Gun Show Report


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gburner
March 3, 2003, 11:51 AM
I attended the gunshow at the Showplace in Richmond, VA yesterday (March 2). I
took with me a friend of mine who is equally interested in 2A issues.

We arrived at appx. noon and the place was already packed. There was your usual tables with NIB weapons as well as an excellent selection of milsurp long arms and pistols. Other tables (a majority I think) held everything from reloading supplies, cheap knives, beef jerky, hot sauce, gun parts and accesories, Hermann Goering plush toys for the neo-nazi customers, redneck bumper stickers, Civil War 'art', as well as leather goods, uniform parts and military models. JUNK. It looked more like a swap meet than anything else.

All weapons were priced ridiculously high and no one seemed to be in the mood to trade or dicker about price. Merchant's attitudes seemed largely indifferent to actively selling their wares or engaging customers in the 'art of the deal'.
When pressed, the attitude was one of take it or leave it. I spent the afternoon attempting to trade a pristine Mk.4 Enfield for E German Makarov pistol and was soundly rejected. Even trying to sell the Enfield outright met with an annoying amount of condescension
from various merchants.

In closing, the show was crowded and overpriced at $7.00. The merchants on the whole were arrogant, rude and condescending, pricing on all weapons
seemed to be gun shop + 30% and the ratio of quality merchandise to junk was about 30 - 70. I was able to pick up a universal bi-pod for my SKS on sale.

If this continues, we won't have to worry about the gubmint shutting down these shows; they'll die of their own greed and ignorance.:barf:

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Ted Bell
March 3, 2003, 12:09 PM
Yep, sounds about right. That's why I don't go anymore. I'd rather send the 7 bucks down range.

Loach
March 3, 2003, 12:36 PM
Sounds about right. The only thing I find I buy regularly at gun shows anymore is powder and primers. It's cheaper than the local shops and no Hazmat fee. Occasionally I'll find a pretty good deal. The local shows here in Columbia have one dealer out of Greenville (forget the name off hand) that has good prices for NIB and reasonable prices on some used guns. Seems anymore when I go to the show I head straight for the powder/primer vendors and this one dealer from Greenville and that's it, out the door I go....

Tall Man
March 3, 2003, 12:54 PM
There was your usual tables with NIB weapons as well as an excellent selection of milsurp long arms and pistols. Other tables (a majority I think) held everything from reloading supplies, cheap knives, beef jerky, hot sauce, gun parts and accesories, Hermann Goering plush toys for the neo-nazi customers, redneck bumper stickers, Civil War 'art', as well as leather goods, uniform parts and military models. JUNK. It looked more like a swap meet than anything else.
That's probably the best description of your average gun show that I've ever read (although, I've not yet come across a Third Reich plush toy....)

Additionally, gburner, I sympathize with your sentiment as it appears in the latter part of your post.

That being said, there is one enormous utility offered by gun shows that bears mentioning: The ability to purchase ammunition in an anonymous manner. To the extent that you carry cash and are able to lug your case lots back to the truck, purchasing ammo in a "No questions asked" manner is way better than having to submit a copy of your driver's license to an online vendor. I'm usually quite pleased with the price and selection of ammunition that's been available at the shows I've attended.

Now if only the promoters would truly enforce their "No flea market items" clause, well then we all would be better off. How much crap "Southwest" jewelry (which has NO following here in PA, thank God) and beef jerky do I need to wade through in order to find the fellow selling Milsurp bore cleaner?

Tall Man

whitebear
March 3, 2003, 01:19 PM
gburner and TallMan -

One of the biggest reasons that the twice-a-year Wannenmaker (sp?) Gun Show in Tulsa, OK is reportedly the biggest and one of the best in the country is that the organizer limits the non-gun-and-knife-related tables to 5% or less of the total.

Sure wish other organizers would follow his lead.

Bainx
March 3, 2003, 03:37 PM
Roger on the "dealer +30%increase" pricing of guns. At the last gunshow in Knoxville, I could not help but notice some of the beyond-belief gun prices. Not a single piece of milsurp ammo. Not one.
No Mauser bandoliers.
The AKs and SKS, total combined, I could count on one hand.
There was a table of Arisaka Type 99 rifles with mums ground off, each priced at $200!
First show I have been to in a number of years where I did not buy a single thing.
If I didn't know any better, I would swear things are going-south with gun shows.

Gotta keep after it though, you never know when you may stumble onto that great deal!

Marko Kloos
March 3, 2003, 04:46 PM
The last two shows in Knoxville were pretty disappointing...I ended up spending a grand total of $0 at both shows.

I saw a total of four Century Arms CETMEs, priced from $399 to $599(!). Other folks were similarly optimistic in their pricing structure. Somebody wanted $600 for a HK VP70Z...with one mag. Another vendor had his Browning HPs out for almost $700.

I did see a few decent deals, like the pristine Enfield No.4 with diopter sight and bayonet, for $160. Someone else was selling Walther P1 pistols in very good shape for $259 with two mags and holster. For the most part, though, I was disappointed. Maybe it's the economy or something, but I haven't seen anything that really rang my chimes at a gunshow in a while.

JohnBT
March 3, 2003, 05:02 PM
I disagree a little. Yes, they raised the price a buck and needed some crowd control in the parking lot. OTOH, I think the prices were a little lower than they've been the last few years - and I hit 2 out of every 3 shows there.

Of course it could be better, but there are 2 good gun stores just a few miles away and a lot of us spend our money at them and don't wait for the shows to come to town.

RIR show on 3/15 and 3/16. They are trying to improve, too.

The big problem, high prices and all, appears to be that there are enough people with money around here to buy all the good stuff and pay top dollar. Even the stuff at Green Top and DeGoff's that I think is way too high sells fairly quickly.

I got a pretty good deal on a large safe at the show, but didn't buy any guns. I've only bought a total of one there over the years :)

John

standingbear
March 3, 2003, 05:34 PM
right on.the glory days of fun gun shows that had fair prices,all gun merchandise and people willing to make a fair and honest trade or sell are far numbered.i used to go every weekend to waste the day just looking.now these guys have "spotters" working for them.its almost funny how they work the people coming in like a bunch of cows.jeesh,the last one i went to had at least 1 third of it selling windchimes and crafts right next to the velvet elvis pictures,pocket and wrist watches and then the mighty bot toys.i did leave with a orange and blue toy ak47 that went ratat tatat all the way home(an a splitting headache..lol) with my son.at least he had a good time.

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