Question of the Day: How Much Do You Spend on Gun Stuff Per Year?

(courtesy nssf.org)

“We’re sure you know that a day spent hunting beats a day in the office,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) says. “What you might not know, though, is that a day spent hunting in many cases is more affordable than a day spent on the golf course or at a major league ballgame.” I think we knew that. And that “in many cases” qualifier sticks out like a sore thumb. Does the price of 10-days of turkey hunting include gas, the gun, accommodation, ammo, camo eyeglass frames, a turkey call and the celebratory drinks? Equally, I don’t play golf or go to major league ballgames. But I do buy Boar’s Head Ovengold turkey, at about $12 a pound. So I could buy four pounds of sliced turkey for roughly the same price as 10 days hunting turkey. Huh. Anyway, I spend a more on shooting than I do on anything else I do for amusement. (Yes, even in Las Vegas.) I reckon my total annual outlay’s at the tippy top end of four figures. How much do you contribute to the gunconomy?

comments

  1. avatar DrVino says:

    If you want to know, call me. My wife reads this blog.

    1. avatar Mike Crognale says:

      This^^^ LOL.

    2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      Yes I think you will find that for a lot of us the “reported” amount is way less than the actual amount.

      If I had a dollar for every gadget/toy/accessory I bought while getting my license every season I would still be way poorer than if I had just left the stuff on the shelf and only bought what I came in there to get.

    3. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      How does the old joke go?

      My greatest fear is that someday my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them.

      1. avatar SD3 says:

        That’s a joke? Now I won’t sleep tonight.

      2. avatar Matt in FL says:

        The t-shirt says “If I die, someone tell my wife what my guns are really worth.”

        1. avatar TheBear says:

          I got lucky with my gf of 5 years.

          I just got a $2,500 knife in the mail today. I asked her what she thought and she said, “It’s your money – I don’t have an opinion.”

          Music to my ears.

    4. avatar tito says:

      40000 so far and still buy more

  2. avatar The Trouble with Timbo says:

    Ah, but will they let me go hunting at a MLB game???

  3. avatar PeterC says:

    My annual membership fee at a first-class rifle club is $60, allowing me 364 days of shooting per year…55 cents less than one day’s greens fee at the golf course.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    Geez. Probably 2-3 grand…and I’m only 23 years old and paying for college as I go. I think I have a problem…

    1. avatar Bob92 says:

      Yes you do. Don’t worry, for you have time to catch up with the rest of us after college. 🙂

      1. avatar Alexander says:

        My first rifle this year all tricked out came out to be around $2.8K and probably a little over $700 for magazines and ammo. I’m hoping I can get a pistol before the end of this year! And I am also attending college.

        😀 Cheers

  5. avatar IdahoPete says:

    I respectfully decline to answer the question on the grounds that it’s no one’s business but my own.

    As an unrelated aside, I believe every American has a Constitutional duty to spend at least 25% of their income on defense. Just saying …

  6. avatar Taylor TX says:

    Yea, they forgot to add “Land to hunt on” (sure you could goto public land if you are close enough to it) in their list.

  7. avatar A-Rod says:

    $10.99 for Turkey ammo?!?!?! WTF?!?!?

    I could/would easily spend hundreds of dollars a year on trap/skeet. Happily!

  8. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    I don’t hunt anymore… can’t keep up with the boys and won’t hunt alone, of course. I have never played golf and have zero interest in professional sports (or much of any other kind). Shooting and computers are pretty much my only vices. 🙂

    I do spend several hundred bucks a year for ammo, even though my boys reload and keep me pretty well supplied. Have to get new brass once in a while, of course. 🙂 I bought new elec. ear muffs this month and a Crimson Trace red dot laser for my carry gun as a birthday present to myself (68). Gun club dues are $25. a year with zero additional fees unless you go to a charity shoot. I don’t spend much else on guns other than the occasional need to replace worn out equipment and cleaning supplies. Have not bought a new gun in ages, though I get the urge quite often. [grin] One of the boys gave me a HiPoint 9mm carbine for mother’s day this year, so I’m feeding that one too.

    But I do my best to contribute to the number of other shooters. I teach regular NRA basic pistol and self defense classes, and hold a shooting clinic once a week at the club. Getting more interest from ladies all the time, and we have a ball out there… safely, naturally.

    Does that count? [grin]

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      ‘Shooting and computers are pretty much my only vices.’

      What, no scotch? A man has to have at least one vice.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Eh, I doubt MamaLiberty is a man…

      2. avatar MamaLiberty says:

        Well, A-Rod… happens I’m an old lady, but I do enjoy a nice single malt scotch on occasion. I don’t care for it enough to call it a vice, however, and don’t have much money. That stuff costs a fortune, and I’m too “scotch” to buy it often. Priorities, you know. 🙂

        1. avatar A-Rod says:

          I’d drink scotch with you anytime. I’ll even buy.

        2. avatar MamaLiberty says:

          That sounds mighty fine. 🙂 If you ever get to NE Wyoming, drop in and visit.
          My email address can be found at the bottom of this webpage: http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?page_id=846

          I love visitors, especially those who like to go shooting with me and/or bear bottles of scotch. LOL Shooting first, scotch later.

  9. avatar Avid Reader says:

    More than I spend on golf.

  10. avatar jwm says:

    Too much/Not enough.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Perfect answer ^^

  11. avatar J o e says:

    The graphic is misleading. The left side multiplies everything on the right by 10 with exception to hunting. I understand the license cost is a one-time fee but they are purposely using a marketing tactic to skew the view.

    None the less, why turkey hunt? Let’s go target practice instead. You get to shoot a hell of a lot more and you can talk, laugh and get tips from other shooters without scaring away the target. It’s always fun to try out new gear for free from friends.

    In regards to the question at hand, with exception to the years my children were born, I personally spend about $4g a year on gun stuff. My employer is also very supportive on practice and they give about another $1-2g a year towards ammo.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “None the less, why turkey hunt?”

      I’m willing to bet you’ve never turkey hunted, or you would not ask that question.

      Hunting in general is worth FAR more than shooting at range. I don’t go to the range to talk/socialize (but will do it) or to try on clothes/gear. None of that helps you really test your skills or see first hand what terminal ballistics is (and isn’t).

      Plus, hunting provides food. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually eat the cardboard targets I shoot at the range.

      Why hunt? As the saying goes, if you have to ask, you may not understand the answer.

      1. avatar Taylor TX says:

        and we havent even started talkin about fried turkey!

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Have you priced 5 gal of peanut oil recently?

          Egads.

      2. avatar JB says:

        THIS x 10000

      3. avatar J o e says:

        I’ve hunted, it’s was ok. Long wait, boring, etc. when I go to the range, it’s usually 2 or 3 of my buddies and we bring along another friend to learn. We get to use our firearms more at the range.

        Then we go fishing.

    2. avatar LongBeach says:

      Your employer supports between one thousand and two thousand dollars worth of ammo a YEAR? Holy F*CK send me an application!

  12. avatar Ratbikerx says:

    Do video game shooters like Call of Duty count?

    I spend enough to keep me and the family in practice and tuned up at the local range and to be prepared….

  13. avatar Steve in MD says:

    I’m putting together a spreadsheet based on all my receipts. Give me a few hours, and I’ll have a figure.

    1. avatar Timmy! says:

      No, no no! Never do the math!!!!!!

  14. avatar Jeff in Atlanta says:

    About 4 or 5 times what my wife thinks I spend and she knows about $5K per year.

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    To save money, I’ve started to combine golf and hunting. So far this year, I’ve bagged an eagle, a six-point buck and a large caddie.

    1. avatar The Trouble with Timbo says:

      I’ve always wondered what happened to him…

    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      So if that was a large Caddie, did it have a real V8 and fins, and how did you get a large Caddie on it’s back to gut it?

  16. avatar Bob92 says:

    Oh no, guilty as charged. $100 a week for range and ammo expenses at $5200 per year; NRA courses, $1000 per year; non-NRA courses, $500; new firearms, probably $5000; books and magazines, probably $500; accessories such as holsters, belts, clothing, bags, and cases, roughly $3000 per year. Next year, I plan to add a course at Gunsite and trip to Nevada for a CCW class. If I can kick my Chai Tea Latte habit, I may be able to throw another $5000 into it. 🙂

    1. avatar Bob92 says:

      My wife just bought an H&K P30 and Sig Sauer 938. Do those count? 🙂

      1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

        Depends on if “she” actually bought them and if “she” was the first one to pull the trigger on them. If thats the case then no, they dont count.

        However if they are anything like the guns my wife “bought” then as she never fails to remind me “they are really your guns and you just let me shoot them sometimes”

      2. avatar Gunr says:

        I just bought a Sig 938 also, did your wife also get the 7 round mag with the pinky support? I used mine a little, with the stock 6 round, and then decided even for $45 I’ve got to have the 7 round, big improvement.
        When I registered the gun at the Sig site, they said they would give you 20% off your first order. That’s $9.50 off the mag, then they want $10 to ship. I ended up just buying at Cabela’s, more expensive, but no shipping.

  17. avatar john thomas says:

    My wife and I together probably spend about $1,800 per year on guns, ammo, range fees, and misc accessories. Probably about $1,200 on hockey tickets, hotel stays, concessions, and gasoline to drive to Dallas and back a few times per year. We’ll probably spend more on both in 2015.

    1. avatar PerplexedPistolero says:

      So that’s why I’m always having trouble scrounging money for hockey tickets! I’m not spending in balance to my firearms-related purchases! I think my ratio is somewhere on the order of 10:1 rather than your 3:2. Suppose it would be a little more in proportion if I counted my hockey equipment, but still very skewed towards the guns. In answer to the original question, more than I should be spending, but less than I want to be spending.

  18. avatar JR_in_NC says:

    These comparisons are not apples to apples.

    “Does the price of 10-days of turkey hunting include gas, the gun, accommodation, ammo, camo eyeglass frames, a turkey call and the celebratory drinks?”

    The gun, eyeglasses, turkey call and other non-consumable gear is useful for many hunting trips. Amortize those costs not over just 10 trips, but the lifetime of the gear. The gun, for example, should probably only cost a few cents per trip.

    Likewise, golf clubs for golfing. Those clubs can last a pretty long time.

    It’s the consumable and recurring costs that get you. But, even here, we have to be careful. For hunting, for example, it’s not fair to include the cost of gas as “$/lb of meat” then ignore that for the cumulative cost of fuel for x trips to the grocery store for meat. Then again, that’s also complicated by the fact that one buys other groceries while there…

    Then we have comparison to something like a MLB game…which is nearly pure “consumable” and with none to little tangible return.

    The consumable cost of hunting is very variable, as well. For me, for example, it is negligible to net-gain, because if I were not shooting at game, I’d be shooting at a cardboard target (and I burn a lot more ammo at the range than in the field). So, in a sense, hunting SAVES ammo costs as a consumable.

    The “cost of hunting” is only a net negative if several factors are simultaneously true: (1) you buy a bunch of gear and only hunt once or very, very rarely, (2) you don’t ‘fill the freezer,’ (3) what you’d be doing while NOT hunting is pretty much nothing (or ‘earning’).

    In short, these comparisons are not ‘zero sum.’ Some are purely consumption, some are consumption-production.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      a MLB game…which is nearly pure “consumable” and with none to little tangible return

      . . . especially for Cubs fans.

  19. avatar FoRealz? says:

    More than I should but not as much as I’d like.

    Dunno, so with ammo, accessories, firearms, scopes, range gear, memberships, etc. I’m thinking $8k-$12k a year.

    Let’s take the Glock 20 as an example.

    Glock 20 Gen 4 $565
    Couple extra mags: $45
    2 cases range fodder: $850
    Couple boxes of the good stuff: $70
    A holster: $50

    So to get into a new pistol in a caliber I don’t own would be: $1580 give or take. Now add a conversion barrel, maybe a custom spring set, some night sights and we can throw in $300-400 more.

    And that’s how it happens. 🙂

    Can you guess I’m getting a Glock 20 next?

  20. avatar Heretical Politik says:

    I’ve purchased an m1 garand and a Lee Enfield No4 Mk1* this year. The Garand only required a sling, clips, and ammo (30-06 ain’t cheap, even if I’m only buying the CMP surplus stuff). The enfield on the other hand… Let’s just say it’s a work in progress, so the full tally isn’t in yet. Should have her finished in a couple weeks though! 🙂

  21. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    My purchases vary considerably from year to year.

    Here is an interesting perspective that people should keep in mind. If you have quality firearms and take excellent care of them, their “used” value will typically exceed their initial purchase price in roughly 10 years. Thus, from a balance sheet perspective, your firearms did not cost you anything.

    My firearms are no different than precious metals … they have considerable tangible value and in many cases they are worth more now than when I purchased them. Plus, I have the use of them. It is similar to purchasing quality undeveloped real estate. It goes up in value AND you get use out of it!

  22. avatar Jim R says:

    I don’t spend very much. I don’t have it to spare.

  23. avatar TT says:

    I would never calculate it, much less write it down.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      ^this^
      I honestly try not to think about it. I might feel guilty or some other bad feeling. That might offset the good feeling I get when I find a nice collectable. Or a bargain I simple can’t pass on.

      Scopes, ammo, ammo cans, powder, primers, projos, gas, scope mounts, tools, gun parts, cleaning supplies, targets, range dues, alarm system, airline cases, tags, licenses, ATF fees, mags, soft cases, range finder, spotting scopes, hunting clothes, hunting blind, banquet fees, and on and on and on….

  24. avatar notalmia says:

    Too much.

    Not enough.

    Depends on whether I’m staring at my bills. 😉

  25. avatar Ian T says:

    My wife and I budget 4K per year to guns and accessories which we can only fudge a little bit. That does not include things like range fee’s, ammo, targets and the like. I bet all told it’s probably 6-7K per year total.

    That only includes total gross. I sell stuff and roll that money back into other guns items. That would probably add a few thousand per year, but I don’t count it since it’s not really out of pocket.

  26. avatar Justin_GA says:

    I consider myself pretty frugal except when it comes to my favorite hobbies. I’m in the computer sciences field and spend in neighborhood of 5 figures on technology. While I spend close to 6 figures on guns. Like I said I am frugal so what I spend is more of an investment that I can enjoy. I’ve been criticized for having “too many” guns but the thing is I’ve never lost any money. The only problem I see is that I love my guns and it will be hard to sell them for retirement. I guess it’s a good thing that I enjoy working since the thought of having to sell some of my collection would hurt to much.

  27. avatar Don Nelson says:

    This is a question I’ve studiously avoided asking myself. The answer is about the same as I pay on the mortgage.

  28. avatar E_chin says:

    what flippin’ MLB team are you seeing for only $27? haha

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      The Astros. Hahaha. Maybe if you only pay for parking and go to a tail gate party.

  29. avatar former water walker says:

    Sadly nothing right now. Business is way off so I can’t justify any gun fun. When I have $ a LOT…

  30. avatar SCS says:

    I would tell you, but then my wife would have to kill me.

  31. avatar tdiinva says:

    I spend money on gun sports and I spend money to play golf. That pretty much expends my discretionary funds.

  32. avatar GuyFromV says:

    I lost all my firearms in the middle of a frozen lake during a tragic curling accident.

  33. avatar Scrubula says:

    Where are they playing golf at? The most you would pay at a mid priced course is $15-20 per visit…

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      In Northern Virginia the best you can do on the Weekends is $50 on a regulations course.

  34. avatar CCDWGuy says:

    I ran a report on Quicken for the last 12 months…it even surprised me that I was a bit over $3,000 and I don’t think I have bought any new guns in that timeframe…or maybe but I don’t remember so if I was a politician, my hard drive crashed. Has to be ammo prices.

  35. avatar Gunr says:

    I’m glad I have everything I need in the way of guns. I wont be spending money on guns and ammo for a while.
    Wife working at McDonalds for 15 years, she just got 10 days notice their closing the store, with little or no work in this little dried up town.

  36. avatar Mediocrates says:

    This is not the truth about me.

  37. avatar Independent George says:

    I track all my expenses on Mint.com, so I actually have it down to the dollar.

    Ammo: $1,529
    Accessories: $1,077
    Range Fees/Instruction: $640
    Guns/FFL: $542

    This is my first full year as a gun owner, so I spent a ton on ammo and basic accessories (gun safes, cleaning supplies, holsters, belts, spare magazines, etc.). I’ve got all the defensive rounds I need, so hopefully next year, I can save some damned money while expanding the collection.

  38. avatar Hoots says:

    Luckily only a couple hundred Bucks annually. My hornady sponsorship covers most of it.

  39. avatar Ralphie says:

    Too much according to my wife. I just tell her I could spend a lot more doing another hobby.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Have the dealer make out a fake “Spouse receipt” Showing something like $125 for a tricked out AR.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Depends on the wife. I never told her I bought an XD and just put it in the safe. Next day she went to get hers and immediately noticed it.

  40. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    As far as how much I have spent this year so far, lets just say if more guns = less crime we are save for a radius of at least half a mile crime free.

  41. avatar Mike Dineen says:

    Does all my memberships, raffle tickets, banquets, and donations count?

  42. avatar Seth says:

    I turned 18 two days ago and between everything, probably about 4 grand a year haha

  43. avatar O-Hebi says:

    $2000 to $4000. No, I am not rich, I just don’t mind not going to the movies and dinner at Morton’s. Edit: I looked it up and it is more like $5000 a year. I blame this damn website, lol.

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