Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rifle Ammunition Availability Survey

Cost Effective Rifle Cartridges Part 2: Rifle Ammunition Availability

What cartridges can be easily found among retailers? Last time we discussed how we structured our survey of ammunition availability. Now we can look at the availability results: how many SKUs (available choices) can be found in stock between the 2 online retailers we selected (MidwayUSA and Wholesale Hunter)?

As explained in the survey discussion, cartridges where there were less than three SKUs  in stock in either online retailer were flagged for spotty availability ("SP"), while cartridges where there were not more than 10 SKUs in stock between both retailers were flagged for low availability ("LO").

Looking at the chart, it is quickly obvious that the apparent availability of many tens of cartridges is an illusion. We put the bar on low availability at 10 SKUs and below between both retailers - if we only look at cartridges that are not flagged for low availability, we are left with 35 choices across all calibers. If we also take out those which were flagged for spotty availability, we only have 26 cartridge choices left. Of course,  looking at the average small country store rather than large online retailers but would leave us with many fewer choices.

In effect, this chart tells us that a reasonable choice of cartridges for a hunting rifle, when looking at today's ammunition availability as a criterion, would have be be made from the following list:
  • 17 HMR
  • 22LR
  • 22 WMR
  • 204 Ruger
  • 22-250
  • 223
  • 243
  • 25-06
  • 270 Win
  • 270 WSM
  • 7mm-08
  • 7mm Rem Mag
  • 7mm WSM
  • 280 Rem
  • 30-30 Win
  • 308 Win
  • 30-06 Springfield
  • 300 H&H Magnum
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 WSM
  • 7.62x39
  • 338 Win Mag
  • 375 H&H Magnum
  • 45-70 Government
  • 470 Nitro Express
 Of course, this is only one part of the equation. The other is the actual cost of ammunition across different cartridges. When we investigated cost, we found that there were drastic differences between cartridges of near equivalent caliber and functionality.

Next we look at average ammunition cost... So come back soon!

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