So many online ammo websites, right?
Find out the best places to buy ammunition online from our own positive experiences and fails.
Also learn about online ammo buying restrictions as well as recommended brands, types of bullets to buy, and what is a “good” price.
Why Buy Ammo Online?
A survey of gun owners conducted by the NSSF in 2012 found that 53% of gun owners bought ammo online and that 86% of those cited lower prices and quantity discounts.
I’ve only bought ammo a couple times at gun stores or the range because I forgot to bring my online bought ammo. But every time I go, it’s not surprising to see prices 50% higher than what you’ll find online…even after factoring in shipping!
I’d like to also add in variety and tax savings.
Without the restraint of a physical location, online sellers can have tons selection. Some guns just like different ammo better than others. I like to order a couple types to see what shoots best in a new gun, and then later put in a bulk order. And most likely you’ll be able to find an online retailer without a physical presence in your state and thus save on some taxes.
Still with me?
Online Buying Restrictions
As with gun laws, there are restrictions for buying ammo online based on your state. Here’s a brief overview of some restrictions, but always check your own state laws!
- Alaska: No ammo or primer shipments
- California: No shipping to (as of now) the cities of Beverly Hills, Carson, Marin County, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, & Los Angeles. Also no tracer ammunition.
- Connecticut: Requires some permits/certificates
- Hawaii: No ammo or primer shipments
- New Jersey: Additional card/ID required.
- New York: Ammo must be send to a FFL or special seller and no online ammo to NYC.
- Washington DC: No online ammo sales
- Illinois: No online ammo purchases for Chicago, but also need some ID and FOID card.
Now onto the good stuff!
Where to Buy Ammo Online
My go-to place to buy ammo online is Lucky Gunner for their selection, real-time inventory, and fast shipping, and shipping estimator. I’ve been a customer of theirs for over 6 years.
I find a lot of other retailers skimp in website tech or their shipping departments. There’s been too many times where the following has happened:
- I find a great price, order, my credit card is charged, and then I get an email a couple days later that they are out of stock. Now I can either wait for a backorder or get a refund which ties up my credit card for a week.
- I order and it takes a week or two to ship out my order.
- I try to see my shipping costs and I have to create a login and enter all my details first.
LuckyGunner is great since they take care of the three problems above. You get to see their live inventory next to each product, they have a 110% guarantee that your stuff will be shipped the next business day, and you can easily calculate shipping without creating a login.
How about a backup if they are out?
Brownells is where I get most of my specialty tools and gun parts. They also have unparalleled customer service, reasonable shipping, and some good ammo deals.
They are caught up in all the website technology which I love, so you can add all the ammo to your cart, input your zip code, and see the shipping. Makes it much easier to compare across websites.
They stand behind their products and I’ve found it really easy to return stuff. However, I’m pretty sure you can’t return ammo for safety reasons. But for parts and tools, they are the best!
Recommended Ammo Brands
These are just my recommended ammo brands based on price, availability, and what worked in my guns. I shoot a decent amount so I usually go for the budget brands. I haven’t had a problem with any of the below.
- PMC: Cheap and plentiful rounds that I have used in almost all my calibers. Made in South Korea.
- Federal/American Eagle: Also cheap and plentiful rounds made in the USA. I use them interchangeably but word on the street is that AE is Federal’s line that is sold online and in gunshops. Federal Champion is their budget line usually found at Walmart.
- Blazer: Another budget brand that sometimes seems too good to be true. Be aware that the super cheap one might be aluminum cased instead of regular brass. I’ve never tried aluminum casings in pistols since I wanted to keep my brass for eventual reloading, but my buddies and I have had no problems in handguns running Blazer Brass.
- Tula: My go-to AK round brand. Super cheap with polymer coated steel cases. Who cares…it’s an AK!
- Others: I’ve also had good success with Sellier & Bellot, and Fiocchi, but they are normally a little higher in price. And if in doubt, just google the brand and caliber to see if there’s any complains in online gun forums.
Recommended Ammo for Common Calibers
A quick overview of the different calibers and types of bullets out there so you’ll know all the useful acronyms such as FMJ for full metal jacket or JHP for jacket hollow point. We’ll also have some suggestions for choosing a self-defense gun as well.
Even though we go through 18 calibers in the article above, you’ll probably only see/need a handful of the most common ones. So we’ll start with those first.
Reasonably priced 22LR ammo is still really hard to find at <8 cents a round. So what is out there (and in stock) is much more expensive. Until times change, you will have better luck by looking at all .22LR Ammo (Lucky, Brownells). The CCI at 40 gr is my go-to for 22LR in my Ruger 10/22.
- CCI – 40 gr (Likely in stock but expensive)
- Federal Automatch Target – 325 Rounds – 40 gr
- Sellier & Bellot – 500 Rounds – 38 gr
9mm Luger Ammo
I’ve shot over 5,000 rounds of 9mm before I started reloading for competitions. Price is around 25 cents a round. I prefer 124 gr instead of 115 gr which seems snappier in recoil, but I recommend trying out both to see which one you like better. I would recommend sticking with brass cartridges instead of cheaper aluminum/steel.
- Blazer Brass – 50 Rounds – 115/124 gr FMJ (Cheapest brass option usually)
- PMC – 50 Rounds – 115/124 gr FMJ (What I’ve shot the most)
Self Defense 9mm
- Federal Hydra Shok – Mix – 124 JHP (What I use for self defense rounds)
- Speer Gold Dot – 50 Rounds – 124 gr JHP
.45 ACP Ammo
I’ve shot over 2,500 rounds of 45 ACP and also go with my standard budget list of manufacturers. Price is around 40-50 cents a round. There’s not too much variation in weight so I stick with the standard 230 gr. I’ve shot all the three brands below but just stuck with PMC for price/availability.
- PMC – 50 Rounds – 230 gr FMJ (What I’ve shot the most)
- American Eagle – 50 Rounds – 230 gr FMJ
- Blazer – 50 Rounds – 230 gr FMJ
Self Defense .45 ACP
- Federal Hydra Shok – 50 Rounds – 230 gr JHP (Just always stuck with Hydra Shok)
- Speer Gold Dot – 50 Rounds – 230 gr JHP
We go through the differences in the Bullet Calibers & Types lesson, but basically you can shoot .223 ammo in a 5.56 barrel, but since 5.56 may have higher pressures, you should not shoot them in a .223 barrel.
I always get my barrels in 5.56 so there is no problem. Ammo is around 30-40 cents each at the most standard 55 gr bullet.
You’ll also see some designations of XM and M followed by 193 or 855 for Federal & American Eagle. XM means it was rejected from military use for some reason but still meets commercial specifications. M means it meets mil-spec. 193 means it is a 55 gr FMJ-BT (boat tail) while 855 is 62 gr FMJ-BT with a steel penetrator for added penetration against hardened targets. “Lake City” means it is from the specific ammunition plant that manufacturers for the US military.
Learn more about X vs XM and 193 vs 855.
I’ve shot about 2,000 rounds of Federal/American Eagle XM193 and PMC Bronze (.223) before reloading and there has been no problem. I also hear great things about the PMC X-TAC M193 and M855.
- PMC X-TAC – Assorted – 55 gr M193 (Best price/availability if you want to get near mil-spec)
- American Eagle – Assorted – 55 gr XM193
- PMC X-TAC – Assorted – 62 gr 855 (If you want the penetrator)
- Federal Gold Match – 20 Rounds – 69 gr (More accurate rounds for precision shooting)
- PMC Bronze – 20 Rounds – 55 gr FMJ (Best .223 option)
5.56 Self Defense Ammo
The good ole AK-47 rounds. My rule is to go with ammo from countries that used the AK but to watch out for corrosive ammunition (which is pretty good shooting stuff, you just need to put more effort in cleaning afterwards).
You also need to check with your shooting range rules to see if they allow magnetic (bi-metal) or non-brass ammunition such as Wolf/Tula.
If they don’t, you will have to go with more expensive brands or corrosive ammunition. The general weight is around 122 gr and costs from 25-35 cents each. Brass cartridges will be more.
- Tula – Assorted – 122 gr FMJ (Magnetic + Steel, my favorite if the range doesn’t care)
- Wolf – Assorted – 123gr FMJ (Magnetic + Steel, WPA Polyformance is the cheapest)
- PMC – 20 Rounds – 123 gr FMJ (Non-Magnetic + Brass, if the range cares)
7.62×39 Self Defense Ammo
Another of those rounds that are almost identical but with some differences in pressure and dimensions. Unless you really know what you are doing, keep to using the round intended for your rifle.
Since most 308/7.62x51mm ammo will be in long-range (sniper) rifles, we’ll also include some Match ammo.
Most commercial ammo will be around 147 gr and around 60-70 cents each while match ammo is around 168 gr and $1.50 a round. I went almost straight into reloading to get the max accuracy out of my guns so take my suggestions with a grain of salt.
- PMC – 20 Rounds – 147 gr FMJ-BT (Shot my first hundred with this)
- Fiocchi – 20 Rounds – 150 gr FMJ-BT
- Federal Match King – 20 Rounds – 168 HP-BT (For precision shooting)
- Federal – 20 Rounds – 149 gr FMJ XM80C
- Federal – 20 Rounds – 168 gr Open Tip Match (For precision shooting)
308/7.62x51mm Self Defense
The shotgun is unique since there are so many different types of ammunition.
We’ll cover basic target birdshot (#8-#9 is great for clay shooting), buckshot, and slugs. Remember for birdshot, the larger the #, the smaller the pellets. And that 00 (double-aught) buckshot is great for self defense while slugs are one solid piece of lead.
2-3/4″ refers to the length of the shell which will fit almost all 12ga shotguns. The problem arises from 3″ magnum shells.
Prices will vary from 25 cents for target shots, to around 50 cents – $1 for buckshot and slugs. I’ve shot tons of Fiocchi and Estate birdshot, and love the Winchester Military Buckshot.
- Fiocchi – 25 Rounds – #8 2-3/4″ (What I’ve shot the most)
- Estate – 25 Rounds – #8 2-3/4″ (Cheapest option)
- Winchester Military – 5 Rounds – 2-3/4″ 00 Buckshot (Gold standard)
- Federal – 5 Rounds – 2-3/4″ Rifled Slug
- Winchester – 5 Rounds – 2-3/4″ Rifled Slug
- Fiocchi – 10 Rounds – 2-3/4″ Slug (Low Recoil)