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The above screenshot is why. Dealer cost is $308 for 420 rounds (as of 04-04-2022) just for normal M193 ammo. I’m simply not going to pay $0.73/rd DEALER COST, and then ask you to pay even more yet. Even now, M193 5.56 ammunition does NOT cost $0.73/rd retail. It typically costs anywhere between $0.60-$0.66/rd retail. So the fact that the WHOLESALE price is $0.73/rd is not only insane, but its also scary. It's scary in the sense that Zanders (and other wholesalers) are clearly raising prices because they see something on the horizon that the rest of us do not. What does Zanders know that we don't? Who knows. But I think it's safe to say that the price of all ammunition will only be going up for at least the next six months, maybe longer.
Why do the big box stores have an abundance of ammunition made by these big name brands for a decent price? I'm not sure exactly how, but I have my educated guesses. If I had to make an educated guess, I would say the big box stores are able to order DIRECTLY from companies like Federal, Winchester, Hornady etc. and do not have to order through wholesalers like 99% of gun stores including myself do. Again, that's just an educated guess.
A lot of the ammunition I routinely order and keep in stock is imported from various European countries. Igman for example, makes the .223 Rem ammo I sell, and that is imported from Bosnia. Belom makes the 9mm ammo I sell, and that is imported from Serbia. Sterling makes the 12ga slug and buckshot shotgun ammo I carry, and that is all made in Turkey. Does imported ammo mean its of lesser quality? Absolutely not. A lot of these companies have military contracts with various countries over in Europe, and have for decades. The reason why you maybe haven't heard of these companies yourself is because prior to the Great Ammo Shortage of 2020, ammo didn't need to be imported the way it does today. Belom 9mm for example, is actually some of my favorite 9mm ammo I've ever used. If you've followed my business for any length of time you'll know I'm a big fan of the resealable boxes they come in, the fact that the ammo uses brass casings, they have sealed primers, and 124gr bullets. Generally speaking, bullet weight for your range ammo doesn't matter too much because you aren't carrying it for defensive purposes. But for me it does because I shoot competitively, and the 124gr bullets seem to knock over the steel "popper" targets a bit faster than 115gr bullets do. That's just my experience. Conversely, there are few things more annoying than the guy who swears he has to have 147gr 9mm ammo, complains that it's $30 per box, and only ever shoots paper targets inside of 20 yards. Don't be that guy. Moving on, the .223 ammo made by Igman has been excellent for me as well. It groups as well as any of the other 55gr .223 Rem ammo I've fired from my home defense AR. That too, also has sealed primers, and brass casings. Big plus.
In my opinion, probably the only time I'd give much thought to my range ammo is if I were planning on buying heavy for caliber match grade ammunition, which costs significantly more. As long as the cheap stuff groups well, and doesn't cause any issues, I'd feel good about buying in bulk from brands I haven't heard of especially if its significantly cheaper than the brands I HAVE heard of. Putting my money where my mouth is, ALL of the 9mm ammo in my personal stash is Belom, about half of my .223 ammo is made by Igman, and I also sold a case of Igman .223 to a close relative. I refuse to sell junk.
To close this blog post, I just want to reiterate that I'm doing my best to invest my capital wisely to continue supplying you with a wide variety of ammunition at great prices.