Shotgun shell prices are out of control

Ammo is getting more expensive all the time. With everyone buying it up as soon as it hits the shelves, sellers are marking it up. And new technology is playing a part, too.

I’ve seen some alarming price tags on ammo recently. If you can even find the cartridges in the calibers you are looking for, the price for that box of shells is likely much higher than it was a year or so ago. With increased demand and a limited supply, the makers and the sellers are able to charge more for what they have available. Even if you refuse to spend $70 for a box of 20 .300 Win Mag cartridges, somebody after you will pay it. And the next box you find might be $75.

But there are other factors pushing the price of ammo up, too. Especially when it comes to shotgun shells. Manufacturers are working up loads that cater to the folks who are looking for longer-distance shotgun shells, just like the rifle ammo market is doing. Many of these longer-range shotgun shells are marketed for turkey and waterfowl hunters.

I was recently looking for some more turkey loads, and as I was looking at the shells available, I began second-guessing myself on shot size. I generally hunt turkeys with 4 or 5 shot, because I’ve patterned my shotgun and know that it’ll work well on the big birds out to about 40 yards with those shot sizes. But then I saw the Federal Premium Heavyweight TSS shells. Federal bills these as the ultimate turkey load, using tungsten, which is denser even than lead. This allows you to use a smaller shot size, which results in more pellets on target. I was almost sold – until I noticed the price. They were $53 for a box of five. That’s $10.60 per round. Never mind. I’ll stick with my No. 4 shot, at $20 for a box of 25. I’ll just call the birds in closer before I shoot.

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