Do you buy ammo from local manufacturers? I go back and forth on this. Usually the local companies are cheaper. They are usually small time shops that have little overhead. Sometimes it may even be ran out of someones garage. There’s a local company here in Reno that reloads once fired brass. They run about $250/1000 on 9mm, which is pretty cheap. I’ve never had a problem with any of their ammo. It’s good for training. On the plus side I also get to support a local business. If they sold all calibers of ammo I would probably buy more from them.
On the flip side the large manufacturers have a reputation. They may be more expensive, but since they are a large company and generally produce millions, if not billions of rounds per year, the likelihood of getting a bad round is pretty small. If you buy some rounds from a large company (read reputable) and the round happens to blow up your rifle, you can probably get compensated for it pretty easily. I’m guessing the last thing they want is a lawsuit. It may be tougher for a small company since paying for a rifle that their ammunition broke may mean not putting food on the table.
So I recently branched out and bought some ammo from another local company. I was on armslist, like I am almost every day, and saw and ad for 300 AAC Blackout. It was relatively inexpensive (for 300BLK) after my military discount so I decided to order some. The ad said that if you lived in the local northern Nevada area you could pick it up form their shop. So I decided to place the order for 200 rounds and pick it up. Well after placing the order it turns out that they are not local but almost 75 miles away. So I then decided to have it delivered. They woman informed me that their “delivery” service would be cheaper than Fedex and cost $20. Delivery service it is. Well, there was a miscommunication as the whether or not I wanted it delivered on a certain day so they delivery got botched (turns out the “delivery service” was just the guy’s wife and the “miscommunication” was them saying they didn’t get and email which they responded to). Finally got the ammo and all looked good. Couldn’t wait to go shoot some.
That’s where things went from mildly annoying to disappointing. Upon closer inspection of the rounds it looked like the bullets were not seated correctly and copper was being shaved off the sides when seating. Not that big of a deal, but it’s something I did when I first started to reload. I was let down to say the least, but they were practice/fun ammo so I wasn’t too worried. That’s when things got dangerous. I loaded five in a magazine and loaded it in my AR. When I let the bolt free the round didn’t chamber. It was stuck. I was able to free and eject the round and noticed that the bullet was pushed into the case. So I tried another. Same thing. I tried the forward assist and the round fully chambered and fired, but the next round was the same thing.
After comparing them to my own handloads it looked like the case sizing was off. I had fired lots of factory and handloads so I didn’t think it was my equipment. I was furious. I had to wait a day to send the email so I could cool down. Not only did I get an inferior product but I could have been really hurt. After I fired off the email, I got a response saying that they were “looking into their stock.” Whatever that meant. A week later I got a call from them. Long story, special needs kid playing around and had messed up the dies. Now I feel bad. I shouldn’t but it’s something like this that could end their business. Who lets a special needs kid play around in an ammunition plant? I know Hornady doesn’t do that. Now another week later I am still waiting for them to come pick up the bad rounds. Apparently they’re going to make me some new ones but they both got sick. I know companies like Remmington and Hornady could still make this work if someone went home sick. I wouldn’t have to wait for new ones to be made and I would probably get more than just the rounds I ordered.
I’m probably not going to order from this company again. The rounds weren’t cheap enough to have to deal with all of this stuff. Have you had any experiences like this? What’s your local ammo source like? Feel free to comment or email.