March 18th, 2014

Money-Saving Tips for Gun Guys and Gals

For many Americans, real incomes have stayed flat in recent years, while the true cost of living has risen. Accordingly, it’s important to save money whenever possible. Prices are going up, but wages aren’t following (for most of us). Here are seven ways shooters can save money on gear purchases and other shooting-related expenses.

1. Share a Ride to Matches. With gas costing close to $4.25 per gallon in many areas of the country, fuel has become a significant part of an active shooter’s hobby budget. Yet over 90% of shooters drive solo to matches, often in large, gas-guzzling trucks. If you drive 100 miles roundtrip to attend a match in a 20-mpg vehicle, you’re going to burn nearly $20.00 worth of gas total out and back. By simply sharing the ride with one fellow shooter you can cut your fuel expenditures in half.

2. Use Discount Codes to Save. It’s always smart to check for discount codes before you buy. In the Daily Bulletin, we regularly highlight important sales, and we provide discount Coupon Codes when available. These can reduce the price or lower shipping costs. For example, right now Brownells is running a Promo that offers FREE ground shipping on orders or $75.00 or more. Just use Code FAV during check-out. If you can’t find a Coupon Code for your preferred vendor, visit RetailMeNot.com and/or SlickGuns.com. Both those sites list current coupon codes, and RetailMeNot.com covers thousands of vendors.

4. Shop for “Demo” Optics. Modern high-quality optics can easily cost $1500.00 or more, often exceeding the value of the rifle on which they are mounted. However, you can often save 20-30% by purchasing demo optics. These are normally display units used at trade shows. They may have slight ringmarks, but otherwise they are “as new”, having never been carried in the field or used on a rifle that has fired live ammo. When purchasing demo scopes, you should always ask about the warranty before consummating the sale. However, most demo scopes from name-brand manufacturers come with full factory warranties. EuroOptic.com and SWFA.com are two respected vendors that offer a good selection of demo optics.

5. Train with Rimfire Rifles. The true cost of shooting a match-grade centerfire rifle, when you consider barrel wear, approaches $1.00 per round. READ Shooting Cost Article. By contrast, decent .22LR target ammo sells for under $0.19 per round (though it is, admittedly, hard to find right now). Good rimfire barrels last a long, long time, so you don’t have to be concerned about wearing out your barrel quickly. A quality rimfire barrel can retain its accuracy for 7,000 rounds or more. If you run the ballistics, a .22LR round at 100 yards can emulate the wind drift experienced by a centerfire cartridge at long range. This allows for effective cross-training with much less expensive ammo.

6. Check Out the Forum Classifieds. There are great deals to be found every day in the AccurateShooter Shooters’ Forum. The latest deals are listed on our home page. To see all the listings, browse through the Forum MarketPlace section which has four main categories:

  • Guns, Actions, Stocks, & Barrels
  • Tools, Dies, Rests, Reloading Components & Misc
  • Scopes, Optics, Sights, Rings, Bases Etc.
  • Commercial Sales by Paid Sponsors

7. Take Advantage of Factory Rebates. There are some attractive rebates available right now from quality manufacturers such as Bushnell, Leupold, RCBS, Sightron, and Zeiss. You have to be a bit wary because rebates are typically used to move less-popular merchandise. But some rebates, such as the current RCBS Bucks or Bullets Rebate, apply to very wide range of merchandise, so it’s hard to go wrong. Just make sure that, when you buy a product, you retain the sales slip and the original packaging (it’s also wise to print out online orders). To qualify for the rebate, you may need to mail in a product identification code found on the box, along with your original sales receipt.

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February 24th, 2008

Fuel Strategies — How to Shoot More, Spend Less

Many match directors have told us that, in the past 18 months, match attendance is down, particularly at regional and national events which require long drives. The main reason is fuel cost. With the price of gasoline soaring above $3.00/gallon, many shooters have decided to cut costs by attending fewer matches, or sticking to competitions closer to home.

While not traveling to a distant match will certainly save on gas (not to mention hotel bills etc.), we’d think there’s a compromise solution. We’ve observed that 95% of competitors at matches arrive solo — one to a vehicle. And, typically, most shooters drive big pick-up trucks or SUVs that may get less than 20 mpg on the freeway.

PROPOSAL: Car Pool to your next shooting match, and/or drive a vehicle with better mileage.

Whenever possible, this editor tries to “share my ride” with other shooters attending a match. I also drive an 8-year-old station wagon that gets an honest 29 mpg on the highway. Though it’s cheap to run, my vehicle has plenty of space for all the guns and gear 2 or 3 shooters would ever need.

Here is a chart showing how much you can save by carpooling and by driving a vehicle with better mileage. If you drive 5000 miles a year to shooting matches, a car getting 27 mpg will burn $349 less fuel than a vehicle getting 17 mpg. And even if you stick with your 17 mpg truck or SUV, ride-sharing with one other shooter can save you over $470 per year (if you drive 5000 miles to matches).

MPG Miles Driven Fuel Cost
@ $3.20/gallon
Ride-Share Savings
27 mpg 3000 $355.56 $177.79
22 mpg 3000 $436.36 $218.18
17 mpg 3000 $564.70 $282.35
27 mpg 5000 $592.59 $296.30
22 mpg 5000 $727.27 $363.64
17 mpg 5000 $941.18 $470.59

Subaru 4WD Outback Wagon — 26 MPG on Highway
If you want to replace an older, gas-guzzling vehicle, check out the Subaru Outback. We’ve tested one and came away very impressed. It’s roomy inside and has good ground clearance outside. It has a 5-Star crash rating and gets 26 MPG on the highway. Base models start at under $22K.

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