A common question I’ve been asked over the years is where to buy ammo from online. I can definitely understand the question – there is a bewildering number of online vendors that sell ammo and some offer great deals and service and others don’t – plain and simple. I’ve been involved with firearms since my dad held a .22 for me in the 1970s and have been involved with the Internet since the early 1990s. The combination of the two really took off around 2006 when I got interested in AK rifles and started frequenting the AKFiles, the AKForum and other boards as part of that.
It’s been an amazing ride to say the least. A lot of great guys have helped me over the years and part of my blogging is me trying to give back some. So, back to the topic at hand – where to find ammo? The short answer is that there are a ton of places and it does pay to shop around, wait for sales when you can, sign up for vendor newsletters to get discounts and sales info, etc.
Remember that ammo is heavy. I’m not joking – be sure to look at what the delivered cost will be when comparing vendors. One group might have a great ammo price but real steep shipping charges that nullify the savings. Likewise, a vendor might have a sale one weekend where they have a discount and free shipping and you may only know about it if you sign up for and read their sales emails. I can’t stress signing up for the emails enough – some places will send you a coupon code right away.
What I am going to try and do is list the websites/vendors that I’ve had very good luck with. I’m going to split them between Highly Recommended and Recommended. I’m not going to disparage any vendors but I’ll say that if they are not on my list, just do some searching around and see what others say about them. There are tons and tons of great vendors out there who I have probably never heard of and never will but there are also some not so great groups out there as well.
What follows is my trying to give a bit of guidance about things to consider and sites to go:
Is Buying Ammo Online Legal?
Guys ask me if they can legally buy ammo online – meaning from a website. The problem is that the answer to this question depends on federal, state and local laws. At a federal level it is ok. For most states it is ok. Once you get down to the county and city/town level, it depends. You need to check around and find out the answer to that question. Use the Internet to research, ask your local gun club, sheriff’s department, etc.
Are Websites Always Cheaper Than Buying Locally?
The short answer is a very strong “Not always”. A lot of gun stores can be very competitive. Ammo is heavy and local gun stores can buy in bulk plus they can do a number of things to lower their cost. For example, Modern Antique Firearms in Benton Harbor, MI, is owned by my friend, Scott Igert, and they regularly get great deals on ammo that they then pass along to their customers. They will also group special orders together to further lower cost for people looking for relatively rare ammo.
Speaking of, if you are in an area that lacks competition or are looking for specialty loads or relative rare calibers, online is probably your better option if not your only option. For example, I had a .50 Beowulf. You aren’t going to walk in a store and find that ammo. The same tends to be true for my .338 Lapua.
One other shout out I want to give to the local gun shops is customer service. Again, pointing to modern antique firearms, you can go in there and get a lot of advice about how to select ammunition and what would work good in your situation. Never underestimate the value of good advice.
Highly Recommended Websites For Ammo
Websites in this category are ones that I have bought from many times and are usually the first ones I check when looking to buy ammo. I have no hesitation in recommending them to you as you start your journey to find ammo.
By the way folks, I get no money at all from any of these places. I’m telling you purely based on my experience. All the vendors on this list are groups that I’ve ordered from at least 10 times.
- SGAmmo – this is a family-owned business that has been around for a long time. They were recommended to me many years ago and I have ordered a lot of ammo from them over the years. They have very good prices and are quick to ship. When I thought who to list as my number one go-to, it was these folks hands down. You absolutely need to subscribe to their email newsletter. There’s no two ways about it.
- J&G Sales – I first ran into J&G Sales many years ago. People were recommending them as a place to get combloc ammo from and I bought a lot of 7.62 x39 from them over the years. They have expanded their offerings to include a lot of ammo from different companies such as Wolf, S&B and many others.
- Midway USA – Midway has a huge online presence selling gun parts, ammunition, and many other things. I have bought so much from these folks over the years my wife knows those boxes on-site 🙂
- Sportsman’s Guide – this is another big online website. Sometimes they do have good deals on ammunition and are worth checking out especially when they have sales and free shipping.
Recommended Websites For Ammo
Groups in this category I have ordered from a number of times and have been very satisfied. The websites below are listed in order they came to mind,
- Palmetto State Armory – Palmetto is a interesting low-cost vendor out there. I have bought a lot of AR parts from them over the years and been very happy. Once in a while they will have a great sale on some popular ammunition in a given caliber. You definitely want to sign up for their sales newsletter.
- Cabelas – sometimes these folks have good prices on ammunition but they are good to remember because sometimes they will have inventory when other groups do not.
- Buds Guns – they often have competitive prices and are definitely one place to check. Another good example of a place that may have in unison in stock when others don’t. For example I recently bought some S&B 124 grain 9 mm ammo from them.
- Able Ammo – definitely one vendor to check. I have bought firearms and ammunition from them over the years.
- AIM Surplus – they carry quite a selection of ammunition, magazines and so forth.
- Mile High Sports – these folks are a good source for match ammo. For example, I bought 338 Lapua from them.
- Gunbroker – if you have never used it, GunBroker is an auction site for all kinds of firearms, ammunition and related items that are for sale from literally hundreds of sellers on their site. You really have to do some research before you bid to know whether you’re getting a deal or paying a fortune. Never assume you are looking at the lowest price just because you are on an auction site. I have gotten some fantastic deals on GunBroker over the years but I have also seen a lot of ridiculously high-priced items as well. One last comment, as I mentioned earlier, ammo is heavy. Find out what your total cost will be before you buy.
A Recommended Ammo Purchasing Strategy
If you are new to firearms, bear in mind that ammo is not all the same even within a caliber or bullet type. Each different type of round is designed for a specific use be it plinking, self-defense, hunting and so forth. Decide what you want the ammo for. For example, you would not want to buy a boat load of very expensive self-defense hollow point ammunition just to go plinking. Conversely, you ought to consider spending the extra money to buy some really well regarded self defense hollow point versus Full Metal Jacket range ammunition.
It is interesting how fireams can still can differ even within a model. For example, you could have to virtually identical pistol sitting next to each other and find that one likes a particular type of ammunition more than the other pistol does.
Certainly it pays to research recommendations on ammo for your particular firearm but bear in mind that you must always test ammunition before you buy a bunch of it. I can’t stress this enough. Your gun may not function at all or it may have horrible accuracy with a particular type of ammunition. Do not leave it to chance. You sure do not want to buy ammo and go straight out hunting or rely on it for self-defense. Test test test test. Also, be sure to test it with the magazines.
Once you have an idea of what you want to buy, then check the various websites listed above.
Have you ever wished there was a website where you could search across many vendors to see what prices are? I found a service called just that – AmmoSeek. It’ll help you get an idea of pricing for a wide variety of ammo. Again, look at total cost – product + shipping + insurance when comparing vendors.
If you see a vendor you have never heard of before, do some searching with Google and see what people see. Try phrases like “Is vendor X any good”, “vendor X reviews”, and so forth.
Like I said before, a lot of guys helped me out when I first got started. It began with my dad and his friends, then my friends and their fathers and it just grew from there. I truly hope this helps you enjoy your firearms and be prepared.
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