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Old October 2, 2012, 01:17 PM   #1
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Brass prices are based on supply & demand and not commodity prices?

I don't understand why 380 Auto once-firred brass is priced higher than 9mm and 40SW.

I assume the pricing is a function of supply and demand and not the price of copper and other commodities that are used to make brass.

This is further evidenced by the prices of new commercial boxed ammo which is higher in the larger calipers/cases; right?

So this means there is a lot of 9mm and 40SW brass lying around ranges which is being picked up and recylced into the re-loading market and this is driving down prices of once-fired brass, I suppose.

Is this correct?
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Old October 2, 2012, 01:47 PM   #2
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Pretty much. I quit picking up 9mm and 40 brass quite a while ago because I have way more than I need. I recently quit picking up 45 ACP. I still always pick up 380 and any revolver brass I find. 38 spec is fairly common, but any of the others, not so much. I'm still waiting to find a big pile of 460 S&W.
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Old October 2, 2012, 01:52 PM   #3
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The Ammo company's mfgr shell based on demand, so 40 S&W is made first above all others, 9mm, 38, 357,45, all rank belw the 40's. The 380 is made once a year and not much is made. So the brass is worth more vs the 40's.
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Old October 2, 2012, 06:51 PM   #4
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And, as you surmised, quite a few people are looking for that scarce .380 brass to reload. Got any for sale?
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Old October 2, 2012, 09:28 PM   #5
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I pick up 9s and 38s at my range every chance i get though within the last year or so i think someones going out there at night and cleaning up all the brass they can find. Used to walk on empty shells six inches deep and now almost nothing. Anyways that 380 spawn of the devil is always making its way into my loot bag.
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Old October 2, 2012, 09:36 PM   #6
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Demand for a commodity as well as demand for a particular cartridge case or bullet both affect the p;rice. We are all paying twice what we were for brass just a few years back because of worldwide demand for copper. Demand makes the difference on seemingly identical cartridge cases and bullets. For instance you will pay more for 338 Win mag cases than for 7mm Rem mag even though they are the same basic case.
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Old October 4, 2012, 08:23 PM   #7
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i used to think the prices of almost everything were based on supply and demand, now i know better.
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:04 PM   #8
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Wow- Intresting about 380 brass. I have been giving it away to someone for the last 2 years for free.
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:28 PM   #9
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List of cartridge brass values

How about a list of the most common re-loadable cartridge brass from least valuable to most valuable? I'm talking about range pickup brass. I'll start it. I'd love feedback and corrections:

LEAST Valuable to MOST Valuable in today's reloading market:
40 S&W
223 Rem/5.56
38 Special
45 ACP
357 mag
357 SIG
44 Mag
7mm Rem Mag
300 Win Mag

What do you think of this order? Am I way off on any of them?
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Old October 4, 2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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Brass prices, as well as bullet prices, powder prices, primer prices, etc. etc. are based on "whatever the market will bear". Expressing it as "supply and demand" is largely an academic concept - in the real world, many other factors have a bearing on actual prices. The "supply and demand" concept does tend to (often, but NOT always) adequately explain fluctuations in prices, due to macroeconomic changes in the marketplace. However, the concept is particularly simplistic and only takes into account the most basic conditions. It does not adequately define such factors as the initial setting of the price of a new product, or collusion among multiple producers within a particular sector, whether tacit or direct, among many others.

If suppliers could get $1 million PER cartridge case, then that is what they would charge. .380 cases cost as much as they do because the .380 is a very popular concealed carry, general SD and ladies round.... and producers reason that they can get more for the brass. That sounds like "supply and demand", doesn't it ? But, if the "logic" of supply and demand really worked, then 9mm Luger, which is by FAR the most used handgun round (and therefore, the most in demand) in the WORLD, would be FAR more expensive than any other. Yet, largely the opposite is true.

The dimension of mass production leading to lower production costs and vice versa, certainly does play a role, in general terms. However, in the case of 380 vs. 9mm Luger (brass), for instance, it has NO bearing, because the .380 case is only a "short 9mm". Except for length, it is exactly the SAME as the 9mm Luger.

The reason that "supply and demand" falls on it's a** as a real world concept is that, while it sounds good, it says nothing about the STARTING point of pricing policy. As I said, it does explain price fluctuations due to market conditions, but not how the pricing policy was derived in the first place.

In many market segments, initial pricing policy, as well as much of the fluctuation over time, is actually based on what could be called "captive market strategy". In simple terms, this means setting prices on the basis of the fact that the market is limited for a particular product. A "captive" market (also referred to as a niche market) segment can usually be induced to pay artificially higher prices than would otherwise be the case - because the suppliers within that limited segment are "the only game in town", so to speak.

Such is the circumstance with hand loading equipment and supplies. A limited market (or niche market) held "captive" by a limited number of suppliers. So, you get prices out of all proportion to production costs. You also get price increases, like those we have seen over the last 5-10 years, that cannot be explained by normal market forces, nor exponential increase in demand (because that is not happening - growth is occurring, but not at that rapid a rate). Since those suppliers are well aware of each other's costs (and cooperate tacitly for the most part on general pricing policy), this trend is unlikely to change. If another supplier entered the market and flooded it with products at a lower price point, then "supply and demand" would have an effect....and the price trend might reverse somewhat. But, I don't see that happening - the reloading market is too specialized and limited by nature.
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Old October 5, 2012, 09:22 AM   #11
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Yep, before ammo prices went through the roof, no one was chasing 9 mm brass. So being the scrounger that I am I took all the 9 mm I could get my hands on while at the local public range. Absolutely no one was interested in 9 mm and folks thought I was crazy for reloading 9 mm. All once fired. Now I have 6,600 round that I reloaded and still have in excess of 7,000 9 mm cases just waiting to be reloaded. I still take 9 mm when ever offered. I'm a member of the NRA-never-refuse-anything.
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Old October 5, 2012, 09:39 AM   #12
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Brass has gotten so expensive that we cannot keep the brass buckets at the range anymore. The Club put buckets out so we could get extra funding for Pot Shots, instead, members, and non members regularly take the buckets and the brass. Would not be such a bother if the thieves just took the brass, but no, they also take the five gallon buckets. Most of the brass in the buckets is .22 LR as centerfire is picked up immediately.
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Old October 5, 2012, 06:48 PM   #13
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Don't forget the economy of scale. The cheap brass is normally the most produced brass (9mm, 223, AK rounds, etc). Tool up for it and then make a ton of it. I asked Nosler if they planned to make 220 Swift brass. The answer was that volume demand was not high enough, so "no". That logic helps the small 'niche' producers stay in business, particularly on certain ammo like that for Cowboy Action Shooting. It costs money to make the brass, so if there's fading market demand, they will consider ending production runs. The profit margins are probably pretty thin on some of the calibers that are somewhat generic, like 380. That might be different on some of the low volume, high dollar rifle cartridges like Weatherby uses. Pay 2 bucks a round for 380 and there will be plenty of shiny new brass.

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