Finance what you need for your next hunting trip
What to consider when financing guns and hunting accessories
- Outdoors stores and gun manufacturers may offer financing for a minimum purchase price.
- Stores and manufacturers may require down payments up to 25 percent, and administrative fees may be high.
- A personal loan may be a better option if you have good credit.
- Financing for hunting accessories may be available with an interest-only repayment period.
If you’re one of the estimated 11.5 million hunters in the U.S., you’ve likely visited a sporting goods store or trade show to purchase a new rifle, shotgun or handgun. You may also know about the relatively high costs of gun ownership, which tops several hundred dollars to obtain a permit in some states.
Purchasing a firearm can be an expensive proposition as well, so hunters may consider financing programs through outdoors stores or manufacturers if you don’t have enough cash on hand. You may also be able to get some help with the upfront costs of hunting accessories, or transportation such as an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or utility-terrain vehicle (UTV).
The number of guns manufactured in the U.S. doubled between 2010 and 2013, to almost 11 million, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The vast majority of these weapons were sold domestically. Rifles and shotguns for hunting purposes comprise a large chunk of the total.
Gun-loan programs often have minimum financing amounts of about $400 to $500, with maximum loan amounts at $7,500 or more. These programs may feature attractive, interest-only repayment periods of 90 days, terms of six to 36 months and application fees of 1 percent.
Other financing charges can be quite expensive, however, as a lender may require a down payment as high as 25 percent and may charge administrative fees of 10 percent of the purchase price. Annual percentage rates, or APRs, can look similar to what you’d get with a credit card — 10 percent to 20 percent, and sometimes more.
However, these types of lenders can be more relaxed with their application standards. Many offer quick and easy online applications. They may waive down payment requirements, or offer a layaway program as an alternative to financing. If you have a low credit score, it might not be an issue if the lender does not conduct a credit check prior to a loan approval. Other lenders, however, do require a good FICO score and proof of household income. Certain firearms are excluded from financing eligibility.
An alternative is a personal loan, especially if you have good credit. Many personal lenders offer lower interest rates and don’t charge application fees, administrative fees or prepayment penalties.
Checklists for hunting trips can be long. Depending on the type of game you’re after, you may need items like binoculars, knives, bone saws, firearm cases, cleaning supplies, blinds and game carriers. Clothing is an important consideration as you’ll likely want hunting-specific pants, jackets, boots, gloves and socks. Overnight hunting trips may require camping gear such as a tent, sleeping bag, lantern, camp stove, hatchet or water purifier. And you may need some emergency survival items such as a first-aid kit, flashlight, multi-tool, fire-starting supplies and blankets.
Dealers may offer credit for hunting accessories through a quick application process. Financing may include no annual fee and interest-free payments for up to six months, with a small processing fee included. There may also be a minimum purchase price in order to qualify for a promotional interest rate.
Powersport loans are available through many types of lenders if you’re looking to purchase an ATV or UTV for hunting purposes. Your loan budget should include any necessary safety gear and a trailer for hauling the vehicle, as well as maintenance and insurance costs.