Via The Firearm Blog, spot prices for the metals used in ammunition (primarily copper, lead, and zinc) are approaching their 2008 records and the Economist reports that they are projected to stay high.
Granted, the price of ammunition over the last few years initially shot up not because of inflation in the cost of raw materials but rather because of a massive increase in demand: U.S. military operations were already straining production capacity when political panic following the 2008 election prompted civilian stockpiling. Manufacturers are only now beginning to catch up to the demand.
I had hoped that at this point prices would begin to fall back towards the levels we saw in the middle of the decade. But now it looks like raw material prices may keep the floor close to where we are right now.
Interesting note (especially given how tight-lipped manufacturers are about sales numbers!) from ArmsTalk.com: Winchester’s Paul Nowak divulged the current top six pistol calibers, by demand:
Bob Owens has an extensive report on the ammunition shortage.