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What's up with Penn Bullets?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by shady280, Apr 11, 2008.

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  1. shady280

    shady280 Member

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    Hello, I'm new to this forum, an existing member recommended that I join. Same member got me into the sport of shooting. I'm also a member of SASS and locally to the Gold Coast Gunslingers. I also do my own reloading. My first batch of reloads, 45 Long Colt, I purchased supplies through Midway USA until a Friend recommended Penn Bullets. I first ordered with Penn last year and the person I talked to was very friendly, helpful and I was very happy with the 45LC that I got. I also shoot 38 special and 45ACP. Got me a little progressive press and all the bells and whistles to reload all the calibers that I shoot. I also put in another order with Penn for 38 and 45ACP, still have 45LC my first order was big, back in January. My account was charged on January 30Th for the order but still have yet to receive anything. I've put in a call two weeks ago and was told that they were going to research the order and I would get a call back. receiving no call I've since put in numerous calls to Penn, left messages and have gotten no response. Is this typical of Penn? At this point I considering disputing the charges but I'm hoping that this can be fixed? Any advice?

    Thanx...
     
  2. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Hello shady and welcome to THR. I have experienced slow shipping with Penn, but never that slow.
     
  3. wally

    wally Member

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    I Emailed for a price quote like suggested on the web site and have heard NaDa. Be buying elsewhere.

    Powder Valley has been great but they are currently out of everything I need or I'd not be looking elsewhere.

    --wally.
     
  4. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    I'm still waiting for my order from last March (I was told that because some of my items were lower volume, it might take 12 weeks instead of the usual 8). I called last month and they said my order would be done in a few weeks. I don't expect anything until I call and bug them, as that's what got the first part of my order shipped after 8 or 9 months- some 45 LRN and .309 150 grain.

    They do offer a few things I can't get anywhere else. Otherwise, I'd have bought someplace else. Another thing, bullet prices have gone up how much since last March? Will I be charged for the prices when I ordered or when it ships? I imagine when the prices come through I'll be making a call to dispute the price. The bullets are fine, but it's not a hassle I'll mess with again.

    I still hear good things about Penn's bullets on the web, and I understand he's swamped with business, but this wait is unacceptable.
     
  5. mjrodney

    mjrodney Member

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    I tried Penn in 2006.

    My card was charged immediately, but getting my order was painful.

    It took several months and several telephone calls to finally receive my order.
     
  6. putteral

    putteral Member

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    I tried Penn earlier this year. My card was not charged. But the order took almost 3months. When I received the order he charged my card double from what I originally ordered. Spoke to him about it and he told me to resd the fine print. Meaning he can raise his prices anytime. Will never use him again. Also he said he would give me a slight credit of $20 for my order and he never did. Plus I did not find his bullets any better than others I have ordered from. Pays to shop around.
     
  7. Citroen

    Citroen Member

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    I've ordered from him and was satisified. At the time I ordered, his website stated that when your order was processed, i.e., booked into their system, your credit card would be charged.

    I think it took about 3 weeks before my order was shipped.

    I can understand his reason for oddball orders and, since I received my order in a reasonable period, I was fine with it.

    I have since tried Roger's Better Bullets. Ordered last week and have not had time to receive the order but am interested in trying what he has to offer.

    I like 200 grain, round nosed flat point and not everybody offers them in .45 ACP.

    John
    Charlotte, NC
     
  8. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Welcome to the forum shady280.

    I don't use Penn Bullets because their prices are too high. I'm not knocking their product, only their prices and their customer service.

    I have found Mike at Mastercast Bullets to be great to deal with and he makes a top quality bullet too. They are extremely accurate and very fairly priced. He also ships USPS in a Bulk Box to save you money. I recently bought 2000 148gr DEWC .358" bullets from him at a cost of only $112 including S&H and Insurance.

    I have also bought from Roger's Better Bullets and from The Bulletworks and was happy with their products too. I am going to buy from Mastercast from now on though. Of the other two I think Roger's Better Bullets were better than Bulletworks but not by much. (I usually buy Roger's bullets when I see him at a Gun Show)
     
  9. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    I have logged onto the forum to clear up some issues that are arising out of our operation with respect to customers orders. I have been away for the last several days as I am taking my first break from the buisness in over two years since I had several major surgeries over the last two years including open heart and the loss of one kidney.
    There have been some long delays in getting a percentage of the orders out in a timely fashion. These problems stem from a variety of issues that affect all manufacturers and consumers alike. I apologise to any and all customers who did not get the level of service that they expected from us.
    To recap some recent history, the extreme votility of the metals market over the last 3 years has forced many bullet casters to close their doors. Other casters have closed for other reasons as well like health issues (The current thread on Mid South for example in which the owner passed away from a heart attack) or when Star Bullet works closed and the bullseye crowd lost their major supplier (production levels of about 17 million bullets a year) or for example National Bullet Company that seems to be commiting fraud on a massive scale (see the sticky: Problems at National Bullet Company, located at the Firing Line Forum) who was at one time a large, longtime supplier of cast bullets to the consumer market. In addition many small local casters have closed all across the country including just recently 2 more local to my area. The net result is the same, there are less of us out there to carry the load as it were.
    Being one of the larger bullet casters still in exsitence the resulting increase in buisness has been overwhelming. Couple the fact that there is a large percentage of customers that are now panic buying at levels that rival the demands I saw during the Brady Bill period.
    My company was founded on offering a very broad selection of premium cast bullets. At last count it was over 80 different styles and versions with different high grade alloys to meet the various demands of the shooting public.
    Add the fact that I offered custom sizing at no addtional charge which is a feature that many people take advantage of to maximise their performance of their firearm.
    Now some companies like Laser Cast and Precision cut back their offerings in order to cycle thru their line up more quickly. I opted to try to go to a priority based casting schedule and still offer the full line up of bullets. The problem is that the demand for regular, more common bullets has become overwhelming. The problem stems from mixed orders and the customer who wants to take full advantage of the great U.S.P.S Flat Rate shipping (which created a flood of orders from all across the country.) rather than pay multiple ship charges. Laser Cast charges a flat rate ship charge for each box of bullets that you order. Laser Cast is now the highest priced cast bullets on the market.) Mixed orders take longer than single bullet orders.
    I am currently bringing in some addtional office help to deal with the phones and paperwork as the order system is not fully computerised yet and hopefully this will allow me to concentrate more on procurment of materials and production.
    My process in manufacturing bullets is longer than others as I own and operate my own foundry to blend all the metals I buy to my specifications.
    The purchasing of quality materials at the volume I am going thru has resulted in my having to reach farther out to obtain those materials and paying some of the highest prices yet in this buisness. The recent surges in transportation costs and the substantial increase in electric rates here have impacted us as well as the consumers. The votility of the price changes are happening faster than my ablity to change prices on the web site and I am not the only company that is having this problem. I always charge the lowest price possible and will give current pricing to anyone who calls or e-mails. I may not always get back to you right away but I am working on it and with some addtional help that portion of the operation should get a lot better.
    Some bullet casters don't have those problems yet as the volume of buisness they are doing is not at this level. Most people are unaware of the sheer volume that these orders can be especially with the Cowboy Action season for the northwest is now getting underway.
    When you look at pricing of most of the bullet casters still in operation our prices are not the highest nor are they the lowest but our quality is among the very best regardless of price, which is another reason the demand for our products is high. If you have any questions please feel free to send me an e-mail and I will do my best to get you reply as soon as I can. Thank You.
    Robert Palermo/President
     
  10. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    Mr. Palermo, sorry to hear about your medical problems and I hope you're recovering from them as well as can be expected. I know the bypass operation alone can really knock a guy down. I understand how and why your business has come to the point where customers aren't satisfied, and it's not necessarily for any reasons that would reflect poorly on you as a person. By all accounts before this recent backlog Penn bullets was a great company to buy from.

    I have a couple of suggestions that would have made my experience better. First, communication is key. The Penn Bulletin was updated about this time in 2007. With the difficulties you've had getting orders out, I think a lot of problems would have been avoided if you gave an update every three months while leaving old bulletins on the site for people that check less frequently. In the time you took responding to this thread you could have written an update for all your customers that are wondering where their bullets are. Second, if you can't fill orders in a timely manner don't take them. Gunsmiths do this all the time, and it only helps their reputation. For your less frequently cast items instead of taking orders, put together a "waiting list" that allows people to be notified by email when their bullet comes up for production so they can plan their bullet purchases more easily. Knowing how many of these bullets to cast could at least be roughly estimated by this list, and surely if anything is left unaccounted for it could be sold without taking up too much warehouse space. I don't know how often you less popular bullets are cast, but if you're going to offer them at all it seems like you should at least cast them on an annual basis. A business that only offers a bullet every couple of years can hardly be counted on as a source of that bullet, and customers will go elsewhere. You may be thinking that you don't have time to implement changes, but in reality you don't have time not to adapt.

    In your response you highlighted a lot of the strengths of your company and gave a lot of the reasons that you're behind. I can see the differences between a reason and an excuse, and I urge you to be careful which your bulletins come across as. If all you say is "having difficulty getting material X, swamped in the office, casting mostly .45 and .38 because demand is so high, will soon be casting bullets X over the next whatever time period, and I haven't forgotten about you guys that ordered those whatever is cast less often" that would be fine.

    Also, keep the site somewhat updated to the price of bullets (like 2-3 times a year when prices are so volatile, as needed during times of stability).

    For those of us that ordered before lead and fuel prices got so high, will we be charged the prices at the time the order was placed or when the bullets are cast? If it's the later, I really don't like the idea of placing an order that arrives sometime in the distant future that'll cost however much things cost then. It gives me no control over my bullets or my money- not really something I'm fond of and not something other casters expect of their customers.

    I hope this helps, and I hope you can make the changes needed to get things running smoothly.
     
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Mr. Palermo,
    I'm sorry to hear about your health problems. I truly hope your health improves soon.
    God Bless...
     
  12. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    I appreciate the thoughts and suggestions that were offered and I will implement some of those ideas as they are good ones. My health right now is doing pretty well and it was amazing that thru good planning and great employees that a lot of orders continued to go out during those time periods.
    As to the issue of not taking orders, that has been done already. I have turned down two dealers and one commercial reloader looking for product. Got a call just before I went on break fom a dealer in Baltimore MD who told me his local guy Diamond Hard bullets closed and there wasn't a lead bullet in the area to be found and I turned him down. I used to do 25 -30 gunshows a year with mail order being only a part of my buisness. Today, I do no shows and the transition to an all mail order company has been hard as I wasn't fully prepared for the growing onslaught that this has become. While I have a computer, I am still an analog guy in a digital world and still learning new things about this all the time. My system is not fully computerised yet but with some new office help I should be able to get production up to some better levels. My web guy has been fabulous and has helped me more than anything and believe it or not I have done 4 price changes in the last 3 months trying to keep up.
    As to the pricing issue I am not sure whats going to happen there as I can't sell product for less than it cost me to make it. The one thing I have done is I will lock the price on orders of 5000 bullets or more or if a person calls or e-mails and I will lock prices on orders with a current quote.
    While perusing other threads thru the various forums ( I used to post a lot on these forums years ago but now just read them to keep up on things ) I see a common issue with a shortage of components from various sources. Other bullet casters are backed up as well , I don't know how far but they are; and some distributors like Powder Valley was listed as being out of some things and wait times from Kead bullets is very long ( from what I understand he's pretty much a one man operation.) and even Laser Cast has from time to time been unable to keep up with suppling Cabellas. ( two times in the last 4-6 months there was a several week wait.) Meisters owners got out and turned things over to a lease to the shop manager who is now running this with just his wife and the new company is called Meister Bullets and Ammunition so that operation downsized.
    Things will eventually settle down and maybe things can go from being crazy to just being steady busy. I sure hope so. In the meantime I will with Gods help keep going down that long road. Thanks everybody.
     
  13. shady280

    shady280 Member

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    Just wanted to let you guys know that I got in contac with Penn Bullets and we have worked things out. Got a partial order today and the rest is on the way. All is good. Thanx guys.
     
  14. ravnew

    ravnew Member

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    Glad to see that Penn is still going strong. Just placed an order for 5000 today. Will post here to let everyone know how it works out.
     
  15. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    On February 1, I placed an order with Penn for 4400 .45 ACP 200 grain LSWC, it took 3.5 weeks for them to arrive and a charge of $306 was put on my credit card the day the bullets were shipped. Thats $65 per thousand and shipping of $10 per 70 lbs.

    I ordered the target grade, not the match grade, as they are very well made and the target grade is plenty hard enough for under 1000 fps, in fact the match grade IMHO are too hard, and I get a little leading with them.

    Our local casters, Diamond Hard and Russell Bullet are out of business, Russell's owner told me he is paying $2.25 per lb for lead from his foundry supplier, so that means it costs him $315 for raw material alone to make the 4400 bullets I bought from PENN for $306 with $20 shipping.

    For many small casters it costs them $70 per thousand for the lead alone, to stay in business they would have to charge $120 per thousand.
     
  16. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    Still waiting, will be two years this March. Waiting on some 30 cal for my 7.62x25 and some of his 45 cal Thunderheads. I understand the little 30's are very low priority, but the Thunderheads are kind of his trademark and certainly have been cast sometime in the last two years.

    I know what's delaying my order, as it's explained in the last site update (9/08):
    The thing is, if you're not going to cast a bullet for years, maybe the low priority/mixed shipment method isn't the way to go. Here's a better idea, list those rarely cast bullets as "priced when available" and post the available quantity to the site when they are actually cast and ready to ship. Most of us reloaders are pretty good about checking back for availability, as many of us do for Nosler factory seconds, and I think this system would work pretty well if it can be administered on the caster's end.

    On the other hand, mastercast bullets has been reasonably priced, courteous, and actually fills orders (and in a timely fashion, no less).
     
  17. bentbill

    bentbill Member

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    I ordered some 150 gr 30 cal and some of the 38-230 thunderheads in July 08. I inquired three months ago and was told the 30-150s were cast but needed sized and lubed and would be ready soon and the 38 Thunderheads would be later. It's Jan 20th 09...still don't have any bullets.

    I wouldn't order there again.

    Bill
     
  18. Big Daddy Grim

    Big Daddy Grim Member

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    Penn is very slow so slow my order from a private guy beat theres by alot cancelled my order shortly after.
     
  19. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    I see an old thread has been revised so I guess its time for me to respond to the most recent comments. Many changes have taken place in the industry since I last commented so I think I should bring people up to speed that haven't taken the time to read the PENNBULLETINS on the website at www.pennbullets.com I had implemented some of the changes that were suggested the last time in addtion to adding in some of my own. The most recent was to tempoarily suspend orders on the speciality bullets untill I was caught up with backorders for those bullets. In addition current orders when they are processed are being shipped within a 30 day time period from the time they are processed.
    Prior to the election for a few months things here actually slowed down enough that I was making some progress on backorders for speciality bullets. Unfortunatly as the election drew near and then transpired the worst fear of every gunowner became true.
    The flood gates of panic opened up once again and as reported here and in other reloading chat rooms ,components started to dry up from several sources. To try to get a handle on whats been happening here is to get some perspective from my point of view. I have been at this for almost 30 years now and probably one of the oldest cast bullet suppliers in exsistance.
    Now over the years we have developed a very sizeable customer base and much of our buisness is repeat buisness. Some of the other casters that have smaller operations and have not been in buisness as long are building their customer base and thats good for them, but much of their exposure to the reloading world is thru these forums , which are a good source for customer referals. But there are two things I need to point out (and if you had read my web site you would know this) one is that this company advertised nationally for 3 years in major gun publications which generated a lot of customers for us over the years all over the USA and in Puerto Rico and several other countries around the world. Addtionaly those customers brought us addtional customers by word of mouth referals.
    The other thing to realize is that the people that are regulars on these reloading forums only represent a fraction of the people out there that reload. The market is quite large and we are just one small part of it. To put this in a better perspective as I stated before that a lot of bullet casters over the last 4 years closed their doors permantly. One only has to look at the threads here about NBC and other casters and their eventual demise. I kept a list of all the bullet casters that I knew that had closed and did a rough calculation on the number of bullets that each one would have produced per year. The number I came up with was about 200-250 million bullets per year and thats probably a conservative number. Add in Star bullet works and while they did not do cast bullets their production was around 17 million bullets per year and they catered to the bullseye crowd. When the Bullseye shooters lost their NO.1 source many of them went back to cast bullets to keep shooting.
    I produce between 9-10 million bullets per year. There is nothing I can do to fill the gap that was left by all that closed. Even all the bullet casters that are left can't fill that gap. Eventually any bullet caster that produces good product today and is not overwhelmed with orders because they haven't had the same time and exposure as us will eventually be overwhelmed by demand also. I apologise that not everyone can get what they want when they want it but untill conditions improve I will still do the best that I can as long as I can God Willing. I also appreciate the good words from my loyal customers. God Bless Everyone.
     
  20. dap22

    dap22 Member

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    Sorry but biz is biz

    I placed an order nearly 4 months ago and was promised quick shipment. I know about and feel compassion for Mr. Palermo's health problems, which he explained in depth, but several phone calls later and several additional promises, I still await. It's a miniscule order, no question, but........don't promise you'll ship and then don't. I have come to the conclusion that even the best product is equal only to those who stand behind it. Mr. Palermo either needs to hire some help or at the least be honest with his customers.
     
  21. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

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    I've used bullets from a lot of sources, including Penn. I can say that his bullets are no worse, and no better, than the rest. They cost more than most, and delivery can be painfully slow. I don't see any particular reason to order from him, but several reasons not to. So, I don't.
     
  22. dap22

    dap22 Member

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    Hmmmmmm........it's September and I'm still waiting for an order placed in March.
     
  23. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    Jeepers!!

    All I can say is that I get the cold sweats if a customer's order remains unfilled 5 or 6 days after we took it. 90% of our orders ship same- or next-day.

    We're shipping 1.3 million bullets per month now and I just don't understand how any volume caster can be as far behind as so many apparently are. I mean, we're just a mom and pop operation and we're not having any problems in that regard. And also, we have a double logistical problem in that we maintain two types of alloy for our different bullets - one 6% sB and one at 4.3% sB. So we have to stay on top of keeping both foundries moving product to us by the truckload lot, month in and month out.

    So, what gives? Anybody know, seriously?

    Brad
     
  24. floydster

    floydster Member

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    I would not screw around with a company that can't get orders out on time, too many other suppliers with good products.
    One in particular is Missouri Bullet Co.
    Great bullets:
    Incredible fast shipping:
    Good people:
    Anyone on this forum that doesn't know this has had thier head in the clouds.
     
  25. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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