacturers have expanded production, but customers suffer if the goods can’t move.

Intensified firearm demands, and the increase in raw components also contribute to the short ammo supply. Some local stores around the country are reporting that ammo is selling out in minutes once it reaches the shelves.

hinterland ammo online

With ammo supply getting harder to find, many have turned to online sources.

Active shooters need to find productive channels for their rifle and handgun ammo needs. Several online sources, like Hinterland Outfitters, are emerging as great places to do business, while gun shops and sports retailers love to service regular customers.



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Pandemic

The ammunition industry is highly cyclical and prone to shortages. However, gun sales spiked since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a report from the National Shoots Sports Federation, nearly 5.4 million Americans purchased their first gun in 2021 alone In addition, 2020 was a record year for the firearm industry as a whole. 

pistol with bullets on table

With the pandemic of 2020, it was certainly a year that will not easily forgotten. It will not quickly be forgotten by the gun industry either, with nearly 5.4 million Americans purchasing their first guns.

The recent surge of gun buyers was seen as a reaction to the widespread unrest and rising crime that began in 2019.

Many saw the gun surge as an arrival of government change in Washington DC., with some conspiracy theorists claiming that the government engineered the ammo shortage, even though the shortage has crossed over two diametrically opposed administrations.




Consolidation

In some areas of the country long lines of ammo buyers are waiting in line at their sporting goods retailer for the weekly shipment of ammunition, which usually sells out in minutes. Any other day and the shelves are bare.

empty ammo shelves

Empty ammo shelves affect more than just hunters and recreational shooters. It seems that law enforcement agencies are affected as well.

From an outside view, there are boundless outlets to find ammunition. But, twists and turns of corporate greed and financial engineering forced Remington into bankruptcy, after handing over millions of dollars to a private equity firm.

Consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions have resulted in two names controlling the small arms ammunition market; Vista Outdoors and Olin Corp.


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lots of bullets

While profits are being generated from ammunition-producing companies, they are not necessarily resulting in more ammo being made.

Olin and Vista Outdoors do not necessarily reinvest profits into more plants and personnel, which yields more ammunition. Annual reports state these companies are focused on providing “long-term shareholder value.” These companies are after top-line growth, not short-term demand.



Meanwhile, ammo shortages are not only affecting hunters and competitors, but the DOD, FBI, and others. Olin contracts with the FBI, Secret Service, and Border Protection. Olin reinvented government-owned ammunition facilities in Salt Lake City with the government owning and operating 84 ammunition facilities. They are now down to 14.  



What is the Answer To Higher Ammo Prices?

Popular calibers continue to spike, such as the 22 LR, 9mm, and 5.56. When do shooters say; enough is enough, and I am not buying any more ammo? Range owners are sadly looking at their patrons and saying that it’s a buck and a half every time you pull the trigger.


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Buy in Bulk

Consider the savings; the cost of 1000 rounds of 9mm ammo will typically be about 10% less than buying in 50 round boxes.

Bite the bullet, as they say, buy bulk ammo in your favorite calibers, and store it for future use. Buying in bulk locks your cost in right now, so you save money if prices continue to rise. 

lots of bullets

Buying ammo in bulk can save you money now, and even more as prices rise.

Here are some advantages to buying rifle and handgun ammo in bulk.

  1. Negotiate; if you go through a lot of ammo, wholesalers will talk terms 
  2. Save on shipping; buying in bulk; you realize savings on items such as shipping charges
  3. Deals are everywhere; buying in bulk means wholesalers have a lot of lucrative deals to offer


Reloading

A number of shooters believe the only way to go is reloading; in some situations, this may be true.

The first argument against reloading is the significant start-up costs and ongoing expenses. However, reloading saves money if you shoot ammo that is not cheap, like the 44 magnum or 40 S&W.

30-06 casing

While reloading can save money over purchasing new ammo, it can be expensive to get started.

Reloading expenses to consider

  1. Reloading press; a good press can go as high as $1500, with an average of around $500 to $700
  2. Crimpers and dies; some presses require additional equipment
  3. Recurring supplies; gunpowder, bullets, brass cases, primers, reloading dies

Never skimp on reloading supplies unless you prefer inferior ammunition. Once you start reloading, you head to the range more often, which means more brass, gunpowder, bullets, etc. In the long run, shooters who reload can save money with no increase in shooting. It takes a few months to recoup expenses once everything is in place.



Additional ways to save money on ammo

  1. Always look for online and in-store sales
  2. Gun Shows 
  3. Big-Box retailers
  4. Storage


Final Word On Why Ammo Is So Expensive

The days of strolling into your local sports retailer to pick up a box of your favorite ammo at a discount are over, and some say it will never come back.

Shooters must start thinking outside their comfort zone to find the best deals on ammo.

If you shoot one of the premium calibers, a long-term perspective needs to be implemented. Constantly scouring the ads and online stores may now be commonplace. Some calibers like the 9mm are always in stock because of so many firearms that use the cartridge.

Changing your firearm to a readily available cartridge may be the answer if you just love the sport of shooting.

Happy shooting!

big game 3 broadhead review header image

Heavy and Huge! | The DXB Big Game 3 Broadheads Review

This review is BIG.

Why?

Because I’m reviwing the Big Game 3 by DXB Broadheads (Dead X Bowhunting Broadheads).

Talk about a really cool, creative, massive, beast of a broadhead!

big game 3 broadhead size vs muzzy trocar

This is the Big Game 3 next to a muzzy trocar. It’s HUGE!

This is a beast of a broadhead. If you compare it to a Muzzy Trocar, the Muzzy Trocar just looks like a toy, like a baby compared to the Big Game 3.

A closer look at the DXB Big Game 3 Broadhead

So let’s zoom on in here and check out this Big Game 3.

big game 3 size vs muzzy trocar 2

Another perspective showing the Big Game 3 next to a Muzzy Trocar. The Big Game 3 is literally a handful!

Another thing, other than its large size, is that the Big Game 3 is very well-constructed.

The owners are also professional machinists so they are bowhunters and machinists, so they do everything with really high tolerances and specifications, which is obvious when you put these heads together.

big game 3 cut width

The Big Game 3 has a cutting diameter of 1.8 inches and 2.7 inches of total cut!

The total weight on this head is 300 grains. And the total cutting diameter is 1.8″ which at 3 blades, 1.8″ of diameter, that gives you 2.7″ of total cut which is going to make a really nice hole, a super wide hole.

And, with 3 blades, it’s going to cut a lot of tissue while it makes that super wide hole. So, I imagine it’s going to be devastating on whatever it hits.

big game 3 chisel tip

The chisel tip of the Big Game 3 is machined out of high-carbon steel. The ferrule is as well.

big game tip and ferrule

The tip is machined out of high-carbon steel and it actually is also the ferrule. It’s one piece that machined out of a high-carbon steel, the tip and the ferrule. That’s what screws into the arrow.

big game 3 ferrule shell

The head also has a shell, but it’s not really really the ferrule. The shell just holds the blades in place. It’s made out of 6061 aluminum. But, there’s really not much pressure on that in the hard impact. That just goes straight into the one-piece constructed steel ferrule. The shell just helps keep the weight a bit lighter. Again, it’s still 300 grains!




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Assembly of the Big Game 3 Broadhead

Now, just a little tip here.

When you put the head together, because the tolerances are so high, you want to make sure it’s really snug on your arrow… like super snug. Otherwise, you’re going to get a little bit of a wobble.

big game 3 blade thickness

The blades are .062″ thick and are single bevel at 37 degrees.

The owner of the company told me about this and cautioned me about it. And, sure enough, I put it together and I got a bit of a wobble, and I thought, “Man, what’s wrong? It’s wobbling.”

But, then I took the blades out and tested the ferrule and the tip, and it spun perfectly true, so I knew that the blades were just not seated properly. So, I screwed it on really tight, moved the ferrule a little bit and then it just lined up and spun perfectly well. And, then I tested all of the rest of them, and they all spun really well.


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The blades are also made out of high-carbon steel and they’re 0.062″ thick, which is also going to increase the bloodletting and make that hole hard to close up. And, they are also single bevel angle of 37 degrees. That 37 degrees is going to help it to prevent edge chatter and also gives it a bit of rotation.

The single bevel, combined with the weight and cut size, means this is going to be one deadly head. So, I was really eager to test these out and see how they performed.

Big Game 3 Broadhead Testing

For these tests, I’m using my Bowtech SR6 set at 72 pounds and I’m using Bishop FAD Eliminators for most of the testing here because this broadhead is so heavy and because of that spine, but then I’m also using the FOC King for some of them as well.

Flight Forgiveness Test:

Because my total arrow weight is so heavy, I performed the flight test from 30 yards, rather than a normal 40.

big game 3 flight test

I shot one field point and then 2 broadheads at 30 yards.



Initial Sharpness Test

big game 3 initial sharpness test

The initial sharpness test registered 225 (the lower number the better, as this test measures how much pressure it takes to cut a thin wire.)

Penetration Test 1  

In this test I shot the Big Game 3 into ballistic gel that was fronted with 1/2″ MDF and a 2/3″ rubber mat.

big game 3 ballistic gel mdf foam test

In this first penetration test, the Big Game 3 penetrated 4-5/8″ into the the ballistic gel.



entry into foam padding and mdf and ballistic gel

Check out the hole that this thing made. Man, and you can see the S-cut of those single bevel blades. They actually were getting a bit of a rotation there, and that’s just going to make an even more wicked wound channel.



big game 3 light coming through foam entry hole

And then check out the layers here. Now, this is 2 layers of this rubber foam mat with 1/2″ of MDF in between and yet, you can see light through it. This is the first time I’ve ever tested a broadhead that you can actually see through it (because the material is so spongy and even the MDF is so like mushy that you can never see through the holes. They just close up. But with this one, they don’t close up. And I just imagine what that’s going to do to an animal!)



big game 3 wound channel in ballistic gel

Here’s the top view of the gel. And check out the wound channel of this head. It’s like a grenade explosion! Now, to the right, you see another single bevel broadhead. It actually has a decent cut. But, then to the left is the wound channel of the Big Game 3. Man, that’s devastating!



Edge Retention Test (sharpness after Penetration Test 1):

big game 3 sharpness after penetration test

I tested the sharpness after the first penetration test… 275.




Penetration Test 2 (layered cardboard):

Sometimes you see a big mechanical that will penetrate better in the cardboard penetration test than this head did, but that’s because of a really long, skinny tip and blades being way at the bottom. That’s not the case with this head.

big game 3 cardboard penetration test

It penetrated through 43 layers of cardboard. I want to remind you that due to its cut size and that really thick tip, it’s cutting a lot of material while it penetrates through those 43 layers.

Rotation Test (FBI Gel):

big game 3 broadhead in clear ballistic gel only

The Big Game 3 rotated 5″ and penetrated 6 inches into the ballistic gel.

Durability Test (1/2” MDF max 3 shots):

big game 3 after 3 shots into MDF

After 3 shots into the MDF, you can’t even tell it’s been shot!

Durability (22 ga steel plate max 2 shots):

I shot the DXB Big Game 3 into a .22 gage steel plate two times. Here’s what happened…

big game 3 broadhead after 2 shots into steel plate

After going through the steel plate two times, it was still in awesome condition. You can only see a little bit of dulling of the tip. Other than that, you really can’t tell that it has been shot! You can see that rotation, that S-cut to the holes. And man, they’re just big compared to all the other holes on this steel plate. They’re really impressive.

Durability Test (Concrete 1 Shot):

big game 3 broadhead after concrete block test

Here is what the head looked like after shooting it into a concrete block. Other than some slight dulling of the tip, it’s in great shape.

I want to remind you that this is with an 800-grain arrow, so there is a lot of impact, a lot more momentum than I normally shoot pounding into that concrete and yet, it held up really well.

The blades are still in excellent condition, with just a little cosmetic scratching. The tip got a little bit dulled as can be expected on a concrete, but spins perfectly well and absolutely reusable.



Final Thoughts On The DXB Big Game 3 Broadheads

So what do you think of the Big Game 3?

Man, this was a really fun head to test and I think it’s going to be really fun head to hunt with as well. I look forward to sticking an animal with one of these in the days ahead.

It did really well in each of the tests.

I was really impressed and honestly surprised by its durability. I didn’t think it would be able to hold up to the concrete like that especially with all that momentum pounding into it.



But, it did really well in every area. The blades were super sharp for such a thick blade. That was really impressive. It flew really well. And man, the cut size obviously speaks for itself. The durability, it performed perfectly in all of those durability tests that I do that are pretty grueling tests.

The only challenge to it is the penetration. And that’s just because of the cut size.

Everything is a trade-off in broadhead design. So, if you’re one of those people that has a heavy setup and you want to try something that’s just going to make a really big hole, man this is really worth considering.

You can use it for anything, from turkey, to deer, to hogs, black bear, and really anything in North America or the world, if you have the kinetic energy and the momentum to drive it deep into those animals.

dxb big game 3 broadhead lusk grade
The DXB Big Game 3 scored 9 out of 10 golden arrows.

This broadhead is definitely worth a look to see if it’s right for you. Great Job DXB! I look forward to seeing what you come out with in the future!

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A Classic or an outdated relic? | NAP Thunderhead Broadheads Review

In this review, I tested a classic broadhead… the NAP Thunderhead!

These heads have been around for a long time. I actually like testing these older broadheads like this one, just to see if the newer designs have passed them by or if they really are still holding their own.

For these tests, I used my Bowtech SR6 set at 72 pounds, 27” draw. I’m using Bishop FOC King Arrows for most of the shots, but then the Bishop FAD Eliminators for the really hard impact ones.

So, let’s go through some of the design features and specifications and then put them to the test!

The NAP Thunderhead At First Glance

Let’s zoom in and check out the Thunderhead and then put it to the test.

nap thunderhead length

Here’s a good look at the 125-grain Thunderhead. It’s a petty cool, classic design. It has a cutting diameter of 1-3/16”. It has an overall length beyond the ferrule of 2”, so it’s pretty long by some of today’s fixed-blade standards, especially for 3-blade heads.

thunderhead blade thickness

It has steel blades that are 0.027” thick, which are pretty thin by today’s market standards.

thunderhead chisel tip

The tip is a hardened steel, chiseled tip that’s really pointy. I really like this chiseled tip. The ferrule is made out of aluminum.

thunderhead ferrule grooves

Notice that the ferrule of the Thunderhead has micro-groove channels in it.

The micro grooves in the ferrule are supposed to aid in flight as it carries the air around with it and it rotates, which is supposed to aid in penetration. This is similar to what the dimples on a golf ball do.



Thunderhead Testing

So, I was really eager to put the Thunderhead to test and see how it would hold up, especially since it has been around so long and has such a loyal following. Let’s see how it did!



Flight Forgiveness Test

thunderhead flight forgiveness test

In the flight forgiveness test, I shot one filed point and then two broadheads into the target at 40 yards.



Initial Sharpness: 225

thunderhead initial sharpness test

To test the “out-of-the-box” sharpness of the Thunderhead, I tested how much pressure it would take for the blade to cut through a metal wire (the lower the number, the sharper it is). It registered 225.



Penetration Test #1

thunderhead ballistic gel test

I shot the Thunderhead into a block of ballistic gel that was fronted with a 2/3″ rubber mat and 1/2″ MDF. It penetrated 6-1/4″.



Edge Retention Test

Thunderhead sharpness test #2

After Penetration Test #1, the sharpness scale registered the Thunderhead’s sharpness at 325.



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Penetration Test 2 (layered cardboard):

thunderhead cardboard penetration test

The NAP Thunderhead penetrated through 59 layers of cardboard.



Angled Shot Test (1/4” MDF/Carpet)

thunderhead angled shot

I shot the Thunderhead into angled MDF fronted with carpet.



Durability Test #1 (1/2” MDF max 3 shots)

I also shot the head into 1/2″ MDF (3 shots).




Durability Test #2 (Steel Plate)

thunderhead steel plate test result

In this durability test, I shot the Thunderhead into a .22 ga steel plate (max 2 shots) to see how it would hold up.Here’s the head after going through the steel plate two times.

The Thunderhead looked brand new after going through the MDF and the steel plate and it still held up really well. But, the blades got a bit nicked up (“edge chatter”).

And then you can see the hole. You can see how it looks like just a ferrule hole with 3 slits coming off of it.



Durability Test (Concrete)

thunderhead blade in concrete block

I shot the Thunderhead into a concrete block to see how it would hold up. The tip embedded really deeply into the concrete and I couldn’t get it out. I didn’t want to mess up my concrete by digging it out. And, this one blade got stuck right in the end into the concrete as well.


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thunderhead after concrete test

Here’s the Thunderhead after being shot into the concrete. As you can see, the ferrule just broke off right there. The other two blades just stayed intact. They got a little bit nicked up there at the end but they still stayed in place.

And overall, after the concrete block test, it still spun decently, but it did just break in half. Now, that’s after going through the MDF 3 times and the steel plate twice. So overall, fairly impressive durability.



Final thoughts on the NAP Thunderhead

So what do you think of the Thunderhead?

When my buddy told me he was going to send me a pack of these, I was intrigued. I like to test every head. But, at the same time, I thought, “They are so old school. The newer stuff is going to be blowing it away.”


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But, then when I started playing around with them and looking at them, I thought, “No, these are really well-made and well-constructed and designed.”



And the tests just proved just that. I can see why they have such a loyal following and why they’ve taken so many animals over the years.

Now, I will say that I think there are other 3-bladed heads on the market that do better than this one. But then again, this is better than a lot of them that are on the market as well.

So check out the score sheet in the description box and see how it performed in the areas that matter to you the most and see if it might be a good fit for you.

lusk score of thunderhead
The Thunderhead received 7 out of 10 golden arrows.