In the latest circular from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), I saw the following:
"Lake City .30 cal Carbine ammo now available. We have a limited quantity of .30 cal LC carbine ammo for sale. Item number is 4S30CARB-1350. Date of manufacture is 1970-1972. Ammo is packaged in 50 rd boxes, 1,350 rds per .50 cal can. Price is $520 per can. S&H is $29 per can."
This translates to about .39-cents per round. Granted its 40-year old ammunition, but hey, it's Lake City military grade surplus that has been properly stored. As many shooters will vouch, there is still a good bit of World War II era LC stuff out there that goes bang every time you pull the trigger.
Why is this deal?
This is not a bad price at all for bulk ammo in .30 caliber carbine. For comparison purposes, you can find that bulk Federal American Eagle 110grain FMJBT goes for about $250 per 500-rounds, as does Remington's UMC green box in the same load and quantity. This is more or less about .50-cents per round. When bought in smaller quantities, you can expect to pay more. This is borne out by the standard market price for Winchester Super-X 110-grain HSPs that go for about $45 per 50 round box, which is closer to a buck a pop.
Is there a rush?
Even during these times of gun control panic it's still possible to get good deals on quantities of carbine ammo for the humble little .30-caliber M-1. Just a quick look around sees that Sportsman's Guide, Natchez, and CTD all have at least some in stock even though a few loads are on backorder. Calls to my local big boxes show it still on the shelves as well, just not in great quantity.
However, stocks of late production Lake City .30 carbine are pretty rare at any price, so you may want to give the CMP a call or visit their website if you have an M-1 that needs to be fed. Historically the CMP gets a few pallets of ammunition in at a time, whether its Greek 30.06, an old stock of Krag ammo, or some surplus Lake City stuff, and it all goes out pretty quick.
Better yet, do yourself a favor and go buy one of those fun little rifles too while you are at it. Millions were made during World War Two and the Army kept them around until the 1970s (hence the production of ammo more than twenty years after the war ended.) Ever since the government stopped making the guns in 1945, the civilian market has been so stong that all through the 50s and 60s Universal, Plainfield and others kept churning them out. Today, Auto-Ordnance still makes new ones.
Not a bad little gun, or a bad little round, get it while you can.