Fred Causley

I planned to make this column a first-rate public service, informing people of the best ammunition purchases at just the right price and at the perfect point of purchase. Oh yes, the perfect online sites were also in my plans. So was world peace.

There are more ways to buy ammunition of any sort – from BB’s to .50 caliber – than Cooter’s old hound has fleas, and he’s crawling with them.

There is a better statistical likelihood of landing the Mars Challenger with chopsticks than there is of targeting the “perfect” ammunition purchase, even for slingshot marbles. Alas, as I have started, thus must I venture forth with some form of sound advice.

First of all, know your shooter (the person for whom you wish to buy), the kind of ammo he or she may desire, and a reasonable amount you wish to spend.

Here is a wise first step: ask the intended recipient for a detailed list to present to clerks. Remember, most clerks will know even less about your needs than you, so details are important. Details such as 1) caliber, 2) brand desired, 3) amount preferred.

A brick (500 rounds) of .22 Long Rifle currently sells in the neighborhood of five cents a round. Add any bells and whistles, such as hollow point, extra high velocity, special jacketing, etc. and you add pennies per round.

Not always, but generally, the price per round goes up with caliber size. Popular calibers, such as nine millimeter or .223, can be more reasonably priced due to higher manufacturing output. A box of 50 nine millimeter may run $12-$15 depending on brand and features.

My son once owned a rifle that was roughly $4 every time he pulled the trigger. He didn’t pull it too often and traded it off rather quickly. But he could hit a bee’s behind with it in the next county!

Bulk purchases, either online or at sites such as gun shows, can be a useful way to make good purchases. Online sites are numerous and the more popular ones are well maintained and reputable. Some are:, Sportsman’s Guide, Cabela’s and Brownell’s. Just Google the topic, there are lots more.

Locally, Walmart, Academy and Atwoods are good sources, though usually not for bulk purchases. Personally, I avoid cheap ammo with steel casings, good prices or no.

If purchasing online, remember that ammunition is heavy. Shipping fees can be significant, so keep a wary eye on that aspect.

If you intend to wrap ammo for a present, it should be within steel or wooden container surrounded with insulating material (to protect both you and the ammo from drops), and certainly not placed near a fireplace or other heat source.

Best advice for Christmas ammo purchases: get a gift certificate or provide a cashier’s check to keep funds out of the hands of the Grinch.

Fred Causley is a former OSU Agriculture Communications employee and a longtime Stillwater resident and NRA member. Send him questions or feedback to