Saturday, March 31, 2012

Service Comparison - Online Ammunition Dealers

With the cost of ammunition going up and Girlie Bear learning to shoot, I'm going through a lot more .22.  I decided to stock up, and while I was at it I thought I'd compare service between the online ammunition dealers.

I bought the common denominator between all of my .22's in what they liked to eat: Remington 36 grain Golden Bullet .22 Long Rifle.  This is basically like comparing boxes of flour or any other commodity, so I was able to find several different vendors who offered them.  I bought it in the 525 round packs, as that seemed to be the largest box you can buy from most dealers without having to buy thousands of rounds at a time.

I compared my purchases on cost, ease of purchase, and time to ship to my home.  I used no special discounts on the purchase prices, and I paid for the lowest cost shipping available from each dealer.


Vendor Cost Shipping/Handling Fees Total Cost Cost Per Round
Cabelas $19.99 $5.25
$25.24 $0.05
Ammunition to Go $18.95 $11.64
$30.59 $0.06
Midway USA $21.99 $9.95 $3.00 $34.94 $0.07
BassPro Shop $20.49 $5.00
$25.49 $0.05
Sportsman's Guide $21.49 $8.49 $0.99 $30.97 $0.06
Lucky Gunner $20.00 $13.09
$33.09 $0.06

Cabelas and BassPro were the least expensive at 5 cents per round, with Midway USA being the most expensive at 7 cents.  All of the others had the average price per round of 6 cents.  Bass Pro and Cabelas would have come in a little cheaper if I had gone to one of their stores to pick up my purchase, but the nearest Bass Pro is more than $5 worth of gas away, and there won't be a Cabelas near here for a few more months.  It should be noted that most of these vendors offered a discount for buying several of these packs together, usually 10, so you could get a cheaper cost per round if you bought from one vendor in larger quantities.

Ease of Purchase:

Overall, all of these vendors had a pretty good shopping experience.  I bought from all of them as a 'guest' account, so none of my stored information with them was used.  Bass Pro Shop and MidWay USA probably had the best purchase sites based on the fewest number of clicks to get from the "Shopping Cart" page to the "Order Confirmed" page.  Sportsman's Guide took the longest to purchase from, had the largest number of pages to get through to complete the order, and I had to click through several "Don't you want to join our club and save money?" pages.  However, the difference wasn't significant and wasn't frustrating enough to make me quit.  Please keep in mind that this portion of the evaluation was totally subjective and based upon my impressions as I was making the purchases.  Your mileage may vary.

Time to Ship:

Vendor Date Ordered Date Arrived Elapsed Days
Cabelas 03/21/12 03/26/12 5
Ammunition to Go 03/21/12 03/26/12 5
Midway USA 03/21/12 03/23/12 2
BassPro Shop 03/21/12 03/30/12 9
Sportsman's Guide 03/21/12 03/27/12 6
Lucky Gunner 03/24/12 03/28/12 4
In the amount of time it took to get from "Order Complete" to "Putting the box in the foot locker", Midway USA was by far the fastest at two days.  I got the shipment notice from Midway USA the same day I ordered, as has been my experience in all of the purchases I've done with them in the past.  Dead last by several days was Bass Pro, who took 9 days to get the bullets to me.  This was probably due to them being on back order, a situation Bass Pro was polite enough to tell me about half an hour after I had finalized the purchase on their website. The average time from order to front door was 5 days.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

Like I said, Bass Pro put my order on back order without telling me about it during purchase.  I probably wouldn't have included them in my comparison if they had told me that they didn't have that product in stock at the time of purchase, but since they finalized the order and then told me, they got put in with the rest of the pack.  Their time from order to delivery was 9 days, almost twice the average time of 5 days.

Lucky Gunner had the exact opposite problem.  When I was making the rest of the purchases on the 21st, they didn't have this particular .22 LR in stock, so didn't list it.  A few days later, they had it in, so I bought from them.  They got the bullets to me in less than the average time, so I'd put them up as a win.


Honestly, with the exception of the out-of-stock situation with Bass Pro, all of the vendors excelled in some way, either in price, ease of purchase, or speed of shipping.  Bass Pro and Cabela's were the least expensive, while Lucky Gunner and Midway USA were the most expensive.  However Bass Pro took the longest to get me my merchandise, while the more expensive options of Lucky Gunner and Midway USA got them to me the fastest.  Cabelas appears to be the sweet spot in this comparison for excellent cost per round and average speed of shipment.

So which one would I recommend?  Well, it depends.  If you need the rounds fast, I'd say go with Midway USA or Lucky Gunner.  If cost, not speed, is your priority, then I'd suggest Cabela's or Bass Pro.  However, the other vendors, while not outstanding when compared to any of these choices, still got my purchase to me in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable cost.  I would definitely recommend looking at all of these vendors if you are considering purchasing ammunition in the near future.  The major difference in cost between all of them was due to shipping costs, so what was less expensive to ship for me might be more for you and vice versa, especially if you are buying in bulk.  

Disclaimer:  I received nothing to do this review, and all materials and services discussed in it were paid for by me.


jon spencer said...

Another dealer to compare.

ZerCool said...

By any chance did you run through your local sporting goods store for a comparison? Walmart, Dicks, LGS?

I've consistently found that Walmart has the best prices on .22 for me.

DaddyBear said...

Jon, I looked at ammoman, but they didn't have Remington .22 in stock during the time that I was doing these purchases. I wish they had. They're a popular site.

I also tried to buy from Cheaper Than Dirt, but they didn't have that particular brand of .22.

Z - That's a comparison for another day. Let me restock the ammo budget a bit and I'll do a comparison of all of the local places to buy bullets. I was trying to compare the prices, shopping experience, and shipping of online dealers, and it just happened that I needed .22 and they all had this particular brand and package in stock.

N2GF said...

Did you consider Natchez Shooter's Supply? Most of my online ammo gets bought there.

DaddyBear said...

Thanks N2GF. I checked them out, but they listed this product as out of stock.

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