The average shooter is about as likely to find a reliable source of cheap ammunition as he is to find a unicorn. Fortunately, it’s possible to save money and stretch out a budget even when ammunition is at its most expensive.
The easiest way to save money on ammunition is to reuse it. People who reload their own ammunition can pick up their brass after they shoot, replace the propellant and a few other components, and fire it again. The brass is the most expensive part, so reloading it can easily cut ammunition expenses down by a third.
A lot of people buy ammunition when they’re worried about it getting scarce due to new regulations, but that’s the worst time to do it. Panic buying drives up the demand, which leads to shortages that can double or triple the price of ammunition. It’s best to wait through the panic and buy more ammunition when it gets cheaper.
Buy It Over Time
A lot of people buy their ammunition in bulk and only restock when they run out, but that’s an economic trap. People who only buy ammunition when they run out don’t have time to shop around and find better prices. It’s best to buy a little bit every month to make sure there’s time to find the best deals.
Unless There’s A Sale
That having been said, there are times when it pays to buy in bulk. Good deals are rare, so it’s important to take advantage of them. Stocking up when ammunition is cheap can save a lot of money, and it’s reasonable to borrow from the next month’s budget to do so. As long as you only buy in bulk when there’s a sale and it doesn’t turn into a habit, it’s a decent way to save some money.
The best deals show up when multiple merchants need to compete for sales. Look for areas that have multiple gun shops, and considering going to conventions and gun shows. It’s important to take the cost of traveling to the shows into account for your budget, since the lower prices might not justify spending a lot of money on gas and a hotel, but a nearby show can be the best place to buy.
The Right Caliber
Not all ammunition is created equal. It’s usually possible to find .22 at a fraction of the price of other ammunition, and regional prices will be lowest for the least popular calibers in the area. People who really want to save money can do it by spending more time shooting the cheap ammunition and saving the expensive options for special occasions.