Is Military Surplus Ammo Good Value?

When it comes to buying ammo in surplus or commercially, you may not be sure which is the best route. Fortunately, surplus ammo has a few noteworthy benefits.

Military surplus ammo has good value considering its price, quality, and durability. Even if surplus ammo may have passed its typical “ten-year shelf life, plenty of it is still usable fifty years after they’ve been manufactured. Also, since you can purchase them in bulk, you’re likely to save money.

Check out some of the factors that give surplus ammo such a good value below.

Cheaper Than Store Bought Ammo

Long story short, when you buy in bulk, you save money. The same goes for surplus ammo.

Surplus ammo becomes available to citizens when militaries sell ammunition they initially bought but don’t need all of it. Since they want some recompense for what they paid for, their ammunition prices are lower and quantities much higher.

The surplus ammunition may be a bit older than their recommended ten-year lifespan as well, or certain cartridges aren’t used much by the military anymore, which contributes to the price drop. Luckily, just because ammo is older than ten years doesn’t mean it’s not viable to use. It likely means that you’ve scored yourself a lot of ammo for a good deal since most ammunition lasts much longer than a decade.

If you’re not sure you’ll shoot enough rounds to make it worth buying in bulk, remember that you’ll have less need to frequently purchase, which saves you money in the long run because surplus tends to run cheaper than commercially-bought, regular-sized rounds of ammo. Surplus purchases also ensure that you won’t run out of your preferred ammunition later down the road if it’s not made as much.

On the flip side, you also won’t have to worry if ammunition prices go up. A constantly fluctuating economy never guarantees that you’ll be able to afford the ammo you want. And even if you can afford rounds, it’s doubtful that you’ll be satisfied with the amount of money you have to spend to buy them.

With the surplus, you’ll have already bought your preferred ammunition on a large scale at a wholesale price. The cost-effectiveness saves you the time and energy for searching and financing ammunition. You may even be lucky enough to negotiate the price of the surplus ammo, depending on what site or store you buy from.

Surplus ammo is largely available online, adding more ease of purchase. sells surplus ammunition for fair prices and prides itself on fast shipping and delivery.

High Quality

Through surplus, you have a wide selection of buying your favorite ammo brands in large quantities. You may even find brands that aren’t usually accessible in your area or country. The more familiar you are with what you like, the less you have to worry about potentially wasting money on something you’re not sure will suit you best.

Ammo quality increases when you take the proper steps to store it, which is in a cool, dry place. Doing this wards off chances of your ammo corroding–and you don’t want that for your bulk purchase. Because the military has been sold the surplus ammo in the first place, it’s likely that the ammunition is high quality and will get the job done.

Surplus ammunition works just as well as commercial ammunition, if not better in some instances. So when you do purchase the surplus, you can at least be assured that whatever you’re buying in bulk will have the same properties and results as what you buy in smaller quantities at stores.

The only downside to surplus ammunition is that it may be made with Berdan primer, which is a primer that makes reloading more difficult and longer to accomplish. It is used by many foreign manufacturers around the world because it’s easier to make, and since the military regularly purchases large quantities of ammunition from other countries, you’ll likely come across it in bulk ammo.

In the United States, ammunition is often made with Boxer primer and makes reloading simpler than with the Berdan primer.

Now, that’s not to say that Berdan primer decreases the quality of surplus ammunition. The accuracy of either primer depends on other aspects, such as the powder.

And although Berdan primer ammunition may take longer to load, because of their easy manufacturing, that puts them at a great for surplus purchases. They’ll shoot just as well for people who don’t need to worry about fast reloading time, such as for casual target practice or hunting, so the quality of their make still stands.


If you’re buying in surplus, then chances are that you want your ammo to last a long while. Like it was mentioned earlier in the article, to ensure that your ammo–outdated or not–lasts, you should properly store it in a cool and dry place.

Plenty of ammunition functions for longer than a decade without any problems. Again, if you don’t want to worry about ammo prices or shortages, you can look to surplus for an indefinite supply over numerous years.

Bulk ammo is often stored in airtight containers that are designed to resist weather conditions and extreme temperatures. Still, it’s good to do your part on your own end and ensure that your ammo lasts as long as you want it to (or potentially even longer).

Ammo that has been made in the last fifty years is specially made for long life. The military uses ammo past the ten-year date without any hesitation, meaning it’s still good for you to use when you buy any surplus stock as well. Of course, you should check to make sure that the bullets, whether outdated or not and kept in good storage space, don’t show any signs of corrosion.

Berdan primer also tends to be more corrosive than Boxer primer. Since so many surplus ammo manufacturers use Berdan primer, you’ll want to be sure that your weapon is cleaned frequently or after each use to keep it from being damaged by corrosive bullets.

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