Best Places to Buy Ammo Online 2017

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.

Bunch of Ammo
Bunch of Ammo

Can’t wait to see my reasoning?  Try out Lucky Gunner, Brownells, or Ammo Subscription.

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!

Made a Huge Mistake
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 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

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’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

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!

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.

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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

22LR Ammo

Ruger 10/22 Wood
Ruger 10/22 Wood

Review: Best 22LR Rimfire Rifle

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.

9mm Luger Ammo

Glock 17
Glock 17

Review: Best Handgun for Beginners & Home Defense

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.

Self Defense 9mm

.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.

Self Defense .45 ACP

223/5.56 Ammo

Daniel Defense AR-15
Daniel Defense AR-15

Review: AR-15 vs AK-47 & How to Choose your First AR-15

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.

5.56 ammo

.223 ammo

5.56 Self Defense Ammo

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 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.

 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

Review: Best Shotgun for Beginners & 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.

Birdshot

Buckshot

Slugs

Self-Defense Shotgun Rounds

17 Comments

  1. 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

    1. 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. 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

    1. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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 ?

  5. 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?

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

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

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