Don't buy ammo at Wal-Mart

Honestly, I don’t even know why this discussion crops up, and yet I’m continually surprised when I find decent shooters and gun folk still buying ammo at Wal-Mart.  Don’t do that.  Wal-Mart is part of a coalition with Mayors Against Guns – which means that ammo purchases at Wal-Mart will indirectly support a group that is seeking to eradicate your right to keep and bear arms.

I understand that Wal-Mart has cheap ammo.  I get that times are tight, and budgets for shooting are stretched thin.  But even with times being what they are, and budgets being stretched, surely you could buy ammo from a store or shop that isn’t actively participating in gun control measures.  If you must go to a big box store, try Meier.  They still sell ammo, and have not gotten into bed with gun control groups in the process.  Better yet, absorb a couple of extra dollars in cost, and buy your ammo from a store that services the shooting/hunting/outdoor community like Gander Mountain, Dicks, or preferably your local gun shop.  Of course, there are always the online options, like the guys listed in my sidebar, MidwayUSA, Natchez, and a many others.

The point of this is that you don’t have to buy ammo at Wal-Mart – in fact, you shouldn’t buy ammo at Wal-Mart.  Call me elitist or what have you, but my hard earned buck is not going to support gun control.


  1. Unfortunately, we lack Meiers out here, and Goose Hill is just absurdly expensive, even for ammunition.

    That said, I still have not had a single problem with Ammunition to Go, AmmoMan, or Georgia Arms, so Wal-Mart is definitely off the list for me.

  2. I go to the gunstore and buy their ammo. Often 15%+ or higher in price. I have no problem with that. I can’t buy a gun a month so I help him pay the rent that way.

    When I want to save money I buy online and have it shipped to a buddies house (can’t ship to this county. Dammit!). The cheap retail ammo is Bass Pro, when they have it. And I have to pass 2 Wal Marts to get there. I don’t even think about Wal Mart and have bought only 1 box of WWB 100 there, YEARS ago.

  3. I respect your position, but I don’t understand the details of it.

    I agree that Walmart’s agreement to incorporate the added recordkeeping and photography records lends credibility to Mayors Against Guns, but how, specifically does it financially support them?

    Does Walmart send money from ammo purchases to MAG? I haven’t seen any reports of that.

    Again, other then the credibility that their cooperation grants to MAG, I don’t see anything particularly egregious about their policies…heck, the Walmart near me stopped selling firearms altogether. Apparently, the just didn’t move enough to make it worthwhile.

    You’re photographed without your consent every time you enter a private business with video surveillance…which is pretty much any private business in the country these days. If there is a crime and the police get a warrant…or even if the store decides to voluntarily cooperate, those photographs are sent to government officials without your consent.

    As far as their record-keeping…they are required to keep records of any gun sales for 20 years anyway. The only thing they’re adding to that is to keep a photograph along with the 4473 information. And their policy about selling guns to someone who they previously sold one that was used in a crime was not an absolute “we won’t do it”…it was a discretionary thing. Which tells me that a one time deal wouldn’t be an issue. If it seems to be a pattern with you…guns they sold you end up being reported as crime guns…they reserve the right to refuse to sell to you. Again, doesn’t seem like that big of deal to me and well within their rights as a private business.

    Besides, by boycotting them, you are voluntarily enforcing a policy wherein they won’t sell guns to you, so I guess not having the option to buy from them must not be that much of a hardship after all.

    Again, I understand your idealistic opposition to any company that would make any agreement with MAG…but defining your opposition in terms of the pragmatic details of the agreement as you seem to do just doesn’t compute as far as I’m concerned.

    I’m open to being convinced that my assessment of the situation is wrong.

  4. “Honestly, I don’t even know why this discussion crops up” Yeah, me neither. I don’t think anybody really cares. Wally World is already a disgustingly huge corporation, and as far as I’m concerned they’ve never been interested in American’s gun rights, Bloomerberg buddies or not. When I can get a Winchester 100 round value pack of .45 ACP at Wally World for $29.95 vs. $50 at the local gun shop, I’m going to Wally World. I like my local gun shop, and would be happy to support them through buying ammo it it weren’t for their blatant rip-off prices. Now of course I realize their high prices are just result of the big ammo rush of 2009, but until they start selling it for a reasonable amount, I’ll happily go to Wal-Mart.

  5. Curt – you’re financially supporting Wal-Mart by buying ammo there, right? And by lending their name and retail clout to MAIG, Wal-Mart is supporting them. Ipso facto, you buy ammo at Wal-Mart, you’re supporting MAIG.

  6. Unfortunately Caleb if you live in a rural area the local ‘Super Walmart’ has killed all the local competitive businesses to the point you either buy it at Wally Word OR you travel a minimum of 30+ miles one way to buy it somewhere else and it doesn’t matter whether it’s ammo, batteries or underwear.

    There are few other options.

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  7. Wal-Mart profits from EVERY purchase made. so shouldn’t the call be to not buy ANYTHING at Wal-Mart? If everyone who thinks Mr. Bloomberg is an idiot chose to boycott the store and then sent a letter to their Headquarters explaining why. I’ll bet there would be a bigger impact. Just thinkng our loud. If you care to send them a note right now- heres the link.

  8. I agree with Caleb.

    Plus, shopping for ammo at Walmart is just an exercise in futility, since you can never find a clerk in the sporting goods section anyway.


  9. Tim gets to the heart of the matter, though: a lot of the gun store are either trying to rip us off or, being unable to even approximate Big Box prices, aren’t competitive. It’s not as though 100 rds of WWB .38spl are $25 at Wal-Mart and $28 at Your Local Store; prices are typically double. Gander Mtn apparently hasn’t benefited from the economies of scale, and even Bass Pro is hit-or-miss (and never actually better). If I need something special like soft-point 7.62×39 then I go to my local shop, but that and self-defense ammo are the only things I’ve bought from a small store in a long time.

    Buying from some place like Georgia Arms (and picking it up at a gun show) may be worth trying, though.

  10. WalMart already excluded themselves from my disposable income by also being a member of Mayors Against a Large Selection of Non-Shitty Ammunition That’s Also Affordable.

    It must be a regional thing, because local guns shops have counter decorations that contain more inventory than a local WalMart.

  11. It must be a regional thing, because local guns shops have counter decorations that contain more inventory than a local WalMart.

    I have to agree with that: Here in the Midwest, near Chicago, there are very few gun stores. Further, the ones that are around tend to jack the prices sky-high…

    Further out from the city, gun stores are hit-or-miss with ammo prices… Most folks that buy volume are ordering online.

    While Cabela’s and Gander may support our rights, they gut-punch you in the pocketbook because prices, at least around here are easily 25% more than prices at the better local places or Wally world. And that certainly isn’t cool…

    I think that reality is that Walmart sells what it can make a profit on. If giving a nod toward MAIG keeps them reputable in places like upstate NY or something, then why not.

    I’ll add that MAIG seems to be doing a great job of hanging themselves too: Anybody wondering if Bloomberg is going to get sued?

  12. As an example, I remember this from a few months ago. Bass Pro can’t possibly have such a bulk purchasing advantage over Gander Mtn that they can charge $55 for 250 rounds of UMC (rivals Wal-Mart’s price of $20/100 of WWB) when Gander Mtn wants $80. There’s either gouging going on or the expensive places are too incompetent to be left in the marketplace.

  13. Gander’s deal is that they basically charge MSRP for everything. Most other places charge “distributor + x” where “x” equals whatever their markup is.

    Around here, you can beat Wal-Mart prices on ammo pretty handily, you just have to know which gun shop to visit.

    And Dave, I actually agree. I do do boycott Wal-Mart, but Frank has a point in that there are few better options for buying skivvies and batteries for some folk, which is why I don’t advocate it. I’d be content if everyone just stopped spending money on ammo at Wal-Mart.

  14. I see your point. But I believe it’s more along the lines of MCSA’s point:

    I think that reality is that Walmart sells what it can make a profit on. If giving a nod toward MAIG keeps them reputable in places like upstate NY or something, then why not.

    They still sell ammo (and guns in some places) which is more than can be said for K-mart, Sears, or any number of other places that used to sell politically incorrect sporting goods but don’t any more.

    They have to be able to convince GFW city councils and locals that they are doing their best to prevent the politically incorrect products that they sell from falling into the hands of criminals.

    They know and we know that it’s a fool’s errand, but if they can do some feel-good, accomplish nothing kabuki theater and that opens up some markets to them that may be closed otherwise…

    Again, I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you…I’m still a bit torn on the issue personally. I don’t like the credence that they gave Mayors Against Guns, but, from a purely business perspective (which is really the only legitimate perspective for any business), I can understand why they did it.

  15. Well it’s not just ammo, it’s everything they sell! They don’t just want to be the biggest, they want to be the only one.
    But they are not alone, a lot of companies donate to the anti gun side weather its MAIG or Sara, or Joyce Foundation.

  16. When I need it faster than I can get it shipped in, I’ll keep buying 22, 40, and 45 from Walmart until a new store with a better business model comes along and undercuts Walmart’s pricing. Econ 101. Specialty ammo I buy from my local stores or online if I’m buying in bulk. The nearest Meier’s is 1500 miles, Cabela’s is 185, wallyworld is 0.5 from my house, local gun shop 3.5 miles.

    The last order of bulk ammo from one of the online vendors mentioned here arrived 4 months after placement and wasn’t crimped. Want alot of feed jams, don’t crimp your ammo. Good for failure drills, not good for match scores.

  17. I seriously don’t know why people keep pointing out Wal-Mart when there are a bunch of companies supporting the mayors group and why point out ammo when everything you buy from oil changes to doughnuts supports their bottom line and thus the mayors group?

    If you want to do this, that’s great, but there are plenty of things and people who don’t do stuff I agree with that I give my money to (every time I go to the movies for one). If I follow this sort of reasoning, I’d quit my job, pack up and move elsewhere and never see a movie, drive a car and shop pretty much anywhere or buy anything.

    Wal-Mart is a big, fat target that anyone with a beef puts their sights on, from gun folk (ammo/maig), to conservative christians (lyrics) to hippie scum (capitalism).

    I guess Wal-Mart is easy since they’re big and everywhere.

  18. So, Caleb, do you think Wally World supports MAIG?

    Do you think it’s because they are in a secret conspiracy to deprive you of your rights?

    Do you think it’s because the corporate decision makers hate the Second Amendment?

    Do you really think they give a shit one way or another, and they think that supporting MAIG is “Good P.R.” and therefore good for their business?

    How do you plan to convince the Wal*Mart board of directors that it would be better for their bottom line to sell ammunition than to cater to the Nannyites?

  19. No, I actually don’t think they give a good goddamn one way or the other. I certainly don’t think it’s a secret conspiracy to deprive shooters of their rights. If anything, some corporate honcho was trying to score a PR win to counterbalance the pounding that Wally-World regularly takes in the media and figured getting into bed with a group that is against “illegal guns” seemed like a good idea.

    Personally, I’d love it if shooters up and stopped buying ammo at Wal-Mart. That’d be great. What I’d like to see is people making the decision to spend their ammo dollar at places that not only cater to shooters, but actively support shooting and hunting. It’s not so much that I’m anti Wal-Mart as it is I’m “pro-local gunshop and MidwayUSA”.

  20. Well, me too, generally.

    But the other question is “How do we make the 800-lb retail gorilla see that the best value for its bottom line would come from supporting shooters, not from shunning them?”

  21. As an example, I’m up here in Madison, WI for the weekend. There are no gun stores in the area, but there is a huge Gander Mt.

    I stopped by last night on a whim before heading out and saw that they were selling 115GR Lawman 9MM for $19.00 + tax a box (.40 a round).

    At, they were selling the same stuff for $299.00 a 1000 (.30 a round).

    Even better is Walmart, which sells comparable ammo for $11.00-$12.00 a box.

    If you’re a new shooter faced with the simple questions of cost, you’re going to Walmart.

    Perhaps a better use of your savings is joining the NRA. Or Paying for range time. Or taking a class.

  22. But the other question is “How do we make the 800-lb retail gorilla see that the best value for its bottom line would come from supporting shooters, not from shunning them?”

    Well, that’s a good question, and I’ll be quite frank that I don’t really have a good answer. My boycott of Wal-Mart is more of a “hey, I can stand on principle because I can afford to” than any kind of attempt to get them to change their nefarious ways.

    As far as changing the course of the river Wal-Mart, I’d imagine that the most effective way to be the change you seek would be to hit them money-hole. Which creates the problem, because I’m relatively certain that even if every gun owner in America stopped buying ammo at Wal-Mart, they would barely notice the loss in revenue. Then since they weren’t making money off it, they’d stop selling ammo, and shooters would have lost one more place to actually purchase shooting supplies.

    So it’s sort of a catch-22; a nationwide boycott in this case would probably only serve to shoot ourselves in the foot when I really think about it, but at the same time actually buying ammo there does nothing to dissuade them from getting into bed with people like Bloomberg.

  23. People buy ammo at Wal-Mart because in many parts of the country, Wal-Mart is the only source they have. Not everyone is able/willing/capable of ordering ammo on-line. If there are no gun-stores or the like available, Wal-Mart is all that is left.

    So vilify away. Some folks have no choice.

  24. from an econ small business perspective, I think most local/small look at the gun as being the loss leader and the ammo as the high profit margin accessory. if you want to change the buying habit of the shooting community, you have to change the mindset of the business model, not the big box store.

    No local/small business can match the economy of scale represented by walmart or any other large chain seller, but if they’re profit margin on ammo, especially on the common caliber, was closer to 10%, rather than 30-40%, i.e. the local shop is selling at 32-33 cents a round rather than 40-45 cents a round, you might see buying habits change. cut the profit margin on the ammo, make up for that profit on the other firearm accessories.

  25. I’ve been thinking about this today, and it occurs to me that a hybrid solution might work better. Here’s what I see:

    Problem 1: Wal-Mart supports our opponent and we don’t like that.
    Problem 2: Wal-Mart’s ammo is typically much cheaper than any other store, and money’s tight right now.
    Problem 3: We don’t want Wal-Mart to ditch their firearms section, just their support of our opponents.

    In other words, a full boycott, even if practicable, is likely to simply have the effect of causing Wal-Mart to stop selling gun stuff.

    How about going in and engaging the gun counter guy, and maybe even the manager, in conversation? Also, when buying ammo, make a point of (politely) letting them know that you’re buying from them because it’s cheaper, but that you’re buying what you can elsewhere. For instance:
    You: “I’d like two 100rd boxes of WWB 9mm.”
    Salesman: “Will that be all?”
    You: “No; I’d rather buy my .223 from Bass Pro (or your local shop, or the gun show, or online, etc.), since they’re only a little more expensive and don’t support Mayors Against Guns.”

    Just a thought. The key would lie in being firm, yet polite.

  26. Sorry bro…

    When I’ve got a choice of buying 100 rounds of 45 ACP for $29.95 or buying 50 rounds for $35. I am going to buy from Walmart.

    Furthermore, to boycott Walmart would be to encourage them to disband any of their catering to the sportsman and gunny.

    I’d rather let Walmart know we’re a valuable customer. And save money in the process.

  27. Gun and ammo sales are such a small part of Wal-mart’s bottom line that, even if not another bullet or firearm were ever purchased from them ever again, they’d hardly even notice it.

    It would just be one more thing that they stop stocking because of lack of sales and the counter space would be taken up with 42 flavors of lip balm or another 37 different types of fishing reels in short order.

    As I said, I can understand the ideological commitment to never buy from them again, but if the goal is to affect change, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    To be perfectly honest, I’m more disturbed by the apparent “fudd” attitudes of many of the stores that ostensibly support the shooting sports.

    In this area, we don’t have a Cabela’s or Gander mountain, about all we have other than actual dedicated gun shops are (other than Sports Authority…which sells no firearms or ammunition at all), Dick’s Sporting goods and Bass Pro Shops.

    Neither of which have figured out that there are shooting sports that don’t involve poking holes in furry or feathered critters. They have racks and racks of camo rifles and shotguns but nary a black rifle among them. They have entire departments of camo clothing in every pattern known to man and in every size from infant to Jabba the Hut…but try to find a competition shooting jacket or glove. Shooting mat, spotting scope stand (or at least one that doesn’t attach to your truck window) or any other gear for competitive rifle or pistol shooting.

    I freely admit that I’m a bit sensitive about the subject, and I’m sure that the demand for turkey calls (which Bass Pro Shops has like three freaking isles of…how many different types of turkey calls are there anyway…) is much greater in this area than for shooting jackets, but it still irks me that they simply completely ignore every aspect of the shooting sports that doesn’t involve hunting.

    The apparent dismissal of a large segment of the shooting sports community by these companies that supposedly provide us with so much support bothers me a lot more than an obviously PR related move by a department store for whom the shooting community is a minor footnote.

    But that’s just me.

  28. …but it still irks me that they simply completely ignore every aspect of the shooting sports that doesn’t involve hunting.

    The apparent dismissal of a large segment of the shooting sports community by these companies that supposedly provide us with so much support bothers me a lot more than an obviously PR related move by a department store for whom the shooting community is a minor footnote.

    I dunno – I think that it is hit or miss with most “Sporting Stores”, depending on the area, the head of purchasing and what sells well. For example, I did buy all the Hornady TAP 12GA (6 boxes) they had at Gander Mt. – It was on sale $8.00 a box, which wasn’t too bad.

    Coincidentally, the birth of “sporting AR’s” has made them fairly ubiquitous in most of the larger chains – even if they are more “hunting oriented”.

  29. Honestly, my family has boycotted Wal-Mart for a long time now. We pretty well started because of two major factors: 1 – the way they undercut and run out local business and 2 – so many of the cheap, foreign-made goods are just garbage. (I don’t want to even think about how many Walmart laundry hampers we straight up threw away after a few weeks usage and the inevitable breakdown.)

    Now, that being said… The ONLY thing I’ll buy at Wal-Mart anymore is ammunition, and I’ll tell you why. Their mark-up can’t be too much, so it really doesn’t support their bottom line. Plus, other stores in my area are still having a hard time keeping ammo on the shelves, so giving that business to Big Blue obviously isn’t hurting them.

    That is not to say that I buy may ammo at Wally World, just that I’m more likely to buy ammo there than I am underwear, milk, paint, toys, etc. Plus, if my 100-pack of 12-gauge shells contributes in some small way to a report of what goods are moving, without me making a significant contribution to their bottom-line, it could be argued as the bast of both worlds, couldn’t it?

    FWIW, I still think Wal-Mart is bad.

  30. I have mixed feelings about this. First off, I’m not a big Walmart guy. Some of their stuff is OK, but their store food brand bites, and their textiles (cloths, rugs, towels, etc) are so cheap they fall apart after 1 wash.

    As for guns and ammo purchased at Walmart — I understand what you’re saying, and partly agree with you because of the alliance issue. HOWEVER, I have to say, of all the retail outlets that have at one time sold guns, such as Kmart, Sears and whomever else, Walmart is the only one that still does, and they’ve stood up to a lot of flak because of it. Al least they still have the guts to carry the stuff.

    And also, to reiterate what a lot of people are saying, in a lot of areas Walmart is the only place you can go to get hunting supplies. By boycotting, you’re just going to force (if it even works) another retailer to stop selling ammo and guns. Then where are you?

    Maybe another solution would be to coordinate a large letter writing campaign to Walmart HQ. We as hunters and shooters have a lot of people, of whom I’m sure a large majority of which shop at Walmart.

  31. My thinking is along the same lines as many others hear in that to voluntarily not buy from Walmart reduces their incentive to even offer ammo or other shooting items. I think of Walmart as a large organism which happens to be the best suited for the ecosytems which is the American capitalistic market place.

    Much of what is being debated here is essentially negative reinforcement (withholding our $) becuase it’s something that we can easily (in *some* cases) do it, and it has a direct and financial impact to Walmart. The scale of that impact is dubious… However I think the sentiments voiced here clearly indicate that impact of them discontinuing ammo sales would have a much greater immediate negative impact on many people’s ability to participate in shooting than their largely-symbolic support of MAG is having on same.

    I think a better strategy would be to switch from negative re-inforcement of behavior we don’t like to positive reinforcement of a behavior we DO endorse. For now I think that would mean side-stepping their MAG support entirely. Perhaps this could be done through some type of partnership/co-branding/ local support scheme. IE: With NRA or other shooting organization partnering with them…. For every twenty dollars spent on shooting supplies, a dollar will be donated to the “take a kid shooting campagin”. Or whatever the appropriate program would work. Essentially the deal would be that they’d get more access (contact, free advertising) through the partner organization, ultimately this would drive up their sales. If the $ is good enough it could help entrench them in this space or even get them back into weapon sales…

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