Bullets and their vendors.


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blarby
November 4, 2012, 12:30 AM
Ok, very easy premise, very long and possibly articulate dialogue.


Ya, there's a purpose. It's not hard to figure out.

So.... without further adieu....

What do you want in a bullet.

What do you want in a cast bullet ?

What do you want in a jacketed bullet ?

What do you want in a bullet vendor ?


Price, performance, service ?

An honest deal...the best deal...... the best bullet ?

A quality one, with an honest and meaning vendor- or the best price possible ?

Does sustainability in your choices matter ?



An open rant on what you want in a bullet, and a bullet retailer.

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Win1892
November 4, 2012, 12:47 AM
i buy the best target bullets for my rifles. I don't care about cost.

I buy cast bullets from a single vendor based on broad availability of calibers, weights, profiles, and little or no backorders. Competitively priced of course.

WoodchuckAssassin
November 4, 2012, 12:56 AM
If it goes BANG, I shoot it.

I prefer jacketed bullets, but I actually ENJOY cleaning my guns, so nothing really bothers me.

In a vender, I just want options - mainly when it comes to bullet weight. If they have a little bit of everything, I'm more open to try something different.

JLDickmon
November 4, 2012, 12:58 AM
I by chance bought some Missouri Bullets at a local gun shop and liked them so much I became a direct customer..

ArchAngelCD
November 4, 2012, 01:05 AM
What do you want in a bullet.
Accuracy, it's that what it's all about?

What do you want in a cast bullet ?
Flat bases, well formed bullets, good lube, consistent bullet weights and a fair price.

What do you want in a jacketed bullet ?
Accuracy and a fair price.

What do you want in a bullet vendor ?
No BS, a vendor who timely answers emails and is responsive to their customers, a reasonable delivery time, someone who does what they say...

Price, performance, service ?
I guess that's what it comes down to, can't ask for more and will accept nothing less.

An honest deal...the best deal...... the best bullet ?
Like I said above, a fair price. I didn't say cheap because a good product requires time and money so I'm happy with a fair price. Of course a good product is the bottom line because the best prices in the world are useless if the bullets are poor.

Josh45
November 4, 2012, 01:06 AM
1.What do you want in a bullet?
Hunting? For it to perform properly. Same thing for HD/SD.
Plinkers? Consistency would be nice.

2. What do you want in a cast bullet?
Sized right, and available in more than one size. If my 9mm slugs at .356, I would like to use .357 if I had to.

3.What do you want in a jacketed bullet?
Good construction and consistency. Perform as they are marketed.

4.What do you want in a bullet vendor?
Customer Service being the number one thing. A good selection of calibers and types of bullets as well as mfgr. Doesnt have to be everything under the sun just nice to have a decent selection.

I wouldnt mind if they ran specials like pulled or blems either. I am always looking for sites that do this.

5.Price? Performance? Service?
Yes.

6. Honest deal? Best Deal? Best Bullet?
Yes. I would like for my vendor to be honest and have the best prices possible.
If they offer the best bullets, That's cool by me. A lot of reloaders will only accept the best. I will accept the best bullet or even pulled bullets. Ive seen no problem in accuracy with them anyways.

7.A quality one, with an honest and meaning vendor- or the best price possible?
Ill take the quality one. The quality guy can get good deals and so on. What good is the best price if the service sucks *coughpsacough*

8. Does sustainability in your choices matter?
What matters me to is that I get a good honest vendor with a good selection and a good price. Sure its a tad hard to come by in the prices but I think the most important thing is that you always listen to your customers. This will get you far. Even if your bullets are a dollar or two more, I would pay that extra buck for quality service that I can depend on.

Hondo 60
November 4, 2012, 01:30 AM
In a perfect world, I'd find a vendor for one-stop shopping.

I load 9 different calibers & some I kinda swap back & forth on lead/plated/jacketed.

I also LOVE Missouri Bullet Company's business model.
Great product, crazy fast shipping & very good pricing.
I REALLY wish they'd make plated bullets.
I probably use 3 or 4x as many plated as lead.

blarby
November 4, 2012, 10:48 AM
Interesting thoughts everyone.

The more people who participate, the better this thread gets.

rbernie
November 4, 2012, 11:02 AM
Low price in handgun bullets, good accuracy in rifle bullets, flat rate shipping from my vendor.

GLOOB
November 4, 2012, 11:05 AM
What do you want in a bullet.
Consistency, first and foremost. If you have to work up a new load and/or adjust your die between every batch, that would be disappointing. If I buy cast bullets from a guy, and there is a good bit of variation in weight/size/sprue/wrinkles, but the price is right, I'm fine with that. What I don't want is a completely different quality/alloy between orders of the same item.

What do you want in a bullet vendor ?
Convenience is king. I don't wanna call to figure out if it's in stock. I don't wanna scroll through a big list of bullets in random order that can't be sorted by caliber. I don't wanna pay by check or money order. Credit card is a must, and I like paypal as an option. And I'd like an email or paper invoice for each order. Also, selection is part n parcel. I don't wanna order one bullet from one place when I can get all my bullets and powder and primers from another place.

Of course, I DO all these things. Some vendors are very good at so many of those things. Have yet to find one that does it all.

blarby
November 4, 2012, 12:52 PM
It does seem like great customer service, and an "accounting" if you will at all stages of the game is paramount.

You'd think with all of the competition that price would be king, but it seems like value for that price is more important to most than direct cost per shot.

Value is an interesting proposition. It seems to combine customer service, selection, speed of service, quality of product, and attention to detail ( packaging, invoicing, etc).

It seems logical that some vendors excel at certain areas, and less at others. Some prefer to excel at none, and balance between all of the "virtues" as best as possible.

I guess that's the nice thing about a healthy marketplace, it has something for everyone's tastes !

blarby
November 6, 2012, 05:04 PM
So, for "flat-rate shipping" :

Would you prefer a price that included your shipping built in, or just flat-rate shipping options ?

Josh45
November 6, 2012, 08:36 PM
Personally, I prefer to that my shipping is included in the price.
Some sites like Rmr or Everglades, Do just that.

Tommy Van Alen
November 6, 2012, 08:46 PM
@ blarby, you have an automated casting machine?

and an automated lubrisizer?

Tommy Van Alen
November 6, 2012, 08:49 PM
I normally go with the Montana Gold's since I shoot USPSA/IDPA/Steel.

For the AR, Montana Gold also makes a 55 grainer. I have some Noslers and Sierra Match Kings in the 69 grain weight, but I have never reloaded with them.

blarby
November 7, 2012, 12:42 PM
Personally, I prefer to that my shipping is included in the price.

Thats kinda what I was wonderin.

Something like X bullets is Y price, not Y plus shipping.

Sam1911
November 7, 2012, 02:50 PM
I also LOVE Missouri Bullet Company's business model.
Great product, crazy fast shipping & very good pricing.
Double yes on that! They sure have the model right.

Expanding to do plated or some kind of coated would be a nice touch, but not if it causes one measure of change to the way they do business.

blarby
November 8, 2012, 01:14 AM
Plating is a HUGE space investment, I know that. He also has electrical problems as it is, and commercial electroplating requires a significant amount of power to do on a production scale.

Brad makes a good bullet- I hope to one day be able to get my hands on some of his loaded rounds, as a nice conversation piece.


A note on ordering :

Which of these two methods would you prefer :

1. The standard : Click on your desired piece, add it to the cart, pay with your CC, and hope that its : A. In stock B. Shipped timely C. Exactly what you wanted.

or

2. Non-standard Email/snail mail : Submit an emailed or snail mailed "order form" copied and pasted from the website, listing exactly what you want, and any notes. This allows the merchant to contact you back within 24 hours ( using email, of course) confirming your order and your method of payment, its availability, its ship time, or with questions, etc.

I've seen and used both types with bullet vendors, and both have their ups and downs. Option #2 is in general more precise, and offers more possibility of interaction.... while #1/standard offers a more streamlined process ( and streamlined charging of your card !) but offers little feedback other than an automated THANK YOU ! It (#2) also leaves you generally with the " your order will be shipped in a timely manner... sometimes this is instantly, sometimes 2-4 weeks, sometimes...... well, we all have our horror stories !

Sam1911
November 8, 2012, 07:42 AM
I would say number one, primarily. 9?% of the time the shooters who are buying the most of what keeps a bullet company afloat want the same thing over and over and want it easy and prompt. No WAY I'd want to have to fax or email in a note about what I wanted and have someone get back to me about it in a day or so to tell me if it was in stock and when it would ship.

Click-pay-ship. Easy.

Giving a clear path for the guy who's looking for something different, or wants some advice, or isn't quite sure, or whatever is perfectly fine, and you may eventually get enough business from that guy to make it worth while.

blarby
November 8, 2012, 02:12 PM
I can see that as well, completely.

Perhaps those legions of folks waiting 2-3 weeks for bullets isn't such a bad thing, then ?

Giving a clear path for the guy who's looking for something different, or wants some advice, or isn't quite sure, or whatever is perfectly fine, and you may eventually get enough business from that guy to make it worth while.

Thing is, that guy is me ! Thats kinda what makes guesstimating these things difficult. I've learned far and away that not everyone is "me", but thats my default posture.

Some vendors mass-produce umpteen million bullets per day/month, and sell them as fast as they can make them. Some vendors produce smaller amounts of higher-quality bullets, and price them accordingly.

I know that there is a market for both. Carving a niche in there with some new offering would be the tricky component- especially in the sustainability department.

Josh45
November 8, 2012, 04:14 PM
I prefer the click, pay, ship like Sam said.

blarby
November 8, 2012, 04:55 PM
I prefer the click, pay, ship like Sam said.

You are not alone in that, I assure you !

blarby
November 13, 2012, 06:36 AM
@ Tommy :

while automated casting equipment certainly has its place in economy, both myself and those assisting me in my research on this endeavor agree that in terms of quality nothing quite compares to a hand-cast coolant quenched lead bullet.

Appearance, weight deviation, lube application and retention- all are enhanced by the use of a "hand-made" bullet over one which is processed using automated machinery.

One of the tremendous advantages to handcasting are things that are much harder, if not impossible, to do with automated machines : Low weight deviation round-balls, hollowpoint cast bullets, gas-checked cast bullets, shotgun slugs, and a few others.

The tricky bit is going to be assuring that the pricing of said projectiles is still competitive in the land of lead bullets. While noticeably superior to machine made wares, handmade ones are by definition more labor intensive. However, very few (myself included ) would be willing to pay jacketed prices for cast bullets- so there is a line to be aware of, and i'm quite aware of where that line is. Given the current market offerings for hand-cast lead, I certainly think there is some room for competition.

And lastly, the market is saturated with economical machine made cast lead bullets. I think attempting to open up a new shop, offering the same types of products at this time would simply not be worthwhile. Economy bullets are... a weapon of mass production, if you will. New entrants to that game face a steep curve in margins- and that is simply not a fight i'm looking to wage.

PS- I'm sorry it took so long to answer that one, my sincerest apologies !

beatledog7
November 13, 2012, 10:24 AM
One concept I don't see anybody using is something akin to drop-shipping.

Let's say a company like MBC decided to sell in bulk to retailers in various regions of the country, who would then mark up the price and devote some shelf space to them. The bullet maker could also offer drop shipping to on-line customers and ship them as part of the next regular shipment to their nearest MBC retailer. The customer would be notified when his bullets are scheduled to arrive at the retailer.

The retailer wins because he has quality bullets to stock and make a little profit on, and he has on-line bullet customers entering his store to pick up drop-shipped bullets and predictably having a look around while they're there.

The bullet maker wins because he sells in bulk to regional retailers and also to individual customers, to whom he can offer this very low-cost shipping option.

Bullet buyers win because they can opt for low-price drop shipping if they're willing to wait a bit longer, can simply pay regular, individual shipping rates, or can go into the nearest retailer and pay even a little more if they're really in a hurry.

Certaindeaf
November 13, 2012, 10:59 AM
Maybe just be/think small.. you kinda have to I'd imagine doing custom cast bullets.
"Advertise" on a few places on-line and at some gun clubs etc with what you are offering.
Don't do the/a run until the order is placed/agreed upon.
Some of those nice cast Keith bullets etc are surprisingly expensive.

blarby
November 13, 2012, 09:01 PM
Maybe just be/think small..

That is indeed the plan. 100%

evan price
November 14, 2012, 07:38 AM
What I want is consistency. I want the same bullet I ordered last year, again. I want ordering to be click, pay, click, and the bullets hit my doorstep in two weeks. If you're out of stock, tell me up front and when you expect to have more. Don't shine me on. I understand you are a busy business person and you have schedules and other orders and machine problems from time to time. Don't tell me one thing and then ignore me.

Hand cast may be great and all but for pistol practice I don't need or want to pay for your lovingly molded bullets that are caressed from the mold cavities with ostrich feathers while angels strum harps in the background. Get me bulk target bullets that are within specification for size and weight and get me a lot of them.

However much you may enjoy casting by hand I can tell you that (for example) when my order for 25,000 158-grain SWC sized .358" hits your in-box I don't want to wait 60 days for you to cast them. Magma's Bullet Master runs 3000 per hour and a Magma sizer can do 5000 per hour. My order alone will be roughly a week of work and consume 600 pounds of lead. It will ship in 9 USPS medium flat rate boxes. That's $100 in shipping alone. For that you'll get roughly $1200. I currently pay 5 cents apiece for them to my door in bulk. Can you beat that and provide a consistent product that meets minimum specifications?

Sam1911
November 14, 2012, 10:38 AM
evan, I don't gather that blarby is looking to meet your end of the market, at all. I said roughly the same thing early on and he pointed out that there are several great choices for that mass product already. He's not looking to carve off a part of that market for himself, but to provide a different niche product.

Certaindeaf
November 14, 2012, 11:32 AM
What I want is consistency. I want the same bullet I ordered last year, again. I want ordering to be click, pay, click, and the bullets hit my doorstep in two weeks. If you're out of stock, tell me up front and when you expect to have more. Don't shine me on. I understand you are a busy business person and you have schedules and other orders and machine problems from time to time. Don't tell me one thing and then ignore me.

Hand cast may be great and all but for pistol practice I don't need or want to pay for your lovingly molded bullets that are caressed from the mold cavities with ostrich feathers while angels strum harps in the background. Get me bulk target bullets that are within specification for size and weight and get me a lot of them.

However much you may enjoy casting by hand I can tell you that (for example) when my order for 25,000 158-grain SWC sized .358" hits your in-box I don't want to wait 60 days for you to cast them. Magma's Bullet Master runs 3000 per hour and a Magma sizer can do 5000 per hour. My order alone will be roughly a week of work and consume 600 pounds of lead. It will ship in 9 USPS medium flat rate boxes. That's $100 in shipping alone. For that you'll get roughly $1200. I currently pay 5 cents apiece for them to my door in bulk. Can you beat that and provide a consistent product that meets minimum specifications?
If you placed that order to these guys it'd be $5187.50 without shipping.. don't know about wait times and that's for a 173gr Keith, the only SWC they sell in .38.

https://beartoothbullets.com/bulletselect/display.php?catagory=17

https://beartoothbullets.com/images/bullets/BTB-357-173gKeith2.jpg

USSR
November 14, 2012, 12:01 PM
blarby,

Putting aside our disagreement regarding bullet casting practices itself, since you are going to be a "niche" seller of lead bullets, I would suggest that you explore an area of cast bullets that are rarely offered by the big commercial casters; Hollowpoints. There is a European manufacturer of extremely high quality brass moulds that I have 3 moulds from. These moulds are easy to cast with, and you can set them up to create either solids or hollowpoints. Just MHO.

Don

http://www.leadandbrass.com/miha275_44.jpg

blarby
November 14, 2012, 12:30 PM
I agree, Don.

An example of what you have right there is one of the great things you can do with handles that you cannot do with a machine.

While I prefer a tilt-pin style for production speeds as opposed to a kramer style such as shown above- you have clearly illustrated one of the many things I believe handcasting allows for.

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