Saturday, January 12, 2013

Just Another Reason That I Am No Longer A CheaperThanDirt Customer

At the last gun show I attended, on November 10, 2012 (two months ago as I write), I bought 420 rounds of Federal 62 grain, penetrator tipped,  XM885, 5.56x45mm ammo, on stripper clips, packed into an ammo can. The total cost was $180 (maybe plus tax). I thought that price was fairly high. I needed it and bought it. Why did I pay what I thought was a somewhat high price? Because although the price was high, due to demand, it was not all that much higher than the price asked by anyone else, was in fact less expensive that what some were asking, and in fact was about the average going price based on then current prices that slowly had escalated over time over about the past 6 years. In other words it was just about the fair market value. I should have bought a full case, from that same dealer, he had them at $385!

Then we arrived at where we are now, ammo prices gone into the stratosphere because of panic buying and because of certain dealers taking advantage of the panic buying and then instituting what I believe are less than ethical price gouging practices. One of the companies that I believe has done this, in fact the one that has raised prices higher than any other company that I have seen raise prices is CheaperThanDirt.com.

While I already have decided not to buy from them again, I went to their site tonight, among others, while checking on availability of ammo and current pricing. I was surprised to see that CTD has the ammo I just mentioned above in stock (as I write). What should have also surprised me is the price they are asking for it but I guess it really comes as no surprise, to see what they are asking for this ammo, after seeing what I think was other price gouging on ammo by them. So what are they asking for an item for which I recently paid $180? They have a current price of $799.59 (as I write) plus shipping and they call it "Our Low Price"!

Imagine that, a $619.59 difference - wow. I could have bought 3.44 more of those same 420 round cans of ammo for just the difference in prices. If a price change like that, within a 2 month period, is not indicative of price gouging, well then - I guess I do not know what could be an indication of such! CheaperThanDirt can take some idiots money and right now but not my money, and not ever again my money. I am not telling you not to shop there, just letting you know why I am not. You can spend your money however you want to spend it.

Oh how I mourn that I did not buy a full case or two from the guy at the gun show.

All the best,
Glenn B

Dan's Sporting Goods - Wow - What Excellent Customer Service!


Last week, I ordered a 'tin' of 440 rounds of 7.62x54R caliber ammo, Russian manufacture, from Dan's Sporting Goods (aka: dansammo.com). I was surprised to find anyone with this particular ammo in stock and absolutely amazed they were selling it for only $94.00 shipped because others have sure jacked up their prices lately. I was also quite astounded that it shipped the day after ordered it and it arrived at my home two days after that. That was all excellent but not the end of the story nor of my amazement.

When I received the parcel and opened the shipping box, I was rather dismayed at what I saw in front of me. The ammo can, instead of being that drab green color, that I am so familiar with because of previous purchases of the same kind of ammo, was a zinc colored with what appeared to be whitish corrosion all over it. It had what appeared to be a pull tab on the lid (which I am pretty sure was connected to a wire under the lid that would, when the tab was pulled, rip the top open on older Russian ammo cans. I looked over the markings on the box and saw the number, that I believe indicates the year of the case production, 57 (meaning 1957). Another number, the one I believe signifies the year of the gunpowder production used in these rounds, was 56 (meaning 1956). I was not a happy camper. I had inquired about the ammo they were selling and was told it was 1970s to 1980s production. The website indicated it came in the familiar green 'spam' can.

I shot off an email to Dan's. They replied the next day and told me that indeed some older cans had been sent out. They said I should keep that can of ammo and they would send me another can of ammo. Presumably that would be of the later production ammo I had thought I would be getting. They sent the replacement out on the same day they emailed me, week. I received the second can on Tuesday. It was an ammo can of the 'spam can' variety, drab green in color, with the date of production for the shell casings as 1972 and the powder as 1971. That was more or less what I had expected in the first place. (I know other folks disagree with me as to what the codes on the cans mean but I am confident that the numbers I mentioned indicate years of production; I got my info straight from the mouth of a Russian who dealt this type of ammo.)

I have to hand it to Dan’s Sporting Goods. I have not gotten customer service like that from another company if quite awhile. They made a mistake and they corrected it without delay, no questions asked and even let me keep the stuff they sent to me by mistake. Wow. I can only see myself making more orders from them as they get ammo in  stock of which I am in need (oh please have them get in some 5.56x45mm 62 grain NATO spec ammo soon).

As for the older can of ammo they sent me the first time around: while old ammo like that stores longer than modern production because of the type of primers used, the age of the can I first received was at the limit for me – I mean it is almost as old as me! I suppose, that like me, that ammo could still be good but it probably does not have much more for is storage life left to it (again like me although I do hope to be around and kicking until at least 75 or so). On a more serious note, the welds on that ammo can seemed to be failing as there appeared to be holes in the welds in some areas. I don't know if those holes go all the way through but if they did then both air and moisture could have gotten inside and helped shorten the storage life of the contained ammo or even ruined the ammunition totally. The newer production stuff I received probably can be stored for at least another 15 or 20 years and still be reliable ammunition. I suppose I will have to test the older stuff as soon as I get the chance but the newer can is going into storage.

In closing, just let me add that I highly recommend Dan’s Sporting Goods for your ammo needs.

All the best,
Glenn B
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