Inflation, Revisited (Again)

So in August, 2014 I ran by my favorite Merchant O’Death’s place of work and picked up some powder. They’d just gotten in a shipment of about a hundred pounds of various types (still no Unique – which at that point should have been renamed “Unavailable”), and I’d had him set me aside a bit: three pounds of H110 and one of Accurate 4064.

Remember when powder was around $20 a pound? Yeah, so do I. Four pounds of powder set me back a little over $116 including tax.

Ouch.

In 2007 I did a post on the basics of reloading with a list of recommended materials.  After my 2014 bulk purchase, I revisited my list and checked the price increases. I ran across that post looking for something else, and thought this would be a good time to do it again.

Originally I recommended the Lee Anniversary Kit, which consisted of their Challenger “O”-press, powder measure, powder scale, reloading manual, priming tool and (most) shell holders.  It was $89.99.  That particular kit is no longer available, but the current one is the Challenger Breech Lock Anniversary Kit, which at $126.99 $146.99 contains:

  • Lee Breech Lock Challenger Single Stage Press
  • 1-Breech Lock Die Bushing
  • Lee Large and Small Safety Prime
  • Lee Cutter and Lock Stud
  • Lee Perfect Powder Measure
  • Lee Chamfer Tool
  • Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner
  • Lee Safety Powder Scale
  • Lee Powder funnel
  • 2 oz Tube Lee Resizing Case Lube

Next up came dies, and I again recommended an all-Lee lineup:

Carbide .38/357 4-die set: $30.99 $41.99 $48.99
Carbide .45ACP 4-die set: $21.99 $41.99 $47.99
Steel .30 Luger 3-die set: $20.99 $30.49 $33.99
.22-250 3-die set: $24.99 $30.99 $33.99
.243 Winchester 3-die set: $24.99 $30.99 $33.99
.308 Winchester 3-die set: $24.99 $30.99 $33.99
.30-06 3-die set: $24.99 $30.99 $33.99
.30 Carbine carbide 3-die set: $30.79 $38.49 $43.99

Next up was lube. The Lee kit above has their lube, but I recommended a can of Hornady’s One Shot spray lube. For the sake of economy, I’ll leave it off this list again.

I recommended a steel dial caliper micrometer: Still $25.99 It went up a dollar to $26.99

I recommended a Hornady universal reloading tray: $4.79 $8.99 Also a $1 increase to $9.99

In the article I stated that a minimum of TWO reloading manuals should be on hand. The Lee Anniversary kit had one in it originally, but not now. The Speer manual at that time cost $26.99. Last time it was $29.99. Now it’s dropped to $27.99, and the Lee manual has dropped from $21.99 to $19.99.

Then there was powder and primers for all the calibers we were buying dies for. Powder is per pound, primer pricing is per thousand.

IMR 4064: $18.99 $25.87 $29.99 and again out of stock
Winchester 296: $17.99 $21.60 also $29.99, but now they have it.
Winchester 231: $17.49 $21.04 It’s really jumped up to $28.99, but it too is back in stock.

CCI Small Pistol: $21.99 $26.99 $32.99. That’s a big price jump.
CCI Large Pistol: $21.49 $31.49 $32.99 – not so big a change.
CCI Small Rifle: $22.49 $31.49 $32.99 again.
CCI Large Rifle: $22.99 $31.49 $32.99! At least they’re consistent.

And then there was case prep, cleaning and miscellaneous:

Iosso Case Cleaning Kit
: $14.99 $16.79 up a dollar-twenty at $18.99

I originally suggested a primer pocket cleaner and chamfer and deburring tool, but those are included in the Lee Anniversary kit.

Safety Glasses: $8.99 $4.49 $4.99. Still a bargain.

So in 2007 all the materials you’d need to start reloading for eight different calibers, with the exception of projectiles, was $542.76.  In 2014, $702.12, an increase of 29.4%.  In 2020, $787.78.  Powder has gone up 45% over 2014’s prices, but at least you can find it.  Primers have gone up about 8.5% on average – and THOSE are readily available, too.  Dies have increased by about 10%.  Overall, a 12.2% increase, but according to this inflation calculator, $702.12 in 2014 is equivalent to $758.57 in 2019, or only a 1.3% increase.  Since 2007, $670.82 in adjusted dollars, or 17.4% since then.

I’m STILL glad I didn’t record bullet pricing.  I don’t think I want to know how much THAT’S gone up.

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