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Boosting profits with reloading products.

There are many reasons why a person chooses to reload his or her own ammunition, though most often the emphasis is usually on economy. By the time a shooter reaches the point of interest which inspires him to begin reloading, however, economics may not be a great concern.

At the top of the long list of benefits associated with reloading is that a customer can "tune" his ammunition to fit his own particular gun and needs. Reloading has been made easier in the past few years due to the practically limitless combinations of powder, primer, and bullet weights and types.

There are over 50 types of powders presently available in addition to a wide variety of primers. The versatility of bullets, primers, and powders available to your customers, along with the selection of tools and accessories used for reloading ammunition are the greatest in the history of the sport.

"Hand-loaded ammunition is like tailored clothing," said Art Peters, product manager for Oroville, Calif.-based RCBS, a subsidiary of Montgomery, Ala.-based Blount, Inc. "If you have a standard size 40 jacket, it's going to fit every guy who wears size 40 a little differently. The same goes for a factory round. If you buy a factory round, that round is made to fit any gun.

"Experienced shooters know that every chamber is slightly different," he said. "A chamber has dimension -- length angle, neck, angle of the shoulder, etc. The factory is going to give the ammunition minimum dimensions to fit in any chamber for that cartridge. By reloading, you can tailor your ammunition to each chamber."

Identifying The Reloader

According to Peters there are three primary reasons people reload ammunition. The first is the cost savings. Customers can save from 30 percent to 60 percent off the cost of factory ammunition by reloading their own. That's obviously a good incentive.

Secondly, there's improved performance. Reloaded ammunition will enhance the performance of the shooter.

The third is simply the enjoyment of reloading - of shooting ammunition that has been reloaded by hand.

"Gunshop owners have to identify both the reloaders that already exist and the potential reloaders," Peters said. "He should know that 25 to 30 percent, or nearly one of every three customers that are buying from him are already reloaders. If he's selling firearms and he's not currently selling reloading equipment, one third of his customers are going elsewhere for their reloading needs."

Dealers must be alert to several things. First, a customer who is interested in becoming a better shooter is a potential reloader. If the customer tells a dealer that ammunition is too expensive, he too is a ripe sale for reloading equipment. A dealer has to be aware of the signals his customers are giving him.

Peters suggests that dealers who are currently selling reloading equipment, or who would like to, should involve themselves with shooting clubs in their community and encourage members to become involved in reloading. "A lot of business building can be done outside of the store. Creativity is the magic for any business," he said.

Selling The Product

"The reloader uses many accessories; the more the customer becomes involved in reloading the more accessories he's going to buy," Peters said. Dealers should stock reloading items that are commonly used. Tools like dies, shell holders, shell plates, and presses are essential to profitable reloading sales, as well as components such as the cartridge cases, powder, primer, and bullets.

Peters recommends that gunshop owners offer starter kits since getting customers started with reloading is the most profitable way to sell these goods. "Something a new dealer should consider selling is the Rock Chucker Master Reloading Kit. It's a great kit for the beginning reloader who wants to start with the best equipment. It contains the press and all the accessories. We also have a more advanced kit called The Hammel Master."

Once the dealer decides what he is going to carry it's very important that he maintain those items in stock and that he be a reliable supplier.

"One of the biggest complaints that we hear is the lack of availability of our products at the dealer level -- difficulty of finding items when customers need them," Peters said. "It's very possible that a person is going to drive 30 to 40 miles to buy a product from a dealer. If they don't have that item once he gets there, that's not going to impart a good feeling."

Since everyone involved in reloading has to have a press, dies and a scale as well as the components, what better way of selling a kit than by displaying a fully-stocked reloading bench?

"This way the customer knows how it will look and operate when it's set up at home," Peters said. "Dealers should place equipment somewhere that is easily identifiable -- an area that people have to walk by. Take a lesson from the grocery stores, they place the dairy products and the produce in strategic places. You have to walk by other 'impulse' items to get to them."

Lyman Products Corp.

"In terms of overall inventory, reloading takes up very little space and there's very little cost in getting outfitted," said Rick Ranzinger, vice president of Middlefield, Conn.-based Lyman Products Corp. "Most items are relatively inexpensive, so for the dealer it's a low investment. In general, reloading accessories are much less price sensitive or competitive. That results in a higher profit margin."

According to Ranzinger, reloaders also tend to buy at every level. "Hunters will buy a rifle every 10 years or so, but that's it. Reloaders will buy that rifle plus they will come back once a month for more reloading components. Reloading customers tend to be the most frequent buyers because they come in for additional accessories."

Lyman Products offers three entry-level kits. The Accu-Line starter kit is marketed for the beginning reloader on a budget. The Orange Crusher Starter Kit -- which contains the most popular press Lyman makes - is a selection of premium Lyman products. The all-in-one kit is called the Lyman Expert Kit. It is the best-selling reloading kit in the world and it retails for under $300.

"Reloading crosses the whole spectrum of shooters," Ranzinger said. "The reloader customizes the ammunition to his own needs and is always seeking better performance. In addition, they can save up to 70 percent depending on the type of ammunition."

Like Peters, Ranzinger suggests that dealers become involved in shooting in their community. He recommends that dealers periodically offer reloading education classes tied in with local hunter education to explain how the equipment works.

Both Lyman and RCBS offer free promotional reloading training videos and sales literature to assist the dealer in boosting reloading profits.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:selling bullet reloaders and materials
Author:Saenz, Lisa
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Previous Article:The 1992 reloading round-up.
Next Article:Take a walk on the Wild's side; Wild's sports shop.

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