Sunday, October 24, 2021

Ammo- Barter values? (As if I have a clue)

 Just thinking this morning...

If *I* was called upon to assign monetary values to individual rounds of ammunition as a barter exchange medium... hmm.

Okay, lets equate them to dollar values at current exchange rates.  Given that ammunition is a tangible commodity, we can understand it's ability to store wealth will not really change, but the fungible value of the dollar contrasted to it will change considerably.


  • All basic ammunition will be one round, simple ball ammo from a recognizable manufacturer with no special features.
  • Any premium 'self defense' or hunting round will be considered at double the exchange rate of ball ammo.  IE: CCI Stinger or Hornady Critical Duty.
  • Any steal case import ammo will be considered at one half the exchange rate of ball ammo, with a few exceptions.
  • Unusual calibers will be individually valued at time of exchange.
  • Given this is an estimation for barter, all variables are just that... variable.
Current exchange rates, as SWAGed by me on this date, 10/24/2021
  • .22LR rimfire   $0.20 cents
  • Pistol ammunition, .380 acp, 9x19mm, .45 acp   $0.50 cents
  • Pistol ammunition, .38 Special, .357 mag, .44 mag   $1.00 dollar
  • Rifle ammunition, .223 Rem/5.56x45mm    $0.75 cents
  • Rifle ammunition, .308 Win, 7.62x51mm    $1.25 dollars
  • Rifle ammunition, 7.62x39 or 7.62x54, steel case, $0.50 cents.
  • Shotgun ammunition, 12G, birdshot   $0.75 cents
  • Shotgun ammunition, buckshot or slug   $1.25 dollars

Thoughts on Barter as a means of exchange.

Barter is the oldest method used by people to exchange goods and services.  It's what was used through much of recorded history as the primary means of commerce until a few centuries ago, when the exchange of currency replaced the actual exchange of goods.

Currency was once composed of metals with inherent value.  People agreed that silver and gold were valuable, came to loose agreement on HOW valuable they are, and away we went.  All that was left was minting the metals into recognizable coins backed by the strength of a realm.

Once humans allowed the shift from valuable metals to paper cash, all bets are off.  Yes, we call it money... but we as a population no longer have any control over the value of the money.  The money, cash, or specie are controlled by centralized government, and they can change the value of the money at will for their own purposes.

Why not return to barter then?  Because using 'Dollars' or 'Marks' or 'Euros' is convenient.  It makes large transactions across national boundaries possible, and it makes small transactions very easy indeed.

But.... and it's a large 'but'... cash that is value-controlled by government is not stable, and can be wildly inflationary.  That means the ten dollars you get today in exchange for one hour's labor may only be worth 1/2 that much tomorrow.  You will still have lost that hour, but the money you got in exchange has been raped over night in your pocket.

As inflation is currently skyrocketing, I suppose we can expect barter to make a come-back.  It makes sense.  Trading an hours labor for a half-bushel of potatoes is a stable exchange. while trading the labor for a dollar that can change ten minutes later is not stable.  Families thrive in stability, but governments thrive in strife and instability.

What I also suppose we can expect to see is government fighting against their loss of power if barter grows.  They can't skim money off barter, can't steal away wealth when people trade goods, and can't impoverish entire classes of citizens into welfare beggars when barter is the means of exchange.

What might that government sponsored kick-back look like?  First, Pravda.  A stern parental warning against the evils of individuals bartering with each other.  Second, laws discouraging bartering through impossible to collect taxes and regulations designed to be impossible to follow.  Lastly, examples will be made, accompanied by media supported lies.

What would I place the odds at I'm correct in these wild guesses?  No more than 50% at best, 10% at worst.  


Anonymous said...

I need a reference point for the $dollar value of ammo.

Silver at how many $dollars/ounce? Gold at what?

It's going to be a sliding scale, depending on who is using ammunition versus who needs stuff.

Gold, Silver, Copper, Brass, and Lead are the Monetary metals. I'd add Aluminum in there in today's world.

I don't know how to value it, but I do know that I'm stocking up.

Carteach said...

I think the dollar makes a good reference point, just like we use if for gold and silver now. It does add a step to the process, but also gives us a starting point for barter negotiations.

Lets say I have a 50 round box of 9x19 +P hollow point ammo from a recognized manufacturer. IF I could find that in a local store (which I can't), they'd probably ask $60 to $70. Premium defensive ammo is going for $1.40 a round on SGAmmo right now, so that makes sense.

Lets say I want canned soup for my family. Premium (Campbells) is roughly $1.49 a can in local stores here. That means a reasonable barter would be one box of ammo for four cases of canned soup.

These are starting points. My post is aimed at coming up with reasonable starting points for scenarios like that. It's better for all concerned when everyone entering negotiations has an idea what 'reasonable' is, and then determines for themselves what makes a deal work for them.