How can I get rid of all this ammunition?
January 1, 2011 1:51 PM   Subscribe

How can I get rid of, ideally sell, all of this ammunition that I inherited?

We're talking a lot of ammo. We're talking many different types of bullets, rifle shots, etc. About 150 or so boxes of ammo. Many different types. It's of no use to me and I'm sure its worth something to someone.

I don't know the legal or ethical ramifications. I'm in Broward County Florida if that makes a difference.

Also, I know nothing about guns or ammunition. Am I at any risk by moving it - anything to know about handling lots of ammo?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
Call the local chapter of the NRA and ask them this question. They will point you in the right direction.
posted by dfriedman at 1:57 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Some quick research took me to a couple of threads that indicated that if it was factory produced ammo, you can sell it.

I would call the local police to make sure....
posted by HuronBob at 2:03 PM on January 1, 2011

First, assuming it's modern ammo in reasonably good shape (i.e. not physically damaged), it's not going to go off spontaneously. Your main risk is straining your back picking it up.

Legally, you should not have a problem transporting it - the rules and regulations pertain to carrying guns, not boxes of ammo. I'd keep it in the truck of your car or the back hatch to avoid misunderstandings in case you got stopped and the first thing the cop sees is enough ammo to reenact "48 Hours".

I'd start by finding a gun club. The difficulty will be finding people who want all these different calibers, but some gun collector who has a lot of different guns might buy the lot and sell or give away what he or she couldn't use. My understanding is that Florida has a lot of gun ranges and clubs. It should be fairly easy to sell if the ammo and boxes have recognizable name brands and appear to be clean and in good condition; much harder if they don't have brand names and appear to be, for example, hand-loaded, because gun owners want to know the provenance of hand-loaded rounds. If someone loads rounds who doesn't know what they're doing, they can damage the gun that shoots it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:03 PM on January 1, 2011

Oh, and a quick trip to a sporting goods or hunting supply store can tell you about how much the ammo costs new. The values are not intuitive. For example, the little .380 semi-auto pistol round costs more than 9mm, because of scarcity. I'd shoot for 50-75% of the cost of new depending on how quick you want to unload it (so to speak).
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:05 PM on January 1, 2011

From what I hear, ammo prices are fairly high (in general) right now—so one way or another, I would bet there's a market for what you have. Calling the NRA and asking for a recommendation for a gun club or shop in your area might be a good way to go. Also, looking online at prices for specific types of ammo you have, if the boxes are clearly marked, is a good way to get a sense of what the market is paying for it right now when new.
posted by limeonaire at 2:18 PM on January 1, 2011

There are basically no legal hurdles to selling the stuff locally, anywhere that I know. And Florida is a super gun-friendly state, so I can't imagine any issues whatsoever. And, there are no ethical issues... people with guns buy ammo. Why not from you?

The one caveat is that it's (federally) illegal to sell handgun ammunition to somebody under the age of 21. You sound like you know nothing about guns, so you're not going to be able to identify what ammo is for a handgun and which is for a rifle. The issue is actually kind of murky, since there are some cartridges (.22LR in particular) that have both rifles and pistols available.

I think to be safe, that I wouldn't sell it to anyone under the age of 21.

Ammo is a bitch to ship, though. It can only travel UPS/Fedex, with a hazmat fee. And it's balls heavy, so it almost invariably costs way too much to ship it even before they tack on the hazmat fee.

You are at practically zero risk when moving it. It takes a piercing direct strike on the primer to set off modern ammunition. Like, you can fastball a rifle round into a brick wall and it won't go off. Rimfire ammunition, of with .22 is the most common caliber, is a little bit more fragile. So, don't toss boxes of the stuff around on concrete, and you're safe.

As for where to sell it? How about a classified ad in the newspaper? Or, sign up for The Firing Line forum and post it there in the for-sale section. Call local gun clubs and see if you can post a note on their notice board--you're going to have much better luck with places not associated with gun shops, as shop ranges make much of their money on ammunition sales.

In doing any of that, you'll want to catalog what you've got. You'll want to list how many rounds, and of what cartridge. Just copy down whichever number/code looks like a cartridge from the box. This is almost always the most prominent number/code on one of the flaps of the box. Get all of the cartridge identifier. For instance, "7mm08" is different from "7mm Mauser" is different from "7mm WSM".

All of this assumes that it's factory ammo. If it's handloaded ammunition, then I would not sell it for any price. It opens you up to considerable nasty liability should it not function as expected in the purchaser's weapon--not an unlikely situation, by the way, as many handloads are developed specifically to the tolerances of the handloader's weapon.

Also, just a little terminology: what you have are "cartridges". That is a brass case containing powder, a primer, and a bullet (the projectile bit). If it's for a shotgun, it's a "shell", and contains basically the same components, but substituting "shot" or a "slug" for the bullet.

I don't bring this up to nitpick, but because if you post a classified ad for it, and list it as "bullets", you may find that somebody thinks they're getting just bullets--which they would then use to manufacture their own cartridges. They may react in the same way that you would if you replied to an ad for a "Ford F-150 engine" only to discover that it's still in a perfectly drivable truck you didn't want.
posted by Netzapper at 2:37 PM on January 1, 2011 [8 favorites]

I think if you're going to be selling these then you're going to be competing with mail-order/internet prices and not sporting goods store prices. Go here and select a caliber from the drop-down to get an idea of what people are paying. As you'll see there can be a vast difference in price for cartridges of the same caliber. There are a lot of reasons for this. Some types are considered "low quality" and have a reputation for being inaccurate or for causing jams with certain models, or are otherwise just meant for practice/plinking and not 'real' duty. Other types are specifically designed for competition shooting ("match grade") and might have specific properties that make them particularly expensive, such as tight tolerances. Some types can be reloaded (brass cases, boxer primers), others can not (polymer coated steel cases, berdan primers) which means that the ones that can be reloaded command a bit of a premium. A lot of shooters prefer to buy ammo in lots of 500 or 1000 and not by the box because you can usually get much better deals, so they may not be interested in single boxes. They will also want to know approximately how old the cartridges are and if there are any signs of corrosion.

If you don't know anything about shooting I think you might have a hard time sorting through all of these variables. It might be better to try to offload the set as a whole. If you can write down an accurate description of the whole thing with enough detail and offer a fair price you might find someone willing to take it all. Note that 'description' means more than just caliber, for all of the above reasons, so the more detail you can put together the better. I would suggest googling some gun forums that have trade/buy/sell sections because there's a good chance of finding someone local that you can deal with directly without worrying about shipping.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:43 PM on January 1, 2011

You might want to make an inventory of what you have and post it at a local shooting range. The range officers may be able to help you out.
posted by Marky at 3:28 PM on January 1, 2011

My formerly-Broward-resident gun-having Mr. F says, yes, you need to go talk to your local shooting range or gun club about getting rid of it.

(As much as my FIL would probably take some of it off your hands.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 4:06 PM on January 1, 2011

You might also consider selling it to a gun shop rather than individuals. This is for three reasons:

-They're more likely to buy the entire lot
-If not, they might be able to safely dispose of the rest for you
-Selling to one store will be less hassle than selling to individuals over the internet/classifieds/etc.

The downside is that you'll end up selling it for less, as the store will want to mark it up from there... but as someone who doesn't know about guns and wants to get rid of a lot of ammo quickly, the convenience might be worth it. Follow the advice above so you can get a rough idea of the value of what you have first, though.

There's this place in West Inverness, FL: Goldiggers and Gunslingers. Their sites says "We Buy Ammo! Call today and unload some of your extra ammo for cash!" Or you could call local gun stores and ask.
posted by vorfeed at 6:02 PM on January 1, 2011

Nthing shooting range/gun club route. The people there are actually using up their ammo so are usually in the market for more, especially if you offer it at below retail cost.
posted by MsKim at 6:05 PM on January 1, 2011

One other thought I'll throw out here - maybe ask a police department if they would take it all off your hands? A lot of departments seem to have closets full of all kinds of ammunition used for ballistics testing of recovered weapons. Don't know if they'd be willing to buy stuff off a random citizen, but could be worth a try to get rid of it all in one shot (ugh, horrible pun sort-of intended).
posted by zoinks at 9:44 PM on January 1, 2011

For about $100, you could take an exhibitor table at a gun show, and probably move most of your inventory in one weekend, if you're willing to price it to move. Ammo is pretty expensive these days, and if you have common goods for sale, at a good price, you shouldn't have any trouble.
posted by paulsc at 3:37 AM on January 2, 2011

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