Yet another Gun Show rant


October 10, 2004, 11:35 PM
I went to a gun show today and as I was walking down an isle I noticed an exhbitor stroll up behind me and begin talking to the exhibitor in front of me. He started whining: This show is a joke. I wonder how many people are losing money on this show.................... I know a couple guys that work the gunshow circuit and all I ever hear from them is whining.
I am always tempted to ask them: Imagine what would happen if you had good stuff to sell. Instead of these junk, no name nylon and velcro holsters and mag pouches you had stuff from Milt Sparks, or Mitch Rosen, or maybe even Safariland or Bianchi. What if instead of these no name chinese binoculars, and spotting scopes you had Leoupold, Kowa, or Zeiss ? What if instead of this Russian night vision junk you had gear that actually works ? What if you stopped trying to sell M1s for $1500 when I can buy one from the CMP for $500 ? What if, instead of these Russian and Chinese red dots you had Aimpoints or Eotechs ? What if you had name brand, quality knives instead of the same stuff I can buy on Revolution Street in Tijuna ? What if most of the exhibitors wern't out to rip people off ? Imagine if you guys paid attention to what people were talking about on-line and what the hot items being written about in the gun magazines and offered that stuff for sale instead of this hillbilly flea market BS you have out here today ?

I walked around this show, covered every table, and the only thing I was even remotely interested in was a bag of .30 cleaning patches. Which I bought. I didn't see anything there that I thought was at a decent price.
Wait, I take that back. One guy did have a box of used, actual GI M14 magazines, but by that time I was already disgusted and was on my way out the door. This was not to be confused with the hundreds of M14 magazines I saw that people were trying to pass off as USGI: they were marked "military issue" they just didn't say what military.

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Standing Wolf
October 10, 2004, 11:40 PM
What if most of the exhibitors wern't out to rip people off ?

Would it still be a gun show?

October 11, 2004, 12:07 AM
That pretty much covered it. Nothing to add.. :evil: :neener:

October 11, 2004, 12:12 AM
Why do you even bother to go to these shows?

I'm not talking to you so much as repeating what I say to myself every three months when the show comes to Orlando

Where I see the same guys selling the same crap at the same price as they do at their shops every other day of the week

And by the way the jerky sucks

October 11, 2004, 12:23 AM
Every time a Gun Show comes up, someone walks into the shop and brightly says "hey you guys gettin a table at the gun show?"....

My usual response is "no we are real gun dealers"....

One guy I said that to left in a huff becasue I was not only being my usual arrogant self, but asking too much for a $329 Remington 700...., (about 98% condition)

He came back in the next week with a rusty Remington 700 he bought at the show for $250 WITH A BULGED BARREL....

"How much to fix it"


The best is when I see a ratty gun at a pawnshop (like rusty 30-30s with more scope holes drilled iin em than holes in swiss cheese), then see the same one on a Gun Show "dealers" table for $100 more bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahah


October 11, 2004, 12:27 AM
I normally detest the high prices at gun shows. What gets me is that the shows that make a circuit all adjust their prices depending on what town they are in. In Panama City a Glock will cost you $500. Same show and dealers in Ft Walton and the price comes down to an average of $450.

I understand the principle of changing the prices, but what gets me is that most aren't willing to be a little flexible on the prices. Why not make a sale now at $50 less rather than waiting for the next show to drop your prices. Even then you aren't guranteed the sale.

I go for the private sales. Last show I picked up a Russian Tula manufactured SKS in beatiful condition that had been rearsenaled for $150 out the door. I also go to sell since I will get way more than any dealer would offer me on a trade.

Good Shooting

October 11, 2004, 12:30 AM
"Why do you even bother to go to these shows?"

Well, a couple reasons: #1 I see a lot of people I know. Many of them, I never see anywhere else. #2 You never know what you are going to see there. There arn't a whole lot of things I am really dying to own. But, there are usually a couple items I keep my eyes open for. One of these items, I found at a gun show a couple years ago. I had been casually looking for a S&W Model 14 with an 8 3/8" barrel. I wasn't looking real hard, but I had called a few people in Gunlist, but never did connect with one. One day, I walked into the gun show and on like the second table from the door, there was one NIB. #3 Impulse buys. This is usually stuff like books and other relatively cheap trinkets.
It is rare when I walk through a show and don't see anything even remotely interesting but I came close today.

October 11, 2004, 01:06 AM
What if, instead of these Russian and Chinese red dots you had Aimpoints or Eotechs ?

your show had russian red dots? what kind? any of the new kobras? how much?

p.s. what's wrong with russian red dots?

October 11, 2004, 01:44 AM
Gun show finds...

My dad finds a brass casing in a junk box, picks it up for $3. We learn at the same show that it is one of less then a dozen known in the US and worth about $500.

I picked up a German Field Police Gorget, original and correct as revealed by a vacation to Germany, and it was worth about $750, ten times what I paid for it.

October 11, 2004, 02:03 AM

you go cause
A) there are a lot of guns there, overpriced or not - thats why =)
B) you just MIGHT ya never KNOW... <grin>
C) its an excuse to get out of the house and ... well... lookit more guns!



ps - if they are overcharging for "junk" what makes one think they won't overcharge for good stuff? =)

Zeke Menuar
October 11, 2004, 02:43 AM
I attend two or three junk...opps....gun shows a year. Saturday I went to the Collectors West junk show in Canby. As usual most of the stuff was way overpriced.

I did however make my first ever purchase of a gun at a gun show. A small 01 dealer had a Ishapore 2A on his rack. The price looked too good to be true only, $140. From what I have seen in the last few months a bad Ishy 2A goes for $200 or more. I looked it over VERY carefully and bought it for $125 background check included. Gun is in great shape. It has been restocked. All the metal work has matching numbers and most of the finish is intact.
Pretty good score for a junk(did I say that again?) gun show. That was the only real deal I saw there and I went over every gun and every table.

And yes, it gets me out of the house.


October 11, 2004, 05:22 AM
"Why do you even bother to go to these shows?"

To oogle the blond @ the one dealer table..

*shrug* so I'm shallow - so what. $5 admission to oogle beats dropping $45 on a meal @ Texas Longhorn <-- another good oogle spot.

Once in a while I actually buy something too.

Nah - they'd never think of getting anything that they could sell @ those shows. It's all some kind of weird "Musical Tables - junk game". You see the same tired old crap show after show,,,and I mean EXACTLY the same crap. The only thing that ever changes is the table the crap is on. All the crap just floats around the show.
I think what they do is see who gets stuck with what at the end of the show, and give away prizes for the ones that manage to off load stuff and charge the ones that get stuck with some stuff. ..... .. then the next week, @ a different location,,they do it all over again.

October 11, 2004, 05:58 AM
I was talking to a dealer tonight about the local Charlotte Gun Show, run by C&E. He was bitching because they have one every two months, which is just way too frequent to bring out the folks. (He said he had heard that the Chantilly VA show held this same weekend was not very good this year, attendance down, etc.)

I rarely expect to find any deals, but I can always count on Georgia Arms being there, and I like their stuff for defensive loads (Gold Dots at a great price), and they make some good plinking stuff in things like .38 special.

However it can bring a bunch of local dealers to one place, and sometimes they have some good deals, with true "show specials". This show, I also found a BHP, lightly used, for $475, and which I agonized about in another thread. I passed, and should have bought it. And I also found a great deal on 7.62x54r Hungarian - I think, this is being battered around in another thread.

Then again, where can you be surrounded by a bunch of friggin' gunnuts, unabashed and happy!? :D

October 11, 2004, 07:54 AM
When quality stuff is put on the tables then you hear the whines of everything being overpriced. That your dealer has they same thing cheaper. Well the seller has to make the money for the item, cover the table cost, travel, food, and lodging. So they offer a volume of inexpensive items for the cheap shoppers. If they have a table full of $150 custom holsters that you won't have to wait 3 to 6 months for the maker to build you one next to a table full of $30 nylon holsters who do you think will do the most business?

I go for a nice day to spend with both old and new friends. Sometimes I pick up supplies and always look for deals. For the low admission prices we pay around here it's about the cheapest entertainment you can find that lasts all day.

October 11, 2004, 08:05 AM
Imagine if you guys paid attention to what people were talking about on-line and what the hot items being written about in the gun magazines and offered that stuff for sale instead of this hillbilly flea market BS you have out here today ?

They'd go broke, 444, because the business they'd get from me and you wouldn't be enough to outweight the 260,000,000 cheapskates in this fair nation of ours.

An Aimpoint ML2 will sit growing cobwebs on your table, 'cuz Billy-Bob kin pick him up a red dot "just like it" for $29.99 at Wally World. Whatchoo think he is? Stoopid?

I'd like to work in a gun store with showcase after showcase of Wilsons and Baers, yet somehow the Bersas and Hi-Points sell better. Do you have any idea how hard it is to convince your average customer that their new Kimber is worth a Galco or Bianchi (never mind Sparks or Rosen) holster when them there Nylon ones are so much cheaper?

(All you poor folks that can't find nothin' to buy at the gun shows! Y'all need to look harder! :D In the last two shows I went to, I scored a S&W 547 3" round butt with not so much as a drag line on the cylinder, a Chilean Mauser M1895 carbine w/bayonet, a nice flip-up BUIS for my M4gery, a Badger Tac-Latch, some Norma 6.5x50 Jap (finally!), some Georgia Arms .44-40 and .38 Super and .303 Brit (I've made a point to buy at least one bag of ammo from them every show for ten years, whether I needed it or not; they're good people). Didn't get nothin' free though. Bummer.)

October 11, 2004, 09:27 AM
Most of the people selling at gun shows don't care one way or another that they sell guns.

They look at it as an item that will turn the most profit.
If they thought they could sell widgets and turn the same margin, they would be at the widget shows.

The sad thing is they do it because a lot of gun owners or potential gun owners are shall we say, intellectually challanged.

October 11, 2004, 09:32 AM
For instance, this weekend, the first table I stopped at had a .308 Savage Striker with a Bushnell 2-6X scope marked at $300. I had been considering one, but in .243 or 22-250, so I walked on. But that $300 price tag stuck in my mind. So after I had seen everything else I went back to take a second look. I've already decided that it's coming home with me, even at $300, but you just gotta dance. I'm looking it over, remarking on what a nice piece it was, what a fair price, too bad I had no use for a .308... The dance had begun. So the guy says he'll have to check to see what he has in it, and pulls a notebook from under the table and starts to look intensely at one of the pages. My wife is at the other side of the table eyeing a Colt revolver , and I catch her signing to me, "Blank page" (ASL comes in handy sometimes). So he's danced before too. So he tells me he could let it go for $275 if he had too, but he's taking a beating. So I start talking about how I don't even have dies for it, but I thought I saw some at another table for $15, but as high as I can go would be $260. He takes another hard look at his blank page and says, "Okay, you look like a nice enough fella. $260 will do it."

What could be more fun...

October 11, 2004, 09:50 AM
You have to know what a bargain really is ! I know it's a novel concept, but a little homework goes a long way. For example, if you find several Uber 2000 pistols on Gunbroker for $550, you can reasonably conclude that a dealer can obtain one with sufficient profit margin for roughly the same price.

Another thing: Reloading components... Hazmat & other shipping fees absolutely KILL my cost effectiveness. I went to the Chantilly show, and saved over 200 on shipping charges...

ok... it was a big order.

I also found a USP 45 LEM .... new... + 2 standard caps for 649 AND he gave me a decent trade...

October 11, 2004, 10:02 AM
There are real deals at gun shows.The only problem is that they are all bought up before the public enters the show.I've now revealed the secret to the gun show and must go into hiding.I went to help a guy to set up a display of Military vehicles.During the set up phase all the dealers walk the tables and wheel and deal for the reasonably priced items.
The gun show is a mans answer to a womens "I'm going shopping":what:

October 11, 2004, 10:22 AM
I think it depends on the show and location. The Big show in Pittsburgh is just that. Like others have said so much over priced merchandise and plenty of scrap. I went to a small show in Altoona and walked out spending over $500 on things I really needed and the local gun shops didn't carry. I went to a Farm Complex show outside of Cleveland and scored 10 very clean used HK-91 aluminum magazines for $9.95 each. Also scored on a number of used Colt Green follower AR 20 rounder mags for $12 each. I couldn't believe how cheap everything was compared to Pittsburgh's show. BTW those mags were running $50 for the HK and $30 for the AR at the Pittsburgh show before the AWB expired.

October 11, 2004, 12:07 PM
I'm at the Gunshow last weekend, bitching as usual to my friend who's a dealer, about how this is the last damn show I'm coming to, cause I'm sick of all the dealers there who have such high price tags you don't even want to pick up the gun to look at it, everyone has the same stuff, all of it is crap, people are dumb, etc... and my friend says - "you say that every show..."

So as I leave, I run into a very nicely-done Enfield (1917) sporter in 35 Whelan, 23 in. bbl, scope, etc. The whole package (which I"ve wanted for years) for $250. Dammit! Now that I've bought that, I've gotta keep going back, to see what other goodies I may run into...

Gabby Hayes
October 11, 2004, 01:12 PM
So I can buy machine guns and AK-47s and watch all the terrorists? :D

On the other hand, if you don't particularly care to fill out paperwork telling the govenment what kind of toys you have, or begging for permission to own them, gun shows are a good place to shop. Not that I would ever do anything like that, mind you. I go mainly for the lousy burgers and "classic" french fries cooked in "ancient grease."

October 11, 2004, 01:52 PM
I stopped going to these ages ago. Around here the shows are filled with a mix angry vendors annoyed that you're even looking at their things, completely unwilling to help, nice guys selling overpriced garbage, and the gun stores bringing all the junk they can't sell at the shop to the show. And I recall one instance where I was going to buy a nice looking Brazilian Mauser off a fellow but he absolutely refused to let me look at the bore befoe putting cash down. I walked.

Anyway, the good gun show is online now, 24/7, at the auction sites.

October 11, 2004, 02:11 PM
When nothings going on, in the the middle of winter or early spring, going to a Gun Show is cheap recreation. They're hit and miss and I don't really expect to find the deal of the century because ,as mentioned in another post, the dealers deal with each other before the show even opens. Sometimes I get bulk ammo for a great price, sometimes I can get a pair of nice grips. Also mentioned, you have to do your homework before you get there if you're looking for a specific item. I like garage sales in the summer, and second hand stores when I'm traveling, but I keep my expectations low. A comment I've heard from other dealers I know is "if a gun is a POS, I take it to a Gun show, so my regular customers at the shop don't get burned.":rolleyes:

El Tejon
October 11, 2004, 02:35 PM
Because you never know.:D

I really go just to look at you guys.:neener:

October 11, 2004, 04:21 PM
Why do you even bother to go to these shows?

I'm not talking to you so much as repeating what I say to myself every three months when the show comes to Orlando

Where I see the same guys selling the same crap at the same price as they do at their shops every other day of the week.

I used to go to the Orlando gun show whenever it was in town. After 2 trips I realized that most of the guns were way overpriced. I get much better deals ordering online from AIM via my C&R.

I will however pick up 7.62 x 39 and 54 ammo there so I don't have to pay for shipping if I order it online.

October 11, 2004, 05:17 PM
I go to gun shows for the same reason that I occasionally buy a lottery ticket . . . you never know what's gonna happen. With about the same odds as winning the Powerball, I have found real deals.

Plus there's a local family-owned ammo and reloading supplies business that only sells at shows and they're a convenient way to pick up a few pounds of powder and some bullets at a reasonable if not cheap price.

And don't forget the gunshow coffee and corndogs! Where else you gonna find that besides a skid row flophouse?

October 11, 2004, 05:18 PM
Revolution Street in Tijuna



October 11, 2004, 05:28 PM
Every time I do go I hear the exhibiters complaining that the gun shows are getting smaller and going away.

They blame:

1. Politicians.

2. The public for wanting to "kick the tires" and not spend money.

They DON'T blame:

1. The crabby sellers behind the table. You have to wear a $100 bill pinned to the front of your shirt to get them to be nice to you.

2. The inflated prices. Sometimes I think they try to pay for their table in one gun sale.

3. The raving lunatic handing out leaflets and shouting about "jackbooted thugs". (We've heard it already. Leave us alone and let us browse in peace so we don't have to skip that isle.)

4. The lies. "I can't come down on that price more than $10. I'm only $20 over cost now." (When I can find the same gun on another table for $50 less.)

5. The B.S. "You don't see too many of these around anymore." Gee, that's funny. I've seen 3 others today on different tables.

6. The politics. We've heard it. Can't we talk about GUNS for a CHANGE?

R.H. Lee
October 11, 2004, 05:31 PM
I won't even bother with gun shows anymore. Around here it's $7 to get in to see a bunch of professional junk dealers.

October 11, 2004, 05:36 PM
Hey 444, see ya at the 10/23 show, ok? :D

It's even better when they have a concert going on and there's no gun show parking! Hahahahahaha

The prices to park and enter are ridiculous, the wares are a joke (I think Ken likes the doll dealers myself!) but I always wind up going to another show. Sigh.


October 11, 2004, 05:37 PM

Couldn't agree more with what you wrote. Guns shows here have been getting worse and worse. Less guns and more of all that crap. I can understand asking a few bucks more at a show because those that don't frequent shops are likely to pay the asking price. If not it allows more area to dicker on the prices. It's all the "rare" items that are there I love. So "rare" that everyone there has a few of them. Also, if a sign or seller says the word "genuine" I immeadiately become un-interested. Usually, it's a genuine imitation.
Prices fluctuate in different markets because of the economy of that area. A particualr model up by me will sell for less than the same model closer to Boston where all the "Mass Money" is.
Also, it seems that the mojority of the dealers at shows are "home dealers" that don't actually hacve a storefront. They're the ones that think that having a FFL makes them an absolute genius about firearms and that they automatically have more knowledge than any patron at the show. There are of course the patrons taht have the same attitude. My favorites are the ones that tell the dealers what the gunthey're trying to peddle costs. I'd think the dealer would have a somewhat understanding of costs if they check thier fliers/catalogs which they should have with them.
Not all patrons are like this but listening to them as I walk arond gives me enough reason to NOT want to go shooting with many of them. They're the ones that are there to touch and rub every gun in the place with no intention of buying. They remark about a guns power and size like it's a testosterone shot or something. Tellng thier female companions how it's cool. Then there's the punks that are barely legal to purchase phsically but mentally have a long way to go. No need to detail them, we all know who they are. :uhoh: I guess my other favorites are those that believe that whatever gun they're trying to peddle (patron or dealer)is worth a lot even though it's condition (used) says otherwise. They want all-outdoors for what they have but argue til no tommorrow about the reasonable price of a potential purchase.

Ain't they fun!:banghead:

i'll be attending a gun show this weekend. Not intending to buyanything at all. Going to look for a particular couple models to handle them so that I can decide which I will purchase. If the price is acceptable on the one I choose, it'll be bought. There'll be some dealer's table I'll pass by completely simply becasue of past experiences with them. I'lll pay more a at a few other tables than I would at two particular dealers.

Autta be fun! :p

October 11, 2004, 05:41 PM
The last gun show I went to was more a freak show then a gun show.
Spent less than 30 minutes there and swore I would never go back.

October 11, 2004, 06:06 PM
...the ones that think that having a FFL makes them an absolute genius about firearms and that they automatically have more knowledge than any patron at the show.

That's a good one. Sometimes I leave the gun show depressed; having realized that I must look stupid.:p

October 11, 2004, 06:11 PM

I go to every gun show in Savannah. I have to say that I DO see a lot of junk there, but I also have found much gold, too. My recent acquisitions include:

NIB Universal M1 Carbine, (in its original box) for $369.00 OTD.
AR15 Stag Arms lower, with all the EBR stuff an collapsible stock for $625.00.
Walther P99 Titanium NIB for $539.00.
Rock Island 1911A1-pattern for $299.00.
Colt 1991 with all the gewgaws I was going to add anyway for $550.00 OTD.

Now, granted, there's tons of stuff I wouldn't buy with *your* money, but if you look as to why, it makes sense. There's no better patronized table than the one elderly lady that sells nothing but HighPoints at every show in Savannah. I kid you not.

Also, there are "Those Dealers." They are the ones that look like they're doing you a favor talking to you, let alone selling you anything. We had one this last weekend here in Savannah. Granted, he had a fabulous selection of 03's, M1 Garands, M1 carbines, and original 1911's and 1911A1's but I imagine it's so fabulous only because his prices are so high, and few ever get sold. The cheapest Remington Rand in - admittedly - good shape was $1250.00. The same type I see on GB all the time for $750.00. CMP quality M1 Garands for $1400.00. AND, he's from Florida, which means that to buy one of these, he has to transfer it to a GA dealer at the show before you can take it home... And the other dealer, who has been selling a *used* Taurus 92 for $450.00, that I've seen for sale at the last 3 shows.

For me, the shows are an all-day affair. Deals can be had, but it takes me walking around for several hours, separating the wheat from the chaff before I make my decisions. I really have to hunt around to find the best piece I want, and then there's more time to haggle the best price I can get, but if you're willing to spend the time, you can end up coming home with exactly what you want, at the price you're willing to pay, and feel great about it afterwards.

Lastly, everyone remembers the 'net post about various gunshow types. Here's a game to play, which is more fun if you go with friends:

Print that list out.
Bring it with you.
Check off each type of person that fits the description to a "T."
Assign a spot at the show to go to when you've completed the list

The first person to check off all the types on the page and get to the spot wins free corndogs and ancient fries bought by his friends. As an added bonus, the winner gets a free cheap-ass knife if he doesn't use any of the group playing the game as part of his list! :D :D


Jim K
October 11, 2004, 07:08 PM
"Gabby Hayes" wrote: "So I can buy machine guns and AK-47s and watch all the terrorists?"

One of the silliest claims by the anti-gun gang (and they have made some doozies) was that terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq were buying AK-47's at American gun shows and smuggling them to the Middle East. Even the normally anti-gun press laughed at that whopper.


October 11, 2004, 07:31 PM
Why do you even bother to go to these shows?

Last gun show I went to I ended up just buying books.

I wasn't interested in the bracelets and stuff :rolleyes:

October 11, 2004, 07:42 PM
Man, some of you guys whining about your gun shows live in states like Nevada. I'd be in heaven if I went to your gun shows. Cali gun shows are so ????ing bad I don't even call them gun shows anymore, more like, "the knife, beef jerky, and surplus militaria show".

October 11, 2004, 07:46 PM
"Hey 444, see ya at the 10/23 show, ok? "

You know damn well you will see me there.
I am going to be looking for the latest thing out in a glasses cleaner.

October 11, 2004, 10:45 PM
I think they have the "Quad-50" 10/22 conversion I haven't really checked out yet, and I think they have a new flavor beef jerky I need a sample of. Plus I need stripper clips! :)

I find out tomorrow if I get to have left knee surgery, but if I can I'll go! :p

Man, some of you guys whining about your gun shows live in states like Nevada. I'd be in heaven if I went to your gun shows. Cali gun shows are so ????ing bad I don't even call them gun shows anymore, more like, "the knife, beef jerky, and surplus militaria show".

The shows here are no different than the Cal Expo shows used to be - lots of shirts, nylon crap, crafts and all that but some guns also. Unfortunately 444 is right - these guys seem to think any C&R gun is worth 3 times normal just because THEY have it for sale. If I want a Garand, and I do, I'll get it through the CMP rather than these guys. I did find one good vendor at the last one I went to and bought a new Kimber 10mm for $899, so that wasn't bad.

October 12, 2004, 06:52 AM
I used to go to the Orlando gun show whenever it was in town. After 2 trips I realized that most of the guns were way overpriced. I get much better deals ordering online from AIM via my C&R.

That's the whole point of having the flipping C&R in the first place; so you can order millsurps from wholesalers and not have to buy them from the FFL set up at the local gun show with a table of $79 Turks. Where do you think these people buy their Mosins and M48's? From SARCO, just like you do. Then they're supposed to turn around and sell them for less than what they bought them for? I'll submit that that's not a very sound business model...

I swear to gawd, Shotgun News and the "educated" consumer are going to be the death of me.

"Can you order me a Slobbovian Mauser?"
"Sure, I'd be happy to. Let's see... [taps on calculator] With shipping, tax, and background check, that'd be $102.78."
"But ImportCo has them in Shotgun News for $65 in Good Condition!"
"That's where I'm ordering it from, sir." Thinks to self: "I'm supposed to be doing this for free? These lights cost money to run, you know, plus I sometimes get hungry."

Here's my other favorite gun show line:
"Well, will you eat the tax?"
What I say: "Well sir, I'm afraid I can't do that."
What I want to say: "Look sport, tax is 9.25%. My markup on the gun is only 15%. Why don't you do the math? I ain't here for my health, you know."

October 12, 2004, 07:41 AM
how can the terrorists buy machineguns and such when it seems that the gun shows today are like flea markets...what the hell is jewlery, stuff animals, etc being sold at a gun and knife show...this is just isnt just the dealers at shows, what about the promoters...they are letting people in there selling stuff that isnt related to guns.....why because they cant get enough dealers to go to shows in the first place....

October 12, 2004, 07:55 AM
The club I belong to puts on an annual show to fund youth programs and improvements to the range.
If you want in on the good stuff, you volunteer to work. You see all the stuff as it goes out on the tables for the first time. If you get lucky enough to work the door checking weapons as they are brought into the hall you get first shot at them.
1/4 of the hall is filled with craft items, stuffed animals, coin dealers etc. Why? Because they buy tables too and the variety attracts people not interested in buying guns to the show. Guys want to look at guns, their wives want crafty stuff and they both pay their entry fee to do it.

October 12, 2004, 07:57 AM
This looks like a good time to repost this. Stop me if you've heard this one alredy. :D

Gun shows are run by and for dreamers. Every dealer who sets up a table seems to think that the people who attend are half-wits who will happily pay 25% more than manufacturer's suggested retail price for their goods; and all the attendees hold it as an article of faith that the exhibitors are desperate men who have come in the hopes of finally disposing of their stock at 30% less than wholesale cost. In this environment it helps to have some idea what to expect; so for the benefit of those who are so unfortunate as never to have experienced this distinctively American form of mass entertainment, I offer this guide.

The following terms apply to items offered for sale:

MINT CONDITION: In original condition as manufactured, unfired, and preferably in the original box with all manufacturer's tags, labels, and paperwork.

NEAR-MINT CONDITION: Has had no more than 5,000 rounds fired through it and it still retains at least 60% of the original finish. Surface pitting is no more than 1/8" deep, and both grip panels are in place. If it is a .22, some of the rifling is still visible.

VERY GOOD: Non-functional when you buy it, but you can probably get it to work if you replace 100% of the parts.

FAIR: Rusted into a solid mass with a shape vaguely reminscent of a firearm.

TIGHT: In revolvers, the cylinder swings out, but you need two hands to close it again. For autoloaders, you must bang the front of the slide on a table to push it back.

REALLY TIGHT: In revolvers you cannot open the cylinder without a lever. Once it's open the extractor rod gets stuck halfway through its travel. On autoloaders, you need a hammer to close the slide.

A LITTLE LOOSE: In revolvers, the cylinder falls out and the chambers are 1/4" out of line when locked up. There is no more than 1/2" of end play. For autoloaders, the barrel falls out when the slide is retracted. If the barrel stays in place, the slide falls off.

GOOD BORE: You can tell it was once rifled and even approximately how many grooves there were.

FAIR BORE: Would be similar to GOOD BORE, if you could see light through it.

NEEDS A LITTLE WORK: May function sometimes if you have a gunsmith replace minor parts, such as the bolt, cylinder, or barrel.

ARSENAL RECONDITIONED: I cleaned it up with a wire wheel and some stuff I bought at K-Mart.

ANTIQUE: I found it in a barn, and I think it dates from before 1960. Note that ANTIQUE guns are usually found in FAIR condition.

RARE VARIANT: No more than 500,000 of this model were ever made, not counting the ones produced before serial numbers were required. RARE VARIANTS command a premium price of 150% of BOOK VALUE.

BOOK VALUE: An irrational number which dealers consider insultingly low and buyers ridiculously high. Since no one pays any attention to it, it doesn't matter.

IT BELONGED TO MY GRANDFATHER: I bought it at a flea market two weeks ago.

CIVIL WAR RELIC: The vendor's great-grandfather knew a man whose friend had been in the Civil War.

SHOOTS REAL GOOD: For rifles, this means at 100 yards it will put every shot into a 14" circle if there isn't any wind and you're using a machine rest. For handguns, three out of six rounds will impact a silhouette target at seven yards. In shotguns, it means that the full choke tube throws 60% patterns with holes no bigger than 8" in them.

ON CONSIGNMENT: The vendor at the show does not own the gun. It belongs to a friend, customer, or business associate, and he has been instructed to sell it, for which he will be paid a commission. He has no authority to discuss price. The price marked is 150% above BOOK VALUE. All used guns offered for sale at gun shows, without exception, are ON CONSIGNMENT, and the dealer is required by his Code of Ethics to tell you this as soon as you ask the price. A BATF study has proven that since 1934 there has never been a single authenticated case of a used gun being offered for sale at a gun show that was actually owned by the dealer showing it.

I'LL LET IT GO FOR WHAT I HAVE IN IT: I'll settle for what I paid for it plus a 250% profit.

MAKE ME AN OFFER: How dumb are you?

TELL ME HOW MUCH IT'S WORTH TO YOU: I'll bet you're even dumber than you look.


RAMBO: He's looking for an Ingram MAC-10, and wants to have it custom chambered in .44 Magnum as a back-up gun. For primary carry he wants a Desert Eagle, provided he can get it custom chambered in .50 BMG. He derides the .50 Action Express as a wimp round designed for ladies' pocket pistols. He has already bought three years' worth of freeze- dried MRE's from MARK, as well as seven knives. He is dressed in camoflage BDU's and a black T-shirt with the 101st AirBorne Division insignia, though he has never been in the Army. He works as a bag boy at Kroger's.

BUBBA: He needs some money, and has reluctantly decided to sell his Daddy's .30-30, a Marlin 336 made in 1961. He indignantly refuses all cash offers below his asking price of $475. Unable to sell it, eventually he trades it plus another $175 for a new-in-box H&R Topper in .219 Zipper. He feels pretty good about the deal.

GORDON: He is walking the aisles with a Remington Model 700 ADL in .30-06 on his shoulder. He's put an Uncle Mike's cordura sling and a Tasco 3x9 variable scope on it. A small stick protrudes from the barrel, bearing the words, "LIKE NEW ONLY THREE BOXES SHELLS FIRED $800." This is his third trip to a show with this particular rifle, which he has never actually used, since he lives in a shotgun-only area for deer.

DAWN: She is here with her boyfriend, DARRYL. At the last show, DARRYL bought her a Taurus Model 66 in .357 Magnum. She fired it twice and is afraid of it, but she keeps it in a box on the top shelf of her clothes closet in case someone breaks in. She is dressed in a pair of blue jeans that came out of a spray can, a "Soldier of Fortune" T-shirt two sizes too small, and 4" high heels. DARRYL is ignoring her, but nobody else is.

DARRYL: He has been engaged to DAWN for three years. He likes shotguns for defense, and he's frustrated that he can't get a Street Sweeper, so he's bought a Mossberg 500 with the 18-1/2" barrel, a perforated handguard, and a pistol grip. He plans to use it for squirrel hunting when he isn't sleeping with it. He plans to marry DAWN as soon as he gets a job which pays him enough to take over the payments on her mobile home.

ARNOLD: He is a car salesman in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has a passion for Civil War guns, especially cap-and-ball revolvers. He has a reproduction Remington 1858, and is looking for a real one he can afford. He owns two other guns: a S&W Model 60 and a Sauer & Sohn drilling his father brought home from the war in 1945. He has no idea what caliber the rifle barrel on his drilling is, and he last fired the Model 60 five years ago.

DICK: He is a gun dealer who makes his overhead selling Jennings J- 25's, Lorcin .380's, and H&R top-break revolvers. He buys the J-25's in lots of 1000 direct from the factory at $28.75 each, and sells them for $68.00 to gun show customers. He buys the H&R's for $10 at estate auctions and asks $85 for them, letting you talk him down to $78 when he is feeling generous. His records are meticulously kept, and he insists on proper ID and a signature on the 4473. He doesn't care whether the ID and the signature are yours, however. Other than his stock, he owns no guns and he has no interest in them.

ARLENE: She is DICK's wife. She hates guns and gun shows more than anything in the world. Her husband insists that she accompany him to keep an eye on the table when he's dickering or has to go to the men's room. She refuses to come unless she can bring her SONY portable TV, even though she gets lousy reception in the Civic Center and there isn't any cable. When DICK is away from the table, she has no authority to negotiate, and demands full asking price for everything. She doesn't know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun, and she doesn't care, either.

MARK: He doesn't have an FFL. He buys a table at the show to sell nylon holsters, magazines, T-shirts, bumber stickers, fake Nazi regalia, surplus web gear, MRE's and accessories. He makes more money than anyone else in the hall.

ALAN: He's not a dealer, but he had a bunch of odds and ends to dispose of, so he bought a table. On it he displays used loading dies in 7,65 Belgian and .25-20, both in boxes from the original Herter's company. He also has a half-box of .38-55 cartrdiges, a Western-style gun belt he hasn't been able to wear since 1978, a used cleaning kit, and a nickel-plated Iver Johnson Premier revolver in .32 S&W. He's asking $125 for the gun and $40 for each of the die sets. He paid $35 for the table and figures he needs to get at least that much to cover his expenses and the value of his time.

GERALD: He's a physician specializing in diseases of the rich. He collects Brownings, and specializes in High-Power pistols, Superposed shotguns, and Model 1900's. He has 98% of the known variations of each of these, and now plans to branch out into the 1906 and 1910 pocket pistols. He owns no handguns made after the Germans left Liege in 1944. He regards Japanese-made "Brownings" as a personal insult and is a little contempuous of Inglis-made High-Powers. He does not hunt or shoot. He buys all his gun accessories from Orvis and Dunn's.

KEVIN: He is 13, and this is his first gun show. His eyes are bugged out with amazement, and he wonders what his J.C. Higgins single-shot 20-gauge is worth. His father gives him an advance on his allowance do he can buy a used Remington Nylon 66. He's hooked for life and will end up on the NRA's Board of Directors

October 12, 2004, 09:33 AM
I've bought dozens of guns at shows, but very few from tables. The deals are slung over the shoulders of guys who have been offered an insult at every table they've stopped at wanting to trade.

John Ross
October 12, 2004, 10:18 AM
Maybe the shows around here are better than where you live, or maybe my expectations are a lot lower. At a typical show, you can expect to see several categories of vendors:

1. Sellers of gun-related "hillbilly flea market" junk as mentioned by the original poster. I ignore these tables.

2. Sellers of non-gun-related "hillbilly flea market" junk like crafts, jewelry, alternative homeopathic remedies, etc. I ignore these also.

3. Sellers of new guns. I'm an FFL, so I pass on these.

4. Old guys that have the same table of the same stuff they've owned for 40 years, all priced too high to ever sell, like a Winchester 63 in fair condition for $575. I stop by and ask how their cataract or prostate surgery went, knowing that the gun show is their $40 weekend pass to get away from the shrews they've been married to for over 50 years, and is probably keeping them alive and/or sane.

However, in addition to these vendors, there are the ones that keep me coming back:

A. The guy selling inexpensive (3/$10) nylon pistol cases, rifle cases, and bags. I know I can pick up cases for next to nothing for the guns I've recently acquired.

B. The guy selling reloading components. I can save on hazmat fees.

C. The guy selling cartridge boxes, cleaning supplies, etc. I can pick up odds and ends that I use regularly.

D. The ammo guys. They know I buy in quantity and pay with hundred dollar bills. Wolf .45 for $120 a thousand and no shipping makes me happy and gives them a 12% margin, not bad if you're turning your inventory quickly, and these guys are.

E. The serious Military Surplus vendors. They have multiple tables and are VERY organized. If I need a $5 part, one of them has it. I don't care if he bought a thousand of them for a nickel each. In fact, I'm glad. It keeps him coming back and setting up, so he's there when I need him.

F. Book sellers, especially used gun books. I add to my library about every other show.

G. The guy who does a GREAT job of sharpening knives for $2.

H. People with tables full of old gun-related stuff they got when their dad died and they want to get rid of. Yes, a lot of junk, but occasionally a Hollywood Senior tool for $75, or a Chic Gaylord holster for $5.

I. People selling used guns. Sure, a lot of them are overpriced, but not all. It's known around here that I'm a buyer of Smiths, particularly N-frame magnums, and have cash in my pocket. People offer me guns at realistic prices when they know this. I got a 10 5/8" Model 29 that shoots 3 MOA for $340 recently. It had slight pitting on the backstrap, so I didn't steal it, but it's a great shooter. A M19 with some blue wear for $175, a M66 with a botched roundbutt conversion (covered by Herrett gips) for $225, and a mint 8 3/8" 629 for $375.

J. The gun-rights group raising money. I ALWAYS stop by their table, donate $5 or $10, and give them a pep talk. A year ago I donated a pre-ban AR clone for GCLA (Gateway Civil Liberties Alliance) to raffle and these guys managed to raise over EIGHT THOUSAND dollars with it! Every one of you should find a similar grassroots group and seek them out at every show. Give them $5, and talk them up to other patrons. We need them more than all the other gunshow vendors combined.


October 12, 2004, 10:25 AM
Okay folks, so stay home and cut the grass. I'm going to the gun show this weekend and walk around. If I find anything to buy it'll be a bonus.


October 12, 2004, 10:35 AM
I agree with JohnBT. The gunshows are pretty good in Virginia. At least you can find a wheelgun there. Most of the stores don't carry them anymore as folk have moved up to them fancy automatics. ;)

See you at the gunshow John!

Black Snowman
October 12, 2004, 10:52 AM
Because every 3 or 4 shows that class III dealer brings out all the goodies just to be nice and let the unwashed masses fondle them. Even as annoying as the NFA is, registering new guns at least would be really nice. I wouldn't mind the background check or even the taxes if I could get an non-neutered P90.

The Grand Inquisitor
October 13, 2004, 12:12 AM
MARK: He doesn't have an FFL. He buys a table at the show to sell nylon holsters, magazines, T-shirts, bumber stickers, fake Nazi regalia, surplus web gear, MRE's and accessories. He makes more money than anyone else in the hall.


Your are a truthteller and perceptive!

WHy is it that there are always people playing with themselves over anything even resembling anything "Nazi". Also, this person probably also have some Klan stuff and a belly that isn't quite covered by a shirt.

October 13, 2004, 05:15 AM
I love gun shows. Seriously. :neener:

The reason alot of dealers don't carry high-end accessories is because the companies won't sell to just anyone. Leupold doesn't want kitchen table, gun show outfits to undersell their brick and mortar dealers and devalue their product. And, these brick and mortar dealers don't usually sell so well at gunshows, where their prices aren't "low enough" for gun show folk who are looking for well-below-retail. So, it's cheap chinese scopes for you, young man.

Just telling it like it is.

October 13, 2004, 07:55 AM
Maybe I'm just jaded. I remember a time when a gunshow was like a flea market. I also remember when flea markets were like flea markets.

That was about the same time that K-Mart had old Mil- Surps displayed in whiskey barrels on the floor. And they used to hold the shows at the local National Guard armory.

You could buy an Arisaka for $25 and real military uniforms and equipment. Or you could buy new from the now defunct "kitchen table" FFLs at 10 to 20% mark ups. If you saw a beautiful sawed off SxS for $125 and balked a little at the price, not because it was too much but because already spent your money on the Arisaka and equipment, the dealer would say with a smile "If that's too much for you how 'bout an even $100".
Taurus's were still considered foreign junk and a 6" .357 could be had for $125. And you could pay for it at the booth down the lane selling Indian jewlery cause the guy didn't have a CC machine and the transaction would be recorded as $125 worth of turquoise.
It was also a time when a sporterized Mil-Surp was a work of craftmanship and not simply one of Bubba's abominations.
The guns were laying on the tables for your fondeling pleasure not wrapped up in security wires that go off if you look to hard. You could find cowboy guns at real prices cause there was no CAS to drive the price up. Allowing us poor boys the oportunity to buy something besides the $25 Jap. rifles. Guns that now cost more than any in my collection were sold for less than a box of shells today.

Sometimes getting old sucks, you can remeber the way things were but you can't do a damn thing about it but bore the young'uns with stories of the old days.

October 13, 2004, 08:12 AM
I have never bought a gun at a gun show. But it is SO much fun to look! You can count on some vendors bringing exotic stuff.

And case lots of ammo!

Thinking about going to the Tulsa show next weekend.

October 13, 2004, 11:56 AM
In my own mind the ideal gunshow would be a place where you can look at, compare, and buy a lot of stuff that your local dealer doesn't have. You see, just like these gunshows, my local dealer doesn't carry good high end stuff either. His stuff isn't quite as bad as a gunshow, but it isn't the stuff I want to buy.
For exampe, let's say you want to buy a spotting scope. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to see different ones, talke to someone that really knows something about them etc. I have no idea if such a place actually exists.

My local dealer bitterly complains about guy shows: he says it takes away business from the local dealers. And he is right, but that is because he doesn't have much of anything for sale to begin with.
He is also very bitter about The Shotgun News. He doesn't think it is right that people should be able to see what guns cost wholesale (he is getting over this gradually). Again, they probably wouldn't be worried about it if they wanted one and he had one to sell them.

The bottom line is that if you want good, high quality products, I guess you just buy them on-line from dealers who ARE making money on them. Instead of telling us all how they would go broke trying to sell good stuff, the are out there DOING IT. I know of very few places where you can look at good quality stuff before you buy it. The only places I know of are at formal matches and at gun schools. These are the people that are buying the serious gear.

October 13, 2004, 11:11 PM
For exampe, let's say you want to buy a spotting scope. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to see different ones, talke to someone that really knows something about them etc.

So, let me get this straight: I'm supposed to keep a broad inventory of spotting scopes. I'm supposed to eat the cost of one of each model to use as a demonstrator. I'm supposed to have these out at a gun show for everybody to handle, and provide a knowledgeable salesperson to explain the ins and outs and features of every one so that someone can come along, spend twenty or thirty minutes fondling them and quizzing my salesperson, all so they can then say "Well the Zoomomatic 3000 looks great and has the features I want, and thank you for explaining them to me, but Warehouseco on line has them for $99.95, but you guys are charging $109.49. Thanks for the help. Do you happen to have Warehouseco's 1-800 number?" Forgive me if I don't sound enthusiastic about that business model. :(

For instance, I had a customer who desperately wanted a new P-3AT. I got him one of the first ones in town. As we all know, it took Mec-Gar a while to get spare mags for these guns into general circulation. I spent an average of two hours a week on the phone, for two months, trying to scare up a spare mag for this cat's new gun. We finally got them, and again he had one of the first ones in town. Yesterday this same guy was in the shop, bitching about the fact that my white box Winchester was $6.15/50, when Wally World was selling it for $10/100. Do you have any clue how hard it was for me to keep from snagging an AR off the rack and butt-stroking this guy? "Next time you need a damn P-3AT mag, why don't you call frickin' WalMart?" :scrutiny:

The bottom line is that if you want good, high quality products, I guess you just buy them on-line from dealers who ARE making money on them. Instead of telling us all how they would go broke trying to sell good stuff, the are out there DOING IT.

That's because they are selling out of a minimum overhead situation to a national audience, not a maximum overhead situation to the three ML2 customers in Pahrump and the four Swarovski buyers in Knoxville.

We wonder what's wrong with gun shows? We need to go in the bathroom, turn on the vanity lights, and look hard in the mirror.

I hear WalMart has Chinese-made flip-flops on sale for $0.59/pair this week/btw! :D ;)

October 13, 2004, 11:26 PM
And, as a result, you have nothing to offer me. And, I will spend my money elsewhere.
You stock products to attract people who spend a couple hundred dollars a year. I spend considerably more than that monthly. A year from now, when that guy gets another couple hundred to spend, he might be back. In the mean time, I have spent ten grand with someone else.
You sell him a nylon holster, I will buy a $1000 spotting scope somewhere else.
You sell him a $30 Chinese optic, I will buy a $300 Aimpoint somewhere else.

Business Plan ?

October 14, 2004, 12:06 AM
Tamara: Excellent description of the real world. I would love to buy your white box Winchester for $6.15. ;)

444: You don't have a clue. People like you are the reason brick and mortar gun stores go out of business.

I love going to gunshows, and the ones here in Virginia are great. I can find a wider selection of things that my local store can't afford (or doesn't have the space) to stock. I even go when I don't have money to buy anything, just so I can see what's out there and keep track of prices.

October 14, 2004, 12:44 AM
I agree that bricks and mortar stores deserve our business, if they offer a reasonable product and service at a reasonable price. Here in Charlotte, Hyatt's Gun Shop is extremely expensive. They were charging $299 for a M-N M44, where I paid $60 at my local pawn shop, in better condition.

However Hyatt has a selection to kill for, and I reckon we all go in there to touch and feel. I will, and have, bought weapons there, but only when they have a true deal. Even then, I pay somewhat more than internet+shipping+FFL transfer, but I want them to stay in business.

But I draw the line on outrageous prices.

October 14, 2004, 12:47 AM
"444: You don't have a clue."
You just figured that out ?

One thing I do have a clue about:
"People like you are the reason brick and mortar gun stores go out of business."
We are talking about gunshows. That is, a rented space in a hall with tables.
Now if you want to get into the discussion of brick and morter gun shops and do more than just take trash over the internet, I will give you the phone number to my local dealer and let you ask him to estimate what I spent there over the years. The number might surprise you.

So put up, or shut up.

October 14, 2004, 12:56 AM
Hey 444,

Not to go too much OT, but do they let you carry at "The Ranch". (The editorial "you".) I've been there, but don't recall any signs.

That would be a great place to hold a gun show!

October 14, 2004, 12:57 AM
They are posted (the two in Pahrump): No weapons.

October 14, 2004, 01:56 AM
444, Good points.

October 14, 2004, 07:35 AM
Then what's the purpose of a gunshow 444? Gunshows are just so dealers and customers can get access to each other easier. Dealers from all over the state are coming to Richmond this weekend to the show. So instead of me driving all over the state to find a nice gun or spotting scope, they migh have it there. If it's not there, it might be at the next show.

Can the local dealer have heartburn about a gunshow? Yes. Because it does take business away from him. It increases his competition about 1000 percent for that weekend.

You ain't seen outrageous prices until you walked into one of the Pawn shops in town here. LOTS of new guns and they're priced at MSRP PLUS. The owners making a fortune.

October 14, 2004, 10:07 AM
Yes, what you describe is what I would like a gun show to be. Sort of like a mini-SHOT show. All the cool products are there. I can look at them and touch them in person. All the dealers are in one place just like a convention. But in reality (at least here), there are a couple real full time dealers and a whole bunch of guys that sell JUNK on the gun show circuit. This is fine if you want to buy junk. If you want good quality accessories, odds are, you ain't going to find it at a local gunshow here. So instead of being able to comparision shop for products or being able to check out the latest and greatest, all I can do is compare junk.
Maybe everyone else is right: the vendors wouldn't make any money if they stocked good quality merchandise: they would go broke. But, if you go back to my first post that started this thread, you will see that this is exactly what they are complaining about now. So something has to give. If they are going broke now, then they need to try something else: my suggestion would be to improve the quality of their product. The people that actually have money to spend on this stuff want to spend it on good stuff. To me it only makes sense to find the group of people that actually have disposable income to spend on this hobby and stock the merchandise they want to buy instead of discovering who had the least money to spend on their hobby and catering to them.
But, what do I know ?

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