Beating Shortages with Online Bulk Ammo

Many gun owners dream of buying bulk ammo. There’s just something awesome about the thought of pallets of ammo showing up at your house. Many dream, but fewer do it. Money is always a factor. Let’s face it: dropping $500 on a case of ammo isn’t always possible. But buying in bulk online can and will save you money over time, which is generally true of any product. But there may be some benefits you haven’t considered. So, let’s look at some ways online bulk ammo ordering is a good thing.

loose 5.56 NATO ammunition
All the cool kids buy ammo in bulk. [Photo: Jim Davis]

A Lower Price per Round

We all know that bulk ammo generally costs less. Packaging can be a little cheaper and selling a case of 1,000 rounds is less labor-intensive than selling those same 1,000 rounds in 50-round increments. It’s a small saving, but it adds up. Buying it online can save you even more. We all know brick-and-mortar stores mark up their prices. They have to pay for their labor and show a profit. That means you pay more. You may save on a case since they don’t have to unpack and stock the individual boxes, but you’ll usually pay more than you do online. Online retailers generally have lower overhead than traditional stores, so they can pass those savings on to you.

Free Shipping

Even if you normally buy your ammo online, buying a certain amount often eliminates shipping costs. Free shipping thresholds vary, but I’ve found that buying an extra 100 or 200 rounds gets me free shipping and the cost is either a wash or only a little more than if I paid for shipping. But I still win by getting that extra ammo.

1000-round case of 9mm ammunition
Bulk ammo is cheaper by the round. [Photo:]


Ordering ammo on your computer is easier than going to the store. It’s that simple. Especially if you have free shipping. But if you can buy in bulk, you also save yourself from stopping by the store every time you hit the range. You save time, money, and probably some gas. Plus, you aren’t being jerked around by fluctuating prices.

Wider Selection

Some gun stores and big box outlets have a good ammo selection. Some don’t. Either way, you’re stuck with whatever they can get. You can always drive to another store, assuming there is another store, but who wants to do that? It’s much easier to just go from website to website or check a service like Ammo Seek. Some places even let you purchase ammo by the pound. That may be good, or it may not. Probably depends on your situation. Once again, you save time, money, and gas.

Payment Options

A fairly recent online development is the ability to pay for items over time using a service like Sezzle. If you haven’t seen them, those services spread your payment over four installments, each one two weeks apart. I’ve done that several times now. It doesn’t even cost extra. Many online retailers offer that option, including GunMag Warehouse.

1000-round case of 5.56 NATO ammunition
Some bulk ammo is already packed for storage. [Photo:]

Beating Shortages

Chances are, you remember at least one ammo shortage. The last major shortage was during the COVID-19 pandemic and the months, really years, afterward. Honestly, I’m currently dealing with a major firearms manufacturer that still blames COVID for slow lead times. Not sure I buy that, but who knows? Think that can’t happen again?

The bridge incident in Baltimore will certainly affect imports, including ammo from companies like Sellier & Bellot and PPU. Slowing down those imports puts more pressure on domestic manufacturers. Perhaps you remember how Joe Biden blocked Russian ammo imports after the Kremlin invaded Ukraine. Domestic suppliers have still not replaced that shortfall. I jumped online and ordered two cases of 7.62×39 ammo within five minutes of hearing the news. I was lucky to get it before sellers jacked up the prices. And the stress caused by that war and Israel’s current operations don’t help.

Unpredictable events can cause runs on ammo, even if manufacturers are working flat out. The tragic 2012 Sandy Hook murders come to mind. I remember the panic right after that happened. Everyone was certain that Barack Obama would finally get his gun control. Ammo prices skyrocketed, and the lines at our local big-box sporting goods store were ridiculous. People waited for hours for the store to open just to be able to buy one box of each caliber they wanted. You couldn’t get .22 Long Rifle ammo at all. That always puzzled me since .22s weren’t on the gun banners’ wish list.

Boxes of ammunition
Stacks of ammo can help you beat price spikes and shortages. [Photo: Jim Davis]
This is an election year. I expect sales of guns and ammo to ramp up as November looms. I think demand will rise precipitously. You can get ahead of that by stocking up now. I get that you may not be able to. But it’s a good idea if you can. Online bulk ammo is your best option.

Proper Storage

So, you’re stocking up on ammo. Good for you! Now, what are you going to do with it? Bulk ammo can be, well, bulky. First, you need a cool, dry space. I’ve seen people recommend it be dark, too, but I don’t know why. But maybe it’s a thing. Do NOT stack it up in your damp basement. If you have sealed military surplus spam cans, you might get away with that, but nothing else.

Cases of ammo are often shrink-wrapped. Leave the plastic on the boxes. It provides extra protection from moisture. Some folks remove the individual boxes from the cardboard case and store them in plastic ammo cans. They may shrink-wrap those ammo cans. Do that if you want. I don’t have that many ammo cans. I’ve also seen people vacuum-seal boxes of ammo. That’s fine too. Anything to prevent moisture is good. I save those little moisture-absorbing gel packs that come in so many products. I toss them in ammo cans and scatter them through my gun safes. Can’t hurt, right?

Ammunition storage boxes
Have a system for storing your ammo. [Photo: Jim Davis]
Create an ammo rotation system so that you’re using your older stuff as you replenish your stocks. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just use the FIFO method. That’s “First In, First Out” if you’ve never worked in a restaurant. It’s very simple. Just date your shipments with a Sharpie and stack them appropriately. It only takes a couple of minutes.

You Can Do This

Buying bulk ammo is easier than ever. We need to face the fact that ammo prices probably won’t return to 2019 levels. Too much has happened, with more on the horizon. Gun ownership is way up, and so is worldwide unrest. Waiting for prices to recede is a mistake. Don’t panic buy, but implementing a smart purchasing strategy means you won’t have to. It will help you in the long run and save you money in the process.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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