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  • 3 years later...

Apologies for resurrecting an ancient thread, however I thought it preferable to starting a new one.

I've been looking into reloading options recently and the disparity in prices between US and UK-sourced equipment is quite frankly eye-watering. For example the Hornady Lock-n-Load progressive press - £859 from Brownells UK$420 from Brownells in the US. At the current exchange rate that makes the US-sourced a shade under £300; so a touch over 1/3rd the price of the UK-supplied alternative.

This has obviously gone way beyond the old "same in dollars as it is in pounds" standard that used to characterise the difference in prices across the atlantic; and even with VAT factored in the US-sourced unit is still well under half the price of the UK equivlant - which I think is utterly obscene.

I'm all for supporting local, independent businesses, but can completely understand customers choosing private / grey imports when it's obvious that someone along the supply chain is clearly so intend on having their trousers down. I also appreciate how in the vast majority of cases the retailers themselves aren't to blame and have to suffer pretty crappy margins; so the blame in most cases must lie with the importers - or the fact that there are simply too many snouts in the trough between the manufacturer and end-user.

This trend is patently obvious with many other goods, however this is the most outragous example I've witnesses so far. Has anyone recently imported anything of this nature from the US? I've ascertained that (as per previous posts in this thread) reloading gear still doesn't require and export license, so the only real worries are the shipping costs, potential customs charges and lack of a warranty (which doesn't really worry me when you could buy two from the US for the same price as one UK-sourced example).

I know some suppliers refuse to send to the UK (usually those not wishing to under-cut their own UK operations) however it seems that one or two still will, and of course there's nothing to stop a private individual sending a package over if you know anyone on that side of the pond.

I'll continue with the research but of course would appreciate any thoughts from those with experience in privately importing such equipment :)

 

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I've only ever had occasion to buy 2 items from Brownells.  One was a Wilson/Sinclair case trimmer and I bought that because bizarrely, Brownells at the time were selling it for 2/3rds of the price you could buy one from just about anywhere else in the UK.  The second as a Sinclair chamber cleaning tool because I simply couldn't find one anywhere else at the time.  For that, they took the watery stuff  on cost as they seem to without any justification. It's not even that they have huge UK overheads because every single item ordered is shipped from the USA warehouse anyway, so they just need an office to act as a forwarding address and for that they get handsomely rewarded.  As with some other merchants, they remain in business not due to competitive pricing but due to the number of items they can get for you that you may otherwise struggle to get over here or import direct.

I don't mind paying a little bit over the odds for kit local to me as long as it is only "a little bit".  One retailer I deal with always goes the extra mile for me and they're a pleasure to deal with which is why I keep going back.  A 50 mile round trip is involved though but that's nothing compared with what some on here have to do.

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Don't buy from Brownells - stupidly expensive markup in the uk.

i have imported many things from the US over the years. Very easy, never been a problem. Generally it's a fair bit cheaper, even with the dip in the £. You definitely need to factor in shipping and import duties (HMRC are definitely clamping down - the treasury needs all the coffers it can get at the mo!).

Some items are cheaper in the UK once you've factored it all in. Some things are better off getting from the US, Germany, France etc

Google is your friend, simply spend a few minutes shopping around for the best deal.

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Whilst on holiday in Italy couple of years ago I met a chap who like myself enjoyed shooting, he was from Belgium, he says brass such as Lapua is cheaper there than the uk. I often wondered if you can buy certain non explosive reloading components from other countries.other than America 

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On 03/03/2015 at 6:50 PM, baldie said:

You can't get powder and primers abroad.

 

If people don't support the British gun trade who sell sundries....you may find one day that we no longer bother.

 

I have a small fortune sat on the shelves in brass, powder, bullets and primers. The margins are minuscule, they are simply there for customers when they call in for their guns etc.

 

The money would do me far more good invested in Barrels, actions and tools.

 

Not a moan...simply a statement of fact.

I`ve had a look at some gun trade price lists and margins are shockingly low , when a dealer says he cant knock anything off he really cant , having worked in many other industries and knowing their margins I dont get why the gun trade pays so poorly , labour of love I guess , the only guntrade big winners I`ve seen are the distributors/importers.

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I never bothered with buying from abroad, you read about duty and tax . I support my local gun shop from the club I shoot at. I sometimes wish I could buy more ! Like the shop but at least I can browse the shop shelf’s and buy as and when I want items. 

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I have nothing against the local shops who are selling to us customers - I completely understand their margins are indeed very thin.

However I have a massive issue with the main importers/distributors here- they're the ones who are making huge markup and will be the death of the UK sales market.

Why is it that I can purchase 123g Scenars from abroad at a cost of £250 x1000, which includes all taxes, shipping, distributors fees and the local salesmans markup. For the same in the uk I'd be paying at least £350 x1000.

GMK and the like, with their monopolistic grip on the market, are pricing people out and will ultimately do the local small businesses out of business. 

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Its just about impossible to relate US prices to UK ones and decide excessive profits are made.  The cost of running a business in UK is far higher, business rates, pensions for staff, maternity pay, data protection, and all the other legislation that needs to be done costs money, then there’s overall taxation ,the UK has the nhs and a welfare system to pay for. So we have high direct and indirect taxation.

Its a good thing that imported shooting related items are not priced in the same manner as petro/diesel. If they were we’d be paying twice in pounds what the americans do in dollars. ( akin to Brownells pricing)

The uk shooting market is tiny, within that you have suppliers that operate on tiny margins for the love of shooting, others that show massive stocks take your money and then tell you its on back order. The importers especially and many retailers will have, between them ,huge amounts of capital tied up on the shelf. All will be supplying their good and services at prices which allow them to make a living which makes it worthwhile to them.

If something we want is not available in the UK immediately or there is sufficient cost saving in buying direct we are all free to do so.

 

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1 hour ago, Catch-22 said:

I have nothing against the local shops who are selling to us customers - I completely understand their margins are indeed very thin.

However I have a massive issue with the main importers/distributors here- they're the ones who are making huge markup and will be the death of the UK sales market.

Why is it that I can purchase 123g Scenars from abroad at a cost of £250 x1000, which includes all taxes, shipping, distributors fees and the local salesmans markup. For the same in the uk I'd be paying at least £350 x1000.

GMK and the like, with their monopolistic grip on the market, are pricing people out and will ultimately do the local small businesses out of business. 

I've seen exactly this on my own industry, where a handful of importers have all but forced all of the smaller operators out of business.  I used to have links with one of them but I broke them off, as I was disgusted with the strings attached and the prices, but mostly with the conditions they placed on small business supply.  They effectively dictate how your business is to be run.  I did my own legwork and now employ a specialist factory to produce some of my goods to my design and for a third of the cost of buying from a third party importer.

It's also worth mentioning that a direct comparison of US/UK prices in what I do shows parity of the USD to GBP, not the disparity in shooting so I don't buy the excuses for some of the inflated costs being down to extra taxes and costs of running a business.   Brownells don't have much in the way of overheads or staff costs in the UK!!!

Trouble is, this model cannot fit with the UK shooting industry as the cost of regulation and the low margins in production make in unworthwhile based on the shooting market here.  That's the reality for things like brass and bullets and powders which we won't stop imports of any time soon, so we're lumped with importers and distributors and their margins I'm afraid unless we import direct from Europe for these things.

Rifle building is something else though and we do seem very fortunate to have some excellent smiths in the UK, and for what you end up with, very reasonable ones too on cost.

It's an expensive hobby.  All we can do is shop around to keep consumables costs down.

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1 hour ago, Catch-22 said:

I have nothing against the local shops who are selling to us customers - I completely understand their margins are indeed very thin.

However I have a massive issue with the main importers/distributors here- they're the ones who are making huge markup and will be the death of the UK sales market.

Why is it that I can purchase 123g Scenars from abroad at a cost of £250 x1000, which includes all taxes, shipping, distributors fees and the local salesmans markup. For the same in the uk I'd be paying at least £350 x1000.

GMK and the like, with their monopolistic grip on the market, are pricing people out and will ultimately do the local small businesses out of business. 

GMK should move their HQ to Sicily, they`d be right at home there. 

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19 minutes ago, Artiglio said:

 

 

The uk shooting market is tiny, within that you have suppliers that operate on tiny margins for the love of shooting, others that show massive stocks take your money and then tell you its on back order. 

 

That can be frustrating but you need to read the small print as in many cases as they are often advertising what they can get and what they will charge , even the biggest retailer does not carry everything and neither do distributors , Tikka / Sako are a good example and can take upto 12 months to get some models in.

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26 minutes ago, Moorlander said:

That can be frustrating but you need to read the small print as in many cases as they are often advertising what they can get and what they will charge , even the biggest retailer does not carry everything and neither do distributors , Tikka / Sako are a good example and can take upto 12 months to get some models in.

Most of their stock ends up in the USA, so it's not really their smallish size that keeps us waiting, it's other countries taking the lion's share of production whilst we wait on the back burner for the bits falling off the table.

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Don't go to Spuds, because he won't make the Tea, then starts making excuses about no milk :D might try my luck a second time and see if i can get one:rolleyes:

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12 minutes ago, VarmLR said:

Most of their stock ends up in the USA, so it's not really their smallish size that keeps us waiting, it's other countries taking the lion's share of production whilst we wait on the back burner for the bits falling off the table.

I think its actually a way of stopping discounting and de valuing a premium product , if something is in short supply the retailer can ask full wack as we have little choice and with a premium brand it wont affect sales figures as people will wait, with a budget item like Howa dealers often discount heavily .

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1 hour ago, Moorlander said:

That can be frustrating but you need to read the small print as in many cases as they are often advertising what they can get and what they will charge , even the biggest retailer does not carry everything and neither do distributors , Tikka / Sako are a good example and can take upto 12 months to get some models in.

Whilst i understand your point, there are/is those that show stock , take the order and payment with no mention of not holding physical stock. One in particular I get the impression does  purposefully to avoid holding stock or paying up front for goods. I’ve no objection to this so long  as i know what i’m getting into. Other companies plainly state items will be back ordered. I’ve no doubt that keeping an ecommerce site upto date is time cosuming and costly, but perhaps some information really shouldn’t be hidden in small print.

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12 minutes ago, Artiglio said:

Whilst i understand your point, there are/is those that show stock , take the order and payment with no mention of not holding physical stock. One in particular I get the impression does  purposefully to avoid holding stock or paying up front for goods. I’ve no objection to this so long  as i know what i’m getting into. Other companies plainly state items will be back ordered. I’ve no doubt that keeping an ecommerce site upto date is time cosuming and costly, but perhaps some information really shouldn’t be hidden in small print.

I`d guess you are talking about Tesco for guns of the south west :) 

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1 hour ago, Moorlander said:

I`d guess you are talking about Tesco for guns of the south west :) 

Not at all, not saying they don’t do it. Better to avoid naming companies, as my experiences may not be typical and there are those that have had no problems, i do however have a list of preferred suppliers with whom i find transactions are so much easier.

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