5 Best Places to Buy Ammo Online [2019]

So many online ammo websites, right?

Find out the best places to buy ammunition online from our own positive experiences and fails.

Bunch of Ammo
Mmmmmmmm, ammmo

We’ll also cover recommended brands, types of bullets to buy, what is a “good” price, and unfortunately…restrictions based on your state.

Best Places to Buy Ammo Online

  1. Lucky Gunner
  2. PSA
  3. Brownells
  4. Cabela’s
  5. Sportsman’s Guide

Why Buy Ammo Online?

A survey of gun owners conducted by the NSSF 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 of 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!

Made a Huge Mistake

I’d like to also add in variety and tax savings.

Without the restraint of a physical location, online sellers can have tons of selection.  Some guns just like different ammo better than others.  I like to order a couple of types to see what shoots best in a new gun, and then later put in a bulk order.  Plus, our suggestions will likely be out of state for you…so no sales tax!

Still with me?

Now onto the good stuff!

1. LuckyGunner

Lucky Gunner
Lucky Gunner

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 have 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 (or if you want to bulk buy?)

2. Palmetto State Armory (PSA)

http://www.pewpewtactical.com/go/psa/ammo-home/

My go-to online place for buying BULK ammo is Palmetto State Armory.

They will usually be one of the best prices for cases (1000) rounds of popular calibers…like .223/5.56, 9mm, and .45 ACP.

And sometimes you’ll even find free shipping for cases…otherwise it may be about $20-30 bucks.

Their shipping used to be excruciating slow about 5 years ago, but now with their in-house firearms selling like hotcakes…they’ve got their ammo shipping down as well.

Speaking of their firearms…they get my stamp of approval for the best entry-level AR-15.  Full review of 3 models here.

PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde
PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde

What’s your take on PSA for ammo and guns?

Readers' Ratings

4.9/5 (711)

Your Rating?

3. Brownells

Brownells

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!

4. Cabela’sCabela's Logo

Hunters and fishermen know and love their local Cabela’s and since their acquisition by Bass Pro, Cabela’s ammo prices have dropped even further!

Best of all, they almost always have the best hunting ammo you can find in almost every caliber you can think of.

Don’t forget to look at the Cabela’s branded gear also, everything from optics to rifle bags to jackets can be found with their brand name on it and so far I’ve never been disappointed with the quality or price!

5. Sportsman’s Guide

Sportsmens Guide Logo (2)

From power tools to guns and ammo, Sportsman’s Guide has almost everything under their roof – kind of like a Cabela’s and Harbor freight mixed into one!

While their standard deals are good, their deals with a Sportsmen’s Guide membership are even better! 10% off of gear and 5% off of guns and ammo, those savings can add up huge in a year of shooting!

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

Common Bullet Sizes
Common Bullet Sizes

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.

More Common Bullet Calibers
More Common Bullet Calibers

223/5.56 Ammo

Daniel Defense AR-15
Daniel Defense AR-15

The round of the super popular AR-15.

Haven’t gotten one yet?  Check out our Definitive Guide to the AR-15.

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.

Green Tip M855
Green Tip M855, 5.56

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.

M855 Cutaway, Bearingarms.com
M855 Cutaway, Bearingarms.com

We cover everything in even more detail in Best AR-15 Ammo for Self-Defense & Range.  But here are some of our picks.

Our favorite XM193 and XM855 ammo!

Best 5.56 XM193 55 gr
164
at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best 5.56 XM855 (Green Tip)
44.75
at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And our favorite range plinking round goes to PMC Bronze since the brass is great for reloading and it’s a little softer shooting than the others (perfect for competition).

If you don’t care about reloading…Wolf Gold is the best bang-for-the-buck .223 ammo.

Best .223 Bang-for-the-Buck
7.40
at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9mm Ammo

Glock 17
Glock 17

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 also recommend sticking with brass cartridges instead of cheaper aluminum/steel.

We cover everything in Best 9mm Ammo for Self-Defense & Range.  But here’s a couple of our favorites…

For general purpose self-defense…we like the 124 gr Federal HST.

Best 9mm Self-Defense (124 gr)
25.75
at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And for those who like heavier bullets…

Best 9mm Self-Defense (147 gr)

.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.

The extensive list is at Best .45 ACP Ammo for Home Defense & Target Practice but here’s our two main picks.

For self-defense, the HST passed the FBI ballistics gelatin test with flying colors…dominating in penetration and expansion.

Best .45 ACP Self-Defense
27.99
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

22LR Ammo

Ruger 10/22 Wood
Ruger 10/22 Wood

Reasonably priced 22LR ammo is getting easier to find at <8 cents a round.  So what is out there (and in stock) is much more expensive.   We’ve compiled an extensive list in Best .22 LR Ammo for Accuracy, Plinking, & Hunting.

But…the CCI at 40 gr is my go-to for 22LR in my Ruger 10/22.

7.62×39 Ammo

WASR-10, ~$500
WASR-10, ~$500

Review: AR-15 vs AK-47

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 afterward).

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.

 7.62×39 Self Defense Ammo

308/7.62 Ammo

Remington 700 SPS Bolt Action
Remington 700 SPS Bolt Action

Review: Best Sniper/Precision Rifle for Beginners

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.

All 308/7.62 ammo (Lucky, Brownells).

308 Ammo

7.62x51mm Ammo

308/7.62x51mm Self Defense

Shotgun Ammo

Mossberg 590
Mossberg 590

Best Tactical Shotguns for Home 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.

Check out the full list at Best Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense & Range Shooting.  But here’s some of our picks:

Birdshot

Buckshot

Slugs

Self-Defense Shotgun Rounds

Online Buying Restrictions

Saving the best for last…

As with gun laws, there are restrictions for buying ammo online based on your state.  Here’s a brief overview of some restrictions, but these change all the time…so double-check!

  • Alaska: No ammo or primer shipments
  • California: No more shipping to individuals as of January 1, 2018.  They will have to go to one of the following:
    • Licensed ammunition dealer with license on file
    • Federally licensed dealer (FFL) with license on file
    • Type 03 FFL (C&R) with their certificate of eligibility (COE), both licenses on file
    • Gun range that will store all the ammo on its premises
    • Law enforcement agency with written authorization that it is for official use
  • Connecticut: Requires some permits/certificates
  • Hawaii: No ammo or primer shipments
  • New Jersey: Additional card/ID required.
  • New York: Ammo must be sent to an FFL or special seller and no online ammo to NYC.
  • Washington DC: No online ammo sales
  • Illinois: Need some ID and Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID)

Want to see more of our favorite ammo, guns, and gear?  Check out Editor’s Picks.

38 Leave a Reply

  • gerald willette

    Looking for reloading Supplies

    2 years ago
  • Quig

    I looked at prices on the sites you mentioned, bu found that the prices, with shipping added in, were no better that I can get locally. Looks like they aren't so competitive after all.

    2 years ago
    • Quig

      Although, in all fairness, I have to say that I went back and discovered that the S/H stayed constant, even though the number of rounds went up. This greatly improved the cost per round. Bottom line, if you want a couple hundred rounds, you can probably match or beat the prices locally, but if you are willing to buy in lots of 500 rounds or more, you can make some significant savings.

      2 years ago
  • Jeff

    Eric, I reload most of my ammunition, except .22's of course, but do make frequent purchases of .22 LR & 9mm for my pistols. I do price comparison shopping on line. 9 out of 10 times I purchase from "Cabela's" when they have a sale and are offering free S/H on $99 orders. My last order was for 300 rds. of PMC 62 gr. 5,56mm green tipped ammo. $119 delivered (zero sales taxes in my state) and it comes with a $15 dollar "Plano" (with Cabela's name on it) 50 cal. plastic storage box. Now that's a good deal on some very good ammo. .33 cents a round when one removes my Cabela's discount and cost of storage box. Sportsman's Guide also offers some great prices on ammo (not always though) with frequent free S/H offers on orders as low as $45. Best if you join their shopping club to receive the best discounts, price and free S/H. I've been with them over 4 years now.

    2 years ago
  • Steve

    Watch out for the shady tactics of FREEDOM MUNITIONS. They offer free shipping and then jack up the ammo price to cover it. In my case, my total bill with "free shipping" as a new customer, was more than if I had just bought it outright! They offered to give me 5% off on my next purchase... Seriously? Why would I ever deal with these clowns again?

    2 years ago
  • Bill

    where I'm getting confused is where I just bought a Salvage F62. Planned on using both FMJ for target and HP for self defense, but have been advised by various references - including Salvage - not to use Hollow Points in this rifle, as have tendency to jam. Ofcourse there if nothing in the owners manual that mentions this. So when someone goes to buy a 22 cal,- regardless of brand - how are they to know this.

    2 years ago
  • Malcolm Jones

    Hi Eric, Love your site and articles. I recently decided to buy a firearm for the first time for home defense and chose the S&W M&P M2.0 9mm. My question is, what is the best brands of ammo to buy for the gun whether FMJ or Hollow Point. Your insight is greatly appreciated. -Malcolm

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Hey Malcolm, I'd get a bunch of FMJ for practice and some hollow points for defense. Also make sure to actually shoot those HP's to make sure they run smoothly in your gun. This article should help: https://www.pewpewtactical.com/best-9mm-ammo-self-defense-range/

      2 years ago
    • Tony

      I personally use Hornady Critical Defense. They might be a bit pricey depending on where you go but you get what you pay for.

      2 years ago
      • Malcolm

        Thanks. I went with AE FMJ and Federal JHP....From LuckyGunner.com....great prices...

        2 years ago
  • Christopher Scott

    Love to buy from y'all!

    2 years ago
  • MikeM

    I'm a little surprised not to see Midway on here as it ticks a lot of the boxes for me - good prices, accurate inventory, usually next day shipping. Granted, I've not tried the other sites (probably will try at least a couple to compare) and YMMV but so far so good for me with them.

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      I like Midway for the really hard to get small parts. But for ammo I still like the ones I rec.

      2 years ago
  • Dean Thomas

    Hi Eric, very informative. I have a small online ammo company named Hyperion Munitions Inc. was founded and is still run 100% by Veterans in Tampa, Florida. Our goal is to provide recreational shooters and local law enforcement with low cost reliable training ammunition.We are doing great ,providing all type of ammo with best quality with lowest cost

    2 years ago
    • Quig

      Hi Dean. I Checked out your site and the prices look good - until I added shipping. What started out as a very competitive $.40/rd turned into $.73/rd after shipping. I'd love to support your site, but I can't justify the nearly double price. I'd have to buy 500 rds to make it worth while.

      2 years ago
  • raymond

    Eric, i purchase a used 38 special and just when to the indoor range. Can please tell me the right FMJ bullets you recommend and JHP and also where to buy it, if possible? thanx ray

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      As you know, I'm a fan of lucky gunner. I prefer the slightly heavier 158 gr rounds compared to the 128 gr rounds. I'll have a specific article regarding 38/357 up soon.

      2 years ago
  • Richard Castellanos

    Cool

    2 years ago
  • Jim

    This is a quite a professional looking site. Writing style is concise but thorough and gramatically correct. Love your efforts man.

    2 years ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks so much Jim!

      2 years ago
  • Allen Cooper

    Hi Eric, I inherited a S&W .44 Spl from a relative. Can you please tell me about what type of cartridges to buy for practice and for home defense? Also, what do I need to know about the grains? Can you recommend an on-line site to purchase the cartridges?

    2 years ago
    • ehung

      Hi Allen, I would recommend Lucky Gunner which is linked first in this article. I actually don't have any experience with the .44 Spl but I usually go with whatever is cheapest for practice and then a well-reviewed JHP (jacketed hollow point) round for defense.

      2 years ago
      • Allen Cooper

        Thanks Eric. I noticed that their are different grains for each caliber. What do I need to know about grain when selecting the right cartridge? Thank you. Allen.

        2 years ago
        • ehung

          Hi Allen, my general recommendation is to go with the grain you like shooting plinking ammo with.

          2 years ago
    • Allen Cooper

      Also, I was told there are restrictions on the type of cartridges that can be used for indoor ranges. Can you provide info?

      2 years ago
      • ehung

        You'll have to call the range in question since I've seen rules all over the place.

        2 years ago
  • Roaster

    OK How come the makers of Xtac 5.56 went from m193 to mx 193 to xp193 now . whats the difference in the ammo ? I know what the m stood for whats xp mean ?

    2 years ago
    • ehung

      As far as I know, XP is their brand's designation of ammo that mimics the military version.

      2 years ago
  • Oliver lynch

    Looking for 220 swift bullets hoping to get Remington bullets 2000 for first order can simply licence and papers to ship and import them to Ireland

    2 years ago
    • ehung

      Hi Oliver, wish I could help you but not sure about those bullets and export laws!

      2 years ago
  • David A Matz

    Hi Eric, Really enjoy your insights and valuable information. I'm a geriatric greenhorn, and recently qualified for CC. Bought a Glock 19, Gen 4, and spend considerable time soaking up articles and YouTube tutorials. Also do a lot of dry practice/fire 3-5 times weekly. Appreciate that you provide a great deal of useful information to new enthusiasts. My experience with the couple of local gun shops has not been positive. Seems that all the ostensible friendliness and willingness to help ended when the receipt was handed to me. I now need to buy a quality IWB holster and gun belt. I'm clueless, and have been all over the internet as well as YouTube. Would greatly appreciate your input on what products/makers I should rely upon for quality, durability, comfort, and affordability regarding the holster and gun belt. My apologies in advance for the length of this post. Thank you, and wishing your continued success. David

    2 years ago
    • Holli

      I got an awesome at cabelas. Not bad priced either. It goes over one should and straps around you middle. They come complete apart so you can decide where to position gun shoulder support everything. Very comfortable and cool looking too.

      2 years ago
    • Mike

      A good gun holster is made by Crossbreed for IWB carry. I have three of them. I have seen reviews on Alienware holsters that they are extremely comfortable so you might want to check those out.

      2 years ago
      • Tony

        Alien gear holsters are great. Not only are they comfortable but they have a lifetime warranty. Plus if you ever switch to another gun, you just contact them and tell them what new gun you have and they'll swap out the shell for the new gun at no charge. You just pay the shipping. I've been using their holsters for years and I have about 7 handguns. Every time I get rid of one and get a new one they just replace the shell for my new gun. Plus they always have sales on combos if you buy more than one holster. No I don't work for them, I'm just a loyal customer. Lol

        2 years ago
    • ehung

      Hi David, thanks so much for the comments and glad I've helped you out a little. However, I might be in the same boat as you for IWB holsters since I don't have a CCW license yet. But for belts I've always been a fan of Uncle Mike's and regular non-IWB holsters I've always like Safariland.

      2 years ago
  • Vinay

    Hi Eric ... I am new to guns and recently purchased my first hand gun - a .357 magnum revolver. Any suggestions for practice and home defense rounds for this caliber? I really enjoyed the simple yet in-depth articles. Bookmarked for repeat reading and reference, thanks much! - Best, Vinay

    3 years ago
    • ehung

      Hi Vinay, thanks for the question! I don't have a .357 magnum myself yet (on the list!) but have shot several of my friends'. For practice rounds I would go with .38 special since those will most likely fit in your revolver. They are much cheaper and you can get used to the reduced recoil too. Home defense rounds just get something hollow point. The sheer power of the .357 will take care of the rest! I would recommend Gold Dot or Federal.

      2 years ago
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