Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ammunition and Chamberings Surveys: Combined Availability

Cost Effective Rifle Cartridges Part 20: Combined Ammunition and Chamberings Distribution

Over the past few weeks, we presented our survey of rifles cartridge availability and its findings, then did the same with our survey of available and new chamberings. We drew independent conclusions from each survey, assuming, in general, that cartridge availability and rifle chambering availability were related. It is time for us to put this assumption to the test: how do cartridge availability, rifles availability, and new chambering availability relate to each other?

To evaluate graphically how they trend with respect to each other, the best way for us to do this is to normalize the availability of each cartridge, rifle chambering, and new rifle chambering, so that we are only dealing with percentages across the whole market, rather than absolute numbers. The following chart displays what the data looks like, when viewed as percentages.

For each cartridge, the chart displays, in green, the % of ammunition SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit, i.e. the specific combination of brand and type of ammunition that uniqeuly identifies the item) available for this cartridge as a % of all cartridge SKUs available, in red the % of new chamberings available at Bud's as a % of all rifle chamberings available at Bud's, and, in blue, the % of rifles chambered in the cartridge available on Gunbroker, as a percentage of all the rifles available.

If we review this chart, we quickly realize that:
  • ammunition availability and rifle availability for that cartridge generally trend together
  • ammunition availability and new chambering availability generally trend together, but not as well
  • ammunition availability appear to trail Gunbroker rifle availability, which, itself, trails Bud's new chambering availability (we can find this out by looking at new or newly popular cartridges, and by old fashioned or obsoleted cartridges)
This interpretation makes sense: it often takes a long time for ammunition providers to take on a new cartridge, and a specific type of ammunition tends to remain available for a long time, past the peak of popularity of the cartridge. We figure that the green bars (ammunition availability) are most closely tied to the popularity of a cartridge  10 to 15 years ago, while the blue bars (availability of a rifle chambering on Gunbroker) are most closely related to the cartridge popularity over the past 5 years, and the red bars (availability of a new rifle chambering at Bud's) are more closely tied to a cartridge popularity in the next 10 to 15 years. We should note that here is potential for some fashion/fad bias in the red bars, when manufacturers push some specific cartridges with little popularity by misunderstanding the market's favor.

In this light, we can draw a few specific conclusions:
  • Available now, gaining in popularity: 17HMR, 204 Ruger, 22-250, 243, 25-06, 270 Win, 270 WSM, 7mm-08
  • Available now, stable in popularity: 22LR, 22WMR, 7mm Rem Mag, 30-06 Springfield, 300 Win Mag, 300 WSM, 338 Win Mag, 375 H&H, 45-70 Gov
  • Available now, dropping in popularity: 223, 30-30, 308 Win, 7.62x39 Soviet
  • Not very available, stable: 22 Hornet, 257 Wby Mag, 7mm WSM, 280 Rem, 300 Wby Mag, 444 Marlin, 458 Win Mag
  • Not very available, dropping even further: 220 Swift, 222 Remington, 6mm Rem, 257 Roberts, 6.5x55 Swede, 260 Rem, 264 Win Mag, 6.8mm SPC, 7x57 Mauser, 7mm Wby Mag, 30 carbine, 300 H&H Mag, 300 Rem Ultra Mag, 8x57, 338 Federal, 340 Wby Mag, 35 Whelen, 358 Win, 9.3x62, 375 Ruger, 405 Win, 416 Rigby, 450 Marlin, 458 Lott, 460 Wby Magnum, 470 Nitro Express
Some of the cartridges that show poor availability and are dropping further out carry great names and/ or are very sensible - we regret seeing them fall out of favor. Among them we count the 220 Swift (we think it has a slight edge over the 22-250), the versatile 257 Roberts, the 6.5x55 Swede -  easy on the shoulder with some excellent sectional density,  the 6.8mm SPC - excellent accuracy in a very compact, efficient and cost effective.cartridge, and the 7x57 (7mm Mauser).

Next we come out with overall recommendations... So come back soon!

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