FEEDING THE GUNS
Douglas Henderson, one of my readers, left a comment on this post
asking me to mention ways to reduce the amount spent on ammo. It's taken me a few days to get around to it, but here goes.
There's basically four ways to cut down on ammo cost. They are buying in bulk
, by buying inexpensive ammo
, surplus ammo
. Of all of these reloading is the most involved, so I'll talk about it in a seperate post.
Buying in Bulk
There are big name ammunition companies
that produce a superior product, but the stuff they offer costs money. Your local gun shop will usually knock a few bucks off if you spend $100.00 USD or more. Spend $300.00 or more and they'll reduce the price just a tiny bit more.
This is worthwhile when buying your favorite self-defense ammo
. You're not going to be able to see big big savings this way but every little bit helps. I'd say you'd be lucky to see a savings of 10%. In fact, 5% would be more like it.
Buying Inexpensive Ammo
There are a few companies that produce quality ammo specifically for target practice, and they sell it at bargain prices. The king of the low-cost ammo is CCI Blazer
. Their secret? They use an aluminim case that can't be reloaded but which cuts down on the cost considerably. I've used their product many times and I certainly don't have any complaints.
Most shooting ranges also offer some in house reloaded ammo. One of the guys who works there collects the spent brass at the end of the day, takes it home and turns it into workable ammunition that he then sells to the customers. The ammo is usually dirty, and the propellant used is almost invariably smokey with a big cloud of dust ejected with every shot. Sometimes the powder is so low-grade that it seems that you're shooting into a fogbank after 100 rounds or so. This means that it'll be more work to clean your gun at the end of the day because you have to scrape all that crap off.
There is a good side to this kind of ammo. It's great if you find a shooting range/gun shop that rents guns. If you have a new shooter who isn't sure what they want to buy you can rent a bunch of different guns and use the reloaded stuff. After all, YOU'RE not going to clean the rented gun.
I've posted a series
about surplus guns
, and I've mentioned in passing that you can buy surplus ammo from the same guys who sell the surplus guns.
These surplus guns come from governments who bought bunches of guns for their military, and then they warehoused them in case war broke out. After awhile (usually 50 to 100 years), someone decides that they don't need the guns anymore and they sell them off for a few bucks per to dealers that specialize in this sort of things. Usually the vast numbers of rounds that were also stored with the guns are tossed in to sweeten the deal.
You can find ads for surplus ammo in the same trade periodicals
that have the ads for the surplus guns. There's both good news and bad news about going this route.
The good news is that you can find some fantastic deals. Try up to 90% off the regular price! If you shoot a bunch (and you really should
shoot a bunch if you own guns for defense) then this is the way to go.
The bad news is that most of the deals are for rather unpopular calibers. Most of these old military rifles were chambered for calibers
, even though they are capable. So the vast majority of the really sweet deals are only of use to you if you already own a surplus gun.
But that's just the really sweet deals. You can still buy ammo at 50% the going rate for some popular
rifle and handgun calibers
. The loads are rather limited, being usually just ball ammunition, but it's just great for practice.
If you're interested in a good deal on ammo then I'd strongly suggest trying the surplus ammo route.