We own firearms for different reasons. Some folks enjoy shooting at the range with their mates. Some carry handguns for self-defense and practice shooting not just because they enjoy it but because they realize that shooting skills are perishable. Others own firearms for hunting or, as they sometimes say, for more practical reasons. You’ll see them coming in with their rifles and a small supply of bullets to assure their rifles still hold zero or to test a new type of ammunition. We own guns for different reasons and we send bullets downrange for different reasons. However, we have one thing in common—we all need ammunition to make our firearms go bang.
No matter where you live, finding the specific ammunition you are seeking is hard. The more mission specific the ammunition, the harder it is to find. When we do find what we are looking for, the price is typically high and availability too low to match our needs. This raises the question of “Well, do we have a choice? Is there a more efficient way of buying ammunition?” And the simple answer is—“Yes”.
You no longer have to go to the book store and hope, against all odds, that Borders will have the Jeff Cooper book you want or any one of Clint Smith’s Thunder Ranch training DVDs. You can just buy those on-line. The same applies to ammunition. You are no longer restricted to the vanilla variety your local Wal-Mart has to offer, and you don’t have to pay outrageous rates to the only gun store in town. You can search the entire country for the specific ammunition you want, and you can have vendors all over the country fighting over your business. Thank goodness for supply and demand. Given the scope of the Internet, you are sure to get a good deal on the ammunition you want.
So how do you buy ammunition on-line? It’s easy, and we’ll show you how—but first an important warning! You must be aware of any local laws and restrictions relating to ammunition ownership and usage in your state, county and city. Remember that you can buy ammunition from a free state such as Texas, where you can buy pretty much anything you want. However, legally buying ammunition in Texas doesn’t mean you can legally own it in California, New Jersey, or any number of other states. Furthermore, in some cases, restrictions will apply to select areas of a city but not to others, as in the case of Washington D.C. or Chicago. The first rule of Internet ammunition buying says that you must know what you are allowed to own in your area of residence. While some on-line ammunition vendors are aware of such restrictions and won’t ship certain items to you, some of the smaller on-line ammunition stores may not know of any restrictions and may send you ammo that could get you in serious trouble. Since local laws are driven by caprice and ignorance, any on-line vendor can make a mistake and ship you an item that is illegal locally. In such a case the seller will not break the law, but you will if you receive the package. It’s, therefore, your responsibility to obey all state and local laws.
Now for the easy and fun part, which means getting the ammunition you want at a good price. At a high level, you need to find the ammo you want, make sure the combined price of the ammo and shipping are good (one of the biggest pitfalls for online buyers), and confirm that the vendor is legitimate—something you want to do before you supply your credit card number.
Now, let’s look at the step-by-step instructions that will allow you to buy ammunition on-line:
- Run the search: Open your Internet browser and search engine of your choice (Bing, Yahoo or Google). At the browser address tab, type http://www.bing.com or http://www.yahoo.com and click, ‘Go’
- Narrow by caliber: Enter the caliber and category of the ammo you need. For example, “bulk 45 ACP range ammo”, or “Winchester 150gr 300 WSM” or “Winchester Ranger .40 S&W” or “self defense 00 Buck ammo”….
- Review results: The search engine is going to return several options. You’ll see names that you recognize such as Midway USA and Cabela’s, and some that you never heard of before. Generally, vendors who sell ammo mostly on-line will offer better prices than the bigger vendors.
- Collect ammo data: Go into the different vendor sites. Search for the ammunition you want, just as you did in step #1. You want to take note of three facts: the price of the ammo, the availability of the ammo, and the price of shipping. You may need to enter the ammo you want into the online basket and then press “checkout” (just to calculate shipping –do not enter your credit card!). Write down the information and do the same with each of the different vendors you find in the search query.
- Research vendors: Eliminate vendors that didn’t have the ammo you need. Then start looking at the reliability of the different vendors. Remember that the internet is full of scammers. Some sites, such as Cabela’s, Midway USA and AmmunitionToGo are great, but since you don’t know who on your list is good, we’ll need to run a search to see what feedback people like you had about them. As you did earlier, open your search engine and enter the query “customer feedback [vendor name]”. Go over the returns and see which site gets good scores. If you start with the site that had the best price, or that you liked most, this process shouldn’t take long.
- Buy and Pay: When you check out of an on-line ammo store, you’ll typically see all the ammo that you bought, as well as shipping prices and any other notes of interest. For example, some sites will require “adult signature” when the package is received, others won’t. Be sure to understand the site policy, and pay with a credit card that has good customer service in case you’ll need help with a potential dispute.
- Initial Receipt and tracking: Most sites will send you an email with a list of the ammo you bought, the itemized price and the transaction ID for you records. It may take a few days before anything else happens.
- Tracking number: After the order gets processed and ships, a tracking number will be sent to you. This tracking number will tell you when the ammo will arrive, and it will note if signature is required. With that you are almost done.
- Receiving the ammo: Remember that your ammo travelled a long distance. Inspect the external box for damage, as well as the boxes of ammo inside, and make sure you got everything you ordered.
- You are done: That’s all it takes. Finding ammo on-line is a lot easier than it initially looks. You’ll likely find that you saved money and/or got that special ammo you wanted. Well done!
Congratulations on passing our course for buying ammunition on-line 101. If you found this information helpful, tell your mates and help then buy ammo on-line too!
Stay safe, by staying alert!
Dan S. Defense