The Great American Sporting Ammunition Crisis - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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There are steps that can be taken to at least stay even with all this fluctuation in pricing, and the basic cost of doing business in the shooting sports field. First of all, handloading your ammunition will cut about 30 % to 50% off the price of your better grade shotshells. Outlets like Ballistic Products out of Corcoran Minnesota can set you up to load almost any and all types of shotshells that are in commercial production today. After the cost of the basic reloading equipment it is all down hill, and you will find that you can shoot more for much less. However, you will have to invest some of your time to gain those kinds of savings.

A second choice is to down grade your choice in field loads, and hunt smart and tighter to the goose decoys. Hold off for the best shots at workable ranges, and back off the long range pokes at targets too far away.

Currently, every ammunition manufacturer offers good solid lead and non-toxic loads that are priced right and hit hard at normal gunning ranges (40 yards or less). The fact is, basic shotshell and even rifle ammunition has not increased proportionately with the times as other commodities have. In general, standard grade ammunition for sporting purposes is a bargain, and being almost given away by the manufacturers so as to allow them to stay in business now a days. If you could actually see the amount of profit gain by the manufacturer as per a single box of shotshells, you would have little or nothing to say thereafter in terms of criticism. When I see these figures on paper I am darn grateful that they are still turning out the stuff, but wonder how long they can maintain production under those kinds of financial pressures?

Also, in the area of modifying your needs you can move away from the so called long range big loads and turn to the shorter 2 3/4” fodder and even smaller gauge offerings. If your shooting a 10 gauge 3.5” magnum you can expect to pay for the privilege, and that also goes the same for the big 3.5” 12 bores and even some higher end 3” magnums. Get more realistic and understand that more shot, more powder will not always equate to putting more birds in the duck boat. Accuracy counts for a whole lot here, and a nice tight 1 1/4 oz or even 1 1/8 oz 2 3/4 “ 12 bore steel or lead shot field load can get it done if you do your part much of the time.

When you are done complaining about ammo costs keep another thing in mind. As I have shot ammunition manufactured from the old communist block countries to the Americas (Mexico) I can state for a fact that our manufacturers are loading a quality product right down to the very low priced promotional loads. You have seen nothing until you chambered some of the so-called field ammo billed by some obscure foreign manufacturers. Duds, no extraction due to almost no case rim, and in the dump down range ballistics are just some of the problems I have encountered with non-American manufactured ammo. At one point I hunted Mexico with ammo that was so bad that I carried a screwdriver to extract my spent hulls from the old reliable Remington 870 over the course of several days.

Sporting ammunition will continue to increase in price, as to that fact you can be sure. Like the massive urban sprawl that eats up our land, or those ongoing locked up land deals by high roller individuals and corporations that force out the average hunter, the high cost of some ammunition as a problem element is also here to stay. By thinking on your feet, buying wisely, and shooting straight, you can suppress some of those increasing ammo costs when waterfowl hunting.

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