Need bullets? Get them from River Valley Ordnance Works.

I’m not a fanboy, and so don’t usually give unsolicited endorsements of commercial vendors, but in this particular case I’m going to make an exception: for plinking-at-the-range bullets, it’s hard to beat the folks at River Valley Ordnance Works.
I was recently looking for some .223 Rem. bullets for plinking. Price, not high accuracy, was the main concern. All I could find with my regular sources (Midway, some local shops, etc.) was new-production bullets, which are reasonably priced, but still more expensive than I’d like.
A year or two ago, I stumbled across the RVOW site, was seriously tempted by their USGI surplus bullets and cases, but was short on money as so didn’t place an order. However, I bookmarked their site, and made a note to come back later when I wanted to order.
A month ago, I placed an order for 2,000 “light marks” machine-pulled M855 5.56mm bullets. It just arrived today, and a friend and I loaded 420 rounds* in a few hours on my single-stage press**.
Normally, I’d be peeved about it taking a month for an order to arrive, and I called once or twice to politely inquire as to the status of my order. They explained that they were quite busy shipping orders, mostly due to the upcoming election (that’s the reason most customers gave them for ordering), and apologized profusely for the delay. When my box arrived, there was a handwritten note inside apologizing for the delay, and explaining that they’re a bit short-handed due to the proprietor’s husband recently passing away from cancer — my frustration evaporated at once.
In normal situations, a month delay would be greatly annoying…but I can absolutely forgive a delay due to such tragic circumstances. My sincerest condolences go out to the friends and family of the proprietress’ husband.
If you do end up ordering from RVOW, there’s just a couple things to be aware of:

  • Call them instead of emailing them. I made a few inquiries by email, but they were never answered. I’m not sure if Tom, the person listed as the point of contact, is the recently-deceased husband, but it would make explain why emails weren’t being answered.
  • When you do call, you’ll likely get their voicemail. Leave your name, number, and a message briefly explaining what you wish to order, and they’ll get back to you in a day or so.
  • Their prices are different than what are listed on their website, as the site hasn’t been updated for a while. Call for the most up to date prices. For example, their site lists “small marks” M855 bullets as $35.00/1,000, but they’re selling now for $45/1,000.

I quite like supporting small businesses, particularly those involved with the shooting sports, and RVOW will definitely be getting some more orders for M855 and M2 Ball ammo from me in the future. I’m going to give them a quick call tomorrow to offer my condolences, and to offer my services (at no cost, of course) to help revamp their website to be a bit easier to navigate and have updated prices.
I have no connection with RVOW other than being a satisfied customer. I highly recommend them, as they’re good folks selling good products at good prices. What more could one ask for?
* That fills all of my AR-15 magazines. Clearly, I need more mags.
** Note to self: a primer pocket swager would be a fine investment, as my thumbs are killing me from using a deburring tool to try to remove military crimps on most of my once-fired brass.

9 thoughts on “Need bullets? Get them from River Valley Ordnance Works.”

  1. A group of us ordered a 5000 of their supposedly new .223 bullets. Took forever for them to ship. We ordered the pulled bullets but were told that they were out of stock they raised the price and sold up what were supposed to be new bullets.
    These things are the worst excuse for a bullet that I have ever seen. Supposed to be 62 gr. They vary from 52 to 62 gr in weight & all points in between. Out of 100 bullets I have 4 different groups (I use the term loosely) of lengths and multiple weights.
    The cannot be loaded to mag length – they fall inside the cases of military 5.56 mm brass. They are dangerous and I guess that I am going to have to throw the whole lot away. RVO will not answer e-mail or phone phone calls.Voice mail is full.
    IMHO they are crooked. These bullets are culls at best – more likely the culls of the culls. They were represented as new bullets adn we paid a premium over their pulled bullets. Caveat Emptor. Do not do business with them.

  2. Mark: That’s interesting and troubling. Your experience differs quite a bit from my own, which was not unpleasant.
    I hope you get this issue resolved to your satisfaction. Even though I have no connection with RVOW, I’d appreciate being informed of any follow-up.
    If you’re going to throw the bullets away, I might be interested in taking them off your hands. Drop me an email and we can discuss it in more detail.

  3. I’ve used their services in the past before Tom’s demise and found them very quality oriented. When Tom died they closed down and recently re-opened with his wife taking over. I submitted a processing order of 2 K 223 brass which was prepaid in early April and was told it was a 6-8 wk turnaround. I have been in touch with Nikki for the last 5 months and so far have been re-assured by phone and email that I would receive my brass no less than 3 different times yet NOTHING has arrived. I understand her predicament with sick employees but that leave me, a pre-paying consumer, left holding nothing but receipts? I will update this when I get more feedback but until then I cannot fully endorse RVO anymore.

  4. D.C. Thanks for your input. When I placed my order a while back, Tom had recently died, so I understood that there’d be a bunch of discombobulation and that wasn’t a huge problem.
    If it’s still all borked up, that’s not good. A multi-month turnaround is bad news. You might try asking for your money back.

  5. I like your article AR, but I have to say,
    any company (excuses don’t cut it) that can’t
    pay some college kid to get their website up
    and running just tells me it’s a hobby, not a
    My emails keep bouncing back (the
    address does not work), there is no shipping cost chart,
    which means you have to make a call before placing
    an order, and after reading what a couple of these
    folks had to say, I’m not sure I would even get it.
    It is also troubling to read that the prices they
    charge do not match the website prices. Totally inexcusable.
    I’m a fair guy, and would like 2K of that M2 ball .308,
    but making customers jump through hoops? I don’t think so.
    Joey Ammo

  6. Had my credit card charged Jan, 28, 2013. Ordered several different items. Had not had any problems with them before if you do not mind waiting for a shipment for a month. The last order in Jan 2013 was for $700.00. Have not rece3ived a call from them as of April 17, 2013 and no reply to a whole lot of email. The phone never gets answered and the voice mail is full. Starting to think they just skipped town with my money. Not a happy camper right now.

    1. Mike, did you evet get a resolution to your issue with rvow?
      I have an issue, as well….let me know, if you have or haven’t, will ya?

  7. I ordered some ” mil. surplus” 193’s from them in June, got them in July…only problem was that they(bullets) were more like mil. rejects, not surplus….40-60 grain weights and a bunch measured .225. There is NO WAY that this junk was ever accepted by the military and subsequently surplused out…..pure trash.
    No reply to emsil,yet…will cann on 12Aug. and try to leave msg….
    I’m seriously considering turning this over to my credit card co. as fraud and let them have a go at them.
    It is too bad, because I have been pretty happy with rvow in the past, no problems with their products or service….maybe this batch slipped through the cracks, so to speak

  8. Spoke to RVO today and they were more than happy to make things right, which makes me happy as I like doing business with them….
    They have been BUSY, and are trying to get stuff out the door in a timely fashion…I guess mistakes happen and some patience is appropriate….

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