Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Buying ammo on-line........

Is commercial ammunition a commodity?   A box or two... we all trot down to our local shooting emporium.... but what about larger quantities? 

When I wish a case or two of ammo, I don't buy it at a local gun shop.  The markup is just too stiff. I believe in supporting the good folks who have local stores, but I simply can't afford to throw cash away like that.

So, the question stands.  Is bulk ammunition a commodity?  Do we shop solely by price, like we were buying heating oil?

Personally, I have dealt with SGAmmo and Widener's, and found both to be excellent to deal with. I understand Tam deals with Lucky Gunner... and that has to be a solid endorsement.  MidwayUSA is a Go-To for all sorts of gear, components, and parts.... but I have never brought myself to pay their ammo prices.

Out of curiosity, I picked a staple ammunition and checked a number of sites for pricing including shipping. A 1000 round case of Blazer Brass 9mm Luger 115 grain FMJ.  The results:

  •        214.99/20.41       $235.40
  • Ammotogo         214.95/19.92       $234.87
  • BulkAmmo        209.99/20.43       $230.42
  • MidwayUSA      259.99/17.74       $277.48
  • Lucky Gunner    214.99/20.41       $235.40
  • Widener's           229.85/19.93       $249.78 
  • SGAmmo           199.80/16.00       $215.80
Looking at that, I know where I'm going to order from, (If I needed more just now).

That said, I have to wonder if there isn't something more to consider here.  What value added is there to on-line ammunition sales? 

(After comments begin rolling in :-)

 So, issues besides price include shipping costs (which I lump into price), speed of service, and delivery concerns. What can an on-line supplier do to earn our business?

I'll use an example.  In my real life job, I work on cars.  Personally, I order and use about 100K a year in parts and supplies.  When I choose a supplier, price is part of the equation, but it's not the sole deciding factor.  Getting the right parts, of decent quality, and in a timely manner..... these things are important and will cause me to spend a bit more.   All these factors are under the control of my suppliers, and easily balance out the cost issue.  I choose to spend money accordingly.

Now, how does this translate when choosing an on-line bulk ammo supplier?


Stephen said...

Local gun stores existed before the internet. Their business model needs to adapt; they're just outdated for anyone marginally informed.

David said...

I shop exclusively online for bulk ammo. With careful shopping, there are deals to be had.

BTW, Blazer Brass 9mm Luger 124 grain FMJ, case of 1,000 shipped: $209.80

David aka True Blue Sam said...

Delivery is the big worry for me. I had a large order from Natchez that was running late. They checked with FedEx, and they said it had been delivered, when it obviously had not. FedEx and Natchez made good on it and a different delivery man is working the FedEx route now. The electronic trail did in the thief, I think. You have to pay attention when your goods are in transit so the trail doesn't go cold.

Unknown said...

Just make sure that you factor in shipping costs, possible taxes, and how quickly the vendor fills/ships your order.

ZerCool said...

SGAmmo is always my first stop, followed by Palmetto State Armory to check sale prices.

Carteach said...

So, issues besides price include shipping costs (which I lump into price), speed of service, and delivery concerns.

What can an on-line supplier do to earn our business?

Long Island Mike said...

I have given up arguing about LGS and their pricing. Folks who never ran aa deli make all sorts of accusations. TTAG had a nice post on the costs associated with running a brick and mortar gun store.

If I do buy online, it is very easy to use a search engine like to get the best price in minutes.

David said...

Good communication is a key. I like immediate email acknowledgement of the order, as well as real time shipping notice. Silence is not golden.

Quality is also key, especially when ordering from factory reloaders. Cheap is good, but if it fails to go bang, brass is deformed, or exceptionally dirty, re-orders won't be coming.

And, I actually like suppliers who keep me updated with current specials via email.

freddyboomboom said...

I like, even though they're in New Jersey. :)

I haven't had the means to buy in bulk for a few years, but I recall they had fast delivery, and communicated well.

I really like that their website seems to be updated very frequently with their offerings, and quantities.

I also really like that their prices include shipping to the Lower 48, so I don't have to add it to a cart, then go into the cart, put in my address, and then pick shipping method all to see what I'll REALLY be charged for it.

They will continue to get my business until I have a problem with them. A problem would be defined as telling me it's out of stock after I ordered it, unless I was notified less than a day after ordering. Shipping to the wrong address. Vastly improper packaging. Failing to ship in a timely manner. Incorrect items; whether caliber, quantity, manufacturer, bullet weight, or other criteria.

Several years ago I bought a shotgun buttstock and foregrip from Hogue. UPS said they delivered, but I never got it. I started a trace with UPS, and called Hogue. The nice lady at Hogue sent out a replacement set without waiting for the trace from UPS. Even before this I had always had good experiences with Hogue, and that incident just increased my appreciation for them. They remain the first place I look at when shopping for the things they make.

I've worked in customer service roles for several years, so my reference point for what is good service is possibly higher than most, but I'm also sympathetic if good communication is achieved. Doesn't mean I'll shop there again, but I can be sympathetic.

Eainsdad said...
This site is an aggregate search engine for ammunition prices. It works well.

D Monkey said...

Ammoseek and wikiarms are my go to sites

MrApple said...

SGAmmo is good to go. They have the best prices, don't gouge you on shipping, and get the ammo to you super quick.

Anonymous said...

Pricing depends upon how much your LGS can buy.
I work for an LGS, and for example we have M855 in 900rd cans for 339.99. I saw online prices of 334.99 plus shipping. But to be able to sell that low, we bought 10 skids.(540 cans). Not everyone can afford to do that, and have that kind of money invested in inventory for the time needed to sell it all.
A small shop will probably pay 20% more for the same stuff in smaller amounts.

Weetabix said...

I like SGAmmo because I used to buy from him at the local gun show in person. Since his online business has picked up so much, he often doesn't come, but I still buy from him because he's a nice guy.

John Wheatley said...

Buying often from wikiarms and SGAmmo, no problems in the last 2 years