Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Existing Rifle Chamberings Availability Survey

Cost Effective Rifle Cartridges Part 11: Existing Rifle Chamberings Availability Survey

What are the best rifle calibers to own, if you want to make sure that the caliber you choose has and will have good cartridge availability in the future?

Last we directly investigated the availability and pricing on ammunition per cartridge, and came to definite conclusions. But there is a different way to approach the problem: rather than looking at it from the point of view of ammunition availability, we can look at it from the point of view of rifle chambering availability.  The assumption, which we figure to be true, is that rifle availability should correlate strongly with ammunition availability.

Rifle chambering popularity: the big picture

Gunbroker is the largest online firearms auction site available today. It represents a good approximation of today's rifle market, and combines used and new rifles. The user can search for title and content keywords. Searching on Gunbroker for rifles with specific cartridge chamberings gives us a very good picture of today's global rifle chambering availability.

In this study, we searched, among modern firearms, for every chambering which we felt had some popularity. We researched the same list of rounds as that used for our ammunition availability survey.For each one, we counted the number of hits in the rifle category. While some cartridges/ calibers are easy to search for on Gunbroker, others, with multiple names or common abbreviations, require more work to gather the actual availability data, in order to make sure that we are not under-counting them. For those cartridges, we had to subtract hits where keywords were common to multiple search strings, so that we would not end up double counting them. The following chart shows, in numbers of rifle (used or new) for sale, the availability of rifle chamberings on Gunbroker.

At one glance, we can get a good feeling for what chamberings (and therefore, ammunition) are popular - and what are not... The striking characteristic of the existing market is the remarkable dominance of 4 cartridges: 223 way ahead of all, followed by, roughly equal, 22LR, 308 and 30-06. Significantly behind the top 4, we find, at high levels of availability, 243, 22-250 (a surprise for us to see it placing so high), the old and reliable 30-30, followed by the 7mm Rem Mag, 17HMR (which shows remarkable speed of adoption for a cartridge introduced in 2002), 270 Win, 7.62x39 Soviet and 7mm-08.  We will analyze separately the different segments of the rifle market.

Next we discuss the distribution of new rifle chamberings only... So come back soon!

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